Creating Effective Hypnosis Suggestions

Creating Effective Hypnosis Suggestions

There are many parts to effective hypnosis suggestions and there is much debate about what is the most effective type of suggestion. Most of the debate focuses on different types of delivery and tactics that increase acceptance of suggestions. What is agreed on is that there are really three main points that a suggestions must have to keep from being wasted breath. First the suggestion must be positive. Second, it must incorporate as many of the five senses as possible. Third it must be memorable.

Keeping it positive

Making hypnosis suggestions positive means the client can imagine themselves doing it.
Making hypnosis suggestions positive means the client can imagine themselves doing it.

Creating positive hypnosis suggestions isn’t about being a positive thinker or using uplifting verbiage. A positive suggestion is something that the client can do. Avoiding a behavior or stopping a behavior is not an action. By using a suggestion like “stop smoking” or “quit drinking” you haven’t really told the subconscious what to do. You have told the subconscious what not to do. This is what I would call a negative suggestion. The problem with this type of suggestion is that it cannot be understood without first imagining the behavior that is trying to be overcome. Essentially this gets your client to vividly imagine the behavior they are trying to get rid of right after you have put them in a highly suggestible state. The best case scenario is that this suggestion does nothing. The worst case is that you actually reinforce the behavior making your job tougher and the clients success less likely. When creating a suggestion tell the sub-conscious what to do. In the case of smoking cessation “Imagine yourself as a non-smoker”. In the case of drinking “Imagine how you would feel after being sober for 30 days. Make sure that your suggestion focuses on the actions that the client will take instead of the behavior they are trying to stop. One good way to ensure you are doing this is to imagine the suggestion in your mind. What images do you have to create to imagine the suggestion. Your client will likely have to create similar ones. Make sure they are the types of things you want your client focusing on.

Incorporating the Senses

With the exception of those that have some physical impairment most of us experience the world with all five senses. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. The best hypnotic suggestions are the ones that incorporate the most senses (ex. “Look at yourself in the mirror after sticking with your workout plan for 30 days”) . With every sense added to the suggestion it becomes more life like.

Having a preferred sensory mode should not make you blind to the other senses.
Having a preferred sensory mode should not make you blind to the other senses.

Most people are more attuned to one sense than the others. The big three that most people focus on are, sight, sound, and touch. This creates the tendency for people to create suggestions that focus on their preferred sense. Visual people create suggestions that focus of creating pictures. Auditory people focus on internal dialogue. Kinesthetic people focus on the feelings that success will bring. This is great if your client shares your preferred sensory mode, but it is ineffective if they don’t. Knowing your clients preferred sensory mode is important, but knowing their preferred sensory mode does not mean that you can ignore their other senses. Each sensory mode added just makes the experience more powerful. At a minimum be sure to include the big three senses (sight, sound, touch) with an emphasis on their preferred mode. If you can creatively incorporate the other senses, do it!

Making Suggestions Memorable

Hypnosis suggestions must be remembered to be followed. If you have followed the first two paragraphs of this article your hypnosis suggestions will be positive and incorporate multiple senses. This is a good start to making your suggestions memorable. To take it two steps further make sure that your suggestions are simple and then sum them up with a key word.

Making Hypnosis Suggestions simple avoids confusion and misunderstanding.
Making Hypnosis Suggestions simple avoids confusion and misunderstanding.

Make sure that your suggestions are simple enough that the client will not have to ponder what you have said to understand. Remember when you are giving hypnotic suggestions you are not talking to the persons rational mind you are talking to their subconscious. A big difference is that the subconscious is very literal. Write your suggestions as though you were going to give them to a young child. This will go a long way to avoiding misunderstandings and unintended outcomes. The simpler the suggestion the easier it is to remember. If a client has a very complex outcome sometimes it is best to break it down into a series of suggestions each one moving the the client closer to the overall goal.

Key words are a great way to make suggestions memorable. If you were working with a client to overcome anxiety one way to incorporate this would be to work through the suggestions and then have the client take a deep breath and say to themselves “tranquility” or to see the word spelled out in big bright letters. These key words can be used in later sessions to reinforce past suggestions without having to go through the entire suggestion again.

