Menu Close

Hypnotic Glossary

Abreaction  -:-  An involuntary release of emotion, often related to a negative experience in the client’s past, which releases pent-up feelings and can provide relief from the earlier trauma.

Affect Bridge  -:-  A technique hypnotherapists use to access a previous instance of a patient’s problem by accentuating the disturbing feelings in the present. This allows their current adult resources to resolve the source of the problem.

Affirmations  -:-  Positive statements about how you want to think, feel and behave.

Age Progression  -:-  Also known as FUTURE PACING, involves suggesting the client imagines themselves in the future.

Age Regression  -:-  The hypnotherapist suggests the subject imagines a particular time or event of their past, regressing them to an earlier age.

Alpha Brainwaves  -:-  8 Hz to 12 Hz (cycles per second) This is the slow brainwave activity of hypnosis. It is also known as hypnoidal. Alpha is slower (deeper) than Beta, the awake state, and faster than Theta, which is a deeper hypnotic state. . Alpha brainwaves are dominant during quietly flowing thoughts, and in some meditative states. Alpha is ‘the power of now’, being here, in the present. Alpha is the resting state for the brain. Alpha waves aid overall mental coordination, calmness, alertness, mind/body integration and learning.

Amnesia  -:-  Forgetting events. Some people who have a talent for achieving deep states of trance may have spontaneous amnesia for the session. A hypnotherapist can give a post-hypnotic suggestion to forget what has been discussed during the hypnotherapy.

Anaesthesia  -:-  Absence of pain, either psychologically or physically.

Analgesia  -:-  Removal of all perception of pain.

Analysis  -:-  Turning out the illogicality of the subconscious.

Anchor  -:-  A specific stimulus such as a word, image or touch that through association evokes a particular mental, emotional, or physiological state.

Anxiety  -:-  Fear of most things that give rise to feelings of uneasiness and distress about future uncertainty; apprehension; worry.

Association  -:-  A process by which a subject comes to respond in a desired manner to a previously neutral stimulus. This is achieved by repeatedly presenting it along with a stimulus that elicits the desired response. This is also known as Pavlovian conditioning. In an experiment, Pavlov would ring a bell and feed dogs at the same time. After a short while, dogs associated food with the bell, so that they soon began salivating at the sound of the bell, even though no food was present.

Auto Dual  -:-  When a hypnotherapist gives suggestions in the first person, and the client repeats those suggestions, either out loud or internally.

Auto Dual Induction  -:-  An induction usually given to ‘Intellectual Suggestibles’, where the patient believes they are hypnotizing themselves. While feeling their own pulse, the patient repeats what the hypnotherapist is saying.

Auto Hypnosis  -:-  Hypnotising yourself. More commonly known as SELF-HYPNOSIS.

Auto Suggestion  -:-  Giving suggestions to yourself. This is also known as SELF-TALK. Although it does not involve a formal trance, these messages are absorbed by the unconscious mind. Always aim to give yourself positive self talk, and encourage you clients to do the same, for this reason.

Autogenic therapy  -:-  A form of relaxation and light self-hypnosis based on the repetition of six suggestion commands e.g.  ‘My legs and arms are heavy.’ followed by an appropriate positive affirmation to promote change.

Autonomic or Involuntary Nervous System  -:-  The nervous system that maintains vital functions of the body without the need for conscious thought, keeping the body in harmony.

Autosuggestion / Coueism  -:-  Concept similar to autogenic therapy where it is the person’s own imagination stimulated by the hypnosis.  A famous Coueism or positive affirmation, is the mantra, ‘ every day in every way IT is getting better and better.’ By using “IT” the unconscious mind will determine what IT is.

Aversion Therapy  -:-  Giving your client suggestions that focus on negative aspects of a habit. E.g. Feeling sick when smoking, or associating a bad taste when nail biting.

Behaviour  -:-  All that is done by an individual throughout his/her life.

Beta Waves  -:-   12 Hz to 38 Hz (cycles per second) Normal waking brain wave activity. Beta brainwaves are further divided into three bands; Lo-Beta (Beta1, 12-15Hz) can be thought of as a ‘fast idle’, or musing. Beta (Beta2, 15-22Hz) is high engagement or actively figuring something out. Hi-Beta (Beta3, 22-38Hz) is highly complex thought, integrating new experiences, high anxiety, or excitement. Continual high frequency processing is not a very efficient way to run the brain, as it takes a tremendous amount of energy.

