To learn hypnosis, start off with free online resources such as articles on the web and online communities. Try out each new trick you learn on at least 10 different people to validate that it works. This approach allows you to build confidence that hypnosis is real. After building a little confidence, move up to books, then audio courses and video courses. And when you are ready, attend your first in-person training.
The thing with hypnosis is that a lot of people imagine that it’s not real. And regardless of whether you personally believe in it or not, this creates a psychological barrier to spending cash on an in-person training.
Luckily there’s an easy solution: Get some basic experience with hypnosis first, and convince yourself that it works.
The good news is that these days there is so much evidence that hypnosis works that it’s essentially impossible for it to not be a real thing.
Not only that, but there are sound mathematical reasons to believe that a brain the size of a human brain could not function unless hypnosis were real.
The truth is that our brains just aren’t big enough to handle everything that happens to us without doing a lot of optimizations and approximations. And the cracks in those optimizations and approximations are what make hypnosis work.
So with all of that in mind, you’re probably wondering how exactly do you do that.
1. Learn self-hypnosis
The very best hypnosis sessions happen when the hypnotist is in self-hypnosis. This means that learning self-hypnosis is an important part of learning hypnosis. Beyond that, having an appreciation of what it’s like to be hypnotized helps immensely when hypnotizing others.
If you want to guide someone into hypnosis, it is far simpler and easier if you’ve already had that experience yourself. And when you hypnotize yourself before you even start, they can unconsciously follow you into hypnosis.
Now, self-hypnosis is a huge topic in its own right.
When you want to learn hypnosis, all you really need is one reliable way to induce hypnosis in yourself fast. There are any number of ways this can be achieved.
I find that the best way to induce self-hypnosis when I am hypnotizing others is to have a switch inside my mind that instantly flips me into hypnosis. You can discover how to build your own self-hypnosis switch in my article on How to Hypnotize Yourself Instantly.
Beyond being the first step in hypnotizing others, self-hypnosis can also be used to enhance some core abilities that are very helpful when you’re a hypnotist.
While it’s not absolutely necessary, hypnosis sessions tend to go a lot better when the hypnotist appears completely confident. So an important step in learning hypnosis is developing the ability to appear confident. If you’d like to know how to do that, you might enjoy my article on How to Use Self-Hypnosis to Exude Confidence.
Self-hypnosis can also be used to get yourself into a nice state of flow, which tends to make hypnosis sessions almost effortless. You can learn how to get into your own flow states in my article on How to Get In The Zone With Self-Hypnosis.
2. Learn one way to induce hypnosis
To get quick results when starting out, find one means of inducing hypnosis that you can run on a bunch of people to start to build your skill. Which one you choose is largely up to you, bearing in mind that some inductions require considerably more skill than others.
There are a number of approaches possible here, and which one you choose depends on how comfortable you are with spending money on learning how to hypnotize.
You can get started completely for free.
If you’re comfortable with spending, you’ll usually get the best results by signing up for a paid in-person training. These typically cost anywhere from $1000 up, and unless you live in a major city, you may also have to cover flights, accommodation, restaurants, and so on.
The reality is that most people starting out aren’t even sure that hypnosis works yet, despite all the evidence supporting it.
So for most people wanting to learn hypnosis from scratch, what’s needed is something you can access for free that will get you started.
And for that you have essentially two choices: You can either read someone a script and hope that it works, or you can learn a few basic principles and have a go at hypnotizing someone properly.
Mine hypnosis scripts for hypnotic language
I’m not a huge fan of scripts because good hypnosis relies on live feedback between the hypnotist and the hypnosis subject. That said, when you want to see exactly how other hypnotists piece together their hypnotic language, scripts can be brilliant because you can take them apart word-by-word.
If you’d like to get started with some simple hypnosis scripts, you can find a small collection of them in my article where I list all of the hypnosis scripts I’ve written for this site, along with instructions on how to use them.
Just be aware that no-one ever becomes a hypnotist simply by reading scripts.
More is required.
Luckily that more is fun.
Get started with learning hypnosis easily
The preferred way to quickly get started with learning hypnosis is by running through a simple process and actually doing the hypnosis yourself.
There are quite a few articles on this site that show you exactly how to do this in various ways. The quickest one to get you started as a beginner is probably my article on How to Hypnotize Someone Easily.
Inside you’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to hypnotize someone, just like it says in the title.
3. Hypnotize a lot of people
Regardless of the method you choose to get started with learning hypnosis quickly, it’s important to hypnotize as many people as possible. Everyone is unique, so the only way you can build a broad base is by hypnotizing hundreds, and hopefully thousands, of individuals.