Effective hypnosis suggestions are the keystone of an effective hypnosis session. Keeping your suggestions positive, incorporating all the senses possible, and making your suggestions memorable will make them more effective. It may seem like a lot to focus on at first but with practice these will start to become second nature.

How to use Self Hypnosis as an Effective Tool

Self Hypnosis an Effective Tool

Man balancing in High wire
Self Hypnosis can help you balance the resources you have with the goals you want to accomplish

Self hypnosis can be an effective tool to help you accomplish your goals more quickly and with less frustration. Often when we decide on a new goal the point is to improve yourself in some way. This can mean either changing a behavior altogether, or becoming more disciplined at something you are already doing. Self hypnosis can help you with either one of these goals. In the first instance it can be used to help you get rid of destructive habits that might be holding you back from becoming everything you would like to be. In the second it can reinforce the discipline you need to stay on track until you have completed your goals.

Removing Destructive Habits

The first mistake people make when they try to get rid of a bad habit is they fail to realize that they need a replacement behavior. This is why so many people who quit smoking feel nervous long after the nicotine addiction has worn off. Your sub-conscious mind needs to know what its going to do instead of the behavior your getting rid of. If you can think of a good replacement then the best way to use self hypnosis is to induce a trance state and then visualize yourself engaging in the new behavior in situations that you used to engage in the old behavior. As an example if you have a habit of overeating, you would simply imagine yourself pushing the plate away with food still on it, and feeling completely satisfied. A person quitting smoking can imagine themselves getting the compulsion to smoke and then taking a deep breath and feeling the tension evaporate and a sense of well being come over them.

Woman looking in mirror
Self Hypnosis can help you look inside for resources you didn’t even know you had.

Whatever you are trying to get rid of, find a replacement behavior. If you are having trouble finding a replacement behavior then self hypnosis can help with that also. After attaining a trance state ask your sub conscious to come up with an alternative. One of the best parts of self hypnosis is that amount of creativity it can release. It may take you several attempts to find a behavior that works for you, but each attempt takes you closer to the one that will stick.

Increasing Discipline

Usually a lack of discipline in some area is just ineffective state management. What I mean by state management is that your energy and mood are not correctly aligned with your goals. It’s okay to be tired when it’s bed time. It’s not okay to be tired when it’s time to go to the gym and work out. Using self hypnosis to help with this issue is a process called future pacing. Once in a trance state you just need to visualize yourself in the situation that needs more discipline and then imagine yourself with all the resources available to meet the challenge. If the problem is that you are to tired to work out after work then you would imagine yourself leaving the office and feeling energized and ready to workout.

The five senses connected to the brain
Incorporating all five senses will make self hypnosis more powerful.

It’s important to imagine this in vivid detail. Imagine how you would be standing would you slouch or stand up tall? What would your breathing be like,would your breaths be shallow, or would you breath deep and charge your body with oxygen.  What kinds of things would you say to yourself, would you tell yourself “there’s always tomorrow, or would you excitedly repeat the phrase “lets go make this happen!” The more detail you can provide the better. Then the next time you are leaving the office it will trigger you to, stand up tall ,take a deep breath, and say to yourself “lets go make this happen!” It won’t require you to try and psyche yourself up. It will be an automatic response because you have trained your brain how to respond to the event of leaving work.

Unlimited Possibilities

Just using these two tools could dramatically change your life and the amount of personal satisfaction you experience from life. These are just two of many uses of self hypnosis. In a few days I will be publishing a self hypnosis script that you can follow so you can try these techniques at home. Once it’s posted I will link to it in this article.

Three Goals of a Pre-Induction Interview

Three goals of a Pre-Induction Interview

The Pre-Induction Interview sets the stage for the entire session
The Pre-Induction Interview sets the stage for the entire session

A good Pre-Induction Interview is the best way to begin an effective hypnosis session. This article covers the most important goals of conducting an interview. Meeting these goals will set the stage for a successful hypnosis session. An effective interview should accomplish three main goals. First is should set the expectations for the client. Second it should establish you as a skilled operator with the knowledge and ability to accomplish the goals of the session. Third it should build rapport with the client by establishing conscious and subconscious communication.

