The induction is the process that helps people go into a state of hypnosis, where they will be more susceptible to suggestion, and where their unconscious mind will take messages onboard. People choose to go into this state because they want to achieve a certain change or improvement in a specific part of their lives, usually.

How a hypnotist carries out an induction can vary greatly. Different techniques work well for different people. There can be hundreds or even thousands of induction scripts or approaches.

In therapeutic hypnosis, known as hypnotherapy, we generally use a technique we call progressive relaxation. This means helping the person to become progressively more and more relaxed until they eventually fall into the state of hypnosis. It’s a gradual process, helped along by suggestions of continued relaxation. I’ll ask them to close their eyes, of course, and then ask them to start to take some nice long deep breaths. This really helps to relax people.

One way that I find very effective in getting people to relax is to have them concentrate on different muscles or different body parts. Obviously, when you do this, you naturally become more relaxed. I like to start with their heads, face, and neck muscles, and work my way down, along their entire body, focusing on one muscle or body part at a time, until they are completely relaxed, literally from head to toe. You could do it the other way around I suppose. I choose to work downward as it correlates with sinking deeper into total relaxation. We always refer to that process as going down, further down. So I just prefer to use the technique working downward.

The hypnosis induction technique that most people would be familiar with is obviously what they’ve seen in stage hypnosis. That’s a very different approach from therapeutic, hypnotherapy inductions. In stage hypnosis, they use a very authoritarian approach, very direct induction. They have to. They need to keep a crowd of several hundred people entertained, which necessitates impact. Plus there is a visual impact achieved when a hypnotist executes an induction, a very sharp, direct induction, and the subject falls to the floor or otherwise gives some defining visual signal that he’s hypnotized.

The handshake induction is somewhat commonly recognized as well, but in reality, a stage hypnotist would not attempt this technique without first assuring himself that the subject is already hypnotized, or at least highly susceptible.

In hypnotherapy, we have no need to make a visual impression on an audience. The same is true of self-hypnosis recordings. In self-hypnosis recordings, a laid back approach is used, composed of many elements, and is usually based on the theory of progressive relaxation. It is highly effective. Try it for yourself!