During a typical hypnotherapy session, one of the most powerful tools to reinforce hypnotic suggestions is the Law of Association: an association between a suggestion (identification of a specific stimulus) and a specific, desired response. One example of this law is, when the hypnotherapist’s hand moves to dim the lights in the office and the client immediately, automatically moves to the recliner in preparation of being hypnotized. This association is possible because long before you come in for your first hypnotherapy session, the Law of Association has facilitated the development of your suggestibility.
In a therapeutic context, when I work with a client to overcome a fear or phobia, I create hypnotic scripts that enable the person to associate the relaxation response (deep breathing, focused mind, increased confidence) with a non-reaction to the original stimulus. Repeated exposure to that stimulus in conjunction with the associated relaxation response eventually extinguishes the fear or phobia.
When the Law of Dominance is employed during hypnotherapy, the hypnotherapist employs a stance of authority by assuming that the client will respond or behave in a specific way (e.g., go into hypnosis). An example of this law is when I say “deep sleep” firmly, not forcefully, and snap my fingers or touch the client’s forehead to deepen the hypnotic state. Through the Law of Association, the individual has already shown that he or she has already associated the link between my dimming the office lights and moving to the recliner. When I say “deep sleep,” these words instruct (directly or inferentially) the client to close his or her eyes as the person drifts into the relaxed hypnotic state that facilitates the desired behavior change (e.g., extinguishing a fear or phobia).
Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit http://www.calminsensehypnotherapy.com/.