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Mental Confusion Inductions


Mental Confusion Inductions: 
Hypnosis Inductions for Analytical Resisters

©2003, revised ©2010 and ©2011 by C. Roy Hunter, FAPHP, Hypnosis Trainer


How long has it been since you had an analytical resister in your office?

Virtually all experienced hypnotists occasionally hear a client say, “I didn’t feel hypnotized; I heard every word you said…” More often than not, these words come from the lips of an analytical resister.

If we accept the opportunity, the analytical resister can help us sharpen our skills in the art of hypnosis from start to finish. Regardless of the analytical client’s goal, our secondary goal should be to help him/her believe that trance was obtained…and that starts with how we explain and employ suggestibility tests.

Utilizing Suggestibility Tests

Words have impact subconsciously as well as consciously, even when a person is in a fully conscious state of awareness. Any experienced professional sales person knows this, as should every experienced hypnotherapist. If we tell a client that we are going to test their suggestibility, some clients will equate suggestibility with gullibility, and be less likely to respond. Others might have test anxiety, and be afraid of “failing” the test. My words are as follows:

“I’m going to give you an opportunity to discover the power of your imagination…”

First, some people fear giving up control…and the above wording eases that fear. Whose power is it? The client has the power, right inside the imagination. Through effective use of a suggestibility test, we can help the client find that power and understand the role it plays in our lives. We are artists, and our job is to say the right words.

There are numerous suggestibility tests to choose from, and we need to use as many as it takes to elicit a client response. The one I use the most is the arm levitation, with an imaginarybucket in one hand and imaginary helium balloons in the other one. Once the response becomes evident, I say:

“Hold your arms where they are, and open your eyes. Your arms did NOT move because I told them to, but because you imagined the bucket or the balloons. What this demonstrates is IMAGINATION is the LANGUAGE of the subconscious.”

With an analytical person, I often have to use two or three suggestibility tests to elicit a response; but this becomes very important later. Prior to hypnosis, I refer back to the “demonstration of imagination” and remind the client that he/she must imagine a peaceful place when asked to do so. Also, if I suggest imagining the benefits of being a nonsmoker but they imagine lighting up, what will the subconscious buy? This puts responsibility back on the client to participate in the process. Additionally, I remind the client that the mind can think faster than the spoken voice, so it is important to imagine the things I suggest.

When I know in advance that the client is analytical (or if a previous inducted failed to work), I employ a mental confusion induction.

Mental Confusion Induction

Any technique designed to confuse the conscious mind can induce the hypnotic state once the critical faculty is bypassed, or the moment of passivity occurs. This type of induction is called mental confusion. While the conscious mind is trying to find the logic in what is being said or done, suggestions are given to the subconscious mind to deepen the state of hypnosis.

Charles Tebbetts taught two examples of mental confusion.

The first involved instructing the client to close his/her eyes on even numbers and open them on odd numbers (or vice versa) as the hypnotist counts either forwards or backwards. As you start counting, watch for watering or redness in the whites of the eyes. When either of these begins, start pausing longer when the eyes are closed, and hastening when the eyes should be open. You may add words such as:

"It becomes easy to forget, difficult to remember, whether your eyes should be open or closed…and as you remember to forget, or forget to remember, open or closed, odd or even, you just find yourself going deeper into hypnosis...and you can double the hypnosis or triple the trance."

At the first sign of hesitation, start skipping some numbers. This helps create more mental confusion.

The other mental confusion technique that Charlie taught involved having the client count out loud backwards from 100, one number per breath. We may then suggest that the client simply "relax the numbers right out of your mind." The client's conscious mind gets occupied with saying the numbers verbally while the subconscious is simultaneously hearing hypnotic suggestions.

“As the numbers get smaller, they signal your subconscious or your inner mind to allow you to drift deeper in hypnosis, either gradually or quickly. Soon you can either forget to remember the next number, or remember to forget the one that followed before…or the one that came afterward. And any time you forget a number, or repeat a number, or skip a number, or say two numbers in the same breath, or take two breaths between numbers,  you DOUBLE the hypnosis or TRIPLE the trance…” etc.

