Roy Hunter

Mental Confusion: An Induction for the Analytical Resister


How often do you have an analytical resister in your office? Many experienced hypnotists have often heard an analytical person emerging from hypnosis with words such as, "I didn't feel hypnotized," or "I heard every word you said."

What often happens is that the analytical person will invariably try to analyze hypnotic wording as well as the entire experience, even if he/she has a strong desire to be hypnotized. When I studied hypnosis under the late Charles Tebbetts back in 1983, I was one of the analytical ones who suffered from analysis paralysis - which prevented me from attaining even a medium depth of trance until some time after my training was complete. At Charlie's, the students that practiced with me could only get themselves comfortable with progressive relaxation or eye fixation inductions?and an occasional rapid induction which was mostly ineffective with me.

Some weeks after becoming certified, I traded sessions with someone who finally used a mental confusion induction on me - and it was the first time I really felt hypnotized! During my years of practicing clinical hypnosis, I've often used mental confusion inductions with others who are analytical. While some hypnotists give up on the analytical resister without understanding what he/she is feeling, I understand from experience what the thought processes are during the initial induction?and I'm willing to take the extra time when necessary to help someone achieve and believe the hypnotic experience. Perhaps that was my gift for having been slow to experience hypnosis.

There is no induction that is so effective that it will work with all the people all the time, but if you master your favorite induction with confidence and competence, it will probably work with most of the people most of the time. That being said, I cannot overstate the importance of knowing a number of inductions. Furthermore, there are some people who will resist almost any induction you use, while they may respond quite well to a mental confusion technique.

Here is an induction taken from Chapter 5 of my book, The Art of Hypnosis: Mastering Basic Techniques (3rd Edition, Kendall/Hunt Publishing, 2000)?

The technique begins by asking the client or participant(s) to stare at the object of their choice (wall, etc.). I ask the client to then take three deep breaths, following my simple instructions, and closing the eyes upon the third breath. Then, the instructions are: open your eyes on odd numbers, and close your eyes on even numbers.

100, just close your eyes, take a deep breath, and relax...

99, open them, take another deep breath, and 98--eyes closed. Very good. Just imagine you're releasing all the cares of the day as easily as you release the air from your lungs. . . 97, find it's getting more difficult to even try to open your eyes. 96, eyes closed. Good. Just find yourself wanting to go deeper and deeper as you forget whether your eyes should be open or closed. . .

95, easy to forget. 94, difficult to remember, whether they should be closed. . . and as soon as you forget, they stay closed and you can just relax even deeper. 93, good, 92. . . deeper and deeper relaxed. . . It's so easy to respond to my voice as I say 91, 90. . . and your eyes just want to stay closed now.

Start speaking somewhat quicker and with more authority now.

88, 86. Deeper and deeper. Easy to forget, difficult to remember, 84-82, whether they should be open or closed. 79, 75, 74. The numbers are skipping away so quickly now that you just find yourself wanting to go deeper as your eyes want to stay closed. And every time you forget to remember, or remember to forget, open or closed, odd or even, you just go deeper and deeper, or deeper and deeper. 60, 50. Eyes closed and going deeper. Forgetting to remember. Remembering to forget. 40, 30. Feeling good. Responding to my voice. Relaxing hypnosis. Deeper and deeper.

Once your client leaves his/her eyes totally closed during an odd number, the moment of passivity has usually occurred. You may stop the counting if you wish and follow immediately with deepening suggestions (explained in Chapter 6), or continue on as part of the deepening.

In the above technique, Charles Tebbetts taught that you may enhance the mental confusion with incomplete sentences, or by bringing unrelated sentences and meaningless statements into the sleep and relaxation suggestions. He gave Dr. Milton Erickson credit for this idea both in his class at Edmonds as well as in his book, MIRACLES ON DEMAND.

Note that the above script is intended as a guide only. In my opinion, scripts are like training wheels; they are to serve you until you can master the art without needing the training wheels! Add your own personality and style, adapting to each individual client. However, in a group setting, you may wish to use a script. Note that I often use a few added trance-enhancers, such as double-binds and challenge suggestions. Normally I'll include a suggestion such as:

It's so easy to imagine your peaceful place, that you can also imagine getting sleepy, with your eyelids heavy, droopy and fact, your eyelids may feel so heavy that even if you try to open them, you find they just want to stay shut, and you go MUCH deeper...double the hypnosis or triple the trance. Very good...deeper and deeper...into the realm of hypnotic sleep, or into profound hypnosis.

In addition, I frequently give a time distortion suggestion at the end of the journey, just prior to awakening. This often adds to the impact of the experience, leaving only the most ardent analytical resister with traces of skepticism.

Be aware that some clients may experience a partial hypnotic amnesia because of the suggestions "Forget to remember, or rememberi to forget?" You may need to give specific suggestions for the client to remember those portions of the session where recall is desired. Also, the use of a time distortion suggestion just prior to awakening can add to the effect of the session, providing further trance validation to an analytical person.

If you've not yet employed a mental confusion induction, learn it and use it. Also, if you've never experienced being hypnotized with a mental confusion induction, you owe it to yourself and your clients to experience it for yourself! Find a hypnotist in your area and trade sessions.


Roy Hunter was certified by the late Charles Tebbetts. He was inducted into the International Hypnosis Hall of Fame in 2000 for his written contributions to the hypnosis profession, and was also the recipient of Charles Tebbetts Award from the National Guild of Hypnotists in 2001 for spreading the light of hypnosis. Roy is the author of several respected books, as well as the official FAQ on the alt.hypnosis newsgroup. His books are recommended by numerous hypnosis instructors around the world. Roy was honored in 2005 by the NGH with the ?Order of Braid? for lifetime achievement in the field of hypnosis.

Copyright ©2005 C. Roy Hunter - All Rights Reserved. Scripts