Having Your First Suggestions Followed
Many people mistakenly assume that hypnosis is all about power and control and that you have to command someone to get them to do what you want them to do. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, to have any success, the participant must be in control the whole time (counter-intuitive, I know).
Participants must also trust and respect you, right from the very start. If they think you’re creepy or weird, you’re finished. To be successful you must be the type of person that genuinely cares for others.
This short video by Mike Mandel explains further how hypnotic suggestions work:
People have incredible BS detectors, and they can feel whether you have more concern over their well-being or for your bank balance or reputation. When they sense that you’re genuine and that you care, it allows them to enter a state of deep relaxation around you.
When meeting in person for the first time, open your door with a warm smile and offer a handshake. When you say ‘Good morning [participant’s name], great to meet you, please come inside’. As they step inside, they’ve just followed your first suggestion.
Trust is built up by compounding small acts of compliance by following your incremental tiny suggestions. If you say ‘please come inside’ and you have a pleasantly decorated room, and ‘please sit down’, and you have a comfortable chair, and ‘please tell me why you’re here’ and you genuinely listen – you’ve just had three small acts of compliance that all felt perfectly natural and normal.
In fact, they were all so normal, that they flew completely under the radar. But each time they complied and followed your suggestion, and then had a pleasant experience afterwards – each of those tiny increments built a teeny bit more trust.
Lastly – never ‘act’ like a hypnotist – you’re just a regular person who’s there to help. Be confident in your craft, but be low-key. Don’t beat someone over the head with how amazing you are. As difficult as it sounds, just be normal.
Hypnosis Happens Inside The Mind – Inside The Imagination
Many people think that hypnosis is something that is ‘done to them’, but the reverse is actually true – it is something they do to themselves. Hypnosis is a process of activating the imagination. It is the participants’ imagination that is driving their own state of hypnosis.
The hypnotherapist’s job is simply to provide some guiding imagery to keep their mind stimulated. There are certain words that are a gateway to unlocking the imagination. These includes words like:
Feel…What if…Picture…Imagine…Visualize…Suppose…Pretend…If it was possible…See a possible future where…what would it be like if…see in your mind’s eye…Allow your mind to simply wander…
As an example, this video by Michael Sealy is a guided meditation into finding calm and relaxation:
Being Vague In Hypnosis – Allowing The Mind To Imagine
By being vague with your language in hypnosis, you allow the participant’s mind to actively imagine the situation. The brain doesn’t like gaps, and it will actively work to fill in any missing pieces to create a satisfying image.
Vagueness is hypnotic. By avoiding saying specific or concrete things, you’ll actively be sending the participant into a trance. Why? Because they have to use their mind to imagine the scenario. As mentioned above, any time you engage the participants mind, you help them enter a state of hypnosis.
Examples of vague language:
‘Some people feel a deep level of relaxation wash over them’
‘Everyone will experience hypnosis sooner or later’
‘Feel the sensations spread throughout your body’
‘Take a moment to notice your breath’
‘Sensing a tingling in your legs’
‘Allowing yourself to feel heavier and heavier’
‘Noticing a calmness in the air’
The above vague statements allow the participant to feel and be guided, without explicitly saying what they should be experiencing.
Being Vividly Descriptive In Hypnosis – Allowing The Mind To Experience
Now this might sound contradictory to ‘be vague’ but it is the opposite end of the spectrum that achieves a similar goal. By being vividly descriptive in your language, you allow the participant’s mind to fully embrace and experience the vivid word-pictures that you’re painting.
Don’t just say ‘you’re on the beach’.
But instead describe the beach in vivid detail, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the birds, the waves, the tastes, the heat. As an example:
‘Imagine yourself walking along the beach, it is a bright sunny day, not a cloud in the sky and you feel the warm heat of the sun radiating down on you. You smile to yourself, you feel giddy. As you walk you feel the gentle sand beneath your feet, with each spec of sand gently massaging the bottoms of your feet.
There is a light cool breeze, making the hairs tingle on your arms. Overhead a hawk is flying, keeping guard on the situation, and ensuring that everyone is safe and well. Tiny sea birds poke around in the sand, trying to find their lunch, while dancing around and trying to avoid the gently crashing waves around them.
You brought a lunch, your favourite lunch of….’
‘You see someone attractive down the beach walking your way…’
See how that was different?
See how that was an experience, with vivid details that you could not only imagine, but feel yourself actually being there, being immersed in the world and experiencing it? That level of vivid detail can further help the mind to relax and go into a deeper hypnotic state, as the participant lets you guide them deeper and deeper.
