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How to Hypnotize Someone - A Simple Guide to Hypnosis
How to I explain how to hypnotize someone? First we must understand what hypnosis is. Hypnosis is not what many people think it is. A hypnotic trance is not a brain-dead, obey-all zombification during which you are completely unaware of your surroundings. Hypnosis does not usually induce a deep catatonic state, although with enough patience and the right subject, it can create an analog catatonia.
When someone is on a stage pretending to eat their own shoe or be chased by a wildergoat, they are aware they are on a stage. Likewise if they are in a hypnotherapist's office being asked to picture themselves as a child, they know they are only picturing it. They will not confuse it with reality, thinking they are actually a child. They will feel like the child, act like the child, but they will know they have been hypnotized and are sitting on a hypnotherapist's couch.
Hypnosis is best thought of as a special state of mind which is very relaxed, cerebral, and above all suggestible. When you are in a state of hypnosis or hypnotic trance, you have a strong sense of ability to control your own brain, which is why it marries up with NLP so closely.
The Rules of Hypnosis
These rules are adapted from Derren Brown's excellent guidelines to hypnosis. As one of the greatest hypnosis experts alive today, Derren is a great role model to follow and I feel it necessary to point these rules out.
- Do not try to hypnotize anyone who is clearly disturbed or has epilepsy. Same goes with a history of mental illness. Just don't.
- Do not attempt to make subconscious "changes" or suggestions. If you don't know what you're doing, look but don't touch.
- Leave out theatrics. Don't try to become invisible or get your inductee to eat an onion and think it's an apple. Don't play tricks on your inductee, unless you're experienced in which case you don't need this guide.
- Everything you do contributes to the hypnosis. Your inductee will be hypersensitive to his surroundings. If you or others appear flustered in the face of an unexpected response, then your inductee might begin panicking. Avoid this.
- At the end, always make sure the person is completely free from any belief he may still be hypnotised. If he thinks he is half under, he will be. Take your time bringing them out of the trance.
- Take it slowly, and only in a controlled, safe, environment. No time pressures.
- Treat it as a relaxation tool, not an entertainment tool.
Setting for Hypnosis
Your subject should be in a comfortable, reclined position. This could be a comfortable armchair, couch, or some beanbags on the floor. The subject needs to be someone who trusts you, hypnosis simply will not work on someone who does not trust their hypnotizer. Finally, make sure there are no expected guests or interruptions. Phones off.
Priming for Hypnosis
Quickly, in the next two seconds, try to eat whatever you can find, no not that! Jeez! Is it true that French houses have more ceilings than they have floors? Bang, you're now in a suggestible state.
Confusion is a wonderful catalyst for suggestion, so before we hypnotise our subject, we need to confuse them or shock them a little bit. This confusion and shock will scramble the brain and render them more suggestible. More specifically, the subject's prefrontal cortex becomes too occupied with trying to comprehend the confusing message and reason with the shock to filter out the suggestions as "optional". The suggestions will go straight to the subconscious, where they will be followed.
The shock does not have to be severe - all you need to do is to look your subject in the eye and touch them lightly on the arm as you tell them your slightly confusing message. It is also good to lean a little bit too close while you do your priming. I use a mixture of bad grammar, keywords and reassuring suggestions.
All hypnosis can be remembered clearly afterwards, safe just like normal memories they will be easy to recall. You'll imagine yourself in your mind's eye and it will get vivid. You will be able to exit the hypnosis any time you want, but you probably won't want to because it's quite fun. You'll see the relax and vivid pictures in your imagination but you don't worry about that now! If I say something you don't understand, just relax and go with the flow. I will bring you back in about half an hour, so treat it as a relaxation tool and sink into your seat. It's quite a good time to just fire up your imagination, so let's start.
How to Induce Hypnosis
Here is a quick script you can read to your subject. It basically goes over the induction, you should modify it to suit your subject and your surroundings. Read in a calm, clear voice.
Sit back and relax. Place your hands comfortably at your sides. Allow my words to just wash over you as suggestions are placed you find yourself following them. Everything here is safe and peaceful and as you feel your body becoming more and more relaxed you find you can shift your relaxation to your eyes. With your eyes alone, gently look upwards and as you notice your eyelids feeling slightly heavier, you allow your body to sink down comfortably into the chair. As your eyes slowly grow heavier, you can allow them to close. As you breathe, let your body numb and relax deeper into the chair. As you feel your body relaxing, so it becomes more numb and eventually the comfortable relaxation drifts up into your shoulders. As you feel your legs wanting to let go, let them go deep and relaxed into the chair, and your feet deflate deep into the floor. The relaxation makes its way up your neck and as it does, a peaceful, warm electricity shoots tingles down into your armpits and shoots down your arms into your fingers, as if warm sparks are dancing on the tips of your fingers. Allow the relaxed state to climb further up your neck and into your head, getting closer and closer to the very center of your consciousness. Allow your mind to go sleepier and sleepier until you are perfectly relaxed.
In your mind's eye, imagine you're standing at the top of a staircase of ten stairs, with a door at the bottom of it. As we count down from ten, with each count you'll take a step and become more and more relaxed, blissfully deeper and deeper into this trance, ten. As you feel your body becoming more and more relaxed you step down again, nine. Because your body is feeling so relaxed right now it is almost impossible to perceive, eight. As you begin to notice that your body is almost completely numb, you can now forget about your body and step down seven. Deeper and deeper into the relaxed, peaceful, comfortable state, six. The stairway becomes more and more vivid as you become more relaxed, five. As you descend your inner staircase, you start to notice how the stairs may feel against your feet, four. Deeper and deeper into this relaxed, super-comfortable trance, three. More and more comfortable, more and more relaxed, two. Relaxed peaceful trance, one. Open the door and your body goes to SLEEP and your mind wakes up.
- Use positive words and sentence structure
- Avoid using negative words, rather than "You can't feel your legs" you would say "Your legs are numb"
- If the person gets uncomfortable, ask them if they want to wake up out of the trance. If they do not answer, take them out of their trance.
- If a person in unresponsive to leaving the trance, touch them on the arm as you give a command. If you touch their arm as you say anything, it will add gravity to your statement.
Leaving the Hypnotic State
It is very simple to get someone out of a hypnotic trance.
Now it's time to come back. Return to the door with the stairs. You're going to walk back up the ten stairs back into normality. When you wake you will feel very refreshed from having been in such a relaxed state. One, you start feeling your body again. Two, starting to wake up now. Three, energy is rushing into your muscles. Four, you are feeling rejuvenated. Five, more energy, six, waking up now. Seven, you're feeling so refreshed you'll just run up the last three steps eight nine ten wide awake!
It is a good idea to ask your subject for feedback so you can make improvements to your own hypnosis skill. The more times you hypnotise someone, the better you get. Don't worry if you cannot get it to work on your first try. Keep working at it and soon you'll be able to really get the hang of what works and what doesn't.
Further Reading: Regions of the Brain