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Chapter 60 - Hypnosis

Plague Doctor
     Chapter 60: Hypnosis

    The dim light in the examination room was warm. Gu Jun reclined against the soft leather bench, his body slightly sinking in and feeling a hard-to-come-by sense of comfort.

    "Student Gu, I'll call you Ah Jun then," Sister Liang said with a smile. "I understand your profile from Brother Qiang. You truly are excellent."

    Gu Jun could see that Sister Liang was trying to establish a therapeutic relationship with him by using a warm, understanding, caring, and respectful attitude. First, build the atmosphere and weaken his psychological defense before proceeding to actual work. Sister Liang's sincere and confident smile and her polite manners were indeed very contagious.

    "Come, I'll put on the instrument for you." Sister Liang had him put on a pair of gloves first, and then a helmet made from a soft material. They all had multiple white sensors pressing against his skin; a bundle of cables of various colours connected to an instrument next to him.

    After his recent psychology training, Gu Jun was able to distinguish what this was.

    This pair of black gloves was called a "skin electromagnification monitor". According to the electrode on the palm or fingertip of the test subject, the galvanic skin response(GSR), or skin conductance response, was measured to detect the changes of sweat gland activity and sympathetic nervous system to measure some more reliable parameters. GSR had always been used for lie detectors and other similar instruments.

    These gloves were patented by the Phecda Department, and the technology used provided even more precise results. As for the grey soft-skin helmet, it was an electroencephalogram (EEG) and used for real-time monitoring of brain waves.

    There were also devices using electric field technology over the psychological group, but the S-assessment does not seem to require those specialized pieces of equipment. The methods and standards for the S-assessment were obviously different from personality tests.

    

    There was a round mirror hanging on an adjacent wall. Gu Jun glanced at it. Was that a one-way perspective mirror? Was there someone watching him from behind it?

    Sister Liang noticed his actions and immediately smiled. "That's just an ordinary mirror." She walked over and brought the mirror down to the ground. The wall behind the mirror was indeed a wall. Sister Liang pointed to the upper corner. "There is a camera there which would be recording each test, but that is just to collect data for your personal file. No one is monitoring. I am the only one watching you now."

    Her kind face seemed harmless, looking very much like a benevolent auntie going on a stroll, but Gu Jun suspected that removing the mirror was a specially designed step aimed at lowering his guard.

    That was because there was no reason to put a mirror there. It was conspicuous and did not match the overall layout of the room. Nothing could be said about when dealing with an unsuspecting person like Zixuan, but when dealing with people like him, Sister Liang will take the initiative to expose a loophole. This was a psychological kind of hinting: Sister Liang is honest with you, so you should also be honest with her.

    "Relax." Sister Liang smiled again and walked back to sit down on a chair. "If you have any thoughts, you can talk to me."

    "Alright," Gu Jun agreed. Indeed…

    The human bias has the tendency to accept this kind of positive reinforcements. The words "You can" was a typical example. Brother Qiang had been doing so to them all this time, saying "you can" to everything. Sister Liang was now reinforcing this concept, letting him focus on the idea of him being happier by agreeing to her words.

    "Ah Jun, you don't have to overthink this." Sister Liang laughed. The experienced veteran could tell that the young man was still harbouring doubts. "I know you have received psychology training, so I don't plan on playing tricks on you. Believe me, let go of your suspicions. You can believe me."

    Gu Jun thought again, this was definitely a kind of positive reinforcement.

    Forget it. Gu Jun sighed and laid down. Don't think too much about it. I'll have to take the test anyway. Maybe I'll be able to make some new discoveries?

    "Sister Liang, I'll try my best to cooperate, but I can't help it if some stray thoughts are exposed."

    "It's okay, you're not the only one. There are cases of people harbouring greater paranoia than you. In the end, there turned out to be no problem."

    Sister Liang's smile hinted at the authority she held. Then she said seemingly casually, "Let's have a chat first. I've taken a look at your self-filled questionnaire. I know that outside of medicine, your favourite pastime is watching movies, and you have thought about being a director if you weren't a doctor. I also like movies. Have you seen any good films recently?"

    "Hmm…" Another notion popped up in his mind again. This was using his hobbies to establish a therapeutic relationship and seemed to be carrying out some sort of hypnosis treatment.

