The Ultimate Hypnosis Glossary

We warn you in advance - this is a mix of serious work plus humour. Why the humour? Because life should be effortless, enjoyable, and vaguely annoying to other people. If you have ever heard us use a phrase in our Brain Software podcast and you didn't know what it meant, it might be made-up.  That's why this glossary exists.  Plus, we do actually throw in a lot of real definitions here!

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James Braid was a Scottish physician widely credited for coining the term "hypnotism". Braid specialized in eye-fixation methods of hypnotic induction and we often refer to the "Braid Induction" when having a subject stare intently at a coin or other small object.


A greeting in Brilli, the language spoken only by the Spangler Iron Merchants of the Harappan River Valley. Bavartsch has over 200 meanings, depending on the context and pronunciation, ranging from "Hello!" to "Not you again..." to "You're a bastard!" Since the rise of the Brain Software Podcast, Bavartsch is a greeting used by clever hypnotists in the know, worldwide.

Blanket Release

You’re not done until you remove all test suggestions in a therapy session, and entertainment suggestions onstage or in the street. Never let someone leave your presence without a blanket release, even if the suggestions did not seem to work! It can be as simple as saying: All testing suggestions (or entertainment suggestions) are cancelled and removed NOW! Your subject’s safety and comfort are always the Prime Directive.


Sometimes known as "Brad", Brado is the number one hypnotist in Meaford, Ontario, who contributes regularly to the Brain Software Podcast from Hypno North in his garage in Meaford. Brado has regular listeners in Shallow Lake Ontario too.


You can't see what you're not looking for. You must be able to detect differences to be an excellent hypnotist, or even an excellent communicator. Calibrating a client means getting a baseline experience for what they look like, sound like, etc. Then you'll be able to know when something has changed.


A waxy flexibility of the limbs that is often concomitant with trance. The creation of catalepsy is a great inroad to hypnosis, and will leave hyper-analytical subjects wondering what happened when you awaken them. Thernothing e’s quite like eyes that won’t open or a floating arm to get your subject’s attention. Catalepsy often occurs spontaneously, so it’s very easy to create.


Whatever techniques you use with your client, do it with conviction and confidence. Your words, tone and body language need to be in sync to achieve congruence. Your client will sense it and will trust you implicitly. When all three of these factors are in sync you come across as someone who is authentic – someone who means what they say and says what they mean.


A convincer is a suggestion (catalepsy, time distortion, etc.) given during trance that you can point back to later, to prove to the subject that she was hypnotized, i.e., Remember how you couldn’t open your eyes? Convincers ratify trance, making it real for the subject, after the fact. Contrast this with suggestibility tests, which are pre-hypnotic, and designed to create heteroaction.

Critical Faculty

This is the correct term, it is not "critical factor". The Critical Faculty acts as the firewall of the mind, either permitting or preventing us from acting in response to suggestion. Dave Elman taught us that we bypass the critical faculty by establishing something called "selective thinking", which he often did using eyelid catalepsy.

Critical Factor

What ignorant hypnotists call the Critical Faculty.


The son of Danny's father. He first appeared in the Brain Software podcast in episode 69. Danny has dreams, the "Still Just Danny" stories inspire you to take control of your own life, not be limited by someone else's viewpoint.


This directly follows an induction (See definition of induction below). It ensures that your client is truly zoned through the floor so that change work can begin. Just like inductions there are various deepeners that can be used to ensure a profound trance state. If an induction is good enough, a deepener may not be needed. It is advised that you use your discretion.


The opposite of glannative. Ok, we were just going to leave you having with that but since so many people ask here's the truth: This is a completely made up word by Mike Mandel. It means "bad".


Since hypnosis is a learning state, one can go deeper into trance with practice and through experience. To fractionate someone is to hypnotize them repeatedly in a short period of time, or simply have them rise to the surface by opening their eyes and then closing them again, plunging back into hypnosis. It’s one of the most dependable trance deepeners you can use. 


This is the sound someone makes when going into trance. Ok, maybe it doesn't actually happen, and we've just been hypnotized to internally imagine this strange sound.


This is the opposite of dursative (see above). Glannative is the accepted British spelling, while we also accept the American spelling "Glanative" with just one "n".  Glannative means good, and is a totally fabricated word that we use with reckless abandon in all podcasts, hypnosis trainings and elsewhere.


