The blog linked to below reproduces Rod Windle's and Michael Samko's "Hypnosis, Ericksonian hypnotherapy, and Aikido" from the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis
, vol. 34 no. 4, April 1992, pp. 261-270:
Windle and Samko compare the hypnotist's gaze with a technique called "soft eyes" from Aikido. They say:
"Stephen Gilligan (1987) outlines a procedure for the development of shared or therapist trance. He includes a section on eye contact that is similar to the Aikidoist’s soft eyes, speaks of the need to breathe regularly and without constriction, covers the need to release internal tension, and, in general, covers many aspects of the Aikido centered state."
Their reference is to Stephen Gilligan, Therapeutic Trances: The Cooperation Principle in Ericksonian Hypnotherapy
(New York: Routledge, 1987). Gilligan describes the induction of a sort of mutual trance between hypnotherapist and client using prolonged eye contact.
"Therapists following this procedure typically find themselves in an externally oriented interpersonal trance. Phenomenological experience usually alters: tunnel vision, motoric inhibition, 'body tinglings,' and other trance characteristics commonly develop. This may be slightly disorienting at first but is no cause for alarm; it is simply a temporary (maybe five minutes) 'transition period' from conscious to unconscious processing. If the therapist continues to comfortably breathe and externally orient to the client (perhaps making small talk at the same time), a state of unusual perceptual and cognitive clarity will often emerge. The therapist may have the paradoxical experience of feeling totally connected to the client, yet at the same time feel detached and impersonally involved. It's as if part of the self becomes totally immersed in experientially relating with the client, while another part dissociates and observes the ongoing interaction. This difficult-to-describe, 'a-part-of-yet-apart-from' state allows the therapist to be compassionate and yet dispassionate. Rather than being mired in processes of effortfully trying to figure things out, the therapist tunes into unconscious spontaneity. Observational abilities seem greatly enhanced; thoughts, often in the form of metaphorical images, just seem to 'pop up'; appropriate communications just seem to develop."