Hypnosis works by helping people bypass their conscious mind and its critical thoughts and access their unconscious mind. In this mental state, hypnotized people can make meaningful and lasting behavioral changes—changes they’ve been unable to accomplish through their conscious thoughts and efforts.
As a practicing hypnotist, you can use certain words and phrases to help your clients access their unconscious minds efficiently and effectively. Using the vivid, implicit feelings and images associated with these words, you help your clients work in that part of their mind that allows them to address lingering challenges, traumas, or undesirable patterns.
These words and phrases capture a client’s attention, move them from the conscious to unconscious mind, and stimulate that unconscious mind once they’ve accessed it. Let’s look at ten of the most powerful hypnotic words and phrases you can use in your hypnosis business.
‘Imagine’ evokes childhood fantasies and the joy associated with them. It also brings to mind relaxation. That makes it an ideal word for helping someone relax rigid thought patterns. It takes them away from the reality where they are stuck in their challenges and allows them to envision scenarios they would otherwise reject or ignore.
“Imagine that when a coworker invites you to share a cigarette break, you feel no desire to smoke.” When you ask a smoker to do this, they may be able to imagine that urge-free moment and accept it as a possibility. They know that they’re just imagining, but they still experience the sensation, which they can lock into their subconscious thinking. That allows them to recall the experience the next time they feel a strong urge to smoke.
2. Just Pretend
This phrase works similarly to ‘imagine’. Using this phrase bypasses a client’s feelings that something is impossible. Their conscious, rational mind doesn’t interject with, “But that isn’t the way things are.” That’s because you are acknowledging that you are simply playing pretend. “Just pretend you are relaxing into a hypnotic trance,” can work to help a hesitant or skeptical client reach the desired state.
‘Suppose’ is another way of tapping into the same mechanisms as ‘imagine’ and ‘pretend.’ Demanding “Be calm!” isn’t likely to be effective in helping a client relax. Their conscious brain will fight against the command. The more subtle “suppose you are feeling calm” moves them beyond their rational objections and helps them access what could be rather than what is.
Tapping into a time in a client’s life when they found success with something they now struggle with can be powerful. “Remember when you performed at the high school talent show and felt no fear or unpleasant nerves?” When the client accesses that memory after being prompted to ‘remember,’ they can capture the recalled feeling and experience and apply it to their current life.
“Because you feel safe, you can enter an even deeper relaxation.” The word ‘because’ appeals to the rational mind, offering a reason for your suggestion to your client. You’ve provided a logical explanation, which allows the conscious mind to let down its guard.
6. Sooner or Later
The phrase ‘sooner or later’ is both powerful and subtle. It speaks to the inevitability of an outcome without being abrasive or commanding. “Sooner or later, you will be able to step into the ocean without feeling fear.”
You are not demanding anything from your client, which could lead to resistance or resentment. You are simply stating that something is bound to happen eventually. As this thought becomes part of your client’s unconscious reality, it will also become part of their everyday existence. If this is going to happen eventually, why not now?
7. Find Yourself
The powerful phrase, ‘find yourself,’ allows a client to experience a desired change as though it has already happened. “Find yourself feeling peaceful and safe.” This statement implies that the situation already exists as a reality, even if your client has only just realized it. It allows the client to step into that situation as though it is real.
As a tool in your hypnosis toolbelt, ‘realize’ is similar to ‘find yourself.’ You are suggesting to the person you are hypnotizing that they are already in the desired state; they just didn’t realize it until that moment. “Realize that you are experiencing a relaxed, peaceful state.”
9. What Would It Be Like If
With ‘what would it be like if,’ you ask your hypnosis client to imagine a scenario where their challenge has been addressed. They experience a moment where their desired outcome is reality. You ask what it would be like, and their brain responds with an answer, creating a vivid experience of that imagined reality. “What would it be like if you felt an overwhelming sense of calm?” Or, “What would it be like not feeling fearful when you got in a car?”
We saved the shortest powerful hypnotic word for last. In the same way ocean waves or the sound of a train on tracks can create a cadence that lulls someone to sleep or relaxation, ‘and’ can create a rhythm that leads a client into a hypnotic state. “You are feeling relaxed, and your eyelids feel heavy, and your breathing begins to slow.” Pairing ‘and’ with a measured, even cadence as you speak can make it even more effective.
You may have learned some of these words and these phrases in your hypnosis lessons. Review your recent sessions with clients and see if there were opportunities to integrate more of them into your work. Making them a regular part of your hypnosis scripts can help your sessions be more effective. Note which phrases or words work well with specific clients so you can return to the most effective options for each individual.