March 7, 2010

From Scriptnotist to Hypnotist: The Unscripted Induction

Are you a scriptnotist? I was. What do I mean by scriptnotist? I’m talking about someone who reads the same inductions and suggestions to every client that walks in the door. Sure I used to switch up the suggestions depending on what they wanted, but I would usually read the same induction to each person and then follow that up with the same suggestions that I read to the previous clients that were looking for the same results.

When I realized maybe I should try something a little different. I remember one time I was working with a lady who had Multiple Sclerosis who wanted to lose weight and control pain. At that time I had been in my office for about 2 months and wasn’t what you would call an expert. So, we talked for a little while and I had her sit in the chair where I was going to hypnotize her. I had my script in front of me and began reading her a mountain side induction (basically walking down a mountain path noticing all the different sights) after I relaxed her with that I moved onto a stair induction (climbing down the stairs relaxing with each step, etc.) and after that I went in to my suggestions.

I remember feeling like I was doing well, so when I brought her out I asked her how it felt. The first thing she said was that it was nice, but she didn’t like the inductions because she has difficulty walking and so as she imagined these different things she was also imagining the discomfort of walking along mountains and down stairs. I still feel a little silly when I think back on this because it was so obvious, but I totally missed it. From that day on I made it a point to move away from the script and to tailor my work for each individual person, and I can tell you that it has improved my results and my enjoyment tremendously.

So how do you move away from scripts?

The biggest advantage of using unscripted inductions is that the focus is completely on the client. Rather than reading an induction and having no idea how the client is responding, unscripted inductions give you the opportunity to direct your client more effectively because you are commenting specifically on what they are doing. The client quickly becomes aware that you are looking for certain responses and will become much more likely to perform them now. Dave Elman and Milton Erickson are two great people to study when you want to move away from scripted inductions. Let’s begin with Dave Elman because I believe he offers the easiest and fastest way to hypnotize anyone who wants to be. The Elman induction is scripted in the sense that it is the same every time, but the difference is that you only move on to the next part after you have gotten the response that you want. By using this induction you eliminate any question of if the client is in hypnosis or not.

Milton Ericikson was the king of unscripted hypnosis, he would put people into trance just by having a conversation with them. The benefit of this method is that you avoid a clients resistance if there is any. The challenge with this method is that you have to be keenly aware of very slight trance responses in the subject as you are speaking because he didn’t use the overt tests that Elman would use.

Even if you want to read suggestion scripts after the induction, you will find that your results will improve by using unscripted inductions because you will put your clients into deeper states.