Hypnotic Inductions – Why the Obsession?
Posted by: Stephen Rigby at 10:22, May 11 2017.

If one is a hypnotherapist, one has to be able to hypnotise someone.  When I had my initial hypnotherapy training, we were taught a number of different hypnotic inductions (ways to hypnotise people).  We were taught slow inductions like progressive relaxation or the silent induction and rapid inductions like the “Zonk” and the “hand shake interrupt”.  It is great fun to use these techniques and when I first started out I used to use some of them sometimes.  The point was made, however, that “anything” can be used as a hypnotic induction and, although at the time, I did not understand what our instructor meant, as my experience grew, I realised that this is indeed the case.

How Does One Hypnotise Someone?

To the general pubic the process of hypnosis is swathed in mystery but in truth it is supremely easy to hypnotise someone and everyone can be hypnotised (take no notice of anybody who claims otherwise).

All hypnosis is actually self-hypnosis.  It is particularly easy to hypnotise someone as part of a hypnotherapy session because they have already prepared themselves to be hypnotised.

The “Obsession” with Hypnotic Inductions

When people first started using hypnosis in the therapeutic process, hypnotic induction took a long time.  The patient would be told to do something like looking at a candle flame and the hypnotist would check back every now and then to check for hypnotic phenomena to see whether they had entered hypnosis.  An induction may have taken up to an hour or more.

The American, Dave Elman, who practiced in the 40’s and 50’s, changed all that because he saw the potential for all doctors and dentist to use hypnosis.  Elman reasoned that if an induction took longer than 60 seconds it was of no use to a doctor or dentist.  It was him who proposed that it was not the hypnotist doing the hypnotising but the patient and developed a number of inductions along that theory.  Elman was in a position to prove his theory because he lectured doctors and dentists and as part of a lecture would use a 60 second induction and then get a dentist to perform something like root canal treatment on the patient with no additional anaesthesia.

I have my favourite inductions but whenever there is a hypnotherapy conference there is frequently a speaker on hypnotic inductions – particularly “rapid” inductions.

The Value of Experience

I wonder sometimes who the intended audience might be for a lecture on hypnotic inductions. After one has been practicing as a hypnotherapist for a while, one realises that for many people who come to a hypnotherapist for help, the only induction required is to say “now, close your eyes and relax”.  That is pretty clever when one considers that to be hypnotised one does not have to close one’s eyes or be relaxed!  A certain amount of preparation is required to achieve this but the skill, ultimately, is in the hypnotised and not the hypnotiser.

Who is the Audience?

An experienced hypnotherapist is not interested in different ways to hypnotise but in different ways to help their client change perspective.  Hypnosis on its own does not achieve a great deal and an experienced hypnotherapist already has all the skills they need to help someone into hypnosis.

Ultimately, a lecture on hypnotic inductions cannot be intended to appeal to experienced hypnotherapists but to those who are just starting out. If hypnotherapists continue to “come and go” with the rapidity I have seen over the years, there will always be an eager audience for these lectures.