Monday, January 8, 2018

Creating the Hypnotic Script

(This blog was originally posted on March 26, 2014)

Photo by Rick Hustead

     Each hypnotic script that I create for my clients is unique. It has to be: since each person is idiosyncratic and individual, even similar issues such as the desire to stop smoking, lose weight or increase self-confidence to speak in public will be as unique as the person who is wants to replace or discard an unwanted behavior. Furthermore, the origins of that unwanted behavior or habit will vary as much as each person’s reasons and motivations to change it and the degree of their suggestibility (how they learn). While I have and know many basic hypnotherapeutic “ingredients” to help my clients achieve their specific vocational and avocational self-improvement goal, it is up to me to create the specific “recipe” that will achieve this objective.

I create and tailor hypnotic scripts in a three-part process:

1.       First, I actively listen to what the person is telling me/explaining about his or her situation and goals to change a behavior. I will ask questions and even re-state or reframe what the person has said to make sure I understand what is going on.
2.       Meanwhile, I will be processing/integrating this information into a basic hypnotic script that I already know is or will be useful to address this issue. Literally hundreds of generic hypnotic scripts exist to address various topics, but each one is not necessarily appropriate for or applicable to every situation.
3.       Next, I construct the actual script using the client’s own words (descriptions) about why, how, when, etc., he or she wants to change the unwanted behavior based on his or her suggestibility. If the person is a physical suggestible, I know that the person’s subconscious mind will understand and process direct and literal suggestions such as, “Your eyes are closing.”) An emotional suggestible client’s subconscious mind will respond to indirect or metaphoric suggestions, such as “Your eyelids feel heavy.”
     Once I choose a working framework for the hypnotic script I will use, I can be somewhat creative with how/when/where I include the client’s specific words or phrases in the suggestions. I may incorporate an imagery exercise or specific elements from a different (albeit related) script to support the hypnotherapy work I am doing with a particular client. For example, during hypnosis I like to include imagery around the color red to reinforce the idea of “stopping” the unwanted behavior (e.g., eating sweets, smoking, nail-biting, etc.) whenever the person sees this color. I can also decide—even at the last second—to not do a particular technique with a client, such as Inner Child work, if I see that the individual is abreacting (negative physical response) to some suggestions, which could indicate that his or her subconscious mind is not ready to accept or process this information. 

     Basically, during this process I am following the advice of jeet kune do creator and martial arts legend Bruce Lee: “Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own.” I take the basic framework of a hypnotherapy process and subtly tailor the script to make it specific and relevant for the client I am working with, based on the fast decisions I must make about which material to use and how and when to use it during the session.

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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