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Dec 27th, 2009 by Barrie St John

Direct vs. Indirect Hypnotic Suggestions

Both direct and indirect hypnotic suggestions are powerful in themselves. Some might say that direct suggestions are clearer, more authoritarian, or delivered in a more forceful manner. Some people might also say this is the more traditional method of suggestion in hypnosis. With direct suggestion you’re almost telling people what to do.

It might just happen that your hypnosis client responds best to this kind of formal suggestion. Some people because of their life experience or background are just used to taking orders. It works for them so the therapist makes use of it in their hypnosis.

When we discuss indirect suggestion, we are speaking of a smoother, slicker, less obvious form of suggestion. It’s easier on the ear and some might say it’s easier for people in hypnosis to accept as well. Indirect suggestion does not come across as forceful or demanding and is often more ambiguous in delivery. The suggestion can sometimes be so hidden that it goes over the person’s head.

For instance, we have an advertisement on TV in the UK about going to a particular place. It asks the question at the end of the commercial, “When will you go?” This gets the person thinking and they don’t even realise the advertisement contained a suggestion. It didn’t ask how, or if, but when – suggesting that it’s just a matter of time. It’s a very indirect form of suggestion (see “hypnosis in the media“).

Another way of implying things is just asking a question like, “When will it be that you’ll achieve that which you want?” It’s a very ambiguous question with lots of gaps in it, but it leads the person to have to fill it in on their own, which kind of facilitates an acceptance. Suggestion acceptance is important in hypnosis, which makes this indirect route a very powerful tool.

Most hypnosis makes use of both direct and indirect suggestions. Some people respond more to the direct approach, while others respond more effectively when it is less apparent. Of course there are those people who find that both are effective means of motivation. Hypnosis is just the acceptance of suggestion at an unconscious level. Whatever form of suggestion works for you, it’s okay. I use both indirect and direct suggestions in my hypnosis downloads. There’s a suggestion for everyone.

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Posted in General Hypnotherapy Topics