I hear from hypnotists that they really want to master hypnotic convincers. They wonder if at every session they should be doing an eye-lock test or using waking hypnosis techniques before a session such as “sticky hands” or something. All of this makes me ask the question: What is it you are trying to convince them of? And if you are trying to convince them of something, aren’t you setting up a win/lose proposition?
For many years I ran the Tulsa Hypnosis Center (I now live in Las Vegas). It had a big sign right on the main road with my phone number. I ran ads for the Tulsa Hypnosis Center offering hypnosis in both the paper and on the radio. The people who called me knew they were calling an hypnotist to inquire about hypnosis. We call this a “self-selecting” audience. My assumption when they cane to my office was that they knew what I offered (hypnosis) and wanted what I offered (hypnosis). And so I felt no need to “convince” them of anything in my pre-talk.
Of course, I answered questions when they got to my office, and occasionally did use classic convincers as demonstration when the questions they had warranted it – but my assumption was not that they needed convincing, but that they were already convinced!
This one change in presuppositions increases hypnotist confidence, and rules out the need for “party tricks” like an eye lock with most clients. (The eye lock in interesting, in many clients it can cause anxiety, to this day I will never understand why this is a preferred convincer when so many others are available.)
When you have a new client in your office answer their questions, demonstrate what needs demonstration, by change your presupposition from the client needs convincing, to one that believes the client wants what you have. In our pre-talk we do not need to address every myth about hypnosis, just answer the questions they bring to us. I have heard many pretalks, both on stage and in the office, that brought fears to the session that clients never brought to the office with them. There is no need to defend hypnosis to a self-selecting audience.
“But what about those who are resistant or don’t want to be hypnotized because of their fears?” Guess what? They are not going to call you! That is not who is making appointments! There is no need to convince clients trance exists, or hypnosis is “real” or that you won’t hurt them if you are working with a self-selecting clientele.
How do I used convincers? Not to convince people of anything. I use them to demonstrate how the mind works. I do use the lemon drop convincer, to help weight loss or pain control clients understand how the physical body responds to mental suggestion. But I am not doing it to convince people of anything. I do use a hand lock in the middle of my induction, so people have a sense of experiential change, but it is not to convince them of anything.
Assume your clients want what you offer, and until they tell you otherwise, assume they are comfortable working with you and being guided into the resource state of hypnosis. If they need convincing, they really weren’t going to show up for their session anyway.