Body Syndrome  -:-  A physical manifestation of an emotional trauma. An unreleased, repressed emotion can be expressed in physical discomfort.

Brainwaves -:- At the root of all our thoughts, emotions and behaviours is the communication between neurons within our brains. Brainwaves are produced by synchronised electrical pulses from masses of neurons communicating with each other. Brainwaves change according to what we’re doing and feeling. When slower brainwaves are dominant we can feel tired, slow, sluggish, or dreamy. The higher frequencies are dominant when we feel wired, or hyper-alert. For more detail see: Delta Brainwaves (.5 TO 4 HZ), Theta Brainwaves (4 TO 8 HZ), Alpha Brainwaves (8 TO 12 HZ), Beta Brainwaves (12 TO 38 HZ), Gamma Brainwaves (38 TO 42 HZ).

Breathing  -:-  Correct breathing is essential for good health; it also reduces levels of stress, as well as its signs and symptoms.  Slow and deep breathing influences the unconscious processes of the body and accompanies relaxation into the hypnotic state.

Cataleptic  -:-  A state in which the subject appears unconscious yet their muscles become rigid, and remain in whatever position they are placed. Hypnotists sometimes use this as a proof to a client that she is in hypnosis.

Clinical Hypnotherapy  -:-  the therapeutic use of hypnosis.

Compound Suggestions  -:-  A technique used for increasing the effectiveness of a suggestion through repetition or looping. E.g. “Your right foot is relaxed and as your right foot relaxes your calf is relaxed and as your foot and calf relaxes your leg muscles relax…”

Compounding  -:-  In the context of this hypnosis glossary, compounding refers to techniques that multiply the depth of a subject’s state.  This is typically done by bringing a subject out of trance with finger snapping and re-inducing them with the suggestion that “when you close your eyes again, you will go twice as deep as you are now.” Done several times in rapid succession, compounding will take a subject very deep in a very short period of time.

Compulsion  -:-  Irrational behaviour a person is compelled to do, in order to convince himself that a certain thing is true or has been done to his satisfaction.  Behaviour that prompts repetition of an act until satisfied it has been done.

Conscious  -:-  The logical, reasoning, decision making part of the mind. The conscious state is that which we use in our normal waking state. This part makes up less than 5% of total mind.

Convincers  -:-  “Convincers” are an important part of the hypnotic process because they answer the question many people have during hypnosis “Am I really in hypnosis?” With convincers such as eyelid catalepsy below, the subject is able to stop analyzing and relax in the knowing that they are in deeper state.  That confidence and deeper relaxation helps the hypnotherapist do their job Eyelid Catalepsy:  Eyelid catalepsy is often used as a “convincer” to help the subject realize he or she is hypnotized because they are unable to open their eyes.  This state is created by hypnotic suggestion with full cooperation of the subject.  For example a hypnotist might say to their subject:  “Let your eyelids be so relaxed that the muscles are for now, switched off.  Let your eyes be so relaxed that in a few moments when you try to open your eyelids , the harder you try, the more they relax and stay closed.  It is as if they are glued shut.”

Critical Factor  -:-  The divider and regulator between the conscious and unconscious minds. This works as a filter taking information from the conscious, deciding what information should be accepted and stored in the unconscious, and what should be forgotten and discarded. This is thought to take place during sleep, and may be the reason why we ‘sleep on’ a particular problem, and feel better about it in the morning.

Deepener  -:-  Suggestions which deepen the hypnotic state, often by counting down.

Deepener  -:-  A technique used to deepen the level of hypnotic trance. There are many techniques, such as going down stair cases, deep breathing etc.

Deepening Methods  -:-  Deepening methods are only limited by your imagination.  An experienced hypnotist will use what is naturally available in the environment to help their subject go deeper and get more relaxed.  Common deepening methods include the suggestion of going “deeper with each breath,” using environmental sounds (the hum of the air conditioner, a phone ringing, birds singing,) rotating the head, pumping or dropping an arm, confusion counting, counting backwards, fractional relaxation, music and imagery.  For actual examples of deepening and other techniques/ scripts beyond this hypnosis glossary, see our extensive list of methods in the navigation panel on the left side of the page.

Delta Waves  -:-  0.5 Hz to 4 Hz (cycles per second). The slowest and deepest brain wave activity. This happens during sleep, and the deepest levels of hypnosis.  Delta brainwaves are slow, loud brainwaves (low frequency and deeply penetrating, like a drum beat). They are generated in deepest meditation and dreamless sleep. Delta waves suspend external awareness and are the source of empathy. Healing and regeneration are stimulated in this state, and that is why deep restorative sleep is so essential to the healing process. 4 Hz to 8 Hz (cycles per second)

Direct Suggestion  -:-  Giving a direct suggestion to do something, as opposed to a covert suggestion.

