background music

Background music in hypnotherapy

The question is often asked about whether a hypnotist should play background music. There are three ways music can be used: with clients in the office, as background on hypnosis recordings and for self hypnosis.

Music certainly isn't necessary for hypnosis.

Background music in your office

When you use music in the office you may find some problems. Many people who have music training find themselves analyzing the music. That prevents them from going into trance. Many people cannot stop themselves from mentally singing along with any bit of music they know.

Or thinking about the words of an instrumental version of a song they know.  You don't want to have the client thinking about the song lyrics while you are trying to put other words into their mind. Having music in the background might give analytical clients another stimulus to analyze. It is just one more thing to distract them from listening to your hypnotherapy.

Music is a very personal thing. Everyone has associations with music, either with particular tunes or particular genres. When you introduce music you have no idea what some people will dislike, or more importantly, what memories or associations people have with the music you are playing. I personally dislike the Glenn Miller Big Band style of music. I have no idea why, but the dislike is very strong. Anyone who played that while hypnotizing me wouldn't get very far.

Then there is the unlikely but possible chance that you will anchor the client's hypnotic state to a particular part of the music. They might get anchored on one part going into trance, and another part as you bring them out. The result is that they will go in and out of trance unexpectedly the next time they hear the music.

Background music on hypnosis recordings

The same sort of logic applies to recorded hypnosis tracks. Music is used in recordings of all kinds.  A continuous background music track helps to hide background noise or to give continuity over breaks in the recording.

The problem here is that a client may play a hypnosis recording dozens of times. The music can become repetitive and irritating, and detract from the smooth induction of trance. Some hypno recordings use nature sounds of waves and waterfalls. That just makes the client want to go to the toilet. Some use forest sounds, but a sudden bird call in the middle of quiet passage can jerk the listener right out of trance again. Some clients get anxious and listen intently for dangers in the noises of the forest.

Background music for self hypnosis

Music can help with self hypnosis. In that case you have complete control of the music. But then you also run into the same problems outlined above.

What I prefer personally when I am putting myself into trance, is some kind of white noise that has a cycle to it. The noise of an oscillating cooling fan is ideal for me. I find it just merges into the background and masks any sudden noises from inside like a fridge starting up, or outside traffic noise, police cars, aircraft etc. 

Do you prefer music while you trance? Leave a comment below.

David Mason

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