The Deeper Deeper Game

If they turned out doctors the way they turned out hypnotists, people would die like flies.

Most hypnotists don’t know that they don’t know.

It goes back to a classic debate on the style of hypnosis.

There is the direct authoritarian style hypnosis. “You will go deeply into a trance.”

Or there is the Ericksonian permissive style, “I’m curious if you are comfortable enough to allow your eyes to close.”

Well, which gets better results?

At best, 20% of the population responds to direct suggestion. That means if you use direct hypnosis, 80% of the population is going to show no results – other than getting annoyed.

The Ericksonian permissive style allows you – as Erickson said – to do something new with every patient you meet.

My teacher Dave Dobson used to say when you are doing hypnosis, there is an amazing feedback device in front of you. It’s called a client.

Yet most people who do direct hypnosis don’t pay any attention to the client.

What do they pay attention to? Their script!

When I opening my hypnosis office, I interviewed a lot of hypnotists. My interview was to put them in the room with a volunteer client and watch them on closed-circuit camera.

One lady came into the room, found out the client wanted to lose weight, didn’t bother to ask any questions, went out of the room to her car to get her script, and read it to the patient.

When I asked, why didn’t you look at the patient she answered, “I didn’t need to. I had the script in front of me.”

Other people play the deeper deeper game.

In this game, they are concerned about how deep the patient goes.

Depth of trance has nothing to do with the EFFECTIVENESS of trance.

In an Erickson video featuring “Monde” Erickson has her age-regreess with her eyes wide open. She also demonstrates positive hallucinations.

Good hypnosis has nothing to do with “deeper deeper.” It has to do with matching the suggestion to the client.

What do you think? Share your thoughts below.


  1. There is no hypnosis — everything is hypnosis.
    If they just want “deeper” then drop them in the ocean.

    The important question is what are you going to do with their attention? Waste it reading or help them get what they want.

    This is why I am not a hypnotist — I just elicit behaviors.

  2. Good one Wayne!

  3. A professional hypnotist usually doesn’t use hypnosis scripts during sessions, rather dynamically build on scripts initially used to learn the trade. This should especially be true in conversational hypnosis!

    Sounds like a type of hypnosis scripts McDonalds to me!

  4. I studied with a hypnotist I deeply admire, Gil Boyne.

    Gill told his students, they really needed to handle their “stuff” before they could be effective. Too many hypnotists need good hypnotherapy. That might also be a reason why they don’t notice their clients.

    Milton Erickson was THE master for sure!

  5. I compeletely agree with Harlan and Stephen. My core training is a 4 year person-centered psychotherapy training where I also had to undertake 100 hours minimum of personal therapy as well as group therapy. The more we handle our own ‘stuff’, the more effective we are as therapists. I later did an 8 month diploma (8 weekends) in clinical hypnotherapy where my peers were then let loose on clients without doing any personal hypnotherapy. Would you trust a Doctor with your medical issues who trained over 6 to 8 weekends? I doubt it. So the same should be applied to hypnotherapy. Your client is the feedback tool. People are as individual as a thumbprint and should be treated as such.

  6. Can’t wait until I see some of YOUR DVDs Sharon… Wink Wink.

  7. No PRESSURE eh Harlan? 😉 Time to bite the bullet! (*Inhales deeply*).

  8. As Erickson said one should not concern themselves with this business of the depth of trance as it isn’t about the Deep Trance or the Light Trance but the Right Trance right now for the client. That’s Right…

  9. I’ve been meaning to ask whether you have that video of Monde and Nick. (I was going to send it to you.)

    … but I guess this post answers that question.

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