Hypnosis for people who are deaf

A deaf lady contacted me with a query about hypnosis. She had for many years been searching for a solution that would allow deaf people to access hypnosis. She told me that she'd approached many hypnotherapists, but had either not had very helpful answers or had received no reply at all.

I had some ideas about what could work, but emailed my human givens colleagues for their ideas on how a deaf person could do self-hypnosis.

This page collates their answers and shows that deafness does not in any way impair the human ability to go in and out of trance states throughout a 24 hour cycle.  

Therefore, deaf people can do self-hypnosis as well as hearing people. The only difference is that it cannot be done by listening... but that doesn't need to be a disadvantage! This page is for all who are hard of hearing, deafened or deaf.

From my perspective - as a relationship/couple counsellor - anything that can help people work on themselves, calm down and gain perspective will have a beneficial effect on their relationships. Not only will they benefit, but so will their partner and other people around them too. 

So, the following are contributions from my colleagues...

How a deaf person can access hypnosis through scripts

"People can, both spontaneously and through training, enter hypnotic trance with their eyes open. So if they can lip read or as you suggest read a script then they can respond hypnotically. There is always a way. In fact a deaf person may prove even more hypnotically responsive because they have to focus so intently.

We don't have any online sessions for deaf people but having a script as you suggest on the screen could prove a useful approach."

From: Mark Tyrrell, Co-founder of HypnosisDownloads.com


"Interesting indeed Mark, and I would add that I go into a pretty profound trance by reading, and particularly typing trance scripts, which hints at potentially another approach."

From: Roger Elliot, Co-founder of HypnosisDownloads.com

Several excellent approaches to self-hypnosis for the deaf

"Cultures all over the world have trance induction methods that do not require the ability to hear per se –- self-hypnotic trance can be induced in all sorts of ways using any of our senses - http://en.wikipedia.orgwiki/Trance#Trance_induction_and_sensory_modality

  • shamans put themselves (and others) into trance through drumming (deaf people can feel the vibration).
  • I put myself into trance by closing my eyes, joining the fingertips of both middle fingers and focussing on feeling the pulse between them, together with doubling my level of relaxation each time I breathe out, consciously going ‘deeper and deeper’, ‘down and down’.
  • breathing techniques (eg 7/11) are effective trance inducers - http://www.deeptrancenow.com/breathing.htm
  • I used to ‘induce’ my son to sleep as a toddler by stroking him repetitively, either touching him or stroking him about an inch off the body (a form of mesmerism) –- very effective!  A friend actually puts herself to sleep doing the same!
  • another friend goes into deep trance by gazing at a hypnotic spiral - you can download all kinds from the web.  eg a moving spiral.  Coloured ones are also available.
  • autogenic training (a form of auto-suggestion) also works very well as a form of self hypnosis - Wikipedia - autogenic training - I use it myself if I'’m having trouble sleeping.
  • actively imagining oneself experiencing something relaxing – eg swinging in a hammock or on a swing, rocking in a rocking chair, sunbathing and feeling the warmth of the sun on a particular part of the body, floating on a lilo, relaxing in a warm bath; whatever you fancy!
  • visualisation techniques –- gazing at a flame, a mandala (Elly's comment: you can even draw your own), the horizon, your nose even -– anything that focuses the eyes on a single point.
  • Herbert Benson’s ‘relaxation response’ - a very effective self hypnotic trance induction -  (as effective as transcendental meditation!)

As you said, anything that strongly focuses/fixes our attention, or is repetitive, puts us into trance -– watching a swinging pendulum, even -– anything that is mesmerising. And as Mark said, the more we practice our chosen method, the quicker we get at going into trance.

What a shame that this lady has spent so many years searching for something that we all do so naturally as part of being human –- and shame on the hypnotists and supposed hypnosis ‘gurus’ who did not know!"

From: Heather Porteous, Enlighten Holistic Health in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Biofeedback tools and hypnosis for people who are deaf

I received another email from Heather with some excellent ideas about biofeedback tools.

"Elly, are you aware that there’'s also a very handy little gadget, a biofeedback tool –- the emWave –- that men in particular seem to really like as it DOES something and gives them instant feedback as to their progress, so they feel in control?

I’'ve had one for years that I use with some clients, and it definitely puts people into trance as it requires strongly focussed attention. It'’s made by the same people who made the Wild Divine (the aim is to achieve heart coherence), with the added benefit that it’'s smaller than a mobile phone so is very portable. It’'s visual, with added sounds only if desired (some deaf people may be able to detect changes in vibration through earphones?), so very suitable for helping deaf people teach themselves self hypnosis -– it uses breathing combined with Heart Coherence (the above link gives a very helpful explanation).

Possibly a bit pricey depending on her budget, but lasts for years and as a learning tool will no longer be needed once self hypnosis and heart coherence have been mastered (there are a number of levels of increasing difficulty to be mastered)."

From: Heather Porteous, Enlighten Holistic Health in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The hypnotic effects of Emotional Freedom Technique

Jane talks about EFT - a method of tapping on acupuncture points, which is very hypnotic, as well as visualisation techniques.

"EFT might work as well, I'm sure a portion of its effectiveness is from concentrating on the physical sensations and the sheer hypnotic boredom of tapping round and round and round....

And how about repeating a mantra, they'll feel the sensations in the chest and throat. Kinasthenia can work, I've seen non-deaf people whose 'special place' was riding a bicycle, a pony or a horse; one man went into trance by imagining himself in a flotation tank, which he'd experienced. I've had several who imagined themselves dancing.

A technique I've used when someone's special place is in a woodland, and I think they need a bit of extra help going into trance, is to imagine you're looking up at this really tall tree, and this leaf at the top gently floats off in the breeze, and you watch it as it slowly sails down to the earth, it's blown to the left ... off to the right ... it floats up a bit, then spirals down etc etc, the eye movements, like REM, are the point, that's why I do things like this, but for whatever reason this concentrating on watching this imaginary moving object, ending in catching the leaf in their hand --- feel the texture, look at the little veins etc, really works. Jo suggested once getting people to notice all the shades of colour in their imaginary landscape, I find this an effective trance deepener too.

I think focusing attention on anything should work but why not have her focus on her heart, pulsing rhythmically. 

Of course mindfulness, total focus on the here and now. I'm sitting in this chair, feeling my elbows on the arms, feeling all these sensations etc etc -- by the time you've described mindfulness to people they're often well away ..."

From: Jane Firbank (Jane was a much-valued member of the Human Givens community)

Hard of hearing, deafened or deaf?  Hypnosis can help

If you're hard of hearing, deafened or deaf, or you are a carer, teacher, partner or parent - I hope that you have found this information interesting.  

Do please let me know about your experience of self-hypnosis. I'd love to hear which method works best for you. 

Related Articles

Hypnosis FAQ
Hypnosis - does it work?
Natural Depression Treatments
How to Increase Your 'Luck'
Relationship Problems
Types of Nonverbal Communication
Interpreting Body Language

Other Helpful Links

National Association of Deafened People
RNID
National Association of the Deaf
Canadian Association of the Deaf
India - National Association of the Deaf
ChinaDeaf.org
Deaf Australia
National Association of the Deaf (New Zealand)

In the News

MedicalXpress - Deaf quicker at picking up body language