The induction pre-talk is arguably one of the most important elements of a successful hypnosis session. The pre-talk lets you educate, allay fears, and help your subject understand and experience hypnosis in a safe and powerful way.
Because people often express doubts or fears when the subject of hypnosis comes up, have you noticed?
"Are you going to make me bark like a dog or cluck like a chicken?"
After learning how to hypnotize people, if you go out and immediately announce that you know how to do hypnosis and ask for volunteers you might get some odd looks. Curiosity will be part of what you're witnessing, and that's where your opportunity lies. The pre-talk gives you the chance to take that curiosity and run with it.
However, whether giving an induction pre-talk, or just talking about hypnosis in your elevator speech, it's important to understand how to frame hypnosis so that people are comfortable with it.
Master Hypnotic Inductions
Step-by-step instructions for highly effective hypnotic inductions
The Hypnosis Pre-Talk, or Pre-Induction Talk, Is An Opportunity
In order to give an effective induction pre-talk, you first have to really understand how to talk about hypnosis to your "average" person.
Some ways to talk about hypnosis
Go over the following section several times until you are familiar with the concepts in it. At that point you should be much more comfortable giving your pre-talk.
Hypnosis is a way of getting in touch with our inner resources. It's a way of connecting to our utmost abilities and our highest potential. Hypnosis helps us be US more fully.
People often ask if hypnosis really works. I tell them that it's not a panacea, it won't cure everything, but that every situation can benefit from hypnosis.
Think about it...
What situation wouldn't be helped by having all your inner resources aimed toward achieving your goal?
Another way of explaining hypnosis is that hypnosis can help get your conscious and unconscious minds in rapport. Rapport is a word meaning agreement or a feeling of connection.
Have you ever decided to do something then not followed through (such as an exercise program or diet)? When part of you wants to do something but another part of you objects you are not fully in rapport with yourself. Hypnosis is a way to get those parts of you "on the same page."
The Hypnosis Pre-Talk
There are few things that can interfere with hypnotizing someone, and the hypnosis pre-talk gives you the opportunity to address those issues.
Fear of hypnosis, a lack of belief that hypnosis is real, or a belief that a particular person can't be hypnotized can interfere.
Misconceptions about hypnosis can lead a person to believe they weren't hypnotized, even if they were.
If you want to be successful it's important to address these issues before you begin a hypnotic session. This is one of the primary goals of the hypnosis pre-talk, or pre-induction talk.
Here are some points that I usually cover in my pre-talk.
- Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state, we are all in trance many times each day.
- The hypnotist does not control the subject.
- Hypnosis can't make you do anything against your will.
- Hypnosis is a state of increased awareness.
- You will probably feel awake and be able to hear everything that is said.
- Hypnosis taps the power of the unconscious mind.
- You can go into a trance sitting down, standing up, lying down, with eyes open with eyes closed etc.
It's a good idea to ask a person what they know or think about hypnosis before a session begins. If they have misconceptions, straighten them out. If they think trance will look, feel or sound a certain way, either tailor the trance toward achieving that experience or begin to broaden their idea of how hypnosis is experienced. If they've experienced formal hypnosis before or seen in on TV they may expect it to happen just that way.
If a person believes he will feel asleep under hypnosis and they don't - they won't believe they were in trance. I usually point out that, since hypnosis is naturally occurring it will often feel familiar to people.
I usually ask people if they have been formally hypnotized. If they have I ask if it was a positive experience. If it was, I get a step by step description of what they remember of the induction. Often, just by remembering the steps, they begin to re-experience trance! This will be especially true if you ask questions such as, "What was that like for you?" and "What was the first thing you felt after he/she said that? What was the second thing?" A person has to re-experience a state to some extent, in order to tell you about it. Eventually, you can switch to present tense, as in "And how is it to feel heaviness in your legs?" and "Can you feel that same heaviness now?" These sentences, though in question form, should be spoken in more of a matter-of-fact tone, as if you're making a statement.
If a person didn't have an enjoyable experience, ask what the procedure was briefly and do something else. Begin to make distinctions immediately between what you are doing and what happened previously.
There are a few cases of people who have been to hypnotherapists and were told that they were "unhypnotizable." This is usually the result of the misuse of suggestibility tests.
When a hypnotist or hypnotherapist tells someone that they can't be hypnotized, it says more about the skill of the practitioner than anything else. Many hypnotists are operating out of an outdated paradigm about hypnotizability. There are still some that go with the outmoded notion that suggestibility tests prove whether a person is hypnotizable or not.
