A common assertion I hear in relation to hypnosis is that “you can’t hypnotise everyone”. Well…yeah…I mean there are exceptions for pretty much everything in the world/every possibility and, even if you can do things it doesn’t always mean that you should.
This blog is focused on the people that can be reasonably hypnotised (e.g. no mental or physical health problems which would make trancing them ill-advised), Of this pool of potentially tranceable people, are some more susceptible than others?
I’ve had many clients come to me after being told they are “bad” subjects by previous hypnotists and it simultaneously angers me and breaks my heart as to my mind 99% of the time the issue lies with a poorly trained hypnotist who lacks experience and wrongly tries to place the blame on the subject.
If the subject is genuine in their desire to experience hypnotic trance (which in my experience most if not all are), then if the subject fails to achieve a trance state then it seems obvious to me that the issue lies with the hypnotist and their skill (or lack thereof), not the subject.
After all, everyone learns in different ways. Common hypnosis induction techniques like progressive relaxation may work well for the majority of people, and some may find it easier initially than others, but it doesn’t automatically follow that those who struggle to trance to common hypnosis inductions are somehow bad subjects. There will be a technique/techniques that are effective for you and allow you to enjoy trance and a good hypnotise will be able to hone in on and leverage those to give you the best possible experience.
Some hypnotists will try and claim that certain kinds of people – commonly analytical people – make poor hypnosis subjects. This is utterly and totally wrong. Analytical people make excellent hypnosis subjects and trance fast and deep once you know what techniques are effective and work with the subjects analytical abilities rather than suppressing them. After all, telling someone to “relax and not think” is like telling someone not to think about a pink elephant. What’s the first thing you think of? Then the subject gets distracted worrying about the fact they’re thinking when they’ve been told they shouldn’t have been thinking and this causes stress and tension. If, instead, you allow the subject to explore and analyse their experience as you guide them, you end up more often than not with a subject who is very quickly very deeply in trance.
You do get people who are naturally able to tap into their innate abilities more easily, but this applies to just about anything. Some people are naturals when it comes to learning to drive. For others it can take a little longer to feel comfortable and get the hang of things. It doesn’t mean such people are bad drivers. It’s simply a reflection of the fact that different people learn in different ways and at different speeds. Becoming upset because you’re not progressing as fast as you feel you “should” be detracts from being able to focus on what you are accomplishing. There is no generic optimum. There is simply what works for you. When you allow yourself to focus your attention on what you’re accomplishing then you are able to improve and build upon your progress rather than sabotage it by focusing on some idea of what you feel “should” be. Invest your energy where it can help you instead of allowing distraction and worry to hinder you.
If you’re unsure about anything then communicate – ask questions. Knowledge is power. A good hypnotist will be able to enlighten you and reassure you. Trance isn’t a race. It’s an exploration. A journey to be appreciated and enjoyed, not one to be rushed through. An opportunity to discover exactly what you are capable of. Embrace that.
Questions? Thoughts? Comments? Please share them below.
Hypnosis not being effective (for whatever reason) is a common worry/concern that I see regularly voiced by hypnotists and subjects alike. Sometimes it’s because a specific suggestion hasn’t worked. Other times the subject simply doesn’t trance at all.
With this in mind I wanted to offer some advice and reassurance to both hypnotists and subjects based on my years of experience. Most of the advice is aimed at hypnotists as it is hypnotists who need to take the responsibility for ensuring that hypnosis is successful. It still holds value for subjects, however, as it gives you an insight into hypnotists behavior and what is/isn’t appropriate when it comes to handling unexpected situations.
I hope you find it useful.
If you’re a subject:
The most important thing is not to panic. I can promise you that you’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve been hypnotising people for many years and I’ve yet to come across a “bad” subject so I can say with a fair amount of confidence that you’re a good subject. “But!” I can hear you cry “If I am a good subject, why can’t I be hypnotised?”. The answer is you can be, but just like learning any new skill, different people learn in different ways. The reasons for your past difficulties may simply be that the induction/hypnosis techniques that your hypnotist was using aren’t effective for you. It doesn’t make you a bad subject, nor does it mean that the techniques are bad – all it means is that they weren’t the right techniques for you. There is no one single technique that is effective on 100% of people. Think of techniques like keys – all we need to do is find the right key to unlock your potential to enjoy trance.
Do me a favor – if a hypnotist ever tells you (or even implies) that it’s somehow your fault and that you are a bad subject then ditch them immediately! They’re simply trying to cover up their own shortcomings by blaming you.
