Hypnotize Someone


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It is easy to hypnotize a person who wants to be hypnotized and is able to do so, because all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. The hypnotist merely functions as a guide or a personal trainer to help you to focus the power of your imagination more effectively. We are only now beginning to realize what achievements the human mind is capable of by means of hypnosis.

Steps

  1. How well people respond to hypnosis depends not only on their ability to respond to suggestion, but also on their beliefs and expectations about hypnosis and their trust and confidence in the person providing the suggestions. Thus, keep in mind that what you say to your hypnosis partner before the induction is just as important, and perhaps even more important, than what you say during the induction itself.
  2. Before you begin, ask your partner if they have been hypnotized before, and inquire what the experience was like, so that you will have a better idea how to proceed.
  3. Briefly describe the procedure, and ask if there are any questions.

    • It is especially helpful to tell the partner ahead of time that they will clearly remember everything that happens. This serves as a "waking suggestion" which defines the experience in such a way that they are likely to remember everything, even if they otherwise might not. It is very useful in building trust, and in obtaining feedback when the session is over.
    • Reassure the partner that they cannot be made to do anything under hypnosis that they do not want to do.
    • You should also familiarize yourself with the list of frequently asked questions and the answers to them below, so that you will be prepared to answer most of the other questions your partner is likely to bring up.
  4. Most induction methods work about equally well, as long as the conditions mentioned in Step 1 have been adequately met (Lynn & Kirsch, 2006). The progressive relaxation method presented here is one of the easiest to learn and to use. (For others, see the Sources and Citations section.)
  5. When you are ready to proceed, ask your partner to sit or lie down in a comfortable position in a dimmed room where you are not likely to be disturbed for a while. Turn off cell phones and pagers. Make sure that your partner is not so tired that he or she will be inclined to fall asleep.
  6. Ask your partner to close his or her eyes, and imagine being in a "happy place" where one can feel comfortable and secure, such as relaxing in a meadow beside a gently running stream.
  7. Speak slowly, in a low, soothing, "hypnotic" voice timed to the partner's breathing, with considerable elaboration and repetition far beyond the point of boredom in an ordinary conversation.
  8. Ask your partner to relax all over, using words like these: "Just let your feet relax, and your legs relax. Feel your hips relaxing, and your waist relaxing. Feel your chest relaxing, and your arms relaxing. Your shoulders relaxing, and your neck and head relaxing. Feel your entire body relaxing, all over."
  9. Gradually change your instructions into suggestions which increase the strength of the feeling of relaxation. "You can feel yourself relaxing now. You can feel a heavy, relaxed feeling coming over you. And as I continue to talk, that heavy relaxed feeling will get stronger and stronger, until it carries you into a deep, peaceful state of hypnosis."
  10. Using your partner's breathing and body language as a guide, gradually make your suggestions more directive, using suggestions similar to the following. Repeat the suggestions a few times, much as you might repeat the verses and choruses of a song, until your partner appears to be totally relaxed.

    • "Every word that I utter is putting you faster and deeper, and faster and deeper, into a deep, peaceful state of hypnosis."
    • "Sinking down, and down. Sinking down, and shutting down. Sinking down, and shutting down, shutting down completely."
    • "And the deeper you go, the deeper you are able to go. And the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go, and the more enjoyable the experience becomes."
  11. You can conclude your induction with words like: "Now you are resting comfortably in a deep, peaceful state of hypnosis, going deeper and faster and deeper and faster all of the time, until I bring you back. You will only accept those suggestions which are for your benefit, and that you are willing to accept."
  12. Provide positive suggestions which are specifically geared to achieving the goal. This will allow the partner to try out new attitudes, feelings, and behaviors which often are not voluntarily attainable.

    • You can also use the Best Me Technique (Gibbons, 2001, 2003) to create suggestions which enable your partners to experience the rewards of a future goal now, in the present, when they are most needed for motivation, lessening or eliminating the need for will power.
    • If the suggested changes are more satisfying than the old patterns after everything is taken into account, they will be retained.
    • More than one hypnosis session may be necessary until the suggested changes are firmly rooted in the partner's life.
  13. Concluding the hypnotic session is even easier than inducing it, because all you have to do is essentially ask your partner to stop imagining.

