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.