The most important step in understanding how to hypnotize someone is to forget any preconceived notions you may have gathered from the movies or TV shows. Unless you have been formally trained and certified in hypnotherapy, abandon all ideas you may have about putting someone in a hypnotic trance.This is not the way hypnotic suggestion works.
To understand now to hypnotize someone you have to first realize that the process is not a means to make someone your personal slave. You will not be able to make your subject jump up and down on one foot or shave their eyebrows off. Hypnosis is the process of putting someone in a suggestive state.
Successful hypnotic suggestion will ensure that what is said by the therapist is directly conveyed to the subconscious. Among other things, this means that the subject will always be aware of his or her surroundings and what they are doing. Think of subconscious as a deep state of relaxation where there is a direct channel to the subconscious workings of a person’s brain opened up.
The Uses of Hypnosis
Again, discard all notions that hypnosis can be performed as some kind of parlor trick. There is valid clinical use for hypnosis and it usually involves altering the behavior patterns of an individual for the better.
Some of the most common reasons that a person would seek out the assistance of a hypnotherapist are weight-loss, relaxation related issues, to alleviate fears and phobias, to treat depression, as treatment for anxiety or tension, and other strictly physical ailments.
While the uses for hypnotherapy are many, not everyone can benefit from it. First of all, not everyone is as susceptible to hypnotic suggestion. Some people have very strong pre-conceptions about hypnosis that keeps them from relaxing enough to enter a state where they can be treated by a hypnotherapist. Some people simply do not take to it.
It is important to remember that before learning how to hypnotize someone, be aware that it will not always produce results.
Still, there have been many credible clinical studies published where in the benefits of hypnosis have been clearly validated. Extended hypnotic therapy has even been proven to help with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.
Hypnosis should only be attempted with the purpose of helping someone and with much skill, experience and training, a wealth of mental and physical ailments can be treated with hypnosis.
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What You Should Know Before You Begin
Learning how to hypnotize someone is a very delicate dance. If done correctly, your subject will be placed into a very sensitive and suggestible state. You are essentially being entrusted with the psyche of an individual and as such, there are certain basic rules that must be followed if you are attempting to hypnotize someone.
First of all, do not attempt to hypnotize anyone that is suffering from a pre-existing mental condition. People with schizophrenia and other serious mental conditions have very delicate psyches and should not be tampered with by an inexperienced hypnotherapist. The consequences can be very volatile and detrimental.
in order to be able to hypnotize anyone they have to trust you. Remember that you will have an impact on the subject’s subconscious and in order for suggestions to take, the subject must feel that you have their best interest in mind and feel completely at ease with you, which leads us to our next point.
The subject must be comfortable. A calm, soothing and comfortable environment like a quiet and secure office room is ideal. The subject should be seated or reclined comfortably and must be able to enter an essentially meditative state. This should go without saying but make sure that before you attempt any hypnosis session, all cell phones are turned off and that no one will barge into the room in the middle of the session.
Always keep in mind that your subject is aware of what is going on even in a deep state of hypnotic reception. No matter how good a hypnotist you are, you will never be able to lead your subject to believe that they are on the moon or at the center of the Earth. What you do, when you move and the environment will always be able to be clearly perceived to anyone in a hypnotic state.
Have the purpose of the session at the forefront of your mind at all times. Every session should have a clear purpose and everything you say and do during the sessions should be working towards a positive goal. For example, if your subject comes to you wanting to be able to unwind more thoroughly at the end of the day, be sure that every feeling, scene and sensation you invoke is pleasant, calming and relaxing.
Finally, make sure that your subject is willing. This is perhaps the most important preparation step in a successful hypnosis session, because if your subject is not willing or does not believe that he or she can be hypnotized, it simply will not work. After all, hypnosis is essentially a letting down of an essential mental guard.
Getting into the Hypnotic state
There are a couple different ways you can begin inducing a hypnotic state. The first: use confusion as a springboard into the hypnotic state. The second: use a calming mantra or ritual to get your subject totally relaxed. You can even start with a confusion tactic to get your subject into a relaxed state.
- The Confusion Tactic – The logic behind the confusion tactic is to preoccupy your subject’s mental capacities so that they leave their more subconscious faculties unguarded. By blindsiding your subject with a nonsensical sentence or an impossible task-“gather the stars in your mouth”- you can render their minds much more suggestible and open up that all important path to their subconscious.
You can also catch your subject off guard by gently placing your hand on their arm or leaning into their space closer than you normally would. The brain immediately shuffles thoughts around to try and deal with the intrusion which serves as a diversion of mental power.
