“To conclude, we will stress that the psychological mechanism of hypnotic induction is exactly _the same_ in everyday life and in the experimental environment. The apparent differences like [sic] in the _behavior_ of the subject in the hypnotic state, and are due to the motivation that arises from the circumstances and to the convictions, capacities, psychologicl maturity, and degree of retrogression of the individual” (p. 96).

Stillerman, Bernard (1957). The management in analytic hypnotherapy of the psychodynamic reaction to the induction of hypnosis. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 5 (1), 3-11. (Abstracted in Psychological Abstracts, 58: 1715)

The author suggests ways to diminish patient resistance that may emerge in the initial hypnotherapy sessions. “(1) Question him before the first trance regarding his reactions to observing or experiencing hypnosis. How does he feel about being hypnotized now? (2) Observe the patient’s physical and emotional reactions in the trance — any restlessness, jerky movements, moans or groans, sweating, crying, laughing, anger, etc. If any such reactions occur, ask him how he feels, what he is thinking about. (3) Immediately following the first trance, discuss with him his reactions to the trance (emotional reactions, thoughts, feelings, flashes, associations, fantasies or dreams): (a) as he went into the trance, (b) while in the trance, (c) coming out of the trance. (4) At the second hypnotic session, before induction, question him again regarding his reaction to the previous session. Also, inquire particularly about any dreams which occurred subsequent to the first hypnotic session. (5) In general and at all times, note his verbal and non-verbal productions and the dreams he spontaneously presents” (p. 4).
Seven case examples are provided.

Guze, Henry (1956). The involvement of the hypnotist in the hypnotic session. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 4 (2), 61-68.

“In summary, in the actual hypnotic relationship, the attitudes of the operator may influence his behavior markedly and are probably even more important than those of the subject in carrying through a successful relationship. It has been indicated in another paper that the subject’s impulse handling is more important than his attitude toward hypnosis in actual hypnotizability. This view is a re-interpretation of that of Sarason and Rosenzweig (16) with regard to the same problem. The way the operator handles his own impulses seems in itself a most significant problem, and is expressed in his reactions to the induction and later the trance state of the subject. It is indicated that to some workers, the hypnotic response of the subject offers a rare feeling of power which may have psychosexual implications of a heterosexual or homosexual kind depending on the sex of the patient and the emotional needs of the operator. Child-parent relationship attitudes may also be elicited as well as conflicts about dominance-submission related to earlier experience of the worker.** As suggested by Bruno-Bettelheim (1) for children who cannot participate in relations with others as a result of a fear of their own hostility, it appears that some persons might find the hypnotic situation difficult because of a similar factor. Thus some therapists or research workers might be impelled to reject the use of this measure or to fail in using it, because of a non-verbalized fear of their own impulses toward a ‘helpless’ subject in their power. This same situational response may be a problem that arises in the psychotherapeutic or even ordinary medical relationship. Its effect may be to limit full exploration and exploitation of therapeutic possibilities, and to hamper treatment of numerous disorders.
“It is perhaps appropriate to point out in conclusion that Freud left hypnosis, it would seem, because of some unresolved problems. Wolstein (23) says because he could not hypnotize all his patients and because of the magical connotations of hypnosis. The hypnosis in transference is still an open field. Are the two phenomena over-lapping or on a continuum? Are the problems of the therapist really the same in both areas? Is transference an aspect of hypnosis” (pp. 66-67).
“** Data on male-female differences in success as hypnotists with members of the opposite sex might be very illuminating” (p. 66).

Meares, Ainslie (1956). The hysteroid aspects of hypnosis. American Journal of Psychiatry, 113, 916-918. (Abstracted in Psychological Abstracts, 57: 3514)

Article discusses hypnotic behavior as ego defense.

Solovey, Galina; Milechnin, Anatol (1956). Concerning a theory of hypnosis. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 4, 37-45.

“The essential attributes of the hypnotic condition may be understood to derive from three sources:
1) The hypnotic emotional state per se
2) The resultant motivation of the ‘subject’ to comply with the desires of the ‘operator’ (reinstating a child-like responsiveness).
3) The RETROGRESSION to an earlier form of psychological functioning that takes place under a hypnotic state of growing intensity” (p. 43).
“Although the retrogressive process is a general response to emotions and probably exists in some toxic states as well, it has a remarkable feature in the hypnotic state: THE COALESCENCE OF MOTIVATION AND RETROGRESSION, which exists in hypnotized people, permits a peculiar manipulation of the retrogressed condition. The peculiar responsiveness of the subject may be tested and molded by means of propositions which act as suggestions. In this manner, the so-called HYPNOTIC PHENOMENA are elicited” (p. 44).

