Conversational hypnosis, also often called “covert hypnosis,” is a type of hypnosis that takes place over the course of a regular conversation between two people. The person being hypnotised, hereafter called the “subject,” must be unaware that the hypnosis is taking place for the hypnosis to work. The hypnotist uses a series of words, gestures, and facial expressions to guide the thoughts of his or her subject, leading the subject inevitably towards whatever conclusion the hypnotists wishes him or her to reach.
The most basic example of conversational hypnosis is simple. It begins like this: the hypnotist says “do not think about the pink elephant.” Immediately, the subject begins to think of the pink elephant. We all understand implicitly that this is how our brains function. Conversational hypnosis takes this concept and applies it to interpersonal interaction.
The people who are best at conversational hypnosis guard their secrets carefully. There are many famous stories about hypnotists and the things that they can make their subjects do. It all seems magical until you consider the pliable, malleable nature of the human brain and the elasticity of human thought.
The human brain is more complex than we can understand, even today. We have a good idea of how it works, but there are still questions. The dividing line between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind is a fascinating realm of study. A conversational hypnotist takes advantage of the fact that there is a part of the brain that an individual subject cannot control and plants the seed of an idea there. The seed is then encouraged to grow throughout the duration of the conversation. The hypnotist bypasses the analytical mind and communicates directly with the subconscious. This confuses the brain and causes unusual behaviour in the subject.
The analytical mind is what is thought to make us human. It powers our thoughts and our feelings and governs our interactions. When someone hypnotises a subject using conversational hypnosis, that person’s analytical brain is shut down. This causes unusual experiences for the subject. Sometimes the subject forgets where he or she is, or forgets his or her name.
Conversational hypnosis is a strange phenomenon, but should not be considered too frightening. People who are adept at conversational hypnosis are not altering the subject’s brain in any way, just taking advantage of a strange evolutionary quirk inherited by humanity. The hypnotist does not have any real power over the individual; he or she can only enhance the behaviour of the subject in question.