The hypnotist is usually endowed by the subject with an omniscience and infallibility which logically is unjustified. The subject is naturally extremely disappointed if he doesn't respond immediately. If he loses confidence in the hypnotist, he may never achieve hypnosis with this particular hypnotist. I have hypnotized subjects who have been to several other hypnotists without success, and I have had some of my unsuccessful subjects hypnotized by other hypnotists. How and why does it happen? I believe that some of the reasons are so intangible that it would be impossible to explain all of them with any degree of exactitude.
I once saw an individual about 12 times who wanted to learn self-hypnosis and had been unsuccessful in every approach. I asked him if he would volunteer as a subject for a class in techniques of hypnosisthat I was teaching for nurses. He readily volunteered and showed up at the designated time. Much to my amazement as well as his own, he responded within a relatively short time as one of the nurses hypnotized him before the group. She had used a standard eye closure technique, requesting him to look at a spinning hypnodisc that I had previously used with him every time he was in the office. Her manner was extremely affable, she had used the identical technique I had used unsuccessfully,and the subject responded excellently to cap the climax. He was the first subject the nurse had ever hypnotized, since this was only her third lesson.
How would you account for it? Here was one of my students with two weeks' experience hypnotizing a subject where I had failed while using every procedure that I felt would work. Was it because she was a better hypnotist? Perhaps! However, I'd like to recall at this time our discussion about subconscious responses. I'm inclined to feel that being hypnotized by a middle-aged female nurse created certain favorable unconscious responses which accounted for his going under hypnosis at that time. It created the initial break-through which was needed. I was able to hypnotize him easily at his next appointment, and he acquired self-hypnosis readily from that time on.
I have tried the same approach with other subjects who did not respond favorably and have failed to attain the success that I did in the above case. Why the impasse? It is one of the difficulties that we encounter in hypnosis, and as yet it has not been resolved.