Hypnosis Dictionary




Some people are so afraid of their own feelings that they keep them under strict control at all times. When they go into trance this control is relaxed away. Sometimes this allows the feeling to be escape. The result can be a sudden, unexpected emotional outburst, sometimes with jerking movements, and possibly shouting and weeping. The person is suddenly confronted with the thing they fear. This is an abreaction. With training, an abreaction is actually a good opportunity to deal with the original issue .
Related terms:
Action Metaphor
From the client's point of view metaphors can be classified as either narrative or active. In a narrative (passive) metaphor the client simply listens as the metaphor develops. At most the client may mentally walk through the situation described in the metaphor or watch or listen as something happens. In an action metaphor the client is the hero of the story and takes a primary role in dealing with the metaphoric environment. The client may push down walls or swim across rivers, etc.
Related terms: Visualisation
Metaphor Therapy
Affect Bridge
Sometimes called the Watkins Affect Bridge, this is a regression procedure used in hypnotherapy. The Affect Bridge is used where the client is experiencing a distressing emotion of unknown origin. In trance, the client is told to allow their mind to go back and remember the first time they ever experienced that emotion (the 'affect'), to use the emotion as a 'bridge' to the earliest memory. Once the client has located the earliest experience the therapist asks the client to describe what they are seeing or sensing and suggests various ways of dealing with that memory. A similar procedure, the 'somatic bridge' is used to associate recurrent bodily feelings back to an earliest memory.
Related terms: Regression
Somatic Bridge
An affirmation is a specific, positive statement that you say to yourself in order to change some aspect of yourself. For example saying "I am clever and people like me" is an affirmation. It is designed to convince you that this is true, not other people. The best known affirmation is probably Emile Coué's famous advice for self esteem: tell yourself 'Every day in every way, I am getting better and better'. If you keep telling yourself that you are confident, that you are a winner, that people like you, then it will become true. It works because once you unconsciously believe something, that belief is expressed in your body language and your speech patterns, and other people will react to those signals.
Related terms: Goals, Emile Coué
Positive Daily Affirmations
Alpha State
Hypnosis is often stated to involve going into an 'alpha state' or 'theta state'. This is not true. The idea arises from findings in the 1970's that there are several different types of 'brain waves'. The findings were seized upon by people with no scientific backgrounds to prove that hypnosis is real. There are undoubtedly alpha, beta, and theta electromagnetic waves emanating from the brain, but they have no connection with any hypnosis 'state'. The brain emits multiple brainwaves at any given moment, although one tends to predominate. The brain emits alpha when in a learning or concentrating state; theta when daydreaming, strongly absorbed in a creative task, or dreaming; and delta waves when deeply asleep. Beta refers to 'wide awake' or normal activity, and gamma (a subset of beta) to panic or other highly aroused states.
Related terms: Hypnosis Theory
Altered consciousness
A vague term used loosely by hypnotists to mean all and any states of mind other than full waking conscious awareness of self.
Related terms:
Self Hypnosis
Amnesia is the medical term for forgetting. Hypnosis can make you forget things like your name, or the number seven, but only for a few minutes: then your normal memory comes back. Amnesia in hypnosis concerns State Dependent memory. Things you hear or learn while in trance may 0nly be accessible when you go back into trance.
Related terms: Time Distortion
Analgesia is the absence of pain, as opposed to anesthesia which is the absence of all feeling, not just pain. Analgesia is used as a test of depth of hypnosis.
Related terms:
Pain Control
Analogical Marking
Analogical Marking is a way of marking out hypnotic commands embedded within normal speech. The analogical marking can be done in many ways: by using a deeper voice tone when saying the command words; by pausing briefly before and after the words; by leaning forward while the command words were being said. Any subtle but consistent action can be used to mark the significant phrases.
Related terms: Conversational Induction
Analogical Marking Technique
Anchoring in hypnotherapy refers to the attempt to deliberately create an association between some feeling and a sensory input such as touch, sound, taste or place. Unintentional Anchoring is the result of an automatic learning experience. For example, you go on holiday, have a great time and the same song is playing everywhere you go. In years to come, hearing that song brings back the experience of that holiday. The holiday is anchored to the song. You didn't do anything to make it happen, and you can't stop it happening. In therapeutic anchoring the therapist might remind you of a happy time and get you to touch your fingers together. After you have repeated it many times, touching you fingers together anywhere will break your current mood and bring to mind the happy feeling instead. There is not a lot of evidence to support this theory.
Related terms: NLP
Anxiety is a mood associated with physical symptoms of tension and a fear of what might happen in the future. Anxiety can be chronic or episodic, can range from a mild sense of unease to paralyzing fear of the unknown. Symptoms of anxiety include physical signs such as looking worried, fidgeting, stammering, pacing; and physiological responses such as sweating, palpitations and raised blood pressure. Anxiety is basically a fear of the future. Having some anxiety is actually good for us, but excessive anxiety leads to chronic illness.
Related terms:
Apposition of Opposites
This is a form of suggestion. It uses a pattern of words on the model 'the more of one thing, the less of some other thing'. For example, 'As the feeling of heaviness in your body increases, your arm will feel lighter and lighter until it is drifting upwards'. 'The more tense you feel at the beginning, the deeper your level of trance will be by the end'.
Related terms: Binds
Milton Model
As-if Exercise
This is a technique for achieving goals. You decide what talents, abilities, ideas you want and then you act in all the small things of life as-if you already had those abilities. By constantly transforming the small things, you are automatically moving towards your larger goals.
Related terms:
 Doing the As-If Exercise
a) Generally, Association means experiencing something as if you are there, seeing it through you own eyes, experiencing it directly and immediately. As opposed to Dissociation, experiencing something as if you are an observer, looking at it happening from the outside.
b) In the Association technique the client is invited to think of themself as they want to be in the future, at a point when whatever it is that they want has already happened to them. The client is led through a process of imagining how they would look, how they would stand, dress, behave and so on. The client is invited to 'associate into' that future self. The client is instructed to enter their future body, to see the world through the future body's eyes, to hear what it hears and to experience the mental state that goes with successfully having whatever it is they want to have in the future.
Related terms: Dissociation
Astral Projection
Astral Projection is the name given to a feeling of being able to move out of your body while in a deeply relaxed state. Some people believe that between life and death there exists an in-between state called the Astral Plane. Astral Projection occurs when your mind leaves your body and travels in that Astral Plane. To get to that state only requires you to relax your body, usually by Progressive Relaxation and a Breathing Induction. Most people will then gradually deepen into Sleep Paralysis. Once that state is achieved, focus on one object, and when other objects start to appear spontanously you are on the edge of the astral experience. Then allow your mind to forget all about your body, to a state of no sensations. Astral journeying should then start automatically, although it takes practice.
Related terms: Self Hypnosis, Out of body experience, hypnagogic state
Aversion Therapy
In this type of treatment a stimulus (trigger) is linked to an unpleasant result. Typically a smoker will be told that every time they put a cigarette to their lips the most disgusting taste will fill their mouth until they are forced to take the cigarette away.
Related terms:
Example: Stop Smoking Aversion Script
Awareness is a meditation technique. The object is to become aware of what is going on around you right now, of what you are doing right now, of how your body is placed right now, as a way of breaking the tyranny of intrusive thoughts or a racing mind. Awareness can be practiced in everything you do. For example when eating you can deliberately focus on what the food feels like in your mouth, spend time appreciating every nuance of flavour, every texture, chewing the food slowly and deliberately to get every sensation possible from it. By focusing on that, you turn off any other thoughts, and just enjoy being in the moment. Similar exercises can be done for breathing, walking etc.
Related terms: Grounding, Centering
 Meditation: Awareness Techniques
The Azrin technique is a behavioral method of eliminationg chronic habits. The technique makes the person aware of what they doing when they do it, makes them think about why they are doing it, and then subsitutres a different behavior for the habit. It is very effective against nail biting, hair pulling, skin picking, lip biting and other chronic anxiety behaviors.
Related terms: CBT
Nail Biting script


