Contrary to popular belief, most people are susceptible to both hypnosis and self-hypnosis techniques. Using hypnosis to enter into a hypnotic state or hypnotize someone else is technically something most people can do. However, the potential power of hypnotic suggestion and self-hypnosis techniques alike are not to be underestimated.
Consequently, those interested in hypnosis are strongly advised to learn the required skills and develop the appropriate knowledge needed to use hypnosis methods confidently and effectively (see our ‘Learn Hypnosis‘ post). Ideally, hypnosis should be performed exclusively by a qualified hypnotherapist in the right practical settings to enable a safe and effective process.
Hypnosis is not considered dangerous in the conventional sense but can have adverse effects without the required knowledge and skills. This introduction to hypnosis methods (like all step-by-step guides to basic inductions) should therefore be viewed as an informational piece only, not as a direct recommendation or endorsement of amateur hypnosis or self-administered hypnosis for the inexperienced.
What is Hypnosis (or Self-hypnosis?)
The question is as to what exactly hypnosis has no simple or briefly definable answer. Hypnosis is a term that applies to a wide variety of techniques used to enable a person to enter into a hypnotic state, during which they are able to discover new things about themselves, reach a state of heightened relaxation, and embrace the power of positive thinking.
Essentially, hypnosis provides a person with the opportunity to dig deeper than the conscious mind and access their subconscious, with the aim of effectively reprogramming their subconscious to make positive life changes.
The outcome of hypnosis will always be completely different from one person to the next, in accordance with what the individual in question hopes to achieve. Someone undergoing hypnosis could be pursuing success at work, someone else could be looking to quit smoking, while others may be more interested in finding effective ways to lose weight.
Hypnosis is not about pursuing a quick and easy ‘cure’ for anything. Instead, it is about taking every practical step possible to create helpful links between the conscious and subconscious minds in order to make positive changes.
From stress relief to improving memory capacity to mastering the art of relaxing meditation, hypnosis can be used to make a wide variety of positive improvements. Often from the first time a person enters a hypnotic trance, they are subsequently able to take control of their life in a way that was not previously possible.
How Easy Is It to Hypnotize Somebody?
Hypnotic suggestions to ease another person into a hypnotic state are relatively easy to master. It’s rarely necessary to take a paid course or undergo professional training – it’s more a case of learning the basic techniques and getting plenty of practice.
In theory, we all have it within our power to be hypnotized and to hypnotize someone else. Just as long as you have the right mindset and take the time to understand the process of hypnotic inductions, it can be relatively straightforward.
Step 1: Materials
You will first need to ensure that you have the necessary materials to succeed with the subsequent hypnotic methods, which are limited to the following basics:
1. A willing volunteer for you to hypnotize, who must have an open mind and a clear head about the whole thing. It is much more difficult to hypnotize someone who is reluctant or does not believe in hypnosis, at least until you build more advanced abilities.
2. An appropriate location for the session to take place, which needs to be somewhere quiet, private, and as comfortable as possible for both of you.
Step 2: Pre-Induction Talk
This is where the process of relaxation begins and is an important stage in easing a person towards a hypnotic trance. You need to know what the person already knows about hypnosis, if they have any past experience in being hypnotized, and what they expect to get out of the session.
Remember that the expectations of one person may be entirely different than those of someone else. Build a clear picture of what will take place, discuss openly what you both expect to get out of it, and avoid unnecessarily complex language and terminology at all costs.
Step 3: The Induction
Inductions begin in the step above, during which the initial discussion takes place and confidence is built. After which, you can begin moving on to the first stage of the practical induction process, which involves having your subject sit in a comfortable chair and asking them to put their arms up straight out in front of them, with their palms facing inwards shoulder-width apart.
Next, place your index finger between the palms of your subject and tell them to focus their gaze on it. Inform them that you will remove your finger from this space momentarily, but they must continue focusing on this empty space after. Remove your finger.
Next, tell the subject that you are about to instruct them to close their eyes and imagine the hands are being pulled together by powerful magnets in their palms. Tell them that as soon as their hands meet, a wave of immense relaxation will flow through their body from head to toe, after which they will fall into a hypnotic state.
Once the subject is ready to go ahead, tell them to close their eyes, continue picturing the space between their palms and feel the force of the magnets pulling their hands together.
Step 4: The Hypnotic Trance
Intensify the suggestion of the magnets pulling the subject’s hands together by reminding them of the force of the magnets with your voice. Tell them to focus on the magnets pulling and tugging at their palms as their hands gradually move closer together.
Just before their palms touch, push them together with your own hands, grabbing them firmly and pulling your subject towards you firmly but gently while saying “sleep” in a calm but commanding tone of voice.
It’s at this point that you will interrupt the behavior of the subject in a way that brings on a state of controlled confusion, enabling them to transition into a hypnotic trance by not having time to think too much about what is really happening with their hands.
Step 5: Deepeners and Hypnotic Suggestions
It’s at this point that your subject will be hypnotized and separated from the waking world, with the ability to tap into their subconscious. However, this is also the stage at which a wide variety of different methods and techniques can be used to different effects.
The most basic is to simply use a series of positive messages (or tell a story) in an attempt to convince a person to achieve their goals. Positive reinforcement, subliminal messaging with regard to breaking bad habits, and so on – all of which could subsequently stay in their subconscious after they awake.
Deepeners can also be used at this point in the process, with the aim of easing the individual into an even deeper state of hypnosis. However, it is important for the person conducting the session to fully understand how any given deepening technique works to avoid potentially problematic outcomes.
Your subject will remain susceptible to suggestions and general hypnotic phenomena for the duration of their trance, after which it is simply a case of bringing them back to the real world.
Step 6: Waking the Subject
Waking a subject from a hypnotic trance is relatively straightforward, utilizing a technique that can be implemented at any time during the process. Should you become concerned that things are not going as planned or you worry progress is not being made, you can wake the person at any time using the same basic methodology.
As a first-time hypnotherapist, the easiest way to wake someone from a hypnotic trance is to use the standard approach of counting from 1 to 5, while reminding them that they will feel fantastic when they awake. For example:
“In a moment, I will count slowly from 1 to 5, and as soon as I reach the number five, you will feel wide awake, refreshed, relaxed, and optimistic. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – eyes open and wide awake.”
In the unlikely event that this awakening technique doesn’t work, the subject may find themselves feeling disorientated, tired, and confused. Should this occur, the most effective solution is to put them back into a hypnotic trance once again before going through the awakening process from start to finish.