The first thing to realise is that hypnosis isn’t any magical or mystical state. It doesn’t take any special powers to either be a hypnotist or to be hypnotised. ln fact, it is a very natural part of being a human being.

As hypnotists we find it convenient to talk about different levels of consciousness. Most of you going through this program are probably familiar with the idea of a conscious mind and an unconscious mind, so I will only go over the concepts briefly to ensure that we are all on the same page.

The conscious mind is what we’d like to think of as ourselves. lt is our intellect, it is the choices we make everyday, it is the things that we are aware of. The conscious mind has a very digital, linear thought process. As a general rule, your conscious mind can only process between 5 and 9 bits of information at a time, which explains why it can be easy to feel overwhelmed when tackling a complex problem.

However, your unconscious mind has a very different, almost holographic thought process. The unconscious mind can handle millions upon millions of pieces of information at the same time, and it loves finding complex patterns and connections.

There are many different models of consciousness out there with varying complexity, and if you have a particular belief, by all means feel free to use it. Some people like to split the mind up into parts: conscious & unconscious, the part that smokes & the part that wants to give up, etc. Ultimately, I believe it is all still just YOU. We use such terms as conscious/unconscious as a convenient handle to do our work. But at the end of the day, I don’t want a fragmented mind; I look to integrate everything so just one person leaves your office!

Throughout life, people drop into trance several times a day, whether they are pulled into a riveting novel, become enthralled while watching a movie, etc. You have likely had an experience when you are driving somewhere familiar in your car, and as you begin parking at your destination, you realise that you don’t recall driving the last five miles. Your unconscious handled the driving while you were thinking about something else. All these are examples of different forms of trance.

The ABS Formula For Hypnosis

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Now let’s unpack what happens in hypnosis.

I want to present to you a very powerful formula, a three-step model that will give you the keys. In fact, it is one of the master keys for understanding any hypnotic process. These are the things that have to happen in any hypnotic process in order for you to make sure that you actually have some sort of hypnosis and you are working with the unconscious mind.

The three steps are encapsulated in the acronym ABS.

1. A – Attention

Absorb ones attention; focus their attention. You need to pull it and draw it into the hypnotic.

2. B – Bypass Crucial Factors

3. S – Stimulate the unconscious mind

Recruit unconscious mind to perform actual changework.

Common Fears And Misconception About Hypnosis

Myths and misconceptions abour hypnosis

Now let’s discuss some of the most common fears and misconceptions related to hypnosis.

Hypnosis Is Not Sleep

When someone is in hypnosis, their mind does not disappear, and they do not typically feel like they are asleep. It is important to make people aware of this, because they may think that since they are totally aware of everything, that they must not be in hypnosis, and they will pop themselves out of trance.

You will not be asleep. You will hear everything I say. In fact, in many respects you will be more aware in hypnosis than you’ve ever been before in your life. You might be aware of things like the ticking of the clock in the background, or the sounds of the street on the outside.

You Will Not Forget (Everything)

One of the earliest experiments in hypnosis discovered that when people came out of trance, they were spontaneously forgetting the events that occurred inside.

Now you’ve got to remember a couple of things.

First of all these were different times. In other words, the kind of hypnotic trances that we’re doing and the induction process that we’re using are different now. An “old school trance” would typically take many hours just for the induction.

The hypnotist would wave his hands over the subject’s body monotonously – sometimes for hours. If nothing else, they could be inducing trance out of sheer boredom!

So in modern hypnosis (and a lot of the trances that we use, particularly for therapy or stage hypnosis) most people know exactly what’s going on almost all of the time. It’s just they’re not bothered by it. They kind of enjoy drifting with the experience. They are in a free-flowing state of mind, where it’s easy to go along with the suggestions.

You will remember everything that’s happened at the end of the session. Occasionally they may suggest that you forget a few things. This is just so that your unconscious mind has the freedom to deal with those things outside of your awareness, without any interference. But it’s a rare occasion when that sort of thing happens.

