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Hypnotherapy Glossary

Enjoy the Art of Hypnosis

The following terms have specific meanings in Hypnosis:


A physical movement or an emotional outburst as a reaction to a suggestion while in the state of hypnosis. Some hypnotic abreactions are spontaneous and others are created by the hypnotist. Hypnotic abreaction can be used to acquire greater depth, cause a revivification, or remove repressed emotions.


Positive suggestions given though hypnosis and in mental bank ideomotor exercises in order to reprogram one’s life script.

Age Regression

A hypnotized subject is given suggestions that he or she is of a younger age so that the subject can relive certain experiences and/or re-experience events from a
more resourceful state.


Slow brainwave activity state of hypnosis (resting but awake). Also known as hypnoidal. Alpha is slower (deeper) than Beta, the awake state, and faster than Theta, a
deep hypnotic state.


A specific stimulus such as a word, image or touch that through the rule of association evokes a particular mental, emotional, and/or physiological state.

Arm Raising / Primary Induction

The Arm Raising Induction is known as the primary induction because it is used only in the first session to create the association of hypnotic depth and establish the expectation of a successful therapy. The therapist is able to use misdirection, as well as inferred and literal suggestions in order to affect either the Emotionally or Physically Suggestible client.

Through these suggestions, the therapist influences the client’s subconscious, causing their arm, from the fingertips to the elbow, to lift up off the table, with the hand eventually making contact with the face. At this point it is stated that they have reached the peak of their suggestibility and a challenge can be given with respect to the client’s hand sticking to their face. Deepening techniques would follow.


A sub-modality of NLP; a picture or visual image where you see the world out of your own eyes. Contrast with the disassociated state where you visually observe your body from outside the view of your eyes.


Also known as Pavlovian conditioning. A process by which a subject comes to respond in a desired manner to a previously neutral stimulus that has been repeatedly
presented along with a stimulus that elicits the desired response. Most common Kappasinian association is conditioning the words “deep sleep” with the hypnotic state.

Auto Dual Induction

An induction primarily given to Intellectual Suggestibles, where the client believes they are hypnotizing themselves. While feeling the pulse in their own outstretched arm, the client repeats what the Hypnotherapist says, leading to a count from five to zero and Deep Sleep.


Relating to hearing or sound. One of the three major representational systems of encoding information, alongside visual and kinesthetic.


Knowns in the subconscious.


The brainwave activity state of the normal wake state. Higher than Alpha and Theta.

Body Syndromes

A body syndrome is a physical manifestation of an emotional trauma. When an emotion is held in or repressed instead of being processed and released, the emotion will express itself as a physical discomfort.

Buying the Symptoms

Getting a client to accept some of the patterns in their life.

Chaining Anchors

A Neuro Linguistic (NLP) technique where a group of anchors are fired off one after another. Often used to take a subject from a stuck state to a more resourceful state.

CBT Therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy combines a psychotherapeutic approach with talking therapy. CBT aims to solve problems concerning dysfunctional emotions, behaviours and cognitions through a goal-oriented, systematic procedure in the present. There is empirical evidence that CBT is effective for the treatment of a variety of problems, including mood, anxiety, personality, eating, substance abuse, and psychotic disorders – and focuses on alleviating symptoms in the ‘present’ moment. CBT in combination with hypnotherapy is a powerful tool for immediate problem solving.


Essentially an I dare you, in which the hypnotist challenges the client to perform some act which it is impossible for the client to do at his/her depth in the hypnotic state. Examples are the eye challenge and the arm rigidity challenge.


Moving between levels of specificity. To chunk up means to move to the bigger picture, to chunk down would be getting to greater levels of specificity.

Corrective Therapy

The client states their problem in a sentence. Then the client is to list five synonyms to each word in the sentence. Physical Suggestibles keep referring back to the original words in the sentence while Emotional Suggestibles refer to each previous word they’ve come up with. The last line is the subconscious problem.

Circle Therapy

Use only for the extinction of fears. It is the process of having the client repeatedly confront his/her problem while in the hypnotic state. Since anxiety and relaxation are incompatible, the anxiety will gradually disappear. After having brought up and passed the fear many times, a reversal is given that the harder they try to bring up the old fear, the more difficult it becomes. In fact, you will feel a new emotion (replacement), amusement and a tendency to smile.

Conversion to Hypnosis

A suggestibility test (e.g., finger spreading test) which is extended beyond the point where the suggestibility is determined and us used as an induction into hypnosis (at which point the finger spreading test would become the finger spreading conversion).

