How To Spot When Someone Is In Hypnosis: The Most Obvious Hypnotic Trance Signals

Hypnosis is an art where it is vital that you know how to spot when someone is entering a trance.  This can be done with accurate signal recognition systems as well as knowing how to asses trance signals.

Accurate signal recognition systems are important because they are your first clue that a person is responding to you hypnotically.  The signals you can pick up on can be quite obvious or very minute; anything from the glazed look of entering a trance, whether produced by you or an outside source, to the smallest detail physical change. 

Milton Erickson had a perfected eye for picking up on the smallest signals that people sent out.  This is a perfection you as a hypnotist should strive for. 

There are other obvious signals that a person is going into trance.  We will get to discuss these here and you will learn how to tune into the different signals your subjects will be showing when they are entering a hypnotic trance.

During hypnosis when a person is very focused and beginning to enter a trance there are certain aspects of their physiology that will inevitably change.  These are unconscious changes that occur without the conscious control of the person being hypnotized.

As we look at the different signs of trance it is important to note that not all signals will be the same for every person.  Signal recognition systems are not a specific set of rules to follow. 

It is your jobs as the hypnotist to attune yourself to the different subjects you have and realize what is different for each one.  This is not about seeing one or two distinct signs from your subject, but distinguishing what is different for that person from the norm.

The most obvious signal that a person is entering into a highly focused state of trance is the change in their breathing.  Usually the rate of breathing will slow as they are becoming more relaxed under trance.  However there are subjects whose breathing will speed up as well. 

The rate of breathing the person is experiencing is often dependant on the focus of your conversation.  If you are asking them to relax into a trance their breathing will more than likely slow.  If you are taking them through an exciting chain of events or they feel imposing danger their rate of breathing may quicken.

In order to tell if a persons breathing has changed you will undoubtedly have to be studying their body. 

There are ways of doing this without getting slapped or punched.  Of course you can monitor their chest to see the rate of breath, however this may seem offensive to some people.  If you are monitoring their chest it is a good idea to do this with your peripheral vision.  Staring straight on at someone’s chest, especially a female subject is never a good idea. 

Other means of monitoring rate of breath is to watch the rise and fall of a person’s shoulders or rib cage.  Both of these move with every breath you take and will be fairly obvious and easy to spot.

The second most obvious sign that a person is entering a hypnotic state is the smoothing out of facial features.  If you have ever looked a person straight on in the face you will often notice that most people’s faces are not completely symmetrical. 

As a person goes into a trance they muscles in the face begin to relax and their face will start to appear more symmetrical.  The left side of the face will more closely match the right side.

 This is a fairly easy signal to spot, especially if you are prone to looking at a persons face while talking to them.  As they go into trance and you are looking at their face you will be able to see the muscles relaxing and the face visibly starts to even out.

As you are watching your subjects face for signs of evening out you may very well be able to pick up on the third most obvious signal at the same time.  This is when a person’s attention is absorbed. 

When a subject is going into hypnosis and their attention is being fully absorbed there are slight changes in their eyes that you will be able to see.  The first is the eyes will become fixed on one spot in space.  It may look as though they are ‘zoning out’ or staring at nothing in particular. 

Another affect on the eyes of trance is they can become slightly glazed over or sleepy looking.  Sometimes a person will show no eye movement at all.  All these signs are showing you that a person’s attention is completely affixed and they are falling into a trance.

The fourth obvious sign of trance is involuntary muscle twitches.  These are of course easy to spot and can almost be eye catching.  They can be seen straight on or be easily spotted through your peripheral vision.  Involuntary muscle twitches can affect any part of the body that has a muscle. 

The bigger the muscle twitching the easier it is to spot.  Many subjects will experience facial ticks or shoulder twitches, these are both within your line of vision and pretty noticeable.  The twitching of muscles is caused by the cathartic process that the muscles experience when completely relaxed.

Number five on the list of obvious signs is almost the opposite of muscle twitches; it is the effect of immobility of the body.  Sometimes when a person is going into a hypnotic trance they will stop moving all together. 

This is easy to see especially if you are dealing with a person who normally makes a lot of hand gestures or has animated body language.  If you are dealing with someone who rarely sits still you will almost immediately notice the lack of mobility of the body.  If their movements begin to slow down or actually stop all together you will know they are entering an altered state of mind.

The final obvious signal in the six most obvious is the increase in passive responses given by a person.  As many people enter an altered state of mind the will become less argumentative, more passive.  This more agreeable demeanor will be much more willing to follow your lead.  This is noticeable both as a changing personality trait and that it can ultimately make your job as the hypnotist easier.

The six obvious signals we have gone over here are easy to spot.  Keep in mind as you experience new subjects and learn to put new people into trance you will probably discover other obvious signs that are unique to different individuals. 

As you learn to spot as many signals coming from those around you going into altered states of mind you will become seasoned and be able to conduct your hypnosis quicker and easier than ever. 

The skill of being able to spot when someone is entering a trance is really at the core of signal recognition systems and is easy to practice as people are constantly moving in and out of trances around you all the time. 

Learning to spot these signals will also aid you in the future when you are learning to borrow trances already in progress.

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