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.