Fundamentals of Hypnotic
Shelly Johnson Gottsegen, LICSW
April, 2010
Rapport, Rapport, Rapport
• Establish a positive alliance with respect,
empathy, warmth and concern
• Create a sense of positive expectancy: act
and speak with confidence and reassurance
Fundamentals of Hypnotic
• Formulate suggestions emphasizing the
use of imagination rather than appealing to
the conscious will (saying you will do this
or that).
Repetition, Repetition,
• A principle based on the idea that when we
concentrate attention on a goal or idea, it
tends to be realized.
Successive Approximations
• Utilize the process of time: Use words
like: “soon”, “before long”, “yet”,
“beginning to notice”, etc..
The Law of Dominant Effect
• Connect suggestions to a dominant
• Stir emotions and connect suggestions to
The Carrot Principle
• interject comments about the patient’s goal
• As you allow your hand to lift, you can
remember the ease you can feel when
you’re anxious….
The Principle of Positive
• make affirmative statements about the patient’s
• For example: “You will not overeat” (negative
• instead say: ”You will be surprised to discover
how comfortable you will feel after a normal size
meal portion of … “ (positive suggestion)
The Principle of Positive
• Compliments and praise in and out of trance
enhance rapport and compliance.
• “that’s it”
• “good”
Create an Acceptance “Yes” set
• Use the “Socrates Method” stating undeniable statement of
facts sequentially to gain a “Yes, Yes, response
• Example: “I am sure you have felt how cold the winter air
feels against your skin, have you not? (yes) and you can
remember how cold it feels against your face…can you
• Interact with patient to Confirm the
Acceptability of Suggestions: head nods,
ideomotor finger signals, and voice
The Principle of Trance
• A way to give patient an experience that
helps them distinguish the altered state of
consciousness with the use of hypnosis.
The Timing of Suggestions and
Depth of Trance
• the deeper the trance, the more influential
the suggestion
Interspersing and Imbedding
• Speak to the unconscious with stories,
metaphors, ideas and phrases that convey
the desired suggestion.
Erickson’s Principles of
Individualization and
• Tune-in to the patient’s use of language and
accept whatever they present in trance.
• Use what they present in trance to “speak
their language”.

Basic Fundamentals of Hypnotic Language