Traditional hypnosis is the most basic form of hypnosis and is most widely used because of the belief that anyone can do it with very little instruction and training. Traditional hypnosis is also believed to be the easiest form of hypnosis because it relies on simple suggestions and commands. This is the form of hypnosis that is widely advertised with hypnosis CDs and MP3s, along with hypnosis tapes. Once in a hypnotic state, traditional hypnosis methods connect with the subconscious and use direct suggestions and commands to influence a person’s behaviors, thoughts, feelings and actions. Examples of these commands could be a suggestion about self-confidence, or about quitting a bad habit like alcoholism or smoking. Because traditional hypnosis relies on suggestions and commands, it is often not seen as entirely effective for people that have critical and analytic thought processes. The conscious mind has a tendency to interfere with the processing of the suggestions and commands, critiquing the messages and not allowing it to be fully absorbed by the subconscious. Traditional hypnosis is also the basis for stage hypnotism, which is popular in today’s culture among partygoers and comedy club attendees.
Ericksonian hypnosis is based off of the principles developed by Dr. Milton Erickson. This form of hypnosis is particularly excellent for those that are skeptical of hypnosis because it uses metaphors instead of just direct suggestions. Metaphors allow the brain to think creatively and arrive at conclusions that may not be reached by employing the more unilateral form of traditional hypnosis. Metaphors work by comparing and contrasting two things in a more complex way than simple commands and suggestions. They also allow the mind to wrap around an idea or a thought in a more organic way than a direct suggestion, which is why skeptics often are able to be hypnotized using this method and not the traditional method. Ericksonian hypnosis uses isomorphic and interspersal metaphors. Isomorphic metaphors tell a story that has a moral, which makes the unconscious mind draw a one-to-one comparison between the moral of the story and a problem or issue that it is already familiar with. Interspersal metaphors use embedded commands that distract the conscious mind, allowing the unconscious mind to process the message of the metaphor.
NLP hypnosis is used along with self-hypnosis to deal with issues such as self-confidence, self-esteem and overall mental well-being. NLP hypnosis is also used to quell anxieties and conquer fears and phobias. This method of hypnosis is effective because it uses the same thought process as a fear or problem to reverse or get rid of the problem. The three different techniques used with NLP hypnosis are flash, anchoring and reframe. NLP hypnosis is thought to be one of the most effective forms of hypnosis when the techniques are used either separately or all together.
Self-hypnosis is performed by oneself to achieve a deep state of relaxation by utilizing any one of the aforementioned types of hypnosis. Self-hypnosis allows the mind to relax and reach a hypnotic state without a hypnotist or hypnotherapist. Suggestions and commands are then made by yourself, or by a CD or MP3 that is guiding you in the hypnosis session. Many people now prefer self-hypnosis instead of guided hypnosis because they do not trust others with their fragile and influential subconscious mind.