Some misconceptions about hypnosis are related to people believing that they may not awaken when they are hypnotised. This has never happened and if it had it would be public knowledge, so it is an irrational belief.

It is important to work in a safe and ethical way with clients and therefore when you terminate the trance session you should make sure that they are fully wide awake and that all normal body sensations are restored back to normal.

  • Also as they may have dissociated it is important to remind them that all parts are back in the present as they may have regressed to a past time.

  • Most practitioners will use a count up technique to bring a client out of trance. However, it is possible to use other more natural approaches to the awakening process.

An awakening script may contain the following:

  • Prepare the client by telling them what you are going to do, for example "and now I am going to awaken you by counting up from 1 to 10".

  • Reinforce the therapeutic goal.

  • Tell the client that when they wake up they will feel better and feel good about what they have experienced.

For safety remove any suggestions of numbness, heaviness, drowsiness, etc so that their limbs and body sensations are back to normal and every part of them is back in the present, so they are no longer dissociated or regressed.

Count the client up out of trance.

  • Some practitioners use a signal, such as counting or snapping their fingers. Some clients may be shocked by the finger snapping sound so it is best avoided. Finger snapping tends to be used by unprofessional practitioners and is more for show and used in entertainment settings.

If your client’s eyes open in trance.

  • If your client opens their eyes during the session it is possible that they are in a somnambulist state.

  • If this happens, you should always have them close their eyes again, continue with therapy and then awaken them in the usual way.

  • If, as you are counting your client awake, their eyes open before you finish, continue counting to the end and then tell them that they are fully wide awake.

Increased suggestibility after being told they will be awoken.

  • It is important to give your client suggestions of good health and feelings of well being before awakening them.

  • Most people become much more suggestible immediately after you tell them that you are going to awaken them.

  • You can make use of this to reinforce the most important post-hypnotic suggestions.

If your client doesn’t wake.

  • In rare cases, you might find that your client doesn't wake when you tell them to.

  • This can happen for a number of reasons.

  • They may have fallen asleep or you may have forgotten to remove some suggestion, such as heavy limbs or drowsiness.

  • The most common cause is that the client feels so good that they want to continue the trance.

  • Occasionally, a refusal to wake up may be a form of resistance.

  • There are many methods of awakening these clients, including raising your voice and moving around.

  • Gently blowing across your client’s eyelids usually does the trick – use paper or book to make a slight breeze, not your breath.

  • If you have time to spare, you can tell them that they can sleep as long as they like (though telling them that you charge by the hour will work wonders too!).

  • The client will always awaken – whether it takes minutes or hours.

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