Anton Chevreul, during the eighteenth century was the first to discover that information in the subconscious mind could be uncovered using a pendulum.
The process of using the pendulum allows the subconscious mind to create minute movements which are magnified by the pendulum. This ability to make muscular movement without conscious effort is called "ideomotion."
As a suggestibility test, a client is instructed to concentrate and hold the pendulum over the center of a figure that consists of + over a circle (see figure below). While doing this, she is instructed to look either up and down or back and forth over the figure, and to think in the same way, up and down or back and forth. She will most likely find that in a few seconds up to a minute, the pendulum will move in just the direction that she has been thinking, through no conscious effort of her own.
This is one of the easiest "tests" to provide a potential client. And since the vast majority of individuals will easily manifest movement in the pendulum, it really serves more as a convincer than a test.
This test is considered to be a permissive test. If your client passes this test it provides you with evidence that she would benefit from a permissive approach. However, if you instruct the individual in a more direct and domineering way when doing the Chevreul's Pendulum test, it could be called a directive test. So, you need to be aware of how you are conducting the test. This is true of all of the suggestibility tests given by hypnotists. Generally, this test can be given in either a permissive or authoritarian manner, even though it was originally thought to be a test for either a permissive or passive approach.
Example of a figure to use when conducting the Chevreul's Pendulum Test
Only a highly resistant client will find they are unable to make the pendulum move. And, as Gerald F. Kein says, resistance equals fear. So, it is a clue that you must ensure that you have done your very best to remove any fears or misconceptions that your client may have about hypnosis. This is why a good hypnosis pre-talk is essential to conducting successful hypnosis sessions.
Script for the Chevreul's Pendulum Suggestibility Test
This is a pendulum and it is used as a test for concentration. The ability to use hypnosis requires the ability to concentrate.
So, please stand up and hold the end of the chain in your finger tips. Now hold it directly over the center of the diagram in front of you, right over the center point.
Now as you concentrate and follow these simple instructions, the pendulum will begin to swing back and forth. Just allow your eyes to go back and forth across the diagram, left to right, left to right and back and forth.
Move your eyes back and forth across the chart from right to left and back and forth.
(Continue until the pendulum moves back and forth across the diagram and then suggest up and down movement.)
Good! Now think up and down, up and down and up and down. Now the pendulum begins to move up and down, up and down. Now it moves up and down.
(Continue until the pendulum moves up and down across the diagram. You may also suggest that the pendulum moves in a circular motion above the diagram. Many clients will do better on this test when it is first demonstrated by the hypnotherapist.)
The pendulum can be used in other ways such as finding lost objects, and accessing information from your own subconscious mind. Gerald F. Kein has produced an excellent video program on the use of the pendulum, entitled, Using the Pendulum As an Analytical Tool.
Note that this text is excerpted from the Level I Hypnotherapy Certification Manual, by Calvin D. Banyan, used in his hypnotherapy certification course, and is a National Guild of Hypnotists Approved Text Book, © 2004 Calvin D. Banyan. All rights reserved.