One more point here, because it’s important: Most people enjoy the process of being led on a mind journey. We spend so much energy in our day to day lives trying to get by, that when someone sits us down and just paints a vividly enjoyable mind-journey for us to experience – it gives us an unusual breath of fresh air – an opportunity to relax and be led and be guided.
It is a rare treat that we don’t get to experience often enough. And this is why many people actually enjoy and even crave the experience of being hypnotized, because it is such a soothing and relaxing process. To allow someone to lead you into a dream is universally enjoyable.
Maybe it takes us back to our childhood. Maybe it takes us back to our parents reading us a bedtime story and gently guiding us to sleep. That feeling that everything is safe an okay, maybe as adults, that is the feeling we’re all secretly seeking.
Using Truisms In Hypnosis
Truisms are statements that are vague, yet generally apply to 99.9% of people and can’t factually be denied. For example:
‘Growth is possible’
‘During some stages of life you feel more confident’
‘You enjoy feeling healthy and vibrant’
‘Power is accumulating’
By using a series of truisms, it allows the participant to agree with you, as there is nothing to disagree with. Examples could be:
‘You are sitting in a chair…’ ( a verifiable fact)
‘Curious about how this process will happen…’ (a little mind reading or guessing)
‘You are breathing gently…’ (correct, they are breathing)
‘You feel sensations through your body…’ (good news – they’re still alive)
‘Allow the feeling of heaviness to captivate you’ (now this is a suggestion – which is more likely to be accepted after a series of truisms which all answered ‘yes’, ‘yes’, ‘yes’).
A standard hypnotic pattern: fact, fact, fact, suggestion, fact, fact, fact, suggestion…
By running a series of truisms, you’ll have the participant agreeing along with you, in their mind thinking ‘yes’, ‘yes’, ‘yes!’ – and the more they agree with you, the more they’ll start to like and trust you, and the more they like and trust you, the more likely they will follow your suggestions.
Nobody will follow your lead if they disagree with you. If you’re trying to force someone, or saying statements that are just clearly false, they will reject your suggestions. They’ll know that you don’t truly understand them, and they’ll want nothing to do with you.
Truisms are a mechanism to get on the same plane. To have some agreement and common ground. From there you’re able to build and expand, but it all starts with mutual trust.
Lastly, truisms are able to bypass the analytical and critical conscious mind. By saying a statement that is true, the conscious mind says ‘yep, no problem! – no beliefs have been violated here!’. The conscious mind does a great job protecting us from harmful ideas.
Focusing And Narrowing The Attention
There are certain words that help us to further focus and narrow the participants attention. The more focused they get, the deeper into hypnosis they go. Some example words are:
Notice…Become aware of…focus on…pay attention to…stare at this point…feel your body getting heavier and heavier….where do you see that image?…where do you feel that sensation exactly?…Focus on that point…
These words have the participant get deeper and deeper into the sensations they’re experiencing, and narrowing down on specific points. For example, they could notice the sensation of breathing right on the tip of the nose.
As they’re inhaling and exhaling, do they feel the tiny hairs on the tip of their nose being tickled by the slight movement of air. Focus right on that tip. As the focus intensifies, their mind clears of further outside distractions, and they’re able to enter deeper into their state.
Help the participant to bring up past memories, images, visualize potential futures or dive into fantasies. This could include statements like:
‘Close your eyes and allow yourself to simply pay attention to where you feel the most comfort’
‘As you relax, perhaps some pleasant memories start coming to mind’
‘Happy times, celebrations, good friends, laughter’
‘Allow your mind to imagine the kind of growth and improvement you’re looking for in your life’
‘And this can even be a secret change…you don’t have to tell anyone’
‘Can you feel yourself getting more and more relaxed?’
The more the participant uses their imagination, and goes deeper and deeper internally, the more they’ll fall into a state of hypnosis. And could anyone resist – the process is so relaxing and feels so good!
Speaking of feeling good – this hypnotic meditation by Michael Sealey uses the sounds of rain to induce a deep level of relaxation:
Introspection is hypnosis:
Ask your participant to close their eyes and to imagine creating a beautiful and delicious fruit salad. On the table in front of them they have ripe juicy mangos, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, raspberries, blackberries – all vibrant and colourful.
As they imagine touching, feeling, smelling the fruit they must go inside their mind and imagine the fruits and the sensations. The process of introspection is hypnosis. You job as the hypnotist is simply to be a guide – to help them to see what’s already inside themselves.