There are a lot of moving parts in a hypnosis session. You will make mistakes. And you will learn from those mistakes.
When we don’t hypnotize a lot of different people, what tends to happen is that we end up doing things that work for those few people we’re hypnotizing, and no-one else.
We can come to believe that what we’re doing works, when in reality it only works for a tiny portion of the population.
The only effective way to counter this is to hypnotize hundreds, or thousands, of people from all walks of life.
It takes time and effort.
But the good news is that it’s also fun. I’ve run sessions that last 10 minutes, and I’ve run sessions that last all day. Or longer.
I’ve also had countless hypnotic interactions that last only seconds in which hypnotic effects arise. There are a lot of things you can play with in hypnosis where that’s all that’s needed.
Naturally, as you’re working through hypnotizing as many people as possible, continue on with the rest of the steps in learning hypnosis.
4. Understand the basics of hypnosis
Once you’ve hypnotized a few people and built some confidence that hypnosis actually works and is a real thing, it’s time to delve a little deeper.
Building a small amount of understanding of what’s going on with hypnosis will allow you to go much further much more quickly.
And the good news is that there’s not really that much that you need to know as background information. Most of the skill in hypnosis comes from hypnotizing large numbers of people and noticing what works and what doesn’t.
So it’s well worth the time to spend a few hours to a weekend ensuring that you have a solid grasp of the fundamentals.
There are only 3 broad areas that you really need to cover, so this can happen very quickly.
Learn to deal with abreactions
To deal with strong negative reactions, known as abreactions, that may occur during hypnosis sessions, simply direct your subject’s focus and attention away from themselves and keep it there for between 2 and 3 minutes. Do not investigate what might be causing the abreaction unless it is appropriate for you to do so.
Whenever we work with the inner depths of someone’s mind, there’s always the possibility that we’ll accidentally trip over something that causes them to have a strong negative reaction. In hypnosis, these are known as abreactions, and they are easy to deal with once you know how.
The most important thing is to remain calm, and not buy in to their reality. Simply move their attention away from whatever is troubling them, and keep it there for long enough for the state to dissipate.
For those who are more skilled with hypnosis, an abreaction can be used to fix the underlying problem. When you’re just getting started though, do not try to do that. It is far easier to cause problems, or make them worse, than it is to fix them.
Unless you happen to be your subject’s therapist, your job as a hypnotist is not to fix their underlying problems.
All you really need is a simple process that you can follow. You can find one such process along with instructions on how to use it in my article on How to Stop Someone From Freaking Out.
The key thing is to work through the process with a number of people before you ever need it, so that it’s there and waiting for you when you do.
Learn some common misconceptions about hypnosis
One of the biggest problems with hypnosis is that it is significantly mis-represented in popular culture. Because of this, it’s important to be aware of the kinds of incorrect beliefs that people have around hypnosis.
And naturally, you’ll also want to know what’s really going on with each of these misconceptions so that you can reframe them for your potential subjects.
I’ve listed the most common misguided ideas that people have about hypnosis in my article on Myths and Misconceptions About Hypnosis, so take the time to become aware of what they are.
Once you know what people tend to believe, and why it isn’t true, you can even use their beliefs to guide them into hypnosis before they realize you’ve begun.
Learn what’s really going on with hypnosis
Despite it’s vast size and complexity, at the core hypnosis works on a few very simple principles.
Inside the human mind there are a handful of competing processes.
First, we can only consciously track and assess one thing at a time.
Second, there are some processes constantly running in the background that bump this up a bit. The upper limit of things we can keep track of because of these effects is no higher than 9. This is usually referred to as our working memory.
Third, we have an alerting system that instantly switches our focus when we detect incorrect information or danger.
And fourth, our brains like to keep thinking similar thoughts to what they just thought.
Hypnosis happens when our brain processes work together in such a way that we utilize the homogeneity of thought to lull the mind into a sense of security, while simultaneously consuming all of the conscious awareness resources in such a way as to avoid triggering the alerting system.
That’s really all there is to it.
Naturally, each of those has quite a lot more depth. And if you want to get good at hypnosis fast while learning how to do it, it’s important to understand the fundamentals.
At least a little bit.
5. Grow your hypnosis skill with free materials
Once you’ve hypnotized yourself and a few other people, and you have an appreciation of the basics of how hypnosis works, it’s time to delve deeper.
There are lots of ways you can proceed here.
