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A learning center for hypnosis and self hypnosis education. A resource for finding professional referrals for hypnosis treatment of medical and psychotherapeutic issues. A learning center for hypnosis and self hypnosis education. A resource for finding professional referrals for hypnosis treatment of medical and psychotherapeutic issues.
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What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis: Fact and Fiction
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Ideomotor Action
Semantic-Imagery Relaxation
Structuring Auto-Suggestions
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Deepening the Hypnotic Trance
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You Can Learn to Relax
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Module 10 -- Induction of Hypnosis 1

Induction of Hypnosis

The induction of hypnosis consists of three phases:

• Preparation
• Induction Proper
• Deepening the Trance

The three phases are not separate and distinct; in fact there is considerable overlapping. The first phase (preparation) consists of the elimination of unfavorable factors and the activation of as many favorable ones as possible. The second (induction) consists of inducing a change in the subject that is characterized by passing from the waking state into the hypnotic state. The last (Deepening) consists of maximizing this change.

Because the preparatory and deepening phases are virtually the same regardless of the method used to induce hypnosis, we will only describe them once with the first induction method. After this we will only describe various methods used in the second phase, the reader is expected to remember what has been said concerning the other phases.

A Simple Induction - Preparatory Phase

If you have had access to a number of subjects while performing previous experiments, pick a subject that gave strong responses to your waking suggestions, especially to the postural sway, hand clasping, and eye catalepsy suggestions. Begin with the subject standing near you with a chair near by that is easily accessible to the subject. Tell him that very soon you are going to hypnotize him. Say this in a positive tone of voice with conviction. Never, use expressions such as "I am going to try" or "I will now attempt" since this implies doubt concerning your ability to induce a trance. At this point a subject may show signs of nervousness or uneasiness. If so, explain to him there is nothing to fear, that he will find this a very pleasant and interesting experience. One that will benefit him greatly. If he still seems disturbed, ask him what is bothering him. Once you know what his concerns are, talk reassuringly to him about them. Some subjects worry about losing consciousness when being hypnotized. Assure them that they will not be unconscious when hypnotized, and will be aware of everything that goes on. As will be seen later, some subjects, consciously or unconsciously, set certain conditions for entering the trance state. In such instances, the conditions must be incorporated into the induction procedure.

It is a good idea to instruct the subject to remain as passive as possible. Tell him to listen to what you say, but not to try to help or resist in any way. Tell him not to try to think about or analyze what he is told will happen or is happening, but just let it happen. Tell him to allow any urge he feels to develop. Tell the subject, "Don't try to do anything or not to do anything -- just let yourself go."

Often it is advantageous to repeat these last instructions as the induction proceeds, particularly if there is evidence that he is resisting or in some way interfering with the induction. A frequent source of difficulty occurs when the subject begins to actively think about and analyze his experiences. Sometimes this occurs when the hypnotist gives instructions or uses words that are not clearly defined for the subject. For example, telling him to make his mind "blank" often leaves the subject uncertain as to how to do this.

As a result he may not know exactly what you want. He may question you as to what you mean by this. You should then explain to him what is desired in words he can understand. Even such a simple thing as relaxing can cause trouble because the subject may not know how to relax. In trying to relax he may tense his muscles.

The main objective of the preparatory phase is to facilitate the induction proper of hypnosis. Because the first technique presented is typical of the Standard method, suggestions play an important part from the beginning. The more suggestible our subject is the more successful we will be in hypnotizing him. Therefore, we want to raise his degree of suggestibility by any mean we can. One-way to accomplish this is to give the subject a set of graded (easy to more difficult) suggestions.

It is essential to only give the subject suggestions that he will respond well to. This is one reason for using a graded series. By starting with the easiest suggestion first, we stand a better chance of getting a good response. Also, if the subject responds, then the chances of his responding to the next harder suggestion may be improved because some heteroaction has occurred. In this way we can gradually build up the subject's suggestibility. Another reason for using a graded series is that it gives you some idea of how suggestible the subject is at any stage of the procedure.

