What is a Post Hypnotic Suggestion?

Blue Canoe - Hypnotic Suggestion

Ah, the bread and butter of any hypnotists tool box. You do keep bread and butter in your toolbox, don’t you? Simply put, a hypnotic suggestion, is a suggestion you make to your subject/patient/friend/cat while they are under hypnosis. However, to call it a suggestion is a bit gray; you are actually directing them to act upon your words, it’s called a suggestion because they just might not follow your directions at all like a toddler who won’t stop drawing on the walls.

Simple Hypnotic Suggestion Example:
“When I, and I alone, say ‘blue canoe’ you will immediately touch your nose with your right hand”

Simple, right? Sure it is. Whether or not they follow your direction is up to a few factors though.


Requirements for Hypnotic Suggestions

  1. Are they really under hypnosis?
  2. Are they naturally comfortable with your direction? (Would they have a problem doing this in front of you if just asked in person)
  3. Are they in a suggestible state? (Have you prepared them for your direction)
  4. Have you clearly defined a hypnotic suggestion?
  5. Have you clearly defined a Hypnotic Trigger?


How to have a more successful hypnotic suggestion

Using our ‘blue canoe’ suggestion from above, how can we make it better defined and rooted deeper to maximize the potential for a successful hypnotic suggestion?

Original Suggestion:

“When I, and I alone, say ‘blue canoe’ you will immediately touch your nose with your right hand”

First I defined when the trigger will take place “When”, this word does a few things for us. First it establishes a time frame, in this case it’s immediate but it could have been “in about 2 minutes”. Next it establishes that anything that follows “When” WILL happen, this is the direction instead of suggestion part I was talking about. It tells the brain that it will be hearing that combination of words in the future. Priming the pump, so to say. After the timing that I established we defined who or what causes the trigger to fire, “I, and I alone”. This trigger could be a word, a sound, a touch, a color, a musical cue, it could be nearly anything that the subject/patient observes or experiences – it could be anytime the cat meows if you want.  Next, we defined what the trigger was, in this case it was the words “blue canoe”. Only, I can say blue canoe and x/y/z will happen. This was followed with the hypnotic suggestion or direction. You “will“, again, establishes in the subject’s mind that it is inevitable to occur, “immediately“, establishes when, “touch your nose with your right hand“, this is the meat of the direction.

If your hypnosis patient is highly suggestible then once through with that phrase should be good enough, but most people don’t want to waste too much in and out of trance to cement hypnotic suggestions so instead most will tend to rephrase the same suggestion one-three more time, especially immediately before returning the subject to the awakened state.

Full Hypnotic Suggestion Script example:

“When I, and I alone, say ‘blue canoe’ you will immediately touch your nose with your right hand. That’s right, anytime i say the phrase ‘blue canoe’ you will feel a sudden and unshakable urge to touch your nose with your right hand. Touching your nose after I, and I alone, say ‘blue canoe’ feels natural, normal, and good. Now, In a moment, not now but in a moment, I will count from 5 to 1, and when I reach 1 you will be awake, alert, and happy.

5, starting to stir and wake and regain, 4, when I alone say ‘blue canoe’, 3, you will feel compelled to touch your nose. 2, Your awareness coming back to you, and 1, *Snap* Wide awake.”

It’s at this point you should address your hypnotic subject and reorient them with light conversation back to where and how they are. Simple questions like; “How do you feel?” “Are you relaxed?” “Do you remember anything?”. In some cases, with the example above they *MAY* remember canoe, or even the full phrase ‘blue canoe’. If they say the words nothing will happen, but what I like to do is to immediately repeat it like a question to test the trigger. “That’s odd, you remember blue canoe?”.