Hypnosis and NLP

10 Books Every Hypnotist Should Read

The New Encyclopedia of Stage Hypnotism (Hypnosis) by Ormond McGillThe New Encyclopedia of Stage Hypnotism by Ormond McGill
This book is truly an encyclopedia which includes not only a wealth of information about Stage Hypnosis but a whole variety of techniques and principles that are applicable to any hypnosis situation. This book includes information about how hypnosis works, hypnotic principles that apply to any situation, a whole chapter dedicated to 100 ways to getting someone into hypnosis, and it even shows you how to hypnotize a chicken. Note: Even those hypnotists who are not interested in doing any stage work should read this book! Take my word for it, it is one of the best out there.


Hypnotherapy by Dave ElmanHypnotherapy by Dave Elman
Elman was a pioneer in the art of medical hypnosis, and this historical classic explores not only the Dave Elman Induction, but shows a wealth of other hypnotic techniques like using hypnosis as an adjunct to chemical anesthesia, as a tool for impotence and frigidity, and using hypnosis to eliminate stuttering. It’s worth it to read this book just to get inside the mind of one of the legendary hypnotists of the past, as well as learn a lot of useful techniques.


Uncommon Therapy by Jay HaleyUncommon Therapy by Jay Haley
This book quite simply blows my mind. Jay Haley provides a detailed account of Ericksonian hypnosis, and tells quite a few stories of how Milton Erickson performed his work. This is where you’ll find a lot of the examples of how to interact with a person, as well as information breaking down the structure of that communication and demystifying it so that you can use it. If you are a person who hopes to do any sort of therapy or coaching or to help people in their lives using hypnosis, this book is an absolute gold-mine of information.


The Ronning Guide to Modern Stage Hypnotism by Geoffrey RonningThe Ronning Guide to Modern Stage Hypnosis by Geoff Ronning
If you’re in for the par to learn stage hypnosis or want to be a professional stage hypnotist, I suggest checking out this book. Geoffrey Ronning has put together a very comprehensive guide on specifically how to perform a stage hypnosis show, how to get bookings, what happens if it all goes wrong, and tons of motivation. Although this book is mostly for stage hypnotists and it’s content is geared 90% towards that audience, if you do street hypnosis or even if you are just looking for a good suggestibility test to add onto your repetiore, this book will fulfill those needs.


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert CialdiniInfluence by Robert Cialdini
I do believe I’ve quoted this book about a hundred times in instructing various events and seminars over the years. Cialdini was a guy who always fell for scams; if someone showed up and gave him a fancy sales pitch, he had to buy it. He got very curious as to why he always fell for these gambits, and began a length research procedure which now has been very well documented in his book. Most hypnotists have probably already read this book, but if you haven’t, order a copy. It’s very interesting reading.


Applied Hypnosis and Hyperempiria by Don GibbonsApplied Hypnosis and Hyperempiria by Don Gibbons
Probably my second most quoted book is this one, and usually I’ll just reference the book and tell people to go get it. This book by Don Gibbons is an accurate and realistic portrayal of what hypnosis is and what it isn’t. He talks about how hypnosis has been associated with sleep over the years, and how hyperempiria is actually the opposite of that, but that we use essentially the same process to get people into both states. As a bonus for this book, you learn how to take people into hyperempiric states of consciousness which can be very fun to play with. I’m always surprised at how many hypnotists haven’t even heard of hyperempiria or some of the other states that we have available to us. This is a must-read.


Neuro-Linguistic Programming - Reframing by Richard Bandler and John GrinderReframing by Richard Bandler and John Grinder
Reframing is a critical part of working with people and yet some of us know so little about it. A caller’s objections or a client’s misperceptions both have to be reframed and put into their proper light. People who are talented in the art of reframing are perceived as smarter, they make more money, and their clients have better results. This book shows you how to do it, along with giving you lots of techniques and understandings. It is a transcript of a live seminar that Bandler and Grinder did, but do not be fooled, this is one amazing book. I highly recommend picking up a copy.