Another thing we can do is get the subject to voluntarily do various things. Many hypnotists do this in the preparatory stage.

There is no well-defined boundary between waking and hypnotic suggestibility. Essentially the same processes that are responsible for the development of hypnotic hypersuggestibility can and do become active when a series of waking suggestions are given. For this reason, the preparatory phase tends to blend with the induction proper and it is not uncommon to find that a subject is "partially" hypnotized at the end of the preparatory phrase.

Hypnosis developing before the induction proper is started may cause the novice some concern. Subjects who become hypnotized at this early stage usually do not close their eyes.

This occurs despite the fact that eye closure is suggested in the Standard method. Eye closure is not a requirement for hypnosis nor is it a symptom of hypnosis. It is well known that a subject can have his eyes open without affecting the trance when the hypnosis is deep enough. Actually, eye closure only takes place because it is directly or indirectly suggested. Subjects can be easily hypnotized with their eyes remaining open. Reports of Braid, Charcot and many others, indicate that a fixed stare with eyes wide open was originally more a characteristic of hypnosis than closed eyes. However, theoretically eye closure can be useful in light to medium hypnosis because it eliminates distracting stimuli in a purely mechanical way. It is also a relatively easy response to suggestion and is therefore a contributor to the generalization of suggestibility.

Sometimes, for no obvious reason, a subject will unexpectedly open his eyes during hypnosis. This can occur with deeply hypnotized subject, even though instructions have been given to the contrary. Unless the trance was a relatively light one, the subject is probably still hypnotized. We emphasize this because many novices interpret this as a failure, when it is not. A simple command to close his eyes or to sleep is usually all that is needed to restore the status quo. It is also a good idea to follow this up with a few suggestions aimed at deepening the trance. In some case when the subject seems definitely awake it is possible to bring back the trance state to its former depth if suggestions are given quickly.

Induction Phase

The induction phase can be broken into three steps. It is a good idea to keep these in mind as a guide in any method used to induce hypnosis. The first step is to describe to the subject the symptoms he is about to experience. The second step consists of suggestions of these symptoms, given in the present tense, as actually occurring. This is usually done in a gentle way using a relatively monotonous low tone of voice. The third step actually merges into the third phase (to be discussed later) and introduces it. As soon as there are indications the subject is hypnotized, the suggestions are given in a more direct and emphatic manner. These steps are particularly suited to the "sleep suggestion" method of inducing hypnosis, but apply with a few alterations to many other techniques. One exception is in the case of "instantaneous hypnosis" which we will talk about later.

Regardless of how the subject responded to the preparatory phase, tell him he can open his eyes again and to sit in the chair.

