How To Hypnotize People

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The question on so many minds of people who begin to discover the mysterious world of hypnosis is how to hypnotize people. The fact is, it’s not as complicated as many make it sound. There are different aspects to hypnosis but the basic principles are more or less the same.

Many techniques exist, and some are complex while others are not so much. They all achieve the same purpose though – to put someone in a hypnotic trance.

And since you’re here, let me start by answering another question that you may have – yes, you can. Anybody can become a hypnotist, and everybody can be hypnotized.

How To Hypnotize People Fast

To quickly get people into a hypnotic trance, the hypnotist must achieve 2 things:

  • Their attention – as absorbed and as focused as possible
  • Their compliance – the subjects must do as the hypnotist instructs them.

If you can get these 2 factors in fast, then you can hypnotize people just as quickly.

PGO Spike

One of the fastest ways to hypnotize a person almost instantly, is by causing them a PGO spike (PGO stands for Pontogeniculo-occipital), which causes them a physical as well as mental loss of balance, which in turn leaves them susceptible to suggestion.

In the following video you can see Dr. David Snyder demonstrate a PGO spike “SLEEP!” induction:

If you watch the beginning of this video, you’ll see how David gives his demo subject a few very simple instructions, “teaching” his mind to comply, because what we know as hypnotists is that our mind loves consistency, and if it has complied or obeyed to a few simple commands, one after the other, it (the mind) will be much more likely to comply again.

That’s why when David shouts “SLEEP!” while giving his subject a mild pull on the arm, the loss of balance, along with the scary shout, and compounded with the compliance streek, compels the mind to vehemently and willingly succumb to authority and obey the command, and throws itself into a hypnotic trance.

Handshake Interrupt

Another induction hypnotists use to induce a hypnosis trance rapidly is called the Handshake Induction or the Handshake Interrupt. This is a very popular induction which I personally learned from Dr. Richard Bandler in a hypnosis class he taught in the UK. In the Handshake Induction, the hypnotist puts out their hand to the subject, as if to shake hands with them, and then, as Bandler calls it “catches them between programs”, the hypnotist pulls away and the subject goes into a confusion loop. This is when the hypnotist takes it further and instructs the hypnotee to look at their hand and “notice the changing focus of the lines as they pull their hand closer to their face”.

If you’ve ever seen a stage hypnosis show or a street hypnosis act where a person has their hand stuck to their face – this is exactly it.

In this video, Dr. Bandler tells the story about how he saw a version of the Handshake Interrupt from his hypnosis mentor and teacher Dr. Milton H. Erickson

By the way, Dr. Erickson tells in one of his books about his best hypnotic subject, who actually became such a good hypnotic subject after years of practice, which teaches us that even going into trance is a learned skill that we can improve at over time, and I can certainly attest to that myself from personal experience.

The Elman Induction

Another rapid induction, from a different school of hypnosis, is called The Elman Induction after Dave Elman who came up with it.

The Dave Elman Induction consists of 4 steps (or as David Snyder likes to call them – 4 magic bullets). If people go through and do the 4 steps, even if they fake doing them, then they will go into hypnosis. The only way to fail this for the hypnotee is to willfully object to the process. You can’t as a hypnotist force someone into a hypnotic state – they have to do the internal work as you instruct them, and this is especially true for the Elman Induction. However, if they do follow instructions, they will without a doubt go into a nice deep trance.

Here are the steps of The Dave Elman Induction as a set of hypnotic instructions:

#1: “Relax your eyelids to the point that they no longer work. Relax them so deeply that you can’t possibly open your eyes without adding more tension to them.”

Notice here, that in order to open your eyes when they’re closed, you HAVE to put some tension in, to make the muscles work, so this instruction is bound to work as long as the hypnotee follows it.

Then you have him test to verify that it is indeed true, that he can’t open his eyes without adding tension to them.

Once the test is successful, instruct him to spread that sensation throughout the body:

“Allow that relaxation to flow through your body, from your eyelids and your head all the way to your toes, and all the points in between.”

The mind knows how to make a sensation expand throughout the body when it’s told to do so. This step replaces the tedious long progressive muscle relaxation (or PMR) that we all know from the movies and gets the same effect within a fraction of the time.

Ask the hypnotee to let you know with an honest unconscious nod of the head when he’s completed this step, and move to the next step:

#2: I’m going to raise my hand in front of your face, and when I do I will tell you to open your eyes, and then as I lower my hand again I want you to close your eyes again and go twice as deep into trance.

Do this 6 times, and make sure that you vary the pace at which you raise and lower your hand, so that your subject follows your instructions, and doesn’t consciously follow a rhythm. If they do, just say something like “not yet. Wait for my command.” and give the command at your own pace.

Remember to tell him to go twice as deep each time you lower your hand – say the words each time, don’t assume they remember.

This step relies strongly on the principle of fractionation, which has been proven to deepen the level of the trance and make the hypnotee go deeper each time.

#3: Now I’m going to raise your arm holding it by the thumb of your hand.

* You have to inform your subject before touching him, so he doesn’t get alarmed by the sudden touch, and also you create anticipation for what’s about to come.

As you lift his arm by the thumb, give him the following instruction: “Allow me to do all the lifting, just allow that arm to be lifted and when I let go of it, allow it to fall like a wet dishcloth back to your lap, and as it does, go even deeper into trance and let another wave of relaxation go through your entire body.”

#4: Now it’s time for the final step – the mental relaxation:

“In a moment, I’m going to ask you to count out loud backwards from 100, like this: 100 {demonstrate – say the numbers}, 99, and with every number I want you to go even deeper into trance, and as you do I want you to allow those numbers to dissipate and fall out of your mind, so that after a few numbers that you count there will be no numbers left.

So you can mentally relax by counting back from 100 NOW.”

In the following video you’ll see Dr. Mike Mandel go through the Dave Elman Induction in detail:

Read More On The Subject

If you want to read more about going forward with hypnosis, here are 2 articles I think you will like:

Tommy Gordon

Written by: Tommy Gordon

I am a hypnotist and an NLP Master Practitioner and I use hypnosis and NLP every day, to improve my own life as well as the lives and businesses of my clients.

I believe in hypnosis as a power for good in this world, and that when you learn and implement it in your own life, you will be able to experience growth and improvement in any aspect you introduce hypnosis into.

Tommy G.