If things aren’t progressing as you expected then don’t be afraid to communicate this. A good hypnotist will be able to reassure you and utilise other induction/hypnosis techniques to achieve the desired results.
If you’re a hypnotist:
Again, my primary advice is do not panic. Things don’t always go to plan and that is okay. If you panic you’ll panic/unsettle your subject and you don’t want that. Instead, look at it as an opportunity for you to flex your hypnotic muscles and find a creative way to problem solve.
A friend of mine likened being a hypnotist to being a swan – on the surface you look graceful, smooth and composed but under the surface you can be paddling like a crazy thing. Good news for you is that people only see what’s above. Maintain your composure and even if you do make a mistake, odds are most people won’t notice/it will be overlooked. I’ve been hypnotising people for years and my mistakes are part of what has made me a great hypnotist because I learned from them. I also learned how to not let on that things hadn’t gone as planned and the vast majority of times nobody noticed because I was able to brush it off and divert effectively. Your confidence is just as effective at allowing people to trance as any technique you use.
If something doesn’t work then there will be a reason. Stay calm, remain composed and appreciate that this can be resolved but that it is your responsibility to do so. Don’t you dare try and blame your subject/client when things don’t go to plan. Instead, outwardly suggest to the client that the outcome was expected/intended whilst internally working out what didn’t go to plan, why and what you can do to remedy the matter or if it was minor brush over it and move on and/or go back to basics and explain/demonstrate in a different way.
Knowing the best way to respond to an unexpected situation comes with experience so don’t beat yourself up if with hindsight you feel you could have responded better – it’s a learning experience and longer term, as long as you take on board the lessons, will make you a better hypnotist. No one is perfect. No one. Doesn’t matter how experienced they are. Even the most experienced hypnotists have moments where things don’t go to plan. What you learn with time, however, is that how you respond is far more important than what initially happened.
Focus on what the client needs from you to help them experience trance. Guide them from their understanding and shape your approach to what they need rather than what you want. You can also set yourself up for success by utilising proper planning and preparation. Minimise opportunities for things to go awry by spending adequate time on the pre-talk, ensuring that the subject understands what to expect. Also use this as an opportunity to build genuine rapport and establish trust. This may well be a new experience for your subject and this may well be accompanied by some level of anxiety. Taking the time to answer questions and explain what to expect will make the subject more comfortable and reduce the opportunity for unplanned outcomes during the session.
Another thing to note – If you’re used to simply reading from scripts then you’re severely limiting yourself and likely also doing a disservice to your subject/client. Reading off a script won’t equip you with the skills or confidence to handle situations appropriately when things inevitably don’t quite go to plan.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Literally anything has the potential to be turned into an induction. If something you try doesn’t work then it’s not a failure – it’s a valuable lesson and learning experience. I know I touched on this earlier but it’s worth emphasizing again. Analyse what didn’t go to plan and why and how you can improve for next time.
Any thoughts, questions or comments? Please do share them below.
If you’re reading this it is because you are interested in hypnosis. How often are you reminded of what a great subject you are, though? Even if you’ve previously struggled to trance this does not make you a bad subject – far from it! Hypnosis inductions are like keys and your mind is the lock – not every key will fit every lock. This doesn’t mean that the key or the lock are faulty – it simply means that particular key doesn’t fit that particular lock. Find the right technique/key and it will unlock your mind. Keep persevering and you will be rewarded.
In the meantime, here are 5 reasons why you are a great hypnosis subject:
- Genuine interest
- Open minded – this is a niche and you’ve decided to explore what it has to offer.
- You’re doing this for yourself and your wellbeing – we all need to be a little selfish sometimes and erotic hypnosis (and hypnosis in general) is a fantastic way to embrace pleasure.
- You’re learning to listen – an undervalued skill in a society where we spend most of our time talking rather than really listening. Hypnosis helps you cultivate this skill to become a better hypnosis subject and a better person in general.
What do you feel makes you an excellent hypnosis subject? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please share them below.
If you’re new to the wonderful world of hypnosis, or if you have previously struggled to enjoy trance then it is perfectly understandable to feel a little nervous or apprehensive. After all – if you’ve not experienced something before then it can be difficult to know what to expect. There are also many misconceptions floating around which doesn’t help matters. Debunking the many misconceptions that exist is very valuable, however there are other simple steps you can take to make trancing easier:
- Communication – communicate fears/concerns to your hypnotist. A good hypnotist will be able to respond to all your queries and put your mind at ease.