Dissociation  -:-  A ‘splitting off’ of the self so as to protect the mind from something undesirable. A hypnotised client can then distance himself from an otherwise disturbing event. This is commonly achieved by suggesting that the client can see themselves in the third person:  often on a TV or cinema screen.

Double Bind  -:-  When a subject is given two alternative suggestions within a sentence, they will more

Ego  -:-  The part of you that decides how you will react to your environment and situations within your environment.

Ego Boost  -:-  A hypnosis session that aims to give general feelings of calmness and well being. Ideal first session for most therapies.

Endorphins  -:-  The bodies own pain-relieving chemicals, which are produced in the brain, inhibit the appreciation of pain and give a feeling of euphoria.  Stimulated by hypnosis, as well as sweet fatty foods, exercise and sex.  Makes you feel good!

Erickson, Dr.  Milton H  -:-  Acknowledged to have been the world’s leading practitioner of medical hypnotherapy.  His ‘strategic therapy’ used hypnotic techniques with or without actually inducing trance.

Ericksonian Hypnosis  -:-  A branch of hypnosis named after Milton Erickson.

Esdaile State  -:-  This is thought to be the deepest state of hypnosis currently known. It was named after James Esdaile. The state is said to be extremely peaceful and deeply relaxing.

Eye Accessing Cues  -:-  Studying the movements of the eyes which indicate visual, auditory or kinesthetic thinking when moving in certain directions.

Eye Fixation  -:-  An induction which involves staring at something, such as your hand or a swinging watch.

Forensic Hypnosis  -:-  Legal applications of hypnosis. Although hypnosis cannot be used for testimony, it is sometimes used by police to gather evidence by improving the recall of witnesses.

Fractionation  -:-  Bringing a client in and out of hypnosis during the session either as an induction or to deepen the level of hypnosis. This is often used with clients that are a little nervous of the hypnotic process.

Freud  -:-  Psychiatrist invariably associated with hypnosis but did not develop his interest, probably because his personality was too authoritarian.

Gamma Brainwaves -:- 38 Hz to 42 Hz (cycles per second) Originally dismissed as ‘spare brain noise’ until researchers discovered it was highly active when in states of universal love, altruism, and the ‘higher virtues’. Gamma is also above the frequency of neuronal firing, so how it is generated remains a mystery. It is speculated that gamma rhythms modulate perception and consciousness, and that a greater presence of gamma relates to expanded consciousness and spiritual emergence.

Gestalt Therapy  -:-  Therapy involving role play.

Glove Anaesthesia  -:-  A technique whereby the hypnotherapist numbs the hand by giving suggestions that it feels numb like wearing a leather glove when touched. This numbness can then be passed on to another area of the body.

Hartland’s Ego Strengthening Script  -:-  The first ego boosting script which, although still useful, is generally thought to be out dated.

Hetero-suggestion  -:-  Is what others tell you about yourself and which influences you.

Hypnagogic State  -:-  The naturally occurring hypnotic condition when one is about to wake up.

Hypnoanalysis  -:-  A psychoanalytic technique in which hypnosis is used to elicit unconscious material from a client.

Hypnoanalysis  -:-  Using hypnosis to get to the root of an issue.

Hypnobirthing  -:-  The use of hypnotherapy to aid in a painless, yet drug free birth.

Hypnogenic  -:-  Objects (watch, pendulum, spinning disc, etc.) used to assist in inducing a hypnotic state.

Hypnogogic  -:-  The state where a person is going into a hypnotic trance.

Hypnoid  -:-  Resembling hypnosis or sleep.

Hypnoidal  -:-  A light trance state.

Hypnopomic State  -:-  The naturally occurring hypnotic condition when one is about to fall asleep.  Excellent for inducing self-hypnotic suggestions that are ‘slept on’, and upon waking, are realised.

Hypnopompic  -:-  The state where a person is leaving a hypnotic trance.

Hypnosis  -:-  A trance-like state induced by suggestion in which the mind readily accepts ideas, resulting in a focusing of attention and a reduction of the ability to make conscious decisions; a state of total mental concentration, yet complete physical relaxation.  An alternative state of consciousness.

Hypnosis  -:-  The act of introducing a person into a hypnotic trance. Hypnosis is like daydreaming, a form of relaxed concentration. Definitions of hypnosis vary, and there is no single accepted definition.

