From International Viewpoints (IVy) Issue 9 - November 1992

Another Look at Hypnosis
By Lawrence West, USA

While visiting a Clearing Practitioner friend of mine in San Francisco
in 1989 I noticed that he was doing hypnosis on some clients to help
them quit smoking. I found myself a bit shocked and amazed, but
decided to find out why he was doing this 'off-beat practice'. After
all Ron had given us some stern warnings about hypnosis in "Dianetics
- The Modern Science of Mental Health". After talking to him for a
while about hypnosis, I decided that I really didn't know much about
it from practical experience. I had just accepted someone else's ideas
and stable datum without finding out for myself. On returning home to
Southern California I began to look around for a hypnosis school where
I could study the subject first hand with a master of the subject. I
wanted to find out for myself.

During this time, the late summer of 1989, I began reading about
hypnosis and talking with other Clearing Practitioners and my students
about the subject. I found those who had never been in the Church to
have an open mind about hypnosis. Those who had been in the Church
were like me, suspicious and somewhat afraid of the whole idea. I
decided to do an experiment. Every time I met someone new I introduced
myself as a hypnotist or hypnotherapist. I found that in almost 100%
of the cases, this was received favorably. A typical comment being, "A
hypnotist helped my mother get over her fear of snakes" or "I could
use that; do you have a card." In almost all cases, the response was
favorable or at least neutral. This seemed to be quite a contrast to
the 80% or so negative reaction when you say you have something to do
with Dianetics or Scientology. In seemed that the hypnotists, at
least, had much better PR in the population at large.

Why so? Had I been missing out on something?

About this time a student of mind had put out some brochures in a
local clothing store promoting herself as a Clearing Practitioner
doing Clearing. She received a phone call from a somewhat nervous,
agitated man who asked her in shaky voice, "Does this have anything to
do with Dianetics?" After thinking a second and knowing for sure that
this was a "churchie," she replied, "No! It is hypnosis." He said,
"Thank you, that's all I wanted to know," in an even more frightened
and agitated voice. She said, "Wait, don't you want to know more?" The
reply, "I'm into Dianetics and I am not interested in hypnosis!" He
hung up abruptly and that was all she ever heard on the matter, no
visit from the gestapo, no further contact or harassment. My comment
to her was, "Now, for sure, I am going to find a good school of
hypnosis so that I can have one of those hypnosis certificates on my
wall whether I use it or not." The metaphor being, "This is some kind
of great 'bug spray' against RTC (RTC, the organisation holding
various trademarks and copyrights on Rons work, which has fought
rather vicously against anything they regarded as competition. Ed.)
creeps, it is like holding a cross up to a vampire." In any case, it
will keep distractions off our lines so that we can do our work.

I try it out

By September of 1989 I was enrolled in a 150 hour certification course
in Los Angeles at one of the leading hypnosis training academies. I
also took a weekly 50 hour course at one of the local night schools.
During this period of time, in the fall of 1989, as a part of these
courses, I allowed myself to be hypnotised hundreds of times and
hypnotised other students in the course hundreds of times. The first
thing I found was that I was very good at it right from the start,
perhaps as a result of my 20 years of putting people "in session." The
second thing I found was that the experience of being hypnotised was
quite pleasant, like being 'in session.' I found it to be quite
relaxing and at no time did I feel other-determined or unconscious. At
all times I was fully aware and self-determined. I even went to
hypnosis stage shows where I volunteered to be hypnotised on stage
with a group. I could do all the tricks required, yet I remained fully
conscious and aware of what was going on. I did some test to be sure
that I was not fooling myself. It seemed that I could be in the state
or out of it as I so determined. This could be because of my 700 or so
hours of Clearing over 20 years. I did notice that those around me
seemed to be unconscious of their surroundings. Perhaps, it is true
that a Clear cannot be hypnotised; however, a Clear can enter or exit
the state of hypnosis at will, and while in the state, can do all the
'tricks' that a hypnotised subject can do.

I finished my training by late November of 1989 and received a
certificate as a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. I even tested my
new abilities by attending a fire walk in early December of 1989. I
walked across the blazing coals twice and received only one small
burn. I immediately ran it out solo and erased the incident and the

Two major techniques

There are two major techniques that most good hypnosis training
schools teach. One is the induction of the state of hypnosis along
with suggestions for improvement and the other is regression work
which is not unlike Book One Dianetics. The regression procedure dates
back to before 1950 to the work of Breuer and Freud in the 1890s.

Perhaps this is the 'few bits of Freudian therapy' that L. Ron Hubbard
learned from Commander Snake Thompson that he applied to the ex-POWs
he worked with at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital after the war. I know also,
from talking with A.E. van Vogt that LRH was a skilled and powerful
hypnotist. Van Vogt speaks of a time when he saw LRH hypnotize several
people after a meeting of The Science Fiction Writers Guild in 1947.


As I began to put all my experience together, I came to some startling

These are:

1. Dianetics comes out of Hubbard's research and use of hypnosis.

The countdown, the concept of the 'file clerk,' finger snapping, the
canceller, the idea of regression, and the concept that aberration
comes from some subconscious mechanism all can be seen in the earlier
practice of hypnosis. Remember Ron was a total master of hypnosis and
was well read on the subject. My experience is that if you count
someone down, the vast majority of people will go into a hypnotic
trance whether you want them to or not.