Behavioural Therapy
Behavioural therapies try to change behaviour by altering the behaviour directly. Cognitive therapies try to change behaviour by altering the way people think. Behavioural therapies include desensitisation, flooding and imaginal exposure as well reward and punishment strategies. These were routinely used in hypnotherapy decades before behaviour therapy was formalised. 'Hypno-behavioural' approaches utilise hypnotic suggestion to counteract the mental conditioning that leads to automatic responses.
Related terms: Azrin, CBT
Behaviour Theory
Beliefs are 'mini-programs' (also called 'imprints') that influence us to behave in certain ways. They are the result of automatic associations between some external event (trigger) and an internal feeling. We all have hundreds of these innate beliefs and most are essential to staying alive, but some become outdated and cause problems when they are applied inappropriately. For example, if a smoker creates an association between feeling grown up and having a cigarette, then this is expressed as an unconscious belief they they cannot be who they want to be without a cigarette. This belief will get in the way of giving up smoking, because getting rid of the cigarette will threaten their identity. The smoker is not aware of this belief, and in general people are not aware of any of the beliefs that underlie their behaviour.
Related terms:
List of Key Beliefs
A bind is a form of words that gives the illusion of choice but in reality forces the listener to a predetermined response. For example, 'Do you still beat your wife?' is a bind because answering 'yes' or 'no' both bind you implying that it is something you do.
Related terms: Indirect suggestion
See Hypnotic Binds
Breathing correctly is important for physical and mental health. Breathing incorrectly is associated with chronic anxiety and panic attacks. People can experience sudden alarm which leads to hyperventilation (over rapid breathing) that causes their blood pH to turn alkali that can lead to having panic attacks. Learning how to control your breathing prevents this.
Related terms: Diaphragmatic Breathing
Breath Control


This refers to the Freudian theory that relief is experienced when the person allows hidden or suppressed emotions to become known. Some hypnotists use regression to recall the earliest memory of a negative feeling. They then try to create an emotional response to that incident in the hope of provoking a catharsis as the client re-experiences the original pain that has been suppressed.
Related terms: Regression
Centering consists of using your mind to become aware of the position of your energy centre and then flowing all the dispersed energy towards the place in your body that feels most natural. Centering is done by focusing the mind on your body's center of balance while standing or sitting. The most common technique is to stand and take in a breath and as you do to raise your arms and touch you hands above your head. Then lower your arms gently and smoothly back to your sides as you breath out. Then repeat the breathing exercise and imagine all the energy in your body flowing towards that centre. It is a form of meditation.
Related terms: Grounding
Grounding Meditation
Chevreul's Pendulum
Michel Chevreul (1786 - 1889) was the first scientist to describe ideodynamic responses. In the course of investigating claims for dowsing and divination by pendulum he correctly deduced that the swinging motions of a hand held pendulum were the result of tiny unconscious movements of the hand and arm, and not caused by some mysterious force as the diviners claimed. It is ironic that the procedure that he set out to debunk is today associated with his name. 
Related terms: Ideomotor
Being in hypnosis, in trance, is actually a normal part of life, so often clients come out of trance feeling that they have not been hypnotized at all because they did not feel spectacularly different at any point. Hypnotists therefore add routines that are not strictly necessary in order to demonstrate the client that they are actually in trance. The most common one is to tell the client that they cannot open their eyes and invite them to test that. Being unable to open their own eyes is the convincer.
Related terms:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is concerned with the managing the underlying thoughts and beliefs which are held to be responsible for emotional distress. The goal of the therapy is help the client get rid of unhelpful thought processes and to replace those with thoughts and thought processes that lead to healthy mental functioning. The original concept of psychopathology developed by Beck (1921-2006) stresses the central role of thinking styles in creating and maintaining chronic conditions such as depression, anger and anxiety. These are based on spontaneous thoughts that arise automatically, appear valid to the thinker but are in fact what is causing the condition. These thoughts have to be isolated, challenged and replaced.
Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on conscious thoughts and not on unconscious processing. Cognitive therapy seeks to identity and change 'distorted' thinking. The rationale is that how we think influences how we feel and that how we feel influences how we behave. Such linkages can be traced in disorders such as depression and generalized anxiety. The therapy therefore tries to change the person's style of thinking in order to change their behavior.
Related terms: Cognitive Modeling
Cognitive Dissonance
This is a theory that
a) people cannot hold two opposing ideas at the same time. Freudians believe that much mental disorder is caused by the mind being unable to resolve two or more opposing basic ego drives.
b) Conflicting evidence actually strengthens false beliefs. For example a person may be prejudiced against people of a certain race, but when presented with a personal demonstration that people of that race are actually kind, intelligent, good people this causes cognitive dissonance, and the mind has to reconcile the need to believe these people are bad, with the evidence that they are good. One common outcome is for the person to create special categories for the exceptions, or to distort or reject the evidence so that they can still maintain the original belief. In other cases the opposing evidence causes the person to strengthen their beliefs, because they cannot bear the idea that they were previously wrong.
Related terms:
Law of Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Filters
In a way, we actually create the world we live in, we create our reality. We do this by first choosing what we want to notice, and then by assigning meaning to what we notice. Everything else gets filtered out. Whether you are happy or unhappy, successful or unsuccessful, is very largely an outcome of your beliefs, the story you tell yourself about your life and what the events in your life mean. As you create your personal story you include things that match the story, and exclude things that don't. But then the things included are used as evidence to support that particular life story and the life story then determines what to exclude in future. Changing your belief systems effectively changes who you are. Cognitive filtering can be discovered by listening to what a person says, and the mechanisms of cognitive filtering can be used in hypnotic suggestion to reframe past events.
Related terms: Beliefs
Cognitive Modeling
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to change thinking styles through logical-verbal interventions, for example by monitoring self talk, changing automatic thoughts and challenging irrational beliefs. However, Beck originally specified 'cognitive events' as the focus of change. These could be a thought, a reminiscence or image occurring in the 'free flowing stream of consciousness'. In practice today CBT therapies concentrate almost exclusively on verbal treatments.
Cognitive modeling aims at the same outcome but focuses on images instead of words. Instead of thinking styles, cognitive modeling addresses representational styles, including visual, kinaesthetic, auditory, olfactory and gustatory. Words are used as a way of accessing images or metaphors, rather than being the focus of therapy.
Related terms: CBT
Horse Exercise
Cognitive Therapy
Cognitive therapy is the general name for all types of therapy aimed at changing styles of thinking. It includes visualization, metaphor, CBT, RET and many others. Cognitive therapy is differentiated from Behavioral Therapy, which holds that what and how the person thinks is irrelevant.
Related terms:
Horse Exercise
Confusion Technique
This is an induction technique. The hypnotist talks to the client using a whole series of seemingly reasonable, but contradictory, statements and switches rapidly from one viewpoint to another, mixes future and past tenses, and goes off on into irrelevancies. This causes the client's mind to become overloaded. In trying to make sense of the statements the client seizes upon the ones that seem to be most logical and follows those suggestions. These of course are the ones that the hypnotist wants the client to follow.
Related terms: Ambiguity, Overloading
Conversational Induction
Milton Erickson discovered that he could mix hypnotic commands into an ordinary conversation and have the client act on them provided the commands were subtly marked in some way. The client would unconsciously register that these analogically marked words were somehow different and while part of the conscious part of the mind was listening to the ongoing conversation the unconscious part of their mind would be thinking about the analogically marked words and phrases and in so doing would be open to their influence.
Related terms: Analogical Marking, Embedded commands
Example Script
Covert Hypnotism
People are always looking for some magic way to make others do what you want. There is a whole industry devoted to selling you the secrets of how to make women fall in love with you or to attract money. Most of this stuff is basic psychology and nothing to do with hypnosis. Most offers of covert hypnosis, stealth hypnosis, black ops, secret powers, mind control, etc., are simply basic mirroring techniques, rapport skills and self esteem therapy wrapped up in layers of exaggeration.
Related terms: Conversational hypnosis
Coué, Émile (1857 - 1926)
The originator of probably the most famous affirmation ever: 'Every day in every way I am getting better and better'. He recommended saying this every morning and every night to boost self esteem. Coué was the originator of the Law of Reversed Effect.
Related terms: Affirmations
Laws of the Mind
Countdown Induction
The countdown induction starts by getting the client to relax their muscles, then to close their eyes and then to imagine going down some stairs. You tell them that there are ten steps and with each breath out they will go down one step, and with each step down they will go more relaxed and deeper into trance. Then the hypnotist counts from ten down to one, pacing with the client’s out breath.
Related terms: Inductions