In a conversational manner say to him: I want you to look upward at a spot on the ceiling or the wall and to stare at that spot. Any spot will do, you can pick an imaginary spot if you wish. Pick a spot that is comfortable to fixate on. Don't be concerned if your eyes stray from the spot or you blink. If you do, just bring your eyes right back to the spot and continue to fixate on it the best you can. Just let yourself relax and listen closely to my voice, to what I say. I want you to relax...Think of relaxing. Feel your body relaxing...As you think about relaxing, you will find your body relaxing...You will relax more and more. As you continue to look at the spot above your head and listen to my voice you will become aware that your entire body is becoming relaxed. Your feet are becoming relaxed, your legs are becoming relaxed, your arms and hands are becoming relaxed, your entire body is becoming relaxed. Now you will find that you are also becoming drowsy. You will become more and more drowsy. Just listen to my voice...it makes you feel drowsy, sleepy...You feel heaviness flowing all through your body. Your body is getting heavy, very h-e-a-v-y. Your arms are becoming h-e-a-v-y. Your hands and your arms are heavy. Your feet are getting h-e-a-v-y. Your entire body is becoming h-e-a-v-y, v-e-r-y h-e-a-v-y. You are d-r-o-w-s-y s-l-e-e-p-y. A pleasant feeling of drowsy warmth is coming over you. Soon you are going to sleep...deeply...soundly...A pleasant warmth is coming all over your body, just like when you fall asleep at night...Your eyes are getting heavy. You are becoming sleepy. Your eyes are getting heavier and h-e-a-v-i-e-r, s-o h-e-a-v-y. You are feeling s-o s-l-e-e-p-y. Think of sleep, nothing but sleep...Very soon you are going to go to sleep...My voice makes you sleepy...makes you want to sleep...Your eye lids are heavy, they are closing. You cannot keep your eyes open. They are closing. Shortly you will find it impossible to keep your eyes open and they will begin to blink...They will blink more and more and in a moment they will close because they are getting heavier and heavier...you find it harder and harder to keep them open. [You should try to coordinate this suggestion with the actual blinking of the subject's eyes. Some subjects are able to keep a steady unblinking stare and by giving the above suggestion they will often begin to blink. If they should not, it is best not to insist on this as it is not actually essential.] You are now v-e-r-y s-l-e-e-p-y...You eye lids are s-o h-e-a-v-y you cannot keep your eyes open. They are closing, closing more and more, more and more [If you find the subject is not showing any indication of closing his eyes at this time, tell him in a firm voice:] All right, now close your eyes and keep listening closely to what I say. [Then continue with:] Your eyes are now closed and you are going deep asleep... [Often a subject that has responded poorly to eye closure suggestions may develop some degree of hypnosis after closing his eyes. Also, some subjects pass into a relatively deep state of hypnosis quite early in the process but keep their eyes open and for some reason do not respond well to suggestions of eye closure. In any case, continue with:] They are now closed and you are going into a deep sleep...a d-e-e-e-r and d-e-e-p-e-r sleep...You will pay attention to nothing but the sound of my voice. You will not awaking until I tell you to. Nothing will disturb you. Any time in the future I suggest sleep or say the word 'sleep' to you, you will instantly go into a deep sleep. You are now going to sleep deeply...v-e-r-y d-e-e-p-l-y. [These last suggestions are important and should be given soon after the subject's eyes close. They should be restated a number of times. They will give you much better control over the subject than otherwise.]

You can slightly vary the above procedure by standing close to the subject and raising your hand above the subjects head with the index and middle fingers spread apart in a V. Have the subject fixate on the fingers (rather than an imaginary spot).

The suggestions you give are the same except if the subject appears to show some resistance to closing his eyes or is slow in doing so, continue by saying: "...your eyes are closing...closing, closing... they are closed!" As you say this bring your hand down rapidly toward the subject's face in such a way each of your two fingers come close to one eye. You can stop with out touching the subject's eyes, or you can stop and press gently on the subject's closed eyes to emphasize your statement of closure. Of course, by bringing your fingers so near to the subject's eyes in a sudden manner you force him to close them by a reflex action. For your first few inductions of hypnosis you should not attempt to do more than this. When giving the above suggestions you should generally speak in a quite monotone.

However, you will find it helpful to make use of inflections and other effects from time to time, some of which we have tried to indicate. When suggesting that the eyes are closing, and you can see some response is occurring, it is often helpful to quicken your speech, raise your voice somewhat, add some excitement to it, and repeat the suggestion over and over rapidly. This suggests to the subject that something is really happening. A decisive "They are closed!" will often over come any remaining tendency of the subject to keep his eyes open. However, some subjects may never completely close their eyes. You may be able to see the white of the eyes through a small slit. Also the eyelids may show a rapid trembling that may give the appearance that the subject is resisting or about to open his eyes. Actually these subjects may be very deeply hypnotized.

Lets stop here for a moment and talk about what a hypnotized person looks like. The typical and traditional picture of a hypnotized person usually found in books and magazines is that of an individual who appears to be fast asleep or in a dead faint. It is true that subjects often appear to be soundly asleep by the time the induction phase is completed. Their eyes are closed, the muscles of the face are relaxed, and their entire body is quite relaxed. If he is sitting in a chair, he will often be slumped down in it. His head often falls forward on his chest, or backward or sometimes sideways on his shoulder. His arms and hands usually rest limply by his sides. The onset of this condition may occur very gradually, or it may suddenly and rapidly appear.

