Hypnosis is not something you do, it’s something you become. It’s not something you talk to people about, it’s something you demonstrate to them. And at that moment, their imagination is set on fire.
People love demonstration. They love to see it, feel it and get involved in it, and most importantly, get inspired by it.
Telling stories and being knowledgeable is good for building the reputation, but nothing beats demonstration. And that is the real power of street hypnosis.
The ABS formula is the foundation all street hypnosis acts are built upon.
A stands for attention and fixation of attention.
B stands for bypassing the conscious (critical and analytical) mind, the part that criticises and rejects information. The job of a street hypnotist is to switch it off so it stops interfering.
S stands for stimulation of the unconscious, through emotions, imagination and associations, in order to get the unconscious mind into action.
ABS is also the formula behind regular hypnosis and conversational hypnosis, so by doing street hypnosis, you will become a master of all three.
Stages of street hypnosis
Stage 1: Priming the mind to respond
While stage hypnotists prepare the mind with the buzz created around their shows or hypnotherapists with the certificates on their walls, street hypnotists have nothing going for them. You have to start from scratch. This is one of the reasons it is such a wonderful discipline because it gets you to master one of the key elements that other hypnotists can slack over – the ability to set frames.
The whole priming stage is about making the mind EXPECT certain things to happen. And if it expects them to happen, it is much more likely that they will happen. This is the basic principle behind the placebo effect and hypnosis – what the mind expects, it tends to bring about.
One of the ways to set expectations is through a pre-talk whereby you will tell your subjects what hypnosis is and what it isn’t and present them the concepts of hypnosis in a scientific way, or use success stories about hypnosis that you’ve done or seen. Hypnotherapists, as well as stage hypnotists, use pre-talk.
Stage 2: Waking trance
How do you create a waking trance? How do you create the conditions inside the mind that will allow your suggestions to take effect?
Once you begin priming the mind, you should already be looking to absorb and engage their attention, and we will use a modified hypnotic gaze induction for this whereby we will maintain a fixed eye contact. There is no magic in the gaze itself. The magic comes from being observed so relentlessly by another human being that the person begins to feel the pressure.
Typically, they will look away and back many times, but somewhere along the lines, it will escalate to the point when they will surrender. You will notice that they stopped blinking or looking away. It is very important to maintain a strong mindset at all times while doing the hypnotic gaze (hypnosis is powerful, it demands respect, something amazing is gonna happen etc.)
A word of warning on eye contact! Don’t start being weird. Don’t engage in a staring competition with an unblinking gaze maintaining an awkward silence. This is the time you should be doing your pre-talk, telling stories and setting frames.
And while doing this pre-talk, maintaining a fixed eye contact at all times, you will notice them become more and more fidgety and distracted, and eventually it “pops”. It’s like a silent bubble opens up around you two. At that point, they are in an altered state. You have basically induced a waking trance with no formal induction – no counting, no deepening or relaxing suggestions etc. This waking trance state is purely an escape from the pressure of being looked at intently.
Stage 3: Use suggestions
In this stage, you will use hypnotic suggestions for whatever demonstration you want to make. The demonstration can be as simple as making them feel good, boosting their self-esteem, arm or leg locks, eye catalepsy etc.
Stage 4: Develop a feel for infinite possibilities
You will want to draw a lesson out of the experience they’ve just had. The lesson can be very direct; in fact, you can tell them what the lesson is, for example:
“as days and weeks go by you will start feeling better, calmer and more self-assured”
You can also make the subject choose his future experience by making the lesson more indirect, for example: “If you consider what you’ve just experienced, what other things would be possible for you as a human being that you weren’t aware of you could do before”
A random hypnotic experience will mean nothing to them, so you will want them to draw a lesson out of the whole hypnotic experience – something significant that will teach them about their abilities, or more generally, about humanity. You want this experience to become their inspiration and aspiration that will open up infinite possibilities for them in the future.
Remember, the purpose of doing street hypnosis should be to give people a safe experience of hypnosis in order to fire up their imagination so that they start thinking about the possibility of using it to improving their lives in different ways.