Final Results of The Davis Foundation's First Project

The Davis Foundation's first project, a pilot study that has lasted for five years, now has data on one hundred participants and has ended. The purpose of this project was to determine: 1) how well people could learn self-hypnosis if they had one session with Dr. Davis, 2) how comfortable and confident they then felt practicing it independently at home, 3) how easily people could establish a regular routine for practicing self-hypnosis, 4) what sorts of experiences people had with it and, finally, 5) what sorts of problems an Inner Guide could solve when it has adequate trance time to do its work.

Participants were welcome to call or email Dr. Davis with any questions they had about the process and a number of them did. They received a biweekly Letter to provide support and encouragement and once a month they received a brief questionnaire with which to report progress, to which Dr. Davis sent individualized replies. All teaching and assistance was provided without cost to the participants.

All one hundred were able to learn self-hypnosis in one session and most who began practicing it at home had no difficulty with it. However a number of participants who lost awareness in trance thought that they weren't doing it right and that they had just fallen asleep. Dr. Davis re-explained to them that they had simply lost awareness but that their bodies were still awake and their Inner Guides were aware. She reassured them that losing awareness is a sign of health because it indicates comfort with the process.

Establishing a regular routine for practicing self-hypnosis was problematic for many. By the end of the first month one quarter of the participants had dropped out and by the end of the twelfth month only one-third remained. (See Graph 1) (The three graphs referred to in this report cannot be duplicated in this web format but are available by downloading the Letter of December 26 from the Letter Archive webpage.) Helping people persist in their practice is clearly the most important area for the foundation to further address.

A number of participants reported that their lives were so busy that they found it difficult or impossible to find time to practice self-hypnosis regularly. Dr. Davis suggested that they create a more realistic routine for their circumstances, such as doing self-hypnosis only once or twice a week and formally scheduling a time for that, perhaps including it in their appointment book. Some found that this worked for them.

A small number of participants endured periods of a few months or less during which they felt certain negative emotions, such as anger or sadness, more intensely than usual. They were encouraged to continue with self-hypnosis and these periods did abate in time.

Many participants were able to establish direct communication with their Inner Guides using finger signals, automatic handwriting, and/or inner thought. Some found that their Inner Guides initiated inner thought before they thought to try it themselves. Automatic handwriting was developed less frequently than other means of communication; in some cases participants were reluctant to try it because they were content with inner thought while in other cases it seemed to them to be overwhelming (too overstimulating).

Some who did not achieve direct communication felt frustrated that they couldn't. Others, who sensed their Inner Guide's presence and help indirectly, were satisfied with that.

Dr. Davis had previously mentioned a number of times in the Letters, and also to individual participants, that only about 50% gain direct communication during the first year. This figure was based on partial results earlier in the study. The final data show that the percentage steadily increased over time and by the end of the twelfth month 88% had achieved direct communication. (See Graph 2)

With the exception of one participant, all who persisted for twelve months achieved positive results (see Graph 3) and 69% of those who dropped out along the way also had positive results before withdrawing.

What sorts of positive changes did people experience? Some participants reported changes in some detail and others merely indicated that there had been changes, without specifying what they were. Some changes that were reported were ones that had been wished for, such as being able to eat less, drink less, exercise more, feel happier, and become more effective at work. Others were changes that participants had not realized could occur, such as improved problem solving, improved interpersonal relationships, making better choices, and feeling increasingly calm and in control.

Those of us who have been doing self-hypnosis for longer than a year are aware that, much though we may have changed during that year, many more positive changes occur as we continue with self-hypnosis. Also new challenges continually appear and we value our Inner Guides' help with them. It is very important for everyone to continue his or her practice of self-hypnosis indefinitely.

We want to thank our one hundred participants very much for taking part in this project. It is clear that the most important task for us now is to determine better ways of helping people persist with self-hypnosis. Our next project, which will be announced shortly, will address that problem.