Top Hypnotic Principles that will make you a more effective hypnotist

1 - Calming the Conscious Mind

A model of what we’re doing in hypnosis is that we’re calming the neocortex, which is our conscious brain, so that we can develop a greater connection and communication between all our thinking systems, thus opening ourselves up to significantly increased thinking power.

This is a bit like bringing three (and maybe more) brilliant but very different people together. Bringing them together is a start, but they have to learn to work together.

A metaphor for this is the communication between a horse and her rider. The rider directs and guides but allows the horse do the hard work. The rider has to build a communication channel with the horse, It’s not effective for the rider just to ‘tell’ the horse what to do. The rider needs both awareness and leadership qualities.

2 - Trust our unconscious

A lot of hypnosis is about learning to trust and work with our unconscious processes. This may sometimes occur quickly but cannot be forced. Forcing, or trying too hard can be totally unproductive. It’s a two way process. Explore relaxation, take a break, come back later and do some more. Take another break.

3 - Positive Directions and Suggestions

The horse rider, like the conscious mind, wants to set a useful direction and offer motivation without having to micro-manage. If you’re helping someone else you’re at once further removed from your clients unconscious processes. You want to set a useful direction, encourage and keep your language vague and content-free. Let your client’s unconscious work out the detail.

Where possible keep to simple positive ‘towards’ suggestions; relax, feel good etc and avoid ‘away’ from suggestions; stop smoking, lose weight etc. Positive ‘towards’ suggestions are easier to process at a deeper level. ‘Stop smoking’ might become’ ‘Be healthier.’

This is because an ‘away from’ suggestion, like stop smoking, contains within it the idea of smoking, and therefore may suggest that the future involves smoking.

4 - Pacing and Leading

The starting point is to pace whatever is going on in your client’s experience, and when you have confirmation that you’re successful (as illustrated in Chapter 1) in bringing them to a state of, for example, relaxation - lead your client to somewhere more positive but that is still plausible from within their experience. After you’re successful you can lead them further.

If you’re getting any negative response, it is very important keep focused and calm. Your state will inevitably influence that of your client, and negative responses are part of the process. The art is to use them constructively.

Simply go back and pace their current experience, the reality of their situation. Occasionally you may use surprise tactics to get their attention, confuse them slightly and then lead them.

5 - Leading their senses and imagination

Appeal to the imagination and sensory experience. For example, as a part of a relaxing trance, I find asking the client to, “Visualise a drop of water on a leaf, and then describe the qualities of the leaf and water, imagine the leaf is relaxed, safe and strong, the water is pure, glistens from the inside and is happy just being.”

As part of a trance to reduce pain I might say, “Imagine plunging your hand in an iced bucket of water and, as you do, feel the cold and the numbness move up the arm and, as those feelings move up the arm, you notice a sensation of cool pleasantness which to your delight overwhelms all other sensations.”

6 - Congruence and Connection

As you become more experienced the words you use become slightly less important and your congruence, which means all your communications, your words, rhythm, voice tone and your gestures emphasise the same message, becomes more important. It’s like you’re opening up a communication link with your client where your minds appear to connect in some way.

However from the beginning you need to ensure that what you believe about your client supports the process. If you believe that your client is capable of great success, that fact will be communicated whether you’re conscious of it or not.

The more useful experience you have going in trance yourself, and the more practice you have helping others go in to trance, the more congruent you will become.

7 - Feedback and Amplification

One of the skills of a good hypnotist is the ability to develop a feedback loop with their clients. The art is in encouraging and therefore amplifying the indications that trance is occurring.

Therefore it’s important to pay attention to your client and respond with encouraging phrases like ‘that’s right’, ‘that’s really good’, ‘that’s perfect’ when your client shows physical signs of deepening trance. And we may link the encouragement to the actual sign ...

• “Your breathing has slowed, that’s really good, you’re really learning how to access these special states.”

• “Your eyelids are fluttering, that’s right, that’s demonstrating that you’ve already started to connect with your unconscious processes.”

The same type of feedback loop can be used to encourage useful states and good feelings

8 - Utilisation

This is a development of pacing and leading and is another key skill of a good hypnotist. The hypnotist needs to be able utilise any of the clients responses so they can be congruently used for the client’s learning and benefit.

For example, if your clients doesn’t yet demonstrate any signs of hypnosis you may say ...

“The fact that you’re not responding shows you have total control, and in your own time you’ll realise that you’ll have even more control when you’re ready to let go and relax, and your unconscious knows that this process has started, consciously you’ll become aware of what I’ve said when you’re fully ready.”

For example if your client suddenly has a very strong adverse reaction, bursts into tears and looks totally distraught you should ask respectfully ...

“Do you want to come of out of this trance safely and return to the room now, or are you comfortable choosing to continue your learning?”

“Remember that allowing yourself to access and let go of those emotions and feelings shows great inner strength and the ability to learn something important, but it’s totally your choice if you want to continue. Whatever you do you’ll have learnt something important.”

9 - Fractionation

Our model is that a main part of hypnosis is trusting ourselves in trance. That trust is often built by achieving mild states, enjoying the experience, doing something totally different and then achieving more mild states and continually repeating the cycle.

This can have some surprising consequences. You can be working with someone who apparently shows very little ability attaining trance states. However after working with them over a period of time they suddenly develop the confidence to achieve deep states and go really deep.

I’ve worked with several people who have shown little apparent trance ability over a period of a day and they had volunteered to to help me demonstrate the logistics of a hand shake induction, without doing the technique itself. They suddenly became totally limp and, had I not caught them, they would have collapsed on the floor.

As a point of interest if people do fall to the floor they are unlikely to hurt themselves as, at this stage, they're totally relaxed. However, we’re responsible for due care and attention and need to learn to put ourselves in a position where we can catch them if this happens.

The important point is to be aware that sometimes even the most apparently resistant people learn how to go into deeper trance states over time, and sometimes that time turns out to be shorter than you think.

10 - The Power of Words

The easiest way to learn about helping others access trance states is through words. It’s good experience to write out lots of trance ‘word phrases’, as discussed in Chapter 4. In writing them out you’ll open a channel with your own unconscious processes. The more you do this the better you’ll get. The more you do this the more you’ll find yourself creating exactly the right words at the right time.

Trance scripts are a good way for some people to start helping others achieve trance states. However, as you learn, it’s better to focus your attention on your client and let your unconscious come up with right words.

Also remember that words are anchors. We don’t really know how a client will react to a particular word until we say it. We may think the word ‘relax’ is relaxing, but a particular client may find the word causes him to get angry, for reasons we're unaware of.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Beale is one of the UK's leading NLP Trainers and Business Coaches. For further details see Michael's website on NLP Training and NLP Courses.