You Will Not Lose Control

The hypnotist’s role is to guide someone through the experience. The subjects role is to listen to suggestions and realize that any suggestions that are negative or in some way are contrary to their moral code, their moral values, will be rejected.

ln fact, if a hypnotist ever tried to get their subject to do something immoral, what’s more likely to happen is that the subject comes out of trance and gives the hypnotist a stern talking to!

Your unconscious mind is there to protect you, to look after you. Why would it make you break your moral code? In the same way you won’t tell me anything that you don’t want to be telling me.

You Will Not Reveal Your Darkest Secrets

Everyone has skeletons in the closet. Everyone has things in their past that they don’t want to talk about or might be a little bit ashamed of.

For the most part, the irony is that these things that we don’t want to talk about or tell people about, are things that are so minor that if they came out people would go, ” That’s what you were worried about? That’s not a big deal.”

The point is, though, some people are afraid that these secrets, as they were, may come out, and that someone else will know their big secret.

Again, this is not the case and you’ll need to reassure people that their secrets will remain their secrets.

In this way, their attention is free to follow your suggestions, rather than being eaten up inside hoping and wondering and being afraid that you might discover something that you really don’t even care about that much.

Your secrets will remain your secrets. After all, your unconscious mind is there to took after You, not to look after me So why would it reveal secrets that you don’t want other people to know if it’s looking after you?

You Are Not Gullible Or Stupid

Some people think that in order to be suggestible you’ve got to be gullible.

There is a big difference between gullibility and suggestibility.

People who are gullible aren’t necessarily great hypnotic subjects.

One of the reasons for this is that if they’re going to believe everything anyone tells them anyway, then the minute someone comes in and tells them a contrary suggestion to the ones that you’ve made in hypnosis, they’ll go down the wrong path again.

So their mind is filled with conflicting suggestions.

Intelligence, on the other hand, requires the ability to try out new ideas and ways of being so you can choose the best one – something that hypnotic suggestion is designed to facilitate. So intelligent people are already used to using “hypnotic realities” to gel better results! Of course, their defence mechanisms are still there to shield them from negative suggestions!

There is evidence to suggest that there is a correlation between intelligence levels and suggestibility. In other words, the smarter you are, the more suggestible you tend to be. Part of what defines intelligence, although it’s a tricky thing to define, is your ability to have many different experiences and understand them and immerse yourself in them. That’s what suggestions are designed to do, to give you a different set of experiences. The other thing about intelligence is it allows you to put on hold one model of the world, one way of thinking, and try on different models until you find the best one for your needs. That’s how people evolve or grow; become more intelligent or find better solutions to things.

You Will NOT Get Stuck in Hypnosis

They will always wake up out of hypnosis.

Occasionally, and very occasionally, when you try and end the trance session someone won’t respond. They will choose to stay in hypnosis because it’s very pleasant.

Now that is a very different thing.

This is them choosing to remain in a very pleasant state.

You will always wake up from hypnosis. The very worst thing that could ever happen, even if I died on the spot in the middle of our hypnosis session, is that you’d just drift off into a wonderful sleep. You’d wake up half an hour or an hour later, feeling refreshed and wondering how you got there. And that is it.

Is Hypnosis Sophisticated Or Complex?

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When people decide to learn something new, many times the first look at the surface reveals what seems to be a very complex thing, something that is daunting to think about, much less master. When you first see some of the techniques that you are learning during this training, you may have initially felt overwhelmed, but I am going to tell you the secret that will help you whenever you desire to learn something new.

The reason things may look complex at first is because you are concentrating on the forest, and miss the individual trees. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the huge complex forest of ideas, you can focus on mastering one idea at a time. You will find that something that used to seem too complex, can easily be broken down into simple individual steps. After easily mastering each step in turn, you are able to put several simple steps into a sophisticated group. These groups, seem sophisticated and complex to others – but to you they will now be a collection of simple steps.