How to Create Powerful Hypnotic Suggestions
Language. It’s how we communicate and understand the world. We assign meaning to words, and symbols so we can understand each other. An important part of any professional hypnotist’s job is crafting compelling hypnotic suggestions that are used while the client is in the state of hypnosis to help them achieve lasting change for what they came in for.
Yet, how do you go about creating compelling hypnosis suggestions? What are the characteristics of language, and the brain, that make good ones, well good?
That’s exactly what this article is about, and of course we like to add in the why. Why does the brain, like suggestions formatted this way? And how do you actually use powerful hypnotic suggestions?
What is a Hypnotic Suggestion
If you’re new to hypnosis, you may be wondering what a hypnosis, or hypnotic suggestion is.
A hypnosis suggestion is language you will repeat to the client in a state of hypnosis, with the intention of having the suggestion be accepted by your client in order to positively impact their life, for what they came to see you for.
Let’s start with a few very simple examples of hypnotic suggestions :
It’s easy for you to eat only when you’re actually hungry.
The more weight you lose, the more you want to lose.
As you listen to my voice, you become more confident in your ability to synthesize all the wisdom learned here today, and integrate it into you life in a meaningful way.
Types of Hypnotic Suggestion
There are different categories of hypnotic suggestions, including :
Direct : direct hypnotic suggestions are ones that are clearly and directly stated to the client. They are not ambiguous or esoteric, they are not designed to make your client think. They are simply stated. An example of a direct hypnosis suggestion is : every day you walk for 15 minutes and you feel energized and proud of yourself.
Indirect: Indirect hypnosis suggestions are more inductive. They are ambiguous, they can have multiple meanings. An example is : you have been solving problems in your life since you were born, you’re very good at it. And I know there is a solution to this problem, maybe in the deeper parts of your mind, and I wonder if it will be revealed to you sooner in the session, or later in the session.
This article is about using Direct hypnosis suggestions. We will cover indirect hypnotic suggestions in a future article.
Qualities of Great Hypnotic Suggestions
Simple: Short and to the point, with one directive or idea. The brain loves clarity, so short and to the point makes it easy for the brain to understand.
Behavioral: Doing more or less of something. This makes the suggestion ACTIONABLE. The brain loves the ability to imagine, this makes the suggestion easy to imagine.
Present, or Always Tense: Not future tense, for example use “I go on a 15-minute walk” rather than “I will go on a 15-minute walk”. Will is always in the future, and the subconscious mind is literal in it’s translation, so a hypnotic suggestion that includes future tense will not be as powerful as one using always tense.
Believable: The suggestion should be reasonable. For example, a hypnosis suggestion that you’ll grow a foot overnight is not reasonable. One that pushes clients out of their comfort zone, however is. And making suggestions believable is a part of a good hypnotists job too - building confidence in the client.
Positive: Stated in the positive - what is wanted instead of what is not. For example, “I don’t want to be so stressed” could be written as “I feel more peaceful and calmer”. The brain is positively oriented, whatever we focus on grows, so the suggestion needs to be positively stated. It’s just how the mind works.
Reward: A reward should be tied to the suggestion, for example “I practice my self-hypnosis for 15 minutes a day and feel more peaceful and calm.” Rewards, and a positive feedback loop are an inherent part of the way the brain operates. We want to piggy-back on that understanding for our clients. And the best reward is intrinsic - something that is an inherent part of the activity itself. An intrinsic reward for walking is feeling better, a non-intrinsic reward would be losing weight, which realistically doesn’t happen to the degree that is measurable or meaningful for a few weeks.
Measurable: Measurable suggestions help our clients know when they are successful. An example of measurable suggestions includes “every morning I walk for 15 minutes and feel energized.” The brain loves to know that it is successful! We want to create rewards that give the clients the satisfaction of a job well done to impact the positive feedback mechanism.
Questions to Elicit Great Suggestions
Make it Simple
If I could snap my fingers, and one of these items could be resolved —which would give you the most relief?
Use this when clients come in with a laundry list of items they want help with to help them focus their attention on the primary issue. Having them focus on too many things at once tends to lead to frustration and not the results they want.
Make it Positive (Flip a Negative Suggestion)
If you weren’t so _____________ (stressed) how would you feel?
Client reports a negative suggestion, such as “I just don’t want to feel so stressed al the time.” Ask, if you weren’t so stressed, how would you feel?”
Make it Measurable:
How do you know (that you’re feeling better)?
If a client asks, “I just want to feel better”, reply with “how will you know when you’re feeling better?” This can lead to obtaining measurable and behavioral ideas to include for suggestions. For example, if client states, “I know I’ll feel better because I’ll be listening to music again and won’t dread getting up.” Turn both of those into great hypnosis suggestions for clients.
Make it Behavioral
Imagine that you ____________ (are losing weight), what are you doing (or doing differently)?
Client may reply with “I’m walking more.” Use that as a suggestion, to help your client get into the state of the person they want to become. For example, “Every day you walk for 15 minutes and you feel energized and hopeful, and helps you lose weight faster than ever before.”
The Most Hypnotic Words
Don’t forget to utilize these powerful hypnotic words when you are making suggestions to your client!
Wonder & Curious
Saying “I wonder” or “I’m curious” to your clients automatically initiates a subconscious response.
Asking our clients to imagine something also automatically initiates a subconscious response.
Because is a very powerful word. It’s sneaky in its simplicity and everyday use. Because offers a reason to the subconscious mind for the statement to be true. It makes the statement reasonable, logical, and attractive to the subconscious mind.
You [Your Name]
You, and the more personal version, your actual name is very hypnotic. It’s been said there is no sweeter sound, than the sound of your own name. When we hear our name, we are captivated.
The more you read this material the more you are curious about hypnosis and the power of the mind. The more is a powerful hypnotic word that allows the hypnotist to build one phrase on top of another. This is similar to As.
As you listen to my voice, it’s easy to focus your attention inward and relax even more. This is similar to The More.
Pretend or Just Pretend
Pretend is a hypnotic word, it is initiating the subconscious mind. Pretend that you are going more deeply relaxed and notice how good that feels. Pretend works because it takes the pressure off of the client to do things perfectly right. Just pretend you’re doing it right, and they’ll likely start doing it right.
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