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HOT TOPIC for Feb 7 2002: HYPNOSIS...it ain't your pop culture mind control

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1 VarianSyn   2021-02-07 12:55

Recently, I had the pleasure to communicate with Gloria regarding the subject of hypnosis. This was in reference to her survey regarding control. One question lumped the concept of mind control and hypnosis together, and I cringed at that association. I explained to Dr. Brame that hypnosis is not, and cannot be, by any stretch of the imagination, "mind control." It is a way to access the supposed "subconscious" and give a client permission to do things that the training of the conscious mind has said were impossible. And that is all.

I am a certified hypnotherapist [with more than 120 classroom hours] and have been one for more than 15 years. It has taken me a long time to attempt to educate others about the subject, and yet, I still have to deal with references to Svengali and making people do things against their will. These are popular notions that threaten to tarnish the legimate uses of hypnosis and, I fear, to bring us back to the mythological, no....superstitious concepts of the Inquisition. More, any association with hypnosis in the context of bdsm is an sensitive issue, at best.

Let me clarify a couple of issues...first, "mind control," is a dubious goal, and one that is ethically and legally sensitive. Futher, it is inconsistent with the concept "safe, sane, and CONSENUAL" behaviour in bdsm.

Next, hypnosis cannot "make" anyone do anything they are not inclined to do anyway. Studies have demonstrated, repeatedly, that, despite the adolescent wish to make another bend to your will, the subject of a "trance" will reject any suggestion that is contrary to their inner most moral directive. For instance, a suggestion to engage in promiscuous sexual conduct with a total stranger would be ignored by someone who is genuinely repelled by the thought. And it would never happen.

I have a problem really believing in the idea of "SUBconcious," and rather think there are conscious strictures that prevent us from living a much more productive and stress free life. I see hypnosis as a tool to retrain the mind to allow us to relax in situations that use to produce stress, and "empower" [or to give us permission] to use more of our natural talents and abilities...and to enjoy what is available for us.

But I do know that hypnosis is a powerful tool, as is guided imagery.

Dominants that feel desparate enough to wish to exercise "mind control" are really fooling themselves, and are not respecting the submissives gift of surrender. To "make" someone do something is not the same as them doing it of their own free will. And that exercise of the "free will" bent to please another is the ultimate satisfaction a submissive can offer. But it can never be taken.

Hypnosis is the relaxation of stress and tension within the conscious mind to empower the subject to accept manipulation toward the accomplishment of a specific goal. Now, having used the word "manipulation" I need to explain that all that means is to "reframe" the perspective of the client...or to enable them to see the same thing in a different way. And that is an art worthy of the word "master.." Gloria explains a way of doing just this very thing in COME HITHER in her exercise in "eroticising" something. It is quite effective. And hardly what one would imagine as "mind control."

Another thing that bears emphasis, hypnosis is a "permissive" act. The client can only be "hypnotised" with their own consent, even if that is passive. Recognising that, the hypnotherapist needs to be respectful of that permission, inform the client what is happening, allow for questions from the client, act only within the parameters proscribed by the client, and provide a third party witness if desired.

Oddly, these conditions sound pretty much like a typical scene negotiation, and will protect both the submissive and Dominant in their scene. And remember; bdsm and hypnosis share a "dark mythos" that people who are not "in the know" tend to twist into the most horrid shapes.

A warning here...there are situations where another should not be "hypnotised;" a psychotic, a pre-psychotic, someone with heart disease or another chronic medical condition, or someone undergoing psychiatric care, or on medication, or having recently used a recreational drug...including alcohol. In other words, again...someone you really wouldn't be scening with, anyway. Use some common sense here.

Virtually anyone can "hypnotise" another. Hypnosis is not that uncommon. A good sexual fantasy is a "hypnotic trance." Hell! Good phone sex or cybersex is a "hypnotic trance." Directed by someone who knows what they are doing, "trance" can be an incredible experience. Essentially, there is no real danger in hypnosis...but, like anything else that a Dom/me undertakes to learn, he/she would want to learn it well. I recommend that someone who truly wishes to use this tool, in or out of the scene, take a course and become certified as a practising hypnotherapist. It is relatively inexpensive and, at the least, an enlightening experience.