Also, it's quite probable that the above technique evolved from a similar technique described by Dr. John Hughes as "John Hartland's Eye-Fixation with Distraction Induction" (pages 74-75 of Hypnosis: the Induction of Conviction), which incorporates eye‑fixation as well.

Once trance is achieved, it becomes important to utilize one or more suggestions that help validate the hypnotic state. Tebbetts called these suggestions “convincers.” The scientific community referred to them as challenge suggestions.

Employ a Convincer

If you hypnotize an analytical resister and fail to give at least one convincer, your chances are very high that the client will leave your office believing that hypnosis did not occur. Although I use one convincer on every client’s first session, I often employ two or three of them with the analytical client. There are many available. The one I use with almost everyone is eye catalepsy. I say:

“Remember that in your imagination you can do anything you wish. Just imagine the sensation of total drowsiness, as though your eyelids are so heavy, droopy, and drowsy, that they just want to relax. Imagine they are so relaxed that they are locking shut…and even if you try to open them, you find they just want to stay shut. Stop trying and go deeper.

Choose at least one more convincer with the analytical client. Also, I reserve a third one for use just before awakening: arm levitation. I ask the client to imagine one arm is getting lighter, as though it is floating or being held up by helium balloons…and the other arm is getting heavier, as though it is made out of lead. I continue with the imagery for two or three minutes. Then, IMMEDIATELY after the formal awakening, I say:

“Good stuff…isn’t it? What was easier to imagine: the light arm or the heavy arm?”

Notice the either/or choice. Even the most analytical of clients will almost always give me an answer. Regardless of whether it was light, heavy, or both, I continue…

“Was the difference between your two arms slight, moderate, or very noticeable?”

Regardless of which choice the client makes, I continue…

“In a deep state, there is a very noticeable difference, and the light arm might even feel as though it is floating up all by itself. In a medium state, there is a moderate difference between the two arms. In a light state of hypnosis, there is little or no difference…however, ANY difference of feeling is proof that you were in hypnosis!”

This often convinces the analytical client who might otherwise try to explain away the convincers that he/she responded to during trance. Note that any obvious response to a convincer during trance will often be concluded with a suggestion such as, “As you feel your arm floating up weightlessly (etc.), you go deeper, totally convinced that you are experiencing hypnosis!”

Time Distortion

With analytical clients, I like to use as many tools as possible to validate their trance journeys. I endeavor to keep them in hypnosis for at least 30 minutes and then give a time distortion suggestion just before awakening, either before or after the light/heavy arm:

“Now it doesn’t matter whether your trance time felt like only five or ten minutes, or more like 15 minutes…you can be pleasantly surprised upon awakening…”

On occasion time distortion suggestions have been effective with an analytical client who otherwise tried to explain away all other convincers. We may never know for sure which convincer will have the best effect with any one analytical client; so why not use them all?

You may find various induction techniques in my book, The Art of Hypnosis (Kendall/Hunt Publishing), available here at my website. This text also has a chapter devoted to convincers. Also I have a DVD on inductions as well as a DVD with convincers. Mention this article and receive a free CD with your order of any DVD.

Professional Recommendation

Sometimes hypnosis professionals tend to like a particular induction so much that they try to fit all their clients to it. While mental confusion inductions are great for analytical people, clients with short attention spans may find a mental confusion induction annoying. Employ a faster induction for anyone with a short attention span.

Good luck!

NOTE: The above article is based on information covered in Roy’s book, The Art of Hypnosis (3rd Ed., 2010, Crown House Publishing). The text contains more valuable information than what was covered in this article. Go to Roy's "Hypnosis Books" page to order your copy now!
Roy is available for mentoring and coaching. 

Last updated: December 30, 2012  
Originally Posted December 4, 2007

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