Wagner, Frederik F. (1956). A dynamic approach to the problem of hypnotic induction. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 4, 93-98.

The author discusses inductions in a broadly psychoanalytic framework. “In keeping with the terminology, hypnotic induction can be defined as a deliberate attempt to disturb the phychic [sic] equilibrium leading to a reorganization on a regressed level. This process takes place in a structured, goal directed interpersonal relationship to which the subject attempts to adjust himself. The outcome of this potential conflict determines whether or not the subject can be hypnotized. Hypnotizability can consequently be formulated as the degree of motivation to regress in this transference-like relationships with the hypnotist” (p. 95). He suggests that the thoughts and fantasies about the hypnotist are very important, as well as the kind of physical setting the subject would prefer, to assure adequate induction.
“With such information at hand the hypnotist would probably, to a greater extent, be able to phrase his suggestions in the patient’s lingo and assume a proper attitude according to the patient’s needs. By avoiding suggestions which stir up fearful fantasies about hypnosis he will try to keep anxiety at a minimum. By assuming a protective parental role he may stimulate infantile needs and give the patient a maximum of security; anxiety, and consequently, defenses may thereby be minimized. He may even assume an authoritarian role, deliberately stirring up anxiety, if he expects the subject will respond with regression” (p. 97).

Kline, Milton V. (1955). Freud and hypnosis: II. Further observations on resistance and acceptance. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 3 (2), 124-129.
“Summary. Freud’s rejection of hypnosis in the development of psychoanalytic psychology becomes upon closer examination a two fold process. It involves on the part of Freud the conventional recognition that suggestion plays a basic role in the primitive emotional energy that binds people together and influences the acting out of primary libidinal drives. From an ontogenetic (and presumably phylogenetic) point of view, Freud viewed suggestibility as a repressive element in the organization of behavior and one which in effect had to be dealt with indirectly. To deal with it directly was to create a state within which powerful emotions of an unpredictable nature could emerge. Hypnosis to Freud was a ‘condition’ which led to general heightened suggestibility and was identical with it. To make use of this condition was in essence an attempt to make use of an individual’s energies in a dependent and essentially uninhibited manner. It seemed to Freud that having produced the hypnotic ‘condition,’ one actually had achieved a state of suspension or ablation of certain critical ego functions and this could lead to an intense and perhaps unmanageable interpersonal relationship. It was almost an ‘ethical’ rather than a scientific view as Freud discussed it in his thinking and theorizing about a general psychology.
“To a great extent the basic concepts of psychoanalysis were developed as the result of Freud’s awareness of the existance of hypnotic phenomena and his need to circumvent and indirectly deal with the ego manifestations of this ‘condition.’ Thus Freud never really rejected hypnosis as a mechanism of human behavior. His comment of the psychosocial development of man (from which psychoanalytic psychology is influenced) was heavily weighted by his awareness of ‘suggestibility’ and the ‘condition’ descriptively called hypnosis.
“The simple equation of hypnosis with suggestibilty is now scientifically outmoded and incorrect. The role of suggestion and its psychosomatic equations has taken on a drastically changed perspective in social psychology, particularly with regard to the early concepts of Le Bon, Freud and McDougall (5). For these reasons alone, Freud’s circumvention of hypnosis becomes increasingly unsound scientifically and adherence to such a perception of hypnosis serves only to obscure theoretical research in psychology and to maintain a rigidity born essentially of emotional ties and ethics alien to the nature of scientific inquiry” (pp 128-129).

Leuba, Clarence (1955). Conditioning during hypnosis. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 3 (4), 256-259.

The author is responding to an article that concludes that conditioning during hypnosis leads to effects better accounted for by the research subjects’ attempts to conform or please the Experimenter (Fisher, Seymour. An investigation of alleged conditioning phenomena under hypnosis. J. clin. exp. hypnosis, 1955, 3, 71-103).
“Informal attempts have been made to eliminate the personal subjective influence of the hypnotist when testing for the effects of ‘alleged’ conditioning under hypnosis. The conditioned stimulus has been administered post-hypnotically by other persons than the hypnotist, or when S was occupied, offguard, and presumably not set to please the hypnotist. The results have been equivocal. Usually, the conditioned responses occurred when the conditioned stimulus was administered by others than the hypnotist and in a variety of situations; when caught offguard, however, the S may not respond, at least not overtly; he may, for instance, only feel a tendency to cough when touched. This might be, of course, because coughing is often inhibited in social circumstances and the tendency, therefore, does not become overt. Sometimes when told by the hypnotist post-hypnotically that the experiments were over, the alleged conditioning disappeared; sometimes, on the other hand, when the hypnotist emphatically stated post-hypnotically that there was no odor present and that it had been just hallucinated, the S nevertheless smelled it when the cue was again present” (p. 258).

