Really this kind of thing is Hypnosis 101, part of the fundamental programme on learning how to deliver hypnotic suggestions or communicate effectively for enhancing hypnosis. It is incredibly basic, and as with so many of the basic (and often most effective) stuff, it gets a tad neglected by professionals in the field.
I actually think it should be fundamental, and that’s because the processes I am writing about today are those that can be inherent throughout all you do – particularly with hypnosis.
When I write about or talk about chaining suggestions, I mean the process whereby you link a desired outcome (a direction that you’d like the client to go in, for example) to their current experience.
You are basically building a link, creating a chain, between what the client is doing at that moment and what you would like him/her to do. The basic way you do this is to suggest; “As you do A (current experience) you can start to do B (desired outcome).” – Rocket science.
You’ll notice that I have not written, “as you do A, you start to do B.” We sometimes suggest that you can start to do B, so as not giving the inclination that they must be doing it, simply that they can, and mostly will do so. It is not imperative to use this and sometimes, you may think it pertinent to be more direct, that is your choice. Our basic structure for this is then along the lines of “as you continue to listen to the sound of voice, so you can allow yourself to relax more.”
This notion of chaining suggestions features as far back as 1975 when Bandler and Grinder highlighted that there are 3 ways to do this kind of thing. They pointed out also, that this way of communicating paces and leads all in one go; the first half of the sentence paces the current experience, or as some might put it, is a ‘truism.’ Then the second half of the sentence leads them in the direction you’d like them to go. In our case here, that would be to enhance what you are doing therapeutically.
So of those 3 ways of doing this, the first is the simplest way and involves you using words like ‘and’ and ‘but.’
“You are sat in the chair and relaxing more”
“You are listening to me talking but also noticing your thoughts quietening.”
The second way of doing this tends to be stronger and uses connecting words such as ‘while,’ ‘during’ and of course ‘as.’
“As you notice yourself relaxing, you can go deeper”
“You can hear my voice while you accept the suggestions that are for your betterment”
Finally, there is the strongest use of this (according to many books and schools anyhow) because it is not just connecting the current experience and desired outcome, but it also suggests that one is causing the other to occur.
“Letting your breathing just happen naturally will make you go deeper inside”
“Closing your eyes will cause you to accept the suggestions I give (that are for your benefit)”
And so on…
I have purposely not used all the jargon to describe these notions, you only need bother knowing that things are called “simple conjunctions” or “implied causatives” if you are going to teach this stuff, but it does not really help people to use it all effectively. in fact, whereby aspects of the NLP and hypnosis language teachings are supposed to be helping simplify hypnotic communication, I tend to find the complex labels distract and confuse those wanting to use it and employ them… But that is a discussion for another day…
These types of suggestions given in or out of hypnosis, can subsequently be linked together one after the other to compound them, join them together and make them verge on being irresistible.
What this also does is enables us to offer up a smooth, flowing means of communication, should that be preferred and pertinent, rather than a disjointed or distracting one. It tends to be grammatically the kind of thing that would make your secondary school English teacher want to rap you across the knuckles with a ruler, but it lends itself to effective hypnotic communication and as i said, ought to be hypnosis 101 irrespective of the kind of training or background you come from as a hypnotherapy or hypnosis professional.