Explaining Hypnosis

Tips For The Professional Using Hypnotherapy In Their Practice

by Philip Holder PhD.

Copyright Philip Holder 2015 all rights reserved


The single most important thing in grooming a new client or patient ( We’ll use Subject) for hypnosis is to increase their comfort level so that, not only have you eliminated fears, but additionally you have created excitement and enthusiasm. To accomplish this it’s not enough to simply tell them facts about hypnosis. In any profession what a person well schooled in that field takes for granted may not be at all clear to someone unfamiliar with that particular profession. The Subject who is properly prepared and in the right mindset will have an incredibly greater rate of success. I tell students many times each year the proper prep is 90% of the battle. Inductions are easy. Facilitating critical faculty bypass is not the challenge. The fact is, preparation is essential, a well conducted intake is indispensable, and knowing how to implement the data gathered during the intake is a fundamental skill for success. The intake, induction and implementation of the material are all a moot points if the Subject has not been properly prepared.


I found that using analogies and metaphors in describing hypnosis is one of the best ways to create a comfort level with the Subject. When the Subject is able to personally identify with what you, the Operator are explaining to them about hypnosis from their own life experience or base of knowledge, it becomes easy to increase their comfort level and create enthusiasm. I have included below some of the analogies that I use when prepping BodySmart Wellness patients. They are written in the same manner that I would deliver them to a newbie to hypnosis.


The fact of the matter is, if I were King of the earth, I would do away with the word hypnosis completely. Thanks to the news media, movies, TV shows and the like, many people have a really skewed view of hypnosis. I would simply call it critical faculty bypass, because by definition, that’s what hypnosis is. Hypnosis is a science that follows specific criteria and protocol and is repeatable. It’s not the mystical thing that’s presented movies. (And then I ever so briefly explain the science of hypnosis, the properties of the subconscious and conscious mind, dispel myths, etc.)


Thoughts are perfectly fine in hypnosis. It’s okay to have thoughts in hypnosis. People aren’t in some wacky alternative dimension when in hypnosis. There is however one particular type of thought that needs to be bypassed and that’s critical thought. Let me give you an example of critical thought: Let’s say you’re sitting there in my comfy chair, and I have you in the beautiful state of hypnosis, and all the sudden your nose begins to itch. The fact of the matter is, if you just reach up and scratch it. Movement won’t bring you out of hypnosis of hypnosis. I can have people can talk, move, open their eyes, while in hypnosis and easily remain in hypnosis. But this type of thinking could either reduce the depth of transfer bring someone out of hypnosis… Oh no… My nose is itching. Maybe I shouldn’t move to scratch it. I’m afraid that might bring me out of hypnosis. I’d better not scratch it, but it’s driving me crazy. That critical thinking might reduce the depth of trance or bring you out of hypnosis entirely. So relax and enjoy. If you need to switch your position in the chair or to scratch an itch just go for it.


You’ve been in hypnosis hundreds of times in your life. Let me give you an example. I bet you’ve had this happen before. You’re driving down the road and well you’re driving your daydreaming about may be something you did over the weekend or something you’re going to do next weekend and you zip right past your turn. Guess what you are in hypnosis. The selective thought you were having was your daydreaming. Missing your turn, shows that you had bypassed the critical part of your thinking that was navigating your route. By definition you were in hypnosis.


Another example of times you’ve been in hypnosis… I’m sure you’ve gone to a movie where you become emotionally involved in the movie. Perhaps a character in the movie that you made an emotional connection with was killed and a tear comes to your eyes, or there’s a villain that so despicable and evil that you find yourself actually getting angry. In the filmmaking industry that’s called “A Suspended State Of Disbelief”. When you went to the movie, you essentially said, I want to be entertained so I will allow a suspended state of disbelief while I watch this film. Essentially you suspended critical and rational thinking. The plot was your selective thinking. You were in hypnosis.


Here’s an example of how some people feel well in hypnosis. Imagine that you’re the passenger in a car. It’s late at night, and you’re really tired. You close your eyes and sort of nod out, but are not fully asleep. Others in the car are talking and you hear someone say, “Don’t talk to (your name), he/she is sleeping. You don’t answer but you think to yourself, I’m not sleeping but it is too much effort to respond.


Another example… You’re at the beach. You’ve been in the sun all day and finely you stretch out on the blanket, or lay back in a recliner to rest. Aou begin to drift and dream as you enjoy the feeling of the sun and the breeze on your body. If at that time I were to tap you on the shoulder and say to you, what did those people sitting next to you on the other blanket just say, you probably reply,” I don’t know I wasn’t listening”. If however, someone by the water’s edge yelled shark, you’d likely lift your head and look because although not fully awake, you were not fully asleep.


Imagine that it’s morning. You’re not quite awake yet, but you hear someone else talking in the house or you hear birds, or a dog barking outside, but they’re just background noise. It feels so good to be so relaxed, that you’re just not ready to open your eyes and fully awake yet. This is often similar to the feeling people get well in hypnosis.


I only give patients that come to our office the information they need in order to create comfort and enthusiasm… Nothing more. It’s important to remember that you’re not training at Hypnotherapist when you prepare Subject. Providing too much information can lead to additional objections and/or fears that would never have come to the subjects attention, but for you bringing it up. Less is more.


Frequently students as well as practicing hypnotherapists contact me for ideas on how to improve their technique. One of the most common problems I see is that oftentimes too much focus is placed on the induction and on the delivery of suggestion etc,, while in an inadequate amount of effort is put in the preparation. I like to do all the heavy lifting on the front end. In session, by the time I get to the induction, the vast majority of my work is already done. All I have to do from that point forward is lock it down for the long haul. All sessions you conduct, will only be as good as the foundation you lay. As well, from a time management standpoint, laying a solid foundation just makes good sense. Analogous to what I’ve suggested in this article… I build deepening techniques into each induction. Simple quick effective triggers. If someone that am working with begins to lose depth of trance, I already have a quick easy method in place to get them right back where I need them. That eliminates the need for elaborate deepening techniques during a session. (We’ll leave that topic for another article.) So lay a good foundation and be sure your preparation is thorough and it will make your life easier and increase your success rate.

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