The Importance of Calibration in Hypnosis

Filed under: Hypnosis Training

Have you ever heard the term "calibration"? If you've been to an NLP course or if you're one of our students at the Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy, you are probably already familiar with it.

The ability to calibrate is one of the most important skills a hypnotist must possess. To calibrate means to watch a person’s physiology and external behavior, and observe the changes that may be taking place.

When you're a hypnotist or a coach, you want to be aware of what is going on with the person you're working with.

Remember: hypnosis isn't just a one way street. It is a psychodynamic loop of communication where you and your client work together to acheive a certain result. So you need to be looking at them and observing their feedback so you can adjust your own behaviour accordingly.

You must be careful, though. Some things are not always what they seem to be.

External Trance Indicators (ETI's)

Calibration is useful in most environments where there's any kind of human interactions. But since we specialize in training hypnotists and coaches, here's a partial list of External Trance Indicators (ETI's) used to determine when a client is going into hypnotic trance.

Eyelids fluttering - The onset of eyelid catalepsy which happens as a subject is beginning to enter trance.

Change in facial tonus (muscle tone) - This includes “hypnotic mask”, when the face is blank and devoid of any expression.

Facial flushing - Colour changes in the face and/or neck.

Spontaneous catalepsy - If you lift a limb it might just stay there.

Change in breathing - Often breathing moves into the abdomen but all you are looking for is a change, not some specific change.

Hypnotic rash - This appears primarily in the hollow the throat and looks a lot like an allergic reaction. If the hypnotic rash appears prior to trance induction when you're just talking about hypnosis, you likely have a very good subject.

Whites of the eyes can become pink or red - This is caused by the increased blood flow in the eyes.

Increased lacrimation (eyes watering) - Same reason as above. This isn't an indicator of sadness or any other emotion, just relaxation.

Slow or slurred or delayed speech  Caused by relaxation.

Muscle twitches - A clear unconscious signal that trance is happening.

Increase in lower lip size - This is really a relaxation of the mandibular angle in the jaw.

Head tilt - Relaxed neck muscles allow the head to drop forward.

This list was extracted from one of our core 24 lessons at the Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy, the best online hypnosis training available today. For a full explanation of the signs to look out for in a formal hypnosis session, come join us at MMHA.

Click here to a 14-day FREE trial at MMHA.

Calibration is NOT Mind Reading

A common mistake among beginner hypnotists and NLP practitioners make is to confuse calibration for what we call mind reading.

Just because you learned how to calibrate, it doesn't mean you're now a psychic.

To calibrate, you need to get a baseline first.

To get a baseline means that when a client comes into your office, you must observe how they usually behave. Internally, take not of how they move, how they breathe and other clues that point to their current state of mind. When they deviate from this baseline, you know something has changed.

Don't assume you know what a person is currently feeling based on what you see right when you first meet them. For example, you can't determine how stressed a person is as soon as you're introduced based purely on their blinking frequency.

It is true that when a person is anxious, they tend to blink more often, but some people just normally blink a lot. Some blink only 9 times per minute, while others do it as many as 30 times a minute. If you don't get a baseline first, how can you tell if a person is blinking any more or less than they normally do?

But that's not the only problem. 

Even when a person has calibrated correctly - by getting a baseline first and observing changes - sometimes, they make the mistake of assuming what that change means.

Similar to most things in hypnosis, context is everything when it comes to calibration. Every person is different, and when you observe a change happening on someone, the only thing that tells you is that something has changed. If you start assuming what a person is thinking and feeling based on what you're calibrating, you're now mind reading.

Slap yourself on the wrist. Stop that.

The ability to read minds would certainly be very useful for coaches and therapists; the only problem, however, is it simply doesn't exist. There's no way to tell what's going on in a person's mind unless you ASK them. So instead of making assumptions about a what the client is thinking, get in the habit of ASKING them.

In this video on our Youtube channel, Mike and Chris explain in greater depth the difference between calibration and mind reading, as well as how to calibrate your clients properly without attempting to read their minds. Remember to leave a like, comment and subscribe to our channel!