    • You can begin by saying, "I'm going to count from one to five, and at the count of five you will be feeling wide awake, fully alert, and completely refreshed."
    • Start counting, interspersed with suggestions to the effect that the partner is waking up more and more, "and by the time I get to the count of five, you will be fully awake and feeling wonderful!"
  14. Discuss highlights of the session with the subject, and ask if there are any questions or if there is anything they would like to change.
  15. Now you should be able to re-induce hypnosis more easily. If your partner has responded well, repeat the session using a shorter induction and go over the positive suggestions you gave previously.

    • A series of two or three short inductions is usually more effective than a single longer one. This also allows more opportunity for the partner to provide feedback.
    • At the conclusion of each session, suggest that whenever your partner is willing to be hypnotized by you in the future, they will be able to enter hypnosis faster and go deeper each time because of the practice they have had.
    • It is possible at this point to suggest to a person who has responded well, "Whenever you are willing to be hypnotized by me in the future, all I will have to do is to clap my hands and say, 'Sleep!' [or use some other cue], and you will instantly go back into hypnosis, just as deep as you are right now." But most hypnotists and their partners prefer to continue using a brief induction containing positive suggestions for relaxation and enjoyment, to make sure that the induction is not intrusive and that the experience of hypnosis always remains a pleasant one.
    • Always be sure to emphasize how good the partner is going to feel when the session is over.

Video

Template:Video:Hypnotize Someone

Frequently Asked Questions

Following is a list of questions which are frequently asked by people who are about to experience hypnosis for the first time, and the answers to them (Gibbons, 2001). It's good to have a general idea about how to answer questions like these ahead of time, because confidence and trust are so important in determining how a person is going to respond to your induction.

  • What are you going to do? I will ask you to visualize some pleasant scenes, while I talk about how to use your own mental abilities more effectively. You can always refuse to do anything that you don't want to do, and you can always come out of the experience yourself if an emergency should come up.
  • What does it feel like to be in hypnosis? Most of us experience changes in our conscious awareness several times a day without realizing it. Any time you let your imagination go and just flow along with a piece of music or a verse of poetry, or get so involved in watching a movie or a television drama that you feel like you a part of the action instead of a part of the audience, you are experiencing a form of trance. Hypnosis is just a way of helping you to focus and define these changes in consciousness, in order to use your mental abilities more effectively.
  • Is it safe? Hypnosis is not an altered state of consciousness (as sleep is, for example), but an altered experience of consciousness, which is brought about by using suggestion to re-configure the properties of the imagination. And anything that can be imagined can be un-imagined just as easily.
  • If it's all just your imagination, then, what good is it? Don’t be confused by the tendency in English and many other languages to use the word "imaginary" as opposite in meaning to the word "real" -- and neither should it be confused with the term "image." The imagination is a very real group of mental abilities, whose potential we are just now beginning to explore, and which extends far beyond our ability to form mental images!
  • Can you make me do anything I don't want to do? When you're using hypnosis, you still have your own personality, and you're still you -- so you won't say or do anything that you wouldn't do in the very same situation without hypnosis, and you can easily refuse any suggestion that you don't want to accept. (That's why we call them "suggestions.")
  • What can I do in order to respond better? Hypnosis is very similar to letting yourself become absorbed in watching a sunset or the embers of a campfire, letting yourself flow with a piece of music or poetry, or feeling like you are part of the action instead of part of the audience when you are watching a movie. People who do not feel that they have been able to respond very well, on the other hand, sometimes find it difficult to relax in new situations. It all depends on your ability and willingness to go along with the instructions and suggestions that are provided.
  • What if I enjoy it so much that I don't want to come back? Sometimes you might not want a movie to end, because the movie is so enjoyable -- but you still come back to the real world, because you know it’s only a motion picture. Hypnotic suggestions are basically an exercise for the mind and the imagination, just like a movie script is. But you still come back to everyday life when the session is over, just like you come back at the end of a movie. However the hypnotist might need to try a couple times to pull you out. It is enjoyable being completely relaxed but you cant do much when hypnotized.
  • What if it doesn't work? Did you ever become so absorbed in your play as a child that you didn’t hear your mother’s voice calling you in for dinner? Or are you one of the many people who are able to wake up at a certain time each morning, just by deciding the night before that you are going to do so? We all have the ability to use our minds in ways we are not usually aware of, and some of us have developed these abilities more than others. If you just allow your thoughts to respond freely and naturally to the words and images as your guide, you'll be able to go wherever your mind can take you!

