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Hypnotic Convincers Help Both The Hypnotist And The Subject

A Convincing Strategy For Hypnotherapists & Clients

A convincer, in the context of hypnotherapy, encourages the hypnotic subject to think a thought that helps the process along, such as: “Wow, something is going on here.” Or: “Okay, that was weird!” Or even better: "OMG, this really works!"

lemon slice convincer

Every hypnosis practitioner should already have a solid understanding of hypnotic convincers. Not only are they useful, they're fun too! Convincers are often utilized as suggestibility tests, or deepeners. Sometimes they are just a fun way to teach your subject HOW to use their mind to go into a trance.

Common convincers can include the eye closure portion of many inductions, as well as simple “tests” like the Book and Balloon (you know, one hand heavy - holding a book, the other hand weightless - tied to a balloon), or even the Lemon Slice Test, when the hypnotist helps the subject feel, smell, and taste a lemon slice to the extent that their mouth starts watering.

These are great, once you’ve gotten a client through the door and willing to work with you.

However, some people may need convincing before they’ll show up, and in those cases sometimes data is your best approach. 

Addressing the Conscious Mind With Honesty And Transparency

We're hypnotists.  NLP Practitioners.  We LOVE the unconscious/subconscious mind.

We have to get to it, though. Gain access so that we can get past the gate keeper that is the conscious mind.

As an industry, we do best when we tell the truth about what hypnosis is and is NOT...and including research and data in the conversation is one of the most effective ways to do that.

research and data

We all know that the pretalk can help a client understand that hypnosis is an agreement between the hypnotist and subject, so not a one way street.  

The pretalk helps the client understand that they are active participants in the process.  

However, in order to be able to give an effective pretalk, we need to engage the subject... We need them to show up willing to listen.

So how can we as practitioners and educators help the public understand?

We can offer a pre-pretalk.  Information we share on our websites and blogs, or even in our social conversations, that convinces individuals considering hypnosis that it can be effective for THEM.  

We can help them feel safer and more convinced by offering current and up to date information from sources other than ourselves.

To that end, here’s something that might help you help your clients and students:

A Little Bit Of Research Goes A Long Way

In a recent article published on sciencedaily.com, researchers watched the brain react to hypnosis via “magnetically-induced electrical current spread throughout the brain during hypnosis and normal waking state”. 

“The finding shows that the brain may function quite differently during hypnosis when compared to a normal waking state.”

According to ScienceDaily.com, “During a normal waking state, information is processed and shared by various parts within our brain to enable flexible responses to external stimuli. Researchers from the University of Turku, Finland, found that during hypnosis the brain shifted to a state where individual brain regions acted more independently of each other.”

I’ll leave it to you to read the rest of the article if you are so inclined.

The point here is to recognize the value in adding a scientific explanation to your pre-pre-talk about hypnosis.  It’s great when someone is highly suggestible, and trusting and willing to go into trance easily.

That shouldn’t mean those are the only people you can help, though.  

Sometimes, people need a little convincing, and addressing their conscious mind’s concerns can help bypass that critical factor and get your clients to “the good stuff” that much quicker.

Examples of Hypnotic Convincers, aka Suggestibility Tests

The following examples of hypnotic convincers are transcripts of recordings from group presentations by Keith Livingston.

The Lemon Slice Test

Lemon slice hypnotic convincer

“You see, when the mind concentrates fully enough on a thought, the body automatically acts as if that idea is true. Let’s find out just how well you can concentrate and imagine.

Everyone, close your eyes if you want to participate, and imagine there is a lemon slice in your hand. See the way the light glints off the lemon slice and notice the color.

Pretend you can feel the weight of it in your hand – and feel the texture. As you squeeze the lemon slice, listen to the sound and feel the juice on your fingers."

NOTE: Continue on for a moment or two asking them to see, hear and feel the lemon. Don’t get too specific – their lemon might not look like the one in your imagination!

"Notice the details as you bring the lemon up closer to your mouth and take a big, juicy bite out of it…”

NOTE: Notice those who are puckering up and look like they’re biting into something sour. Keep track of those folks; they may be your best hypnotic subjects.

