If you have ever wondered what hypnosis is and how to hypnotize someone – you have come to the right place. In the end, hypnosis is not about controlling someone’s mind or having mysterious, mystical powers. Instead, as a hypnotist, it is your job to guide someone to relaxation so that they fall into a trance-like state.
While there are many methods of hypnosis that you can employ, the method known as “progressive relaxation” is one of the easiest to teach yourself. It can be used on just about any willing participant, even if you do not have any experience.
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Frequently Asked Questions
It can be helpful to know and understand the most commonly asked questions when you are getting ready to hypnotize someone. As you might expect, it is common for people to be a bit nervous and curious before the process! Here are some of the most common questions you might hear, as well as the best answers to give people.
Is hypnosis safe?
It is, especially when done correctly. The reason is this – hypnosis is not an altered state of consciousness, like sleep, but instead simply an altered experience. You won’t do anything you do not want to do or have unnatural thoughts while you are being hypnotized.
What will you do?
Hypnosis will allow you to call some pleasant images to mind and you will learn about how to harness your own mental capabilities. You can refuse to do anything you do not want to and leave the experience if you need to, for whatever reason.
What if it is not effective?
Nine times out of ten, hypnosis is effective. However, keep in mind that some people can be more challenging to hypnotize than others and it takes extensive concentration on the part of both parties. Practice can make perfect, though!
What if I get stuck in a trance state?
This is not likely to happen. Usually, a verbal suggestion to awake will bring you back to a waking state, even if you have fallen completely asleep. Usually, when the hypnotist stops, the person will wake on his or her own.
Will I be forced to do things I do not want to?
When you are under hypnosis, rest assured that you will still have your own personality and control of yourself. You are still you! You are not going to do anything you would not normally do if you weren’t under hypnosis, and you can refuse any suggestions that you do not want to accept.
Is there an age limit?
No. Actually, you might have been in a quasi-hypnotic state as a child. If you have ever felt so invested in what you were doing that you totally missed something else – like something that was said by someone next to you? If so, you were in a hypnotic-like state.
How to Prepare for Hypnosis
1. Find your partner
The first – and most obvious – step in getting ready for hypnosis is to find someone who wants to be hypnotized. Obviously, you are going to need to find a partner who not only wants to be hypnotized but is willing to do so. Do NOT hypnotize someone who has a history of any emotional, mental, or psychiatric disorders. This can lead to damaging consequences.
2. Select the best location
Ideally, you will want to choose a room that is as quiet and comfortable as possible so that your partner feels safe. You only want dim lighting in the room and it should be as clean and clutter/distraction-free as possible. Get rid of cell phones, music, televisions, and of course, other people. If there is noise outside, close the windows.
3. Tell them what to expect
Letting people know what is going to happen in hypnosis is one of the easiest ways not only to allay their fears about the process, but also to let them truly enjoy the process, too. Hypnosis is really a relaxation technique that helps you get clarity on issues that you are having in your subconscious states. You actually enter a state of semi-hypnosis often on your own, like when you are daydreaming, when you are engrossed in a song or a movie, or when you are “spacing out.”
Contradictory to some common myths about hypnosis that are not true – you are not asleep, nor are you unconscious in the entire process. You will not do anything you do not actually want to do, and you won’t be under any kind of spell.
4. Ask what they want to get out of this experience
It takes two to tango when it comes to hypnosis, so ask your partner what they expect to get out of the experience. There are benefits for both of you! It can improve your immune functioning and decrease anxious thoughts. If you know what your partner wants to get out of the hypnosis experience, it will be easier for you to help them get into a trance-like state.
5. Inquire about prior hypnosis experiences
Take the time to learn about any prior hypnosis experiences your partner has had. Ask what they were told to do and how they responded to these prompts. Then, you will get an idea of how responsive the person will be to your suggestions and you will learn what you should avoid in the future. Generally, people who were hypnotized in the past will have an easier time with hypnosis in the future.
How to Induce a Trance
1. Speak low and calm
Do not try to rush the process of hypnosis. Take your time and keep your voice low, collected, and calm. Draw your sentences out if you can, letting them linger in the air a bit longer than normal, pretend that you are trying to ease the fears of a worried or frightened person and let your voice wash over them. Keep the same tone of voice throughout the entire experience.
You might want to use phrases like, “Take these suggestions as you please,” “let my words wash over you,” and “everything is peaceful.” You may encourage them to sink into the chair and remind them that they have complete control, too.
2. Focus on your breathing
Encourage your partner to take deep, thoughtful breaths as they move into a trance. Focus on your own breathing, too. Allow them to create a regular pattern of breathing and to line it up with your own.