The idea of hypnosis for "mind control" causes me to imagine someone hoping to discover an untracable "date rape drug," and it is an image that terrifies me no end. The respect that I have for the tool of hypnosis, and the "honour and respect" I feel in my participation as a Dom within bdsm drives me to speak openly about both. I would be happy to address any qustions anyone has on the subject of hypnosis, and hope this "primer" has been of some help to you.


2 GloriaBrame   2021-02-07 15:20

Varian, thank you for bringing your POV to the Boards, so others may read and learn (and agree or disagree) :-)



3 dssublimity   2021-02-07 17:24

Well, Varian...

Yes; welcome indeed.

My name is sublimity and I am a doctoral level clinical psychologist who underwent 6 years of Freudian psychoanalisis with a training analyst from Vanderbilt University.

As a renowned researcher and great scholar of Frued, Dr. S loved having me as his analysand. Why? Because with the dimming of lights, silence, etc....I would immediately shut my eyes and regress.

As you so poignantly put it, I ---as those who ARE hypnotizable---desired to go there.
Why, in fact, it was part of my core SM nature craving for a father image to take a little girl to a place of acceptance, discipline and love.
The "trip" was a bit psychotic in and of itself.
But - I would have *subconsciously* known if I did not need to go there - I would have become afraid.

Hypnosis was considered Freud's and Breuer's "cure intervention" because of you could enter the patient's (analysand's MIND), then you could suggest and foster a better scenario than the old scenario life had imposed upon the patient.

I love this 72 y/o warm mentor, genius who enabled me to pull out of a psychotic break that had occurred 3 years prior to meeting Dr. S with a psychiatric resident.

The resident used Eriksonian hypnosis to regress me.
I was then sexually assaulted by this "man" and he was unable to "bring me out." It took three months of bed rest, therapy and my devoted husband's care to bring me out.
When I awoke - I headed 800 miles by car and confronted the unethical monster who did this to me in front of all of his superiors.
Why did it happen????
Because the core little SM girl as looking for acceptance and love from a father/authoritarian figure.
She was willing to trust and go anywhere the resident instructed.

I believe it IS mind control.
People get into our minds every day of our lives.

Interesting, too - once the 6 year, 3+ X's a week of reconstruction of my subconscious had taken place, I then pursued with fervor my true sexuality and have not stopped.

You view is one.
Research may support other views.

I hope as a "hypnotist," that you are "open-minded?"

Dr. Sublimity

4 VarianSyn   2021-02-07 19:08

Gloria...like someone would really disagree with me? [LOL] There is only one area where I feel that I have put forth my own opinion as a matter of "technical speculation," and my suggestion that others take a course in hypnosis before using it in a scene. Insofar as the law and ethics are concerned re: "mind control," there would be little legal argument here. By the by; my"POV" is based on current research into hypnosis and it's practise. Not being defensive, but I don't feel like travelling into an area where I don't have a map. Hope the discussion will provide useful and accurate information on the subject for all interested. And hope that it meets your own high standards for accuracy and empathy. Quite a goal to strive for.



5 Thorn4MyRose   2021-02-08 06:57

To: VarianSyn

Welcome 'a-Board', Varian. While your concerns and cautions are well taken -- and while I share a bit of your professed frustration with hypnotic techniques being generally viewed as more carnival oriented than having any legitimate theraputic value -- I'd like to respectfully take issue with two of your comments and pose a question about another. Let me state unequivocally at the outset that I intend none of what follows as an attack on your opinions.

Regarding your statement: <<Dominants that feel desparate enough to wish to exercise "mind control" are really fooling themselves, and are not respecting the submissives gift of surrender.>> I'll just state calmly that it is a fairly presumptuous position as stated and suspect that you fully realize why.

As to your opinion: <<"mind control," is a dubious goal, and one that is ethically and legally sensitive. Futher, it is inconsistent with the concept "safe, sane, and CONSENUAL" behaviour in bdsm.>> I'll simply say that as an opinion, it clarifies nothing other than a shortsighted view (and that may indeed be based on your obvious stance on the side of extreme caution, so I wouldn't dispute your motive), but unfortunately fails to account for the premise that when power (whether physical or mental) is exchanged in BDSM activities, the primary responsibility of those involved IS to maintain a safe, sane and consenting (SSC) environment. The method of such an exchange is only a matter of what works for the people involved. So, there is nothing either dubious about such a goal involving mind control in any form nor inconsistent with basic SSC tenets provided that the people involved are ok with the activity and know what they're doing.

