Last updated: 27 May 2016
The unconscious mind loves change. It really is limitless in its potential to keep evolving.
And given that hypnotists and hypnotherapists are well aware of this fact, it comes as a huge frustration then when hypnotic suggestions fail!
Especially when it appears that you’ve done everything right, and the subject seems to be following along. But then all of a sudden, you’ve lost them. Your suggestions are no longer effective and you need to start all over again.
Or worse, if this happens at the beginning of the session and you don’t recognize the signs, it can mean that the whole session is completely unproductive.
Either way, if your suggestions fail and you manage to get things back on track, the client will leave, usually too polite to say anything – never to return again.
This also means that they won’t recommend you to family or friends, and may even start to tell people that hypnosis simply doesn’t work.
This is a disaster for the subject, you and the entire hypnosis community!
The Law Of Successive Approximations
The often-overlooked Law Of Successive Approximations holds one of the major keys to your hypnotic success.
The Law Of Successive Approximations is about breaking down your ideas, or suggestions into smaller “bites,” and as each tiny step is accepted, it will eventually lead to larger steps being accepted and accomplished. I can’t stress enough how valuable this law is!
Because usually if you lose a subject during a suggestion, it’s because you presented a piece of information that was too large a leap in understanding for them to process.
It’s not because they were unwilling or incapable of accepting and processing the suggestion.
They just didn’t “get it.” You effectively left their unconscious mind in the dust, as you ran off to greener pastures.
If this happens, you must backtrack to the last point of agreement you had with them before you go any further.
In some cases you have to use what you would think are ridiculously small steps to get your suggestion across.
As what to you is a no-brainer, to them can seem as difficult as memorizing Webster’s Dictionary!
To use the Law Of Successive Approximations effectively, the steps have to be so small that your subject is the one that thinks it’s a no-brainer!
Only by giving them a win every small step of the way can you ensure their success.
This is true for every level of therapy, including coaching, which is an industry that has exploded over the last 10 years.
Coaches are great at setting goals for their clients and identifying the gaps where there’s room for improvement. However, there’s one thing they lack.
Something that unless they’re trained hypnotists or hypnotherapists, they’re probably yet to master.
And aside from it being invaluable in terms of your effectiveness as a coach, it really impacts your financial success, too.
Because what you’ll find is that unskilled coaches are constantly trying to find new paying clients because their success rate is dismal. Simply put, they don’t know how to read the signs that they’ve lost their client, pushed them too hard or simply have misunderstood their needs.
That’s why a really effective, skilled coach is worth their weight in gold. They can name their own price and have a waiting list of clients because what they do works.
The difference between being a good coach and an extraordinary coach can be as simple as understanding and utilizing the Law of Successive Approximations.
There are of course other factors, but mastering this is HUGE!
Effective Use Of The Law Of Successive Approximations
Speed is not the friend of great hypnotists and coaches.
It’s necessary for Stage and Street Hypnosis, where you have a show to perform and a short amount of time to do it in. But in therapy or coaching sessions, you have the added benefit of being able to take the time you need to succeed.
It takes time and practice to skillfully read your subject. To see the trance signals, to give suggestions in small bites that they can easily follow.
Make sure you’re not moving too quickly. Ensure that each suggestion is simple and easily understood.
Use short, simple sentences. Give them a small “win” with every accomplished suggestion.
If you notice any body language, voice tone or hesitancy at all, back up to the last point of agreement and then proceed with an even smaller suggestion, or ask them what the hesitancy is about.
Once you’ve got them into agreement again – perhaps by using another Yes Set – then you can proceed.
Example: Using The Law Of Successive Approximations In A Coaching Session On Weight Release or Exercise
This typical coaching session happens thousands of times every day in gyms, weight loss clinics and hypnosis sessions.
A 45-year-old woman comes to see you for weight release and exercise coaching. She’s 60 pounds above a healthy weight, has 3 children between 7 to 12 years of age, and is physically and mentally exhausted. She works part-time, and hasn’t done any regular exercise for over 10 years.
What not to do:
- Start telling her all about how great your weight loss or exercise system is, and all the things she can expect to achieve.
- How she’ll look fabulous in six months and have so much energy she’ll be doing handstands instead of walking around the house!
- How many hours she needs to put in at the gym. After all, no pain no gain. She’ll end up with that sexy body that will make her look 20 years younger.
Now I’m playing this up a bit, but only a bit. I’m sure you’ve had someone lay their spiel on you more than once in your life. And when this has happened and you haven’t been at that level yourself yet, it’s had you bolting for the door, never to return again.
So let’s take a look at how you should approach the situation…
What to do:
- Take the time to find out about her. In ANY coaching session, it’s never about you; it’s about wanting what’s best for your subject.
- Get into a state of rapport making her feel relaxed, comfortable and trusting that you’re on her side.
- Find out what she’s looking for. What her expectations are? What’s important to her about releasing some weight or exercising? What motivated her to come and see you? Is she there for her health, or just so she has a little extra energy to keep up with her kids?
- How does she feel? How is the extra weight affecting her? How much time can she realistically spend on exercise?
The most important thing here is to pay close attention to what she says, and write down in her exact words any important phrases that give you access to her deeper motivation.
Once you’ve finished interviewing her and she feels relaxed and comfortable with you, reiterate what you’ve understood about what she’s told you.
Use her exact words – resist the urge to paraphrase – and watch her response to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
When you’re both sure what you have to offer is going to work for her and she’s looking forward to working with you, you can take the next step.
This is where the Law of Successive Approximations comes in!
Now that you’ve taken the time to get to know your subject, and have made her feel comfortable, you need to go back to finding a small step that’s a no-brainer for her.
For example, you’re unlikely to get someone who hasn’t exercised for 10 years to start with an hour-long workout at the gym, are you?
So you need to start her out with 10 or 15 minutes. If that’s too much, can she walk for 5 minutes? Find out what’s a no-brainer for her, as this will build her commitment to it.
When that’s become easy and acceptable, then, and only then, increase it a little bit.
When actuality, the change happens faster. The little steps, after you take a few of them, turn into much bigger steps, which turn into quantum leaps.
The unconscious mind, with all the tiny bites then goes, “Oh, I get this, this is what you want!” And then before you know it, not only do you have a breakthrough with your hypnotic suggestions, but with your subjects too.
If you are interested in attending one of the Academy’s “Gold Standard” hypnotherapy live certification trainings then I highly recommend you find out more here.