Monday, September 18, 2017

Session #1: Deepening Techniques

(This blog was originally posted on August 3, 2016)

Photo by Rick Hustead

“There are no second chances to make a first impression.”
This expression is certainly true when it comes to hypnosis. From the moment a prospective client contacts me until the individual leaves my office after the first hypnotherapy appointment I am focused on inducing the deepest state of trance possible. Most people come to hypnotherapy with a very open mind about its nature and efficacy; nonetheless, these same individuals usually harbor some preconceptions and even concerns about what hypnosis is, why it works and how it feels. The best way to alleviate these concerns is to hypnotize the person so he or she has a real-life association with this experience. Since a person can be hypnotized “for the first time” only once, it is up to the hypnotherapist to help the client achieve the deepest trance state during that first session.
To achieve maximum hypnotic depth, I use the inferred arm-raising technique as my first hypnotic induction. This process entails the client achieving a very relaxed state through deep breathing and pointing out various physiological responses that automatically start to happen, such as fluttering of the eyelids and dryness around the mouth, lips and tongue. Meanwhile, a specific verbal patter is used to overload the person’s subconscious mind with suggestions (message units) that one arm is lifting and rising until the hand or fingers make skin-to-skin contact with the face. At that point, the individual will have achieved the peak of his or her suggestibility and entered the hypnotic trance.
At this point, the following techniques may be employed to further deepen the hypnotic sleep:

  • Eye-Challenge: Tell the client to try to open his or her eyes while simultaneously giving a double-bind suggestion: “The harder you try to open the eyes, the tighter the eye-lids will squeeze shut,” etc.

  • Heavy-Light: Give the client a suggestion to hold the arms straight out from the body while imagining that a helium balloon is tied to a finger on one hand while the other hand is holding a specified amount of weight. The person perceives increasing heaviness in the hand and arm supporting the weight; extra hypnotic depth is achieved once the arm drops back down to the thigh.

  • Eye-Fascination: The person is instructed to stare at a spot on the ceiling or some other object in the room until this becomes physically uncomfortable (e.g., eyes start to blink or feel dry) and chooses to allow the eyelids to gently close.

  • Reactional Hypnosis: The hypnotherapist instructs the individual to open and then close the eyes several times, until the client’s eyelids become heavy and the eyes are glassy. (The hypnotherapist decides how many times this action will be done.)

  • Arm-Rigidity: The hypnotherapist instructs the client to stiffen one arm and send any and all negative emotions/associations, etc. about the therapeutic issue down the arm into a clenched fist, to be released when the hand unclenches.

  • Staircase Imagery: This technique—along with a progressive relaxation—will also be used in every subsequent hypnotherapy session to facilitate an even deeper state of hypnosis. Imagery of going down or descending a staircase is an inferred suggestion of hypnotic depth.

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
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