After the inductions, deepeners, and safeties come the meat of play: suggestions. A suggestion is the communication between a hypnotist and the hypnotee's subconscious. What you will learn here is essentially the programming language for the human computer. A lot of it looks a lot like English (if that's the language you're speaking).
- Positive Suggestions: Always phrase suggestions in the positive. For example, "you will notice that your legs will remain straight, your knees locked," as opposed to "your knees can't bend." This is because as soon as a negative like "do not bounce in your seat" is suggested, the mind has to first imagine bouncing in the seat, which makes it a pretty strong suggestion to bounce in the seat.
- Replacement: To add on to the positive framing of suggestions principle, if you want something gone, do not suggest that it's gone; replace it. Instead of "do not think of pink elephant" say "think of an orange hippo."
- Use Simple Language: Eschew obfuscation. Refrain from pontificating in such manner as to fatally quell subconscious comprehension.
There will be no foolish wand-waving or silly incantations in this class.
- Speak Clearly: And speak loud enough. There are few things more distracting from trance than having to say "what? Can you speak up, please?"
- Choose Your Tone: Choosing a hypnotic voice comes before the induction, but there are many tones to choose from for specific suggestions that may augment the effectiveness of that suggestion. Here are some tones.
- Shock: Changing tone or pace rapidly can also be effective, for example a dreamy, relaxing induction followed by a commanding, dominant, sudden suggestion.
- Meter: Use pacing and meter to emphasize your suggestion. Deepeners are often...slow......down, whereas bringing someone into an energetic suggestion may require a different tactic.
- Use Repetition: Use repetition. Use it. Use repet...sorry. Repeating a suggestion gives the subconscious more time and opportunity to process. Try to repeat using approximately the same language every time. It can be tempting to say something a bunch of different ways to make it clearer, but try to say it one way. If it doesn't work, try it a different way next time. Repeating different ways can be confused as conflicting or separate instructions.
- Suspension of Disbelief: If you're doing a cool mindfuck or amnesia suggestion, especially for the first time, do not disturb the suspension of disbelief. If they think they're Severus Snape, don't say their real name, don't ask them if they're sure they're Severus Snape, and don't point stuff out to the contrary unless you're trying to confuse them or break the suggestion. Similarly, the suggestion is to forget, say, the number 3, when you're waking them up, perhaps count "one, two, four, awake!"
- Passive vs. Direct: Consider the language for the suggestion itself. Which one might be most effective for the hypnotee in question? Direct suggestions sound like "you will wake up in a moment and you will be Severus Snape, and it will be as if you have always been Severus Snape." A passive suggestion sounds like "you may find yourself that feels a lot like your potions classroom, and it may seem like you belong there as the potions professor, Professor Snape." Passive suggestions work better on people who don't necessarily like being told what to do. Passive also work better for suggestions that rely on the senses. "It would be okay for you to begin feeling more and more aroused." "You may notice your arms getting heavier." As you can see, there are many different ways to word passive suggestions. "You don't have to remember all of these wordings, but they may come in handy."
- Use Metaphor: Metaphor can be a powerful tool to create imagery, sensation, or to distract. For instance, when doing memory play, I use the patter "it's slipping like water through your hand, like sand through an hourglass, fading away like a dream after you wake up. The harder you try to remember, the more you focus on the image of water trickling away down the drain, going, going, gone."
- Cater for Modality: Modality refers to whether someone's more visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. There are a bunch of ways to figure out someone's primary modalities. Look forward to a post all about that! For the meantime, look for clues in someone's descriptions. If you ask someone about their bedroom or office and they talk most about the decorations or colors, probably visual. If they talk about layout, textures, or clutter, they're probably kinesthetic. If they talk about how it's in a quiet part of the building or within earshot of their boss, auditory. Another good test is "imagine you're on a beach." Ask what they notice. Once you have established their modality use that sense most in your suggestions and descriptions. "You'll be awake and alert as if you've just stepped out of a nice hot shower." "You'll be awake and alert as if you're half way through listening to your favorite peppy song." "You'll be awake and alert as if you've slept for hours and the sun is streaming through your window."
- Mantras: Establish mantras of suggestions to continually reinforce. Have a hypnotee memorize them word for word. A hypnotist can prompt the hypnotee to recite or think about their mantras on a cue. Mantras can take the simple form of a personal statement like "I have patience, warmth, and compassion for others," or "every day I enjoy shampoo more and more."
- Write it Down for Review: For important or "permanent" or tricky suggestions, write them down to get the wording right. Negotiate the wording. Edit.
- Use Anticipation: Expectations are a powerful tool in hypnosis. Drawing out expectations before the suggestion is actually supposed to take effect can make the suggestion even more powerful when it does, especially if the hypnotee is excited about or particularly interested in the suggestion. "In a moment, not now, but in a moment you will find yourself very aroused." And then stall.
- Naturalize: When giving suggestions for characters or compulsions, make the suggestion feel natural. Language for that might look like, "and it will be as if you have always been Severus Snape. It feels perfectly natural for you to shout at your students and brood over your steaming cauldron many hours of the day, whipping through assignments with your red pen, always regretting Lily..."
And regretting that smock you wore when you met.
- Anchoring: anchoring is an NLP term referring to associations that the subconscious makes between two things that are concurrent but not necessarily related. For example, if a person were to flex their calf muscles to fatigue every time they had an orgasm, that person may also become aroused when exercising their calves to fatigue in the gym. Anchoring can be more subtle. If I casually gesture to myself every time I say a positive adjective in conversation, my conversation partners may begin to associate those positive adjectives with me. Please, for the love of god, use this with consenting partners to better do things that they have already consented to.You are being a creepy rapist pickup artist if you use this to pick people up or get them to sleep with you.
- Nonverbal Suggestions: Use body language, gestures, eye contact, and touches to create suggestions. This is what partners do when they dance. This is what you do for your puppy when you pat the chair next to you. It's simple and an important tool to keep in mind amidst all these verbal suggestions.
- Incremental Suggestions: Some suggestions work best in absolutes, for example "you are Severus Snape," and some can be increased and manipulated incrementally, for example "every time I snap my fingers, you become a little more dour and sadistic," one of which may have a stronger effect depending on the hypnotee and suggestion at hand. This works well for sensation manipulation and things that tend to happen gradually anyway like arousal and feelings of being awake.
- Conditioning: There are instructions and a description for conditioning in the bottom of this post. Check it out.
Interested in joining the Peershare discussions? Check out our description.