The Set Up

This morning I posted on NLP Connections a little something about how I set up a hypnosis session, and t occurred to me that it would be useful to put it up here on the blog.

First things first, there are a number of frames that you can put around hypnosis (magic, energy, trance etc.) that do not require you to ever mention hypnosis by name.  Right here I am talking about doing hypnosis under the banner of hypnosis.

When doing overt hypnosis, I like to set it up so that the subject really wants it to happen.  For this reason I will often (but not always) begin by seeding the idea of hypnosis without suggesting that I especially intend to do any. The reason I do this is because I ideally want the prospective subject’s curiosity to start driving the interaction – I want it to be about them wanting it from me rather than me wanting to do it to them.

Now this will often work to get them asking questions about hypnosis, which you can answer in the most helpful way possible! I tend to explain that hypnosis is about the power of the inner mind, and that people have within them all kinds of wonderful capabilities that they are unaware of, and that hypnosis is about bringing those capabilities out!

So during this phase I am starting to ‘sell’ hypnosis to the subject – albeit a soft sell.

And at some point they may well ask to be hypnotised, in which case you are almost ready to go. If they do ask, I will usually say:

“Sure, we can do a little something right now, just to give you a sense…”

and I’ll often add:

“it’s not really hypnosis but it will give you a sense as to how hypnosis works”

This is a killer line, because it takes of all the pressure of “being hypnotised” (whatever you say about hypnosis, people will still carry their preconceptions to some degree), while presupposing that hypnosis works and what you are about to do will show you how it works (and therefor, by presupposition works also). Trust me, this line is awesome!

Then I ask:

“Would you say that you are an imaginative person?”

A “yes” is ideal here! “Sometimes” will work – I’ll say, “sometimes… “sometimes is good! Are you happy to use your imagination right now?”

I want a clear an emphatic ‘yes’ right now! I am looking for what I call ‘buy in’, so I want an emphatic yes. If I don’t get one I will investigate that and be creative in engineering it. If I don’t get it, I may well not proceed (depends on how reckless I am feeling). Or I may well ask “would you like to be?” It depends on what I feel they were communicating with their “no” (it could be self doubt about their capability, or it could be reluctance to partake in the process – you need to use your intuition here!).

Next I will ask:

“How about concentration? Can you concentrate?” 

Whatever the answer I will follow up with the most appropriate variation on:

“I need you to be able to concentrate right now, can you do that?”

Again, I am looking for that emphatic “yes” to indicate ‘buy-in’.

From here I issue a few procedural instructions to monitor compliance (such a dirty word) and segway straight into my opener (which could be the hand stick, or something else).

Just to be clear, this is one way I might do it. None of these steps are essential by any means, and nothing has to be worded as I word it. What I am  always looking to generate/stimulate, however I go about it is:

1. The subjects curiosity about it.
2. The subjects desire to experience it.
3. The subjects ‘buy-in’ to doing the actual process right now.

I don’t like classic ‘pre-talks’ because they so often seem to be about selling hypnosis to the subject for the benefit of the hypnotitst. A friend of my recently described my approach as being much more like seduction than persuasion!


And if you don’t have the report yet, please visit to get your FREE copy.

About The Author

James Tripp

Hypnotist and Transformative Facilitator. Creator of Hypnosis Without Trance.


  • JP Morgan

    November 4, 2009

    Very nice James, especially the three points at the end on persuading into hypnosis. I have found that acknowledging their curiosity or whatever other motive can also set you up for using it in the loops. “as that begins to feel strange stuck there now…you may find that interesting and your curiosity that led you here starting to grow even heavier and heavier as it travels down your arm and into your hand more and more…feeling stranger and stranger.”

  • shy

    November 18, 2009

    Please, can you write reports on all of your viedos?

  • Drug rehab

    October 25, 2010

    This is such a deep blog! What can I say, youve hit the nail right on the head! You even added some videos to make it seem so much more real. Youve got a great way of communicating with the reader, a great way of making me feel like what you have to say is just as important to me as it is to you. Keep it up!

  • Luis Zevallos

    January 8, 2011

    I share the philosophy about put away the pre-talk and “sell” hypnosis more like a seduction, that implies that you talk about more for the people than for the hypno-ego of the hypnotist
    Say things like “In hypnosis I can change your life..” isnt in the compelling level that “hypnosis is about the powers of your inner mind and what can YOU DO for YOURSELF”. This types of lines not only put the results in the hands of the client but incentivate the expectative, the imagination and the purpose to experience hypnosis.

    Hope your note influence in the style of other hypnotist, amigo.

    Luis Zevallos-Quiñones
    Mentalist , Hypnotist and Publicist

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