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Hypnosis Scripts: To Use or Not To Use, That Is The Question.

Writing a hypnosis script can be very useful.

Hypnosis Scripts

Whether you are a hypnosis professional, or someone just searching for free hypnosis scripts to help you with a personal issue, we think there are some things you should consider before using hypnotic scripts at all.

This article will address when and how to use a hypnosis script, as well as how to create one. There are a lot of places you can find free hypnosis scripts, but this article is about what to look out for IN those scripts.

As a professional, perspective on hypnosis scripts is different than as a layperson looking for a way to help yourself through self hypnosis. Either way, creating a script can be a first step for a focused hypnosis session. 

However, if you are not already familiar with hypnosis and hypnotic language, you shouldn’t trust just any old hypnosis script you find on the internet. You need to know what you’re looking at and potentially putting into your mind.

  1. If you are a hypnosis professional, we truly hope that you are looking to either create your own hypnosis script for creating a professional recording, or just looking for ideas and guidance. Individual sessions with individual clients should NEVER rely solely on a hypnotic script written by someone else who has never met your client.
    • And as professionals, we at the IHA highly recommend the use of scripts that have been personalized, or as guidance for ideas of language and flow. We trust that all of our members have the education and skill to go far beyond the use of a hypnotic script alone.

What Are Hypnosis Scripts and How Are They Used?

Hypnosis scripts can be a useful tool for hypnosis, allowing folks to access the subconscious mind and make positive changes in behavior, thoughts, and emotions. They can be used for self hypnosis (with caution), or as guidelines for hypnosis professionals.

What Do Hypnosis Scripts Contain?

Hypnosis scripts contain written instructions for your hypnosis session.

A hypnosis script is a pre-written set of instructions that can be read out loud or recorded.

These instructions can generally be divided into 3 main areas:

  • Inductions and Deepening
  • Suggestions
  • Emerging

Not all scripts contain all of the sections. For instance, there are a lot of scripts that are just induction scripts, including some scripts for well known induction processes like the “Flowers Induction”, or the Elman Induction.

Some professional hypnotherapists have a script book of suggestions, which have pre-written suggestions for various issues. While it's better to tailor suggestions to an individual's situation, a script can be a guide and might be a reasonable starting point for a hypnotherapist.

Induction And Deepening Scripts

Induction scripts begin the hypnosis part of a hypnosis session.

An induction is a process for entering a hypnotic trance.

An induction script consists of written instructions to achieve hypnosis.

If you are new to hypnosis, this is the part most people think of as “being hypnotized”, quite literally inducing hypnotic trance. 

For example, an induction script might start out by asking you to get comfortable, breathe deeply, and relax.

Further instructions follow, like focusing on a particular process that helps your mind shift, with the aim of creating a deeper and more profound state of relaxation and hypnosis. This is the deepening phase.

Suggestion Script

The induction is really just the preparation for the hypnosis session. The primary content of a hypnosis session is the suggestion phase - and there are many hypnosis scripts out there that target all kinds of issues with  a list of “canned” suggestions or long scripts intended to last 30 to 40 minutes.

hypnotic scripts can help people achieve goals

This part of the script/session is when the subject receives instructions to help them overcome their problem or achieve their goal.

After the induction, the person being hypnotized is more suggestible (more open to ideas and suggestions). A script focused on overcoming a particular behavior will have suggestions targeted toward that goal.

What Are Suggestions?

A suggestion is wording that guides an individual's subconscious mind into making changes. It's similar to an affirmation, or setting goals. Suggestions, however, are to be used while in hypnosis -- thus magnifying the effectiveness of the instructions.

In other words -- suggestions are affirmations used in hypnosis!

In order to be effective, suggestions should follow specific guidelines. The subconscious mind accepts language more readily when the suggestions are framed a certain way.

Emerging From Trance

Emerge from a hypnotic trance.

Emerging from trance may be part of a hypnosis script.

Emerging is a special set of suggestions that the person being hypnotized come out of trance.

You may hear language such as the following  . . .

"I'm going to count from one to five. When I reach the number five you'll open your eyes and be refreshed and alert. One, feeling good . . ."

When and How to Use Hypnosis Scripts

Relying solely on a script: A hypnosis session “gone wrong” 

One of my (Maggie’s) first experiences with “hypnotherapy”, long before I became a hypnotherapist myself, was enough to turn almost anyone off of the process.

