So, you want to hypnotise someone… How do you go about it? What do you need to do in order to hypnotise someone successfully? Well, there’s more to it than just clicking your fingers and saying ‘sleep’…
Choosing someone to be hypnotised
Firstly, you’ll need to find someone that wants to be hypnotised. If a person doesn’t want to be hypnotised, then they’re unlikely to go into hypnosis. This is because all hypnosis is fundamentally ‘self-hypnosis’ (i.e. it’s a self-generated state). So, you can’t hypnotise anyone against their will, no matter how good a hypnotist you are…
Next, you’ll need to ensure that the person you’re hypnotising is a suitable candidate and can be safely hypnotised. Some people are less-safe when it comes to hypnosis and others should not be hypnotised at all. So, ensure that the person you’re intending to hypnotise has none of the following conditions/issues:
- Psychological disorders
- Personality disorders
- Severe (clinical) depression
- Uncontrolled epilepsy/seizures
- Brain trauma
- Severe learning difficulties/cognitive deficits
Do not hypnotise anyone that suffers from any of the above conditions, for their safety.
Where to hypnotise
So, once you have a suitable and willing subject, it’s a good idea to figure out the location that you’re going to be using. It’s a myth that you need a completely silent, comfortable environment in order to successfully hypnotise someone, but when you’re starting out, it can be a good idea to go for somewhere you’re less likely to be interrupted. With the method of hypnosis mentioned below, it is a good idea that the person can be sat or laying comfortably and that they’ll be able to easily hear you throughout the process.
Setting up for success (the pre-talk)
Once you’re there with them, before you start you’ll need to do a ‘pre-talk’. This is a conversation that you’ll have with your subject/client in order to check that their expectations of hypnosis meet the ‘reality’ of it. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the different myths and misconceptions that a person may have about hypnosis, before you begin hypnotising them, because you need to put their mind at ease and ensure that they’re comfortable with engaging in the hypnosis process. As mentioned previously, if someone doesn’t want to be hypnotised (or is worried because your pre-talk didn’t cover what they were concerned about) then they won’t go into hypnosis. A great way to start a pre-talk off is by asking a simple question; ‘what are your thoughts about hypnosis?’. You can also ask if they have any concerns before you begin. Finally, it can be useful to find out if they have any previous experience with hypnosis at all, because this can either positively or negatively effect your own hypnosis approach.
The hypnosis process
For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to use one of the most common methods of inducing (creating) a state of hypnosis, this is known as a ‘progressive relaxation induction’. However, there are many other types of ‘hypnotic induction’, as described in this video by Dr Kate…
Anyway, to use a progressive relaxation induction, you’re basically looking to give the person ‘suggestions’ (tell them what to do) in order that they relax their body and mind progressively (over time). This doesn’t have to take hours, in fact it can be just a few minutes. Before you start, however, it’s worth considering how you’re going to deliver these relaxing suggestions. Your voice needs to portray relaxation, but as well as that, you need to convey confidence in your voice. So, when you’re about to give your hypnotic relaxation suggestions, ensure that your voice sounds confident and relaxing.
You can start the process off by asking the subject to take two or three deep breaths, then have them close their eyes. Once they have, you can continue to give them direct suggestions about breathing slowly (and noticing their breathing), feeling calm, relaxing as they listen to your voice and feeling comfortable… It’s important to use repetition, repeating similar suggestions over and over (and sometimes phrasing them slightly differently). You can then suggest that the person begins to relax their muscles, starting at the feet and gradually working all the way up through their entire body.
After that, you can suggest that they use their imagination and imagine themselves descending a staircase of 10 steps, each step making them more relaxed. It’s important to allow the person enough time to engage and comply with your suggestions, so though it may be tempting to ‘rush through it’, pace yourself and ensure they’ve got time to respond. It’s about relaxing them after all, and it’s hard to feel relaxed at the same time as feeling rushed! So, a bit slower works best here…
What to do when hypnotised
After you have employed any number of the above elements, your person should be in a state of hypnosis. Some people go ‘deep’ into hypnosis, others remain relatively ‘light’ throughout. This then dictates what you can do with them once hypnotised. Really deep subjects respond well to the majority of suggestions that you may give, whether for therapy or even for entertainment. Deeply hypnotised and responsive subjects may be able to engage in more complex therapy techniques and they may be able to hallucinate and accept/respond to fun and entertaining hypnotic suggestions at your direction. Lighter subjects are more limited to responding in their imagination and usually won’t be good candidates for stage/street hypnosis performances, that said, even light subjects are good candidates to benefit from hypnotherapy (as you don’t need to go deep in hypnosis to respond to hypnotherapy).
Waking your person from hypnosis is relatively simple, you just tell them that they’re going to wake up as you count upwards (usually from 1 to 5), whilst giving them suggestions to become more awake, alert and energise. It’s worth giving them suggestions that they will awaken feeling really good. Here’s another video on the topic of waking people up:
We hope that this blog on how to do hypnosis has been helpful to you. If you have any more questions about this topic or anything else for that matter, do please get in touch, because we’re always happy to help!
– written by Rory Z Fulcher