Whenever the average person thinks about hypnosis, they tend to imagine a person sitting in a chair or lying down with their eyes closed.
But is eye closure really necessary to create a hypnotic trance? And when you want your client to close their eyes, what’s the easiest way to make it happen? We’ve got you covered with this super short tutorial.
Is eye closure even necessary for hypnosis?
Back in the 1800s, Dr. James Braid, a Scottish surgeon who was experimenting with hypnosis, concluded that hypnosis is caused by eye fixation and the resulting eye-closure that happens once the client’s eyes become fatigued. This conclusion lead Braid to coin the term "hypnosis", referencing the Greek god of sleep; a choice he'd later regret.
It turns out that your eyes do not need to be closed to go into hypnosis. In fact this happens all the time. Think about the last time you were driving a long distance on a highway. Most likely you caught yourself emerging from a daydream state. You may not even remember, visually, a good portion of your journey because you were in trance.
And this “highway hypnosis” trance, which is very natural, happened with your eyes open. Obviously it would have been unsafe to daydream with your eyes closed!
So hypnosis does not require the eyes to be closed. In fact our good friend, James Tripp, built up his profile as a trainer for teaching “Hypnosis Without Trance” … which really just means hypnosis without the formal eye closure and relaxed (sleep-like) posture of someone in a formal trance.
But what if you want eye closure for hypnosis?
For hypnotherapy we often do want the client to close their eyes. There’s a really simple reason for this, too. It’s easier to get a client to visually imagine something if they are not distracted by the outside world. Having them close their eyes is a nice solution.
Some hypnotists spend a lot of time and effort suggesting eyelid fatigue.
“Your eyes are getting tired. They feel so heavy. It’s beginning to be much too much trouble to keep them open. They want to close. You want to close your eyes.”
Look … this will work with many subjects. But it’s unnecessary. And it will undermine your work when you’re dealing with a hyper-analytical person. Because that person will be just sitting there denying all of your suggestions.
Hypnotist: Your eyes are getting heavy!
Client: No, they are not!
The way to avoid that recipe for disaster is to remember this one simple rule: When you are doing an induction give directions, not suggestions. Save your suggestions for after your client is already hypnotized.
Instead of working so hard to suggest eyelid fatigue and eye closure, just offer the simple instruction:
“Close your eyes."
You’ll get the exact same result, with far less effort.
Here’s a short and sweet video that will make this even easier to understand.
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