Unfortunately, the above description fails to materialize in many cases. An appreciable number of subjects do not show these characteristics, evenly if deeply hypnotized. These characteristics are not necessarily a criterion of deep hypnosis. Muscular relaxation is not an essential correlate of hypnosis. Many subjects remain upright when hypnotized while sitting. They may also show considerable stiffness, and even an unusual amount of rigidity. Even eye closure is not an essential criterion or requirement for hypnosis.

There are some characteristics that generally do distinguish the hypnotized person from a non-hypnotized person. The most characteristic symptom immediately following the induction of hypnosis is a tendency toward protracted immobility. The subject may be relaxed or tense, his eyes open or closed, he may be comfortable or uncomfortable, but nearly always, if not always, he displays an amazing degree of immobility, unless suggestions are given calling for movement. Some subjects may show spontaneous movements, but they are very limited in duration and are probably do to a reflex. There is usually a lack of facial expression. If the eyes are open, the gaze is fixed and blank.

Subjects have a strong disinclination to speak. It is often necessary to address them several times before obtaining an answer. On occasion it may be necessary to order them to answer questions. Even then most subjects will nod or shake their head rather than speak. When some sort of conversation has been established, subjects usually lack spontaneity and initiative. Their speech tends to be low in volume, flat and expressionless. They tend to mumble their answers and must be ordered to speak louder and more distinctly. If motor responses are elicited, they tend to be overly slow and stiff. Psychomotor retardation is often present and also a degree of automatism.

The above description best describes hypnotized individuals immediately following the appearance of hypnosis. As subjects are made to carry out an increasing number of suggestions, the characteristics described above tend to decrease in intensity and even vanish. In many cases there are few or no symptoms that can be used to distinguish the hypnotized subject from a person in the normal waking state. However, even when most hypnotized individuals are acting in a normal way, there still tends to be a constriction of awareness, a characteristic literal-mindedness, some psychomotor retardation and a small degree of automatism. There also is usually a relative lack of humor or self-consciousness.

The demeanor of a subject following the induction of hypnosis is partly do to the manner in which hypnosis was induced and the subject's expectations. An individual that is hypnotized while standing up is going to show less relaxation than an individual that was hypnotized sitting down or reclining. However, on occasion you might encounter a subject whose concept of hypnosis, as a state of complete relaxation, is so strong that when hypnotized in the standing position he will collapse to the floor. Even with sitting subjects, the initial conditions at the beginning of the induction may prevent a relaxed state from occurring. Individuals who for one reason or another tense all or part of their body at the beginning of the induction often retain this condition. The subject's expectation or concept of hypnosis can play a large part in how he reacts to hypnosis. If he expects to be physically relaxed, relaxation is most likely to be a symptom of hypnosis in his case. However, if he expects to behave like a zombie, this is the type of behavior you are apt to see. The type of instructions given to the subject, the manner they are given, and his own interpretation of them, are strong determinants in the way he will behave when hypnotized.

The best criterion, by far, of hypnosis is hyper-suggestibility. However, this is much more an indicator of the depth of hypnosis the subject has obtained rather than an absolute indicator of the presence or absence of hypnosis. Deepening The Trance ).

As soon as the subject's eyes close, you are ready to deepen the trance. At this point the depth of trance could be anywhere from a very light one to a very deep one. For our purposes we will assume it is moderately deep (it usually is). The deepening process generally consists of giving suggestions that:
  1. The trance is getting progressively deeper
  2. Allow periods of silence
  3. Ask for a variety of graded responses

In addition in a later module we will introduce special techniques for deepening the trance. The first technique listed above, is fairly obvious. The second is best employed following suggestions of deeper hypnosis. The periods of silence can last from a few seconds to 30 minutes. The suggestions to initiate a period of silence can be of the form of: "In a moment I will stop talking to you for a while. You will continue to sleep deeply. In fact, you will keep going deeper and deeper asleep. When I talk to you again, you will much deeper asleep...much more than now. You feel very comfortable and nothing will disturb you. You will not awaken until I tell you to. When I next speak to you, you will not be startled by my voice. Now I will stop talking to you, but you will continue to go deeper and deeper asleep." Many hypnotists believe that periods of silence allow suggestions to take full effect and allow the hypnotic state to develop more fully. Presumably the processes involved in the induction of hypnosis or the responses to suggestions are not instantaneous. There is some evidence that indicates a radical change in neural activity takes place not only when trance-inducing suggestions are given, put when any suggestion is given.