I believe, also, that the breath test, can squeeze and the command
'start of session' as a ritual-like beginning to a session is enough
to put a well conditioned subject into a state of hypnosis. And I
think most preclears could be classified as well-conditioned subjects.
It doesn't matter if you want to or not, it still happens.

I am not saying that this is wrong or bad, it is just an observation I
have made after some intensive study of hypnosis. This study has made
me realize how absolutely easy it is to put someone into a hypnotic
state. In Freud's time it took an hour or so to induce hypnosis. Today
a skilled practitioner can induce the same state in less than 30

Snap and they are in a hypnotic state. I think it is because we have
watched so much television. Television viewing induces a trance and
this induction is repeated thousands of times. Now it is very easy to
induce a trance in a member of the TV generation. This has some
frightening implications when you see the amount of negative garbage
coming from television.

When you say, 'Start of Session' you have someone who is "interested
in own case and willing to talk to the practitioner," but you also
have someone who is, to some degree, in a state of hypnosis, i.e., a
hypnotic trance. That is one of the reasons we have the Clearing
Practitioner Code: to protect that person while he is in a very
suggestible state.

Knowing all this doesn't really change the way we do Clearing, it just
means that we now have a deeper understanding of what is going on in
session. And I am saying this with the realization that I may be
offending some of the more orthodox Hubbardians. I definitely agree
that hypnosis is no 'parlor game.' The next question is, "Why did Ron
so strongly disavow the practice of hypnosis?" I have a theory about
that and that is startling conclusion number two.

2. L. Ron Hubbard saw the need to separate Dianetics from hypnosis.

In the late 40s and earlier 50s, a person practicing hypnosis openly
could be arrested for practicing medicine without a license. This was
quite common during that period of time. So by saying, "this is not
hypnosis and I disavow hypnosis," in so many words, Ron was creating
something new and different called Dianetics. This, in a sense, was a
marketing ploy to take Dianetics out of the realm of psychotherapy and
medicine in order to protect himself and future practitioners from
arrest and prosecution (persecution also). Dianetics was, of course, a
great breakthrough and Ron discovered a multitude of new methods and
practices which greatly advanced the practice of regression hypnosis.

3. When you hypnotize someone by some means, after telling him that
you are not using hypnosis, he has no way to resist unwanted

Here is what I think is my biggest startling realization on this
subject. And I think it is the reason for the formation and
perpetuation of cults. In my training with master hypnotist and master
teacher of hypnosis, Gil Boyne, a student in the class asked the
following question, "What if the subject doesn't like the suggestion
and doesn't want to follow it?" Gil answered, "He simply won't follow
it." "Why?" "Because he knows he is hypnotized and can simply choose
not to." For the class this was a surprising answer from a man who has
practiced hypnosis for over 40 years. For me, this answer led to a
further realization. What if you tell someone what you are doing is
not hypnosis and, yet, engage him in practices that induce a state of
hypnosis. My conclusion was: He will enter a state of hypnosis, not
know that he has been hypnotized and not be able to resist any
suggestion he is given from the person or group that put him in the
hypnotic trance.

Now we begin to see why some organizations and television have such a
powerful influence over their helpless victims. I am certainly not
referring here to any of the Free Zone groups or other independent
practitioners that do Clearing or Viewing outside the Church of

If someone says, "I am going to hypnotize you." and you agree and go
ahead with it you are still left with some critical factor to screen
out unwanted or irrational suggestions.

In many organization which are referred to as cults (See IVy Nr, 1
page 25, with material from The Cult Awareness Network, and the book
"Combatting Cult Mind Control", by Steven Hassan, Park Stree Press
1988 ISBN 0-89281-243-5. Ed IVy,) the participants are told over and
over in many different ways that what they are doing has nothing to do
with hypnosis. At the same time drills, meditations, exercises and
sessions are done which put them into a very profound, deep, waking,
eyes open, hypnotic trance. If they are also overworked, kept awake
for long hours or denied food, this greatly enhances the trance. Now
these people have no critical factor left to resist suggestions and
will accept whatever they are told. They become willing members of
organizations that purport to be the 'only source of the only
solution,' in the words of the late Jack Horner.

These are people who have been deeply hypnotized yet do not know that
they have been. They manifest all the behaviors of the cult members
which have been presented in other articles by many authors over the
last 10 to 15 years. I think it is pretty obvious what I am talk
about. In the many hypnosis organizations I have studied with and
visited over the past 4 years which practice hypnosis and say that is
what they do, I have never seen this 'cult-like' behavior. I have only
seen some very self-determined people who think for themselves, the
type of people the average cult member hates and fears. These people
understand the mechanics of hypnosis and are, therefore, not
susceptible to cult brainwashing, which these hypnosis organizations
are not into in the first place. It seems knowledge is the best
defense against hidden hypnotic influence. It could be that people
outside the Church of Scientology in the independent field and Free
Zone were not susceptible to this mechanism and this is what caused
them to leave or be expelled from the Church.

I think that most cults and cult leaders do not realize what they are
doing. I think that they are victims of their own deception. They
actually fear those who think for themselves. For sure, they do try,
overtly or covertly, to push out those people who resist or don't go
along with this covert hypnotic influence. After all, 'one bad apple'
might spoil the whole barrel. Welcome to the bad apple club! I look
forward to comments and criticisms of what I have written here. This
is, after all, just my viewpoint and I would be interested in what
others have to say. (Also very welcome in the form of letters to IVy,
and will be forwarded at once to Lawrence, Ed.) I can be contacted
through "International Viewpoints".