You’ve built your outline script for putting someone into a hypnotic trance, and now you’ve become comfortable speaking hypnotically. Let us now begin with the act of hypnosis, and what to do once someone is under. You will initially want to learn from your participant why they hope to gain from hypnosis so that you can work towards that goal. Having an end result in mind is extremely important in successful hypnosis. If you only develop a vague and general sense of what you’re going to have the subject do, hypnosis can be ineffective and unhelpful. Speak with the participant long enough so that you have a good idea of what they want, and how you’re going to lead them there. I’ll tell you more of how to do this later. First, let’s look at some components of hypnosis outlined by Roy Hunter, author of The Art of Hypnosis: How to Hypnotize Anyone.
Components of Hypnosis
These components are variables in how successful hypnosis will be. Hunter likes to think of them as ingredients for hypnosis; spices that are added to ensure a full experience, successful integration of suggestion, and aid in bringing about a desirable outcome. The “ingredients” can work negatively or positively with the patient. It is the role of the hypnotist to develop these themes with the subject, as much as it is the subject’s role to participate in the practice.
Hunter posits that imagination “enhances one’s ability to be hypnotized, especially since imagination is the language of the subconscious–as is evidenced by the way we can all respond to something that is not real simply because we imagine it.” Imagination can be extremely powerful. It can form base suspicions, give you a great idea, and allow you a mental landscape for reverie that it so rich you might think it is real. Before you begin hypnosis, ask your subject what they imagine hypnotism to feel like. Have them describe to you their imagined state of mind, bodily feelings, etc. This will enhance their ability to go along with their imagination as they are hypnotized, and help them to enter the hypnotic state more quickly. Remember, there are no wrong or right answers when they are imagining. Be supportive and non-judgmental of their descriptions.
If your subject is avidly convinced that they will not be hypnotized it will be all the more difficult to put them under. A subject that is open to the possibility of hypnosis and suggestion is really the only subject to practice on. It is also important to develop a solid desire for an outcome. Quitting smoking, breaking a habit, becoming less shy: these are goals that can be realized through hypnosis and should be vocalized by you and your subject often. In your script you can add phrases like: “today we will work on opening James up, to have him be more outgoing, more confident, more vocal.” Giving a list of encouraging words or related adjectives is a nice addition.
Expectation and Conviction
Expectation and conviction can go a long way in helping hypnosis’ success. You can bring imagination back here, asking the subject, before you begin, to imagine coming to their end goal through hypnosis. What would that look like? For example, if they want to quit smoking, have them imagine a scenario after the hypnosis: wanting a cigarette and then feeling that desire fade away until they are repulsed. Have them really describe that feeling of desire fading away, have them describe it to you, and have them discuss how they would feel afterwards, happy and confident that they refused a negative pull.
Beginning with these steps will give you tools to use within the hypnotic state. You can use the information gathered from your subject to build a hypnosis script. This will be different for everyone as is custom tailored, but the basics will be same throughout.
The script itself will be a monologue; below are listed three main elements to include, but the content is really up to you. Make sure you are using careful word choices; you don’t want to convey the wrong thing to your subject by using an ambiguous word. Stick to shorter, direct sentences. You will vary the content with hypnotic reminders: phrases to bring the subject deeper into hypnosis.
(The following script excerpts are from Gemma Bailey’s Creating Trance and Hypnosis Scripts, a highly recommended book.)
The Three Elements
Include these three elements in all of your hypnosis scripts in this order: Change, Motivation, Imagination, Positive Self-Identity. This progression will help your subject understand the changes needing to be made and why, how to motivate themselves, or uncover the motivations to make a change, having them imagine their success, and then leaving them with self-affirming thoughts that will stay them on their path.
In the beginning you will want to address the goal. Let’s use quitting smoking as our example. The subject should be fully relaxed an in a trance.
You can begin by saying: “Now you are in a fully relaxed state. You have entered a deep hypnotic trance. My words will come into your mind, and they will stay there, giving power to my suggestions as I work to help you.”
From here, you can improvise your own advice block. This is the part that will speak to the subject’s desire. Be encouraging and positive, while painting their bad habit in a negative light. For example:
“You’ve taken a step that will free you from being at the mercy of a bad habit. There is no need to feel ashamed anymore. Those disgusting smells and tastes will no longer be a part of you. So just lay back and relax, more now, depper. You can find that you can just drift here and there, listening and not listening; it’s up to you to do this. Either way, changes are being made. Because you have made this commitment to create a healthy reward for yourself, so reward yourself now.”
Remember to enhance the speech with positive suggestions: “You can feel proud and confident that you will achieve this with ease. Perhaps you could begin to feel this now and allow those feelings to increase throughout the rest of this session. Always drifting deeper and deeper.”
Motivation will stay with the subject long after the session. It is important to include both positive and negative motivations in your script. For example:
“Yellow teeth, yellow fingers, lines above the upper lip, the smell that’s followed you a like a shadow, until you made the decision to STOP NOW, and starting to breath better now…You can be in control without smoking. Knowing that you can as relax and go deeper.”
You can now bring in the imaginative exercise from before the session. Ask your subject to imagine the past scenarios, and bring in the elements of feeling that desire fading away, the situations changing to include refusing the cigarette, refusing the desire, refusing the negative effects.
“I will now be silent for two minutes while you spend some time observing yourself in those old habits, now seeing yourself in those situations without cigarettes, the feeling of easier breathing, of the fresh scent of air. Notice how easy and natural it feels to observe this behavior. Clean and new. Next time you hear my voice you will have made the transition.”
To close, bring in a strong flow of self-identity labels that the subject can attach to themselves. Make them feel confident and good about their decision and give them strength to continue to stick with it.
“The changes have been made. Explore the difference you feel. You may be lighter, relieved. A non smoker can feel proud now, accepting that this new belief in yourself will grow with each day and each and every cigarette you forget to think about. You will begin to feel healthier, in three days your breathing will be easier and your blood will flow strongly, freely, giving you energy. I know you will easily and naturally refrain from smoking so that you can enjoy improved quality, breaking and strong cleaner lungs. When this happens, you will then feel more certain that you will never smoke again.”
If you will be working with your subject again, you can add a line about the next time to make the transition into hypnosis easier and quicker: “Whenever you hear my voice, you will allow yourself to relax ten times more deeply than you are now. Imagine that state. The suggestions I give you then will go ten times deeper into your mind.”
“In a few moments I will awaken you. When you wake you will feel very relaxed and very refreshed all over. You will feel alive and alert, very refreshed. Full of energy. Full of a sense of purpose. You will keep on feeling relaxed and fine all the rest of the day. Tonight when you go to sleep you sleep soundly and deeply all night long. You will awake to feel on top of the world. I am now going to count back from 1 to 5. At the count of 5 you will open your eyes, be wide awake and feeling fine, feeling relaxed, refreshed, alert, and in very high spirits. 1….2….coming up slowly now…3…at the count of 5 you will open your eyes, be wide away and feeling fantastic….4….5….(Here you can snap your fingers at the count of 5.)
For more help on building the hypnotic script, review our lesson on Prep Work: Building an Outline Script for helpful tips on repetition, rhythm and intonation.