As for your position that you <<...have a problem really believing in the idea of "SUBconcious," and rather think there are conscious strictures that prevent us from living a much more productive and stress free life.>>, I'd like to ask: What specifically causes your belief problem? While I certainly concur that many things in the conscious thought process may limit productivity and create various stresses, why might that impede a belief in the subconcious (or its role in mental response)?

I look forward to your reply and hope you'll participate in other discussions. Again, glad to have you here.

Be safe,

6 Msdove   2021-02-08 11:15

<<Dominants that feel desparate enough to wish to exercise "mind control" are really fooling themselves, and are not respecting the submissives gift of surrender.>>

My thoughts for whatever they are worth. i personally feel that if my Master wished to exercise "mind control" i would never feel that a desperate act on his part in so doing. Nor would i feel that He was not respecting my gift of surrender, as a result of this activity. i never believe my Master is motivated by desperation in the first place.

That being said, i am also in a 24/7 lifemate relationship with my Master and in so being have complete trust in His decisions. In my situation i have no doubts that ALL interaction between Master and i are always safe, sane, and consensual. He loves me and would NEVER do anything to harm me. This is where my safety and security in our "lifestyle choice" is embedded.

Perhaps this might not be the case for submissives in relationships with someone that wasn't as deep (is that even possible?) or serious as my relationship this might ring true.

just my thoughts,


7 dssublimity   2021-02-08 11:19

Varian, I diagreed with you.
Please -you may address me on this list as well as Gloria and the others.

In a D/s scene, hypnosis is not really something that has to be "conjured" up at all. It just happens.
I do not believe that one has to take a course in hypnosis to be able to produce a "trance" in another.

When I am scening with someone, I automatically do what I did in analysis...close my eyes and regress.
Granted, I must very careful with whom I relinquish that sort of control. I will go there..."subspace."

There is a great deal of research out there - especially on the brain and how it functions. The mind is not compartmentalized as was once thought.
And as we all know, to be without the brain (or "mind") is to be clinically dead.

Varian, I do not mean to come across as "attacking", either, but I have discomfort with your "tone." It sounds very emphatic without much documentation.
While there is nothing wrong with being emphatic, I would like to know
1. your credentials; and
2. the research to which you point.

I would be interested in your definition of the "mind" because neuropsychology demonstrates from a scientific vantage that all of the neurotransmitters and chemicals
of our body stem from the brain.

You tend to contradict yourself.
In one instance you say (correctly, as I understand) that no one can be hypnotized unless they want to be.
Then you state that a dominant can misuse hypnotism as some illegal "date rape drug."

Once again, you may address me.
I look forward to your research data and responses.


8 GloriaBrame   2021-02-08 11:36


FYI--Varian didn't see your message when he responded to me because of the way the enabling thing works here. He wasn't aware you'd written him because I hadn't enabled your message when he returned and replied to me. Even though your message appeared ahead of mine, chronologically, unless a message is marked to a particular person, they cannot see it until I wave my magic Sysop wand.

If you want to be certain someone sees a message you've left for them, select their handle from the drop-down box (below) and click the cc box (to send a copy via blind email). They still may not see it on the Board (if I haven't yet enabled it) but they will at least know it's waiting down the road. Otherwise...patience, my dear, patience :-)


9 dssublimity   2021-02-08 11:47

My apologies to you both.

Thank you for the information.

10 VarianSyn   2021-02-09 16:26

Oooooooo, this is better than oral defense of a doctorial thesis! [LOL]

First, I grant, I am emphatic. This is based pretty much on 15 years as a hypnotherapist [graduate of the Human Potential Institute in Albuquerque, NM after 120 hours of instruction (an ACHE requirement which is 100 hours longer than the AMA "suggested" standard for physcians in training, including psychaitrists], three extensive tests, one solid week of practicum and certification by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners], a certificant of the American Imagery Institute from Dallas, Texas [after 100 hours of instruction, practicum, and examination] and 12 years in the "scene." In the former instance, I have dealt with clients with sports, sexual, dietary, medical, and psychological problems [always in concert with a physician or psychologist in these latter instances] and have specialised in cases involving chronic pain and terminal illness, most often in veterans hospitals or hospices. Recertification is yearly and requires extensive reading on the current state of research and the submission of a research paper to demonstrate knowledge. As a Dom, I have trained in the use of every piece of equipment that I bring to a scene and am careful to employ only that skill which I do honestly possess.

