The # 1 Mistake Hypnosis Practitioners Make–And How To Avoid It

Induction mistake

I got an email the other day–it’s similar to dozens of others I’ve received. It said, “I’m doing this induction technique and it doesn’t work. What am I doing wrong?”

I think the question reveals a fundamental flaw in the way many people approach hypnosis. Make that same mistake and you’ll be doomed to having a lack of confidence in your inductions, in your skills and in hypnosis–for all time. And I see a lot of people in that boat–even practicing, professional hypnotherapists that have a severe lack of confidence.

OK, so what is this flaw and how do we correct it?

Back to the email…

When I asked the guy how he knew his subjects weren’t getting to deep levels of trance, he gave me one example…
He was doing an induction with a head roll in it and said the subject’s neck was not relaxed “like it should be” at that point in the induction. Well, that’s what happens when you view hypnosis as something you do to another person. That’s what happens when you view a technique as something that creates hypnosis.

Let’s shift perspectives and see what happens…

Hypnosis Is Not ‘Doing To’ It’s Guiding!

What happens if you view hypnosis as something that people learn how to do?

Well, if someone doesn’t relax their neck and you want them to–you should ask them to relax their neck! Give them instructions. If you don’t think of that naturally, it probably means you’re not taking control and giving guidance to help that person get there.

So look at it this way…

When you are hypnotizing someone, you are their guide and you’re in control. You’re going to ask them to do things that tend to lead toward hypnosis. If they’re not doing them in a way that produces hypnosis–give them guidance!

Enjoy your trance experience,
Keith

About The Author:

Keith Livingston is the main instructor for Hypnosis 101. Keith has been studying hypnosis since he was a boy and doing hypnosis & NLP training since 1997.

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  1. I find that just the way I speak to clients, automatically starts them in the direction of being in a trance. Does that mean I just boring or is it their expectation because they have come to a hypnotherapist that takes them there?? Personally I’m leaning towards “just boring”.

    A day or three ago I was working with a client with an NLP technique with the idea that I would do an induction afterward. When I looked at the client I could see he was already in trance, so I just went on from there with pace, deepen, lead, suggest…

    The most important thing to me in hypnosis is watching the client and being in rapport.

  2. Some of the replies I get to my posts remind me of a guy that sat in a class I taught. You could tell a story about a princess and a frog and at the end of the story he would say, “My cousin has a frog,” as if the meaning and the point of the story concerned frogs.

  3. Keith, this post is so dead-on. I started studying hypnosis a few years back and I had this exact problem for at least the first three years. I thought the person I was supposed to be hypnotizing would just do what I wanted without my having to spell it out for them in any great amount of detail. I had a lot of “failures” and I did feel a lack of confidence that built into confusion and resentment. Not good. I kept studying though with the belief that my experience didn’t match the experience of other successful hypnotists out there and that I must be missing a big chunk of something important. Turns out that I did need a major paradigm shift, and that your post above was exactly what I experienced. I saw myself as “The Hypnotist” which increased my confidence and flexibility. I realized that I could simply ask for what I wanted to have happen and when resistance occurred in the client I chunked down the suggestion to a smaller more acceptable size and then stepped it up till the goal was achieved. After a couple successes my confidence grew enormously and I’ve felt in control of my sessions ever since. Direct suggestion hypnosis is a walk in the park now for me. I went back and listened to the audio files I have from you and Jeff and realized that the information was there all along, I just hadn’t heard it or applied it yet in my practice. I still have a lot to learn and I look forward to it.

    By the way, my frogs kept dying so I buried them and got a dog. I like my dog. My princess likes the dog too.

  4. When I hear “suppose to,” it generally indicates that a person learning any hypnotic techniques are not really “learning” but trying more to “make” the technique work.

    One key is to “allow” your techniques to work by observing their responses and acting accordingly. Try working off the energy or response of your client as opposed to making textbook scenarios happen.

  5. OK – seriously – a good pre-induction can make a big difference with helping clients realize that they have to participate. I often tell clients that if they want to go into hypnosis and ‘get what they want’, then they need to consider me as a guide that they have hired because they trust that I know how to get where they want to go. I ask them whether they would hire a guide to lead a hike, and then refuse to turn left on the path because they expect the guide to do the hike ‘for them’.

    By making this point up front, it is easier to remind them that they have to ‘make this happen’, if they seem to be resisting during induction. Thanks for posting this topic – I think it will help a lot of hypnotists.

  6. I have hypnotised hundreds of people, young and old. I never told any of my clients I am hypnotising them. I never used that word in my practice. I explain to them what is a trance. Then allowthem to close their eyes and experience a detachment, a minute or so and then com back. Tell them that was a trance and ask them to close their eyes and go…….. that’s it. It never failed …… not even once.

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