Contradictory Square

An example is when a person with a high IQ is in a job that does not require or will not use the high IQ. The person is in conflict or incongruence between what they ARE capable of doing and what they BELIEVE they are capable of doing.

Circle Therapy

Use only for the extinction of fears. It is the process of having the client repeatedly confront his/her problem while in the hypnotic state. Since anxiety and relaxation are incompatible, the anxiety will gradually disappear. After having brought up and passed the fear many times, a reversal is given that the harder they try to bring up the old fear, the more difficult it becomes. In fact, you will feel a new emotion (replacement), amusement and a tendency to smile.

Critical Mind

An area of mind that is part conscious and part subconscious. Any time a suggestion is given to a client that is detrimental to his/her well-being or in total opposition to his/her way of thinking , it will affect critical area of mind, and he/she will critically reject it by abreacting.

Conscious Mind

The 12% of our mind of which we are most aware. The part responsible for logic, reasoning, decision-making, and will power.

Depth Hypnoidal

A light stage of hypnosis, usually associated with emotional suggestibility; also used to refer to the state of consciousness which is passed through in the transition from sleep to waking, and vice versa. It is characterized by rapid eye movement (REM), with an up/down motion of the eyes.

Direct Suggestion

Hypnotic suggestions in the form of a command, or instruction. Contrast to Inferential Suggestion.

Defense Mechanisms

All defense mechanisms stem from the basic instinct of survival. They operate on an unconscious level and they serve to deny or distort reality, thoughts, and action. Some Defense Mechanisms are: Repression, Denial, Rationalization, Projection, Displacement, Turning against self, Reaction Formation, Overcompensation, Intellectualization, Withdrawal, Regression, Sublimation, and Disassociation.

Progressive Relaxation

A deepening technique but also an important secondary induction. The aim of this maternal technique is to relax the various areas of the client’s body starting from the feet if they are in the reclined position (from the head down is they are sitting). Once the relaxation is complete toe to head, a five to zero count is given, at which time the Hypnotherapist snaps his/her fingers and says “Deep Sleep.”

Eye Fascination

Client is told to open eyes and look at the tip of a pen held above client’s eye level. They are instructed to follow the pen only with their eyes. As the client’s eyes track downward, the lids will close. When they close, the Hypnotherapist touches client’s forehead and says “Deep Sleep.”


Having the client visualize or imagine they are standing at the top of a staircase of twenty steps. The staircase is well lit and has a sturdy handrail. Each step the client imagines himself/herself taking down the staircase will take them deeper into the hypnotic state.

Heavy Light

A client’s arms are both outstretched, right hand palm up and the left hand at a right angle with thumb up. He/She is told a weight is placed in their right hand pressing down (literal suggestion) and a powerful helium balloon is tied to their left thumb (inferred suggestion). When right hand touches leg they’ll go deeper. A deepening technique and suggestibility test.

Arm Rigidity

The Hypnotherapist holds the client’s outstretched arm from beneath the elbow. He/She paternally instructs the client to draw all the tensions of their body into their arm, from the count of five to zero. At zero the arm will be as tight as a steel bar. The client is told the tensions will release and they’ll go deeper when the therapist touches their pulse.

Deepening Techniques

Reactional Hypnosis

Repeatedly awakening the client and re-hypnotizing him/her with a post-suggestion to re-hypnosis.

Deep Sleep

A post-hypnotic suggestion given to a client that capitalizes on the Law of Dominance.


The deepest state of hypnosis, where the client responds with amnesia, anesthesia, negative and positive hallucinations, and complete control of the senses. This type of person usually has 50% emotional suggestibility and 50% physical suggestibility. It is characterized by the eyes rolling up underneath the eyelids.

Depth Hypnoidal

A light stage of hypnosis, usually associated with emotional suggestibility; also used to refer to the state of consciousness which is passed through in the transition from sleep to waking, and vice versa. It is characterized by rapid eye movement (REM), with an up/down motion of the eyes.


Slowest brainwave activity pattern of sleep, and the deepest, somnambulistic state of hypnosis. Also see Alpha, Beta and Theta.


A sub-modality of NLP; a picture or visual image where you visually observe your body from outside the view of your eyes. Such as seeing your life from the perspective of a camera, or floating above yourself.

Eye Fascination Induction

This is used when a Hypnotherapist notices during the interview that a client’s eyes tend to fade or blink repeatedly. The client is asked to stare at an object above eye level. The therapist speaks rapidly and paternally, telling the client their eyelids are getting heavier and beginning to close. When they close, the therapist touches the client on the forehead, says Deep Sleep, then pushes the client’s hands off his lap to create a loose, limp feeling in his body.

