Responsiveness to hypnosis

Factors affecting responsiveness to hypnosis

Not everyone is responsive to induced hypnosis with a hypnotherapist all the time, especially the first time, however, everyone other than those with brain damage or severe mental illness, is likely to experience hypnosis in their natural world every day!

When someone attends to see us for therapy or coaching and seemingly isn't responding to hypnosis there are several factors we can explore to assess what might be at play and how we can help the client to relax and enjoy the experience more readily.

The following factors increase a client's responsiveness to hypnosis i.e. if we have these in place the client's experience is highly likely to be a good one:

  1. The client has high motivation
  2. The client believes they can be hypnotised
  3. Children are usually very easily hypnotised
  4. The client trusts the therapist
  5. Client feels relaxed
  6. The client and/or therapist are comfortable
  7. Good environmental temperature
  8. Good rapport
  9. Relaxed pace
  10. Calm, confident therapist
  11. The client has experienced a trance before
  12. Strong desire to change
  13. Client is tired
  14. The therapist has chosen the script well according to the client's personal qualities, skills, and abilities
  15. Suggestions are acceptable to the client
  16. The therapist understood and paced the client well before leading

The following is what prevents a good response and/or decreases a client's responsiveness to hypnosis:

  1. Low motivation
  2. Alcohol - a stimulant in lower quantities
  3. Caffeine - a stimulant
  4. Drugs - stimulating and can interfere with processing
  5. The client believes they cannot be hypnotised
  6. The client mistrusts the therapist
  7. The client feels irritable, anxious, not relaxed
  8. The client and/or therapist are uncomfortable
  9. The environment is too hot or cold
  10. Lack of rapport
  11. Feeling rushed
  12. Stressed or nervous therapist
  13. Client resists
  14. The client tries too hard - like the more you try to sleep the more difficult it becomes (Law of reversed Effect/paradoxical intentions)
  15. Little desire to change
  16. Secondary gain (rewards for maintaining the behaviour they are there to change)
  17. Client is excitable
  18. The therapist has chosen the script badly, not reflecting the client's personal qualities or abilities
  19. Suggestions are unacceptable to the client
  20. Another hypnotist has put a 'hypnotic seal' on a client (suggestions that they may not be hypnotised by anyone else - rare and unethical).

It is often thought that the environment must be quiet in order for a client to respond well to hypnosis. Although it is more pleasant to work in a quiet therapy room, it can be done in noisy environments, especially if the noise is relatively familiar and constant. Sudden interruptions by noisy children, garden equipment, or pets are best avoided though.

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