Direct approach to Hypnosis
The Direct approach to hypnosis is characterized by a more structured and directive style of communication, in which the hypnotist gives explicit instructions and suggestions to the client to induce and deepen the state of hypnosis.
Direct suggestion is an overt instruction, hypnotherapist lead form of suggestion. The commands given by the hypnotist are simple, specific and straightforward. Common examples are:
- “You are feeling sleepy”
- "Relax and go deeper into hypnosis”
- “Your eyelids are becoming heavy”
- "Imagine that you are floating in a sailing boat upon the ocean”.
The suggestions are given as direct commands from the hypnotist to be followed by the subject. The direct commands are phrased in the form of a suggestion for action. By following these direct suggestions the subject is lead into a hypnotic state. This method is used almost exclusively by stage hypnotists and the majority of professional hypnotherapists today (although many claim otherwise).
It is a highly effective way of obtaining trance in an individual but does require a certain context for it to be effective. The context being, that the client is not in objection to accessing the hypnotic state in this way. In fact the majority of people who respond well to this form of hypnotic induction are expecting this form of induction.
The Direct approach is typically more goal-oriented and may be more suitable for clients who prefer a more structured and directive style of communication.
Indirect Approach to Hypnosis
The Indirect approach to hypnosis, on the other hand, is characterized by a more subtle and permissive style of communication, in which the hypnotist uses indirect suggestions, metaphors, and storytelling to guide the client into a state of hypnosis. The Indirect approach relies on the client”s own creativity and imagination to explore their thoughts and feelings in a safe and non-judgmental space. The Indirect approach is typically more permissive and may be more suitable for clients who prefer a more gentle and non-directive style of communication.
This method was made popular by the students of the late Milton Erickson who used this form of hypnotic induction greatly in his practice. (He also used direct suggestion extensively well). The reason he used it and the reason it has become popular is that this approach overcomes the objections of people who are unsure about going into hypnosis, who do not respond to direct authority or an overt hypnotic style. You can use the analogy of “sneaking round the back door”.
Indirect suggestion is just that, suggestions for hypnosis are made in such a way as to bypass objections from the subject, suggestions are made that fit the subjects personal experience and suggestions are made in such a way as to avoid rejection, they can be made without any reference to hypnosis at all and can be made without the client being aware that they are being made. Using indirect suggestion you can “put people into a trance without them even knowing it is happening, hence indirect.
Indirect suggestions are presuppositional with the use of directional language and/or non verbal clues (suggestions) given by the hypnotist. In practice a context is created that will suit the individuals personal expectations and suggestions will be made to bypass the conscious faculty in a way that they will not notice as they would overt hypnotic suggestion.
This can be done through story telling, role playing and the knowledgeable and directional use of hypnotic language. For example:
- “Remember a time when you felt relaxed and at ease”. This does not directly suggest that the person should feel relaxed and at ease rather that their attention will now be drawn to experiences where they felt relaxed and at ease.
- "I see that you have an IQ of 125, people of an IQ over 120 tend to be a great hypnotic subjects”. This indirectly suggests through presupposition that the person is going to be a great hypnotic subject.
- "Focusing on your breathing allows you to go inside” gives the individual the suggestion that as they focus on their breathing it will take them into an internal experience, we have not said where or what is inside though! In contrast, the equivalent direct suggestion would be “focus on your breathing and go into hypnosis”.
Both Direct and Indirect approaches can be effective in inducing hypnosis and facilitating change. The choice of approach will depend on the individual needs and preferences of the client, as well as the goals of the hypnotherapy session. Some hypnotherapists may use a combination of both Direct and Indirect approaches in order to tailor the session to the specific needs and preferences of the client.
Permissive approach to Hypnosis
The Permissive approach to hypnosis is based on the idea that the client already possesses all the resources and solutions they need to resolve their issues, and the therapist”s role is to create a safe and supportive environment that allows the client to access these inner resources.
The Permissive approach is characterized by a non-directive style of hypnosis, in which the therapist uses open-ended questions and gentle suggestions to guide the client into a state of relaxation and increased suggestibility. The hypnotist does not impose their own agenda or ideas onto the client, but instead encourages the client to explore their own thoughts and feelings in a safe and non-judgmental space.
During the hypnosis session, the therapist may use storytelling or metaphor to help the client access their inner resources and find their own solutions to their problems. The therapist may also use techniques such as guided imagery or progressive relaxation to help the client relax and access deeper levels of trance.