How long should the period of silence be? I don't have a good answer to this. If the period is too long, there is the danger the subject may pass into a state of natural sleep -- he then is no longer hypnotized. The frequency and length you will just have to learn by experience.

The last procedure listed, consists of giving the subject a series of graded suggestions. When a subject carries out a variety of suggestions, he usually appears to become increasingly responsive. There is no reason to believe that the processes used to produce the hypnotic state stop when eye closure is achieved. To the contrary, there is considerable evidence that eye closure can be brought about with a relative small amount of suggestibility. Much less than the subject's potential. This is the rational for continuing what was done in the preparatory phase and induction phase. As emphasized earlier, the use of graded suggestions is important in order to avoid creating negative attitudes through failure to respond adequately, and to trigger homoaction and heteroaction.

Most hypnotists follow eye closure with suggested eye catalepsy, with out the instructions to turn the eyes upward. If you have been successful in obtaining eye catalepsy in the waking state, or if you are confident the subject is sufficiently hypnotized, you can end this suggestion with the usual challenge. However, if there is any doubt about the outcome, it is best not to challenge the subject because the trance could be broken if the subject is able to open his eyes. Although the rejection of a suggestion does not necessarily mean the state of hypnosis has ended, a good rule to follow is when in doubt about the success of any hypnotic suggestion, you should not challenge the subject to overcome it. Instead, try to deepen the trance.

If you decide not to challenge the eye catalepsy, you have two choices. You can say nothing about attempts to open the eyes, but go to the next suggest. The second choice is to say something like this: "Your eyelids are stuck tightly together...so tight that if you tried to open them you could not. But you will not try to open them. You have no desire to open them, you only want to sleep."

The next suggestion that is usually given is arm rigidity. Some hypnotists give it before eye catalepsy, or instead of it. Arm rigidity is one suggestion that should always be challenged. If a subject is not hypnotized deeply enough to make this suggestion effective, you might as well start hypnotizing him all over again, using a different method.

The following is a sample procedure for deepening the trance. It should be made continuous with the suggestions of the induction phase. It should be given immediately after eye closure:

Sleep...deeply...very deeply. Your eyelids are heavy...v-e-r-y h-e-a-v-y...They are stuck tight, so tightly stuck that you cannot open them no matter how hard you try. YOU CANNOT OPEN YOUR EYES. TRY! YOU CANNOT OPEN THEM...try hard...All right now, stop trying. You are going deeper asleep...much deeper. Lift your arm up [as you say this take hold of the subject's hand and gently guide his hand and arm straight out to the side at shoulder height.] Extend it straight out. Make a fist...a tight fist...TIGHTER! Your arm is stiffening; your entire arm is becoming stiff! STIFF! RIGID! LIKE A BAR OF STEEL! YOU CANNOT BEND YOUR ARM, YOU CANNOT MOVE IT. Try. YOU CAN'T...try hard...All right now, you can move it. [With some individuals you may have to give more counter suggestions than this. Slowly lower it to your lap. As you do you will go deeper and deeper asleep...d-e-e-p-e-r and d-e-e-p-e-r. You are now deeply asleep. S-l-e-e-p! D-e-e-p, d-e-e-p asleep!...Your entire body is now very relaxed. You have no desire to move. You only wish to s-l-e-e-p...d-e-e-p-l-y...s-o-u-n-d-l-y...You want to do what ever I ask you to do. You can hear me clearly. You will be able to answer my questions and do everything I ask you to do, but you will remain deep asleep. If I tell you to open your eyes, you will not awaken until I tell you to. Any time in the future I tell you to sleep you will immediately go into a very deep sleep. As soon as I say 'sleep' your eyelids will get very heavy, you will get very sleepy, your eyes will close, you will go deeply asleep...This will happen each and every time I say the word 'sleep.' [You can if you wish substitute at this point some other signal, or add to the above instruction. We will have more to say about this later] Now just continue sleeping...d-e-e-p-l-y, s-o-u-n-d-l-y...I am going to stop talking to you for a short time, but you will continue to go deeper asleep.