Dare Question
The Dare question is a technique to help people define their life goals. If you ask yourself the question 'What would you do if you knew you could not fail?' this will eventually lead you to realize what you really value in life.
Related terms:
Goals: the Dare Question
The name given a range of verbal techniques for increasing trance once it has been induced. Most deepeners involve suggestions of the 'the more you do ... , the more you are going into trance' form. Common deepeners are tied to breathing, movement of hands, counting down.
Related terms: Depth
Deepening Example Scripts
Deep Trance Identification
DTI is a hypnotic technique for acquiring new skills or characteristics. The learner identifies in trance so deeply with the person they want to learn from, recalls everything they know about that person so intently that the learner absorbs the skills, resources, behaviors and attitudes of that person unconsciously. It is an extension of NLP modeling.
Related terms: NLP, Erickson
The idea of different 'depths' of trance was developed in the 1950s but research has since shown that the term is only a metaphor and depth can not be measured in any meaningful way. Hypnotists still talk of depth but only as a convenient shorthand when explaining things to clients. People have created fanciful classifications with hundreds of different 'levels' but it is widely accepted today that there is no real substance to the idea of 'depth' of hypnosis. Charcot suggested that there were three levels of trance: Light (lethargy); Medium (catalepsy); Deep (Somnambulism).
Related terms: Davis-Husband scale, Somnambulism
Depth of trance
Direct Suggestion
Direct Suggestion consists of spoken commands aimed directly at changing one or more of the client's belief systems. Each statement is a single direct command, telling the listener how to behave, what to do, what to be. Direct Suggestion is very effective and at one time was the only style of hypnotherapy. Many hypnotists believe that Indirect Suggestion is superior, but research has proved both can be equally effective.
Related terms:
Direct Suggestion
a) A child who is severely abused often handles the abuse by dissociating from the experience. The child gets relief by sealing off the painful experiences. If the abuse is repeated and the child has no one to help make sense of what is happening the child may effectively turn off their emotions completely and as an adult may become unable to experience normal feelings of love and self esteem. Sometimes the dissociation process makes the adult feel as if they have different disconnected parts in them.
About 10% of the population feel some measure of dissociation.
Dissociation also refers to the act of 'going inside' and reliving memories when asked to recall something, or refers to the process by which the person leaves present awareness and goes into a daydreaming like state.
c) Dissociative Disorders are a class of serious mental illnesses where for example, a person finds they are in a place and they cannot remember how they got there, or are wearing clothes they cannot recall buying, or find they have blank hours or days. In extreme cases the person suddenly realized they have no idea who they are.
Related terms: Double Dissociation, Association
Visualization Exercises
Double Dissociation
Double Dissociation is a hypnotherapy technique that involves the person seeing them self from a distance while that other self is doing or experiencing something that distresses them. For example in the Fast Phobia Cure the double dissociation is where the person sees them self sitting in a cinema (single dissociation) watching themselves on the screen doing something distressing (second dissociation). The aim of the technique is to allow the person to deal with the distressing experience without triggering a panic attack.
Related terms: Dissociation
Dragon Slaying
Dragon Slaying is a form of metaphor therapy, an intermediate technique between direct metaphor techniques and metaphor modeling. Dragon Slaying invites the client to project their representation of their fears onto a culturally understood metaphor, an imaginary dragon, and then to systematically modify the dragon. By so doing the client modifies their fear indirectly.
Related terms:
Metaphor Technique: Dragon Slaying
Dream interpretation as therapy has a history going back many thousands of years. Freud called dreams 'the royal road to the unconscious mind'. Freud and Jung created complex theories to explain why we dream and what the dreams mean. Since then science has shown the vital role of REM sleep to dreams and come up with modern scientific theories of why we dream. It is now recognized that all dreams are metaphors using symbols unique to each person. Dream Dictionaries are pretty much useless because each person creates their own meanings for each symbolic element in the dream. There are no universal meanings.
Related terms: Jung, Freud


