How to Use Double Binds to Achieve Your Outcomes

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It is your choice. Either way, you will benefit from the principle described in this blog post. You will not only learn how to use this technique in your daily life, but also profit from applying it in therapeutic settings.

Imagine that you have a tool to create your desired outcome. You always have it with you and you can use it whenever you want, in nearly every situation. This tool is free, and it is very easy to use. It’s called the “Double Bind”.

The Feeling of Control 

The Double Bind is a technique that gives someone the feeling that he can choose freely. As no one wants to be patronized, and as we all like to have choice, the Double Bind can work like a charm.

Let’s assume you spent the whole morning at your local car dealership and finally found your dream car. It’s around lunchtime, and the car dealer asks you:
“Do you want to sign the contract now or do you prefer to have lunch first?”

You simply cannot wait to drive your new car and therefore you decide to sign the contract immediately, accompanied by the attentive and courteous car dealer. As you drive home in your new car, you’re satisfied with your decision and the fact that you could choose when to sign the contract.

The Illusion of Choice

Now, let’s think again about the choice you had at the car dealership. Was is really a free decision? Or did the salesman actively lead you towards his desired outcome? Sure, you wanted to buy that car. But did you even think about other choices? For example, buying no car at all, or thinking about the deal first and coming back later?

That’s the Illusion of Choice.

How to Use the Double Bind in a Therapeutic Session

The Double Bind can also be very effective in a hypnosis session. For example, you can use it if you want your client to go into trance quickly and effortlessly.

Right before sitting down with a client to do some hypnotic work, you can ask:

“Would you prefer the hypnosis chair or the trance chair?” 

Note that the question presupposes that the client will go into hypnosis, or trance. They are both actually the same thing, and either one will get you exactly what you want.

Another great way to induce a trance using a double bind would be to ask:

“Would you rather go into trance quickly or slowly?”

This way, you distract the client from the possibility of no trance. It’s even more powerful because it contains an embedded command (“go into trance quickly or slowly”) that can increase the hypnotic influence.

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Use The Ericksonian Way of Binding during Hypnosis Sessions

Dr. Milton Erickson was a master in using double binds to induce trance and facilitate change. During a therapeutic session, you may use the Ericksonian way of binding:

“Would you like to enter trance now, or would you like to try to keep your eyes open for a little longer, while that delightful sense of comfort continues to fill your body?” 

And to facilitate change, especially with resistant clients, you may use the following:

“I don’t know whether you will make this change immediately, or within the next week.”

This way, you distract the client from any unpleasant urge to change and give him the illusion that he can choose whether and when he wants to change.

A Simply Strategy to Create Useful Double Binds

Now, let’s have a look at the design of Double Binds. Following this simple four steps, you can create your own Double Binds that will work to your advantage. 

Step 1: Define your desired outcome.
For example, you want a hypnosis client to go into a nice trance. Or you want your children to go to bed soon and without fuss.

Step 2: Create the illusion of choice
Now, design a question which creates the illusion of choice. The trick is to design questions that only contain “choices” with targeted behaviors or desired outcomes. 

Step 3: Deliver the double bind question
For excellent results, use a little time pressure and be congruent. The client/counterpart should decide quickly. For example, while pointing to the two chairs in your office, ask the client: “Do you prefer to sit on the hypnosis chair or on the trance chair?” Or, ask your children: “Do you want to go to bed now, or do you want to hear a short story before going to bed?

Beware Of the Pitfalls of the Double Bind 

Double Binds can be very powerful. Because of that, you should always pay attention to them as they can also be psychological pitfalls and can even prevent you from achieving your full potential. A common example would be a dissatisfied employee who is trapped inside the illusion that he has only two choices: Staying with his current but hated job, or ending up unemployed. He simply doesn’t see the several other choices he has, such as finding a better job, starting a company or changing careers.

This would be a Double Bind that keeps him in a mental loop and prevents solution-oriented thinking.

Wrap-Up: The Power of Double Binds 

Now, why is the Double Bind so effective? It’s because human beings always like to have choices, and the Double Bind creates the perfect illusion of choice.
And as you are finishing this blog post, we give you all the freedom you need to follow our suggestions. Do you prefer to learn more about our hypnosis training, or would you rather learn about our personal development academy?

You decide.

The Brain Software E-Book

Mike's "Brain Software" seminar is a huge hit with his corporate clients who pay thousands of dollars for an appearance. You can have the same awesome techniques in an E-book.