Nothing will disturb you... you will only hear the sound of my voice. When I speak to you again you will not be startled...Now sleep...d-e-e-p-l-y. [Stop talk talking for 5 to 15 minutes, then in a very low voice (even a whisper), continue your suggestions. Gradually but fairly rapidly increase the volume of your voice.] You are now deep asleep. You can hear everything clearly, but you will only pay attention to the sound of my voice. [You said earlier the subject would only hear the sound of your voice. With a very suggestible subject this may have the effect of making him deaf to all other sounds. You must be careful to remove this condition, if it exists.]

Unless you want to deepen the trance more, you should give the subject more complex suggestions in order to determine his depth of hypnosis. If you prefer you can wake your subject up without further testing. But we will assume that you test him and find he is not as deeply hypnotized as you want. This being the case you can continue by saying to the subject:

You are deep asleep, but you can go even more deeply asleep than you are now. It is your desire to sleep as deeply as possible because it is a very pleasant experience, and it is of great benefit to you. You are going to sleep much more deeply and will respond positively to all the suggestions I give you. I shall now count to three [You can use any number you want here] and as I do you will begin to drift down into a much deeper sleep, and at the count of three you will be very, very sound asleep. So sound asleep that when I ask you to awaken later [It is preferable to say "when I ask you to awaken" rather than "when you awaken" because the former reinforces the contingency of waking upon your command, where the later does not and could be interpreted by the subject as giving him some control over the matter of waking.] you will have no memory of anything that was said or done while you were asleep. It will be as though no time had passed and you had not slept. I will now start counting. One..You are going deeply, much more d-e-e-p-l-y asleep. Two..you are going d-e-e-p-e-r and d-e-e-p-e-r asleep. With each count you go deeper asleep. With each word I say you go deeper asleep. With each easy breath you take you go deeper asleep. You can feel yourself drifting down into a very pleasant deep sleep. [At this point you can begin to soften and lower your voice.] You can feel yourself drifting deeper and deeper asleep. You hear nothing but the sound of my voice. The sound of my voice makes you sleepy. My voice sounds as though it were coming from far away. All the suggestions I give you in the future will be effective. You will do everything I ask you to do. As I continue to talk to you go deeper asleep. Any time I tell you to see, hear, smell or feel something you will see, hear, smell or feel it. What I suggest will become reality. You will experience it fully. Every time in the future that I tell you to do something when you are hypnotized, and only then, [This provision is added to eliminate the possibility that the subject will post hypnotically become dominated by the hypnotist. This is a matter of ethics as well as a safeguard for both the hypnotist and subject.] you will carry it out without question...I will always be able to remove and change any suggestion that I give you now, have given you, or will have given you. [This is extremely important and this suggestion should always be given and repeated a number of times. Now allow a few moments of silence.] ...Continue to sleep. At the next count you will be deeply, soundly asleep. [Allow another period of silence here.] Three... Deep, d-e-e-p asleep! You will not awaken until I tell you to or unless something should happen to me or something occurs that demands your attention. Otherwise you will remain deep asleep and will do everything I ask you to do. Anytime in the future I say sleep or suggest sleep [include another signal (i.e., snap of my fingers) here if you have given one.] you will instantly, go into a deep sleep, even deeper than you are now. When I awaken you later you will have no memory of anything but having slept.

