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Deepening Techniques

Deepening Techniques
Whatever style of induction you are using, there are several tech-
niques that will assist you in leading your client deeper into
trance. The first is direct or indirect suggestion.
Your suggestion may be connected with a physical cue: “Each time
I touch your forehead, notice that you can go even deeper. (Touch
forehead.) Go even deeper now.” Or it may be connected with the
client’s own physiology: “With every breath you take, you may
find a sense of the deepening relaxation that can take you deeper
into trance.”
Your suggestion can take the form of a deepening image: “Can you
imagine walking down a long stairway, going ten floors down,
with ten steps for each floor, and as you do, go deep in trance.
With each step you take, go deeper. Step I… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6…
7.. . 8.. . 9.. . 10.. . and now you are at the first landing on your way
down … deep down. And now again, Step 1… 2… etc.” To take
your client down in comfort and style, you could decide to use an
escalator or an elevator.
In Chapter 13, we discussed using embedded metaphors to lead a
client into trance. Embedded metaphors can also be used to
deepen a trance that has already begun. The more levels of
metaphor you embed, the deeper the trance will become. (There
seems to be a point of diminishing returns after 12 or so embedded
The most profound way to deepen trance is by repeated induc-
tion. In very early research on hypnotism in the late 1900 s,
Hippolyte Bernheim found that when a client reached a certain
level of trance during the first visit, they would go to a deeper
level when they came back the next week, and a still deeper level
during the third visit (Suggestive Therapeutics, 1889). His observa-
tion was that the more often a client was hypnotized, the deeper
they would go.
Erickson and Elman later pointed out that the repeated inductions
do not need to be spread over a series of separate sessions. Within
one session, they could lead the client to a very deep level by
taking them into and out of trance repeatedly, achieving a deeper
level each time. The process of achieving deeper levels through
repeated inductions is calledfiactionation.

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