EFT Emotional Freedom Technique
EFT is a behavioral therapy which teaches clients to deal with their symptoms via a mixture of affirmations, hypnosis and mysticism. The client is taught to tap on their own head, chest and hand while saying an affirmation aloud. Many people find it very effective, about the same number of people find it ludicrous. The technique claims to be based on stimulating traditional Chinese health meridians, but there is absolutely no evidence for it, and a lot of good evidence against. However it does the client no harm if they believe in this. The tapping causes the person to focus on their skin and the unusual feelings that this generates. Thinking about the physical feelings causes dissociation, and the client goes into a light trance, and with the constant repetition of the affirmation is therefore self hypnosis with self therapy. EFT is actually one of the hundreds of brand-name variations on the basic AZRIN technique.
Related terms: Affirmations, EMDR
Ego Strengthening
Any hypnosis strategy aimed at increasing the client's capabilities is broadly described as 'Ego Strengthening'. It originated when Dr John Hartland (1901-1977) published his 'Ego Strengthening Script' in 1966. This was notable because of its novel approach: aiming to strengthen the client's ability to adapt, strengthening their confidence and self belief, instead of trying to remove the symptoms. Ego Strengthening Scripts are typically direct suggestion scripts aimed at increasing the client's confidence and belief in their own capabilities.
Related terms: Self Confidence Script
Ego Strengthening Script
Elman Induction
The Elman induction is a form of hypnotic induction developed by the American stage hypnotist Dave Elman (1900 - 1967). Elman taught hypnosis to doctors and dentists and needed a simple, reliable method that could be used by anyone. The method he developed uses muscular relaxation, controlled breathing, eye fractionation, negative hallucination and a very mild shock induction.
Related terms: Inductions, fractionation
Inductions: The Elman Induction
Embedded Commands
Hypnotic words or phrases deliberately mixed into normal conversation. This is usually with the intention of inducing hypnosis without the listener being aware that they are being led into hypnotic trance.
Related terms: Analogical Marking, Conversational Hypnosis, Stealth Inductions
Analogical Marking
Erickson, Milton
Milton Erickson (1901 - 1980) was a therapist based in Phoenix USA who developed a style of hypnotherapy unique in many ways and widely imitated. He advocated creatively using whatever the client brought to therapy; he used multiple levels of abstraction in his wording; he used hypnotic binds; and he used stories and metaphors as therapy. He was one of the therapists whose methods were modeled by Grinder and Bandler when they were developing NLP.
Related terms: Milton Model
Eye Catalepsy
Eye catalepsy is standard test of trance and suggestibility. The hypnotist suggests that the client cannot open their eyes, and invites them to try. If the client cannot open their eyes but moves the muscles surrounding their eyes this shows the client (and the hypnotist) that they are indeed in trance. Of course if the client opens their eyes this is evidence that the client is not in trance and the therapist will then continue with the induction process.
Related terms: Fractionation, Deepening
Eye fixation Induction
Eye Fixation Induction
The Eye Fixation Induction was one of the original inductions from the 19th Century. It works by using the fact that staring at a point will quickly tire the eyes, and the eye will naturally start to waver and defocus. The hypnotist paces this and suggests that the client might find it more comfortable to close their eyes, and then suggest more and more relaxation until trance sets in. It works for highly susceptible people, but tends not to work with people who are skeptical about hypnosis.
Related terms: Inductions
Eye fixation Induction


False Memory Syndrome
Some therapists have used hypnosis to uncover incidents that the client was unable to recall while awake. There is considerable dispute about the accuracy and validity of these 'memories'. It has been alleged that the 'memories' are the result of unwitting suggestions by the therapist or even deliberate prompting while the client is in a suggestable state. False memory syndrome is associated particularly with recovered memories about childhood sexual abuse.
Related terms: Recovery memory, suppressed memory.
Forensic Hypnosis
The use of hypnosis to enable people, typically witnesses, to recall details of events that they cannot consciously remember. The technique is highly controversial and has been ruled not acceptable in most legal systems.
Related terms: False Memories
Fractionation is a technique used during hypnotic inductions. It is usually associated with the Elman induction. For example the hypnotist may tell the client that they can open and close their eyes three times, and each time they close their eyes they will become more relaxed and go deeper into trance.
Related terms: Elman
Freud, Sigmund (1856 - 1939)
Freud was an Austrian physician who developed a unique theory of mind. He started out as a hypnotist but later refused to use hypnosis. He claimed mental illness was due to conflict between different parts of the mind caused by unresolved sexual tensions. Freud's ideas were the biggest influence on psychiatry in the 20th century. Many of his ideas such 'ego' and 'repression' have become part of the English language and part of world culture. He developed psychoanalysis. However, after his death the accuracy of his theories was increasingly challenged, and today only a minority of psychotherapists would accept his ideas as valid.
Related terms: Hypnoanalysis
Future Pacing
Future pacing is used to ensure that old behavior patterns are not triggered in future situations. The client is asked to imagine themselves in some future situation and guided through all the actions they would take. This allows their subconscious mind to come up with solutions in a safe environment, and then when a similar situation arises in future the client will have stored behaviors to draw on.
Related terms: Pacing, Future Rehearsal
Future Progression
Future Progression is a hypnosis technique where the client imagines looking back to the present from their own future. The hypnotist shows the client what their life will be like at some point in the future, a future in which they have achieved everything they want. The client is then asked to 'enter into' that future self, to get into the mind of that future self and to learn what that future self did in order to make it all happen. By visualizing the future and thinking about how it was achieved, the client creates the belief of the possibility of getting there and implants clear images of success in their own mind.
Related terms:
Future Rehearsal
A hypnosis and visualization technique in which the person is invited to imagine them self in the future having achieved everything they want to achieve. The person is asked to enter that future body, and experience what it would be like to have everything the way they want it.
Related terms:
Hypnotic Techniques


A type of meditation that focuses on becoming totally aware of your body, your muscles, your weight, the things you are hearing, feeling etc., to the exclusion of everything else. The idea is to become aware of what is happening right now, what sensations you are experiencing in the moment, and by doing so 'turning off' your racing thoughts, and attaining a state of quiet mind that is totally attuned to your external environment.
Related terms: Meditation
Meditation: Grounding Technique
Guided Visualization
This is a form of hypnosis where the listener is encouraged to dissociate into trance by focusing on a story or a series of linked suggestions that create vivid internal images. The listener gets so engrossed in the evolving images that they forget all about their surroundings and lose their self awareness while creating the suggested images. The images can be realistic but imaginary; or they can utilize real memories; or they can be metaphors; depending on what the hypnotist wants to achieve.
Related terms:


Having someone else put you into trance, as opposed to auto-hypnosis or self-hypnosis, putting yourself into trance.
Related terms: Self-hypnosis
This refers to the ability of hypnosis to exaggerate normal bodily feelings and to heighten emotional states. It is used in recreational and erotic hypnosis.
Related terms: Sexual Hypnosis
A type of memory experience. You remember something clearly, but it is just something that happened. There is no emotion associated with that particular memory. See Regression. A-mnesia means loss of memory. Hyper-mnesia means heightened memory.
Related terms:Revivification;Regression
Hypervigilance is a condition where someone is constantly watching their surroundings, monitoring what is going on, cannot relax, has to be in control. People who are highly hyperactive sometimes cannot relax enough to be hypnotized by standard methods.
Related terms: Anxiety
This refers to a class of dreams and imagery that occurs just as the person is drifting off to sleep. Hypnagogic hallucinations often include imagined sounds such as crashes or a door bell, or hearing your name called. Hypnagogia (also know as sleep paralysis) is a sometimes frightening condition that happens as they are going into or coming out of sleep, the sleeper feels awake but is unable to move their muscles.
Related terms: Hypnopompic
Hypnoanalysis refers to a style of therapy which aims to use free association techniques similar to those of Freudian psychoanalysis while the client is in trance.
Related terms: Freud
This refers to a class of dreams and imagery that occurs in the final few minutes before waking up from sleep, when you are still partly asleep but partly awake.
Related terms: Hypnagogic
There is no generally accepted definition of hypnosis. Hypnosis been shown to be a real thing by scientific brain scans. It appears to be some form of induced REM brain activity.
Related terms:
What is hypnosis?
Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis to create permanent change in a person's attitudes, beliefs or behavior. It is a form of communication which utilizes both conscious and subconscious resources for healing and change.
Related terms:
Metaphor Therapy