At this point you are ready to use the hypnotic trance for whatever purpose you have created it for. With passive subjects the above technique may cause them to go into a lethargic or stuporous state that is difficult to alter. Because they are already prone to passivity, it is probably best to make use of procedures for deepening the trance which de-emphasize passivity and maximize the use of activity. It is especially inadvisable to suggest to such subjects a desire for sleep, or that sleep is a desirable state. Instead suggestions to deepening the trance should emphasize a desire for activity and cooperation. The technique of fractionation that will be taken up in another module is particularly suited here.

"Waking" The Subject

Normally waking up the subject, or more precisely his de-hypnotization, is one of the simplest parts of hypnotism. Generally it is only necessary to order the subject, "Wake up!" in a firm but gentle voice. Or you could say: "When I snap my fingers and tell you to wake up, you will be wide awake, feeling wonderful in every way." This is followed by snapping your fingers and the command "Wake up!" For subjects that have been in a deep trance, this form of de-hypnotizing may be a little brusque or unpleasant, especially if they have been in a passive state for some time. In this case it is better to make the process gentle and gradual. One-way to do this is as follows: "In a moment you are going to slowly awaken. I will count from one up to five; at the count of five, you will be wide-awake, feeling wonderful in every way. Now I am beginning to count. One...you are going to awaking very soon...Two...you are slowly beginning to awaken...Three..you are becoming more awake...Four...at the next count you will be wide awaking, feeling perfect in every way...Five...Wide-awake! You are alert, feeling better than you have ever felt before. Take a deep breath, and relax."

On occasion, when the subject opens his eyes after being awakened he appears somewhat dazed. If asked to stand up he may seem unsteady on his legs. This usually indicates that the subject is not fully de-hypnotized. It may be the result of awaking the subject too quickly.

In such a case you should take additional measures to completely awaken the subject. One way is to snap your fingers near the subjects face and say in a firm voice "Wake up! Wide awake!" In awaking the subject, there is one rule that should always be followed: Never allow a subject to leave you until you have made certain he is fully de-hypnotized, no matter how light his trance may have been. It is a good idea to have the subject sit nearby for a short time so you can observe him. Before letting him leave ask him a few questions about how he is feeling.

A Quick Method of Induction

Have your subject stand in front of you and place your hands on his shoulders. Bring your face close to his, approximately 8 or 9 inches away and fixate on the bridge of his nose (See Figure 10-1). Say to the subject: "Look into my eyes and think of sleep. You are going to go to sleep, quickly, deeply...You are going into a deep sound sleep. Keep looking into my eyes. As you do you feel a heaviness coming over your body...Your body is getting heavy...Your legs are heavy, very heavy. Your arms are heavy, very heavy. Your hands and arms are heavy as lead. Your entire body is heavy...s-o h-e-a-v-y. Your eyelids are getting heavy...you are getting sleepy...drowsy...You are tired...your body is so heavy...You want to sleep. Your eyelids are so heavy you cannot keep them open. They are closing... closing... closing... You cannot keep them open... You're going to sleep... Your eyes are closed, Sleep! DEEP ASLEEP!

Another Rapid Method of Inducing Hypnosis

This method is ideal when you want to combine testing for hypnotic susceptibility with the induction of hypnosis. Proceed rapidly through the postural sway, hand clasping, and eye catalepsy suggestions in the order given. If the subject gives good strong responses to each of the above, then as soon as you are satisfied he cannot open his eyes, instead of telling him he can open them, proceed as follows: All right now, stop trying to open your eyes. You are now going to go to sleep. Sleep!...DEEP ASLEEP! [Following the eye catalepsy suggestions, move your hand downward in front of the subject's face, form a V with the index and middle finger and gently press the subject's closed eyes for a brief moment. Then place your hands on the subject's shoulders. All of this should take only a moment without any obvious break in the suggestions. In many cases the subject will be in a relative deep trance, but it is best to carry the induction a little farther before testing for depth. You can consider the remainder of this procedure as part of the induction proper, or as part of the deepening phase. With your hands lightly grasp the subject's shoulders and very gently move his body in a slight rotary motion using his feet as a pivot point. At the same time continue giving more suggestions.] You are now drifting into a deep...d-e-e-p sleep. You will not awaken until I tell you to...waves of sleep are coming over you... you are going deeper and deeper asleep. Your body feels heavy...your hands and arms are heavy, v-e-r-y heavy...Your feet and legs are s-o h-e-a-v-y. You feel yourself drifting into a deep sound sleep.