The Permissive approach is often used in clinical settings to help clients overcome anxiety, depression, phobias, and other emotional or behavioral issues. It is considered to be a gentle and supportive approach to hypnosis that can be effective for clients who are resistant to more direct or structured forms of hypnosis.
Autoritarian approach to Hypnosis
The Authoritarian approach to hypnosis is based on the belief that the hypnotist has a greater degree of knowledge and authority than the client, and that the hypnotist”s role is to direct and control the client”s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors during the hypnosis session.
In the Authoritarian approach, the hypnotist uses a structured and directive style of hypnosis, in which the hypnotist gives specific instructions and suggestions to the client in order to induce and deepen the state of hypnosis. The hypnotist may use techniques such as eye fixation, progressive relaxation, or rapid induction to quickly induce a deep state of trance.
Once the client is in a deep state of hypnosis, the hypnotist may use direct suggestion or visualization techniques to help the client achieve their desired outcome. The hypnotist may also use regression techniques to help the client access and address unconscious issues that may be contributing to their symptoms or behaviors.
The Authoritarian approach is often used in clinical settings to help clients overcome specific phobias, addictions, or other behavioral issues. It is considered to be a more structured and goal-oriented approach to hypnosis, and can be effective for clients who are looking for a more direct and immediate solution to their problems. However, it may not be suitable for all clients, particularly those who are resistant to being directed or who prefer a more collaborative approach to therapy.
Waking approach to Hypnosis
The Waking approach to hypnosis, also known as "waking suggestion," involves inducing a state of hypnosis while the client is awake and fully conscious.
Waking hypnosis is the use of hypnotic language without formally inducing trance (although trance is still obtained) to engage change in the client. Influence, persuasion and sales all use “waking hypnosis”. The person is subjected to trance inducing language in an indirect fashion. Waking hypnosis is created by the use of directed suggestions (they may be indirect but are still directed) to effect change where the word hypnosis is not used, a traditional hypnotic induction is not undertaken and the normal expectations for trance to occur are not brought into the context.
Dave Elman suggests that when hypnotic effects are achieved without the use of the trance state, such hypnotic effects are called waking hypnosis. In every case, it involves a bypass of the critical faculty and the implanting of selective thinking. Effects obtainable within the trance state are obtainable in many people with waking hypnosis.
- Someone yawning, which starts off a chain re-action of other people starting to yawn.
- A friend says, "I am going to have surgery tomorrow." You reply, "You will do well, I know your doctor and he has a great reputation. You will recover rapidly."
- You know how it feels when finger nails get scratched down a blackboard don”t you?
- An authority figure such as a doctor saying that new drug cures cancer on the second dose (after the first dose didn”t) and cancer disappears.
The Waking approach is often used for therapeutic purposes, such as reducing anxiety, managing pain, or improving sleep quality.
Sleeping approach to Hypnosis
The Sleeping approach to hypnosis, on the other hand, involves inducing a state of hypnosis while the client is asleep or in a deep state of relaxation. The hypnotist may use techniques such as progressive relaxation or guided imagery to induce a state of trance.
The key difference between the Waking and Sleeping approaches is the level of consciousness of the client during the hypnosis session. In the Waking approach, the client is fully awake and conscious, while in the Sleeping approach, the client is in a state of deep relaxation or sleep. The choice of approach will depend on the individual needs and preferences of the client, as well as the goals of the hypnotherapy session.
Summary of Part 9 – Approaches to Hypnosis
In this section we learnt about the different possible approaches. Namely Permissive/Authoritarian, Direct/Indirect and Waking/Sleeping.
In practice they are all utilised for different effect and to different degrees throughout the session.
Permissive <-> Authoritarian
Authoritarian approaches are direct and commanding, whereas permissive suggestions are phrased in such a way that the client will not object to the suggestion.
Indirect <-> Direct
Direct suggestions overtly contain instruction on what the client is to do. Indirect suggestions, lead the client to do or think about something without specifically requesting it.
Waking <-> Sleeping
Sleeping hypnosis is what we generally expect to see in a hypnotic session, where trance is formally induced. Waking hypnosis is where the person enters a hypnotic state without a formal induction.
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The Part 10 of the series about Hypnosis focuses on the different approaches to hypnotherapy. Continue with Part 10 here.