If I do come across as being emphatic, my "attitude" is not borne out of defensiveness or confrontation, but rather "protectiveness" of both hypnosis and bdsm. The current moral climate in this country has become decidedly, and chillingly, "conservative" [witness recent FRONTLINE documentary on "pornography"] and whether or not this is a legitimate reaction to the public will, it is a dangerous time to be under scrutiny by people with a want to policing another's morals. The "sex police" will come down with a vengence at the first instance of anything remotely askew. And this is not an alarmist view. This is history repeating itself.
As I mentioned, I feel that we do live in the "new dark ages" and I am not comfortable with allowing anyone to get away with misinformation. There is just too much of that on the internet and popular "culture." If there is an opportunity to set things straight, through true scientific research [and YES! Such a thing does truly exist!] then it must be done and superstition must be put in the ground again.

I do need to briefly discuss my attitude about my role as a hypnotherapist; at the highest degree of my "art" I feel I am nothing more than a guide; someone who can show another how to use certain aspects of their "mind" to do things much easier than they would have otherwise. I do not see myself as a "healer," "leader," or any other thing of that sort. Just someone who has been somewhere, knows the way, and can lead another there. That is all.

I need to speak specifically to one point, and make this very clear. I do not, and cannot address any specific case history relating to a medical or psychological condition under treatment where hypnosis was used. I do not have "both sides" of the story and it would be legally and ethically inadvisable to comment on the matter. I do suggest that if there was a breach in the standards of the doctor in question that a legal remedy should be sought and the facts brought to light so that measures can be taken to make certain it would not happen again.

I hope, too, that my sincerity and "open-mindedness" would not be called into question because of anyone's opinion of my presentation.

As per current research [a summary of which is presented in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, July 2001], the information which I have provided is accurate. A brief review of the current knowledge might be helpful;

* A vivid imagination is not required and is unrelated to the ability to hypnotise another.
* Relaxation of the body is NOT vital. Hypnosis has been induced during vigourous exercise. [I have "tranced" a professional bowler at an alley during practise.]
* Motivation is not always a good guage...many highly motivated clients fail to experience "trance."
* Physiological responses to hypnosis indicate the subject is not faking their experience.
* Standard hypnotic procedures are NOT dangerous, and are no more stressful than boring lectures.
* Hypnosis is not a sleeplike state, and subjects are ALWAYS fully awake.
* Placebo responsiveness and hypnosis are not related.
* No particular character is better "tanced" than another.
* Clients are ALWAYS in control of themselves, always able to say "no" and always capable of terminating hypnosis.
* Age regression is nothing more than adults playacting as children,
* Neither technique or administrator is important UNDER LABORTORY CONDITIONS to another's responsiveness to hypnosis. The subject's capacity is what is important.
* Hypnosis can muddle accuracy and the distinction between a memory and a fantasy and may artificially inflate confidence.
* Hypnotised subject fully adhere to thier usual moral standards.
* Posthypnotic amnesia does NOT occur naturally.
* And no performance enhancement is actually any more greater under hypnosis than what can be achieved by one who is highly motivated outside of "trance."

BY THE WAY, the one area which all research on hypnosis seems to converge at the moment is the ability of the process to be useful in the control of chronic and acute pain. That might be interstting to some submissives. [*g*]

I, also, refer you to




for more information on contemporary research.

Re: my comment about Dominants, "mind control" and "safe, sane, and consentual," I do not see any inconsistency whatsoever in any of what I have said in the entirety of my presentation. Simply, a negotiated scene is one thing. One taken over without another's consent is quite something else. And this is coming from a Dom who actively has advocated looser strictures and a freer hand with submissives. So, what I am saying is that I cannot justify behaviour that automatically ASSUMES anything in a scene. If it ain't negotiated and "the ink ain't dry" you don't have a contract, and you are open for trouble.

The SUBconscious is not a definite "place" in the hierarchy of the "mind." In fact, as research has shown, hypnosis is the accessing of a state which is not subliminated but rather drown out by other messages. That "place" is HYPER aware...HYPERconscious, and is able to remain "awake" and "aware" and "in control" when it appears the regular "waking consciousness" is/does not. If there is a "SUBconscious" then I suggest that it is the regular "automatic mind" we bump around our day-to-day existence in.