Eye Accessing Cues

An NLP technique of observing the unconscious eye movement to determine if a subject is mentally seeing images, hearing sounds, engaging in self-dialogue or experiencing kenisethic feelings.

Environmental Hypnosis

A state of hypersuggestibility, triggered when an individual is in the presence of an overabundance of message units coming from their environment. This causes the person to try to escape the intense input. A kind of “walking hypnosis.”

Physical Sexuals

Project their sexual responses outwardly. They use their bodies to draw attention away from their emotions, which they feel are vulnerable. Their priorities in life are their relationship, children, friends and hobbies, then career.

Emotional Sexuals

Feel their sexual responses inwardly. The use their emotions to draw attention away from their bodies. Their priorities in life are career, hobbies, relationships and family, then a mistress and friendships.

Emotional and Physical Sexuality

The theory of human behavior based upon the idea that an individual’s behavior is developed by that person’s secondary caretaker. Sexuality is a kind of continuum, with 100% Emotionals or Physicals on either end and the different combinations of the two falling everywhere in the middle.


NLP construct implying a way of perceiving something or to set a context (As if Frame, Context Frame, Outcome Frame, Rapport Frame, Backtrack Frame).

Fight / Flight

A primitive and involuntary reaction that is triggered during danger or anxiety in order to protect oneself or to escape from danger.

Fear of Falling and Loud Noises

According to the Kappasinian Theory of Mind (T.O.M.), babies are born with only two fears, that of loud noises and of falling. All other fears are learned.

Glove Anesthesia

A type of hypnoanesthesia where the client’s hand is made to feel numb, and they are told that that numbness can be transferred to any part of their body that feels discomfort.

Gestalt Therapy?

Under Gestalt therapy, the client mentally returns to an earlier traumatic stage in their life in order to ‘talk’ with those people involved in the incident. For example, the client may wish to return to a time when they were 13 years old in order to explain to a parent how a given situation affected them. The combination of Gestalt therapy with hypnotic regression can be a powerful one for the client.


A person skilled in the technique of inducing the hypnotic state in others. Hypnotists are often associated with the use of hypnosis for entertainment.

Definition of Hypnotherapist

“Induces hypnotic state in client to increase motivation or alter behaviour patterns: Consults with client to determine nature of problem. Prepares client to enter hypnotic state by explaining how hypnosis works and what client will experience. Tests subject to determine degree of physical and emotional suggestibility. Induces hypnotic state in client, using individualized methods and techniques of hypnosis based on interpretation of test results and analysis of client’s problem. May train client in self-hypnosis conditioning.”


A therapist who utilizes hypnosis as a primary tool for assisting clients to achieve their goals. A Hypnotherapist often differs from others therapists by focusing on the role of subconscious behaviors and influences on the client’s life.


An altered state of consciousness which results in an increased receptiveness and response to suggestion. While associated with relaxation, hypnosis is actually an escape from an overload of message units, resulting in relaxation. Hypnosis can be triggered naturally from environmental stimuli as well as purposefully from an operator, often referred to as a hypnotist.


A state of waking hypnosis and exaggerated suggestibility to influencing factors in the environment, especially to negatives; possibly the greatest cause of all emotional and physical problems.


A state of equilibrium. What the body returns to when the parasympathetic nervous system is activated to respond to the fight/flight mechanism of the sympathetic nervous system.

Knowns (Pain/Pleasure Principle)

Knowns represent pleasure, in that they are things we have associated or identified before. A Known may be either positive or negative but is accepted by the Subconscious because it has been experienced before. Conversely, Unknowns represent pain, or physical or psychological threats that have not been associated or identified before.


A technique used to hypnotize a person. The patter used can be either maternal or paternal; either one sends message units to the brain preparing the client to enter the hypnotic state.

Imagery / Hypnodrama

Imagery is a feeling and experiential state. Unlike visualization, which only on the idea of “seeing” something in the mind’s eye, imagery uses all five of the senses. Hypnodrama, like Psychodrama, allows a client to act out subconscious conflicts in a sage environment in an attempt to vent and resolve them. However, in Hypnodrama the client does this internally, so there may be less possible embarrassment. Also, since Hypnodrama uses imagery, there is more access to the emotions and the senses that typical Psychodrama. The more senses that are tapped, the better able to re-experience the conflict.