Hypnosis Download  -:-  Where a pre made hypnosis session can be instantly downloaded from a computer, usually for the purposes of therapy.

Hypnotherapist  -:-  One who performs hypnosis for therapy; a specialist in hypnotherapy.

Hypnotherapy  -:-  Treatment for mental or physical illness based on or using hypnosis.

Hypnotherapy  -:-  Hypnotising someone and then using psychotherapeutic techniques for the goal of positive change.

Hypnotic Induction  -:-  The process that narrows a subjects focus of attention and gets them into a hypnotic trance Hypnotic Integration:  A process whereby the subject integrates their insights emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Hypnotic Patter  -:-  Suggestive verbiage used to deepen trance and/or bring on desired states such as “You always enjoy this pleasant, relaxed feeling…  your blood pressure is normalizing and you feel better and better.”

Hypnotic Trance  -:-  A state of (usually) relaxed, yet focused awareness.

Hypnotic Tunnel  -:-  Using the same words, phrases and speech patterns as your client.

Hypnotisability  -:-  A person’s individual susceptibility to hypnosis.

Hypnotism  -:-  An earlier word for “hypnosis.”

Ideo Motor Response (IMR)  -:-  Involuntary unconscious physical movement. This is commonly used to communicate with the unconscious mind e.g. “Raise the left index finger for yes, raise the right index finger for no.”

Imagery  -:-  Production of mental images or pictures.  See visualisation.  Induction:  There are three main methods used to relax a person into hypnosis:  instant (impressive in demonstrations, cannot be used for selfhypnosis), rapid (effective, overloads the mind, useful for inducing hypnosis quickly in a person who has already experienced hypnosis before) and progressive (slow and soothing, most reliable and is the one normally used for hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis.)

In Vitro  -:-  In reality.

In Vivo  -:-  In the mind.

Indirect Suggestion  -:-  Using permissive suggestions such as “Whenever you wish, you may allow your eyes to close”.

Induction  -:-  The process of guiding someone into hypnosis.

Initial Sensitizing Event (ISE)  -:-  The original memory responsible for causing the symptoms in which the client is suffering from.

Law Of Compound Suggestions  -:-  It uses the idea that a first suggestion is weak; a second suggestion strengthens the first; and a third suggestion strengthens the second, which in turn strengthens the first, and so on.

Meditation  -:-  Ancient Eastern technique, similar to self-hypnosis, in that it relaxes the mind and the body.

Memory  -:-  The recall of events, conversations and general topics that have been experienced.

Minds Eye Deepener  -:-  A deepener which suggests that your mind also has an eye which can close, causing a deep state of relaxed concentration.

Mirroring  -:-  A hypnotherapist might align himself in a similar position or posture as the subject order to establish rapport.

Modelling  -:-  Studying and imitating the behavior of others who excel in order to try and replicate their success. This provides the basis for Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).

Negative Hallucination  -:-  When a hypnotised person cannot see what is really there.

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)  -:-  Devised by Americans Grinder and Bandler who modelled the work of Erickson.  Under hypnosis it shows the client a new perspective or image of themselves.

Neuro Pathways  -:-  These pathways within our mind are created with every thought and new memory we have.

Pacing  -:-  Mirroring someone’s posture, behavior, and/or language in order to help build rapport.

Parasympathetic System  -:-  Deals mainly with the digestion, fights off infection, controls the immune response and tri trance:

Parts Therapy  -:-  A therapy in which specific egos or personalities within the unconscious are addressed and worked with.

Past-life Regression  -:-  Taking one through the memories and events of their possible past-lives. It is open to debate as to whether these are actually past lives or created metaphorically in the mind. What is known is that these past-lives have proven useful in therapy for many clients of hypnotherapy.

Patter  -:-  Refers to the form of speech that the hypnotherapist will use whilst communicating with the subject during a hypnotic trance.

Perceptual Positions  -:-  See Self hypnosis terms.

Positive Hallucination  -:-  When a hypnotised person sees what is not really there.

Post Hypnotic Suggestion  -:-  This is an hypnosis term for a suggestion given to a subject immediately AFTER he/she comes out of trance.  When someone first comes out of a trance a subject is still open and susceptible to suggestion.  A good post-hypnotic suggestion is specific, time referenced, positive and simple such as “when you go to bed tonight you will find that you sleep better than you have slept in years.  Deep, peaceful, relaxing, healthy, consistent sleep…”

Post Hypnotic Suggestion  -:-  A suggestion made while a person is in hypnosis to be acted upon after the session. This may include stopping smoking, exercising more etc.

