Surprisingly, hypnotic inductions are something most people encounter on a daily basis. It is not something induced upon you from outside; rather it is simply awakening your own subconscious mind to perform something. For example, when you daydream, or become engrossed in a book or a movie, or drive pass a familiar area and cannot recall anything about the journey afterwards; they are all instances of hypnotic induction, because the act has induced you into a light trance. The difference between accidental hypnotic inductions and the ones used by hypnotherapists is that the hypnotist helps the client to cause the trance to begin, usually using their voice and words or by directing the clients conscious attention in some way. Just as the light trance activated when driving would stop if there were some kind of problem with the car, the trance with the hypnotist will also cease if the client feels that something against their morals is suggested to them.
Rapid inductions really are the stuff of magic. It is true that only a small percentage of people are suggestible enough to be influenced by them. This is why a stage hypnotist will usually ask the whole audience to participate in the initial suggestibility test and then only invite to the stage the audience members who appear to have been affected. An example of the type of suggestibility test used at the opening of a stage hypnosis show is the hand clasp where the hypnotist asks audience members to clasp their hands together whilst he gives suggestions of the hands being stuck. Those whose hands remain stuck after the suggestion to “Try to pull them apart” are considered to be the most suggestible and may be invited to the stage to experience a rapid induction such as the hypnotist standing behind them, covering the eyes and giving a firm command to “Sleep!”
Rapid inductions can find their place in the therapy room due to the speed at which they work compared to a traditional induction which may take up to 20 minutes to take effect. In addition a client may be more predisposed to the effects of a rapid induction if the they experienced hypnosis before and if a post hypnotic suggestion of begin able to relax rapidly is installed for later use. This means that a great deal more of the therapeutic session can be spent of addressing the problem, rather than on the hypnotic induction. The benefit for the hypnotherapist is that they can develop a reputation of being able to help clients resolve their problems in fewer sessions than others.
Milton Erickson showed how a subject can be hypnotized unconventionally and quickly without using any tools and without even informing him that he was going to be induced. It can be accomplished by building rapport, using the most appropriate words, and that too deftly while conversing with the subject to turn away his mind and the adept but subtle use of similes and symbols. Whatever be the means of inducing, the goal would be to focus on the subconscious mind and to make it relax quickly.
By Gemma Bailey