The Stages of Induction & Trance Development


Focus of attention: This is the starting place for the induction of hypnosis. In past times, hypnotists would get the subject’s attention by swinging a pocket watch, or with commands such as ‘'look into my eyes’' - just like Kenny the Hypnotist on the TV show “Little Britain”. The whole point of this is to narrow attention: where the eyes go, attention usually follows.

In most cases, focused attention will lead to bodily relaxation as the subject’s autonomic nervous system eases into a relaxed, parasympathetic response.

Your client’s attention can be focused on anything: anything inside the room - the chair, their clothing, the cool air of an air conditioner, a spot on the wall; sounds inside or outside; even the feeling of pain if the person is seeing you for pain management.

It can often be a good idea to move from an external (that is, external to the client) focus towards internal feelings, such as “the beginnings of comfort that may start to spread …” (this is a suggestion). So thus, you can lead the person from an external focus like a spot on the wall, towards something completely different, such as the feeling of their hand relaxing. Leading your client’s attention this way will facilitate a state where the conscious mind ‘gives up’, and the person becomes hypnotised.

Then you deepen and ratify the trance, remembering to maintain the trance by occasional repetitive suggestions of comfort, and presenting the appropriate therapeutic suggestions. You could even introduce a therapeutic metaphor, or send the unconscious mind on a journey to discover means of dealing with particular situations. Incorporate post-hypnotic suggestion for future induction and move on to terminate the trance.


1. Rapport is gained and established.

2. The subject is assisted to narrow their focus of attention.

3. The hypnotist verbalises the subject’s experience as suggestion – intensifying their involvement in their perceptions (pacing and leading).

4. Physiological changes become evident – feed these changes back to the subject.

5. Introduction of ratification* as a means of the subject becoming open to new frames of reference or positive outcomes. This also acts as a testing mechanism of trance development.

6. The hypnotist delivers ideas and suggestions consolidating new developing perspectives – which in turn promotes unconscious search – for personal adaptation and meaning. The subject will likely experience this change as occurring autonomously.

7. Trance termination with strong post hypnotic conditioning.

*REMINDER: Ratification is a means of validating the subject’s hypnotic state because the subject cannot find a rational reason for the hypnotic phenomena. Ratification and hypnotic phenomena will be explored further and in more depth as more experience is gained.


The following demonstration of a trance induction uses "fractionation" (the suggestion to open and close the subject's eyes) as a means to deepen the trance state. This also provides an opportunity for the hypnotist to observe their subject's eyes (David refers to this as "eye signs" - this is referenced later in the Module, the eyes are generally observable as glazed and unfocused in a person in the trance state).

Complete and Continue