• As the name suggests, countdown techniques involve counting backwards, often from ten to one.

  • This can be a very effective way of deepening trance, especially if you link it to an imagined activity, such as travelling in a lift or using an escalator or flight of stairs.

  • It is recommended that you allow your client to choose where they end up: where they are when they step from the lift or alight from the stairs.

  • This makes good use of your client’s imagination.

  • Countdown techniques can also be made part of the therapy itself, by using phrases such as: “with each step down you will become more deeply relaxed” or “you will feel more confident”.

  • You can also use them for regressions or pseudo-orientating to a future time.

  • You might, for example, say “when you step out of the lift … you step out into the future”.

  • This deepening process requires an expressive use of your voice.

  • There are contraindications associated with countdown techniques that you should be aware of and avoid with some clients.


  • If your client is experiencing depression, avoid using the word ‘down’.

  • Some clients will have phobias with stairs and lifts.

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