Class Outline for “How to Help the First Time Subject”

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As promised, here are my class notes for “How to Help the First Time Subject”, my presentation at Charmed. (I did a second, “Building Consent Together”, but that was intended more as a discussion so no notes were created.) I hope they’re of use to you, and let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to add to them!

How to create a successful first trance

I. Pre-talk

1. Show confidence. The subject absorbs what you project, so if you’re acting like trance is difficult, trance will be difficult. Do, don’t try.

2. Reassure. Trance is a natural state in the human brain, just concentration and focus. It’s reading a good book, it’s watching a compelling movie. All you’re doing is taking the same state and directing it. They’re going to succeed at this.

3. Set good expectations. Don’t forget, most people have their ideas of trance shaped by movies and tv. You need to let them know that the first time out isn’t going to involve amnesia, mindlessness, sleepiness, et cetera. Tell them that the most likely thing they’ll notice is a sense of focus and relaxation, and time distortion after the fact. (Time seeming to stand still, or to fly by) Let them know that depth is overrated; the first time out, if you’re in trance and you’re having a good time, you’re deep enough.

4. Confirm sensory modality. Ask about whether they learn best by by being shown ,being told, or trying it themselves. Be aware of this when doing your induction-metronomes for auditory, spirals or eye fixation for visual, feelings for kinesthetic etc

5. Explain terminology. Go over what the induction, the deepener, and the awakener are. Go over what “deeper” means. Don’t expect them to know these things. Give them space to ask questions. Remember, you are giving them a roadmap to the trance they’re about to experience. The better you lay it out, the better they’re going to follow it later.

6. Discuss consent now. People may or may not want a sexual trance, they may or may not want touch, they may or may not want triggers and post-hyps…it’s best to go light on these things anyway on the first trance, because you want to focus on giving them things they can do and showing them that they work, but always always always ask first and work with what they are enthusiastic about. Hypnosis is a bond of trust. The best way to make a bond of trust is to be trustworthy.

II. Trance

1. The induction. Don’t use scripts and don’t get tricksy. Your focus should be on providing them with a clear mental image to help them achieve trance (whether visual, auditory, or kinesthetic). It isn’t necessary to give them an intricate metaphor, and it is vitally important to tailor the experience to them personally. It’s better to do something simple and effective over complicated and difficult to go under to.

2. Modalities. Again, use language (and props, if you want) that works with the subject’s sensory language. If touch is allowed, kinesthetic learners will respond well to relaxing touch, but even if not, you can still use language involving the way their body feels. Remember, you’re not attempting big, complex suggestions. Just show them what trance is and that they can do it. The rest will come with practice.

3. The deepener. Remember, you are not dealing with someone who is familiar with trance. You can’t just tell them to go deeper. Make sure to describe the process of letting extraneous thoughts fall away, focusing more intently on the, um, focus. Be clear, be detailed. It is best not to do depth tests or anything similar this first time out. You are giving them a positive experience, not testing them and making them worry about failing.

4. Post-hyp. Very optional, but if they want one, just have them focus intently on the way they feel, and give them a trigger that will bring them back to this state of mind. A simple reinduction trigger. Again, don’t get fancy.

5. Awaken them. Gently, not at all rudely or suddenly, give them a count up and awaken them.

III. Post-talk

1. Draw their attention to the trancey bits. Get them noticing the time distortion, the sense of focus and relaxation, all the things you told them would happen beforehand. Get them realizing that what they experienced was trance not just peace and quiet or mellowness. If you did a reinduction trigger, this is a good time to use it (both to reinforce it and to show them that it works).

2. Stress that being hypnotized is a skill. (You can do this in pre talk, too.) Nobody is a “natural”, nobody is perfect the first time out. The more they go into trance, the better they’ll get at achieving that state of focus faster and easier and more completely.

3. Thank them muchly for letting you in their head, and offer politely to do it again if and when they’d like.

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