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Elements of Induction

1. Permission/validation/observation/use

Any reaction, behavior and experience are validated by the therapist. This consists of accepting the client as they present themselves and using their own symptoms, beliefs and even their resistance to hypnosis to make them go into a trance.

Permission means giving the patient options, using the words may and perhaps, instead of prediction: it will happen.


Observation and incorporation of reactions – Simply saying what you observe and using it to suggest that this can all lead you to a trance.

2. Evocation instead of Suggestion

Make comparisons between hypnosis and other states the patient has experienced before or remind him of resources the therapist knows he has.

3. Assumptions/implications/contextual clues

Verbal presuppositions: Illusion of alternatives such as you can be hypnotized with your eyes open or closed, giving the illusion that the client can choose but in fact it is assumed that he will be hypnotized.

Contextual clues – These are words placed in the text of the conversation that suggest trance, such as: comfort, relaxed, etc.


4. Synchronization

Non-verbal – Rhythm, postures, voice quality, breathing rhythm, observation of behavior, are mirror responses. The induction begins by copying or “mirroring” the client in all their gestures, postures, breathing rhythm, etc. and then, little by little we modify our behavior and observe whether the patient follows us. When this starts to happen, it is a sign that he is going into a trance.


5. Description

To gain credibility, we describe the scene we see, but being careful not to try to guess the customer's experience. Therefore, we only state what we are certain of. For example, we can describe: As you sit there in this chair, with your right leg crossed over your left, listening to my voice, with your eyes closed and breathing calmly, you feel the weight of your body on the chair, you scratch your chin ...

6. Words of permission and transfer of power

In continuation of the description explained above, we can include something that we are not observing but that has a high possibility of happening. To avoid taking risks, we must be vague, avoiding adding content to what we say, abusing alternatives. We can talk, for example, in continuation of what we said above: and you seem to be feeling very comfortable, don't you? This is a great word because each person has their own concept of comfort and can imagine whatever they want. The word seems to free us from the possibility of the client feeling that we are invading their experience, and denial in the end leaves them free to feel “comfortable” or not.

7. Division

Conscious/unconscious; here there; present/future; inside Outside. It can also be non-verbal, using hand or head gestures while we speak. When we are suggesting to the patient that he has a conscious and an unconscious side, we can turn the head to the left when speaking consciously and to the right when speaking unconsciously. By doing this, every time we tilt our head to one side, the patient will know which of their parts we are talking to. This is called anchoring. This head gesture was a method widely used by Erickson, who was very sparing with his gestures, perhaps even due to his physical disability, but it became a widespread visual anchoring procedure among his disciples.

8. Connection

Artifice of language that links two things that were not linked. When we connect two sentences that do not necessarily have a cause and effect relationship, this rings true. You can also make several true statements and in the end, link them to something else that has no relation to what was said and still, the client accepts it as true.

In the verbal call, we can say: You are sitting in this chair and you can go into a trance. Of course, the fact of sitting in the chair has no connection with going into a trance, but when considered in the context of induction, it sounds true. You can also say: “The more your conscious mind is distracted by the sounds in this room, the more easily you will go into a trance...”

9. Interleave

This is a powerful technique because it speaks directly to the unconscious and can induce a trance without the person even realizing it. It consists of creating an informal conversation and interspersing suggestions in the sentence, emphasizing the words that interest you with changes in intonation, rhythm, volume, etc. of our voice. Within a larger message there is another message, a subtext.

As an example, I will transcribe a sentence by William O'Hanlon:

“Remember that time when not everything was weighing on your shoulders and you could relax? Or feel more comfortable? But, I'm sure that in the past you've tried to take the weight off your back with relaxation. You already feel relaxed and comfortable.”

Back, relax, comfortable, back, relaxation, relaxed and comfortable. This is the message embedded in the text that will go straight into the unconscious, causing the patient to relax their back.

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