Initial Hypnotherapy Session

Pre-talk and Induction Protocol

Chaplain Paul G. Durbin, Ph.D.

Durbin prepares for a demonstration of initial session with Erik & Monica at IHHF.

The Initial Hypnosis Session: (Sessions are tailored based upon the reason for therapy.) The beginning of the hypnotic session starts with a call for an appointment. How the client feels about that first phone call may determine whether or not the person requests an appointment with you for hypnotherapy. If you have a secretary, the secretary should answer the phone by stating the name of your business, the secretary's name and "May I help you." When the secretary has received the intention of the call, she sets up an appointment or if appropriate turn the call over to you. With the information received from the secretary, you answer by repeating your name and title. I usually say, "This is Chaplain Durbin, I understand that you are interested in ...."

The hypnotherapist and office staff should be dressed in a professional manner. How you dress sends a message. I personally believe that a male therapist should wear a tie or banded collar (clergy may use clergy collar) with or without a coat. The therapist should display a sense of confidence without being arrogant. Diplomas, certification, and award plaques displayed on the wall indicates your professional qualification.

When the client arrives, have the client fill out a Client Information Form and the Suggestibility Questionnaire (Copies of Client Information, Suggestibility Questionnaire, and Scoring Sheet.) follows this protocol paper. As an introduction to the "Suggestibility Questionnaire", I tell the client that the questionnaire is a communication tool and not a psychological questionnaire so they do not need to worry about contradicting themselves while taking the questionnaire. The questionnaire is used to determine if a client will respond better to direct or indirect suggestions.

Other than my own, I have three chairs in my office: two straight chairs with arms and a recliner. The straight chairs are padded and comfortable. When the client comes in, I ask him/her to sit in the chair directly in front of my desk. While he/she is sitting in chair number one, we discuss the presenting problem and any other areas that may be important to the counseling session and after the induction, I have client move to a recliner.


The purpose the pre-talk is five fold:

1. To establish the purpose of the visit and determine the therapeutic objectives and to get to know the client and to determine the client's communication and learning system.

2. To discuss what hypnosis is and is not to include the elimination of fears and misconceptions the client may have about hypnosis.

3. To learn the client's motivation so that you can formulate effective suggestions.

4. To prepare the client for the induction through suggestibility exercises.

5. Induction and therapy.

As you are here to use hypnosis for , I would like to go over with you what hypnosis is, what it is not, and how I believe it can be helpful to you.

When we hear the word "hypnosis" we have a mental picture of what hypnosis is. Quite often our understanding of hypnosis is based upon the performance of a stage hypnotist or a movie we have seen or a novel we have read. Clinical hypnosis is quite different from that of the stage hypnotist or the image of hypnosis as presented in movies or novels.

Hypnosis is a normal natural experience. Everyone goes into the hypnotic state anywhere from one to many times a day. It is like watching television and becoming so interested in the program, that someone can talk to us, but it just does not register. Has that ever happened to you? Hypnosis is similar to traveling to a place you have been before, but your mind is on something else and without realizing it you find yourself two or three blocks passed where you wanted to go. Even though you are not paying attention to where you are geographically, you are driving safely. Your subconscious mind is protecting you, because you are keeping a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you and you are subconsciously paying attention to the oncoming traffic.

Your subconscious mind will also protect you when you are in hypnosis for you will not do anything that is against your personal or moral convictions. If a suggestion were given that was against your personal or moral convictions, you would either not follow the suggestion or you would come out of hypnosis. You are in control. The hypnotist is only a guide.

Everyone goes into a hypnotic state during that time-frame just before you go to sleep at night. That time-frame when you can hear everything that is going on, but feels so relaxed and peaceful. That is an natural state of hypnosis and the brainwaves of the time is just like the brainwaves when you are an induced state the hypnosis. What I do is to help you go into that state and maintain if so that you do not go to sleep, because once you are asleep, you are no longer in the hypnotic state. Some people believe that when you are hypnotized that you are unconscious, but such is not the case. You will hear everything I say and you will remember much of what I say.