Pre-Induction  -:-  Conversation hypnotist has with subject before induction rto create comfort, rapport and release the need to be analytical

Pre-Induction  -:-  The interview which takes place before the actual trance work. This time is usually spent gaining rapport and easing any concerns the patient might have.

Progressive Relaxation  -:-  A technique used to progressively relax the entire body by focusing on isolated areas, and then relaxing them.

Rapid Reactional Hypnosis  -:-  When a person is taken in and out of a hypnotic trance to accomplish a much deeper state of hypnosis.

Rapport  -:-  Refers to the communication between the hypnotist and the subject before trance work has commenced. A good sense of rapport between the client and the hypnotherapist is essential for a successful hypnosis session, since the client may otherwise resist the therapy.

Reframing  -:-  This is often used during age regression or parts therapy, when a past event is altered to release emotional trauma.

Regression Hypnosis  -:-  Hypnosis that takes subject back in time.  Many people believe in the concept of reincarnation and “Past Life Regression” or being able to regress to an in between state, between lives.  Though I’ve studied with the best and most notable authorities on this subject and performed many such sessions, I still have some skepticism.  While those sessions have been enormously helpful to the subjects who in many cases experienced spontaneous healing, I cannot say for sure whether the experience was an actual replay of a real experience, or a valuable insight of their higher intelligence, provided by imagination and suggestion.  Either way, it was definitely useful.

Resistance  -:-  A clinical hypnotherapist cannot force a subject into a hypnotic state, and so a patient is said to be in a state of resistance if they block the hypnotherapists suggestions.

Script  -:-  A pre-written script of what a hypnotherapist will say during trance work. These are usually adapted to take into account the individuality of the client, and their particular goals.

Secondary Gain  -:-  Where a seemingly negative or problematic behavior actually carries out some positive function. For example putting on weight may help a person who has commitment issues and does not want to attract a mate.

Self Hypnosis  -:-  Where you guide yourself through a hypnotic trance without the aid of a hypnotherapist.

Somnambulism  -:-  A deep state of trance.

Stage Hypnotist  -:-  A hypnotist who performs hypnosis for the purpose of entertainment.

Staircase Deepener  -:-  A hypnotherapist deepens a trance by guiding the subject down a staircase, suggesting that they get deeper relaxed with each step down.

Symptom Producing Event  -:-  The event that triggered the symptoms the client is currently suffering from.

Symptom Substitution  -:-  Swapping or replacing one symptom for another.

Systematic Desensitisation  -:-  The use of imagery in a systematic way to help desensitise someone from an anxiety or phobia by gradually taking them through greater anxiety provoking situations.

Time Distortion  -:-  A characteristic effect of being in hypnosis. Time can be subjectively experienced as longer or shorter than usual. Often a subject comments that a session felt shorter than it actually was.

Theta Brainwaves -:- 4 Hz to 8 Hz (cycles per second) Theta brainwaves occur most often in sleep but are also dominant in deep meditation. Theta is our gateway to learning, memory, and intuition. In theta, our senses are withdrawn from the external world and focused on signals originating from within. It is that twilight state which we normally only experience fleetingly as we wake or drift off to sleep. In theta we are in a dream; vivid imagery, intuition and information beyond our normal conscious awareness. It’s where we hold our ‘stuff’, our fears, troubled history, and nightmares.

Unconscious  -:-  The part of the mind that holds our beliefs, morals, habits, addictions, memories, etc. The unconscious makes up over 95% of the total mind, making it far superior to the conscious mind. Contains all your memories, and reactions to memories from birth.  Seat of emotions and directs almost all behaviour.  Controls automatic processes and thinking.  Receives two million messages of sensory awareness every second.

Under  -:-  How lay people often describe hypnosis. This should be discouraged as it implies that the hypnotherapist has complete control over the subject.

Visualisation Therapy  -:-  Technique in which the body’s own healing forces are stimulated by conjuring up in the mind visual images of positive and pleasant thoughts, objects or scenes, as in day-dreaming.

Yes Set  -:-  Asking several questions where you know the answer will be ‘yes’, in order to help convince the subject to agree to a suggestion by getting him in a ‘yes’ mode of thinking.

Yoga  -:-  Not only helps you to relax and calm, but also has a beneficial effect on the internal organs of the body.  Includes certain bodily posture and breathing routines which are capable of inducing self-hypnotic trance states.