NLP Hypnosis and Meditation
In this post, we describe hypnosis and the key elements that make a successful session a) basic principles, b) language patterns, c) the sequence of a session, including framing, induction, deepening etc., and d) meditation.
Our students have found these notes beneficial reminders after completing training; however, feel free to read them beforehand to give you a flavour of what’s involved.
What is Hypnosis?
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.
Another description of hypnosis is that it helps us create a ‘sanctuary’ state where we can explore and rehearse options in a safe way, without our usual limitations, and then implement the best option so that it quickly becomes an ingrained habit.
There are many similarities between meditation and hypnosis. The main difference is that meditation is about accepting and being open to whatever happens, whereas hypnosis is more directional – guiding us or others to something better.
There are many different styles of hypnosis; our bias is towards Ericksonian hypnosis, which is non-authoritarian and generative. It gives us the building block to create an extensive range of hypnotic scrips “on the fly.”
We’ve also included an Elman script. This gives an illustration of a more authoritative approach See: Elman Induction
Michael explains how NLP links to hypnosis and meditation in this short video.
Basic principles of Hypnosis.
1. 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 helpful 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 you know is right is entirely un-specific. It is, therefore, challenging to deny outright, allowing the client to relate the words to what is truly important to them.
2. Rhythm, tonality and flow are essential. We bathe our clients in sound.
3. Shock and pattern interrupts are helpful, provided we use them to lead somewhere beneficial.
4. Pace and lead can be used by referring to something irrefutable and authentic in their world. We can lead them somewhere more helpful when they accept what we say.
5. 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.
6. 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.’
7. 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.
8. Get into rapport, go into a trance, and the client will follow.
9. A deep hypnotic state can also be thought of as a natural 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 help us access hypnosis.
Five types of language patterns are beneficial for helping us get the benefits from hypnosis: Commands, embedded commands, pivot grammar, linkage phrases and process language.
Commands and Embedded Commands
With an effective hypnotic command, the client acts upon it before thinking.
Always learn commands first. Know precisely 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 inflect your voice tone downwards
- The voice reflects the meaning of the words.
- The command is emphasised through some gesture or voice change.
- You emphasise the command with your body language; 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 that some people see X and others don’t?
What is it that will help you to know whether to do X or Y?
Pivot grammar can be used to deepen a trance state or increase the creativity of a client. It’s simply saying and reversing two-word utterances. Curiously speaking, pivot grammar tends to put the speaker in an altered state – particularly when they do it well,
Feel good, good feel
Find answers, answers find
Life enjoy, enjoy life
Change now, now change
Brilliant be, be brilliant
Enjoy life, life enjoy
Enjoy resilience, resilience enjoy
As humans, we like to associate ideas, even when no logical pattern is present.
The most straightforward 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 factual 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 beneficial relaxed state [command].”
When can be used as a more robust 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 profound 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 that you start putting into practice those behaviours that previously you found really difficult to implement,“
A Hypnotic Sequence.
This standard sequence can be used as a basis for your own.
|Purpose||Exploring what will make the session valuable for your client can help the client solve their issue and/or help them reach their goal before you do any ‘formal’ hypnosis.|
|Frame||Start with a brief description of hypnosis, explaining that it’s natural, absolutely safe, and a great way to use our imagination to amplify our skills when done correctly. |
The client has more control than in many day-to-day situations; they will come to full consciousness if the hypnotist says anything that is against their values.It can be worth building on what you explored as part of the purpose phase; the client may already be in a ‘problem-solving’ state and be able to solve their own challenges.
“If you were able to access a powerful hypnotic state, what would you like to achieve? What will it be like when you’ve achieved it? What will you see, hear and feel?”
