Hypnosis Training Blog

In 2012, I made a post on Somnambulism: Is It Needed? which examined exactly what is necessary to make changes within the hypnotic state. In other words, do we need critical faculty bypass, or not?

A New Way of Thinking in Hypnotherapy

As a couple years have gone by, and I’ve received new certifications and worked with many new clients, my perspective has changed quite a bit.

The idea has also gotten into vogue in the hypnosis world that you do not need any sort of ‘deep trance’ state at all to do change work, and in fact some of my colleagues made their name in rebelling against this idea!

Some of this I agree with and some I think is going way too far, but with all this in the backdrop, I have finally come around to integrating both perspectives. The realization came that I could do almost all of the therapeutic-style work in multiple scenarios, and it didn’t matter if a “proper trance” was not there.

The Commercial Effect

When someone picks up the phone to talk to us, what are they really looking for? They want change. Something isn’t working the way it should, and they want it to change. Preferably, now.

But how does ‘change’ occur? One of the best ways to think about this is in terms of commercials. Advertisers spend billions of dollars each year on television commercials to try to … what, get their name out there?

No, they spend the money because the commercials work to influence buying behavior. They work big-time. You also didn’t need to be “in a trance” for it to work on you. And here comes the most important point…

Winston tastes good like a…

If you are above about age 35 in the USA, you would probably fill in the words “cigarette should” at the end. Why? Because this was a slogan and commercial that Winston, a tobacco company, ran for many years.

By getting that slogan into the minds of people, they started to not only believe at some abstract subconscious level that Winston was a good thing, but even consciously they formed a set of ideas around what it meant to smoke a Winston cigarette.

What am I getting at here? Consider that a lot of what we do may not even require a hypnotic state at all. It may only require a deep-change in the mind surrounding a certain idea.

A Client Smoking Cessation History

Putting this into a hypnotherapy situation now:

The client is a ~45 y.o. female, started smoking upon entering the military, and had tried everything under the sun. The patch, the gum, Chantix, quitting cold-turkey, giving money to a friend if she smoked, etc… just couldn’t kick the habit.

One approach I could take is to tell her, ok we’re going to hypnotize you and give you suggestions… that’s the cookie-cutter model of doing things. Instead of that, though, I chose to talk with her at length, subtly finding out what the real triggers and motivations were for her smoking.

While I was finding out, I was also suggesting certain ideas to her. Seeding the ideas just the same as I would if she were completely relaxed on the recliner. I mentioned all the trouble smoking had caused her, all of the panic she had gone through in the past.

At the end of it she realized it just wasn’t worth it. She saw things differently as a result of our conversation, and formed a new opinion. Her conscious mind did it, because the truth is she was not ready to be hypnotized on that first session.

I just got a message on my voicemail from her, saying that she has been smoke-free for 2 weeks now and never thought she would be able to do it. She is ecstatic.

The entire time all I used was my own brand of conversational hypnosis and precise questioning which I believe was simply presenting an idea to her mind in a way she had never thought of before.

Coming Full Circle

When a person starts learning hypnosis for the first time, they are very fond of inductions and how we get a person into hypnosis. The real magic though, as far as hypnotherapy goes, is in what you do once they are there.

After years and years of doing the updated but still traditional styles that were influenced by Dave Elman, Gil Boyne, and others, what I found is that I can do the same things I would do, just in the “waking state.”

Now many people would call this waking hypnosis. I’m not so sure though. My current thinking on this is that we have certainly shifted our perceptions, but that we did so within the confines of the conscious mind.

The conscious mind is our awareness, after all. What if we are simply seeing things differently? With my clients it’s as though the mind doubled back on itself and realized it’s own error.

The traditional view of hypnosis is that the conscious mind does not influence the subconscious mind much, if at all. That we try to use our will power to make changes at the subconscious level but that it doesn’t work.

What do you think? Can the conscious mind influence the subconscious mind, instead of the other way around?

Let me know your thoughts about this in the comment section below. I’m looking forward to reading the replies!