Tips

  • It is preferable to use the term "hypnosis partner," as illustrated here, in place of the more traditional term, "hypnotic subject," with its implications of dominance and submission, because hypnosis is an active collaboration between two people working toward a common goal.
  • The ability to respond to suggestion is not the same thing as being gullible. As a general rule, the more intelligent a person is, the more powerful their imagination, and the easier they are to hypnotize.
  • You can think of an induction procedure as a form of compounded conviction.

    • What you are really doing in an induction procedure is presenting the idea in a sufficiently plausible manner that the partner is beginning to experience his or her consciousness differently. All the rest depends upon the partner's ability and willingness to follow the instructions and suggestions he or she is given. (That's why we say that all hypnosis is really self-hypnosis, and why there are so many possible ways to hypnotize someone.)
    • The time needed for a successful induction can vary from the extremely rapid inductions used by stage hypnotists with their rapidly-screened volunteers to over an hour or more, with most inductions lasting from ten to twenty minutes.
    • Read through the steps of the induction procedure a few times, watch the demonstration tapes, make notes, and practice on imaginary people to get the hang of how it all goes together. It may also help to start out by hypnotizing someone who has been hypnotized before, if such a partner is available.
    • Until you have become thoroughly familiar with the procedure, if you are able to read without sounding like you are reading, you can print the suggestions out ahead of time and use them as a script after your subject's eyes have closed.
  • The most important thing to remember in using hypnosis is that a successful session not only helps your partner to fulfill his or her own goals, but also provides an enjoyable and rewarding experience which your hypnosis partner is willing to repeat, if necessary, and may be eager to tell others about.

    • Before concluding your hypnosis session you might say, "As a result of this hypnotic experience, you will find many exciting changes taking place in your life, some of which you may already be aware of and some of which you may not yet realize." Then repeat for emphasis, "And as you continue to explore these higher dimensions of experience, you will discover even more exciting changes taking place in your life, some of which you may be aware of and some of which you may not yet realize."
    • Later, you can ask your hypnosis partner about the benefits that hypnosis has brought them. If they mention anything new, you can emphasize this point again by saying something like, "That's great! That's what hypnosis does. It enables you to find new possibilities inside yourself that you never knew you had."
    • Suggestions of this type tend to serve as self-fulfilling prophecies, because the mind acts upon them in such a manner as to bring about the outcomes which have been suggested.
  • You can also use alert, or hyperempiric [1] inductions, based on suggestions of mind expansion and increased awareness and sensitivity. These are particularly helpful for people who are skittish about the implications of surrender or "progressive zombification" conveyed by traditional hypnotic inductions based on expressed or implied suggestions of lethargy, drowsiness, and sleep (Gibbons, 2000, 2001).
  • Note the difference between a post-hypnotic-suggestion and hypnosis with the eyes open. A PHS is something that has an effect, like a habit, after the hypnotic session has been concluded. However, only that suggestion (for example feeling itchy, or saying or doing something on cue) will be effective. Hypnosis with the eyes open, on the other hand, means that a suggestion you have previously given can be changed just by saying so, or new suggestions can be given, since the partner is still hypnotized.
  • If your partner should begin to show any signs of discomfort during the procedure, you can smoothly terminate the proceedings by stating matter-of-factly that by the count of three your partner's eyes will open and he or she will be back in a normal, everyday frame of mind.

    • The experience might have briefly reminded the partner of a time when he or she was going under an anesthetic, or had nearly drowned as a child, for example.
    • Often, all that is necessary is to point out the obvious differences between that situation and the present one. If, however, the partner does not wish to proceed, then of course you should not attempt to continue.
  • Occasionally, a partner may be inclined to "get the giggles" during an induction if this is the first time they have been hypnotized. This may be a sign of unconscious resistance. Give your partner a moment to calm down, point out that hypnosis is a very matter-of-fact procedure, try again, and if the giggles return then wait until a time when they are more serious about wanting to proceed.
  • Hypnosis is a very pleasant experience, and some partners may occasionally be reluctant to come out of hypnosis. But this should not be a cause for concern. You can take care of this by repeating, "Any second now, your eyes will open," taking advantage of any signs of compliance, i.e., "Your eyes are beginning to flutter now. . . . There."
  • Sometimes, when people have been focusing their attention and imagination intensely for a period of time, whether they are in hypnosis or they have been taking an examination, they may experience a slight amount of discomfort, such as a headache, immediately afterward. This is easily taken care of by suggesting matter-of-factly (usually without requiring a re-induction), "Any remaining discomfort you may feel will quickly pass," with a follow-up question a few minutes later, repeating the suggestion if necessary.
  • Don't expect everyone to experience a trance (Lynn, 2006).