You’ll find an abundance of material on the web in every format available. The main issues with free hypnosis trainings are that in the beginning, you won’t know which ones are good, and there’s not really any sequence to them, which can make it difficult to figure out what’s next.
To get started, check out my article on How to Become a Hypnotist For Free in which I give an overview of that process, including where to find subjects and how to know if the stuff you’re learning is useful for you.
Learn to spot the signs of hypnosis
To spot when someone is in hypnosis, be on the lookout for the various signs of hypnosis. These include altered breathing patterns, altered skin tone, simplified responses to questions, and many others.
Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness in which the subject is hyper-focused on the object of their attention.
Consequences of this altered state leak into the way that the hypnosis subject presents themselves to the world.
These physical effects are readily observable and automatic, and as a result provide us with an easy way to tell whether the subject is actually experiencing hypnosis.
And the best part is that if someone tries to fake the signs of hypnosis, they will hypnotize themselves.
If you’d like to build your confidence that what you’re doing is actually working, it’s critical to learn to identify and spot the signs that someone is in hypnosis.
To get started with that, read my article on the Signs of Hypnosis, and work through each sign with a number of hypnosis subjects until you start to see it automatically.
Once you make spotting enough of these signs into a habit, what tends to happen is that you can just tell when someone is in hypnosis.
Without having to guess.
Learn several hypnotic inductions
When you’re starting out with learning hypnosis, it’s useful to know a few different hypnotic inductions. Once you know 3 or 4 ways to induce hypnosis, it’s a simple matter to fluidly continue on into another one if what you’re doing doesn’t seem to be working.
Since most subjects have no idea what to expect, they almost universally believe that the hypnotist intended whatever actually happens.
Beyond that, most kinds of inductions make brilliant hypnotic deepeners to guide your subjects further into deep trance.
Rather than working with specific inductions, I like to work with underlying principles, and create the induction dynamically in the moment. This allows it to fit in perfectly with the subject’s current and evolving state as they move through the process of going into hypnosis.
You can find an overview of hypnotic inductions in my article on Hypnotic Inductions to get you started.
There are also a number of simple hypnosis tricks you can learn, each of which can have a profound impact on any induction you might use. Some of these are so powerful that it’s sometimes possible to drop someone into hypnosis using nothing more than one or two of them.
You can learn more about these tricks in my article on Easy Hypnosis Tricks That Actually Work.
Learn to get some fun results with hypnosis
To get people to do specific things for fun under hypnosis, often all you have to do is tell them to do whatever it is. So long as it doesn’t conflict with their underlying beliefs they will usually do it, especially if you have built compliance first. To some extent, you’re giving them permission.
Generally speaking, all you have to do to get short-term outcomes is hypnotize the person in question, and then tell them to do it. Sometimes it’s necessary to use more permissive language, but you can also just deepen their trance to increase their willingness.
If you’d like to know how to do some of these, there’s a collection of them in my eBook 10 More Fun Things To Do With Hypnosis, which is included when you sign up on my mailing list.
Learn some key hypnosis skills
Once you know how to induce hypnosis, there are certain key hypnosis skills that every hypnotist should learn.
There are a huge range of these, and with each one you add to your skill set, you will become a more effective hypnotist.
Start out with suggestibility tests. These are simple demonstrations that prove to your potential subjects that hypnosis is real.
Once your subject has indicated that they’re interested in hypnosis, all you need to do to run a suggestibility test is choose one and run it. A simple example is having them lock the fingers from both hands tightly together and then pushing the palms outwards. Then have them try to pull their hands apart while telling them that they can’t.
Now, in principle, they can easily separate their hands. However, when the setup is right, what tends to happen is that they find their hands are glued together.
This happens because the physical configuration makes it very difficult for them to separate those hands, but they also know it’s not impossible. So when you add in a suggestion that they can’t, it’s very convincing for most people.
And the best part is that because they don’t know the hypnosis has begun yet, regardless of the outcome, you can say something like: Excellent! That told me exactly what I need to know.
Other vital skills to learn include pattern interrupts, state elicitation, hypnotic phenomena elicitation, hypnotic language, storytelling, Fractionation, tag questions, visualization, and Embedded Commands.
Learn to get useful results with hypnosis
For more complex things, such as change work, permissive language can help considerably in achieving results.
Hypnosis can also be used to guide people towards long-term changes such as you might see with coaching or hypnotherapy. These typically require a lot more finesse than simple hypnosis for fun.
