What are Hypnotic Suggestions?

Using suggestions, rather than telling is far more beneficial in the Therapy room. If we tell someone what t do, they most probably would resist, if we suggest something, they may feel this is a good idea....

Direct suggestions

A direct suggestion is an instruction to do something. It can be as straightforward as “sit down and relax” during the Initial Consultation or “close your eyes now and get comfortable”. During induction we may suggest to the client “you can feel the weight of your head resting against the pillows” or “you can feel your body relaxing into the couch”. They are straightforward statements that are used to direct the client into a specific action or thought. They can be used with authority in certain situations such as smoking cessation, where we may suggest to the client “The longer you don’t smoke, the more the smell of cigarettes repulses you” orAny time you smell cigarette smoke, you will notice how awful it smells” With Phobic responses, it could be suggested “No matter how hard you try, you cannot find that fear of spiders inside you” It Directs attention to a specific feeling, thought or behaviour.

Use of direct suggestions need to be controlled if dealing with a client who doesn’t like to be told what to do, this could negatively affect his or her state of relaxation, who likes to be told that you are feeling relaxed, if you feel nervous and anxious!

We also suggest directly, during the Initial Consultation, that listening to our MP3 will help the work that we will do together, its not a direct instruction of something they have to do, we just suggest it directly. 

We also tell the clients to “keep up the good work” as we end the session, one of the most important direct suggestions that we must use when we say goodbye. 

Indirect suggestions

Indirect suggestions could be described as a hint, or a nudge in the right direction. It is a gentler way to approach the way in which you may want to direct a client’s thoughts. We may start questions with “I wonder what?” or “I’m curious to know” or “maybe remember how relaxed you felt last time” it could be that we suggest that our other clients find that sitting on our couch makes them instantly start to relax.

In solution Focused Hypnotherapy, we rely upon using the client’s imagination, to tell us how they would feel if something had changed. When we ask the Miracle question, we may ask, “you wake up tomorrow and a miracle has happened overnight and you are a 6, how would you know?” suggesting that something has changed and we then get the required response, we haven’t told them that they are a 6 (direct suggestion) a miracle has happed, so how would you feel?!

Indirect suggestion is useful to direct the client without authority, we are not telling clients what to do or feel, just gently nudging them to notice what they are feeling, or what they now know that they could be feeling. We could use to reinforce a message, for instance “I wonder if you can already feel how much more relaxed and calm you are feeling, now that your fear of dogs has left you” this of course is both indirect (I wonder if?) and direct (now the fear of dogs has left you)


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