    • Some people are able to respond to suggestion quite well, even under light hypnosis (Hilgard, 1974).
    • If someone does not respond to your induction or do what you suggested, this may be due to other factors which neither one of you are aware of, or your subject may not have understood you. Try the induction and suggestions again, with slightly different wording.
    • Even when people do not respond well to an induction procedure, they can still derive some benefit from it if they are convinced that they have been hypnotized. (Kirsch, I.; Capafons, A.; Cardeña-Buelna, E; & Amigó, S.,1999).
    • If your hypnosis partner still does not respond to the procedure and/or does not accept your suggestions or the idea that he or she has been hypnotized, then stop trying.
  • For everyone who responds poorly, there is an equal number of people whose ability to respond to an induction is in the gifted range, and many more who approach these levels, while most others are able to benefit from hypnosis to some extent (Hilgard, 1974; Hull, 1933; Spiegel, 1975). We are only now beginning to fully appreciate the abilities of high responders.

    • Under the guidance of properly trained medical and mental health professionals, they are often able to completely block the sensation of pain, which permits them to undergo surgical and dental operations without discomfort. Hypnosis has also been found to be helpful in the treatment of a wide variety of medical and psychological conditions (Hammond, 1990; Rhue, Lynn, & Kirsch, 1993).
    • They are able to experience the rewards of distant goals now, in the present and in concentrated form, when they are most needed for motivation, thereby decreasing or eliminating the need for will power.
    • They are able to live out the finest achievements of history, art, literature, music, and drama -- or even computer and video games, or great moments in sports -- as intensely as if they were actually happening right now, and they were part of the action instead of part of the audience (Gibbons, 2003).
    • They are capable of voluntarily-induced mystical experiences without having to patiently wait years or decades for one to occur, if indeed it occurs at all. They can also determine the properties of such an experience, and specify its life-changing consequences. In the words of the mystical poet, William Blake, high responders are able "to see a world in a grain of sand, or a Heaven in a wild flower. Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, and Eternity in an hour.."
    • At the end of life, most people, if they are fortunate enough, will remember a few special, tender moments spent with a loved one which warm the heart forever. But high responders who are in a long-term relationship with a consenting lover can construct experiences of similar quality and intensity whenever they wish (Gibbons, 2003). Again, the language of poetry is more appropriate for describing this potential than is the language of science. As Emerson said, "If but one hero knew it, the world would blush in flame. The sage, 'til he hit the secret, would hang his head for shame."

Warnings

  • This is probably the most important section, as hypnosis is a bit like fire. It can be dangerous if you do not use common sense, or if you try doing things that you shouldn't.
  • Don't try to use hypnosis to treat any physical or mental condition (including pain) unless you are a licensed professional who is properly qualified to treat these problems. Hypnosis should never be used by itself as a substitute for counseling or psychotherapy, or to rescue a relationship which is in trouble.
  • Don't try to "scare" somebody into achieving their goal by dwelling on the consequences of failure, or by using "shoulds," "oughts," or "musts" in your suggestions. Research has conclusively shown that fear is a poor way to motivate people, and the side effects usually outweigh any possible benefits.
  • Don't stop taking any type of prescription medication while using hypnosis without talking to your doctor.
  • Don't suggest anything that is against a person's morals or value systems, or that might be embarrassing to the subject, or anything that you wouldn't want someone to suggest to you.

    • Though many people have tried, post-hypnotic amnesia is notoriously unreliable as a means of protecting hypnotists from the consequences of their own misconduct. If you try to use hypnosis to get people to do things they would not normally be willing to do, they will usually just come out of hypnosis.
    • If you are going to venture down this road, get them to agree to what you are going to do before the induction. Otherwise, they may never trust you again, tell everyone what you did, take you to court, or worse.
  • Don't just sidle up to someone at the mall, or someone who is asleep, and try to hypnotize them on the sly.

    • Almost everything that has been said on this page stresses the importance of obtaining the subject's full understanding and complete cooperation beforehand if your induction and other suggestions are going to be successful.
    • Though not impossible, it is extremely difficult to hypnotize someone covertly or against their will. Although covert approaches can work occasionally with an unsuspecting person who is caught by surprise, much more often than not, people will catch on to what you are trying to do. They will either laugh at you, or become angry for insulting their intelligence, and/or suspect that you have an ulterior motive and report you as a suspicious person.
  • Don't try regressing people to when they were young. If you want, tell them to 'act as if they were ten.' Some people have repressed memories which you really do not want to bring up (abuse, bullying etc.). They shut out these memories as a natural defense. Oddly, these people are often good at being hypnotized.
  • You can never be sure that someone is going to accept your suggestion unless you have agreed to it ahead of time or ask them ahead of time while he or she is hypnotized.

