When thinking of using scripts for hypnosis, the 5 steps of hypnosis are considered. These steps are usually necessary for the inexperienced hypnotist and especially for self hypnosis in the beginning.
As one becomes more experienced, one or more of the steps can be eliminated until a trance can be completed almost instantly and at will.
Two main trends exit in hypnotherapy with two individuals associated with them. The traditional or direct method which incorporates the 5 steps of hypnosis was used extensively by Dave Elman (1900-1967). His influence is still popular today.
Milton Erickson (1909-1980) created a style using indirect techniques without the formal structure found in Elman’s direct hypnosis. Erickson had an exceptional ability to use non verbal cues from patient behavior to analyze his clients.
Since most individuals lack this ability, certainly in the beginning, the direct method using the five distinct steps is recommended.
Step One – PREPARATION
o A rapport must be established with the patient regardless of the style used.
o Discover the patient’s language model so you can communicate effectively.
o Casually discover the patient’s background and history.
o Identify the patient’s perceived problem and cause.
o Distinguish what the patient believes and what reality is in attempting to diagnose the problem.
o Make the patient feel comfortable with hypnosis and discuss their beliefs while rejecting any false concepts.
o Show the patient they are a good subject by using hypnotic procedures of suggestibility without actually performing an induction.
o Continue with rapport building and gently move into the next stage.
Step Two – DEEP RELAXATION The object here is to get the patient to relax while moving into a trance state. Focusing on moving from shallow to deep breathing is a good start.
Then using a progressive relaxation method is next. One common way is to begin with the foot and move up the body asking the patient to feel each body part relaxing as you go.
As the eyes move from a focused to defocused state and the pupils dilate, a suggestion to close the eyes should be attempted. While this is not totally necessary, it usually helps.
Step Three – DEEPENING PROCEDURE The object of this stage is to avoid distractions, get the patient to focus and remove any conscious obstacles so the patient can accept suggestions in the unconscious mind.
The patient is asked to go deeper and deeper into the trance. Most believe in three trance depths with the first two generally used and the third rarely used.
One method is to ask the patient to think of a very peaceful place which is then placed at the bottom of steps or in a basement. Then the patient is taken down the steps, one by one and taking deep breaths while going deeper into the trance with each step until they reach their favorite place.
Step Four – SUGGESTION APPLICATION This is where the conscious mind is totally relaxed and the subconscious is ready to accept information.
Suggestions to alter or change thought and behavior is now introduced.
Step Five – TERMINATION This is where the patient is brought out of the trance and complete control returned to the patient who has returned to the conscious state.
Continued rapport should be addressed and the trance suggestions reinforced by emphasizing total confidence in the patient and the success of the suggestions.
Remember, if a successful hypnotic experience is to be accomplished, rapport must be developed and the therapy and suggestions individually tailored. All communication is made in the patient’s language while moving through the five steps.
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