In this post we are going to explain hypnotic process so treat it as a guide to hypnosis or hypnotherapy (whatever you like to call it).


A sanctuary can be a beach, wood, garden, or any place that is comfortable to them. Keep in mind that you don’t want to take them to an inappropriate place, a beach would not be an appropriate sanctuary for someone who was afraid of the ocean!

image for complete hypnosis guide

You want to make sure that they don’t have any negative associations with the sanctuary you use. A very charming way to do this is to spend some time at the beginning of the session before you do hypnosis talking to the person about their life experiences and really talking about what kinds of situations they find relaxing, safe, and wonderful.

They may spontaneously tell you about something they used to do when they were a child which was really fantastic for them, or they may tell you about a wonderful holiday they’ve been on or a special period in their life, and all the things that they associate with that, the things that trigger off those memories.

If you have any doubts about what is a safe place for them, simply ask!

Some people may believe that they cannot visualize. If you run into this, you can ask them questions that require them to visualize on some level.

  • Imagine putting the key into your front door, what height is the lock at? All doors have locks at different heights, some are at waist height, some are lower, and some are higher.
  • Think about going into your bathroom and turn the hot water on. ls it a turning tap, swivel tap, push button, press lever, or something else? There are lots of different types of taps, and you need to visualize the tap so that you know how to turn it on.
  • Consider your bedroom for a moment. Would you like your bedroom painted fluorescent green? How did you know that? At some level you needed to visualize your bedroom as fluorescent green to know whether you liked it or not.

We are creating mental images all the time, but sometimes the veil of consciousness gets drawn across so those images become unconscious. Some people don’t have conscious access to them yet. The images are still there, but they can’t see them consciously.

Over time, if you allow yourself to pretend you can see images, without worrying too much about what is happening, the simple act of thinking about it or imagining it. Will eventually take down this veil and the images are revealed.

The strange thing is that it does not happen overnight, it is not that one day they can’t see the images, and the next they can. It’s just that one day they will be aware that they are seeing the pictures, and when they think about it, they’ll realise that they have been seeing those pictures for the past couple of weeks, they just didn’t realise it fully at the time.

It’s not a big deal, you don’t have to push them to see or experience any particular modality, just getting them involved in the process alone will make it happen.

It is important to involve them in the experience, which is what the orienting process is about, asking them questions, and getting them to acknowledge that an experience is happening. Whether they are aware of it or not is irrelevant, the purpose is to take away from the client the fear or concern that they are not “doing it right”. That is the one thing that must be handled, otherwise they will spend the whole time thinking “l’m not getting this” rather than just going along with it.

Sanctuary Step By Step

Create a relaxing atmosphere (lighting, music, armchair – if necessary).

  1. Induce Trance (include BP1 )
  2. Create an opening to the imagination, by recollecting daydreams or imagining a doorway leading inside the mind or to another place.
  3. Describe a pleasant scene, include all the senses to involve them in the scenery.
  4. Ask them questions about the internal landscape to orient them in further.
  5. Allow the subject to enjoy resting in a part of that scene (e.g. a hammock by the ocean, under a tree in a forest, by a lake on a mountaintop etc).
  6. Finally lead the subject back out of the trance by retracing the steps of the journey in reverse until they are “back in the room”

For the orienting process, simply point out parts of the scenery they have not noticed yet: trees, flowers, lovely lawn, hammock, ask couple questions.

  • There is a red flower here somewhere; can you see it?
  • There is a tree with beautiful flowers hanging from the branches, and there is something next b it, can you see that? What is that?

You can keep away from visual language if the person happens to think they can’t see things. Stick with presuppositions of awareness: e.g. notice what’s there, have you spotted it yet.

image for hypnosis process explained

While orienting, it is important to allow them to create the scenery. Gently nudge them along, there is no need to drag them along by creating an elaborate world from your imagination. The idea is to allow them to create the world, which means they can more easily get drawn in and fully experience their world, because it is of their creation, so it hold more meaning to them.

Dynamic (Mental Imagery) Induction

Light Version (Sanctuary)

  1. Trance
  2. BP1
  3. Sanctuary(Visualization)
  4. Orient
  5. BP2
  6. Emerge

Full Version

  1. Trance
  2. BP1
  3. Sanctuary
  4. Gateway – Path, hole in ground, ship, etc.
  5. Count 10-1 – Describe journey occurring
  6. Orient gestalt – get 3-4 symbols, use the echo effect
  7. Count 1-10 – Back to sanctu?ry, Great Job, Reward.
  8. BP2
  9. Emerge
  10. Hypnotic Blitz

Echo Effect

As you bring them through their journey, not only is it important to get their interaction, it is important to echo back their experience, in essence affirming that what they are experiencing is really happening.

This is not active listening, this is echoing back what they said exactly as they said if, word for word. Match their word order, cadence, tonality, body language, etc. as much as possible. The goal is to mirror back exactly what they communicated.


A gateway is something that leads somewhere, some mechanism to get you somewhere. It might lead up, down, sideways, the point is not the direction, the point is that it moves to you to another place. Let them choose the gateway, only provide suggestions (stairs, elevator, path, etc) if they seem stuck.