I  walked into the nice lady’s office. It was set up beautifully - very zen. Plants and soft lights and soft music. A nice comfortable chair that did that reclining “zero gravity” thing.

She had a black three ring binder on her lap and proceeded to ask me questions that she was obviously reading out of the binder. We talked for about ten minutes.

Once that initial conversation was over she flipped through her binder and found what I know now was the script she had decided applied to my situation.

She turned down the lights, turned on some soothing background music, and told me to recline my fancy chair.

She told me to close my eyes. I did.

Then she proceeded to read. I opened my eyes at one point, and that is what she was doing. Reading aloud from her notebook - she didn't even notice that I had opened my eyes and was looking at her.

She took me through what I later learned was a very standard, canned hypnotic induction script. Then she told me I was hypnotized, and to tell her what I saw.

When the hypnotherapist insists you are hypnotized...

I told her I saw black - as in, the inside of my eyelids. I opened my eyes again and told her I didn’t think I was hypnotized at all. She argued that yes, I was hypnotized, and told me to close my eyes again… and “try harder” to tell her what I saw.

Now, for the hypnotherapists reading this, I truly hope this makes you cringe. She argued with me, telling me that my experience was in fact NOT my experience!

And when I looked at her, she seemed SO lost.

She didn’t know what to do
because the hypnosis script she was reading from
didn’t tell her what to do.

This woman was a Certified Hypnotherapist.

I needed MORE than a hypnosis script that anyone could download off the internet.

What Does A Hypnotherapist Offer Beyond A Free Hypnosis Script You Might Find On The Internet?

The hypnotherapist in the story above is, hopefully, an anomaly. A professional, certified hypnotherapist should be a far better option than either using a hypnosis script for yourself, or having one read to you by someone else.

A common mistake about hypnosis is that the “right” words will hypnotize you. Many believe that the magic is in the words, as if with the right words, you will magically obey like a robot.

A hypnosis session with a hypnotherapist should be a conversation.

So reading a script, or having one read to you, should do the trick, right?

Except, that’s not how it works…at all.

A session with a good hypnotherapist is really more like a conversation.

It's a dialog, not a monologue. Let me give you a few examples . . .

Hypnosis Induction Scripts vs A Hypnotherapist

Everyone responds to hypnotic inductions a little differently. Some people don't like the word 'relax'. Some folks go into trance very quickly, and others take some time. Some techniques work better for some than others.

A hypnotherapist can choose an appropriate induction and adapt it on the fly, based on how you're responding. A script can't do that.

Suggestion With A Hypnotherapist vs A Suggestion Script

As a general rule, the more targeted and specific a suggestion is, the more powerful it will be. People smoke, bite their nails, or avoid exercise for different reasons. For instance, a client might smoke to relax, or to get a new perspective on something, or for social reasons, or as a rebellion against their parents. Each presenting issue might have a range of motivations behind it.

Using the motivation(s) particular to the client will increase the power and effectiveness of the suggestions. A script can't do that.

People may have different triggers, as well. Anxiety might occur for a person when they look at the clock, or when their boss walks into their office. A script won't include this information. But a hypnotherapist can!

A hypnotherapist will likely spend a fair amount of time near the beginning of a session gathering information as to your specific motivations and triggers. They will then include these motivations and triggers into your suggestions.

Using Advanced Techniques In Hypnotherapy

Advanced techniques in hypnotherapy

A hypnotherapist may be able to use a variety of techniques to help you.

These techniques may be difficult to use on your own because in hypnosis, certain parts of your mind are relaxed and in the background. 

It's a big part of what makes hypnosis effective.

If you try to regress yourself, or take yourself through another more complex technique, the parts of your mind that are relaxed due to hypnosis may become more active, reducing your suggestibility.

Abreactions In Hypnosis

Occasionally, someone has a release of emotions during hypnosis. It's called an abreaction. In the midst of an abreaction, a person may not be resourceful emotionally or mentally. It's good to have someone there who is an expert in guiding you into a more resourceful state.

How Do You Write A Hypnotic Script?

You may be interested in finding existing free hypnosis scripts. That's understandable, and not a bad place to start. Just don't end there.

