Are rapid inductions just for street hypnosis and stage hypnosis? Definitely not. There are many benefits for the hypnotherapist in having a range of rapid inductions in their ‘toolbox’. This blog will explore how rapid inductions can contribute to the hypnotherapy session, as well as their use by a hypnotherapist in healthcare settings and in demonstrations and presentations.
Types of rapid inductions
There are four key types of rapid induction that a hypnotherapist may choose to use in therapy settings. They are shock, pattern-interrupt, confusion/ overload and rapid-progressive. Each offers different benefits for their use in therapy.
Shock inductions tend to incorporate a ‘shock’, unsurprisingly. A popular example of this might the 8-word/hand drop induction, or the magnetic hands induction. At some point a physical shock, accompanied by a command such as a “sleep” is given. Whilst you might not use these in a therapy session with a frail or elderly client, they do have their place. Firstly, they can be good at meeting some client’s expectations. Rather than say to a new client that their expectation of going into hypnosis quickly (and perhaps dramatically) is wrong, it can be better for rapport and a successful outcome of therapy to meet their expectations (appropriately). Secondly, as with all rapid inductions, shock inductions are really efficient in terms of time. They save valuable therapy session time, giving you more time for the key parts of the therapy process itself. Thirdly, they are dramatic, so can impress a client. However, as shock inductions are physical, do remember to check for any contra-indications or physical issues before using them with each client. In addition, as you are likely going to be touching your client (appropriately!) remember to mention this in your client briefing, as to tell them this just before the shock would likely spoil the shock.
Pattern-interrupt inductions, such as the handshake induction, require appropriate timing. The idea is that they interrupt an expected pattern of response, such as going to shake a hand and then giving their arm a brief tug with the command “sleep”. Now, you are unlikely to go straight into a handshake induction as the client walks into the room (the obvious time for shaking hands). However, with a little planning, you can easily build them in to the session. For example, if you are conducting a smoking cessation session you can ask for a handshake from the client as a commitment that they are ready to become a non smoker, to ‘seal the deal’ and use this opportunity to induce hypnosis with a handshake induction. If you are a little cautious in using such a rapid induction with a new client, you could do some preliminary hypnosis work, then get them to open their eyes, carry on talking about smoking cessation and then use the handshake induction as a re-induction.
Confusion and overload rapid inductions are superb for use with analytical and logical clients, especially those for whom you feel won’t be fully mentally occupied with either a simple rapid (such as magnetic hands), or a more permissive progressive induction. An easy way to create a confusion or overload is to ask the client to do/think several things at once. An example of this is with the praying mantis induction, having them look up at a light, with their hands elevated in a strange position, whilst you tap them randomly on their back and they spell their full name backwards out loud, quickly. To make it even more complex you could ask them to rotate their left foot clockwise and their right hand counter-clockwise. Once the client looks/sounds ‘overloaded’, simply tell them to “sleep”.
Shock, pattern-interrupt and confusion/overload inductions often have a physical element, which may make them unsuitable for some clients. However, many popular progressive inductions can be made more rapid (rapid progressive). For example, with a standard progressive muscular relaxation induction, relaxing every part of the body from the feet to the head, you might spend 10 – 20 minutes doing this thoroughly, whilst perhaps using a range of indirect suggestions. Instead you could give simple direct suggestions to relax the feet, ankles, calves, knees as so forth, reducing the induction time to a couple of minutes. You could even shorten it further, suggesting “relax your body from your waist to your feet, and now relax your body from your waist to your head”. In the same way, you could make an eye fixation induction more rapid by increasing the physical strain on the eyes (e.g. keeping the head level and looking right up at a bright light) and giving direct suggestions for eye tiredness and heaviness.
How to practice rapid inductions
For hypnotherapists more accustomed to progressive inductions and having found these successful, they may be concerned about using something new and quick with their clients without having had an opportunity to practice thoroughly. There are several ways that rapid inductions can be practiced. Firstly, you may already have some friends with whom you have already practiced other inductions or techniques. The advantage of this is that they will be used to giving you feedback from a ‘client’ perspective and you will be comfortable working with them.
If friends are not available, you might be part of a peer support group. If so, then it can be great to practice with your peers. Again, there will be familiarity and an added benefit is that feedback can be given from a professional perspective. Not only can they tell you how it was to receive the induction as a client might, but they can consider the induction from a practical hypnotherapy viewpoint. They may be able to offer constructive guidance that will strengthen or enhance your technique.
Another great way to practice rapid inductions is to join a live rapid induction training course. Rory offers a number of these throughout the year in the UK, and they are a great opportunity to practice with a whole bunch of different people from various backgrounds (not just hypnotherapists).