Ideomotor signalling is a way of communicating with the unconscious mind. You tell the person in trance to move one finger for 'No' and a different finger for 'Yes'. A finger lift is also a type of ideomotor signalling. Any movement of the body can be used for ideomotor communication: nods, smiles, etc.
Related terms: Non-verbal
 Ideomotor Test
A hypnotherapeutic technique of enabling large changes by using small changes. If the client accepts that they can make a change, no matter how small, then that change can be repeated, resulting in gradual, non threatening progress towards a larger change. Normally, once the mind has allowed any change at all, the client is no longer 'stuck' and further change happens rapidly after only a few increments.
Related terms:
Law of Incrementalism
Indirect Suggestion
A direct suggestion is a specific instruction such as 'You will now go into a deep trance' or 'You are now a non-smoker'.
Indirect suggestions, sometimes called 'permissive suggestions', sound less like commands and allow room for personal interpretation. With an indirect suggestion, the client's mind searches internally to fill in the gaps in what was said (known as a transderivational search), and because of that it is much more likely that the client will create a uniquely personal response, a more effective response than a direct suggestion would produce.
Related terms: Direct suggestion
Indirect Suggestion
Induction refers to any process designed to lead someone into trance. Trance can be induced in many ways, but the term usually refers to spoken instructions and suggestions. Many hypnotists also regard some things prior to the formal spoken suggestions as part of the induction. These include the physical layout of the office, the way the client is greeted, compliance in various body movements such as sitting and nodding, and the deliberate manipulation of objects and words to build rapport.
Related terms: Trance
Induction Scripts
Inner Child
Inner Child work is a hypnosis technique used in hypnotic regression. The client is hypnotized and taken back to the ISE. Usually the ISE is an incident that happened when the client was a young child. The inner child technique asks the adult to go and comfort the child and to sort out whatever bad situation the child is in. Fixing the child's problem frees the adult's problem.
Related terms: ISE
ISE Initial Sensitizing Event
Regression therapists believe that present problems can be traced back to a mishandled incident in childhood. The client is hypnotized and asked to call up the feeling they get when they experience their problem. They are then regressed back to earlier and early instances when they felt that feeling, until they reach the first one. That is known as the ISE.
Related terms: Regression, Affect Bridge


Jungian Therapy
Refers to a style of therapy based on the theories of Carl Jung, a follower of Freud. Jung believed that all humans have a memory of the distant past written into their genes, and that people have a shared 'race memory' and that through psychotherapy can access this 'collective memory' for therapeutic change. There is no scientific support for theory, and it is almost totally discredited today.
Related terms: Freud, Dreams


Refers to the way you represent the world to yourself in your mind. Most people are visual, some are auditory and some understand the world mostly by sensations of touch and holding. When kinesthetic people think about something, instead of seeing an image, they feel it in their body or as if they are holding it in their hands.
Related terms: Representation Styles


Laws of Success
These consist of a list of empirical observations that have been found to apply to hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Their origin is obscure and disputed, and they have never been scientifically tested, but most hypnotists would accept that they accurately describe how people react to hypnotic suggestions and affirmations.
Related terms: Affirmations, suggestions
Rules of the mind
Many inductions, deepeners and tests of susceptibility involve raising or lowering the arms, hands or fingers without involving the conscious mind. Using suggestion to get the unconscious mind move parts of the body is known as levitation.
Related terms: Ideomotor
Hand Levitation Induction


The outcome of meditation and hypnosis are exactly the same: achieving trance. Meditation is just a rather long winded way of getting there.
Related terms:
Meditation Techniques
Most people worry too much about their memory. It is quite normal to remember only a handful of things from before you were seven years old. It does not mean you were abused or are in any way unusual. Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis cannot improve your general memory. Hypnosis can help[ you study.  Recall can improve by removing the anxiety that stops you retaining things.
Related terms: False memory syndrome; Hypermnesia; Revivification; Regression
Mesmer, Anton (1734 - 1815)
Mesmer is often cited as being the originator or father of hypnosis. In fact he is not. His early studies led him to believe that the movement of planets created a force that he called 'animal magnetism'. He developed this idea into elaborate procedures and apparatus and effected many spectacular cures. His claims that the source of the change was animal magnetism was rapidly disproven. Long after his death, later commentators recognized that what he had been doing was in fact a roundabout way of inducing hypnotic trance combined with suggestion. Mesmer himself had no idea that he was utilizing hypnosis, but his antics were the origin of the word 'mesmerising'.
Related terms:
Meta Model
The Meta Model is a way of analyzing the speech of other people, primarily used in NLP therapy. The Meta Model demands clarity, by asking the speaker to reformulate their sentences until the full meaning emerges. The Meta Model eliminates the processes of distortion, deletion or generalization. For example a person may say in therapy 'I'm unhappy'. In the phrase 'I'm unhappy' the client is generalizing to imply 'I'm unhappy all the time' or deleting to imply 'I'm unhappy with Henry' or using distortion as 'I'm unhappy about my divorce' .
Related terms: NLP
Metaphor Therapy
Metaphor Therapy
A therapy technique that encourages the client to become aware of how they represent their problems. The representation is called a metaphor, usually a visual image, but can be a kinaesthetic response felt in their body. The theory of metaphor therapy is that every feeling has a one-to-one correspondence with an associated metaphor, and that by guiding the client to change that metaphor, they are able to change the problem, and thus eliminate the problem.
Related terms: focusing
Milton Model
The Milton Model has been defined as 'the artful use of vague language'. The Milton model uses 'meaningful' but imprecise words in stories and metaphors that force the listener to search their internal resources to create a meaning. A typical Milton model statement might be 'The pattern of your life is subtly changing and a long standing problem is being quietly resolved'. The listener is left to find their own meaning for the words 'pattern' and 'problem' as well as following the suggestions about 'changing' and 'being resolved'.
Related terms: Erickson, NLP
Using Hypnotic Words
The goal of transcendental meditation is for the meditator to seek to transcend themselves, to 'lose' their 'self', to lose their awareness of identity and just 'be'. Mindfulness is almost the opposite, an attempt to become totally aware of what is happening right now, to acknowledge and feel every sensation as it appears. Mindfulness can be applied to everything you do. For example when eating, you can focus on the feel of the food in your mouth, the texture, the movement of your muscles, notice each flavor as it develops, become mindful of the totality of the eating experience.
Related terms:
Minimal Cues
These are unconsciously produced physical and audible indicators of the client's inner state. Minimal cues can include the expression on their face, changes in their breathing pattern, movements of the arms and legs, touching parts of their body, changes in voice tone, hesitations, sighs, looking away and many more. Each is a clue to what is going on in the client's unconscious mind.
Related terms: Body Language


