Rapid hypnosis: the handshake interrupt technique

Here’s a new hypnosis video on my not-so-frequently-updated blog. It was filmed at an NLP Master Practitioner training I was teaching at, and a student asked me if I could quickly demonstrate “the handshake interrupt”.

The handshake interrupt is a rapid hypnosis induction created by Richard Bandler, the co-founder of NLP. The technique involves interrupting a normal handshake, and thereby inducing a moment of confusion in someone, so that they don’t quite know how to respond. You can then utilise this momentary “huh?” response to lead them into hypnosis.

However, because it’s such an odd, “martial arts-like” manoeuvre, I find students rarely put it to practical use outside of hypnosis seminars. After all, it’s pretty rude to suddenly grab a stranger’s arm when they’re just trying to say hello to you!

This video demonstrates a method I use to segue into this technique conversationally, which I find makes it much easier to use with clients, and anyone who wants to experience “instant hypnosis”.

If you’re new to hypnosis, just notice how “the magic” is not in the handshake interrupt itself, but in how I begin by building expectation in the student, and how I make use of her momentary confusion to create a full hypnotic response.

At the end of the clip, you can see from the student’s astonishment what an impact the arm levitation made on her. Evoking hypnotic phenomena is a great way to let people know that they are genuinely in an altered state of consciousness, and that they aren’t just pretending.

If you’re more experienced at inducing hypnosis, notice how I seed the idea of automatic, ideomotor movement before I begin the induction, and how I utilise the arm catalepsy by attaching it to feelings of enthusiasm.

Even though I am apparently only talking to the student, the suggestions for enthusiasm (e.g. “let’s do this”) are something I am indirectly communicating to everyone in the room, in preparation for the exercise they are about to do.

I hope you found some food for thought in all the above, and there’ll be more to come next week.

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Joe Kao DHypPsych(UK)

To book a hypnotherapy session with me in Cambridge (UK) or over Skype, please visit JoeKao.com

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