In my experience, different people produce different hypnotic phenomenon with differing amounts of ease. Some easily produce catalepsy, for some amnesia is a breeze, others demonstrate analgesia or anesthesia at the drop of a hat, others require more extensive training before achieving a significant level of pain control. Therefore, a test which measures a particular ability or series of abilities does not necessarily predict a person's ability to create a desired change during trance.
Using the techniques presented here, I have helped people reach their goals utilizing many different levels of consciousness. People can produce change in what most hypnotists would consider the "waking" state.
A Word-For-Word Hypnosis Pre-Talk
The following the pre-induction talk I use with my clients. Read it and familiarize yourself with its contents. Feel free to use it! If you'd like a professionally recorded version of this talk it's part of my hypnosis course.
This is Keith Livingston. I'm here to speak with you about hypnosis.
In the next few moments you'll learn how hypnosis can help you tap the powers of your inner mind. We'll remove common myths and misconceptions about hypnosis and explore some of its many uses. First of all, let's dispel some of the common myths about hypnosis, correct some inaccuracies and learn the truth.
Myths & Misconceptions:
Many people get their ideas about hypnosis from television, books or motion pictures. While the plot lines of these entertainment vehicles make for good stories, they are often inaccurate.
Many misconceptions about hypnosis are due to the fact that the term "sleep" is often used when discussing hypnosis. Hypnosis is not sleep but because many times, people experiencing hypnosis are very, very relaxed, it may outwardly appear like sleep. One difference is - in a hypnotic state - you can think clearly.
And did you know while in hypnosis, your morals and ethics remain intact? In other words, you won't do anything against your will. You can reject or accept suggestions - it's your decision. Scientific experiments have proven that, if someone were to give you suggestions that you disagreed with, you would simply reject them.
Some ill-informed people think it's possible to become stuck in trance. In fact, if someone hypnotized you and then decided to take a trip to Tahiti, in the middle of a trance, you would simply continue to relax for a few moments and then choose to emerge when you felt like it. In hundreds of years of hypnosis this has always been the case.
Because hypnosis is not truth serum, people can lie while experiencing hypnosis. In hypnosis, the psychological "Law of Self-Preservation" is in effect. You can control what you choose to say. So while in a hypnotic trance you won't "spill the beans" or tell your secrets.
Some people believe that in order to be hypnotized you must have a weak mind. Nothing could be further from the truth. Because hypnosis is not a contest of willpower, a highly intelligent, strong-willed and imaginative person can make a great hypnotic subject.
Many people think that in order to experience hypnosis, they must become unconscious. This is probably the most common misconception about hypnosis.
In hypnosis, you are aware and can hear clearly, in fact, hypnosis is a state of increased awareness. In a trance state your hearing may be sharper, you may feel subtler sensations and your imagination and memory are enhanced.
Naturally occurring hypnosis
Hypnosis is a natural state, in fact, we are in hypnosis many times each day. We pass through hypnosis on our way to sleep and when we wake up each morning. Recent studies of ultradian rhythms, these are bio-rhythms that are less than one day long, conclude that every 90 to 120 minutes we pass into a state physiologically identical to hypnosis. So when people ask; Can I be hypnotized? The answer is; You already are.
Here are some other times in which people experience hypnosis naturally. If you've ever woken up, feeling very relaxed but not needing to be anywhere and thought something like "Maybe I'll get up and brush my teeth," but your body is too relaxed to move, you've been experiencing hypnosis. Becoming absorbed in a good book or movie is experiencing hypnosis. Driving on long trips on automatic pilot is known as highway hypnosis. Becoming bored or allowing your mind to drift away leads to hypnosis. Becoming extremely engaged in something and allowing your mind to focus means that you are experiencing hypnosis. Because of the rhythmic sounds and swaying, riding on the train is often a highly hypnotic experience.
Hypnosis is a state in which you can think clearly and your imagination is active. It's a state where you could move if you wanted to or if there were an emergency but you would rather just remain delightfully relaxed. It's a state in which beneficial ideas can more quickly and easily gain access to the inner mind. And because we all experience trance each day, we can understand just how safe it is.
What Is Hypnosis?
