How To Choose The Best Hypnotic Induction for Every Situation

Filed under: Hypnosis Training

A lot of hypnotists wonder: "What is the best hypnotic induction for age regression? What about pain management or smoking cessation?"

These questions present inherent misconceptions about hypnosis. Keep reading this blog post, and you’ll learn:

  • When and why picking different inductions matters.
  • How to determine the best hypnotic induction for each situation.
  • How to get started with high-quality hypnosis training on the Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy.

If it works for you, watch Mike and Chris’ explanation in the video below. Remember to like and subscribe to our channel for more videos about hypnosis, NLP and personal development.

Hypnotic Inductions: When They Matter and When They Don’t

Of course, inductions are important in hypnosis. Aside from naturally occurring trances, they are the procedures that create hypnosis in the first place. But too many people are overly concerned about which induction to use in a hypnosis session, and forget about far more important aspects like having prestige and building rapport with the client.

Additionally, it’s a widespread misconception that different inductions are best suited for different purposes. When one of our students asks which induction works better for pain relief, they are assuming the induction should be chosen based on the desired result, and not on the person they’re working with.

That is a GRAVE mistake. Hypnosis isn’t something you do to someone. It’s a psychodynamic loop of communication between the hypnotist and the client. Where you, as the hypnotist, must understand the underlying principles of this process for it to be effective.

Such principles include, as we mentioned, presenting yourself with prestige and developing an honest connection, or rapport, with the client. Read these blog posts to better understand these concepts:

What Do Hypnotic Inductions Actually Do?

Provided you comprehend prestige and rapport, you must understand the specific induction you choose is almost, if not completely irrelevant to the results you’re aiming for in a hypnosis session.

That’s because the induction is only going to do one thing: get the person into trance. And that trance will be the exact same for every induction you perform successfully.

Different people respond differently to the various types of inductions, and that’s when choosing one induction over another makes the difference. It does not, however, make a difference if you’re working with them to resolve past trauma or get them to quit smoking. In that case, any induction that gets them deep enough into trance will work just fine.

That is why we emphasize principles when we teach our classes. A hypnotic induction is not a magic formula. All of them more or less follow the same principles.

So it doesn’t matter if you know only 6 different inductions, or 60 – If you understand their underlying principles, and you’re able to calibrate to determine which principles work best for your client, you’ll be able to pick the right type of induction and hypnotize him easily.

Let’s discuss the different types of inductions then, shall we?

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The Different Types of Hypnotic Inductions

Hypnosis as we know today has existed for a couple of centuries. During this time, hypnotists have devised hundreds, if not thousands of different hypnotic inductions. 

This may sound overwhelming, and because of that, some people think they need to learn dozens of different inductions to have a sufficient amount of options. But the truth is the vast majority of them fit into one of the following categories.

Learn a few inductions step-by-step, but make sure to observe their underlying principles and notice which category they fit into. Eventually, as you become a highly skilled hypnotist, you’ll be able to quickly learn and immediately perform any inductions that share these same principles. Maybe you’ll even create your own inductions on the fly.

That’s how easy this stuff is.

Eye Fixation Inductions

Dr James Braid is thought to have discovered this type of induction. He was a medical doctor, and as he returned to his practice room, he found his patient staring intently at a candle, in trance. This observation led Braid to think that eye fixation was the very cause of hypnosis.

As Dr Braid would eventually find out, it’s actually the focus of attention that causes hypnosis. And while eye fixation certainly helps with that, it’s not itself the cause of the phenomenon..

One Man Hypnotizing Another Using An Eye Fixation Hypnotic Induction

Because it’s still a highly effective method, many inductions you’ll come across utilize eye fixation. The iconic pendulums and pocket watches, which for decades have been associated with hypnosis, were used to perform eye fixation inductions. These instruments, although unnecessary, often add to the hypnotist’s prestige, as they can increase the public’s expectation, especially in a stage performance.

Pattern Interrupt or TOTEs

TOTE stands for “Test. Operate. Test. Exit.”.

That sounds way more complicated than it actually is. In truth, these are simply hypnotic inductions based on pattern interrupts.

A pattern interrupt occurs when an unconscious process or movement is suddenly and unexpectedly interrupted. Think about the last time you stood up and went into the kitchen only to find out you had forgotten what you were supposed to do there.

That happened because this routine has been repeated so many times that your brain has made it unconscious and automatic. You no longer have to think about it. There are already too many things grabbing your conscious mind’s attention, so your unconscious takes care of it for you and turns it into a routine.

This has unexpected consequences, like when the unconscious routine is somehow interrupted or takes a different turn. As we can all tell from experience, this leaves us confused and wondering how we got there in the first place. This happens because our conscious minds were busy and we weren’t paying attention to what we were doing.