Just a little about how hypnosis works. Though we only have one mind, our mind is made up of two parts. We have a conscious part which consists of about 10% of our thinking power and a subconscious part which consists of about 90% of our thinking power. It is kind of like an iceberg: only a small portion of the iceberg is above the water (our conscious mind) while the great majority of the iceberg is below the surface of the water (subconscious mind).

The conscious mind is the logical two plus two is four part of our mind. The subconscious mind is not logical. It has two purposes. It controls our breathing, pulse rate, blood pressure, heart beat, etc. and it seeks to meet our deepest needs, expectations and desires. For instance, if a person wants to stop smoking, the conscious mind says "stop smoking", but the subconscious, "How are you going to make it through the day without a cigarette?" If 10% of your mind is telling you to stop and 90% is telling you to pick up another cigarette, what happens is you light a cigarette. Anything that we have developed into a habit, the subconscious mind believes we need to continue that habit for our well-being. That is why it is so hard to stop smoking or overcome other problems by conscious decision alone. With hypnosis, you reprogram your subconscious mind so that it assists you instead of blocking change in your life.

This experience of hypnosis allows you to relax. In the process, tensions and pressures of the day will start to disappear. As you relax, many thoughts may pass through your mind, but that is okay. You may feel comfortably light or pleasantly heavy and there may be some tingling in various areas of your body. You are aware of being very relaxed and comfortable so that you are more likely to follow suggestion than at other times. The mind has what is called a "critical faculty". When under hypnosis, the "critical faculty" is bypassed and instead of evaluating the suggestion, the mind lets it go directly into the subconscious. When the subconscious accepts the suggestion, it begins to work to make it a reality.

In order to reinforce suggestion, I will teach you self hypnosis. When practicing self hypnosis, suggestions should be stated in positive statements instead of negative because the subconscious mind understands positive statements better than negative ones. Repeat the suggestion; repeating the suggestion intensifies the suggestion and in doing so, you increase the effectiveness of the suggestion. The use of visual imagery will add to the success of the suggestion for visualization provides the subconscious a model to attain. To come out of hypnosis, you say to yourself that you come out of hypnosis at the count of three. Do you have any questions? (If so I will discuss them with the client)

When we have completed the discussion period, I go through some suggestibility exercise to determine the client's response to suggestion and to determine the types of suggestion which will be most effective with the client.

TASTE THE LEMON: Please close your eyes and use your imagination; imagine that I have a lemon in my hand. Can you visualize that lemon, you can get a mental picture of the lemon. If you can mentally picture the lemon, you are a visual If you can=t visualize the lemon, you can imagine a lemon even though you cannot get an actual mental picture of it. If you were at a fruit stand and wanted to buy a lemon, you would know exactly what to look for. You would not have to ask, "Can someone show me a lemon?" So there is a mental imagine of a lemon even though you can=t get a mental picture of the lemon. You are an imagery person.

Imagine that I have a lemon in my hand and I am cutting the lemon in half. It is a very juicy, sour lemon, so as I cut it, the juice sprays from side to side. I give you half the lemon. Now imagine holding the half of lemon in your hand. Feel the texture of the lemon, imagine the juice sparkling on the meat of the lemon perhaps a scent of the lemon. Now bring that juicy, sour lemon to your lips and began to lick it with your tongue. Taste that juicy sour lemon. Taste the juicy sour lemon and as you do, does your month water more than it was before or perhaps you can even taste the lemon.