Negative Hallucination
The effect of not being able to experience something that is actually there, usually induced by hypnotic suggestion. For example in the Elman induction it is suggested that the client will not be able to recall the next number in a series.
Related terms:
A style of hypnotherapy which accepts and uses the principles associated with the American hypnotist Milton Erickson. These principles include assuming that the client already has all the resources they need, utilizing whatever behavior the client brings and using a very permissive form of wording.
Related terms:
Nominalisation is the technique of creating a noun (a thing) from a verb (an action). For example the verb 'to restrict' can be nominalised into the noun 'restriction'. The word restriction is then treated as if it is a 'thing' and not a process. Divorcing is what happens when a marriage is in the stage of ending. It is a continuing, flexible interaction capable of many outcomes. But talking about the nominalised form, 'a divorce', turns it into a static, unalterable fact. By using the nominalisation the thing is treated as if it is over and done with, when in fact the process may still be going on. Nouns ending in '-ship', '-ment', '-ion' or '-ings' are often nominalisations, for example 'relationship', 'annulment', 'learnings', 'decision'. By treating the word as a noun, the fact that you are talking about a process is hidden. In therapy it is often helpful to point out to people that they are describing their problems as nominalisations, when in fact their problem is not static, is actually a process, and is something they can change.
Related terms: Meta Model
Nominalisations in suggestions
Non Sequitur
A non sequitur is a way of speaking where the speaker says one thing and then follows it immediately with some other statement which does not logically fit, but because of the way the sentence is constructed is accepted as logical by the listener. eg. 'That's a really nice dress, we should go out sometime'. (Latin: 'does not follow')
Related terms:
Non Sequitur
Non Verbal
A non verbal communication refers to things the client does (or you do) that indicates a inner state or feeling. Usually the client is unaware that they are signalling non-verbally. The common indicators are bouncing or swinging the feet when something is mentioned that causes an emotional reaction in the client, sudden movements of the hand or feet during trance when something is suggested that the client is not comfortable with, rapid blinking when talking about painful personal matters. Other indicators include: looking away, nervous scratching, shifting body position, standing up unexpectedly, blushing, sweating, twirling hair, nervous laughs, intense inspection of fingers, removing glasses, lighting a cigarette, and many more.
Related terms: Ideomotor
NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming
A loose collection of techniques for mental therapy based on a linguistic model developed by Bandler and Grinder in the 1970s. It became mired in lawsuits as to ownership of the intellectual property, and very little development has happened since then.
Related terms: Meta Model


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. An anxiety disorder involving repetitive actions such as washing hands over and over, constantly rechecking the door is locked, cleaning excessively, hoarding useless things, worrying what others think of you.
Related terms: Anxiety
Operant conditioning
Is the use of rewards or punishment to cause changes in behavior.
Related terms: Conditioned Reflex, Pavlov
Overt Hypnosis
This is 'normal' hypnosis, as opposed to covert hypnosis. In covert hypnosis, you are trying to hypnotize someone without them being aware of it. In overt hypnosis the person has agreed to be hypnotized before you start.
Related terms: hypnosis



Pacing is the technique of matching your words or actions to something the other person is doing. Verbal pacing is where you match the speech mannerisms of the client, physical pacing is where you match your movements to whatever movements the client makes, sitting up when they do, leaning back when they do, etc. The Pacing technique is used in therapy to comment on whatever the client is doing as proof that whatever you have predicted will happen is happening.
Related terms: Leading
Parts Therapy
A theory of therapy based on the concept that the mind consists of independent parts, each of which exhibits a cluster of behaviors, attitudes and beliefs. The theory holds that parts can be in conflict with each other, and that mental health depends on all the various parts becoming integrated. The therapy starts by asking the client to become aware of the part that controls that behavior. The therapist then encourages the client to communicate with the part, to find out what it wants and ultimately to get the part to agree to change its behavior.
Related terms: Multiple Personalities, Tebbits.
Past Lives
Past life regression lets people explore the possibility that they lived one or more lives before this current life. Many people believe that reincarnation is possible and that souls can migrate from one body to a new one after death. Other people think the whole idea is nonsense. Whether you believe in past lives or not there is indisputable evidence that under hypnosis some people spontaneously report going back in time and reliving episodes from past lives. The whole subject is split by claims and counter claims. For every piece of evidence that past lives are real there is contradicting evidence that it is due to imagination, fraud and wishful thinking. For every skeptic's argument there is a believer's counter argument. Whatever the truth of the matter there is no doubt that hypnosis is effective in generating the phenomenon and is easy to do.
Related terms:
Post Hypnotic Suggestion
A suggestion that some external trigger will cause a particular behavior after the end of the formal trance session. Typically a stage hypnotist will tell the volunteers that after they return to their seats every time they hear a particular tune they will get up and start dancing. In therapy, a hypnotist may suggest that every time a smoker thinks of a cigarette their mouth will fill with a disgusting taste.
Related terms:
These are a form of words that imply some event or state is already happening.
Related terms:
Primary Gain
Some illnesses are seen as not socially acceptable. So a person suffering from social anxiety might prefer to develop headaches and use that to explain why they have to withdraw from things. As long as treatment focusses on the headache the client does not have to admit to the shame of having an irrational fear of new people. The gain is using a physical symptom to mask a psychological issue.
Related terms: Secondary Gain, Tertiary Gain, Somatisation
Psychoanalytic Model
This is a theory of the unconscious mind developed by Freud. The theory says the mind consists of the id, ego, and superego. These parts can be in conflict, which leads to the concept of Defence Mechanisms, unconscious processes that protect the ego from the primitive urges of the id and the self indulgent desires of the superego. The other part of the theory covers the psychosexual stages of human development. The theory states that every child goes through stages of oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital fixation, and each is associated with particular clusters of behavior. In this view all adult behavior problems can be traced to anxiety caused by conflicts in the unconscious, and the emergence of ego defence mechanisms. Most of this theory remains controversial.
Related terms: Unconscious, HypnoAnalysis , Freud , Parts Therapy



