Throughout the years of being a hypnotherapist and being involved in the field of hypnosis, I have encountered a lot of practitioners who know how to perform a variety of hypnotic techniques incredibly well.

Today though, I’d like to make a distinction between those who ‘do’ hypnosis and those who ‘behave’ hypnotically.

I wrote a while ago about those hypnotherapists who read scripts and I gave my opinion about them being rather impersonal and distracting. They may well be doing hypnosis according to the script, though some may not consider that they are being hypnotic. Of course, those reading scripts, may well be being hypnotic, I am not suggesting it is black and white.

My own take and experience on being hypnotic is whereby the hypnotherapist or hypnotist fully engages the client, tunes in to them well and connects with the client. Not only are suggestions likely to be more readily accepted but you are what you do is far more difficult to ignore or avoid if it is relevant, absorbing and connected with the client.

When I think about famous characters and heroes that have almost beguiled me in my lifetime, I think of Billy Connolly, Brian Clough, Mick Jagger and Nelson Mandela – these are people that you can’t take your eyes off. I have friends that I spend time with socially that capture the attention of those around them too. The qualities they have are all different and varying, but that quality is engaging and some might say, hypnotic.

As hypnotherapists, when are we hypnotic? Have you noticed occasions when your clients seem riveted and truly engaged in the therapeutic process?

In the field of hypnosis, I think there is a distinction between running through a process in an arbitrary manner with no real depth of meaning to the client (such as a deepener whereby the hypnotherapist counts downwards with little meaning) and a potentially more stimulating process where you have used the symbols, language and association that the client has given you, where you have acknowledged their individuality and catered for who and how they are.

The work of more indirect hypnotists such as Rossi in 1980 (in his collected papers of Milton H Erickson) and Zeig in 2001 (in his Handbook of Ericksonian psychotherapy) tend to favour this type of notion.

I think being hypnotic means that you engage those that you work with purposefully and use your own craft and experience intelligently and sensitively, and also shows that we are aware of how we ensure that we (as hypnotherapists) strive to be engaging.

When we consider being evidence based as hypnotherapists, we can still adhere to the structures of those interventions proven to be effective and work, just also consider how we connect with our clients whilst doing so.