HAND HEAVY, HAND LIGHT: Put your arms straight out in front of you. Close your eyes. I choose a hand to turn palm up. Imagine that I am placing a heavy book, say a large unabridged dictionary in the hand with the palm up. (Just lightly touch the palm of that hand.) On the other wrist I am placing a wide comfortable bracelet and to the bracelet is tied a string attached to a helium gas balloon which is lighter than air. Your balloon is large but it can be any color you want it to be, just imagine it in your mind's eye. The hand with the balloon attached just wants to float upward for the balloon is pulling your hand into the air. The big book is getting heavier and heavier. It is pushing your hand downward. The book is becoming heavier and heavier. It is getting harder and harder for you to hold up that heavy book. The balloon is so light that your other hand is floating upward... As your (hand with book for now right hand) right hand gets heavier and heavier and goes down, you go deeper and deeper. (Repeat a few times) When your hand touches your (lap or my hand depending on how fast the hand is moving down), you will go into a pleasant state of hypnosis similar to that state just before you go to sleep when you can hear everything, but feel so relaxed and peaceful. Going deeper and deeper as the hand goes down, down. (When hand reaches the lap or hand as suggested, I tape forehead slightly and say "deeper and deeper") I then say (unless client wares contact lens) "Your eyes are sticking tightly together so tight, so tight that you can not open them. The more you try the tighter they stick so quite trying."  (If client opens eyes, I say "See I told you that you were in control and would not do anything that you did not want to do, but you do want to [name what they are working on]."

When the induction is completed, I ask the client to open his/her eyes but remain in hypnosis and move to the recliner. I suggest that when he/she closes her eyes, he/she will go twice as deep into this peaceful state of hypnosis.

TRIGGER MECHANISM: I am going to give you a "trigger mechanism" for going quickly, soundly deeper into the hypnotic state whenever you want to and only when you want to. Whenever you want to go into a hypnotic state find a comfortable place to set down or lie down, close your eyes and take three deep breaths and then silently count from one to five and say deeper and deeper. That is your trigger mechanism for going quickly, soundly, deeply into the hypnotic state whenever you want to and only when you want to. You will find the same instructions on the tape that I gave you, but if you are listening to the tape and the phone should ring or something else should demand your attention, you will come out of the hypnotic state and respond appropriately, just as you would if your were watching TV. Now at my directions, I want you to take three deep breaths and then count from one to five and say deeper and deeper. Breath at my direction and I say breath in, take a good deep breath and when I say breath out, exhale. "Breath in relaxation, exhale tension. Breath in relaxation, peace and comfort; exhale tensions, anxiety and fear. Breath in relaxation, exhale tension. Now count from one to five and say deeper and deeper. That is you trigger mechanism for going quickly, soundly, deeply into the hypnotic state whenever you want to and only when you want to."

When you begin the relaxation experience, select: Visualize a place where you like to relax - maybe a beach, a room in your home, anywhere you want. In whatever place you choose, imagine or visualization all the thing you would normally see at your favorite place. Imagine or visualization all the thing you would normally hear in your favorite place Imagine or visualization the feelings you normally experience in your favorite place. Now in your imagination lay down on a comfortable blanket, bed or chair and began to relax from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. First make a tight fist, tight enough to feel a little discomfort and now began to relax your hand and let you conscious and subconscious mind record what it feel like to relax. Now began all the muscles of my body. . . starting with the top of your head to bottom of your feet. The tension is going to flow out of your body as water flows down a river. The muscles of your scalp are beginning to relax and as your scape relaxes, you may experience a slight tingling sensation. Some people do, some don=t, either is normal and natural. Now allow the forehead to relax, letting to go of all the little frown lines, all the little worry lines. Letting the eye leads relax to the point that they want to remain shut for the time being. Continue mentioning various parts of the body to relax to the bottom of the feet. When that is completed, say going deeper and deeper with each breath your take with each sound that you hear.

As I count backwards from 9 to 1 the deeper you go, as deep as you need to go for the success of this session. You are now drifting into a restful, pleasant state of hypnosis. As I count backwards from 9 to 1, you go deeper and deeper into the hypnotic state. As deep as you need to go for the benefit of this session. 9, 8, 7, deeper and deeper", 6, 5, 4, down, down, down, I go, .3, 2, 1, deeper and deeper..."

Following the deepening procedures, I proceeded with hypnotherapy. (It has been my policy to teach relaxation, imagery, and self-hypnosis to people with whom I use hypnosis. I believe that this helps the patient to be more independent and gives them the message that they have an influence over their life and health.)