We all have a conscious mind, and what some people call either a subconscious or an unconscious mind. Hypnosis deals with your unconscious mind which, for the sake of clarity, I'll call the inner mind. Your conscious mind is responsible for logical, analytical, linear thinking.
Though our belief systems and behaviors reside in the inner mind, the conscious mind is responsible for guarding them. So, when someone tells you something that you think is not true, your conscious mind may reject the idea or suggestion.
Your inner mind is more symbolic and holistic in nature. Emotions are the domain of your inner mind as are perceptions, habits, beliefs and automatic bodily functions such as breathing and digestion.
Often times we learn something consciously, then the inner mind takes over that learned behavior. So behaviors that we once learned step-by-step, like tying our shoes, are now second nature or automatic, unconscious behavior. These are things we've learned to do so well we don't have to think too much about them. Habits are another example of this automatic behavior.
And what about ideas that our conscious mind accepts? Once an idea is accepted by the conscious mind it can pass through to the inner mind. Once accepted by the inner mind, the mind behaves as if it is true. If the conscious mind is willing to play along, is not paying attention, is in shock or is not yet fully formed (as in the case of a child) new ideas can establish themselves in the inner mind. This is why it is so important to be positive with children.
So, in order to get new, beneficial ideas to be accepted by the inner mind, we must relax the conscious mind and communicate directly with the inner mind. If this idea is accepted by the inner mind, the whole mind is focused and tuned in to making that idea true. Since the inner mind runs the body, our perceptions and emotions, as well as habits, it can line up all those resources to make things happen. Deep in your mind, changes can take place that allow you feel different emotions, have different habits, learn things quickly and respond with a more thoroughly resourceful physiology.
In hypnosis, we temporarily relax the conscious mind and gain access to the powerful inner mind. In this beneficial, relaxed state, we can more easily get positive ideas across to the most powerful parts of our minds.
So one definition of hypnosis is this; Hypnosis is a temporary relaxing of the conscious mind allowing positive and beneficial ideas to become accepted by the inner mind. When these ideas are presented with sufficient skill and connected to an individuals motivations they become powerful permanent allies for healing, personal development or habit control.
Some prominent hypnosis scholars take the position that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. In other words, the person hypnotizing you is merely your guide, showing you how to achieve hypnosis. Another way of putting this is - you must agree to be hypnotized.
What is hypnosis like?
People describe the experience of hypnosis as highly pleasurable and often comment upon emerging that they feel like they've had a refreshing nap. You might feel any number of sensations while in trance. Most people's muscles grow loose and relaxed. Many report pleasant feelings. Often the breathing grows deeper and slower as a result of increased relaxation. Feelings of warmth or tingling are common. Often people report an increased ability to visualize much like daydreaming. Some people's perception of time is altered - the trance state may seem much longer or shorter in duration than it actually is.
While some continue to listen to the words of the hypnotist, others report that the mind drifts away to some pleasant memory or imagined scene. Because the conscious mind may drift away, some report only a general sense of what was said in the trance- just like seeing a movie but not perfectly remembering every scene. Each individuals experience of trance is unique.
The Uses of Hypnosis
In the hands of a qualified and skilled person hypnosis can be a valuable ally for healing, self-improvement, pain management, habit control and much, much more...
Both the American Medical Association and the British Medical Association approved hypnosis as a valid therapeutic modality in the late 1950's.
Though many people are familiar with the success of hypnosis in smoking cessation and weight loss, most are unaware of its powerful uses as an anesthetic and to speed healing.
Hypnosis has long been used to help people suffering from trauma and to overcome roadblocks originating from past experiences.
Hypnosis has been used by law enforcement to help witnesses increase recall. Hypnosis can be used to overcome anxieties fear and phobias.
Hypnosis is a powerful tool for performance enhancement and goal setting.
The hypnotic state is a great stress buster.
Every situation can benefit from having the powerful inner mind on your side.
I hope you now better understand how hypnosis can help to improve your life. You've learned that in trance you can hear clearly and your morals are intact. You've learned that no one has ever gotten stuck in trance. You've learned that having a strong mind can actually help you to enter hypnosis easily. You've learned just how safe and natural hypnosis is. Perhaps now you're feeling more comfortable about experiencing hypnosis. If you are about to be hypnotized and you have any further questions, feel free to ask the person who's hypnotizing you.
This has been Keith Livingston.
Enjoy your trance experience.
That's my pre-talk. If you found it useful, you might find my Hypnosis Course even more so.