Self hypnosis is a very personal experience – everybody experiences it in their own way, so it’s important that you make your own decisions about which self-hypnosis techniques are best for you. On this page I make a number of suggestions – you must choose for yourself how best to do hypnosis on yourself. Try different techniques to find out which are the best and most successful for you – and above all, enjoy your experience.
There are five basic steps:
decide how long know your suggestion make yourself comfortable tell yourself you are doing self-hypnosis start your trance
First step - how long are you going to spend in hypnosis?
There are two ways to do this – either decide to do hypnosis for a length of time (e.g. fifteen minutes); or decide to do it until a certain time on the clock (e.g. if you start at 7.00 pm, continue until 7.15 pm).
When I was first taught hypnosis and self hypnosis I was taught to practice until a time on the clock, but both ways are good, and you must choose which you prefer (so try both!). Either way, it’s not necessary to open your eyes to look at the clock during your trance – your unconscious mind will tell you when it is time to end your trance. I know that might sound unbelievable, but I can say from my own experience that in 99% of trances, when you tell yourself at the beginning that you are doing self hypnosis until a certain time (or for a certain time) then when you bring yourself out of trance it will be the time you said - or at least, very close to it!
How long should a self-hypnosis session last?
This is truly like asking how long string is! At first, you may find that it takes longer to achieve the useful level of relaxation that you require to make your self-hypnosis session useful, and each session will be different anyway, so don’t worry if your self-hypnosis sessions vary in length.
Remember that practice is important for you to develop you self-hypnosis technique, so be prepared to invest quality time to improve your skills to gain the best benefit. At first, you will find that the major part of your time in self-hypnosis is spent just creating, deepening, and experiencing trance, and you may find that a session will last 15 - 20 minutes. With experience, though, you may find that you can create and deepen your trance quite quickly and can spend more time working to achieve your specific goals, while at the same time taking only 10 minutes over the whole session.
The second step – make sure you know your suggestion and have a good idea of your visualisation. Be sure that you know your suggestion – look at the relevant pages on this site if you’re not sure.
The third step – make yourself comfortable.
You can sit down or lie down. My preference and recommendation are that you sit down to do self-hypnosis. This will ensure that you are less likely to fall asleep.
Try to ensure you do self-hypnosis in place and at a time when you are least likely to be disturbed – and turn your phone off!
The fourth step – tell yourself you are doing self-hypnosis.
At this stage you must also tell yourself how long you are going to be in trance:
“I am doing self-hypnosis for 15 minutes.”
“I am doing self-hypnosis until quarter past eight.”
This ensures that the unconscious mind knows when it is time for you to end the trance, and it also begins the process of focus that is important in self-hypnosis. Include a comment about coming back to full awareness: either at a certain time or after a set amount of time – whichever you have decided to do:
“I come back to full awareness at quarter past eight.”
It's also important at this stage to put in a suggestion about coming back to alertness if there is an emergency during your self hypnosis session: "If for any reason I need to come back to full awareness at any time during my self hypnosis, I do so immediately, coming back to full awareness, back to full alertness immediately."
The fifth step – create your trance.
Comfortable? Then you can begin! As a hypnotherapist, I can use a number of techniques to create trance, but for use in self-hypnosis, I recommend only 4 - two involve eye fatigue; while the other two are confusion techniques:
1. The simplest is to simply take two or three deep breaths while focussing the gaze on an object directly in front of you. As you breathe out on the last of the deep breaths, allow your eyes to gently close and begin to focus on your inner experience.
2. Allow your eyes to close as you breathe normally. After closing your eyes allow three thoughts to pass repeatedly one after the other through your mind with increasing speed, (e.g. picture the place you live then picture your car then picture what you had for your last meal – flick through these thoughts repeatedly – quickly flicking from one thought to another) until you find your mind wandering off into a deepening relaxation. Then focus on your inner experience. The fast thought processing leads to confusion and the response of the conscious mind is to shut down a bit! You will know when you have achieved this when you realise that you are no longer flicking through your three thoughts!
3. While breathing normally, focus on a spot directly ahead of you but slightly above your line of vision. Focus on this spot by raising your eyes, not by lifting your head. Continue to gaze at this spot until you feel your eyes becoming increasingly tired. When you reach the point at which you find it difficult to keep your eyes open, then allow them to gently close, and begin to focus on your inner experience.
4. The second confusion technique! Allow your eyes to gently close. Count backwards from 1000 in 3's (i.e. 1000; 997; 994; 991; 988; 985; and so on). While doing this, visualise each number in front of you (keep your eyes closed!) with each number you visualise being half the size of the one before. Like the first confusion technique, you will know this has worked when you realise you have lost track of your counting!
Try all of these techniques to find which works best for you and which you prefer. Of course, there's nothing to stop you changing from time to time and using a different self-hypnosis technique! Every self-hypnosis session is your self-hypnosis session, so make it work in the best way for you as an individual.
To listen to music or not to listen to music?
Once again this is a matter of personal preference – and to find out which you prefer you may have to try to do self hypnosis both with and without music. It’s up to you! If you can find some music that helps to create a relaxed feeling (and I’m sure you can find plenty on the internet!) then go ahead and use it to help you relax. BUT – once you use that music for self hypnosis then you can’t use it for anything else ever again!
Personally, I do use one particular track that I find helps me to trance.
It really is that simple to start a self hypnosis session. Basically, you are closing your eyes and beginning to focus internally.
So now you are ready to learn the next step – let’s deepen that trance and get to the stage where you can do some useful ‘work’!