Let them know that the gateway will lead them to a place to solve a problem or learn something good for you.


  • Look around until you find a comfortable area of relative darkness.
  • Find a place that absorbs your attention more than any other.
  • Find a place that leads somewhere.
  • There is a mechanism here that will take you somewhere, where is it?

Count 10-1

Use echo effect and weave in a few suggestions while you count from 10 to 1 .


In a moment I am going to count from 10 to 1 , and each number will bring you ten times deeper into hypnosis, and when I get to one, you wilt be exactly where you need to be, a place very important for your unconscious, a place that contains some important message for you, or a place you help solve a problem, or learn something good for you.

Orient Gestalt

As before, you want to gently orient them to the place, and this time you also want to find symbols.

To find symbols, you must first imply that something is there. There is something there that they are currently not aware of, and you can imply significance and meaning.

Ask for a symbol, and when you get it, treat it with respect. Use implication to tease out the meaning, again, gently nudge them along, don’t drag them along the floor kicking and screaming. Find out what colour it is, shape size, etc.

Be sure to echo all their responses, more important symbols will have more repetitions of echoing. Use the 5 Touches for emphasis.

If the symbol is a person, ask about their clothes, shoes, if the are male or female. State that the person has a message for them.

If they are blocking, they don’t give you any symbols, distract their attention, present other things that COULD be symbols, and imply a deeper significance for their being there.

You can gently tease the conscious mind about what it is not ware of: You don’t know and t don’t know, but something inside you does know.

You can use trance tag to have a back and forth interaction that can increase the involvement in the experience, and imply great importance. As an example:

  • Hypnotist: What do you see?
  • Client: I see a river.
  • H: You see a river there.
  • C: Yes, the river is there.
  • H: Do you know what that river means?
  • C: I don’t know.
  • H: The river is there and you have no idea what it means?
  • C: I have no idea.
  • H: The river is there, and you have no idea wonder what that means?

If you ever get stuck, the “get out of jail free card” is: What is happening now?

When you notice a trance signal, you can check in with them: What was that?Here is an example:

  • Hypnotist: What was that?
  • Client: I didn’t hear anything.
  • H: You really didn’t hear that, did you? Isn’t it great that something happened and you have no idea what it was?


A revivification is very similar to dynamic mental imagery. The only real difference is that you are going to a specific memory in their past.

Again, the echo effect is very important. You need to match their words, voice, and even body language as much as possible.

This time however, there is one exception. If they describe the experience in the past tense, you should match their tense only initially, and slowly start switching your echoing to the present tense.

You want them to experience the memory as if they were right there in the middle of it. If they describe their experience as it was something that happened back there, they are dissociating themselves, and they are not truly experiencing it.

As you start seeing trance signals, you gradually start saying less and less, and say more ratifications, letting them fully experiencing the state.

Encourage them to lose themselves. Continue ratification, build up hypnotic pressure, and as you start seeing more trance signals, you can then give them the exit possibility (trance).

Typically, when entering trance with revivification, it is a good to let people come up at their own time, instead of counting them up out of it. They will often experience a much deeper form of trance, so it is nice to let them enjoy it while they are there.

Magic Moments

Magic moments take you out of normal reality, and create a demarcation line between normal experiences and special experiences.

The purpose of magic moments is to create a natural conversational window for hypnosis to occur. It isn’t a full induction itself, though it often arrests attention, bypasses the critical factor, and it might even stimulate the unconscious, but because it is such a light form of hypnosis, it only creates a window, and it depends on what you do with it that determines if you get a full blown hypnotic response at the end.

Look for defence mechanisms to be triggered, showing that they have reached the threshold, and are ready to enter hypnosis.

As always, eye contact is important, eye contact serves to get attention, and prolonged eye contact bypasses the critical factor.

There are three types of Magic Moments: Physical Metaphors, Visual Metaphors and Story Metaphors.

Physical Metaphors

Getting an experience across in a physical format.

An example might be a simple magic trick, like vanishing a coin. You can link the perception of the coin to some problem, like the fear of dogs. That way, when the coin vanishes with a flourish, you can make the point that fears can disappear in an instant as well.

image for hypnosis step by step

Another good physical metaphor is teaching someone how to use a pendulum to obtain answers from their unconscious.

Visual Metaphors

Getting an experience across in a visual format. Gets you from “what’s all this about?”to “oh, I can use this.”

Essentially this means drawing someone a picture or a diagram to illustrate your point.

Story Metaphors

Getting an experience across in a story format.

Three As

All magic moments should be designed to elicit one or more of the three As:

  • Humour: Ha-ha!
  • Emotion: Ahh!
  • Inspiration: Aha!

Magic moments are not magical until you come to a point. Magic Moments are good for setting frames. If you just make a coin vanish, there will go ooh, do another trick. If you actually have a point, they won’t ask “how did you do that”, they will say “l know why you did that”

Magic moments focus in a direction, and then you need to run in that direction to keep the moment up.