Expectancy is defined as follows:
Expectancy. (ex•pec•tan•cy) (ek-spek´t?n-se) the expected value or probability of occurrence for a specific event. Anticipation: something expected.
Expectancy has long been a known part of hypnosis.
It was even mentioned in Dave Elman’s old book “Hypnotherapy”, where it got a whole page or two of note.
I believe however, that the importance of expectancy has been grossly underrated and its importance largely ignored by a majority of the hypnosis community.
I feel this might be because it’s role in hypnosis has been misunderstood as merely a desirable component, rather than understanding it is one of the roots of hypnosis itself, and one of the reasons why we can be hypnotized in the first place.
Then I figured out why.
When we expect something to happen, when we anticipate an outcome, our Imagination automatically reacts to it and prepares us for the expected event.
Unlike our analytical mind that considers an expected event as just a possibility, our Imagination treats it as an impending reality, then starts adapting our body to cope with the reality of it, and then just waits for the start of the anticipated event.
When I realized this, I instantly saw evidence of it every place I looked.
We consciously prepare for what we expect to happen when we have time to do so and the expected event appears to become a certainty.
For things that we expect to happen; like income tax refund checks, child birth, a court date for a traffic ticket, etc., we will consciously plan and prepare for the expected event so we will be “ready” when the event becomes a reality.
Our Imagination does the same thing, except it prepares our body for it.
A very graphic example is to look at the start of a foot race.
Visualize the body language of track athletes for a moment.
See their bodies react as the start of the race is called.
“On your marks”, “Get Set”, “Go!” Or, “Ready”, “Steady”, “Go!”
The more impending the expected event, the more our Imagination prepares our body to realize it.
The same thing turns out to be true with hypnosis.
If the subject expects to experience a result in trance, they will.
This is because their Imagination will make it a reality before the event, and will just wait for the starting signal to let the subject experience it.
I think the Imagination does this as part of our survival instinct, part of our adapting skill to be able to keep us alive and ready for what we know is coming.
When expecting something to happen, the Imagination prepares us to be ready for it to happen, and then it just waits for the trigger (starting signal) to implement it.
For hypnosis, snapping of the fingers is a great example of this kind of “start now” trigger.
It acts as the starting gun for experiencing the outcome of a suggestion.
For the Imagination, the finger snap acts as the signal to provide the expected reaction to happen; “now”.
The power of it however; is much greater than this.
If you fully grasp how the Imagination responds to what it expects to happen, and how it adapts the body in the anticipation of an expected event, you can understand that physiological changes can also take place.
Everything from hypnotically removing warts, to breast enhancement, utilizes expectancy... And these trance solutions do work!
Creating an expected event in hypnosis is done very easily.
It can be as simple as saying “in a moment, this will happen.” (ever heard those words before?)
The application of the future tense makes the suggestion impending, instead of happening now.
This is significant to the hypnotist in many ways.
First and foremost, there is no immediate reaction by analytical mind or the watchdog.
This “prophesy” hasn’t happened yet, so it is still only just a possibility to those parts of the mind.
It is almost like it is written in pencil...both minds take note, but don’t get involved yet.
It isn’t real to those parts of the mind yet, it is still in the future, things can change, and they both know what disappointment is.
The Imagination however; will climb all over impending events and react automatically to them as if they were already real.
If you do propose something too fantastic (like the end of the world) is about to happen, then the analytical mind will get involved and evaluate it to determine how real a possibility it is.
But; for a simple “you will feel this in a moment”, the analytical mind won’t get involved, it will just wait and see.
As a dramatic example of this, think of what you would feel if you were in a public place and someone approached you in a visibly upset state and said “There you are! I’m going to kick your butt!”
How would your body react?
Your analytical mind will start analyzing options; Fight?, try to talk your way out of it?, or run?, where’s my phone? can the cops get here in time? Where did I put my pepper spray?
The Behavior/Decision Center will be trying to make a decision on what to do based on the options presented by the analytical mind.
Meanwhile, the Imagination is automatically preparing you for the reality of the expected event: feeling fear, anxiety, adrenalin, etc.
What this all boils down to is that one of the main reasons that we go into purposeful trance, is because we expect to.
Other than using surprise, or confusion, it is the surest path past the watchdog and directly into the Imagination.
I tested this concept on many subjects. The results were phenomenal. I was right.
I've made some videos of this in the video section of this site, check it out when done with this section.
If you evaluate the different inductions that you use, and what they do, I believe you will find that they are successful because you have created the expectancy in the subject that they will be successful.
We are not done yet.
Add to this that the subject does not need to close their eyes, does not need to relax, does not need to do anything other than understand that there is nothing for them to do other than to internally scan and notice their body’s reactions to your suggestions.
Hypnosis appears to be all about getting past the watchdog part of the mind with input.
We are well accustomed to being in trance with the analytical mind present as was discussed earlier.
So it gets down to opening that door for direct input to the Imagination; getting by the watchdog of the Behavior/Decision Center with input so the Imagination can automatically react.
This is what hypnotic trance is: the Imagination automatically reacting to outside suggestion..that’s all.
The analytical mind goes dormant to varying degrees during hypnotic trance, so it is the Behavior/Decision Center that we are dealing with during hypnotic trance.
What we refer to as “deep trance” is just how much our peripheral awareness is shut down and how little the analytical mind is still involved.
The analytical mind involvement appears to diminish as trance is deepened (aka the communication portal is widened) by increased acceptance by the watchdog (trust), resulting in increased reaction to suggestions by the Imagination.