At some point you will want to start using your rapid inductions with clients. If you are not yet ready to use them as a first induction, you can use them as a re-induction. You would simply use your regular, perhaps progressive or eye fixation induction, and then ask the client to open their eyes when they’re already in hypnosis, and use a rapid induction on them (effectively as a ‘deepener’). This is a great way of building your skill and confidence in using rapid inductions, whilst reducing worry about the efficacy of your skill at using these new induction methods. Then, when you are ready, you can use rapid inductions at the start of your therapy session. Again, if you prefer, you can use your tried and tested approach on a first session and a rapid on a second or later session until you have developed your skill and confidence to a point where you can use it any time and anywhere.
Using rapid inductions for demonstrations and presentations
Imagine the scene. You are giving a talk to your local ‘small business network’ on how hypnotherapy can help in better managing stress. You want to demonstrate a hypnosis technique and are thinking about which induction you will use. If you pick a slow and steady progressive induction, that 10 – 20 minutes going into hypnosis may seem to be ‘good value’ for the recipient, although it may have the opposite effect, as they can start to feel exposed or vulnerable, especially in front of an audience. Also, you will find the audience very soon get bored and start fidgeting/talking. The volunteer will pick up on this and it can detract from your work. In contrast, a rapid induction will help the volunteer settle into hypnosis quicker, and will certainly keep the attention of the audience, giving you that ‘wow’ factor. In addition, it will save valuable presentation/demonstration time for the key focus of your session, which again will keep everybody engaged.
You may have an opportunity to provide hypnotherapy in medical and healthcare settings, where their time-saving benefits may be particularly useful, as you might not have your standard 60 – 90 minutes with a patient. Furthermore, as well as optimising time, rapid inductions are particularly helpful in noisy and busy settings, such as cutting through the inevitable distractions of a hospital ward or dental surgery. As well as the time benefits, rapid inductions are very helpful when you are engaged in acute pain management work, cutting through the ‘symptom trance’ and replacing it with a therapeutic one. They can also be of great use when having multiple short hypnosis elements within an overall session, such as with sport hypnosis.
When things don’t go as expected
With rapid inductions, you can sometimes get interesting responses from your clients, that you may not be used to with your regular induction processes. For example, many rapid inductions are physical in nature, and this can lead to a quicker physical relaxation in the client, leading to them potentially slumping or leaning quickly in direct response to the induction. For example, with the shock version of magnetic hands, as you send their hands down to their lap, they may come forwards, slumping their head down. Knowing this in advance means that you can prepare for it, should it happen. Firstly, check your therapy chair and whether it will support someone comfortably if they slump, or whether they’d end up slumping onto an uncomfortable metal or wooden chair arm. Also, is your chair suitably sturdy and supportive? In addition, as you perform your rapid induction, have one hand ready to ‘catch’ them on their shoulder – in case they fall forward very quickly, as you don’t want them falling out of the chair – then giving them a suggestion to, “sit back in the chair and become even more comfortable”. Rather than pushing them upright, it’s much easier to use suggestion and encourage them to move and sit back in the chair for themselves.
As many rapid inductions have an element of shock or rapid eye closure, there can be a startle effect where the client immediately re-opens their eyes. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ‘not hypnotised’ or that the induction didn’t work, it just means the shock did work! Simply pass a hand down in front of their eyes with the command “close your eyes” or “sleep”. Repeat this if necessary until they do so. Also, some clients find rapid inductions fun, amusing, or get a sudden release of endorphins and this can result in giggling or laughter. Again, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t worked, you can simply build this response in to your suggestions, such as “allowing that laughter to take you even deeper now”. Eventually, the laughter will subside as the client goes deeper into hypnosis.
Rapid induction training resources
You will know how you best learn. Whether that is attending a rapid induction class to see live demonstrations, ask real-time questions and get hands-on practice and feedback, or reading a rapid inductions book in order to ‘script’ what it is you’re going to do before you practice, or maybe joining a rapid induction online course to watch how rapid inductions are performed in the comfort of your own home. It can be beneficial to use more than one route to your learning, so if you read a book, maybe also go to a class, the more you engage with learning and practicing rapid inductions in different ways, the stronger your skills will become. In addition, you can join online hypnosis forums (like our Hypnotic Learners Facebook group) and even post videos of your rapid inductions and get critique and comments from others in that group.
In whatever way you get your initial learning, the next step is practice. Here starts a cycle of development, from practice, to reflection on that practice, making changes to improve that your skills, through to practicing those changes and then back to reflecting on that new development to your work. This will help you to evolve and integrate these rapid inductions into your scope of confidence and competence. Having a range of rapid and progressive inductions will help you respond most flexibly to the needs of your clients, and this can lead to more successful therapy outcomes. We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog on rapid inductions in hypnotherapy, and if you have any more questions about this topic or anything else for that matter, do please get in touch, because we’re always happy to help!
– written by Dr Kate Beaven-Marks