- Choose a time to trance when you will be free from distractions. Turn off your phone or at least put it in “do not disturb” mode. Ensure that you’re not expecting any visitors and that you won’t be disturbed.
- Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes. Nothing tight or restrictive. Ensure you won’t feel too hot or too cold.
- Drink water regularly in the hours leading up to the time you intend to trance. Ensure you’re hydrated and not hungry (but don’t binge on sugary or high carb foods – proteins are your friend here. They keep you full but won’t “weigh you down” the way a carb heavy meal will, or mess with your energy levels the way sugar does).
- It helps to be relaxed, but it’s not necessary. Your body will relax, in its own time, when it needs to.
- If you’re naturally analytical, tell your hypnotist or enquire if they are comfortable and experienced in dealing with analytical subjects. Being analytical doesn’t make you a bad subject (quite the opposite) but it does require a different approach to ensure you enjoy the best possible experience.
- Know what to expect. This goes back to communication. Get the hypnotist to explain what it will happen, how it will feel, etc. This will reassure you and help you enjoy the experience without worrying about whether you’re doing it right.
- If you’re listening to mp3s rather than enjoying a live session, I’d recommend also just allowing yourself to listen. Be curious about it but hold no expectations. Analyse what’s being said if you want to. You already have a natural, inherent ability to enjoy trance so you don’t have to do anything other than allow that to manifest. In the meantime, instead of worrying if you’re doing things “right”, get comfortable and allow the hypnotists words and voice to flow…doesn’t matter if you’re consciously aware of them or not – your subconscious understands.
I hope you find these tips useful. If you have any tips you’d like to share, or any comments or questions please write them below.
I wanted to give you all a “peek behind the curtain” as it were. Hypnosis may seem magical (and in many ways it is), but it isn’t magic. You don’t need to believe in it for it to work (just ask the *many* skeptics I’ve tranced over the years). If anything being better informed can allow you to relax and enjoy the experience more. So – I’ve listed some common induction techniques (techniques that induce trance) with explanations of how they work and pros and cons.
This list is compiled through a combination of personal experience and research. I don’t personally use many of these techniques for various reasons (e.g. I specialise in working with analytical people many of whom would find a relaxation induction boring and uneffective, and the handshake technique I find ethically dubious so have deliberately avoided it) but they are all useful to know. I primarily use a conversational induction (I will be writing a separate blog about this so keep an eye out) as a base and then “freestyle”, tailoring my approach specifically to the individual I am working with. I can incorporate standard techniques or develop new ones on the fly based on my years of experience and understanding of how the underpinning principles of hypnosis work and how I can use them to my advantage. It’s liberating, great fun, and best of all – very effective!
This is a simple, straightforward and commonly used technique where the hypnotist encourages the subject to relax, often via a variation of the “progressive relaxation induction” which is basically exactly what it sounds like. Often the hypnotist will suggest that the subject relaxes each part of their body independently – talking them through systematically relaxing their head, jaw, shoulders…and so on and so forth until every part of their body is relaxed. Hypnotists often suggest that subjects relax their minds and try not to think.
Pros: Very popular technique that works well with the majority of people. Gentle and unrushed.
Cons: Doesn’t work well with analytical people as they tend to find it boring and predictable. Can take a long time.
- Handshake Technique
This rapid induction technique was made famous by Milton Erikson. It uses a “pattern interrupt” technique by disrupting what is considered a common social norm (in this case a handshake). The idea is that by interrupting a social action so common it’s practically automatic/muscle memory (usually by tugging the subjects hand as they reach out to shake hands), the subconscious is shocked/knocked off balance and momentarily more vulnerable/open to suggestion, giving the hypnotist an opening to give suggestions to direct the mind in the desired direction (e.g. a suggestion issued in a commanding voice to trance, followed up with softer repetitive guidance and reassurance).
Pros: Works incredibly quickly; very dramatic so great for performances.
Cons: Some hypnotists attempt without obtaining prior consent; the “shock” of the induction can be uncomfortable for some people.
This is another commonly used technique for inductions. The idea is that you get the client to visualise a safe, peaceful place and focus on the details. Some hypnotists will use guided imagery to reinforce the trance – e.g. descending a staircase. Typically the hypnotist will describe the scenario that the subject is to imagine (e.g. a beach, walking through a forest, floating in a sea…whatever it is) and the subject is expected to follow along and immerse themselves in the visualisation. The idea is that the subject will become more relaxed and will begin to enter trance as they follow the hypnotists guidance and immerse themselves in the scene they are being encouraged to visualise.