Even when you're looking at a hypnosis script that someone else wrote, read it carefully, change any language that doesn't work for you, and tailor it to fit your needs.

Do It Yourself hypnosis script

That said, you can write your own script fairly easily.


  1.  An induction and some deepening
  2. A series of suggestions
  3. Language to help emerging from trance at the end.


If you have access to nothing else, a progressive relaxation induction can be one of the easiest to apply to yourself (if writing a self hypnosis script). Any induction script or guide will do, just keep in mind the basics. The Dave Elman Induction is a favorite among many hypnotherapists.


The easiest kind of suggestion to write is a direct suggestion. At the most basic level, a direct hypnotic suggestion is just an instruction.

Direct suggestions should be straightforward and clear.

A direct suggestion script is a set of instructions focused on a particular goal.

You can write your instructions as if you're writing to someone and you're not sure how much they know.

With direct suggestion, it's best to be very clear and fairly basic.

A direct suggestion script is a set of instructions focused on a particular goal. You can write your instructions as if you're writing to someone and you're not sure how much they know.

With direct suggestion, it's best to be very clear and fairly basic.

Your instructions can be a mixture of general and specific, but lean toward specific if you have a specific goal. Just make sure there is a balance and the level of specificity is achievable.

  • "You make healthy choices" is a general suggestion.
    • "You exercise regularly" is more specific.
      • "You lift weights for one hour on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and do cardio for 40 minutes on Tuesdays and Sundays" is very specific -- perhaps too specific!

If you can write clear instructions, you can write a basic, direct suggestion script. Just write instructions to do what you want to do, and keep your language focused on the positive aspects of your goals.

Emerging from Trance

A simple count backward from 5 to 1, with the suggestions that you will emerge from trance and open your eyes feeling "awake and wonderful" is enough to emerge from a hypnotic trance.

When Should You Consult A Hypnotherapist?

Scripts are great for your basic self-help. I (Keith Livingston) write my own scripts and use them for basic goal setting. When do I consult someone else? Well, when a script doesn't get it done.

Here are my (Keith's) thoughts on it.

You should be able to accomplish any reasonable goal. If you can't, you might ask why not? The answers tend to fall into the following categories.

  1. You don't have the right information
  2. You don't have the ability
  3. You have some part of you that doesn't want to do it, or wants to do something else

People tend to default to the first two of these three.

However, we live in the age of the internet. Information is freely available to everyone. It's true, sometimes you have to sift through to find good info. But lack of information is not likely the cause of failure to achieve a goal.

Do you have to have talent?

And not 'having the ability' is probably also an excuse. We have egos.

It may be easier to believe in some ethereal 'talent' that we don't have.

 That way, the failure is not our fault.

But let's put it this way. I've seen a lot of people who didn't seem to have much talent become successful at something. But I rarely see anyone become successful who has a belief that their lack of ability is ingrained, genetic, or intractable.

My conclusion is that yes, some people are hit with the talent stick. But probably 90 % of results have to do with other factors. So, if you think you don’t have a talent for something, that’s a belief. Shifting beliefs is something hypnotherapists can help you with.

So, if you don't have the right information, get a book, a program, a teacher, or a mentor. If you feel you have good info, use self-hypnosis and a script from the internet, or one you write and record yourself.

If that doesn't work, consult a hypnotherapist.

Who Shouldn't Use Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a common state. We all go through it many times each day. It's not dangerous, in general. However, if you're hallucinating or are unable to control your thoughts, consult with a mental health profession before doing formal hypnosis.


Hypnosis scripts are tools for inducing a trance-like state in individuals, allowing them to access their subconscious mind and make positive changes in their behavior, thoughts, and emotions. They also provide a starting point for hypnotherapists and a resource for new hypnotherapists.

Scripts can be useful for self-help.

About the author

Keith Livingston

Keith Livingston is the Director of Education & Operations for the International Hypnosis Association. He's been training Hypnotherapists and NLP Master Practitioners for more than 20 years, and have created, or co-created more than 20 NLP/Hypnosis related programs.

  • Do you have any peer-edited journal articles I can read about the argument for the utilization of scripted hypnosis?

    • Hi Laura,

      I don’t have any one article for you, but I can recommend looking through the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. You can find that journal online here: https://ijceh.com/. I hope this helps.

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    Posted in Techniques on August 13, 2023 by  Keith Livingston 2