I’m often asked if I use Milton Erickson’s famous Handshake Induction.
It is said that psychologists wouldn’t shake Milton’s hand because they were afraid they’d go into trance.
I’ve also heard that they used to teach courses to these psychologists about how to do hypnosis without going into trance yourself. Pretty funny, actually. I’m in hypnosis just about every time I hypnotize someone.
Anyway Erickson’s handshake induction goes like this:
- Go to shake the person’s hand
- As you near their hand, pull your hand away
- At the same time, use your left hand to pick up that person’s wrist and bring their hand up to their face.
- Say, “look at your hand.”
This is a pattern interrupt.
A person is so used to just going ahead and to shake someone’s hand that when the hypnotist does something different, it interrupts the flow of their brain for a second and their internal auditory quiets down.
After those steps you can say something along the lines of, “Notice the lines and the colors of your hand, and the shades and sensations as your head can just stay there on it’s own and move closer to your hand.”
Brian David Phillips has a post on this with video examples (from a hypnotic video challenge) that I think is great. Check it out here.