Andre Weitzenhoffer spoke extensively about this subject, and it’s a good word to know. Basically, anytime you pass a hypnotic task, it increases your predisposition to pass another entirely different one, thus increasing hypnotic response. It’s why suggestibility tests can be useful in some settings. Heteroaction paves the way to trance. It’s also why stage hypnotists can cause stronger and stranger responses as the show develops. Also discussed in our top 10 hypnosis terms post.


Another excellent term from Weitzenhoffer. Homoaction basically states that each time you repeat a hypnotic activity (including trance itself) the response will be stronger, up to a point. It’s the reason fractionation works. We also see homoaction onstage. If subjects feel a pinch when you snap your fingers, it will be stronger the second time, and even stronger the third, etc., until eventually the response levels out when the law of diminishing returns kicks in.

Ideomotor Signals

Sometimes a client is in such a deep state of trance that it is best to have them not speak so as not to disturb the state. In such cases these signals come in handy to help you as a hypnotist assess the way forward. If you do plan to use them though, it is important you remember to establish what they mean before you lead your client into trance. This can be a simple lift of a finger on either hand or the shake or nod of the head to indicate a response.


The process by which you lead the client into trance. There are a host of methods you can choose from. Use techniques that work best for you. There are inductions that can also be easily done online. Others that need to be done in person can be tweaked to apply to an online session. Ensure that you are constantly calibrating the client as each person is unique and the rate at which they go into trance differs. Calibrating will help you customise your words/session for the person in front of you.

Ken Sweatman Story

He's a real person who told horrendously long and pointless stories. When you catch someone going ON and ON and ON with no clear point, feel free to call them out for telling a Ken Sweatman story.


A hypnotic word that you use to express shock, surprise or relief.

Pressit the Blotz

An official sounding phrase originally designed as a confusion mechanism by Mike Mandel. It's very important that you pressit the blotz immediately, and you can find out more on podcast episode 23. Also sometimes referred to as the non-existent "Branson Protocol".


The respect and admiration you earn from your interaction with your client. This is typically based on their perception of your qualities and skills. If you have prestige with a client, they are likely to go into a deep trance very quickly and will be more open to your suggestions.


The time window right from when your client walks into your therapy room or dials into an online session with you, to when you put him/her in a trance is critical in gaining their trust and respect. Once you understand what the client wants from the session, using a skillful technique of both their words and your powerful language skills you can have a profound impact on them. If done well, hypnosis would have already begun even before you begin an induction to put them in a trance. 


This refers to the relationship between a hypnotist and their client. It is that intangible quality that brings your client’s focus front, right and centre to what you have to say. Without building a rapport during your interaction, any direct suggestions you make in your session will have little to no effect on them.

Somnambulism and Somnambulistic

Somnambulism comes from Marquis de Puységur, and is the working state of hypnosis. Somnambulistic is an adjective, and pertains to that particular depth of trance, where the subject sometimes resembles a sleepwalker. The terms are not “Samuelism” or “Sumnablistic” both of which I have heard spoken by typically illiterate hypnotists of high reputation. This is the state in which you are able to cause the maximum response onstage or in the street, or the maximum change in therapy.

Suggestibility Tests

These are exercises hypnotists do with subjects in order to cause the subject to believe he or she is a great hypnotic subject, and in order to build heteroaction (see definition above). They are classically used in stage hypnosis and street hypnosis but can also be used in the therapy room. Many stage hypnotists can completely skip any formal hypnotic induction if they have enough prestige and get good enough results just from the suggestibility testing process. Learn all about suggestibility tests here.

Tacit Contract

This refers to an unspoken, unconscious contract between two people. It’s like a domino effect, where doing one thing automatically hints at compliance with the other. You can opt to use it at the beginning of your session just as you are inducing trance or tail end it as your client is coming out of trance. 


We use the words "trance" and "hypnosis" interchangeably and don't differentiate between them. You could argue whatever you want, such as trance happens all the time without doing it on purpose. Whatever. Trance is hypnosis.


Another made-up word from the Brain Software podcast. This is the greeting given by Level 42 and higher in the esteemed hypnotic secret society of The Bag Men of Edward the Confessor.

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