Hypnosis and Meditation
In this short video, Michael explains how NLP links to hypnosis and meditation.
Hypnosis and meditation lead to altered states and have been used since civilisation began to help us relax, focus and increase well-being and creativity.
There are many similarities between meditation and hypnosis. The main difference is meditation is about acceptance and being open to whatever happens, whereas hypnosis is more directional – it’s about guiding us or others to something better.
An ideal position is fully appreciating what we already have AND moving towards something better.
Hypnosis is a natural process, we drift in and out of hypnotic states all of the time. Using hypnosis to simply wake people from non-useful states can be just as beneficial as getting them into good states.
It is useful to think of hypnosis as a further amplifier to improve any NLP approach.
- The power of ambiguity. If we give our clients just a structure without any content, they will often fill the gaps in the structure with the most useful content for them at that time. A blank space is often more useful than giving them the (or really, our) answer.
Saying ‘You may choose to take action’, for example, is completely un-specific. It is therefore very difficult to deny outright and this allows the client to relate the words to what is truly important to them.
- Shock and pattern interrupts are useful, provided we use them to lead somewhere beneficial.
- Pace and then lead can be used by referring to something that is irrefutable true in their world. When they accept what we say, we can lead them somewhere more useful.
- Anything that presupposes a hypnotic state often leads to it. Encourage any behaviour that supports your client going into hypnosis. Say ‘That’s right‘ or ‘That’s really good’ if you observe things such as slower breathing, eyes fluttering, increased flaccidity of muscles and skin, dilated pupils and lower lip becoming redder.
- Utilisation. We can use anything that’s happening. For example, if a car alarm goes off as you are helping your client deeply relax, you could incorporate this interruption and say: ‘you may notice an alarm, and as the alarm gets quieter, as the car goes further away, it will allow you to focus more on what is important to you.’
- Fractionation. Many small pieces weaved into normal conversation work exceptionally well. Little but often, works well because too much too soon can make clients uncomfortable. Leave them wanting more.
- Get into rapport, go into trance, and the client will follow.
- A deep hypnotic state can also be thought of as a state of deep rapport/deep learning. In a hypnotic state we can often replace ‘or’ with ‘and’.
And the golden rule :
We are responsible for the impact of our communication and our client’s well being.
Language patterns that help us get benefit from hypnosis.
There are four types of language patterns that are particularly useful for helping us get the benefits from hypnosis: Commands, embedded commands, linkage phrases and process language.
Commands and Embedded Commands
With an effective hypnotic command, the client acts upon it before thinking. One way of achieving this is by embedding the command – by which we mean packaging it with other language.
Always learn commands first. Know specifically what you want people to do. How do you want them to feel?
The easiest step sometimes is to ask/tell them directly; e.g. stop, listen, feel good, enjoy, start now etc.
Commands have more impact when:
- You voice tone lowers and it is said as a unequivocal command, not as a question.
- The command is emphasised through some gesture or voice change.
- The voice reflects the meaning of the words.
- All our non-verbal communication is congruent with the command.
We can hide the command by embedding it into a sentence, and hence the description embedded command. Packaging the command with other words can often distract our client’s ‘logical’ thinking.
- Luckily, you can (command) and . . .
- If you were to (command) and . . .
- When you (command) and . . .
- A person can (command) and . . .
- You don’t have to (command) and . . .
- You shouldn’t (command) and . . .
Examples of phrases to set up embedded commands:
(Now at the end often amplifies the effect.)
Luckily, you can . . .
You might want to . . .
I wouldn’t tell you to . . .
When you . . .
If you were to . . .
I don’t know if [command] is the very best thing you can do.
If I were to . . .
What’s it like when you . . .
A person can . . .
It’s not necessary to . . .
You really shouldn’t . . .
You don’t have to . . .
You can . . .
Why is it some people see X and others don’t?
What is it that will help you to know whether to do X or Y?
As humans we like to associate ideas, even when there is no logical pattern present.
The simplest linkage word is ‘and’. We can link one, two or three factual statements with a statement that leads our client somewhere useful. Presenting a few undeniably true statements before a useful command makes the speaker more trustworthy and the command more acceptable.
“You’re listening to me [assuming they are] and you want to relax [if they do] and you’ve started to relax, now [command] and you’re now going into a really useful relaxed state [command].”
When can be used as a stronger version of and. For example:
“You’re listening to me and you want to relax, and when you’ve started to notice that you’ve begun to relax, that’s a sign that you’re able to go into a really deep state, now.”
Process language combines all the above, giving your client a powerful direction but no or very little content.
“You’ve been listening and as you sleep and dream tonight, you’ll run through all the ideas we’ve explored, add some of your own, mentally rehearse them, and to your delight and surprise start implementing the most useful of them when it’s both safe and beneficial to do so.”
“And something else that may surprise you, when you least expect it, you’ll start to notice when others use these patterns, and copy the very best and add them to what you do easily.“