Conversational hypnosis refers to the technique of communicating directly with someone’s subconscious mind. Not only is this possible without the person being aware that they are being hypnotised but skilled conversational hypnotists can do it simply by having, what appears to be, a quick chat with the person.
This extremely powerful technique is used by countless professional in a variety of settings around the world. It enables the hypnotist to implant suggestions in a person’s mind which are aimed at behaviour modification. Stage hypnotists may use this technique to elicit unusual reactions to situations for humorous effect; people with questionable morality, unfortunately, use these techniques for criminal or sordid reasons. However conversational hypnosis is also widely used to treat many different psychological disorders or to work with an individual to overcome problematic behaviours.
By using a particular combination of gestures, tone of voice, facial expressions and phrases the conversational hypnotist is able to place the subject in an incredibly suggestible, trance like state. This ‘open trance’ allows the conversational hypnotist to effectively talk directly to the person’s subconscious mind. They can implant thoughts and triggers that will cause the subject to behave in different way. The subject remains entirely conscious throughout the process and, because the control dialogue is with the subconscious of the subject, they not only fail to recognise the act of hypnotism but also consider resultant behaviour changes, or the restructuring of thoughts and opinions, to be entirely their own idea. Consequently, as the subject does not question why their behaviour or conceptualisation has changed, the effects of conversational hypnosis, in terms of its ability to modify problematic behaviours, has been clinically proven to be far more profound and long lasting than with other, equivalent therapies.
Another advantage of the subconscious dialogue is that it does not rely upon a clinical setting in order to work properly. The traditional image of the hypnotherapists couch, swinging watches and telling people they feel sleepy does not apply to conversational hypnosis. This means that skilled conversational hypnotists can work with the subject anywhere they chose. From a practical point of view this has the added advantage of enabling the subject to chose a venue for treatment that puts them most at ease. This is an important element when you are trying to hypnotise someone. The more relaxed a person, the more likely they are to engage subconsciously with the process. Should the subject become defensive, feel threatened or challenged then the ‘open trance’ invariably collapses. The conversational hypnotist then needs to rebuild that trustful environment in order to restart the process. Therefore, being able to talk to the subject in an environment that puts them most at ease is beneficial.
Furthermore, despite popular myth, it is not really possible to make a person do something which they are strongly opposed to doing through conversational hypnosis. For example, if a person has a deeply held religious or moral belief then it would be extremely difficult for most conversational hypnotists to instigate a behaviour change which contradicts those beliefs. When we act we always do so within the boundaries of our own belief systems. We quickly question any behaviour which is at odds with our beliefs. This is more commonly known as guilt.
Highly skilled conversational hypnotists can get people to do some pretty odd things for the amusement of others, but when conversational hypnotherapists. such as Ericksonian hypnotherapists, are concerned with long term behaviour modification, such as the cessation of addictions or anti social behaviours, then they need to work within the parameters of the subjects belief structures. However this does not mean that significant change is not possible. The skilled conversational hypnotist will seek to identify the subjects ethical stance before they attempt to use the ‘open trance’ to implant suggestions in the subjects subconscious.
So it is clear that subconscious dialogue through conversational hypnosis is both possible and highly effective for some long term behaviour modification. However there are also a number of other factors to consider for realisation of the full benefits of conversational hypnosis.