    There was a ticking small pendulum clock on the work table next to Sister Liang. Tik tok tik tok…

    "I haven't watched a movie in a while," Gu Jun answered honestly. "I don't know why. The last time I watched one… was probably half a year ago? I really want to watch Beetlejuice again, which I feel is a good Hollywood film. The old movie also goes by another name, called <<The Master of the Hades>>. "

    "Oh, why is that so?" Sister Liang asked in a warm voice. Gu Jun displayed willingness to talk, and the test work began to develop in a positive direction.

    "It's funny… This film was made by Tim Bolton in his typical style; mysterious and creepy, but adorable at the same time. The heroine was played by Winona Ryder. The role is very unique. Everyone was afraid of ghosts, but she was happy to see them. At the scene when she appeared, she was carried out on the sofa by someone from the moving company. She was still taking pictures with her camera. How fun!"

    As Gu Jun spoke, the more he started to chatter on excitedly. He knew that Sister Liang was hypnotizing him, but took the bait anyway.

    "There are so many interesting films. Why do you want to revisit this one? Is there another reason?" Sister Liang asked.

    "Well, I just want to know… if there are supernatural existences in this world, will they be as cute as the ghosts in this movie?"

    "Cute? In what way?"

    Sister Liang just chatted with him about the movie and talked about some other irrelevant topics, but she made no mention of anything relating to medicine or let him feel any urgency.

    Time gradually trickled by. Soon, half an hour had passed. Gu Jun had slowly calmed down, feeling genuinely relaxed voluntarily entering a hypnotic state. He was immersed in the role of the phantom man that Sister Liang hypnotically suggested to him as if he was no longer the medical ‘slave' Gu Jun.

    Unlike the hypnotism performed in film and television, hypnosis does not cause one to become muddled or confused. The brain of the hypnotized person always remained awake, but the normal calculative function was diminished. The subject's spirits were highly concentrated, and his attention is highly selective. He no longer responded to external stimuli, but extremely sensitive to all the hypnotist's demands.

    On the performance of brain waves, the hypnotic state differed from any stage of sleep nor followed regular brain activity.

    "Hmm…" Sister Liang looked at the value on the brain wave monitor screen on the work table and knew that Gu Jun had been hypnotized.

    A person with a high spirituality like Gu Jun was most susceptible to hypnosis, but Gu Jun was unusually composed. The effects of hypnosis were easily weakened when applied on him.

    Sister Liang knew that she had to operate carefully and said slowly, "Ah Jun, in fact, the examination is very straightforward. I will let you do some situational impact to see how your body functions. If you don't like it, you can propose to end this situation, alright?"

    "Okay," Gu Jun murmured lightly.

    Sister Liang has an "impact rating table" which lists some common situations ranging from mild to extreme. Incidents such as "you have witnessed a tragic accident" on the low end, and "you killed your friends and relatives" in the high end of the spectrum. These situations will cause the subjects to enter into an extreme state of anxiety, panic, and fear.

    Then she can examine the subject's physical vitals data in detail using the instruments.

    When the subject's S value is too low, the subject would be extremely frightened even when facing a mild impact situation; sometimes even experiencing symptoms of vomiting, trembling, and yelling. This was the first stage of the test. It assessed the response of the subject and how long it takes for him to overcome his panic and calm down (allowing to overcome panic is also a kind of therapy), and evaluate the corresponding set of values.

    The second stage was to engage in treatment of the subject and evaluate the effects of the treatment to get another set of values.

    The two sets of values were then integrated with each other to calculate the S value of the subject.

    Usually in the beginning, Sister Liang would expose the subjects to high-impact situations. For example, Wang Ruoxiang, who was just tested. Sister Liang presented her with the situation of "seeing that her closest relatives were infected with the Banyan Malformation Disease, and the amputation failed."

    Wang Ruoxiang displayed tormented expressions, so it seems like her experiences in the operating room had affected her. Fortunately, her S value was still rated very high at 90.

    However, due to Gu Jun's unique traits, Sister Liang did not dare to follow conventions fearing that he would be awakened at once or his S value would be very low. (His case files contained warnings in this aspect, and his mental state was extremely peculiar) Presenting the high impact from the beginning could easily drive him crazy.

    Sister Liang only dared to start with a mild impact scenario and soothingly said,

    "You are walking in the inner corridor of the hospital operating room and saw two operating beds in front. You slowly approached and saw two bodies lying on each of the two operating beds. You were involved in the operation, but the two patients who died due to the failure of the surgery, one was an old granny and the other was a little boy."

    Gu Jun's breath suddenly accelerated, and his slightly closed eyelids twitched uncontrollably.

    Looking at the screens of several measuring instruments, Sister Liang frowned. The situation did not seem to be too optimistic.