Rosen, Harold (1955). Regression hypnotherapeutically induced as an emergency measure in a suicidally depressed patient. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 3 (1), 58-70.
After cautioning that regressive techniques are only to be undertaken by very experienced therapists, the author states in conclusion, “However, if the therapist have a thorough grounding in dynamic psychiatry, he may as an emergency measure, through the adjunctive use of hypnotic techniques of the type described in this article even induce regressive phenomena in the potentially homicidal or suicidal psychotic patient, in order that they may be integrated and utilized in the service of the ego, at first by blotting out ego-boundaries between patient and therapist, so that later on during the course of the therapeutic process these self-same ego-boundaries may be re-defined and re-constituted on a more mature emotional level and with much healthier personality functioning.

Schneck, Jerome M. (1955). Hypnotic interviews with the therapist in fantasy. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 3 (2), 109-116. (Abstracted in Psychological Abstracts, 56: 1126)

” Summary. This report furnishes illustrations from two patients of the technique consisting of hypnosis interviews conducted by the patients with the therapist in fantasy. This method emerged from previous work with visual imagery in the form of scene visualization and some of its derivatives. The writer believes that further work with the technique presented now may prove to be beneficial in psychotherapy. At the same time it offers an opportunity for further study of personality functioning in general and certain aspects of psychodynamics. The patients manipulate the session in a way which furthers a duality in their functioning as a result of which they attempt to probe and contend with contradictory tensions in their unconscious. The image of the therapist undergoes certain distortions demonstrating dynamisms such as projection and identification as utilized by the patient. The therapist is in a position to view all of this and to discern elements in his relationship with the patient which may otherwise have escaped him. Countertransference issues may be clarified in this way. The technique may assist at points where the therapist seems to be functioning too blindly and where the patient may more pointedly show the way by guiding the therapist while relating to a mental image of him. There is a possibility that some aspects of this approach in treatment may prove of value in psychotherapy which does not incorporate hypnosis. This may be of assistance to workers who have not been trained in hypnotherapy” (pp. 115-116).

Schneck, Jerome M. (1955). Transference and hypnotic behavior. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 3 (3), 132-135.

“Summary. This report describes an extreme posture in hypnosis, spontaneously assumed by a male patient, when the patient, seated in a chair, curved his head, neck, and upper body far forward so that his face finally was turned inward toward his body at the level of lower abdomen or pubis. This spontaneous motor phenomenon, aside from serving as an addition to spontaneous sensory and motor phenomena described previously, continued throughout a series of sessions and reflected symbolically a combination of broad rather than limited interest in treatment and its implications were accepted and used as a base in determining the direction and management of therapy. The constellation of events furnished an additional example of incorporation of hypnotic technique into psychotherapy” (p. 135).

Stokvis, Berthold (1955). Hypnosis and psychoanalytic method. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 3, 253-255. (Abstracted in Psychological Abstracts, 57: 1157)

The author distinguishes between hypnosis/psychoanalysis and ‘hypno-analysis’ which Hadfield previously described as a combination of hypnotic catharsis and re-educative suggestions.
At the Leyden Clinic the author uses one of several methods to “apply hypnosis together with the utilization of psychoanalytic principles. … [It] consists in a cathartic-analytic treatment of the patient in the waking state, while endeavouring to re-enact repressed psycho-traumatic events of the past, in the hypnotic state. The experiences in question are subsequently discussed with the patient and elucidated” (p. 253).

Meares, Ainslie (1954). History-taking and physical examination in relation to subsequent hypnosis. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 2 (4), 291-295.

“Summary. The history-taking and physical examination of the initial interview can be so structured as to facilitate the subsequent induction of hypnosis. Rapport is established, and negative transference feelings are not allowed to develop. There must be no holding back or hiding of the real complaint with screen symptoms. Physical examination is a symbolic surrender and paves the way for the real surrender of passive hypnosis. If induction by an active method is anticipated, authoritative attitudes are introduced into the history-taking and physical examination” (p. 295).