Patterns of The Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson by Richard Bandler Judith DeLozier and John GrinderPatterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D., by John Grinder, Judith DeLozier, and Richard Bandler
Another great book by Bandler and Grinder, this one also by Judith DeLozier, is the book that introduced the concept of the Milton Model in NLP. If you’re not familiar, Richard Bandler and John Grinder spent 9 months studying Milton Erickson and watching his videotapes. The very core essence of his patterns, called the Milton Model, is now taught in 1 day in NLP practitioner trainings. There’s two volumes to the series, and they are both great, although difficult to get through. It’s not light reading, but I think it’s time well spent. Great book.


My Voice Will Go With You: The Teaching Tales of Milton Erickson by Sidney RosenMy Voice Will Go With You by Sidney Rosen
The subtitle of this book is “The Teaching Tales of Milton Erickson” and this one can be a lot of fun to read. These are some of the stories that Erickson used to tell people when hypnotizing them or before hypnotizing them. If you want to be fascinated with just how smart this guy was, read a couple of his stories and you might find yourself drifting off. Erickson was amazing at metaphor and relating concepts together, and Sidney Rosen does a fantastic job in this book cutting to the core of what we want to know. This should be in your library!


Trancework by Michael YapkoTrancework by Michael Yapko
Trancework is a comprehensive guide to learning the fundamentals of clinical hypnosis. Although Yapko is mostly an Ericksonian-style hypnotist, he provides step-by-step instructions for getting things done in hypnosis. The book is also grounded firmly in research and pragmatism, and provides a great introduction to the art of hypnosis which you should re-read every couple of years to find out what you missed the first time.


Hypnosis and NLP

Deconstructing Personality Test Types

Hey everyone,

Recently I’ve been very interested in the area of determining personality test types and classifying both myself and other people into groups. I have studied personality before, starting back in Middle School when they gave me this test that apparently said I was to be put on an accelerated track. Among other things, they would recite a long string of numbers to me and I would have to read them back to them in reverse order (no paper or anything) — I’ve since found out this is pretty much entirely a visual function.

Anyway, at that time I was also introduced to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which most of you have probably heard of since it is pretty familiar. However what most people don’t know is that there are many more different sorters of personality and that while the MBTI usually a realistic and accurate description of a given personality type, there are definitely other sorters as well!

For example, a shoot-off from the Myers-Briggs is a branch of Psychology called Socionics. Socionics is based on Carl Jung’s work on Personality Test Types, Sigmund Freud’s work, and Antoni Kepinski’s Theory of Information Metabolism. It is based on the idea that we all have “psychological functions” and that if we chain or interlink these functions in certain ways, it forms a distinct personality profile.

Another great field about personality is the Enneagram. This one I am newer to, but I’ve gained a lot of knowledge on it already. Essentially there are 9 “types” of people, and then you have usually two sub-types that they can have. The Enneagram has been criticized for being too generalized, but I’ve found it already to be a great tool and I’d have to say that those criticisms are probably unwarranted, if you consider that there needs to be some deletion of information to form a cohesive and to-the-point personality model.

Another cool thing that the Enneagram does is that if you know what your primary type is, it will tell you which of the other types you tend to become more like, if you are in a state of growth or a state of stress in your life. When I used it on myself, it was surprisingly accurate!

Now when I got into NLP and especially when I started doing master practitioner level training, I started to learn about something called Metaprograms. In NLP we say that people have certain “programs” or “strategies” that they use in different contexts. Metaprograms are the programs that tend to influence what those programs do. In other words, they are “Meta to” (Meta is a prefix meaning ‘above or about’) the other programs.

What is important about Metaprograms is that they are usually very good ways of predicting behavior, and of determining a person’s personality. Some of the meta programs are Match vs. Mismatch, Options vs. Proceedures, Big chunk vs. Small chunk, and Visual/Auditory/Kinesthetic. Yes, which representational system a person uses is a metaprogram.

And what got me into this recently is that I read a book, which was recommended to me by my friend James Scott, and which I also highly recommend, called “Personality Selling” by Albert J Valentino. This is a -great- book and what it does is combines the information of the meta-programs from NLP and the types from the Enneagram, and mixes them together to tell you -exactly- how to influence a particular person.