- Be specific, telling your partner to breathe deeply, filling in their lungs and chest with air.
- Then, tell them to let the air out of their chest and slowly empty their lungs.
By focusing on their breathing, they will get oxygen to the brain and provide your partner with something to think about besides their stress, the current environment, or the process of hypnosis.
3. Look at a fixed point
Focusing on a fixed point will help your partner relax. Encourage them to find an object to focus on, like your forehead or an object that is dimly lit in the room. Some people use the dangling watch, but you don’t have to rely on this stereotype for it to work. They just need to avoid having eyes that are darting all over the room. Once you can get your partner’s eyes to focus on something, they will have an easier time staying still and staying calm.
4. Relax the body, limb by limb
Once they are completely calm, breathing steadily, and tuned in to your voice, encourage your partner to relax their feet and toes. Focus on letting go of the muscles here, then move up to the calves, the lower leg, upper leg, and then all the way up to the face. Once you get there, you can circle back around and get all the other parts of the body again.
Do this slowly, keeping your voice low, slow, and calm. If there are any tense or twitchy parts of the body – or any other signs of anxiety – stop, slow down, and redo the process.
5. Encourage relaxation
Encourage your partner to relax by directing their attention. Tell them that they are feeling relaxed. If you have a lot to say, remind them to sink deeper into themselves and focus on relaxation with every breath.
6. Use breathing and body language as a helpful guide
Watch your partner carefully and use their body language and breathing rhythm to give you hints as to their mental state. You may want to repeat your suggestions a few times, just like you would the verses to a song. Watch for signs of tension in our partner’s eyes, fingers, and toes. Some signs that they aren’t quite there yet are darting, nervous eyes, and tapping or wiggling toes and fingers.
Keep an eye on the breathing, too. Is it irregular and shallow? Just keep working through the relaxation techniques until maximum relaxation is achieved.
7. Walk the hypnotic staircase
A popular tactic practiced by professional self-hypnotists and hypnotherapist is to walk the “hypnotic staircase.”
- To do this, you will ask your partner to picture themselves at the top of a staircase in a quiet, warm room.
- There are ten steps, and you should guide your partner down each one. As they step down the staircase, they will sink more deeply into a state of relaxation.
- As they walk, each step will bring them deeper into their own minds.
- You can even have them envision a door at the bottom, which will lead to maximum relaxation.
How Hypnosis Can Help People
1. Understand that making demands is not safe and does not work
Many people shy away from the experience of hypnosis because they are afraid that not only will it not work, but that it will violate the trust between the two of you, too. Help your partner relax and to release their worries – now is not the time to try any practical jokes. Even if your intentions are good, hypnosis is not meant to trick somebody else into doing something. You need to make sure you know what you are doing and that you are following the right course of action for your partner.
2. Use it to lower anxiety levels
One of hypnosis’ major benefits is that it can be used to relieve stress and lower anxiety levels. You do not need to fix anyone, but remember that putting someone in a state of hypnosis can lower their overall anxiety and stress. Deep relaxation is rare – so rare, in fact, that when done correctly, it can put your worries and problems into perspective.
3. Come up with solutions to potential problems
Because hypnosis allows you to relax and think clearly, it will also help you imagine the solutions to potential problems. Your partner will be able to envision success and figure out how to get there, walking through their preferred future and outcomes.
4. Use it for various mental problems
Hypnosis can even treat a variety of mental afflictions. It can be used to treat addiction, phobias, problems with self-esteem, and even chronic pain. It is an excellent tool that allows for self-healing. You can help guide your partner toward this process by having them visualize moments they are proud of, think of a day where they met their goals or other milestones.
5. Understand that it is only a small part of mental health solutions
While hypnosis and deep relaxation can certainly be used to help heal underlying symptoms and conditions, it is not a miracle cure for chronic health conditions. If you or your partner are suffering from one of these conditions, it is best to consult with a certified professional. Self-reflection is always beneficial, but it is not a one-size-fits-all tool.
How to End the Session
1. Leave the trance state
Now that the hypnosis is over, it is time to exit the scene. However, you can’t pull your partner out of hypnosis automatically. You need to do this gently and gradually.
- Let your partner know that they are becoming aware of their surroundings and that they will come back to a full state of awareness after you count to five.
- Have them walk back up the staircase with you, slowly gaining awareness with each step.
- You can even have them count from one to five, and at the count of five, they should feel totally refreshed.
2. Discuss the experience with your partner for future improvements
Ask your partner what they liked about the experience. How did they feel? What made them uncomfortable? Self-reflection after a period of hypnosis is important because it will help you grow and improve the next time. You will get an understanding of what was learned and open yourself up to future conversations and experiences, too.