As per the definition of "the mind." Candice Pert of the National Institutes Of Health did research which showed the transmission of neurochemicals related to specific emotional responses from the brain to the further extremities of the human body, in essence making the whole of the body an extended "mind." This breakthrough has astounding implications and means that our parochial definition of "mind" has limited us in the way we see ourselves and the world. However, for the sake of discussion, the word "mind" still proscribes the centralised process of thought and emotional response and is, for the moment, unfortunately, a localised term of art.

Okay...now, I did say that hypnosis can and does happen frequently, and is relatively easy to achieve, and that no one can be hypnotised if they do not want to be. But I did NOT say that hypnosis could be used as the "new date rape drug." I said the image of anyone thinking that it can frightens me. It is vital to make that distinction.

And yes, within the context of a scene, I DO feel that whatever mindstate one encounters does happen spontaneously. But, from all the current research, I feel that hypnosis is more the active process than the passive result, and that it can be most better applied as a "guidance mechanism" in that case.

Finally, as I pointed out, I feel that any Dom/me who would wish to use hypnosis in some way in their scene, might wish to undergo a course of study and become certified in it's use. It is relatively inexpensive and one can gain a wealth of information about the subject. No, it is not necessary. But in the same way that I spent years learning how to use the signal tail whip as a part of my scene, because I wanted to understand how it worked, what it could do, and what effects I could produce with it, I would imagine that any Dom/me would wish to spend at least a little time in learning how to most effectively use this "tool of the mind."

I hope that this clarifies some of the issues concerning you that have written. I am grateful for the interest in the subject, and I do not claim to be the be and end all authority on the subject. BUT I do make an effort to be accurate as current state of knowledge will permit me. And I would be willing to answer any question about hypnosis and guided imagery that I am able to. I would only ask that the qeustions be direct and in all caps to distinguish them from any other comments or observations you may have.

Thank you for all your questions and concerns. Hope to hear more soon....


11 dssublimity   2021-02-09 17:43

Hello Varian,


ARE YOU MALE OR FEMALE? (you can answer that in private if you like)


I think the "definitions" are what they are and we can
refer to many concepts in different ways (e.g., the "mind," the "sub-conscious", etc.)
In fact, Freud dispensed with the hynosis intervention and preferred to deal with relating to the patient awake and "reliving" the experiences through verbalization.
Today, psychoanalytic technique is definitely in the "here and now" with an exploration of dysfunctional patterns that thwart relational fulfillment.
It is also done in a very brief, modified mode compared to classical analysis.

My "bad" experience with the resident happened because he was careless and *inexperienced* and I am easily hypnotizable. I *love* to go "there".
I thought about legal actions towards this individual, but there was a statute of limitations, a dearth of fund for attorneys and no motivation except to find enpowerment for myself.
My complaints before him and his peers was enough to get me back "on track."
My "good" experience was indeed a "guided" experience. I never truly "fell asleep," - but I was not completely "there" either.
As far as age regression, I may have at times spoken as a "child," - but when asked once by the analyst, "How old are you?" - I replied the truth - 38.
I desired to be somewhere - with someone - in a "special" fantasy-type way.

I do not offer hypnosis in my work. I know enough about it to be "dangerous." Besides...I prefer to have it "done" to me! <g>
I do believe, however, in allowing the patient "go places with me..." - to have me "become" for that session what they need - and often they have taken on a "trance-like" nature. And the sensory deprivation of my office enables that - along with my frequent *silence*.

You and I have one very major thing in common - Variance...Neither of us want to see submissives hurt and/or exploited.
I often come across as "emphatic"...probably ALL the time!
I don't mean to sound like a "know it all," it's more of a passion and I get going and can't seem to slow down. I may not be right - but I love to "debate" the issue.

Most of my BDSM interaction has been one-on-one - though I'm going to start some open play very soon.
What I find is that because I can become so "tranced out," I have to be extremely careful with whom I interact.
I'm submissive by nature and just *listen* for that first *command.* If I "hear" it - I'm gone. I'm like putty in the guy's hands. It just doesn't take much.

It would be a very enjoyable experience - for me - to have a session with someone who is trained as a hypnotist. There's no telling where I'd go! lol!

You sound very articulate and well-educated.

Thank you for answering my questions.

Warm regards,



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