Hypnosis, generally, happens in four steps. Induction, Deepening, Suggestions, then Awakening. Before you jump in there’s a few things to consider.
Your general curiosity of how to hypnotize people may have been launched from seeing a stage hypnotist, a street hypnotist, a friend that dabbles, or an ad on the radio. No matter if it’s hypnotherapy, hypnofetish, or amateurs learning for fun the sole requirement is to have a willing participant. It’s all but impossible to hypnotize someone who does not WANT to be hypnotized. However, there is an important distinction in that someone who believes they can’t be hypnotized, may very well be your best subject yet.
They simple requirements for successful hypnosis sessions are really two-fold; a willing participant and their ability to focus on your directions. Before you ask your spouse, friend, relative, or dog to be a subject it’s VERY important that you learn by reading, by watching, and by practicing your “hypnosis” voice. While most people can successfully hypnotize another person, if you have a particularly harsh, high pitched, or otherwise distracting voice you may have to work on being a little more gentle in how you perform hypnosis.
Hypnosis, itself, works in stages. Typically, especially as an amateur, you’ll have to coax someone to let you try after your first few rejections someone may be willing to give it a shot. The emphasis should be placed on trust and relationship. It’s also important to emphasize the safety of hypnosis and that you can’t make them go against their own moral code; they won’t do anything they normally wouldn’t do in a given situation.
Upon establishing a first subject for hypnosis you’ll first, as previously stated, ease their hangups on hypnosis. Then, you will perform a series of directions to establish suggestive dominance over the person, these are often looked at as signs of cooperation and establish a report with you as an authority. Examples may include, stand here, feet together, look at my eye, hold your hands this way, etc.
One of the simplest tests is the bucket of sand vs helium balloons test:
1. Have them stand with feet slightly apart (Reassure their cooperation with a, “great” or “good”).
2. Have them hold their arms out straight forward from the shoulder like a zombie (“Perfect!”).
3. Have them make fists with the hands (reassure)
4. Ask them to flip one hand with fingers facing down (this is the bucket hand) and that the other hand is face up (Reassure again)
5. Ask them to close their eyes (“Doing well so far!”)
6. Tell them to imagine in this hand (touch face up hand) that they are holding an empty metal bucket, really imagine it’s there, feel the cold handle and the slight weight to the bucket.
7. Tell them to now imagine in this hand (touch face up hand) that they have a handful of colorful and light balloons, feel the lightness of the balloons and the slight tug on the hand.
Now, as I talk I want you to concentrate only on my voice and as you do, every other sound around you just makes you concentrate that much harder on my voice, good. As you hear my voice you will begin to imagine that I am slowly pouring sand into the bucket (touch bucket hand) and when you feel that sand you feel the bucket get heavier and heavier. In fact, every time I touch your hand (touch hand again) you’ll feel that sand pour faster and when that sand pours faster that bucket pulls on your arm, down, more and more.
As you concentrate on my voice alone, you’ll notice this hand (touch baloon hand) feeling lighter and when I touch this hand (touch) it will feel as if I’ve added 10 more colorful full and light balloons to your hand. (Touch) 10 more balloons tugging lightly on your arm, making your arm feel lighter and lighters (touch) 10 more balloons filled full with helium. And as you concentrate on my voice these balloons start to lift away, higher and higher. That’s right, higher and higher.
By now you should see a bit of jittery movement from both hands, up and down but a responsive subject will demonstrate a marked difference between the levels of the two arms. If the difference in height isn’t obvious then use general patters like in the script above; keep suggesting more sand with touch and more balloons with touch. When you feel the arms are separated enough you can finish with…
Now, in a moment, now not but in a moment I will count from 5 to 1 and when I do you will open your eyes. 5 – bucket getting heavier and heavier (touch) 4 – 50 more balloons 3 – lighter and lighter, 2 – almost there and 1 *SNAP FINGERS* EYES OPEN
At this point you should show the hypnotized person the difference in levels of the arms. This does two things for you as a hypnotist, first it establishes confidence for you that they will be a good subject and secondly it establishes confidence from the subject that they are able to follow suggestions.
Congrats, you did it! While this isn’t a full hypnotic session it’s a first step in unlocking the power of hypnosis. Typically, after this portion is performed a hypnotist will go on to a full induction which we’ll cover later (rapid or elman method) depending on the setting. This bucket/balloon test is really a primer for a person to fall more easily into a full trance.