Ideomotor Response

A response emanating from an individual’s subconscious mind via the central nervous system. Such a response is a way of avoiding judgments of the conscious mind. Examples: handwriting, index finger raise while in hypnosis.

Inferred Suggestions

A suggestion given that contains a message other than the immediately obvious one. Usually the underlying meaning is not immediately understood by the client consciously, but he/she will have a delayed reaction to it. It is especially effective with emotionally suggestible clients.

Literal/Inferred Suggestions

Literal Suggestions

A direct suggestion with no underlying meaning; used primarily with physically suggestible clients.

Life Script

Formed from the positive and negative associations we’ve made throughout our life and stored in our subconscious mind. This is reflected in a person’s present life situation.


Whenever we repeatedly respond to a particular stimulus in the presence of another, we will soon begin to associate one with the other. Whenever either stimulus is present, the other is recalled. The post suggestion to re-hypnosis works under this law.

Delayed Action

When a suggestion is inferred, the individual will react to it whenever a jogging condition or situation that has been used in the original suggestive idea presents itself.


The use of authority or that of being an authority figure to “command” the client to accept a suggestion. Capitalizing on one’s position as “therapist” or by using an authoritative tone are two approaches to apply the Law of Dominance.


It is represented by the fact that the more we do something, the better we become at it. By repeating suggestions in hypnosis, the stronger the suggestive idea becomes.

Laws of Suggestibility

Reverse Action

The most common law, it’s sometimes referred to as Reverse Psychology. A person will respond to the stronger part of a suggestion if the alternative presented is considerably weaker.


A hypnotic modality is anything that attempts to control or modify human behavior through the influence or creation of belief systems.


Appearing to be guiding someone into one area with the intention of directing him into another. It can be used effectively as a deepening technique in hypnosis.

Message Units – Overloading

All of the input sent to the brain by the environment, the physical body, and the conscious and subconscious minds. When too many message units are received (overloading), a state of anxiety results.

Mental Bank

A tool used to reinforce many types of therapies and speed the progress in such areas as; procrastination, motivation, goal attainment, prosperity, weight loss, smoking, etc. It is a powerful means of affecting the subconscious mind using the synergistic approach of belief, daily reinforcement, scripting, time of day, and dreams.

Magic 30 Minutes

The last half-hour before sleep, when a person’s mind is overloaded and is in a natural state of hypnosis. Something taken into the mind at this time goes into the precognitive stage of dreaming, instead of the venting stage.


Neuro Linguistic Programming examines the relationship between successful patterns of behaviour and subjective experiences (esp. patterns of thought) underlying them. It is a system of alternative therapy, which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behaviour. NLP constitutes a powerful change management tool, which can transform the way people think, and act to achieve their goals.

Neuro Pathways

Every time we think a thought, make a movement, experience something, this is transformed into electro-chemical energy which is then stored in the brain. We create pathways that allow the energy to travel in a similar fashion each time it is triggered. The more it is triggered, the easier it is for the energy to go that route. This is how habits and behavior, both good and bad, are created.

Primitive Mind

A human being’s primitive brain, with which a person will react whenever threatened beyond the point where he/she can reason. This primitive brain produces the fight or flight response, the unthinking impulses of self defense, or any other rapid reactions without reason.

Pre-Induction Speech

An introduction to hypnosis to prepare the client for the induction. It should include an explanation of hypnosis and an idea of what he/she can expect to experience in the state. It addresses any fears and misconceptions the client may have, all the while building up message units.

Post Hypnotic Suggestion

An example would be the command of “Deep Sleep.”


Do you ever wonder why you are attracted to certain places or to specific historical times? Have you ever met someone and felt that you’ve known him or her before? Do you struggle with fears or phobias that seem to have no explanation? Then these events could be explained as coming from a past life.

Under PLR, the hypnotherapist induces a deep state of hypnosis in the client, in order to regress the client back to a former lifetime. The whole purpose of Past Lives therapy is to locate the source of a recurring problem in the client’s current lifetime.

Parts Integration Therapy?

Parts Integration Therapy is useful when it is recognised that clients have more than one motivation present at a time, and may be conflicted. For example, we want to exercise but we also want to relax and take it easy: we want to stop smoking – but it is an enjoyable habit, and so on. Parts therapy is about getting the motivations and resources of a client lined up and heading for the same goal.

Paris Window

Used to widen the perspective of the client, so that he or she can see their problem from more than their own viewpoint. The window is a four-paned one, where three panes contain a question for the client. The questions are, 1). How do you feel about the problem? 2). How do you think others feel about your problem? 3). How do you feel about how others feel about your problem? 4). This pane contains the answer to the client’s particular problem based on their newfound perspective.