  • Ask them to try and whistle.
  • Ask how many people salivated at the thought of the lemon or puckered up at the thought of a sour taste. Congratulate those who did.
  • Comment that those who were able to concentrate sufficiently found out how the mind and the imagination, when properly focused, can cause the body to react automatically.

Book And Balloon

book and balloon suggestibility test

“Next comes an oldie but goodie – the ‘book and balloon.’ Are you ready?

OK, everyone please hold out both of your arms straight in front of you, parallel to the floor.

Now, make sure one of your palms is facing the floor and the other toward the ceiling.

 Close your eyes and begin to imagine that the palm up hand has a heavy book in it. Imagine that you can feel the texture of the cover as the weight presses down on your hand. As heavy things do, the book seems to grow heavier with each passing moment. In your mind’s eye you can see the color of the book and almost smell it as it grows heavier. Now for the palm down hand, imagine there is a bunch of various colored helium filled balloons tied to your wrist. They want to lift that arm upward pulling it higher as the other arm grows heavier. The balloon arm gets lighter and lighter as the book arm gets heavier and heavier.”

(By this time you’ll probably already see people with the book arm moving toward the floor and the other arm moving upward. Keep going, alternately suggesting that the palm up hand with the book in it is growing heavier and heavier and that the balloons are lifting up the light hand. When you talk about the heavy hand speak in a deeper heavier voice. When you talk about the light hand speak in a higher, lifting voice. At a point where you feel you’ve gotten a good result, notice who is responding the best and say…)

“Keep your arms where they are and open your eyes.”  Many people will be surprised that their arms have moved. “You see, that’s how powerful the mind is when you can concentrate strongly enough on an idea.”

Hand Clasp

Pick out a subject who has been performing well and ask them to help you find out how strong their powers of imagination and concentration are. Stand, facing your subject and ask them to look you directly in the eyes and concentrate completely on the ideas behind your words. If at any time they begin to look away, command them to look directly into your eyes (point to your eyes) and concentrate completely and fully on your words.

“Put your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor, put your palms together and interlock your fingers. Push your hands together as tightly as you can and concentrate on the idea  ‘My hands are stuck together, my hands are stuck together.’  As you push your hands together, sticking them together, your arms grow stiff and rigid, stiff and rigid as your hands lock more tightly together as if they’re made of one solid piece of granite. (Continue to look them straight in the eye). Now, as you fully and completely concentrate on the idea that your hands are one solid piece of granite try in vain to pull them apart and find that they are stuck together, stiff and rigid, stuck together.”  (Let them try for two or three seconds – no more). Good. Stop trying and now allow those hands to become loose and limp and release easily. (Occasionally people still have a problem getting their hands apart. Just grab them and gently shake them loose saying “They can relax now and let go.”)

Steel Arm

Explain to your subject that you are going to “borrow their arm” for a moment. Take your subject’s arm and hold it out at right angles to their body. Suggest that their arm is growing stiff and rigid like a steel bar and no matter how hard they try to bend it will remain straight like a steel bar. Tell them to try and bend it and find that it remains stiff and rigid like a steel bar. After a few seconds of trying, remove the suggestion. “In a moment I will count to three and snap my fingers. Your muscles will relax and you will easily be able to bend your arm. On the number three your arm will drop down to your side and you will go deeper. One, more relaxed, two, nice and easy, three (snap fingers). Drop your arm and go deeper.”

About the author

Maggie Heath

Maggie is a Certified Hypnotherapist, Certified NLP Master Practitioner, Certified NLP Coach, and a NLP and hypnosis trainer.

She has been working in the fields of hypnosis and NLP for over 25 years, after getting her Bachelors Degree from the University of Colorado in Marketing and Communication.

A life long study of human behavior continues, as she believes there is always more to learn (especially about human creatures). Maggie also works with the IHA directing operations and member management, as well as helping out with their website.

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Posted in Techniques on November 9, 2021 by  Maggie Heath 0