Last night was another hypnosis geek dinner here in Bournemouth whereby we enjoyed our private dining room at a hotel, ate, drank, debated topics of and around hypnosis and therapy, and got to share some demonstrations. There was great company, top debate and a thoroughly enjoyable evening for us lovers of all things hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Plus, I had a couple of gin and tonics, which is always a good thing in my book…

Last night, there was the science versus art in hypnosis debate and we really got under the skin of the subject. Within there somewhere, a hypnosis performer (i.e. Not a hypnotherapist) asked the group if they tested clients to see if the individual was truly hypnotised.

Not many hypnotherapists did so formally it seemed. many of our techniques and strategies include some testing, some forms of induction have innate tests within them and most of the good therapeutic interventions should be tested for efficacy and with the client to check that the therapeutic intervention is having a progressive and beneficial effect upon the client.

It was not discussed much further because it would have gone off the track of what we were discussing centrally, but it did get me thinking.

Lots of people who work with hypnosis professionally, especially hypnotherapists will encounter clients who perhaps need some proof that they are hypnotised. I can remember in my early years in the field working with clients, I could see that an individual was beautifully hypnotised, but they may not really know and often would question whether they were or not.

This is dealt with by creating the correct expectations, educating before hand and ensuring the individual understands what hypnosis is and even perhaps explaining some common misconceptions and realities about what the hypnosis experience is and is not.

However, we can still offer up some evidence to the client to help them feel assured and convinced that something is happening, which in turn is going to help enhance the results we get with the hypnotherapy interventions we go on to use. And we do that with ratification.

Hypnotic ratification is whereby the hypnotist or hypnotherapist provides the client with some kind of convincer, or points out some part of their experience that is evidence that are hypnotised. As I said, even some of the greatest hypnotic subjects are unsure if they have been hypnotised until they get some sort of ratification.

The notion of ratification is a very simple one, yet it does tend to get overlooked, as with so many of the simple notions that I write about here. When certain phenomena naturally occurs in a hypnotised individual, or if hypnotic ‘phenomena’ is elicited by the hypnotist/hypnotherapist then the client can realise that they are doings things well, correctly, and even believe more deeply in the process they are engaged in as well as believing in their own abilities more – important for aiding therapeutic results with the use of hypnosis.

ratification can be as simple as spotting certain things happening within the individual and feeding them back to the client. In a brief demonstration I gave at last night’s dinner, the lady I was working with had fluttering eyelids and had the odd twitch in her fingers and the pace of her breathing changed, along with the pallor of her skin – all things I fed back to her to show her something different was occurring.

Additionally though, we can also induce certain phenomenon to give people more ready evidence that they are capable of more than they though with the aid of hypnosis. I have known hypnotherapists who have given their clients anaesthesia and analgesia in an arm and put a clamp on the arm without any pain or discomfort felt, to show the client what they can do when hypnosis is employed. The client may have come in for letting go of a phobia, but is now convinced of the amazing benefits of hypnosis and assured that it will help them.

The hypnotist may even use the experience within his suggestions to state that as they have now witnessed the amazing power of their mind with the aid of hypnosis, they are now finding it easier to let go of their phobia in line with the other specific interventions that are coming up – promote the upcoming interventions by building on the success of the convincer.

Lots of performance hypnotists use testing as an indicator to the individual – often with getting hands stuck to tables, their knee or through amnesia of numbers or their name. Many of which may not be pertinent to all therapeutic environments, but do assure the individual in the same way that something is happening that is not the usual way things happen.

There you have it, hypnotic ratification and helping advance the belief the hypnotised person has about being hypnotised and their abilities to be successful using hypnosis.