The hypnosis induction is only part of a full hypnosis session, after using a hypnosis induction script to get someone into trance, you need another script, a hypnotherapy script, to make changes.
Pace and Lead inductions use some natural effect that varies in some way to suggest that the effect is happening because of what the hypnotist is doing. For example in the eye fixation induction the hypnotist uses the fact that if you stare at a point your eyes will quickly feel tired. The hypnotist tells the person that it is the hypnotism that is causing the tiredness and this means that they are going into trance.
Visualization inductions aim to get the mind to dissociate. Any visualization will lead the mind away from the present. This is why hypnosis induction scripts often ask the person to imagine walking in a garden or floating in a bath or rocking gently in a chair. The mind is then asked to recall or imagine some scene linked to a pleasant situation. When the person is fully focused on recalling the scene they are in trance. Dissociation and trance are the same thing. In trance sometimes the person's eyes can be seen to move under their eyelids as they watch the scene suggested by the hypnotist: this shows that they are totally focused in their imagination at that moment. This is a very simple and flexible hypnosis induction method.
When frightened and under attack, many animals exhibit a behavior known as tonic immobility. This is a primitive function of the brain that causes the animal to 'freeze' as if paralyzed. If left unmolested the animal will gradually leave the state and recover normal function. It may be intended to protect the animal from predators by pretending to be dead. There are many examples in the animal world. It has been known for centuries that chickens can be 'hypnotized' by holding their head down and drawing on a line on the ground straight out from their beak. The chicken can stay immobile for hours. Or the chicken can be immobilized by placing the bird on its back and running your finger from under the beak towards its tail, as if you were gutting it. Some lizards can be 'hypnotized' in much the same way, by tilting them back and stroking their stomach. Some sharks can be immobilized by turning them belly up. The shark appears to lose all ability to swim and lies inert for several minutes before eventually righting itself and swimming away.
Tonic immobility can be induced in humans by startling them, this is what instant induction does. After a rapid induction some people take several minutes to return to full consciousness, others will bounce back from the state almost instantly. This fact is the basis of several instant hypnotic inductions. A well known method of instant induction is to tug the arm sharply while the person is distracted. Erickson's Handshake Induction is an example of this method.
Chickens put their heads under their wings when going to sleep. They can be briefly 'sent to sleep' by putting their head under their wing during the day. The chicken will stay that way for thirty seconds or so. This is a case where the physical posture associated with sleep induces the sleep behavior. Humans also exhibit this behavior. If you get a human to sit or lie quietly, relax their muscles and slow their breathing they will invoke the natural human sleep response. This is why most hypnotic inductions start with 'take a deep breath and relax' – it starts the natural sleep response. It is the basis of permissive hypnosis scripts.
Sensory overload inductions work by overloading the mind. This hypnotic technique prevents analytical clients from ‘over-thinking’ and evaluating everything you say. You can use confusion inductions and overload methods by rapidly switching the subject around and confusing the mind until it gives up trying, or you can just make the client keep track of more and more sensations until they can’t handle any more and it becomes easier to just follow your instructions.
These are based on the natural human mental response called 'mirroring'. If you see someone else do something part of your mind rehearses the same actions. If you watch someone getting ready to throw a ball, neurons in your brain prepare you to do the same thing and create the muscle commands ready to fire off. Hypnotists use this ability to induce trance. If you get the client to describe what they would do to put someone else in trance, they are in fact rehearsing the hypnosis induction process in their own mind first, and of course the hypnotic words and phrases start to work on them as they are describing it. Erickson's My Friend John Induction is an example of this hypnosis induction method.
This is a huge class of methods. Almost anything can be used that metaphorically suggests the ideas of sleep preparation: down, dark, quiet, calm, relaxed. So watching a sunset and linking things getting darker and quieter as the sun goes down to breathing will work, or going down in a lift, or going down stairs or imagining being a bird circling down towards a dark silent sea will do it.
Many conversational inductions actually depend on boring the listener until their mind drifts away in self defense. A lot of meditation inductions depend on this – meaningless phrases spaced out with long gaps in between. Any school kid can tell you how easy it is to drift into a prolonged daydream while the teacher drones on about boring stuff.
Another induction method is mix hypnotic words and phrases into a normal conversation and mark those words in some way. This technique is called Analogical Marking.
This technique depends on the client's belief in the secret power of hypnosis. It is a direct suggestion method and works only on highly susceptible people. The other person to told to stare into the hypnotist's eyes. The hypnotist then keeps suggesting that the person is feeling sleepy and their eyes are getting tired. The hypnotist then either uses an Instant Induction or a Pace and Lead technique.
This hypnosis induction is ideal for the analytical client, people who cannot shut off their thoughts, who describe their mind as 'always busy' or 'racing thoughts'. It is very effective to hypnotize people who cannot visualize.
The induction works by moving the focus of attention to breathing and silently repeating short affirmations. The person to be hypnotized chooses two affirmations and repeats one on the in-breath and the other of the out-breath. The repeated hypnotic words mean the hypnotic phrases in the affirmations are transferred directly to the subconscious mind. This induction is a type of mantra induction.
Hypnotic Inductions are generally simple and standard. Hypnotic Induction usually involves a combination of hypnotic words and suggestions, one or more deepeners and one or more tests for depth of trance. The induction may be preceded by a hypnotic susceptibility test and a test for preferred representational style (to determine if the person is visual, auditory or kinesthetic. Some visualization induction scripts will need to be re-worded if the client turns out to be unable to visualize, for example). Don't be afraid to try something new - new inductions are created all the time.
Every hypnotherapy session will involve a hypnosis induction of some kind. There are literally thousands of ways of putting people into hypnosis. The hypnosis induction scripts included in the free hypnosis scripts are just a few of the most popular methods. In this collection of hypnotic inductions I have tried to give at least one example of all the different types of inductions.
Always use the simplest hypnosis induction that will work. There is no advantage in showing off with fancy complicated inductions. The client doesn't know or care how clever your induction is. Often the best hypnosis induction is no induction. Just tell the client to close their eyes and then ask them to imagine they are in their favourite relaxing place, then tell them to imagine they are so relaxed they cannot get their eyes to open. Job done – all over in thirty seconds - go straight on with what they came for, the hypnotherapy. In reality, the hypnosis induction should be almost invisible.
Most published hypnotherapy scripts do not include the induction section because each hypnotist will usually use their standard induction script with every client. In fact some hypnotherapy courses only teach one way of putting someone into hypnosis, usually Progressive Muscle Relaxation or the Dave Elman Induction so the hypnotist only learns one induction and thinks that is the best and only induction to trance.
These basic hypnotic inductions are taught not because they are good, but because they are easy to teach and do not require any particular skills from the learner. However, they are slow and clumsy and not work for everyone. Every hypnotist should learn a wide variety of hypnotic inductions, and practice new inductions from time to time. You need different inductions for different types of people. A good hypnotist will use the hypnosis induction script that is right, not just the induction they are comfortable with.