- The Relaxation Tactic – The other school of thought on bringing a subject into a state of hypnotic suggestibility is to have them lay back, speak very smoothly and calmingly and have them relax their body parts one by one. You can tell your subject to close their eyes and match their breathing pattern with yours.
By giving your subject specific tasks like relaxing their legs, then their arms, then their neck, you are effectively getting their mind to focus on something other than the hypnosis. This should be a systematic process that is long enough for the subject to become completely engaged in. Again, this is for the purpose of essentially letting down a mental guard and opening a small path to the person’s subconscious.
- The Combination of Both – Quite simply, combining the two-confusion and then relaxation. can produce the same desired effects, in the end, the goal of the 2 tactics is the same so make sure you proceed with the clear purpose of getting your subject to focus on something other than the hypnosis.
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The Self-imaging Process
Imagination plays a crucial role in hypnotherapy. It is extremely helpful for the mind to enter a relaxed, trance-like state through the power of imagination and correlation. By relating a progressing mental image-like imagining oneself walking down a set of stairs slowly- to a state of being-such as relating every descending step to a deeper state of relaxation- the brain is able to focus more clearly on a goal. After all, we as humans are visual learners.
In many practices, it has been found extremely productive to have the subject imagine the staircase or some other similar variant in order to usher them into a safely relaxed state of mind. The end goal of this visualization exercise should be to sink your subject deeper and deeper into their own mind.
Once in the Hypnotic State
Again, it is extremely crucial that your subject trusts you and to remember that the ultimate goal of hypnosis is to aid someone in bettering their behaviors or physical state. Having reiterated that sentiment, do not try to tell someone what to do or now to think once they have arrived in a hypnotic state.
The mind tends to reject outright commands coming from an external source so giving commands-much like those seen on TV and in the movies- is counterproductive. Giving a person a command often does not work anyway as most subjects are unable to reach such a deep state of suggestibility. It is of utmost importance to maintain a high level of trust with your subject because they are conscious during hypnosis and will recall all that transpired during the session.
Instead, the best method to produce a desired result-that of the subject- is to gently guide them towards their goal, it is important to note that hypnosis is a method of attaining clarity in order to find the right solutions within one’s own mind.
Think of a particularly poignant dream you have had in the past. Hypnosis works in much the same way. The answer is always in our own brains but oftentimes we are too bogged down with the concerns of the outside world to decipher them. This is why hypnosis, especially self hypnosis is so often compared to meditation.
So, the goal of a successful hypnotherapist will always be to lead the subject to the answers to the problems in their life that are locked within their minds. Getting your subject to relax and focus on an issue on a deeper level than they have before is already a huge step in the right direction. Be a guide, don’t be a teacher.
It is common practice to have your subject imagine their life without the problem that they are trying to address. Have them paint a mental image of what it would be like if they were free of their afflictions or mental hang-ups. Over time, their brains will naturally reveal the best course of action to make this a reality.
Back to Life
During hypnosis is it always a good idea to closely observe the breathing patterns of your subject. Their breathing should always be calm and easy. If they are moving their body in an abrupt way such as a twitch or spasm, you should get them out of the trance state.
If the subject is ready to leave the trance state naturally, here is how it should be done:
- Counting Down – A very crucial tip worth noting when learning how to hypnotize someone is the fact that no one should be abruptly jolted from a hypnotic state. This is why counting down from ten or five is such a widely practice method to end a hypnotherapy session. Let them know beforehand that you will be counting them out of their trance-like state and when you have reached your set number, that they will be awake or will have exited their trance.
- Back Up the Stairs – Have your subject imagine walking back up the set of stairs or the opposite way in the corridor, whichever imagery you used to get them into a hypnotic state to come out of their hypnosis.
- Gentle Contact – in cases of deep hypnosis, some subjects may not respond to the aforementioned methods. This is where a gentle placing of the hand on their arm may be necessary. Again, always let the subject know what you are going to do before you do it especially in cases of contact. Your words will be more poignant and impactful on a person’s mind when accompanied with a gentle form of contact.
The Session is Not Done Yet
Once your subject is awake, don’t think that it’s ok to be jarring. Relaxation and comfort are just as important after hypnosis as they are during. Try to naturally open a dialogue with your subject about the hypnosis. Take detailed notes on what they tell you, what their observations were and now they felt while they were under.
The information on how to hypnotize someone should be a guide for you to fine tune each subsequent session and to help you see more clearly the personal goals and aims of the individual. It cannot be stressed enough that hypnosis is a means of natural therapy and that hypnotherapists are more Sherpa than they are Shaman. By being a gentle chaperone to your subject, you will lead them to a more fulfilling and rewarding life by their own efforts.