    • A person in hypnosis is always responding to the total situation in the light of their total pattern of wants and needs, and not merely to what you are telling them.
    • They may have reasons of their own which you have not been able to guess for wanting or not wanting to carry out a particular suggestion.
  • Don't get hung up on technique.

    • When something works dramatically with some people, and not as well as you want it to with others, this creates a "partial reinforcement" effect which may cause people to go from one book to another, or one training program or conference to another, in search of a "magic bullet" that is going to work with everyone. But despite claims to the contrary, most induction procedures work about equally well, and the differences in responsiveness are due to other factors.
    • Decades of laboratory research involving hundreds of investigators have conclusively demonstrated that for everyone who responds poorly, you are statistically certain to find someone who responds so well that your perseverance in the use of hypnosis will be amply rewarded over time (Hull, 1933; Shor & Orne, 1962; Spiegel, 1974).
  • Don't allow yourself to be fooled by the sensationalism and commercial distortion of advertisers, or by false and misleading portrayals of hypnosis in the mass media.

    • A good source of accurate, up-to-date information about hypnosis can be found on the Web page of the American Psychological Association.[2] Click on "Psychology Topics" on the banner at the top of the page, and then click on "Hypnosis" for a list of articles which may be read online or downloaded free of charge.
    • You can also learn a lot about the practical uses of hypnosis by visiting or joining a social networking site such as Hypnothoughts, [3] which is devoted exclusively to hypnosis and related topics.

Related Tips and Steps

Sources and Citations

  • Bányai, E. I., & Hilgard, E. R. (1976). A comparison of active-alert hypnotic induction with traditional relaxation induction. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 85, pp. 218-224.
  • Gibbons, D. E. (2005, August). Kicking it up a notch: Multimodal hyperempiria. Paper presented at: the annual meeting of Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Charleston, SC.
  • Gibbons, D. E. (2003, July). The Best Me technique for constructing hypnotic suggestions. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the British Societies of Medical, Clinical, Dental, and Experimental Hypnosis: Royal Society of Medicine, London.
  • Gibbons, D. E. (2001). Experience as an art form: Hypnosis, hyperempiria, and the Best Me Technique. New York, NY: Authors Choice Press.
  • Gibbons, D. E. (2000). Applied hypnosis and hyperempiria. Lincoln, NE: Authors Choice Press (originally published 1979 by Plenum Press).
  • Gibbons, D. E., & Lynn, S. J. (in press). Hypnotic inductions: A primer. In Ruhe, J. W., Lynn, S. J., & Kirsch, I. (Ed.) Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis, 2nd ed. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.
  • Hammond, D. C. (Ed.) (1990) Handbook of hypnotic suggestions and metaphors. New York: Norton.
  • Hilgard, J. R. (1974). Imaginative involvement: Some characteristics of the highly hypnotizable and the non-hypnotizable. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 22(2), pp. 138-156.
  • Hilgard, E. R. (1965). Hypnotic susceptibility. New York: Harcourt, Brace, & World.
  • Hull, C. L.. (1933). Hypnosis and suggestibility: An experimental approach. New York: Appleton-Century.
  • Kirsch, Irving (Ed); Capafons, Antonio (Ed); Cardeña-Buelna, Etzel (Ed); Amigó, Salvador (Ed). (1999). Clinical hypnosis and self-regulation: Cognitive-behavioral perspectives. Dissociation, trauma, memory, and hypnosis book series. (pp. 211-225). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.
  • Lynn, S. J., & Kirsch, I. (2006). Essentials of clinical hypnosis: An evidence-based approach. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.
  • Ruhe, J. W., Lynn, S. J., & Kirsch, I. (Ed.)(1993). Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.
  • Shor, R. E., & Orne, E. C. (1962). Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Form A. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
  • Spiegel, H. (1974). The grade 5 syndrome: The highly hypnotizable person. International Journal of clinical and experimental hypnosis, 22(4), pp. 303-319.


  1. www.hyperempiria.com
  2. www.apa.org
  3. www.hypnothoughts.com