Watkins, John G. (1954). Trance and transference. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 2 (4), 284-290.

The author proposes that [hypnotic] trance and transference are essentially the same phenomena. “Yet while the hypnotherapist is often unaware he is dealing with transference, the psychoanalyst is often equally oblivious to the fact that he is interacting with his patient in a light trance ego state. … Perhaps a re-examination of the entire problem of ego states and hypnotic trance is due” (p. 290).

Kline, Milton V. (1953). Toward a theoretical understanding of the nature of resistance to the induction of hypnosis and depth hypnosis. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 2, 32-41.

In this theoretical paper, the author makes the following theoretical deductions:
“1. Resistance to hypnosis appears to be a fundamental characteristic of hypnosis.
2. The nature and pattern of such resistance is highly variable and may be expressed consciously or unconsciously, ideationally or affectively, psychologically or somatically, actively or passively and in combinations of the above characteristics.
3. Hypnosis is often perceived as a threat to the individual’s equilibrium or homeostatic adjustment and the reactions or resistance to this threat depend upon both the severity of the threat and the strength and nature of the subject’s defenses.
4. The pattern and structure of resistance to hypnosis may be initially determined by the first stimulus the subject perceives as a threat:
(a) The stimulus could be the psychophysiological correlates of hypnosis per se, the vaso-motor and related phenomena and their influence on ego function. Even very light hypnotic states have been demonstrated to produce alterations in ego functioning (5, 21).
(b) The stimulus could be the threat of, or the activation of, a transference relationship which is quickly crystallized and synthesized in the patient’s receptor perceptuality, because of alterations in receptor function which can accompany the induction of hypnosis.
(c) The stimulus could be a _conditioned_ response, either to the transference or to elements of the hypnotic procedure related to it.
(d) The stimulus could be an _associated_ response, either to the transference situation or to elements of the hypnotic procedure related to it.
(e) The stimulus could be a configuration of all the aforementioned components, stemming directly from association to the words of the hypnotist. Such a Gestalt-like response to hypnosis might involve transference threat, increased transference-impulse drives, neuro-psychological changes in ego function resulting from hypnosis per se and conditioned response patterns and associated imagery activity.
(f) Secondary and higher order stimuli may be come incorporated into hypnotic resistance or reaction patterns through a feeding back of stimulation through either physiological activity or associated cortical activity” (pp. 34-35).
Williams, Griffith W. (1953). Difficulty in dehypnotizing. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 1, 3-12.

The author collected “instances of difficult dehypnotization from the experience of experimenters and therapists and then [discussed] them with reference to three aspects: a) their behavioral characteristics, b) their dynamics so far as these could be ascertained, and c) the methods used to deal with them” (p. 3).


Holroyd, Jean (2003). The science of meditation and the state of hypnosis. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 46 (2), 109-128.

Two aspects of Buddhist meditation — concentration and mindfulness — are discussed in relationship to hypnosis. Mindfulness training facilitates the investigation of subjective responses to hypnosis. Concentration practice leads to altered states similar to those in hypnosis, both phenomenologically and neurologically. The similarities and differences between hypnosis and meditation are used to shed light on perennial questions: (1) Does hypnosis involve an altered state of consciousness? (2) Does a hypnotic induction increase suggestibility? It is concluded that a model for hypnosis should include altered states as well as capacity for imaginative involvement and expectations.

Court, John (1998). Not the state, but the territory. Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 26 (2), 104-112.
With the current growth of interest in spirituality, the interface between hypnosis and religious practices takes on new significance. Cautions have traditionally been expressed about the hypnotic state, with fears about control and willpower. While developments in the ethical use of hypnosis make such concerns less pressing, there remain significant paradigm issues which are being explored in the literature. These include pursuit of the age-old question, “Who are the legitimate healers in a society?” The territory of the church and the territory of the clinic are not entirely separate, so issues arise regarding the relative authority of practitioners to intervene in people’s lives, and what such interventions should look like. Many Christians who might benefit from hypnosis have been warned to be totally against it. Evidence will be brought forward to challenge this and make it safer to look to therapeutic hypnosis without compromising beliefs.

Easterlin, Barbara L.; Cardena, Etzel (1998-99). Cognitive and emotional differences between short- and long-term Vipassana meditators. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 18 (1), 69-81.

