Hypnosis is not hypnosis. The word hypnosis comes from the word hypnos, the name of the greek god of sleep. Technically though, hypnosis is not sleep as the subject remains completely aware of their surroundings and in full control at all times which commonly misperceived by the general public. There are two sets of theorists researching hypnosis, they are the state theorists who believe that hypnosis is some kind of special mental state and there’s the non-state theorists who believe that hypnosis is nothing special at all and is entered into by everybody on a daily basis. The latter seems to be becoming the more popular and logical theory. In other words, nobody knows for sure what hypnosis really is or how it really works apart from the fact that it is simply induced by suggestion. Therefore I must state, before I explain how to hypnotize, that this is a powerful tool and not something to be messed about with, if you don’t know what you’re doing you could cause serious damage. Also, never ever try to hypnotize anybody with epilepsy or any other kind of mental illness/disorder. The first time you hypnotize somebody it’s always better to induce a trance using relaxation which also relaxes the critical faculty of their conscious mind opening them up to suggestion, have them enjoy the experience for a few minutes, then slowly bring them back making sure to take your time.
Hypnosis, or suggestion as I believe it should be called, is based on many things including rapport, linguistic techniques, authority, belief and expectation. Everybody also has a certain amount of suggestibility some may take longer to hypnotize than others. The simplest way to generate rapport is by naturally and subtly mirroring the subjects behaviour and mannerisms which gives the indication that you are on the same level as them. Breathe and blink at the same rate as them too. Now speak to them, maybe an introduction to hypnosis and to dispell any common misconceptions they may have about which hypnosis which I feel is quite important. As you’re speaking try to fluently comment on up to ten things that the subject knows are true. This could be the fact that they are sat there listening, with their eyes closed, relaxing, etc. By doing so you are generating stronger rapport with the subject. This is called pacing. You can lead from this pacing technique straight into a hypnotic script which then include leading comments to lead the subject to the new desired behaviour. Think of pacing as a and leading as b. Try to make three linked statements that are true (pacing) then following with a statement that suggests what you want your subject to do (leading) or look at it like this:
a, a, a, b, a, a, a, b
For suggestion to work it needs to be repeated because the more something is repeated the more it sticks in your mind. Like your first day at a new job which is very tedious, you go home and it continues to run through your mind. That is the effect of suggestion. Once you feel that your initial suggestion has been repeated enough times to be picked up by the subject you can then start incorporating it into your pacing statements like so:
a, a, a, b, a, a, a, b, a, a, b, c, a, a, b, c
c being the next suggestion you want the subject to pick up on, maybe eye closure after already suggesting relaxation. Convert this into script format and you should have something like this:
As you sit there, comfortable in the chair and continue to focus on nothing but my voice you may begin to feel your muscles become more relaxed as you sit in the chair, and as I talk to you while you listen to each of my words, letting your mind drift away you may feel as though you are floating, drifting off deeper and deeper into relaxation. I usually take the subject into very deep relaxation and have them imagine themselves going down some steps to a beach or a garden or somewhere they feel safe and comfortable. To bring them out of trance I pace and lead them very gradually, making sure to take my time, back to normality before telling them they are able to open their eyes.
There is another effective technique that can be incorportated with pacing and leading called embedded commands. If you put ‘let your mind drift off’ at the end of a sentence you are leaving a command which will echo or stick in the subjects mind. This will work even if you are using sentences like ‘no matter how much you want to drift off, you don’t have to go into trance’ because you are leaving the commands ‘drift off’ and ‘go into trance’ at the ends of the sentences which is picked up by the subconscious. I don’t want to give any clearer descriptions or examples of scripts here because hypnosis is something that should only be used by caring, tasteful people who are not planning on doing this just for a laugh. I hope there is enough information here for the seriously interested people to be able to piece together in order to be able to understand a bit better how hypnosis works.