Seven Plus or Minus Two


Introduction

Use this induction with analytical or intellectually orientated clients. It contains elements of confusion and since it is almost impossible to resist, it works particularly well with those who tend to find ‘normal’ relaxation inductions uncomfortable. Use a ‘standard’ preparation to begin.

Spoken to the Subject

All right, just allow yourself to be as lazy as you want to be… listening quietly to the sound of my voice… and while you’re listening quietly to the sound of my voice concentrating for a few moments on your breathing… breathing slowly and steadily, just as though you were sound asleep, or pretending to be sound asleep… and imagining, perhaps, just how comfortable you might look while you’re relaxing there in the chair… using the power of your mind to see yourself in your mind’s eye… and then using the power of your mind to do whatever has to happen to make you look even more relaxed… and still thinking about your breathing, making quite sure that each breath in lasts the same length of time as the last breath in… and each breath outwards lasts the same length of time as the last breath out… even though each breath in will probably be slightly shorter than each breath out… and while you’re thinking about your breathing, noticing, perhaps, the weight of your head against the back of the chair… and still listening quietly to the sound of my voice…And while you’re listening quietly to the sound of my voice, it maybe that you’ll become aware that you’ve forgotten to think about your breathing… but that’s all right, you can just simply start thinking about your breathing again while you’re listening quietly to the sound of my voice and what I’m saying to you here… and in psychology, there’s a rule called… seven plus or minus two… and that means that most people can think of seven things all at once… plus or minus two… so you should be able to think of at least five things all at the same time… the sound of my voice… the steadiness of your breathing… the weight of your head against the back of the chair… and how you might look from the outside… and that’s four things… so you can think of those four things while you’re listening to the sound of the music I’m playing in the background… so that’s five things, now… and I wonder if you can think about those five things and then at the same time notice the way your feet feel on the footrest of the chair… and perhaps how your arms feel… and that’s seven things now… the sound of my voice… the weight of your head against the back of the chair… the music playing in the background… they way you look while you’re relaxing… and your breathing… and your arms… and your feet on the footrest… and I wonder if you can now add an eighth thing into all of that… I wonder if your mind is powerful enough to think of seven plus one things… adding in, perhaps, an awareness of the temperature of the room… and then just testing to see whether you can add yet another input to your senses… so that you’re thinking of NINE things all at once… that’s seven plus two… thinking about all those eight inputs to your senses and then maybe adding an awareness of the way your eyes feel while you’re thinking about all those other things… the weight of your head… your breathing… the music in the background… how you look from the outside… the temperature of the room… your feet on the footrest… your arms… the sound of my voice… and how your eyes feel…

The weight of your head… your breathing… the music in the background… how you look from the outside… the temperature of the room… your feet on the footrest… your arms… the sound of my voice… and how your eyes feel… and of course, when anybody thinks of all these things, what they are really doing is scanning round them one after the other… very quickly… so quickly, it feels as if you’re thinking of them all at once… and in the world of computers, that would be called timesharing… sharing your available resources between the different tasks you are attempting to perform all at once… and that’s why some people can think of only five things… because it’s the limit of their memory… while others can actually think of nine things… and I wonder how well your memory is working as you struggle to remember those nine things… the weight of your head… your breathing… the music in the background… how you look from the outside… the temperature of the room… your feet on the footrest… your arms… the sound of my voice… and how your eyes feel…

And now you can think how good it will feel… when you simply allow yourself to think of only the most important thing of all… concentrating all your energies onto that one most important thing of all… which is going to be so easy to think of, now that you are going to allow yourself to think of only one thing instead of nine… and that one thing is how good it feels to think of only one thing… thinking how relaxed you can be now… that you’re only thinking of how relaxed you might like to be… relaxing in your mind… and in your body… no need to think anything at all, really… no need to do anything… nobody wanting anything and nobody expecting anything… and absolutely nothing whatsoever for you to do except to… relax.

 

© 2000 Terence Watts
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