We naturally split ourselves whenever we practice some guided practice such as guided imagery or self-suggestion (aka self-hypnosis). We give part of our attention to the guider, some attention what we are experiencing, and there is a quiet observer that takes on the task of watching the process. Three hats at the same time are on top of our heads and we thought we were in deep relaxation.
Erika Fromm, in her research on self-suggestion, called this multi-hat process ego division, where our self-awareness gets allocated to three concerns. She even threw in a fourth, the doubter. Ah yes, there is the doubter. Our inner critic that has serious questions about the process, whether important things can be experienced, and whether we are the right person for the job. One more hat, please. Fromm did find that, at least in hypnosis, some people could do somethings better when guided than when they guided themselves. But she also found that some experiences were better in self-guided processes than when there was guider.
Find Out for Yourself – Guided or Self-Guided, Which Works Best for You?
First, get some guided imagery recording that you like and are very comfortable with (you don’t need the doubter rambling on about the guider, his/her voice, word choice, etc.) and work with it four or five times. Note what happens, what works and what doesn’t.
Next, use the same script, as best as you can recall or and/or take notes to self-guide. Use that approach four or five times.
Compare: How do the processes differ in terms of: getting deeper; getting more vivid imagery; getting involved in the action; effectiveness post guided imagery session.
From this work you can really sharpen your practice by knowing how you wear many hats and still get quality experiences and focusing on the most effective process for your interests/needs.
Self-Hypnosis: The Chicago Paradigm – Erika Fromm and Stephen Kahn