This study compared perceived stress and cognitive and emotional differences between two groups of Buddhist mindfulness [Vipassana] meditators. Nineteen beginning and twenty-four advanced meditators carried electronic pagers for five days and responded to daily random signals by completing an Experience Sampling form (ESF) containing items related to the dependent variables. As compared with beginners, advanced practitioners reported greater self-awareness, positive mood, and acceptance. Greater stress lowered mood and self-acceptance in both groups, but the deleterious effect of stress on acceptance was more marked for the beginners. These findings validate in a naturalistic setting some of the effects described in traditional Buddhist texts on mindfulness.

“Meditation can be defined as the deliberate deployment of mental attention to obtain a particular patterning of consciousness. The aim of such control may be the stabilization of the stream of thought, greater relaxation, the attainment of an altered state, or the development of insights into the nature of mind [12]. Mindfulness meditation has sometimes been contrasted with concentration meditation as one of two main forms of meditation practice [13, 14]. The usual distinction is that mindfulness involves opening awareness to all contents and processes of mind, whereas concentrative forms of meditation involve shutting out all stimuli extraneous to a single object of attention” (p. 70). Long-term meditators averaged 103 months and 85 days of retreat training. They did not differ from short-term meditators on measures of absorption, neuroticism, trait anxiety, or cognitive style; however they evidenced greater self-awareness and acceptance. The short-term meditators actually had more than a year of meditation experience so that differences between groups are not likely to be due to self-selection. The authors conclude that “meditation brings about sustainable changes in people’s lives, above and beyond relaxation. … [and] that greater conscious awareness through mindfulness techniques such as Vipassana meditation, increases acceptance, positive mood, and the ability to dispassionately observe one’s mental states. These results have implications for clinical issues such as pain management and psychotherapy, in which acceptance and awarenss are necessary ingredients for therapeutic change” (p. 78). JH

Court, John (1997). Hypnosis, healing and the Christian. Carlisle United Kingdom: Paternoster Press.

Seeks to explore the interface between hypnotic phenomena and religious experiences. On the basis of clinical examples, and historical review, argues that the constraints expressed by some churches against hypnosis cannot be justified. Rather that there is a good deal of support for seeing religious experiences and clinical phenomena as similar. Challenges the use of the Old Testament to discount hypnosis in favor of more positive evaluations from the New Testament.

Rosenbaum, Robert & Dyckman, John (1996). No self? No problem! Actualizing empty self in psychotherapy . In Hoyt , Michael F. (Ed.), Constructive therapies (2, pp. 238-274). New York NY: Guilford.

In this book chapter, Rosenbaum and Dyckman (1996) argue that self has no permanently fixed, defining, thing-like characteristics (p. 270). They thus dispute the classical notion–commensurate with the position of philosophical realism –that the self is a substance, with fixed qualities and measurable qualities. The authors refer to this classical self as a full self, contained inside the skin and delimited by its participation in linear time. Instead, they propose an empty self, not to be construed as a void, but as a fluid, connected, relational self that overflows the traditional boundaries of the skin and is open to greater possibilities for change. To support their view of an empty self, the authors include several case examples of working with hypnosis and strategic/narrative therapy with clients experiencing a variety of psychological and physical symptoms. The authors further contend that self is not unitary, but the product of multiple drafts (p. 248)[Editor note: See Dennett, 1991, in this database]. In the narrative-constructivist tradition, they argue, if we speak in terms of multiple contextual selves for us all…[then, people diagnosed with MPD/DID] are not so different from the rest of us (p. 249). The chapter draws from western & Buddhist philosophy, strategic/systemic and narrative therapies, Ericksonian hypnosis, and, cognitive science theories regarding memory, consciousness, embodiment, and language, to support their alternative view of, and treatment for, the self.

Csoli, Karen; Ramsay, Jason T.; Spanos, Nicholas P. (1994, August). Psychological correlates of the out-of-body experiences–a reexamination. [Paper] Presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Los Angeles.

12% of population reports an out-of-body experience (OBE) sometime in their lives. They leave their body and can see self from the outside. Awareness is confined to the new point of view, not fragmented; there is unimpaired intellectual ability; feelings of detachment, completeness, well being, and profound relaxation. Can occur under stress or deep relaxation; not while driving a car.
Psychological correlates aren’t known. Studies are inconclusive with respect to belief systems (religious, death anxiety, etc.); measures of absorption, hypnosis, imaginative ability, imagery controls. Recent Carlton study with 87 Ss (33 had OBE) got results we didn’t expect. They completed questionnaires, were tested for hypnotizability, had an interview re OBE experience.
This study found the OBE-experiencing people had higher levels of anxiety, psychosomatic symptoms, and panic attacks. They were also higher on magical thinking, perceptual aberration, and Schizophrenia scores. They didn’t differ on mysticism, levels of drug or alcohol use, or level of self esteem

Epstein, Seymour (1994). Integration of the cognitive and the psychodynamic unconscious. American Psychologist, 49 (8), 709-724.