A handshake works in much the same way. We don’t normally think about the movement of our hand when we go to shake somebody else’s hand – it’s another automatic routine, or unconscious pattern –, and we can utilize that movement to create a pattern interrupt effect that segués into a hypnotic trance.

That’s what the famous Milton Erickson Handshake Interrupt does. It takes a shortcut into the person’s unconscious mind by hijacking an unconscious movement and directing it towards a hypnotic trance. We can make this even more powerful by combining it with a hypnotic phenomenon known as catalepsy. Watch it being demonstrated in the video below to understand how it’s done.

Shock Inductions

These inductions are also called Instant Inductions. As the name suggests, they can cause a person to drop into a very deep trance instantly through a mild shock, or a PGO spike. Even though these inductions can be scary to onlookers, who watch as the subject seemingly shuts down at the hypnotist’s command, they cause no harm to the individual if executed correctly.

As with eye fixation inductions, shock inductions usually start by focusing the individual’s attention on a particular thing or thought. Then through a light startle reflex, which can be provoked in a variety of ways, the subject’s body becomes immediately and profoundly relaxed. They’re in trance.

Fractionation – The Dave Elman Induction

The late great Dave Elman became notorious, among other things, for the near-perfect induction he developed. 

Elman clearly had a deep understanding of the underlying principles of hypnosis. His innovative induction worked mainly based on the principle of fractionation, which was used very little at the time.

The idea behind fractionation is very simple: every time you go into trance, come out, then go into trance again, you’ll go deeper than you had before.

A similar phenomenon occurs when you hit the “snooze” button on your phone when the alarm rings in the morning. You had woken up and your body had started to produce hormones to re-energize your body and make you wide awake and alert. 

By going back to sleep, however, you interrupted that natural cycle and sent your body a message that you need relaxation and sleep hormones instead. As a result, your body becomes even more numb with the addition of relaxation hormones to the amount that was already there. And it just becomes ever more difficult to get up with every “snooze”.

Watch Mike demonstrating the Dave Elman Induction in the video below. Observe as the subject becomes much more relaxed every time Mike instructs her to open and close her eyes. That’s fractionation in effect. It can (and should) be used outside the Elman induction too, but the Elman induction is by far the best example of fractionation in action.

The Work Is Not Over – Using Hypnotic Deepeners

Hypnotic deepeners are not only important for achieving deeper trances, but also for stabilizing them. Shock inductions cause very deep trances very fast, but they are often unstable, and the subject will awaken shortly afterwards if no deepener is applied. The Dave Elman induction, on the other hand, is notorious for not needing a deepener if the induction itself is successful.

We had to mention deepeners because they’re an important part of the direct model of hypnosis, but since they’re beyond the scope of the topic we’re discussing, and because they’re very easy and simple to do, we’ll just recommend you read this blog post or watch this video. In them, we’ll teach you the best hypnotic deepener of all time (no joke).

Now, we can finally address the main question at hand.

How To Choose the Best Hypnotic Induction?

When a subject has been hypnotized before and got a good result, the obvious question is: What induction did the other hypnotist use? If it’s one you already know (or with the same principles), then you’re off to the races!

But if you can’t figure out what the other hypnotist did, or it’s your client’s very first hypnosis session, your only option is to calibrate.

We’ve mentioned calibration before, and it’s really the only answer in these types of situations, because it is a fundamental skill you MUST have a hypnotist.

Start by doing a few suggestibility tests. These tests are an excellent way to get started because they build momentum and heteroaction, but can also provide valuable information on what kinds of suggestions will work best for the subject in front of you. These hints can be used to deduce the kind of induction most likely to work in that situation.

Click here to read our Ultimate Guide to Hypnotic Suggestibility Tests.

Then observe your subject’s external behavior. Remember: hypnosis is a psychodynamic loop of communication between you and the other person. You must not be oblivious to what’s happening with them while you’re doing your work. 

If they’re going into trance, they’ll show clear signs of relaxation, which are often ETIs (External Trance Indicators). Their head will tilt forward, their face will become blank and expressionless and their eyelids will flutter. These are almost certain indicators that you have a person going into a deep trance in front of you.

Remember: ecology first! Take care of their safety and integrity; be it physical, moral, or emotional; and yours as well.

Online Hypnosis Training That Works

At the Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy, we don’t teach you to read hypnosis scripts or to follow any fixed set of procedures.

Our training is designed to teach you the fundamental principles of hypnosis so you can achieve anything you want.

Both beginner hypnotists and experienced practitioners find an opportunity in our training to refine their skills and take their hypnosis abilities to the next level.

You can get started with MMHA for free without any payment details. It’s the easiest way to start learning hypnosis today.

Click here to get started with the Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy.

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"I absolutely love the online course. It completely changed my life and consulting career. The information is the best I've ever seen. You guys are incredible at what you do. I love the course so much."

Jason Cyrus