If you want to be an amazing hypnotist, or just an amazing communicator, you might want to master the basic structure and language patterns of Ericksonian hypnosis. In this blog post we’ll show you how to do exactly that.
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Before we get started, let me state our position on this topic really clearly: Hypnosis, when done well, should be organic and original to the specific client in front of you. It should not involve you reading a script of magic words at another person.
In much the same way, a comedian is funny when his jokes are delivered naturally to the audience. He may use mostly the same words or delivery each time, but he’s never reading from a script, and he’s easily adapting the joke to the environment.
Comedians don’t read stuff at their crowds, and hypnotists shouldn’t read stuff at clients. Clear?
There is a style of hypnosis that we refer to as “direct hypnosis”. This style is very useful for many things, but it is not conversational so it really only appeals to people who are presenting themselves as hypnotists.
The other style of hypnosis is conversational, or indirect. We also call this “Ericksonian hypnosis” because it comes from the work of the late Milton H. Erickson.
Erickson was an amazing therapist. He used direct hypnosis much of the time. But he also pioneered the entire field of conversational hypnosis that forms the basis behind much of the Neo-Ericksonian work we teach at Mike Mandel Hypnosis.
Once you’ve learned Ericksonian hypnosis it becomes easy to use it either for therapy (with clients) or for conversations (in almost any situation).
If you use conversational hypnosis in a casual manner, without revealing your use of these tools, you can also call that covert hypnosis.
Sometimes people get freaked out and suggest that this is manipulation. We suppose this really depends on your intentions. If you intend to help people, then you might argue it is your duty to manipulate others.
But just like a hammer is a tool to bang in nails, it can also be used to hit people in the face. Obviously that is not ecological, and you shouldn’t do that.
So if you’re going to learn conversational hypnosis, or Ericksonian hypnosis, use it to help people solve problems and accomplish great things. Don’t be a terrible person who tries to manipulate people for your own gain.
The Basics of Ericksonian Hypnotic Language
We promise to give you some suggested reading material (from others) along with a completely free video course (from us) and a very low-cost learning tool (also from us). Before we do let’s cover a few basics of how Ericksonian language works.
It is artfully vague.
The words tend to lack specificity. Consider this ordinary language and notice it’s not vague at all. It’s very specific.
“Take this money. Go take your bicycle out of the garage and ride to the corner store. Buy some milk. Bring me the milk and the change.”
Now let’s write something that’s really vague.
“We have the resources to permit you to transport yourself to an establishment that will help you to get what you need, bringing back everything necessary to complete the task at hand.”
Say what? Notice how incredibly vague that is? I’ve exaggerated this on purpose. If you speak like that in ordinary conversation you’ll get some funny looks. It’s over-the-top weird. But it is vague.
It causes the listener to attach meaning to what you say.
The purpose of vague language, in Ericksonian hypnosis, is to say things that require a bit more of a tax on your brain to follow the meaning. And as you continue to speak, the listener is sort of chasing you, trying to keep up with the ever-changing meaning.
When the listener is attaching their own personal meaning to whatever you’re saying, you’re opening the door to be able to slip in (to seed) suggestions.
This is a good time to remind you that your suggestions will probably go nowhere without rapport. Remember that rapport is the glue that holds a trance together.
It’s language that is undeniably true, or offers offers options and possibilities
Ericksonian language always involves statements that are true or could be true to the listener. We use words like “It’s easy to be aware of” or “You may notice”.
You may notice the temperature of the air. Or you may not. But as soon as I mention it, you’ll notice it and it will never seem untrue to you. It’s absolutely possible to actually notice air temperature as long as you’re not hypnotizing an astronaut on a space walk.
Ericksonian language is rich with phrases just like this. They avoid resistance, and they build rapport. That’s why they’re useful in everyday life, not just formal hypnosis sessions.
It’s language that causes an internal search
The final, but incredibly important, aspect of Ericksonian language, is to drive a person to their internal feelings, thoughts, and ideas. People can unlock a lot of their own problems when you get them to internally evaluate things differently.
We might say something like
“And as you consider times when you’ve solved a problem exactly like this one … I don’t know how long ago that might have been .. but we’ve all had moments where the solution just seemed to come out of nowhere … and you can just feel how real it is …”
So How Do You Learn Ericksonian Hypnotic Language?
We’ll give you a few options to consider here, from books to video training, to physical decks of cards that serve as a training tool.
Two Book Recommendations
The most obvious starting point is books. Milton Erickson’s book “Hypnotic Realities” where Ernest Rossi works with Erickson to deconstruct transcripts of his work.
Another classic book is “Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, Volume I” by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. These authors do a terrific job of deconstructing Erickson’s patterns and teaching them, along with real-life examples from his client work.
The problem with these books is that they are sometimes hard to find, expensive, and not the most exciting to read. It might be easier to build your foundation with a video course first.
Free Video Training in Hypnotic Language Patterns
We actually created a completely free course that you can sign up for here. It’s a basic, but very powerful course. It’s only 45 minutes long and teaches you how to string together words into the form of what we call a “never ending sentence”.
The never ending sentence is the foundational delivery tool of Mike Mandel’s Neo-Ericksonian model of hypnosis. Learn this and you’ll have a huge advantage over other hypnotists. And the course is totally free, so you’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Hypnotic Language Cards as a Training Tool
We recommend you learn to integrate hypnotic language patterns into the structure of the never-ending sentence.
Patterns? Structure? What do we mean by this, exactly?
Glad you asked. The structure of hypnotic language is the never ending sentence. The language is artfully vague, offers options, and drives a person to do an internal search and attach meaning to what you’re saying.
But hypnotic language patterns are extra little bits that you can add on to make your work more elegant and more effective.
For example there is the pattern called a “tag question”, where you turn a statement into a question by tagging on a phrase like “isn’t it?” or “aren’t you?”. That sounds pretty easy to do, doesn’t it?
Yeah, that was a tag question at the end of that paragraph … wasn’t it?
A tag question causes a person to pause, briefly evaluate, and of course agree with what you just said. It’s powerful.
Many years ago a product called “Zebu Cards” emerged on the market. They are regular playing cards, but each card has a specific hypnotic language pattern printed on it. The pattern is also explained with a quick example.
Zebu cards were something we heavily recommended to our students over the years. Except they were out of print, hard to find, expensive to buy, and therefore far from ideal.
Then a company called Salad Consulting came along, run by the brilliant Jamie Smart. He developed his own deck of cards. They were not cheap, but they were great. We recommended them for years!
Sadly, Salad cards seem rather difficult to buy these days.
Eventually we just decided to make our very own Mike Mandel Hypnosis branded deck of cards using our own ideas. Since our main business is to offer high quality hypnosis training, we sell these cards for almost nothing.
We make no money from them because our real goal is to just get them into your hands. We know that some people will love them so much they will want to take more training from us. That seems like the best business objective because it is ecological for everyone.
So, if you’d like your own deck of hypnotic language cards, you can order them here. Together with the free video course mentioned above, these two tools are the ultimate hypnotic language toolbox.
The only thing left for you to do is study and practise! It’s really not hard to learn. You can practise hypnotizing your shampoo bottle in the shower, or you can walk down the street (with earbuds in, so you don’t look crazy) and practise hypnotic language as if you were having a phone call with someone.
Before long you’ll intuitively realize that you can speak hypnotically … anytime you want … without thinking about it.