This refers to the comfortable and non-judgemental feeling that should exist between client and therapist. A therapist who empathises with the client's problems and a client who feels understood by the therapist are said to be in rapport.
Related terms: Empathy, Resistance
For the purpose of hypnotherapy, memory and recall can be classified into three types. Hypermnesia is where a memory is recalled clearly, but there is no emotion attached to it. Revivification is where an incident is recalled and there is an associated emotion. The same memory always brings up the same emotion. Regression is where the person remembers clearly, feels an emotion, but also feels that they are back in that moment, seeing it as it happens. They are immersed in hearing, seeing, feeling the incident as if it is happening right now.
Related terms: Hypermnesia;Revivification;Regression;
 Reframing metaphors
Reconnection is a therapy technique that works by associating past successes to the present problem. Everyone has had success at many things in their past. These have created a part of your mind that knows about success, how it feels, how it looks, when to have it. In the same way you have a part of your mind that knows about 'flying'. It comes from experiences of airports, flights, actually journeys, but it is about the concept of flying, not the memory of one specific flight. When people have a problem, by definition, they know they do not know how to fix it. Or in other words they have no association between success and their problem. Reconnection works by bringing the problem situation to mind, and then also bringing to mind the representation that person has of 'success'. Then the two things are linked together, and the problem changes from being something impossible to something that can be fixed.
Related terms:
Referential Index
Lack of Referential Index is a technique of being not specific as to who is doing some action or when or where it is being done. It relies on the listener to fill in the missing information. 'The window was broken' lacks a referential index for 'who' or 'how'. 'The window was damaged' is non-specific as to what the damage might be. The listener thinks of many types of possible 'damage' and searches their experience to supply a specific form of damage that seems most likely.
Related terms: Milton Model
Reframing is the process of replacing the meaning given by the client to some personal experience by inviting them to consider whether it might actually have some different meaning. In reframing experience, the client is not given any new facts. Instead they are invited to try to see things from a different point of view.
Related terms:
 Reframing metaphors
Regression refers to the hypnosis procedure where a client is encouraged to recall a memory from the subconscious mind that represents or captures current behavior or emotion. Typically the client is asked to recall events from childhood which have a bearing on current issues. The hypnotist then alters the memory dynamically until the emotion changes.
Related terms: Affect Bridge,  Past Lives
Example: Stop Smoking Script
Most hypnotists induce trance by suggesting relaxation, but relaxation is not necessary for trance. It is merely the most convenient way of inducing trance. Hypnotic relaxation itself does almost nothing towards helping clients with their problems, being relaxed does not actually solve anything. The therapeutic effects come from the suggestions and action metaphors used during the relaxation.
Related terms:
Relaxation Island Metaphor

Relaxation Induction Script

Reorientation is the process of bringing the client out of trance. There are many ways to do it, and many ways of doing it wrong. The standard method of telling the client that they will feel wonderful when they open their eyes is generally a bad idea. The majority of people coming out of trance are filled with the wonder of the experience, and what they want is a few moments of quiet to enjoy that feeling. The human body cannot instantly flip from profound relaxation to hyperactivity so the best way to end the trance is to allow the client some quiet time to absorb what has been suggested during the session, and to awaken when they are ready.
Related terms:
Resistance is the term bad therapists use to blame the client for their own inability to get the result the client wants. Often used to explain a failure to get the client to go into to trance, or to excuse the therapist's inability to help the client change their behavior.
Related terms:
Ericksonian therapists believe that the client already has all the resources they need to overcome whatever their current problem is. All the client needs is some help in identifying and applying these resources. The implication is that it is not the therapist's job to teach the client anything, only to work with what the client already has.
Related terms:
Reversed Effect
The Law of Reversed Effect states that the more you consciously try to achieve something that conflicts with your unconscious desires the less likely it is you will succeed.
Related terms: Émile Coué
Law of Reversed Effect
Revivification is a type of memory recall. The memory, the incident, is recalled clearly. But every time it is brought to mind, a linked emotion is felt.
Related terms: Recall
The habit of going over and over things that happened in the past. Usually these are negative events that you cannot do anything about. But you cannot stop them coming back into your mind and making you feel bad. People who ruminate are not focusing on negative things twenty four hours day, but have a habit of allowing themselves to dwell on the negative much more than others. Often people who ruminate are not aware that they are doing so, and tend to dismiss the idea that they do it. This habit is closely associated with depression.
Related terms: depression


Some hypnotists, particularly in erotic or recreational hypnosis, attempt to implant a suggestion that the hypnotized person will in future be unable to be hypnotized by any other hypnotist. This is called a seal.
Related terms:
Secondary Gain
Secondary gain can interfere with the success of therapy. Secondary gain is seen when a person keeps on with a behaviour that harms them because they get some hidden benefit from it. For example someone with a fear of dogs might deliberately fail in treatment because the phobia gives them a perfect excuse to not have to visit relatives who own a dog. If the fear of dogs was removed then the person might instead develop a treatment resistant allergy to hairs so they keep their secondary gain and still don't have to visit people they don't like.
Related terms: Primary Gain, Tertiary Gain
Somatization occurs when a person suffering from a psychological problem creates a physical problem to explain their feelings or behaviours. To them, the physical problem is more socially acceptable than having the stigma of a mental issue, to they focus all the attention on treating the physical problem. In this way people give themselves headaches, bad backs, digestive disorders and many more. The physical symptoms are real, but not the primary issue.
Related terms: Primary Gain, Secondary Gain
The name given to the 'deep' state of hypnosis.
Related terms: Depth
 Stealth Inductions
This term is used by web sites trying to sell the idea that you can secretly hypnotize people, particularly women, so that you can make them do anything you want. What they are actually selling is scripts for standard conversational induction. Unfortunately for their gullible clients, you cannot hypnotize anyone to do anything that crosses their personal boundaries. Otherwise hypnotists could just get the bank to hand over money and forget about it. Sadly, this doesn't work.
Related terms:
 Conversational Induction
The subconscious is a psychological concept, a useful shorthand for something that does not actually exist. It is a 'reification fallacy', a way of treating an abstract idea (the cognitive processes which go on without conscious awareness) as if it was a real thing. (see Nominalisation)
The classical (and largely discredited) Freudian model of the mind theorized the 'unconscious' or 'subconscious' as a reservoir of repressed sexual and aggressive thoughts. This is not what modern hypnotists mean when they
refer to the 'unconscious' or 'subconscious'. Most hypnotists today think of the subconscious as simply meaning 'all that part of the mind outside of normal waking awareness'.
It is commonly referred to in inductions, by suggesting that the 'subconscious' part of the mind can stay awake, while the 'conscious' mind 'sleeps'.
Related terms:
It used to be believed that different people had different levels of susceptibility to hypnosis. It is now accepted that everyone can be hypnotized, all that is required is to find the right induction method. What are known as susceptibility tests are actually suggestibility tests, and should more accurately be called suggestibility effects, rather than tests.
Related terms:
 Susceptibility Tests
Any form of words or actions intended to cause another person to react in a particular way. In hypnosis suggestions are actually two-stage events. The first stage is to use words that cause the person to recall some image or feeling. The second stage occurs when the person then automatically acts out their internal behaviour patterns linked to that image or feeling.
Related terms: Command
  - see Hypnotic Suggestion
 Systematic Desensitization
A technique for treating anxieties and phobias. The person is gradually exposed to the thing they fear, for example starting with telling them that a picture of it is in a box in the next room, then showing them a picture, then getting them to hold the picture, and gradually increasing their exposure to the fear until they get used to it, and it no longer triggers the panic they used to feel.
Related terms: Flooding


