What are the Different Types of Hypnotism Techniques?

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  • Written By: Lee Johnson
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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There are many different hypnotism techniques, and they are often used in collaboration with each other to effectively hypnotize a subject. These techniques can be broken down into many different types, including language-based techniques, preparatory techniques and trance-inducing techniques. These each play an important role to the hypnotist, and understanding the different types of hypnotism techniques is the first step toward being able to use them.

Language is of paramount importance during hypnosis. Most hypnotists uses verbal techniques primarily when performing a hypnosis, and language-based hypnotism techniques account for a significant majority of all techniques used in hypnotism. One familiar technique to anybody who has seen a hypnotist perform is the use of paced and leading language. The hypnotist literally has to draw his or her subject into a trance, and this is done by use of steadily paced, leading suggestions. The language used is flirtatious, drawing the subject into performing the desired action.


For example, a hypnotist might say, “As you lean back in your chair, allowing your body to totally relax, you feel your eyelids beginning to get heavy. As I speak, your eyelids are getting heavier and heavier. You let them close, and your focus centers on the sound of my voice.” This passage is evenly paced, and it leads the subject into a trance-like state through clever use of language. Hypnotists often start with a true statement and then couple that statement with one they want to be true, as is done in the first sentence of the example. The subject is leaning back in his or her chair, and that idea is now coupled with the subject’s eyelids getting heavy. The hypnotist might also use imagery and other rhetorical techniques to induce a hypnotic trance.

Preparatory techniques are used to get the subject in the frame of mind that is conducive to hypnosis. These hypnotism techniques generally revolve around ensuring that the subject is relaxed and in a situation in which he or she is able to focus. Stereotypically, this leads to performing hypnosis in quiet locations with dim lighting, but the key is that there are no distractions around and the subject is comfortable. This also is achieved through tone of voice, and hypnotists speak in a calm and confident manner when preparing a subject.

The most obvious hypnotic techniques are the ones used to induce a trance in the subject. This is the key process in hypnosis — taking the subject from absolute lucidity to being in a trance-like state. This is achieved through a combination of the different types of hypnotism techniques, but there are some key tricks used by hypnotists to induce the trance. The most common techniques used for this purpose are tension-relaxation and eye closure.

The tension-relaxation method is where the hypnotist tells the subject to tense all of the muscles in his or her body. The hypnotist reminds the subject to continue to breathe normally while his or her muscles are tense and then instructs the subject to relax. This results in a feeling of “sinking” into the chair on the part of the subject, which is then built into the hypnotist’s suggestive language to help induce a trance.

The eye closure hypnotism method is focused around picking a spot at which the subject must look. This should be high up but not so high as to make it uncomfortable for the subject to look at it. The subject is instructed to look at the spot, and as his or her eyes become inevitably tired, this is woven into the hypnotist’s linguistic techniques and used as evidence that the subject is falling into a trance.


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