How to use ideomotor signalling in hypnotherapy

Working with ideomotor signals and the Chevreul pendulum

The word ‘ideomotor’ refers to mind and to movement – communication of inner states (mind) using unconscious body movements. Communication is enabled at a deeper level than if it were limited to verbal expression. Ideomotor signals are most commonly set up using the fingers. The Chevreul pendulum is another form of ideomotor work.  Here’s a simple protocol for using ideomotor signals to do therapeutic work. Note:  The method outlined here is adapted from Cheek & Rossi: Mind Body Therapy: Methods of Ideodynamic Healing in Hypnosis).

Ideomotor protocol

  1. Establish signalling, either using pendulum or finger signals. If you’re using the pendulum, the client does not have to be in a trance. If they are, you can invite them to open their eyes, but to simply observe the movements and not become intellectually involved.
  2. Ask the client, ‘Does your inner mind know of some past event that might have caused this problem?
  3. If yes, ask, ‘Would that event have taken place before you were 20 years old?’ (Choose an age appropriate to the client.)
    If yes, ask, ‘Would that event have taken place before you were 15 years old?’
  4. Keep going like this until you get a no response. Then you can fine tune it to the exact age. Once you’ve narrowed in on a specific age, ask the client what is particularly important about that time. Encourage them to share any impressions and images. Usually the client is able to verbalize the incident at this point.
  5. Thoroughly process and review any issues arising. (If the client cannot recall any incident, say something like this: ‘Let your subconscious mind review what is happening at this time. You don’t need to consciously be aware of what is being reviewed. When your inner mind has found that important incident, your yes finger will lift and you will remember what happened.’)

Once the review and processing are complete, ask ‘Now that you have remembered these things, can you be free of this issue?’ (name the actual issue).
If yes, you’re done.

If the answer is no, begin the process again by asking, ‘Is there some earlier incident that might have set the scene for what you have just told me?’

“I’m not ready to know”

If you get the ‘I’m not ready to know consciously yet’ response, try restating the question in a different way, or try a less direct approach.

Or simply ask, ‘Would it be allright for your deep inner mind to work with this material and only let your conscious mind know the results when you are ready?’ This gives the client permission to do the work but without conscious recall. You can then proceed as before, pinpointing the age at which the event occurred. The chances are good that when the incident is accessed, the client will be ready to have conscious awareness of it.

Note that it’s not necessary to force the client to have conscious awareness – the whole process can be accomplished below the level at which it can be verbalised. Ideomotor signalling allows the therapist and client to work ‘content free’.

Retrospective and progressive approaches to ideomotor signalling

The method described above is a ‘retrospective’ approach – it goes from the present moment backwards until it finds the cause of the problem. Another way is to use a ‘progressive’ approach. To do this, instruct the client to go to a time just before the problem began. Note that the review is being done unconsciously – they don’t yet have recollection of what happened.
‘Let your inner mind go back to a time just before this issue began to be a problem to you, and when you’re there your yes finger will lift.’

When they indicate they are at a point before the problem, say ‘Now come up to the moment the problem begins, and when you’re there your yes finger will lift and you will be able to tell me what is happening.’

Related articles

How to use the Chevreul pendulum

Other resources

Mind Body Therapy: Methods of Ideodynamic healing in hypnosis

Buy from Amazon

The main source for this article is Cheek & Rossi’s excellent Mind-Body Therapy: Methods of Ideodynamic Healing in Hypnosis. Follow the text link for a review, or buy directly from Amazon using the image link.

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