Tertiary Gain
Tertiary gain is seen where allowing a client to continue with a negative behaviour actually benefits other people. For example a child who is diagnosed with a behaviour disorder might get a secondary gain from getting time off school to go to the therapist, get extra attention and maybe bribes to behave better. But the family might be getting a tertiary gain from using the excuse of an untreatable disorder to deflect attention away from their poor parenting skills so they don't have to change, and the therapist gets a tertiary gain by getting extra income for as long as the therapy is ineffectual.
Related terms: Primary Gain, Secondary Gain
Threshold Effect
If you see a man every day and he is gradually losing his hair, the realization that he is nearly bald comes as a surprise one day. On the other hand, if the same man walks in and has shaved his head completely bald, you would notice immediately. You do not notice a change until it exceeds some sort of threshold.
Related terms:
Time Distortion
Refers to the common experience of underestimating the amount of time that has passed while in trance. It is often spontaneously reported when clients come out of trance. Self hypnosis allows this effect to be used to 'tune out'. For example deliberately going into trance during a long journey can make the journey seem shorter.
Related terms: Amnesia
Trance Effects
Time Line Therapy
Time line therapy is a metaphor based therapy developed by Dilts. The client is asked to imagine that a line on the floor represents their life, with the past on the left, and the future stretching off to the right. The client is asked to step onto the line right in front of them which represents where they are now. The client can then walk back to a point to the left and associate into the time represented by that segment of the line. It may have been a time when they were unhappy or had some problem. The client can then be asked to step off the line at that position so as to dissociate from that unresourceful state, and to experience the state and themselves from a different perspective.
Related terms: Association
Trance Effects
A dream like state in which the person is dissociated from their immediate surroundings. Trance is a everyday occurrence for most people and includes daydreaming, night dreams, reliving memories, imagined events and many other common forms of forgetting your environment. In trance you are not asleep, nor necessarily unaware of what you are doing. Many people go into trance when driving and operate on 'automatic pilot' while their mind dissociates from what they are doing. The same happens when playing computer games or reading an absorbing book.
Related terms: Flow
Trance Effects
These are things that are experienced while in trance or as the result of having been in trance. They include
Time Distortion - Losing track of how much time has passed
Spontaneous Amnesia - Forgetting about things said or done while in trance
Anaesthesia - Loss of sensitivity to pain
Suggestibility - being more willing to accept suggestions
Hallucination - seeing things that are not there, or not seeing things that are there
Post Hypnotic effects - acting on suggestions spontaneously at a later time
These effects can be used by the hypnotist to create or enhance therapeutic changes.
Related terms:
Transcendental Meditation
The goal of transcendental meditation is for the meditator to seek to transcend themselves, to 'lose' their 'self', to lose their awareness of identity and just 'be'. The term usually refers to a branded methodology for achieving trance. In fact it is indistinguishable from other meditation procedures, and produces exactly the same state of trance as every other method. There are no 'better' methods of meditation, merely that some styles suit some people better than others.
Related terms: Mindfulness, Self Hypnosis
Meditation Techniques
Transderivational Search
Transderivational Search is a theory based on Chomsky's model of language about how people generate meaning from words or from experiences such as ceremonies and rituals. The theory is that everyone is born with the ability to extract and store in our minds the (essence/ pattern/ structure/ framework) of what is being described or viewed by creating metaphors for our experiences. All our experiences are held in the mind in such structures. When something is said to you, you first derive the deep structure, the underlying framework, from the surface structure (the form of words as delivered). This process is called a derivation. You then take this first derivation and compare that with other previously stored structures of meaning. If you do find a well fitting structure that is exactly the same as the one you have just created then you can be said to have understood what was said to you. If you do not immediately find a well fitting structure then you automatically start comparing your newly created structure, with every other internal structure you have. This process of searching for a better fitting internal structure is called called the transderivation. When the mind finds a better fitting structure the listener can be said to have understood what has been said. If there are no matching structures the person has not understood what was said, but does have a new structure that can be used to understand a future instance of similar forms of words.

The whole process is that the listener or observer extracts the overall surface structure of what is heard or seen, uses that as a template to create an initial deep structure from which to get the sense of the surface wording, and finally translates that to another deep structure in order to find personal meaning. It is this transderivational search for personal meaning that explains the effect of metaphor therapy.
Related terms: Meta Model
A trigger is any external event that causes an internal reaction. Triggers can be deliberate or unplanned. A deliberate trigger is something used by the therapist to anchor a particular state or reaction. For example clients are often told to make a circle of their index finger and thumb when in a state of relaxation. Later, making that circle again will recreate the feeling of relaxation. An unplanned trigger is the result of an accidental linkage between and event and a reaction. For example a child might be frightened by a clown, and experience a deep inner fear at the time. Later in life anything that has aspects of the clown (frizzy hair, exaggerated smile, clashing make up, baggy pants etc.) might trigger a feeling of anxiety in certain situations that have some of those aspects. These might be so rare, so disconnected, that the person has no idea what is actually causing it.
Related terms: Stimulus, Conditioned response, anchoring


Unconscious mind
All that part of the mind that is not accessible in normal awareness. The term is used very loosely and interchangeably with 'subconscious'. Also sometimes known as 'other than conscious' or OTC.
Related terms: Subconscious
Ujjaiya breathing
A form of breathing that starts with expanding the abdomen, then using the diaphragm to raise the lower edge of the ribs, and finishes by raising the upper chest and ribs. As you breathe out you narrow your throat and restrict the flow of air. This causes a 'rushing' sound, which gives the technique its other name 'ocean breathing'.
Related terms: Meditation
Ocean Breathing


Visualization is a form of self hypnosis. We all use visualization techniques every day, whether we are aware of it or not. Visualization as therapy consists of combining a strong suggestion with a clear mental image. Our minds cannot tell the difference between what is real and something vividly imagined. Repeatedly imagining the same image and linking it with an emotional desire creates changes in subconscious and causes the mind to constantly seek and be alert to possible ways to achieve that desired image.
Related terms:


Waking Hypnosis
The name given to a type of therapy that uses hypnosis techniques but without using a formal hypnotic induction. The name is often loosely applied to NLP therapies in general but is usually associated with metaphor therapies, visualization and affirmations.
Related terms: Affirmations, Visualization


Yes set
The 'Yes Set' is a device used to get agreement from a listener. The speaker says one thing that the listener can agree with, then another, and another, and then slips in something not connected. The listener automatically says 'yes' to whatever follows the 'yes set'. Hypnotists use this to get the client to agree to start relaxing into trance.
Related terms:
The Yips is the name in golf when a golfer 'chokes' before making a shot. Most commonly yips start when the golfer reaches the putting green, and the golfer finds that they just cannot make a decent shot, and makes a mess of whatever they try to do. The yips are a form of phobia and are treated by phobia clearing methods.
Related terms: Sports Phobia


The Zone is a term used to describe a mental state where the person is fully, completely focussed on what they are doing, and can ignore all distractions.
Related terms: Flow
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