Since my last post on somnambulism and whether it is necessary, I decided to write on one of the more interesting uses of hypnosis, which is to have them open their eyes!

“Can you hypnotize someone with their eyes open?”

Yes, absolutely! Just look at a stage hypnosis show. The people are up on stage, with their eyes open, deeply hypnotized.

We can also similar things with clinical work. We have the person open their eyes, deeply hypnotized.

The Benefits of Eyes-Open Hypnosis

Having them open their eyes within somnambulism has primarily the benefit of fractionating the state. When we do fractionation within the Elman induction, we are have the person open and close their eye lids three times.

They are not actually “emerging” out of hypnosis during those three times, rather they are bringing themselves deeper into the state.

If you are a hypnotist who has a skill with fractionation, you may also apply this skill in other ways, such as anchoring that state with your vocal tone and then purposefully doing a break state. Remember, everything you do is hypnosis.

A second benefit to having them open the eyes is that it can act as a powerful setup for having the person ratify/test that they are indeed hypnotized. Or, indeed, to ratify just about anything at all.

How To Do It: Step by Step

The steps of getting into this state are first to bring them into a natural state of hypnosis with their eyelids closed. Verify and test for somnambulism, making sure that you have them in the state. Then you say something similar to this:

“In a moment, Clarice, I’m going to count slowly from 1 to 3… When I count the number 3, you’ll open your eyelids slowly, remaining in this hypnotic state, and we’re going to have a hypnotic conversation. 1, feeling warm and comfortable, 2, now the eyelids start to blink open, and 3, feeling great…”

It’s really as simple as that. At that point I might condition the state further like this:

Taylor: “Hey how are you doing? Feels great doesn’t it.” (descending tonal inflection)
Clarice: “Yeah it feels good”
Taylor: “Did you notice how every breath you were exhaling just kept taking you right on down?”
Clarice: “Mmmhmm”
Taylor: “And I wondered, if you were aware, of how deeply you were relaxing, as I continued to talk to you, and you continued to breathe…”

Now for those of you who are trained in such techniques, you’ll recognize that I am using Ericksonian language patterns, and tons of presuppositions. That’s what you want to do. Use strong pacing statements with presupposed suggestions.

Hypnotic Reinductions

From this point, once you have compounded the suggestions, it’s time to re-hypnotize the person. Here is how I set it up:

“Now, the interesting thing about hypnosis is that every time you go into hypnosis you’re going to go deeper, you feel more comfortable, and your body gets much more relaxed. So in a second you’re going to go back into hypnosis, and this time you’ll go much deeper than before… Ready? Alright, just look here at me, and…”

And at this point I would do an instant induction. Proceed immediately to deepening (as explained in my video here) and then compound and reinforce the suggestions even more.

This works, really well. Go out and use it — and if you have any suggestions or ideas that you pick up through your own practice, tell us in the comments below.



Somnambulism: Is It Needed?

If you have been around old-school hypnotists for any length of time, you have certainly heard about the different levels of hypnosis. The logic starts out that first you are “awake” and then you go through processively deeper levels until you are in “deep hypnosis” and while you are there, you are in a state […]

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Are you a jack of all trades? What style is best for how to learn hypnosis?

As I was coming back from a seminar recently, I realized there’s an interesting pattern in the difference between how I approach mastering hypnosis and NLP, versus some of my friends and colleagues… For example, my good friend Josh Houghton (with a hypnosis training blog) is the type of guy who likes to really master […]

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Can Anyone Learn To Become A Hypnotist?

Since I do offer hypnosis training on a regular basis, the question often comes up — can anyone learn to do this and become a hypnotist? Sometimes when people ask me if hypnotists have a special hypnotic power, I reply “Yes, and no.” And that’s a truthful answer! The answer is “Yes” in the sense […]

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Gil Boyne Online (Hypnosis Video Classes)

For any of you who are familiar with the “old masters” of hypnotherapy, Gil Boyne was the best of the best. Although Gil passed away recently in October of this year – and he will be sorely missed – his work lives on… I’ve dedicated the last few days to watching the master at work. […]

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