Sleep...deeply...soundly...S-l-e-e-p. [At this time take hold of his forearm, raise it horizontally to his side saying at the same time:] Now raise your arm...Make a tight fist. [Give the arm rigidity suggestions for deepening the trance as was done in the first method. After the challenge, ask the subject to lower his arm slowly, guiding it if necessary, and suggest the trance is getting deeper. As soon as his arm is by his side, continue as follows:] You are now deep asleep and going even deeper asleep... Take a deep breath... breath deeply and slowly... with each breath you take you go deeper and deeper asleep. Continue to breathe deeply...Sleep...You only desire to sleep. You only think of sleep. Breathe deeply...Sleep deeply...More and more deeply...Each and every time in the future that I tell you to sleep, suggest sleep, or say the word 'sleep' you will instantly go into a deep, sound sleep. Even deeper asleep than now. You will remain asleep until I tell you to awaken or until something happens that demands your attention. You will remain deep asleep. Nothing will bother you. Listen to only the sound of my voice.

Comments on Methods

In this module you have been given three methods of inducing hypnosis. Before trying any of the methods presented in the following modules, you should make every effort to master the procedures in this module. These three procedures embody most of the elements that are used in any technique.

As you are probably aware, you have done nothing here that differs essentially from what you did in working with waking suggestions. The initial portion of the induction involves waking suggestions. Certain procedural features appear to run through all modern trance-inducing techniques. For example, a combination of attention focusing (usually involving visual and auditory fixation) with suggestions of some of the superficial symptoms of the appearance of sleep and of sleep itself, ending in suggested eye closure. However, introducing the concept of sleep and its symptoms is not always necessary. But so far we have been talking about the Standard method of inducing hypnosis. We will end this module with the following general rules:
  • If it is not necessary to obtain a deep trance, a rapid induction will probably be satisfactory. But, if a deep trance is required, then it is best to use a slower method.
  • A rapid method will impress an audience more than a slow one. If you have access to a fair number of subjects you can enhance the effectiveness of a demonstration by using a rapid method, even though deep hypnosis will not be induced in all the subjects.
  • Failure to induce hypnosis by one method can hinder subsequent attempts to induce a trance by other methods. Because the likelihood of failure is greater with rapid methods, it is best to use slower methods where the number of subjects is limited.
  • For experimental and therapeutic purposes the slow methods are usually preferred because they allow greater control over the trance and there is a greater chance of success. However, some subjects only respond well to certain techniques that are considered rapid techniques.


Continue to Module 11 - Induction of Hypnosis 2



The instructions presented are from the personal collections and writing library of Mr. Robert E. Cutter, who died December 13, 2001, while in the process of completing the transfer of his work to the internet. These are offered as educational instruction only. The purpose of this instruction is the effective learning and use of hypnotic techniques for vocational or avocational self-improvement. This instruction is not offered as a substitute for, nor as a supplement to, any form of therapy concerned with physical, mental, nervous or emotional illness. Robert E. Cutter served as web consultant for American Psychotherapy and Medical Hypnosis Association for three years. His hypnosis education came through the training he provided at a school he owned in the 1950's in Los Angeles, California, along with his wife who preceded him in death in 1980. Robert Cutter was not a psychologist and did not practice psychotherapy, but his interest in hypnosis motivated him to provide free resources materials for others who wanted to learn to use the power of their minds to improve well being and health-related issues.
Michael A. Robinson, R.N.- BC Psychiatry
Licensed Texas State Nursing Board Registered Nurse
Texas State Nursing Board Certified in Psychiatry
In Honor and Memory of Robert E. Cutter, B.S. 1923-d.2001
From the Writings of Robert Cutter's Self Hypnosis Center
About Feelings Network
Texas . 78526
Phone (956) 203-0608
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