This past summer I began leading a monthly drop-in hypnosis workshop for writers. What an exciting experience it has been. Ten writers made reservations for the second session, which was all my office could accommodate, and I had to turn folks away at the door. I have since formed two groups: a core group of six that have committed to meet each month and a drop-in group for busy writers to come when they can.
Why I started the group
Over the years I have written poetry and fiction and have taught writing and literature courses at the college and high school levels. As a hypnotherapist, it made sense to reach out to other writers. I have always been amazed by how creative the imagination is in dreams—how effortlessly we create vivid characters, narratives, and settings while we sleep. I thought it would be exciting to guide writers into their subconscious to tap into that wellspring of material.
The goal of the workshop is for participants (both experienced writers and beginners) to produce many pages of uncensored writing during the two hours that we meet. It has been amazing to watch those pens fly across the page!
Each workshop is two hours. We often start with a short warm-up writing exercise—sometimes collaborative—and writers share what they produce. This breaks the ice and gives everyone a chance to get to connect a bit before the group goes into trance and everyone is in his or her own world.
Next, in the drop-in group, I explain how hypnosis works and dispel common myths about it. I also give an overview of how I will guide the group into a trance state. Hypnotherapists call this the “pre-talk,” which is an essential part of a hypnotherapy session. Without the pre-talk, workshop participants might either be too nervous to get into the relaxed trance state or they may have misconceptions about hypnosis and not even realize when they are entering the trance state because it is so different from what they had expected.
I then give suggestions and guided imagery to allow participants to release any blocks that could get in the way of writing and creativity. From there I guide them into creating an inner Writing Room of One’s Own, a place they can revisit any time they want to connect with the Muse or their inner writer. Once they have envisioned or imagined their inner writing room, I lead them into an in-trance writing exercise.
I leave ten to fifteen minutes at the end of the workshop for writers to talk about their trance experience and the focus of their writing. I must admit, this is my favorite part. Through most of the session, I’m sitting silently alone, watching the clock and reviewing my notes as each member of the group is off in his or her own reverie. Sometimes I even feel envious as I watch them frantically record their experience on paper.
For more details
This workshop series has been a fascinating work-in-progress, and I am looking forward to sharing more about it. In upcoming weeks, I plan to post a detailed entry for each workshop session and will include some exercises and materials. For more details, please visit the Hypnosis for Writers Workshop page on my website.
I have also created a “Hypnosis for Writers” category for more posts on this topic.