It can be helpful to make a strong suggestion at the beginning of the session:
“You will be in total control throughout the session; if I make any suggestions that are useful to you, you will take them in at a deeper level and let them grow in a way that’s absolutely beneficial to you. If I say anything that isn’t useful, you will either change it so that it is useful or totally ignore it, and you will realise that you can do this with any suggestions people make in the future.”Setting a frame is critical; it will focus your client on what they need to do to help them get the results they want,
|One of the primary purposes of an induction is to endure you have the client’s attention and you can lead them to where it is useful.|
There are many inductions to help a client start to access a mild hypnotic state. A simple way to start is to ask the client to cycle through their senses while seeding ideas of relaxation and comfort:
“Stretch and then relax comfortably in your chair so that you can be ready to access a relaxing state… Imagine that you’re at one of your very favourite places, see what you see, notice the colours, notice any movement, and as you do so, let yourself soften and relax… Now focus on the sound of my voice, become aware of my voice tone, notice when I pause [pause], and when I pause, use it as an excuse to soften more, to really relax, and you can do this consciously or [pause] unconsciously … Now notice the weight [pause] of your feet on the floor, and as you do so, feel the relaxation that is beginning to develop somewhere in your feet, and as you notice that feeling, let those feelings begin to flow through your body, starting at your feet and rising through your legs, your knees and your thighs, until you’re totally bathed in relaxation, Now come back to your favourite place ….”
(Further examples of hypnotic inductions and deepening)
Elman Induction (includes Elman’sapproach to induction, deepening and more)
|Deepening||We now have their attention; how do we deepen their trance?|
There are many deepening exercises. One of our favourites is using ‘pivot grammar’. This is simply listing two-word utterances and then repeating them with the words reversed.
“Deeper down, down deeper. Relax now, now relax. Soften now, now soften. Feel great, great feel. Enjoy now, now enjoy. Now learn, learn now….” and so on.((Further examples of hypnotic inductions and deepening)
Elman Induction (includes Elman’sapproach to induction, deepening and more)
|A technique or process language||For example, you may use process language like this:|
“As you’re listening to me, consciously or with your unconscious mind, you can start that process so, over the next few days, you’ll play through all the ways you can achieve what you want, choose the very best one or best ones, and practise in your mind completing the steps in the best way.”
|Future pace||“Now imagine having achieved what you want, and from having achieved it send yourself a message encouraging you to move forward now, to achieve it. You can even enjoy travelling far into your future to see how much you’ve improved having tackled it. Nod your head when you’ve achieved it.”|
|Bring back||To bring your client back, you can say something like:|
“And only when you’ve got something really beneficial to you from this session, choose to come back to the room, in your own time and open your eyes,”
And wait until they open their eyes.
|End frame||You say something to the effect of : |
Tell me with 100% honesty what you’re feeling and what you’re thinking now,
If they say something genuinely positive, say something like:
“Well done. You’ve processed a lot during the session; as you let that process continue, you’ll find yourself drawn to achieving what it is you need.”
If they say something negative, say something like:
“you’ve worked really hard today; what can we do in the last few minutes to ensure you get a lot more benefit from the session.”
- Write out what you would like others to do and feel.
- Construct embedded commands that you could use, and decide on an appropriate place to use them. Then mentally rehearse using them effectively.
- Start noticing how your colleagues get others to take action. What state are they in? What commands do they use? How could you improve what they do?
- Start noticing what is likely to be true in your colleague’s world
- Two recommended books are Richard Bandler’s Guide to TRANCE-formation and Steven Heller’s Monsters and Magical Sticks.
If you practise meditation regularly, you gain more awareness of your internal processes, greater focus and concentration and an increased ability to release unwanted feelings and manage your state.
Practising meditation requires a touch of courage and discipline. In its own way, it can be hard work. The art is to create the habit of meditating, preferably daily, but for at least 10 minutes three times a week.
Components of meditation sessions:
- A quiet environment.
- A focus (such as just breathing) to break the likelihood of distracting thoughts.
- A let-it-happen, non-judgemental attitude. There is no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ meditation. We are either meditating, or we’re not. Whenever we lose focus, which we might often do, we come back to our focus.
- A comfortable position with a straight back and no likelihood of falling asleep.
NLP and Hypnosis Training
We offer Richard Bandler and SNLP-certified 1:1 training and coaching. Currently, we’re offering potential serious students three free taster sessions.
The following section is about luck and how to improve our chance of ‘getting luckier’. I’m finding this a lot more important than I initially thought!
Key NLP Techniques Section Index
1: NLP Techniques
3: Amplify feelings
4: Bad memories (Dissolving)
5: Bad memories (Exploding)
6: Belief change
7: NLP Coaching
8: Perceptual positions
9: Fast phobia cure
10: Hypnosis and meditation and separately Free Hypnosis MP3s
12: Mental Rehearsal
13: Metaprogrammes, Profiles and Preferences
15: Progressive dissociation
17: Self Compassion
19. Six step re-framing
21: States and anchors
24: Timeline therapy
25: Visual Squash