Cognitive-experiential self-theory integrates the cognitive and the psychodynamic unconscious by assuming the existence of two parallel, interacting modes of information processing: a rational system and an emotionally driven experiential system. Support for the theory is provided by the convergence of a wide variety of theoretical positions on two similar processing modes; by real-life phenomena–such as conflicts between the heart and the head; the appeal of concrete, imagistic, and narrative representations; superstitious thinking; and the ubiquity of religion throughout recorded history–and by laboratory research, including the prediction of new phenomena in heuristic reasoning.

Walsh, Roger (1994, August). Transpersonal psychology–the state of the art. [Paper] Presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Los Angeles.

Twenty-five years ago a group formed that was called transpersonal psychology, following after humanistic psychology (e.g. Maslow). Some of the humanistic psychologists came into transpersonal psychology. Maslow was interested in healthy people, and in peak experiences that were transpersonal in nature–experiences encompassing wider aspects of life, including mystical experiences.
Peak experiences were thought to be positive, but also overwhelming. When psychologists looked Eastward, they found that there were whole families of these types of experiences, and that they could be induced by will and could be stabilized into not only peak but plateau experiences. There was a reservoir of wisdom in the world’s religions that could be drawn upon. This wisdom is being integrated with Western science to create the discipline of transpersonal psychology.
There is a broad spectrum of altered states of consciousness. Traditionally, altered states of consciousness were thought to be few in number, and usually pathological. Our society has been resistant toward studying them. For example, Esdaile’s use of hypnosis in surgery was not welcomed, even though he was lowering morbidity and mortality because he controlled shock. His paper was turned down for publication. He amputated a leg in front of colleagues in Britain, who commented that he “must have hired a very hard rogue” to have his leg cut off under hypnosis.
Our culture is monophasic, deriving its world view almost exclusively from the waking state; other cultures are polyphasic and also draw their world view from dreams, meditative, or yogic contemplative states, etc. Recently we can apply more sophisticated analyses, to compare states of consciousness and map these out, phenomenologically. There are several key dimensions of experience for mapping the states: 1. Control 2. Awareness of Environment 3. Concentration 4. Mental Energy/Arousal 5. Emotion 6. Identity or Self Sense 7. Out-of-Body Experience 8. Content of Experience
Using these dimensions, we could compare shamanic, yogic, and Buddhist practices.
A Nepalese shaman drums himself into a trance state, demonstrating: 1. Ability to enter and leave an altered state of consciousness and partly control experience 2. Decreased awareness of his environment 3. Increased concentration, fluid attention 4. Increased mental energy/arousal 5. Either pleasurable or not [pleasurable] emotion 6. Separate self sense: may be experienced as a non-physical “spirit” or “soul” 7. Controlled ecstasy (Out of Body experience)
Buddhist meditation is training awareness to examine experience as minutely as possible, in effect a heightened awareness (Vipassana).
A yogic practitioner engages in concentration, focusing on a fixed stimulus and holding it unwaveringly, till it dissolves a sense of separation into a unity with the object, ultimately with the Self.
[Author showed a slide comparing the three.] All three approaches have increased control and concentration. (The Yogi’s is unshakable.) An awareness of the environment is increased for the Buddhist; the Yogi may lose awareness entirely. Others have ecstatic experience; the yogi has enstatic experience. Identity for the shaman is separate (a soul); for the Buddhist awareness is so precise that what was “I” is deconstructed into evanescent flux, into thoughts, images, emotions (like a movie with solitary frames); the yogi dissolves the self sense, but because of fixed concentration the separate self disappears and yogis feel like merging with larger Self.
So now for first time in history we can compare and map both similarities and differences. Now we have new possibilities for understanding and contrasting different practices. We can now differentiate the many states of consciousness that are available. But there are an awful lot of states. Can we find an over-arching framework? For the first time, we can say yes–due to the work of Ken Wilber. This is Developmental Structuralism (looking for common deep structures).
For example, you can identify millions of different faces, and they are surface structures; but they all have a common deep structure. Likewise, if we see that a Hindu creates images of [devas] and a Christian sees saints, they are seeing archetypal images. Likewise, Buddhists experience nirvana in which all phenomena disappear, and so does another group. This [sense of all phenomena disappearing] is common to both, but different from those who see archetypal images. We may be able to come up with a typology of altered states.
Wilber also says that these deep structures and corresponding states may develop in a developmental sequence, with common stages. Three transpersonal stages are subtle, causal, and non-dual. In meditation, first you learn how out of control the mind is, then gradually it quiets and you discover subtle experiences that you usually overlooked. Going further, all thoughts cease to arise, and there is only pure consciousness. Beyond that, images re-arise but are now recognized as projections of consciousness.
