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Slow vs. fast hypnosis


Disciplines HypnotismArticles > Slow vs. fast hypnosis

Slow hypnosis | Fast hypnosis | See also


There is something of a debate about hypnotic inductions and other work, as to whether it can or should be fast, in contrast with the more recent fast-talking style.

Slow hypnosis

The traditional approach is relatively slow, going at the pace of the subject, getting them to relax slowly and progressively. The hypnotist makes a suggestion in a deep and slow way, encouraging the person to feel likewise. They then watch for the subject to comply, congratulating and praising them at each step. In this way the subject sinks into a deeper and deeper trance state. A question about this method is that it requires the collaboration of the conscious mind, which may battle to stay in control. If it wins, the person may, frustratingly, fail to enter a sufficiently deep trance state. In fact, although the person may 'want' to be hyponotised, there is still a part of them which does not, and the session can descend into a battle of wills with the hypnotist.

Fast hypnosis

A principle that is used to avoid the conscious fears and battles described above is to not give the subject time to think. With an almost military style that brooks no contrition, the hypnotist rattles off a rapid, machine-gun series of commands. This gives the subject no time to reflect on the suggestions and they are swept along by the non-stop rhetoric, perhaps in the manner of the impassioned preacher's congregation.

A danger here would seem to be that the subject gets confused and so cannot follow the commands. In fact the confusion may well be intended as the hypnotist deliberately uses near-nonsense language. This invokes the principle of confusion where an uncertain person will grasp at straws -- in this case the confident commands of the hypnotist.

A more real danger is that a fight-or-flight reaction occurs and the subject becomes angry at the hypnotist.

The secret of success here lies in the hypnotist watching and responding to changes in the subject every bit as fast as they are talkiing. It thus requires quick thinking and rapid reactions.

Time constraints and the more dramatic nature of a rapid induction makes this more popular with stage hypnotists. Hypnotherapists tend to use more tried and true traditional slow methods. It could be noted that therapists are paid by the hour and may prefer slower techniques. To be fair, they do also need to produce lasting results.

See also


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