Introduction: Easy Hypnosis Induction

In this Instructible, I'll cover the steps to performing a simple hypnosis induction that, when properly handled, allows you to hypnotize most willing volunteers.  I'll also cover basic terms and concepts important to learning hypnosis. This induction is most suitable for a basic demonstration 1 on 1 or at a party.  

Hypnosis can be dangerous if not used carefully and properly.  You should always respect the fact that you are working with someone else's mind. Don't practice hypnotherapy if you are not a trained therapist. In general, you should not make suggestions dealing with involuntary systems of the body or age regression. I am not responsible for any injuries, mental or physical, resulting from the use of this Instructable. If your subject does have an adverse reaction, wake them, reminding them where they are and that they will be okay. 
**End Disclaimer**

What is hypnosis?  That's a fairly complicated question, and the answer you receive will vary greatly depending on who you ask.  

In simple terms, my opinion is that hypnosis is a tool that allows you to bypass certain critical faculties of the conscious mind.  This definition works well enough for simple one-on-one demonstrations like this one.

This induction is typically called 'Hands Closing Together' or 'Magnetic Hands.' It's a little showy, but it gets the job done.

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Step 1: Materials

The list of things you need to hypnotize someone with this induction is very simple.  

You need:
A Volunteer - the person you will be hypnotizing, called a Subject. Some are easier to hypnotize than others, but with the right method, most anyone willing to be hypnotized can be.
A Location - where you will be hypnotizing.  Anywhere will work, but someplace quiet with a chair is ideal.
Confidence - hypnosis is all about the power of suggestion.  If you believe you will succeed, become not just a person who knows hypnosis, but The Hypnotist, you will cause your subject to believe in your abilities as well.

Step 2: Pre-Induction Talk

The pre-induction talk is a very important step to your success, especially if you're working with a subject you don't know very well.  (Subjects you aren't familiar with can be easier, since they're more likely to see you as The Hypnotist than as their friend, sibling or neighbor, but you take on the disadvantage of not knowing how they think.)  

Topics you should cover with your subject:

What they know about hypnosis - this is their starting image, and what they will be expecting.  Again, since the power of suggestion is key, the subject's expectations will shape how they respond to your hypnosis techniques.

What experience they have - experience also shapes expectations, but more importantly this might alert you to landmines (maybe someone failed to hypnotize them before?) or to useful methods. (If they were successfully hypnotized before, you can often put them back under by piggy-backing on this memory of trance.)

How the induction will go - this is where you create expectations of your own design for how the hypnosis session will progress. Basically, describe what I'm about to tell you will happen as what will happen, using direct language. Don't say what 'maybe' or 'might' occur; state what you want to happen as if it's a sure thing. Just don't be too over the top.

Step 3: The Induction

The induction actually started with the expectations you set up when you first started talking about hypnosis, but here's the part everyone actually pays attention to. This is the part you'll have to describe to them before you start so that you're both on the same page about what to expect.

This can be done with the subject standing or sitting, but if the subject is standing, be prepared to catch him or her when you succeed.  

Have your subject put their arms up, straight out in front of them, with his or her palms facing inward, shoulder width apart.  Put your index finger between your subject's palms, and have them focus their eyes on it.  Tell them that in a moment, you will drop your finger, but you'd like them to remain focused on that space between their hands. Then go ahead and drop your finger.

Next, tell them that in a moment, you will ask them to close their eyes and imagine magnets in the palms of their hands, pulling their hands together. Tell your subject that when their hands touch, they will feel a wave of relaxation washing over them, from their head to their toes, and they'll drop into a deep hypnotic trance.  

After telling them this, tell them that if they are ready to begin, to go ahead and close their eyes, still staying focused on the space between their hands, while they imagine those magnets in their palms.

Step 4: The Induction, Part 2

Now, with your subject's eyes closed, and their hands coming together, be ready for the next step, putting your hands outside theirs as they grow close.  

If the process is going slowly, (more than a few seconds with no movement, or more than 20 seconds or so for the whole process) make some suggestions to help the process. You might even need to make them aware that their hands are moving, giving them an idea of their progress. The exact words aren't important; it's the ideas that you're tying to convey.

Some helpful suggestion ideas:
"Feel those magnets in your palms, pulling and tugging, tugging and pulling"
"Just as refrigerator magnets grow stronger as they grow closer, the magnets in your hands pull stronger and stronger as your hands move closer and closer together."
"Almost there now, your hands pulled closer together."

If you have time, repeat the suggestions about what will happen when your subject's hands touch.

At the last moment before your subject's hands come together, push them together with your own hands, grabbing them and pulling your subject forward in a firm but gentle motion, saying "Sleep" in a firm, commanding voice. By doing both at the same time, you 'interrupt' their current behavior, which they've been doing for a bit now, and provide something new for them to do.  This helps transition your subject by providing an obvious next action in a moment of confusion, and avoids the issue of your subject thinking about what it will feel like, how long it will take or whether their hands are really touching yet.  

Your subject should wind up slumped forward like in the pictures below.

Step 5: Now What?

Before the trance is useful, you'll probably need to run through some deepeners, tests, and proofs.  I'll publish another instructable shortly about these.

Deepeners take the subject 'deeper' into trance.  Tests confirm level of depth for the hypnotist; eventually, you'll have enough experience with signs of trance that you won't need to use these.  Proofs demonstrate to the subject that they have been hypnotized; typically the best of these also make good deepeners for practical purposes. 

After that, your subject will be ready for suggestions and phenomena - demonstrations under hypnosis.  

But as the hypnosis comes to an end, I'm sure you're wondering "How do I wake him/her up?"

Step 6: Waking

Even though hypnosis isn't really sleep, typically we describe returning to normal as 'waking up' from a trance.  

It's probably the easiest thing about hypnosis.  You simply give the suggestion that they will wake up.

The generally accepted best-practice is to count them up, leaving suggestions that they will feel wide awake, refreshed, and relaxed.  

Typical end-of-trance suggestion:
"In a moment, I'm going to count from 1 to 5, and when I reach the number 5 you'll be wide awake, feeling relaxed and refreshed.  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 - Eyes open, wide awake."

If you don't wake them up with a suggestion, they might experience discomfort, disorientation, and sometimes even headaches.  The best cure for this is to take them back under and wake them up properly.  

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