Subtle images may be formless (as in pure light, pure sound). The person may pay attention to more and more subtle sounds. Or the images may have form (as in shamanic power animals).
At the casual stage, the person may be aware of consciousness itself, only consciousness, with no objects: pure consciousness, void, the Atman of Vedanta, abyss of gnosticism.
At the non-dual stage, objects arise again: everything is recognized as expressions of consciousness–e.g., Zen’s “one mind.” Consciousness now has awoken and sees itself in all things, unbounded by space and time and limits because consciousness is what creates space, time, and limits. This is Moksha, Enlightenment, etc.
This is not the final task, because the final task is bringing the awakening to the world (Plato’s re-entering the cave, to educate others; Zen oxherder entering the marketplace with help-bestowing hands; Christianity’s “fruitfulness of the soul”). For Joseph Campbell, this was the hero’s return. Toynbee observed that each great contributor had withdrawn and then returned to the world to offer what they had found.
[It is a process of] transforming a peak into plateau experience; an altered state into a trait; stabilized into enduring understanding, and then bringing it back into the world.
Is there evidence for enlightenment? There now is analogical and laboratory support for this. Analogical support is lucid dreaming. Until 20 years ago, Western psychology thought lucid dreaming was impossible, but now LaBerge at Stanford University has shown physiological evidence. We know from every night’s experience that we can create worlds and bodies on which our lives seem to depend. The claim of spiritual traditions is that there is a state of consciousness that bears a relationship to the ordinary [waking] state as lucid dreaming has to nonlucid dreaming. The Dalai Lama said they train yogis to be aware during dreams, not to lose awareness 24 hours a day; then to be aware of dreaming while in a waking period. A Tibetan dream yoga aim is the “great realization,” that everything in existence is like a dream.
Laboratory studies have been done on enlightened people The EEG data obtained while they are sleeping is consistent with lucidity during their dreams and between dreams. Rorschach tests have been done on advanced Buddhist meditators; at the penultimate of enlightenment, they show no evidence of conflicts around sexuality and aggression. The 2000 year old Buddhist texts say that at this stage these issues are resolved.
The implications for our usual state are that normality is not the peak of human development; normality is arrested development. The link between apes and civilization is us! We experience a consensus trance, a collective psychosis, society’s hypnosis. We live in the biggest cult of all: CULTURE. The answer is, “Wake up.”
A most important question is, if it is true that our conventional state of development is suboptimal, how do we develop other states? The classic answer is: take up a discipline, a practice (e.g., meditation, service, being in nature). One problem is that spiritual traditions are usually couched in archaic language, and have accumulated nonsense around them over the years. It is desirable to abstract out the essential elements. That is a recent thrust of transpersonal research.
There are six common elements: 1. Ethics: the moment you sit down to meditate, what emerges is all the unethical stuff you’ve done and what was done to you. Ethical behavior (not conventional morality) is a tool for mind training. 2. Attentional training: ordinarily we cannot sustain attention. (William James said the maximum is 3 seconds.) The aim is to be able to maintain attention on what one wants. It leads to the stabilization of mind, calming. 3. Emotional training: destroying negative emotions (well developed in Western psychology, maybe better than in the Eastern traditions, because we recognize the problem with repression); cultivating positive emotions (where contemplative practices do well, because they offer tools for unwavering, unconditional, and all-encompassing [positive regard]; what is known as agape in Christianity). 4. Redirection of motivation: changing what you want, etc. 5. Perceptual refinement: we mistake shadows for realities; according to St. Paul we “see through a glass darkly.” This enhances sensitivity, accuracy, and subtlety of perception. 6. Wisdom: actually the first element, playing a role all through the path. Initial motivation sees suffering of the world; provides motivation for realizing that there must be another way of living, culminates with deep insight into nature of the world, mind, consciousness, reality (prajna; Christian’s gnosis). When the mind is trained, stabilized, and clarified, the mind has a heightened capacity for understanding.
So for the first time we can recognize the common elements in religions; we can see that the contemplative core contain practices and road maps. This approach recognizes multi-state psychologies and philosophies.
APPLICATION. Many areas of research are developing in transpersonal psychology. These studies have implications for the state of the world. It is only 25 years since the founding of transpersonal psychology. The world’s population has developed to the extent that every four months we are losing as many people from malnutrition as from a Holocaust. Our problems are still solvable. The best population explosion control is to make education available to women in the Third World. The transpersonal vision gives a frame to recognize that we are all connected.
For a fuller account of transpersonal psychology, see R. Walsh & F. Vaughan (Eds). (1993) _Paths Beyond Ego: The Transpersonal Vision._ New York: Tarcher/Putnam.