Just think, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to communicate with anyone in the way that -they- wish to be communicated with? Sometimes we don’t always get along with other people, but why is that? Usually it is because they are not matching our filters and we are not matching their filters.

What we FEEL is real or what we THINK is real is usually not what is actually there. We have filters in place. We now know that if a person has an experience, that when they go to describe that experience to another person, they will only communicate between 1 and 2 percent of the total information. That’s it!

What is more, they will filter the information in certain predictable ways. That means in order to tell you about these personality types, I am filtering all of the information I know about it into what I think would be most useful to you. Am I right? Leave a comment!

Anyway, in 1957, Noam Chomsky found that there are 3 main ways that we determine reality and that we filter reality through our own perceptions. These three ways are Deletion, Distortion, and Generalization.

Deletion is best illustrated by the famous study in 1972 by George Miller which I call the “Seven Plus or Minus Two” study… and he found that human begins can hold seven plus or minus two bits of information in their conscious awareness at any one time, and if you go beyond that then it gets hard or sometimes even impossible to follow. Have you ever thought about how phone numbers are 7 digits long? What happens is that we delete everything except for that seven plus or minus two.

The other process that we go through is known as Distortion. If you’ve ever walked into a new place that you were going to live and you imagined what the furniture would look like, you were distorting reality! And we have a word for that in hypnosis, it’s called hallucination! Another example is, have you ever heard “creaking noises” late at night and you thought it was a burgular but afterwards you discovered it was just your imagination? It’s distortion again! So we do these things all the time.

The last process that we go through is known as Generalization, and human beings generalize information constantly. When you go to open a door at a place you have never been before, you just assume that the doorknob will be on the right and that you will turn it and the door will open. You also assume there’s something on the other side! Of course without this generalization we would be unable to move through life, so although it does eliminate “data,” it is a wonderful device that we can use.

So lately I’ve been thinking about all of this information, and trying to figure out, how can we use all of this to really determine personality, and how can we use THAT information to help us in working with our clients?

The main use of this that makes sense to me is that you will communicate with the other person in ways that they can understand and in the ways they prefer to be communicated with. In addition to that, if you are working with clients who perhaps have over-generalized beliefs or behaviors, you can use a tool like the NLP Meta Model to deconstruct what is going on, and to de-nominalize their language.

Most of all, it really helps if you know who -you- are and how you tend to react in certain situations. It might help you find which people you are most compatible with in certain situations (both socionics and myers-briggs give charts to show which types you are most compatible with in certain contexts), and it could also help you to find which profession would be most fulfilling for you.

The thing is, you probably already have an idea of what these things would be, but by sharing the experience of others and even joining message boards related to personality, you would have a HUGE advantage. In my coaching programs one of the first things I do is a thorough inventory to determine what motivates a person and what makes them tick as far as personality goes, and these are the tools I use!

I hope this article on personality test types has been of benefit to you, and let me know when you leave a comment, whether it was of great help to you or if you only learned some new tips and techniques.

Hypnosis and NLP

Better Golfers See Bigger Holes

Jessica K. Witt, an assistant professor at Purdue University, found that golfers who play well are more likely to actually see a bigger hole.

Interesting. Does this validate all of Bandler’s experiments that he claims he did, but nobody seems to know how to find a record of it? Bandler says he worked with golfers to have them blow up (make bigger) the picture in the distance, so that they could hit more precisely.

Witt’s research team conducted three experiments. In the first, 46 golfers were asked to estimate the size of the hole after they played a round of golf. The diameter of a golf hole is 10.8 centimeters. The golfers selected one of nine black holes from a poster that ranged in size from 9-13 centimeters. Those who selected larger holes were the same players who had better scores on the course that day.

These findings matched up with previous research by Witt and Proffitt which found that people who were successful at hitting a ball remembered it as larger.

The question all golfers, and other athletes, will be asking is: how can I change my perception to increase my performance?

Great question.

I think it’s interesting how asking better questions can change the level of feedback we’re getting from our subconscious minds, as well as the level of results that appears in our lives.


