What do I do if my client doesn’t really react to their recollection?

It will happen that, at times, some people appear to keep a safe distance from anything resembling trance, whilst they tell you about their experiences. This can happen for a number of reasons.

Sometimes, they intentionally resist getting too involved in their re-telling, because they are trying hard to have a normal conversation. Other times, they may feel uneasy because they cannot make sense of what is happening to them, or they may feel nervous or scared about hypnosis. This can be particularly so if they sense that you are attempting to hypnotise them covertly.

Thankfully, neither of these reasons are insurmountable and there are a number of straightforward tactics you can employ to overcome this problem.

Firstly, you could simply ask them about something else they like to do. It could be that the initial leisure pursuit they opted for was not the most appropriate one they could have chosen. However, even if the activity chosen was less than perfect, it can still have a fractionating effect to move through a number of different choices one after another.

(In hypnosis terms, Fractionation refers to the practice of repeatedly taking someone into and out of hypnosis. The idea is that, usually, the more that someone goes in and out of trance, the deeper they descend as they go back in.)

Secondly, before moving on to a different activity, it can be useful to briefly explain the phenomenon of natural ‘trance.’ You might describe the experiences that are common every-day occurrences of something resembling hypnosis, whether that’s daydreaming, ‘highway hypnosis’ whilst driving, being ‘mesmerised’ by a log-fire, or listening to music. That way, when you move on to the next leisure pursuit to discuss, you have already seeded the idea that this experience is linked to hypnosis.

Another option, for clients who seem to avoid re-living their experience in the here and now is to go direct. You can simply say something like, “Okay, well I would like you to now imagine that you are lying in your hammock right now. Tell me what it feels like as you sink into it and the worries of the day melt away.”

It can be helpful to incorporate elements of the fake induction if this is a route you choose to go down.