Signs of Hypnosis
New clients often ask me “how will you know I’m in hypnosis?” or “how will you know I’m not asleep.” As a hypnotherapist good observation skills are essential and integral to my work; the whole time I’m working with a client I’ll observe for visual feedback, checking how they’re responding.
There are various signs that someone is responding well to hypnosis. One of the most easily observable signs is eyelid fluttering. Sometimes this is really quite obvious, but can be very subtle. Breathing rate also slows down and deepens – this is often most noticeable in anxious clients who were taking shallow breaths from the upper chest prior to hypnosis. Facial muscles generally soften and relax, the jaw may hang lower than usual – sometimes a change in skin colour is also evident. As the neck muscles soften and relax, the head may flop forward, or to one side – though I’ll try to correct this with verbal guidance to avoid discomfort.
As the session progresses and I ask you to imagine various scenarios, I can usually recognise your engagement through subtle changes in facial expression, facial tone, eye movements (even though your eyes remain closed throughout) and sometimes, but not always, subtle body movements as well. Occasionally however it’s more difficult to know if the client has fallen asleep – especially if someone goes into a very deep state. On these occasions I’ll check in with the client to make sure they’re still with me, and ask them to indicate that they’re still following my guidance. After all, it’s not really very helpful if clients fall asleep in sessions – unless that’s what they really need.
In the early stages of hypnotherapy I’ll feed back signs of hypnosis I notice – so that you can notice too! There’s usually lots of other things going on internally as well, which I’m not necessarily aware of, so I’ll suggest that you notice these too. For example, things like change in heart rate, swallowing rate and digestion, tingling sensations, feelings of lightness or heaviness. I hope that’s clarified how a hypnotherapist will know you’re in hypnosis. Any questions, please feel free to ask. Read more frequently asked questions in Hypnosis Facts and About Hypnotherapy.