Building expectation

Building expectation is accomplished by telling the client what to expect as you conduct the hypnosis session. This is important for two reasons. The first is to keep the client from having any surprises during the session. The second is to allow the client to more fully relax because they know what is coming next. As you describe what they are going to experience you can provide subtle suggestions about how they will react (ex. “when I count from one to five you will feel yourself relaxing deeper”). Peppering suggestions like this throughout the interview will cause the clients imagination to start visualizing the outcomes you want. This will make it more likely that the session will go as planned.

Establishing your expert status

The pre-induction interview is also an opportunity to ensure the client that you have the skill and knowledge to do what you say you are going to do. There are two parts to this process.

Listening to concerns
Listening to your clients concerns establishes confidence in your abilities

First is to provide the information that the client needs to fully trust you. This is best done by asking them questions about their concerns. Client concerns will normally fall into one of two areas. First safety, “is this dangerous?” Second effectiveness, “will this actually work?” The first concern comes from bad information about hypnosis from the media, or old urban legends about how hypnosis is mind control. If your client has fears about being hypnotized, overcoming them is crucial to getting the client to cooperate during a hypnosis session. The second is just good old skepticism. The best way I have found to overcome both of these concerns is by giving the client short demonstrations that allow them to see the power of their mind, and that they are actually in control during hypnosis.

Building Rapport

Establishing rapport is about opening lines of communication, conscious and subconscious. This step starts from the moment you first meet the client, and continues until they leave your presence. This has less to do with the words you actually say and more to do with how you say them. It is your body posture, your eye contact, your mannerisms, the way you’re dressed. It is really about how congruent you are from the beginning of the conversation to the end. Many stage performers develop a stage personality that is very different from who they are off the stage.

shaking hands
Building rapport with the client is accomplished through congruent action

Some hypnotists try to do this by developing a dramatic trance voice or practicing their pre-induction interview for theatrical effect. It is good to practice, but if you sit a client down in your office, introduce yourself, start the interview, and then become a different person, the clients sub-conscious will throw up so many barriers you’ll never get through. Be the same person from beginning to end. The client needs to know who they are dealing with or they will be trying to relax with one eye open.

If you accomplish the three goals of the pre-induction interview you can be assured that you have set yourself up well for a successful hypnosis session. The client will know what to expect, trust in your abilities, and know that they are dealing with someone they know.

Hypnosis, does it require faith to work?

Spiraling Eyes
Does it require faith to use hypnosis?

Does hypnosis require faith?Faith is important, but it is not everything. The most important requirement for hypnosis to work is a desire for change. I have worked with many people who came to me to change different types of behavior. Usually after a short discussion I can determine the ones that really want to change and those that are there to make someone else happy.

Determining if someone is ready for Hypnosis

A great question to ask a prospective client is “When you think about your current behavior, what part of it lets you know that it is a problem?” This usually elicits one of two answers. You hope that they will be able to answer with internal thoughts and feelings about their behavior. If they can that is a good sign that their reason for trying to change is a strong desire for something different. They are motivated by an internal locus of control. Often they will answer “My spouse/ family/ boyfriend told me I need to get help. While it is true that someones family will often recognize a problem before they admit they have it. Unless you can get them to find an internal reason to change, they will resist all attempts to help them change. I have had complete skeptics of hypnosis come into my office sit down and leave changed almost miraculously, because they really wanted to change. I have also had absolute believers who had used hypnosis in the past to overcome problems fail to change because they really didn’t see their “issue” as a problem.

The second ingredient for change

If you have taken care of desire the second most important ingredient for change is the best hypnosis method. If the first thing you try doesn’t work; you haven’t failed. You have just narrowed down the choice of possible answers. Sometimes finding the right one takes persistence. For most people, staying persistent, takes faith.