Parataxic Distortion

This occurs when we respond to a person or situation in a distorted way. We are not responding to the situation or person, but rather to what they subconsciously trigger in us.


A sign that a person is running into his/her limiting programming and having an effect on it.

Secondary Gain

A reason, primarily subconscious, why a person continues to perform a certain behaviour.

Self Hypnosis – Hetero Hypnosis


A hypnotic state that is self-created.


A hypnotic state that is created by another person, including the listening to of tapes or CDs.

Shock Induction

A very rapid conversion into hypnosis. Shock inductions are primarily used only in emergencies or possibly to “jar” a client when in therapy.


A situation where a person responds equally well to all suggestions, both direct and indirect, affecting both the body and emotions. This person would have a 50/50 Suggestibility (50% Physical Suggestible and 50% Emotional Suggestible).

Stages of Amnesia

There are 3 stages of Amnesia (found at the Somnambulism Depth)

First Stage

The individual will exhibit between 20% to 40% spontaneous amnesia.

Second Stage

The individual will exhibit approximately 60% spontaneous amnesia.

Third Stage

The individual will respond to all types of suggestions. This person will exhibit 80% or more spontaneous amnesia, remembering almost nothing that occurred while in hypnosis.

Stages of Loss

There are five stages a person must go through to completely deal with a loss. Not every individual will display all the symptoms nor in the same time or manner. The stages are 1). Denial, 2). Anger, 3). Bargaining, 4). Grief, 5). Resolution.

Stop Mechanism

A technique used in hypnosis to call attention to a behavior or thought a client may do or have in the future. When this thought or behavior arises they will hear in their mind “NO!” The Hypnotherapist reinforces this suggestion by stating the thought or behavior the client may have, snapping their fingers and saying “NO!” to the client. This is reinforced several times with the client repeating it to themselves silently but strongly. An example would be if the client thought about lighting up a cigarette when they were trying to or had already quit.


The 88% of our mind that is mostly below the level of our awareness. The part of our mind responsible for reflexive action, ideomotor responses, and contains the positive and negative associations we’ve made throughout our life.

Suggestibility (Emotional / Physical / Intellectual)

Emotional Suggestibility

A suggestible behavior characterized by a high degree of responsiveness to inferred suggestions affecting emotions and restriction of physical body responses; usually associated with hypnoidal depth. Thus, the Emotional person learns more by inference than by direct, literal suggestions.

Physical Suggestibility

A suggestible behavior characterized by a high degree of responsiveness to literal suggestions affecting the body, and restriction of emotional responses; usually associated with cataleptic stages or deeper.

Intellectual Suggestibility

The type of hypnotic suggestibility in which a subject fears being controlled by the operator and is constantly trying to analyze, reject, or rationalize everything the operator says. With this type of subject the operator must give logical explanations for every suggestion and must allow the subject to feel that he is doing the hypnotizing himself.

Sympathetic – Parasympathetic

The two divisions of the Autonomic Nervous System.


When activated causes physiological changes to occur, preparing the body for fight/flight.


A self-regulating, stabilizing system that brings a person back to a state of balance, or homeostasis.

Systematic Desensitization

The process of inducing a relaxed state in the client and then having him/her visualize or imagine an event that was traumatic to him or her in the past. The relaxation then becomes the dominant force, and as the client begins to relate to being relaxed and calm while relating to the trauma area, he/she allows for removal or desensitization of the trauma.


The operator/client relationship, in which the client has faith and confidence in the operator, and the operator has concern for the client.

Theory of Mind

The mind is divided into four areas; all of which must be affected to enter the state of hypnosis. The four areas are:

The Primitive Area

Part of the subconscious and established from birth. It contains the fight/flight response and the fears of falling and loud noises.

The Modern Memory Area

Also a part of the subconscious and contains all of a person’s memories (Knowns).

The Conscious Area

Formed around the age of 8 or 9, and is the logical, reasoning, decision making part of the mind.

The Critical Area

Also formed around the age of 8 or 9, filters message units and accepts or rejects them from entering into the Modern Memory. If the Critical Area is overwhelmed, it breaks down, activating fight/flight, causing a hypersuggestible state, that is, hypnosis.

Venting Dreams

The third stage of dreaming (after Wishful Thinking and Precognitive Stages), characterized by the mind’s attempt to vent, or release, the overload of message units accumulated during the day.