Einophony : when Breath-Voice meets hypnosis

Dive in yourself through conscious trance and singing

Interviewed by Christine Bedel du Tertre, on January 16, 2017.

Translated by Mylene Mathieu

In this interview, the founders of Einophony®, Benjamin Grenard and Bernard Sensfelder, present the principles of this approach. With a double connection with François Roustang and Serge Wilfart, Einophony® follows its own path allowing for a dive right into the core, right into the self, using conscious trance and vocal exercises.

What is Einophony ?

B. Grenard : It is the combination of two greek words: « eïnaï » meaning to be, and « phonie » meaning sound or voice. It is the fusion of two practices: Pneumaphony (also called “breath-voice”) initiated by Serge Wilfart, and Einotherapy invented by Bernard Sensfelder.

B. Sensfelder : My practice derives from eco-therapy as defined by François Roustang. Einophony includes the notions of “voice of the self” and “contacting the self through the voice”.

B. Grenard : …and vice versa, the experience is also about “finding the voice through the self”.

(Note : a focus was be written about this suject here)

This new practice comes from you two meeting each other. However, your experiences are very different.

B. Grenard : Absolutely. I am practicing Pneumaphony and have been trained by Serge Wilfart for 10 years. I am interested in many practices – tantra, yoga, shamanism, etc. At some point, I was having trouble with my spoken voice and I got interested in Pneumaphony. As a music teacher, singing voice was not an issue, but using my voice to actually speak was another story. Pneumaphony revealed a wide inner space of possibilities, and I reconnected with my body, and my latent energy. Since then, all the other activities I am practicing also got entirely transformed, it’s an inner development taking shape, a meaningful life path that is more than ever consistent with who I am intimately.

B. Sensfelder :  As for me, I am a psychologist and hypnotherapist. After many experiences, I first came to Roustang’s practice, which is a mix of Zen and hypnosis, and this concept of “letting the body deal with things instead of having the individual think and control them”. However, even though our conclusions are similar, Roustang’s approach and mine are different, because he followed the road of philosophy, where I relied on neuroscience. Together, we talked a lot about that and agreed on the possibilities to combine both approaches. He also encouraged me to follow my own way.

Let’s go back to the combination of Einotherapy-Pneumaphony. Why did you decide to merge those two practices, each of them being originally clearly defined?

B. Grenard : That happened naturally, just by itself. We didn’t start from a concept, rather from an experience. Several times, Bernard actively took part in the workshops, offering his knowledge and cooperation, and one thing leading to another, this new practice was born and unfolded before our eyes. We just let it develop. That was very natural. For me it is a sign that this is going the right way.

Then, I want to underline the fact that it is possible to combine those two practices because they are in close relationship. First due to this hypnotic state, and second because they share the same path “towards less”. Regarding that hypnotic state, I want to say that it is a very specific hypnosis that we will precise later on, because in the collective imagination, hypnosis might be scary, quite rightly by the way.

In the breath-voice practice – the nickname of Pneumaphony – people reach a more or less deep state of trance, but always consciously, which prevents from any manipulation issue. It turns out that this is one of the infinite aspects of a hypnotic state, meaning that a lot of pneumaphonists are practicing hypnosis without being aware of it.

So the kind of hypnosis you are incorporating, created by Roustang, and that you are both practicing, is in line with the spirit of Pneumaphony, is that right?

B. Sensfelder : Totally. We have nothing to do with for example the most widespread hypnosis called Ericksonian method. What are the differences? Milton Erickson is a great man of hypnotherapy, he is American, he wanted to “do”. With nonetheless an extremely interesting concept, being that there is not such a thing as a universal approach, but a new therapy has to be created for each person. Erickson was then applying a different therapy for each patient he was taking care of. And as such, he was a genius, that way of doing is absolutely interesting and inspiring. But he was also a man of action, someone “doing”, “making”.

The basic principle that Roustang developed is the exact opposite – however keeping the idea of a unique individual, and so keeping that intuitive and creative aspect of a customized hypnosis. The basic notion is “non-action”, to “not do anything”, in order to give room to the body to do by itself. As such, the therapist’s role is to allow for that “non-action” and has to himself be in a state encouraging some opening, giving the self an opportunity to manifest and, ultimately, to incarnate in its own body. And all that happens without doing anything, things happen spontaneously because it is possible, the conditions being fulfilled. You can see that this is a very specific type of hypnosis, which is completely different from what we usually see. We leave the body by itself, deal with it, and everything related to the mind, imagination, behavior, we don’t care about.

(Note : a focus was be written about this subject here)

So this is a sort of light trance during which we are completely conscious?

B. Sensfelder : Yes, exactly. When experiencing that kind of hypnosis, people still have some sort of control, meaning that if they want to, they can stop the process at any time. Likewise, we use inductions that we previously selected so that if, for some reason, it is not good for the person to be in a hypnotic state, it will not work.

In that case, the breath-voice method will take over and work perfectly fine. Adding to what I said, there is no posthypnotic suggestions: people are just accepted as they are here and now, without any future projection. We let things reorganize and redefine by themselves.

B. Grenard :  I am entirely of Bernard’s opinion. There is a strong ethical dimension in the hypnosis we practice. Everything is done for and according to the body, which is not the case of some very debatable hypnoses using flash inductions for example – which sometimes consists in giving contradictory impulsions to the body in a very short time. We need time and slowness to feel, perceive, and live the body…

In Einophony, hypnosis is refined to its essence allowing us to go closer towards meditation and Zen. Another thing that matters to us is that people become more and more autonomous, that they learn to initiate and guide this state, so as to connect this crystal-clear, conscious state with the depths of the soul, that I would call darkness.

Retrospectively, regarding my training with Serge Wilfart, I notice that during a number of sessions – all of them going very smoothly by the way – I was “ready” before singing, I was actually in an autohypnotic state, without knowing at that moment how to label that experience. At that time, I figured out the analogy with what I experienced in Tantric practices but I hadn’t related it to hypnosis yet.

In a nutshell, it is like diving within oneself …

B. Grenard : Absolutely. A major concern, when I started teaching Pneumaphony, was that the person could “get ready” spontaneously and consciously: I invented exercises helping people to prepare themselves beforehand in order to start practicing in the proper condition, teaching them how to dive within themselves, how to feel that balance between a strong presence to themselves and a connection to the environment, and then having them experience how does it feel to gradually get out of that state. In short, that people are conscious and have control throughout the process. Actually, it is about being here and now, getting into what is already there, within people, and that most of the time they deny.

Discovering Roustang’s hypnosis gave me more practical solutions about “how to dive within oneself”, “how to look inward”. And from that perspective, we invite people to consciously follow that direction, towards their autonomy. Knowing that when people reach that state of lucidity, the process initiated by the breath-voice practice goes smoothly. So, some tools from Einotherapy naturally came in and enriched the path I was already exploring in Pneumaphony.

But it’s far from being the only benefit from Roustang’s hypnosis. Einophony also includes the therapeutic aspect deriving from Bernard’s experience.

Following on from this article, please have a look at the next interview: Einophony: towards less, towards the self