Why Loud Music in Bars Increases Alcohol Consumption

Today’s post title comes from PsyBlog and their article of the same name. More than 12 newspapers around the world also reported.

Nicolas Guéguen and others, in a now-famous study, found that loud music in bars makes people drink more:

Several experimental studies carried out in natural settings have shown that different environmental music and structural components of the music (e.g., sound level, tempo, tonality) affect the consumer’s behavior such as in-store traffic flow (Milliman, 1982), sales volumes (Areni and Kim, 1993), product choices (North et al., 1999) or time elapsed in a commercial area (Milliman, 1986).

I could cite the entire article here because it’s full of amazing facts which are relevant to hypnotists, but importantly, that music DOES affect our behavior, whether that be shopping in a mall or drinking faster at the bar (avg decrease from about 14 to 11 minutes).

They have theorized that being exposed to louder music changes “the clients’ subjective perceptions of time passage.”

Very interesting!

Guéguen also has done recent studies on the effect of whether women wear cosmetics on men’s behavior, on tactile contact and how it affects social interactions, and another study which sought to evaluate the “but you are free to accept or refuse” technique. They can be found on EBSCO.

Hypnosis and NLP Psychology

Are crowds suggestible?

I was reading a Psyblog post talking about the myths of crowd psychology. One of the common claims is that crowds are suggestible.

From Psyblog:

2. Crowds are suggestible
The idea that people in crowds have heightened suggestibility is also a relatively common myth. People are said to copy each other, looking for a leader, being open to others’ suggestion about how they should behave, perhaps resulting from a lack of social structure.

Schweingruber and Wohlstein simply find no research to back up this claim. If there is some truth to the idea that people in crowds are suggestible, no one has managed to demonstrate it empirically. One scholar has asked why, if crowds are so suggestible, they don’t disperse when asked to do so by an authority figure.

[PWC] What do you think? Are crowds suggestible?

Maybe there is a prevailing belief or conviction that states that when in a crowd, people should ignore authority and follow their emotional convictions. Perhaps crowds are only suggestible to certain TYPES of suggestions – such as words like “Terrorist” or “Fire” that trigger instant emotional response and a “wake up” signal to the conscious mind.

Also, lets think about what it means to “study [crowd psychology]”

Crowd psychology, in this instance, is being used as a nominalization. The standard test for whether or not something is a nominalization is, “can you put it in a wheelbarrow?” or “can you hold it in your hand?”

The word “crowd psychology” has a lot of ACTIVITY associated with it. There’s a lot going on there. When you study the mind, does the mind ever stop? And multiple minds, certainly you have some voices here and some voices there.

One scholar has asked why, if crowds are so suggestible, they don’t disperse when asked to do so by an authority figure.

So I dispute the way that “crowds” is being used in this context. When you nominalize words, they get frozen in time and instead of a “movie” you get a “picture.” And more importantly, you lose a LOT of “data” when you go from a movie to a picture.

Also notice how this is structured. Always look for structure. “Such and such simply find no research to back up this claim” — that could only mean that they did a meta-analysis of all of the secondary data / existing research, and said that there wasn’t enough conclusive evidence, to date.



Seven plus or minus two: the psychology of short term memory

Studies have shown that human beings can hold seven “bits” of information, plus or minus two. So if you’re really talented you can hold nine, and if you’re not the sharpest tool in the shed you can probably at least hold five.

So, what is a “bit” of information? I’m not going to try to define that scientifically, although I’m sure it’s been done before. However I will suggest that a bit could be a thought, an idea you’re trying to hold onto (whether that’s consciously driven or unconsciously), or just paying attention to the space between your toes.

I was reading an article at PsyBlog about this characteristic of short term memory, and it noted something very interesting: That a six-month old infant can only hold ONE bit of information at any given time.

Is this an advantage or a disadvantage? If your world only consists of one thing, that might mean you can’t get too complex with your thoughts. But then, complexity leads to confusion and thinking you know things. An infant doesn’t think they know anything, and as a result they are like silly putty, which as you know will absorb the ink from any section of the newspaper that you want to press it down upon.

Let me know your thoughts.