How does a hypnotic suggestion work in hypnosis?


Hypnosis has been studied by psychologists and scientists for years.

And it’s believed that hypnosis can help people heal from trauma or lose weight and even accomplish significant personality changes. 

But how does the hypnotic process do all of this? 

Knowing how hypnosis works could help you get the most out of your session because you’ll understand what the hypnotherapist is doing to help you with your issues.

The active component of a hypnotic session is the hypnotic suggestion.  

In hypnosis, suggestions are usually spoken to a person’s subconscious mind to initiate a positive change.  A hypnosis practitioner may use various techniques to make suggestions. 

They may also combine suggestions with certain words, sounds, gestures, and other communication patterns called “Gestalt.” 

A Gestalt is a combination of many related impressions acting as a single mental program.

There are also non-verbal cues like changes in speaking rate and pitch used to enhance the subject’s suggestibility.  

But hypnosis without the hypnotic suggestions is just a meditation exercise. The hypnosis suggestion is everything.

The anatomy of a hypnotic suggestion

A hypnotic suggestion is a carefully structured message that contains three components:

  • Positive expectancy,
  • Utilization of imagination
  • Specificity

Positive expectancy means that the subject must be made to feel that the suggested outcome is likely to happen if they follow the instructions laid out by the hypnosis practice.

Next is the utilization of imagination, and it is key to achieving positive expectancy.

The hypnotherapist will use your imagination to help you visualize how the ideal solution would feel.

Remember, your subconscious mind is operating power here and not the hypnotic suggestion.

Hypnotic suggestions are just empty programs until your subconscious powers up the suggestion.

All Hypnosis is Self Hypnosis

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Specificity is an essential part of a hypnotic suggestion as well.

Because a hypnotic suggestion needs to be as personal as possible, it can speak to the needs of that specific person.

Using words that mean something to you will help you feel the sensation more vividly and help achieve the desired effect.

So now that you have an idea of what goes into a suggestion, let’s look at how hypnotic suggestions are understood by the subconscious mind.

How your subconscious handles suggestions in hypnosis

The subconscious mind does not operate on logic and reasoning. It functions on your feelings, your belief, and repetition. And it doesn’t matter if the feelings and thoughts are real or not.

This is the crucial point to understand.

If your subconscious thinks what you’re doing is real, sooner or later, your hypnotic mind program will become real.

The goal then is to bypass the critical filtering conscious mind to get to the subconscious. You do this by engaging your imagination because that’s the realm of the subconscious.

Your subconscious will accept whatever you program it with so long as you can make it believe in what you’re doing.

This is why the most essential part of all hypnotic suggestions is positive expectancy.

If your subconscious thinks you’ll change then, it will do what it can to make the change happen. Your subconscious mind doesn’t have any vested interest in anything aside from your overall well-being.

But your subconscious will accept whatever believable suggestion you give it for good or ill.

Why Do Some Suggestions in Hypnosis fail?

The most frequent reason why your subconscious mind rejects a suggestion is an issue of belief.

If what you’re doing feels fake to your subconscious mind, the sessions will fail. It doesn’t matter how many times you repeat the suggestion. Your subconscious will reject your programming. 

Your subconscious mind will accept what you believe is real, but it’s hard-wired to reject what it feels that you feel is unrealistic.

This is not an impossible problem; you just have to sidestep any contradictions in predetermined beliefs.

Your subconscious accepts what you believe to be real so long as you think it is REAL

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It doesn’t matter if the images are authentic or not – it only matters if you feel them to be realistic and believable.

Suppose your subconscious mind establishes a belief in something. In that case, it will follow through on that belief regardless of any arguments from logic or reason.

How can we do that?

Your hypnotherapist may set up a scenario in which all aspects appear natural and then get you in agreement with what’s happening in the situation.

We’ll call this process “possibility thinking.” 

Where you may be asked to agree with some obvious agreeable ideas like 

“The sun will rise tomorrow morning.”

“You know you’re going to get up in the morning.”

“And you know you’re going to have to pay taxes for something.”

In hypnosis, this is called a Yes Series or Yes Set. The point is to get you in agreement with a few things you know are true.

Then the practitioner will end with the “suggestion” wording very similar to the Yes Set. 

This works because, as I said before, your subconscious does not reason.

It feels so as long as the suggestion does not conflict, and you accept it, so will your subconscious.      

And once you’ve gotten around your subconscious belief issues, your subconscious mind will accept whatever suggestion you give it.

Can you give yourself a post-hypnotic suggestion?

There is nothing to stop you from trying this at home. 

As a general rule, if you’re dedicated enough to implant a post-hypnotic suggestion every day, it will work for you.

But make sure you give yourself enough time and time to repeat the process over and over again.  

You must also be honest with yourself and decide as to what suggestion will work for you at the start. Your mindset has to be conducive for positive growth with the use of any hypnotic suggestion. 

You also need to be willing to follow best practices for hypnosis so that your subconscious will accept whatever suggestion it believes is real. 

This article has focused mainly on the parts that make up the suggestion side of hypnosis, but this is only half the story.

The rest is getting into hypnosis consistently, and that’s the area of Self-Hypnosis.   

So if you’re curious about self-hypnosis, and I’m assuming that you are. There’s no better, easier, or more “free” way to learn hypnosis than The Learn Hypnosis in 5 days course.

Give their classes a try. It won’t cost you anything, and the life skills you can pick up can be highly beneficial for you.

Even if you decide to just look in the mirror and recite affirmations to yourself, which does work. 

But it works so much better if you put yourself into hypnosis

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The reason for this is, as I mentioned before that your subconscious does not reason.

It doesn’t know logic or reason; it follows and trusts whatever you believe is real. 

That’s what makes hypnosis and self-hypnosis so effective. 

Because you can suspend disbelief just long enough to communicate directly with your subconscious mind. 

And as long as you know how to implant the suggestion, your subconscious mind will act on it. 

And yes, you can learn how to change your mind, your behavior patterns, and even your world with hypnotic suggestions. 

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