Pros: A gentle, relaxing technique;Easy to learn the basics from a hypnotists perspective; works well with the majority of people.
Cons: Inexperienced hypnotists can get overly confident and reliant on the technique without fully understanding or appreciating how or why it works; hypnotist could inadvertently use imagery that is uncomfortable for the client (e.g. talking about water and sinking when the client has a fear of drowning); often a boring technique for analytical people as it’s predictable and slow.
- Arm Levitation Technique
A classic Ericksonian technique. You begin by asking the client to close their eyes and then ask them to allow themselves to become aware of a difference in feeling between their arms. Some hypnotists will direct and use/incorporate visualisation techniques (e.g. “imagine a red helium balloon tied to your right arm, lifting it higher”). Others are more permissive (e.g. “I want you to allow yourself to become aware of one arm feeling lighter than the other. Allow your mind to focus on how light that arm feels. I don’t know if it is your left arm or your right arm that is feeling lighter and lighter, but I know you know which arm it is, don’t you?”). Either way, the end result is that the arm lifts. You can also incorporate the dropping of the arm as a deepener (as the arm drops you will go deeper into trance. Once your arm settles in your lap you will be deep in trance).
Pros: Technique is a good “convincer” (proof to client that they are in trance); tried and tested technique developed by a true pro.
Cons: Tricky balance for new hypnotists between being confident and over-confident; takes skill and experience to not panic if client doesn’t respond as anticipated – can catch out inexperienced hypnotists.
- Eye Fixation
The client is encouraged to focus their attention solely on a particular object/point (either asked by hypnotist to choose themselves – e.g. a particular spot on the wall – or directed to focus on something specific either static or moving). A common example would be a pocket watch. The swinging watch keeps the conscious mind occupied, leaving the conscious mind open to suggestion (there are also other techniques that can be incorporated into swinging objects that can encourage trance but I don’t want to destroy all the mystery!).
Pros: Very common technique – well known and works for a lot of people purely because they associate hypnosis with swinging watches. The power of the mind at work!; Easy to master for the hypnotist – a very simple induction that plays a lot on people’s assumptions of hypnosis and how it works.
Cons: Not enough to always appropriately engage an analytical mind; can perpetuate common misconceptions about hypnosis and how it works.
What are your thoughts on the list I’ve compiled? Any favorites? Techniques I’ve missed out? I’d love to hear what you think so share your comments below.
I absolutely love what I do (hypnosis) and wanted to share some highlights of fun/memorable sessions. This story is part of a series where I recount some fun/memorable hypnosis sessions I have enjoyed over the years. All client identities are kept 100% anonymous.
So this one is a very recent experience. It was an off-the-cuff, opportunistic trance (on my part) with a guy who I’d met for coffee and who had tried to tell me he couldn’t be hypnotised because he was analytical and his mind was always going a mile a minute.
Always up for a challenge I proceeded (whilst we were each enjoying our hot chocolates – which were delicious by the way) to trance him. It was my usual casual conversational style…the one that kind of creeps up on you so you don’t realise what’s happened until it’s too late (I can see all my boys nodding automatically in agreement. Haha).
He really enjoyed the experience of having his mind be calm instead of a frantic, turbulent jumble of thoughts – the sensation of peacefulness and stepping out of time really appealed. I also had fun throwing in a few post-hypnotic triggers (triggers that I can use even when you’re not in trance).
It did take me a little while (30 minutes maybe?) to get him into the right head-space to be able to enjoy and appreciate the possibilities, but I never rush. Things take as long as they take and I truly believe he appreciated being able to take things at his own pace. The whole thing was really chilled and informal and relaxed (probably helped by the hot chocolate) and it was fun. A genuinely spontaneous experience that was “just for the hell of it”.
Analytical people are always wonderful to hypnotise because they have this innate ability which makes them fantastic trance subjects. Because their minds naturally work faster they’re able to self-verify the evolution of their descent into trance and the associated developments within that experience (basically how it feels to go in to trance). This in turn allows them to confirm that yes, a transformation definitely is taking place and they are brilliant at engaging with it. The result is that they can (and do) often trance faster and deeper than most.
I never try to suppress a person’s natural analytical ability. Analyzing what’s happening to you as you go deeper into trance won’t compromise the experience. It won’t stop you from trancing. If anything it allows you to engage with the experience more.
Want to see for yourself? Why not book a Skype session with me.