Kokoszka, Andrzej (1993). Occurrence of altered states of consciousness among students: Profoundly and superficially altered states in wakefulness. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 12, 231-247.

In a questionnaire survey waking altered states of consciousness (ASC) are found to be common among 174 Polish students. The experience of Superficially Altered States of Consciousness (SACS) was reported by 96 percent of subjects and more than half of them had such experiences often. Whereas an experience of Profoundly Altered States of Consciousness (PASC) was confirmed by 75 percent and about one-third of them had them often. The comparison of the experiences accompanying the ASC indicates that SASC are characterized by disturbances in experiencing the reality and oneself combined with positive, pleasant feelings and with quietness. On the other hand, PASC are accompanied by experiences related to an absolute, universal, eternal, and existential or religious matters. PASC are accompanied by extremely strong positive emotions of happiness, total love, etc. and are experienced as more rational than SASC, and with significantly less feelings of cognitive disturbances than in SASC. The comparison of circumstances of the ASC occurrence indicates that SASC occur in usual and common states and situation of everyday life, whereas PASC mainly in the context of religion and nature. The congruence of these findings with an integrated model of the main states of consciousness suggests a natural tendency for a cyclical occurrence of ASC, or more precisely, the differentiated waking states of consciousness.

Nelson, Peter L. (1991-92). Personality attributes as discriminating factors in distinguishing religio-mystical from paranormal experients. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 11, 389-406.

In the first section of this article, an operationalized notion of preternatural experience is described which includes two general classes of experience: religio-mystical (Ontic) and paranormal (Perceptual). The exploratory study which follows uses the personality measures of the complete Tellegen Differential Personality Questionnaire taken from 120 subjects who reported having had spontaneous religio- mystical and/or paranormal experiences at some time in the past. The scores on all eleven primary dimensions, three higher order affect factors, and two validity scales were used individually, in univariate ANOVAs, and together, in a Direct Discriminant Function Analysis, to successfully separate two classes of preternatural experients from non- experients and from each other.

Zika, William (1991, January). Hidden observer in psychotherapy. [Lecture] Seminar in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.

Author has explored use of a “hidden observer” metaphor in psychotherapy. He distinguishes between two types of dissociation–that resulting from involvement in fantasy and imagery (separation from the Generalized Reality Orientation described by R. Shor) and that between the “I” and the Observer. He calls the latter nonattachment instead of dissociation, aligning it with meditation concepts. The observer, in the hypnotized patient, is objective and even more in touch with reality than the patient in the waking state. He likens the Observer to Erickson’s Inner Self, noting that just as patients learn to allow the therapist to care for them, they can come to allow the Observer to care for them. During inductions he speaks of the Hidden Observer (H.O.) that always knows what is going on, giving a suggestion that the H.O. can be helpful. (This concept seemingly relates also to the observer in Multiple Personality Disorder, and to John Kihlstrom’s discussion of William James and the self, as well as to amnesia/duality in age regression or duality (HO) in pain control.)

Tobacyk, Jerome; Milford, Gary; Springer, Thomas; Tobacyk, Zofia (1988). Paranormal beliefs and the Barnum effect. Journal of Personality Assessment, 52 (4), 737-739.

Examined in 128 college students the hypothesis that paranormal beliefs emphasizing divinatory procedures that produce personalized feedback are associated with greater susceptibility to the Barnum effect, which is acceptance of bogus personality feedback consisting of relatively trivial statements with a high base rate. 76% of the Ss rated the accuracy of their personality descriptions favorably, showing a robust Barnum effect.

Jana, Hrishikesh (1987). History and present state of hypnosis in India. [Lecture] Presented at the Department of Psychiatry, UCLA.

Hypnosis is discussed in relationship to traditional Indian medical and psychological treatments. The following Table illustrates some of the relationships among Asian approaches, which also include philosophical and religious elements.