Tim Brunson DCH

Welcome to The International Hypnosis Research Institute Web site. Our intention is to support and promote the further worldwide integration of comprehensive evidence-based research and clinical hypnotherapy with mainstream mental health, medicine, and coaching. We do so by disseminating, supporting, and conducting research, providing professional level education, advocating increased level of practitioner competency, and supporting the viability and success of clinical practitioners. Although currently over 80% of our membership is comprised of mental health practitioners, we fully recognize the role, support, involvement, and needs of those in the medical and coaching fields. This site is not intended as a source of medical or psychological advice. Tim Brunson, PhD

Harmony, Rhythms, and Sound

by Tim Brunson, PhD

The words harmonize and harmony are used to describe the adaptation process. Pattern encoding involves intensity and timing, much like that experienced with sound and music. Wayne Perry, a sound therapist in California, (2007), adds insight as he expands this concept into that of rhythm and sound. He sums up these natural tendencies by saying:

Every form of life has its own unique rhythms and cycles that determine its habits and characteristics. For example, insects such as bees, hornets, and locusts fly in swarms; schools of fish swim together, almost as one; geese fly together, locked in a V-formation. In the past, scientists thought this was due to a leader with more intelligence or experience. Now we know these habits are directed by entrainment. (Perry, 2007, p. 204)

The harmonic adaptation of one system – and the elements therein – to others is entrainment. In 1665, Dutch scientist Christian Huygens, was the first to push this concept. He called it a "locking in step of rhythms." (Perry, 2007, p. 203) Perry goes on to say that it is a "process of mutual phase-locking, whereby the natural rhythms, frequencies, or vibrational patterns of one object are actively changed by the vibrations of another object." Thus when the vibrations of one system are altered, those of the connected system will alter as well.

The transformational interventions employed by a clinician must take this into account. A change in one neuro-physiological pattern would then precipitate a change in another. Consider the smoking habit issue; the patient comes into the clinician's office claiming that they have "tried to quit." Obviously, their focus is on the smoking pattern. By remembering the impact of Hebbian Learning (Hebb, 1949), it should be quite obvious that focusing on their failed efforts, financial costs, the destruction of their health, and the social stigma associated with the habit reinforces their addiction by strengthening particular neural pathways and further intensifying the encoding of the pattern. The clinician's continued focus on the ills of the habit only serve to further encode it and make it more resistant to change. On the other hand, if they were to focus on building a new pattern, especially one that had several mental and physical connections to those associated with the habit, then the likelihood that they could affect a permanent change is enhanced.

By eliciting the attributes of a different pattern with all the positive alternatives –such as improved health, self-respect, and finances – and significantly strengthening the intensity of the weights, the stronger pattern crowds out the old. Speaking in terms of his expertise with sound, Perry sums this up by saying that, "Stronger rhythmic vibrations affect weaker ones, causing them to lock in step with the more dominant ones." (Perry, 2007, p. 204). He goes on further to say, "Notwithstanding that the various functions of the body-mind can entrain to each other, it is possible to utilize external rhythms to affect and activate internal body functions, such as brainwave activity." (Perry, 2007, p. 204) While Perry focuses on using sound and music as the external environmental change to affect entrainment (as shown above), this metaphor provides an excellent lesson for any intentional change due to altering a system's environment.

The International Hypnosis Research Institute is a member supported project involving integrative health care specialists from around the world. We provide information and educational resources to clinicians. Dr. Brunson is the author of over 150 self-help and clinical CD's and MP3's.


Hebb, D. O. (1949). The Organization of Behavior: A Neuropsychological Theory. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Perry, W. (2007). Sound Medicine: The Complete Guide to Healing With the Human Voice. Franklin Lakes, New Jersey: New Page Books.

There are no trackbacks for this entry.

Trackback URL for this entry:

© 2000 - 2023The International Hypnosis Research Institute, All Rights Reserved.