Conversational Hypnosis – How Do Subliminal Messages Work?

Conversational hypnosis has become something of a hot topic, not only in hypnosis/hypnotherapy circles but also among people interested in self help and self empowerment generally. There have also been indications that sales departments in some major companies have expressed an interest in providing some of their top sales staff with training in conversational hypnosis techniques.

There has also been an upsurge of interest in the subject coming from individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds interested in learning and practicing the techniques involved in order to elevate their social and economic circumstances.

While some will indeed be successful in using it to help achieve their aims, others will not, which leaves the question about the effectiveness of conversational hypnosis unanswered, or at least not answered definitively.

This is because conversational/covert hypnosis is both an art and a science, and mastery of it is not something that can be acquired overnight – as would be the case with anything truly empowering – and so therefore requires study and understanding of theory and then lots of actual practice.

Having said that, any person who had taken the time and made the effort to learn and practice it and who had got it down to a fine art would be a highly persuasive and by definition successful individual.

The original founder or creator of the covert hypnosis technique was Milton Hyland Erickson (1901-1980), a well known and respected hypnotherapist. Erickson had noted that trance states – albeit very light ones – occurred spontaneously in the mind at least several times every day, when, for example, while performing some automatic and routine task your mind is effectively “elsewhere”, when “you” are to all intents and purposes “elsewhere”.

Erickson had observed that some of his patients had – to a greater or lesser degree – an inbuilt resistance to allowing themselves to be put under hypnosis, and this was reducing the benefit that they were getting from the hypnotherapy.

He began to experiment with ways of overcoming this, and discovered that during these spontaneous light trance states, when a patient was momentarily mentally distracted and “elsewhere”, certain suggestions could be put to them in a certain way which would – because of their being “distracted” – have the effect of bypassing their conscious resistance and thus have a direct impact or influence on the subconscious, thereby causing them to act on or obey the suggestion put to them.

As he began to develop and refine this technique, Erickson also eventually noticed that in many of these instances, patients would believe that their responses to the suggestions put to them had come purely from their own conscious minds, when they had in fact come from Erickson himself.

Erickson went on to focus much of his research and work on this technique, eventually developing a system or technique of using “embedded commands” which grew into and became the conversational hypnosis technique referred to today.

There is much speculation – though no documented evidence to prove it – that some politicians have had secret expert training in covert hypnosis methods. It is however safe to assume that the subject has been studied in depth and more than likely utilized in some form or other by the various psy ops organizations around the world.

Stage hypnosis is another field which has a natural synergy with conversational hypnosis. The conventional or traditional hypnosis setting with hypnotist encouraging patient to relax and then putting them into trance wouldn’t really work effectively as stage entertainment, so stage hypnotists have always been on the look out for methods and means of inducing deep trance quickly and effectively.

Of course the fact that the audience members are ready and willing to be hypnotized makes it much easier for the stage hypnotist, but it remains the case that a certain type of methodology and skill related to conversational hypnosis is required to be able to put people into trance quickly and then have them act on the most ridiculous and sometimes humiliating suggestions.

Conversational/covert hypnosis involves a combination of conventional hypnotic technique, elements of neurolinguistic programming (NLP), and the subtle use of certain voice tonalities and widely recognized body language and verbal communication techniques. The end result – after study and practice – is the acquisition of a potentially life-changing and highly empowering skill.