Traditional hypnosis would involve a pendulum or pocket watch and would take most of the day to put a subject into an altered state. Milton H Erickson introduced the world to light hypnosis with only the power of the spoken word within a few minutes. From a stage hypnosis background, Dave Elman introduced rapid hypnotic induction.

However, the stage hypnosis world also brought the perception that all hypnosis is about making them cluck like chickens. While clucking like chickens is useful in stage hypnosis it is useless for clinical hypnosis.

For clinical hypnosis, structure is the key. The steps involved in hypnosis are listed below:


A pre-talk is important to set the client’s mind at ease. A summary is as follows:

  1. Don’t expect to feel hypnotised
  2. Do expect to feel relaxed
  3. You ARE in control
  4. Trance is about learning how to go into trance

Suggestibility exercises

(also called pre-induction ideomotor exercises)

Note that these are not tests where someone could pass or fail, they are exercises to observe the client.

The suggestibility exercises act as a guide as to whether to use an authoritative relaxation script or whether a speed technique would be more suited.


The induction phase is the part of the process that induces the client into an altered state. This is the first step, as any further steps become deepeners.


A number of different techniques can be used to deepen the state of a hypnotic client.  The Ramey/Sichort scale is ideal for finding out what state is best for your client.


Once you have deepened the state of hypnosis to the depth you require, give them their suggestions either in the form of a hypnotherapy script or as a post hypnotic suggestion. Some states, such as the Esdaile state, such suggestions are ignored.

Count Out

At this point, you want to count your client out of trance, for example: “3, 2, 1 eyes open, wide awake”

Its worth noting that the count out may take a lot longer for the subject to react in the Esdaile or Sichort states due to the fact that the mind is dissociated from the body.


Refer to the hypnosis glossary for terms used in hypnosis.


Refer to the hypnosis techniques for the various techniques used to induce the hypnotic state.