How do Hypnotic Suggestions Work?

“Look into my eyes. Your fear of spiders is fading away, fading away. You now like spiders.”

That’s what we in the hypnosis biz call direct suggestion. It’s what most people think of when they think of hypnosis. Direct suggestion can be very weak or very powerful, depending on context.

On the whole, telling people to change doesn’t work very well unless you also show them how to change. If you tell someone who has never used a manual transmission, “Just get into this 5-speed car and drive to Miami,” they’re likely to refuse. If you give them a lesson, it’s a lot different. Even if you ask them, hypothetically, how they’d go about learning to drive a stick shift so they can drive to Miami, it might turn out well. As soon as someone has serious thought to overcoming an obstacle, it’s hard to fall back into the previous state of, “I just can’t.” The more vividly you image the process of achieving success, the more energized you are to take the plunge and see it through. Continue Reading...

Laugh Your Bad Habits Away

At one of my first hypnosis training sessions (at Apositiva Institute), it was my turn to be the subject, and I selected from my to-do list, “I want to floss every day.”

For some reason, I’d always been a bad flosser, but my doctor kept insisting, “Just floss the teeth you want to keep,” so I wanted to mend my evil ways.

So the other students got me into a trance and they were taking turns making hypnotic suggestions to floss regularly. This went fine until someone said, “And your whole being is filled with the joy of flossing,” at which point I started laughing and couldn’t stop! Now, I like having my whole being filled with joy as much as the next guy, but it seemed sort of incongruous to achieve this bliss through a length of dental floss.

Eventually I calmed down and we finished the exercise.

Interestingly enough, since that time, I’ve flossed every day! This was just a practice exercise with folks just learning hypnosis, but it’s proven 100% successful for six months now. Continue Reading...