It’s important to be aware that it is far easier to cause problems than it is to solve them. So don’t try to help someone with anything major without first completing appropriate training.
If a problem is being solved, there are usually one or more hypnotic processes that you can learn that someone has already figured out.
I outline the start of a generic coaching pattern for helping people to get results in my article on How to Get More of What You Want.
Naturally, you can also learn hypnotic processes for specific outcomes, whether that’s helping your subjects to sleep, to experience a lucid dream, to do what you want them to, or just about anything else you might imagine.
Whatever you want to learn to help people to achieve with hypnosis, there are usually materials that can be found that tell you how to do it.
As with everything else, you’ll typically get best results by focusing on one thing at a time and perfecting it.
6. Grow your hypnosis skill with books and online courses
When you learn hypnosis, sooner or later you will find that there are certain materials that you just can’t find for free online.
Now that’s not to say the material isn’t available online. It’s just hard to find, because when we haven’t yet learned something new, the fact is we may not even know what to search for.
Luckily there’s an easy solution: Purchase a paid product of some kind, and be guided step-by-step through the entire process.
So how exactly do you do that?
How do you know if the hypnosis trainer in question is even any good?
Start out by reading their website. For many smaller organizations, the training materials on their site are usually written by the trainer in question.
You can easily spot any material I’ve personally written on this site, because it will have the author listed as Max Trance.
When you read a hypnosis trainer’s website, and any other free materials they have, something magical happens. You start to discover whether that particular trainer makes sense to you.
Because here’s the truth: Even the best trainer in the world is no good to you if their material doesn’t make sense to you.
Broadly speaking, there’s a pricing hierarchy.
Pricing of paid hypnosis materials
Books About Hypnosis tend to be the cheapest way to get started. The material in books is usually well-structured, and because it’s a book you can easily make notes as you go. Books can be priced at anything from free upwards.
Sometimes you can find everything in a book that you find in the corresponding audio and video courses.
Next up, we have audio courses. Audio courses tend to be a little more expensive than books, and are often nothing more than a recording of a seminar or webinar that a hypnotist held. Prices tend to start at around $50 and typically range up to about $200.
Audio courses are currently my preferred course format, simply because I can play them and learn more about hypnosis while I drive or do other things.
If you are a more visual person, you may like video courses. As with all things, these have a wide range of prices. I’ve bought video courses that cost $500 or more. Almost all video hypnosis courses I have ever purchased have been a recording of an in-person training.
Video courses can be brilliant if there are two or more of you, since you can pause the recording at every exercise and actually do the exercises.
And finally, some hypnotists offer membership sites. For a fixed fee of anything from a few dollars to $50 a month or more, you get access to all the materials they have inside their vault. Be aware that the vault does not necessarily contain all of their courses.
My recommendation is to start off with books, and work your way up through the different types of courses as you become more comfortable with the trainer in question.
7. Attend an in-person hypnosis training
As you proceed through your personal journey into learning hypnosis, you may discover that you become more comfortable with it and want more.
At some point, it’s likely that you’ll discover you want to go to an in-person training.
The fact is that for most people, in-person hypnosis trainings are the single best way to gain experience and knowledge with hypnosis.
Think about it for a moment.
You’re in a room with anywhere from a tiny handful to a hundred or more other hypnotists. There’s a trainer who’s teaching you an exact process. Usually they have helpers.
When you get stuff wrong, people can help you to overcome it. You can ask questions.
On top of that, people who go to hypnosis trainings are usually very easy to work with. They go into trance easily. They give you honest feedback. It builds your confidence.
And all of that leads to rapid discovery and growth.
Really there’s only one thing standing in the way, and that’s the cost. That’s why it’s important to gain familiarity and confidence in both hypnosis, and in a specific trainer, before you sign up.
If you’re lucky, there may be a meetup in your local area where you can learn hypnosis cheaply.
For proper trainings, you usually have to pay.
How to choose a hypnosis training
Hypnosis trainings are offered by hypnotists in many parts of the world.
For regular trainings, there’s really only one important thing to be on the lookout for.
Ask yourself whether the trainer’s stuff makes sense to you. Hopefully you’ve determined this by looking at their websites, books, and courses.
Don’t worry too much about other people’s opinions about this. Hypnosis is a very divisive topic, and ultimately, if you want to go on an in-person training, you’ll need to find a trainer you like and whose stuff makes sense to you.
Now, hopefully you’ve gained somewhat of a picture of what their teaching style is like from their other materials.
Sign up for the newsletters of trainers you like and they will usually send you emails about their trainings as they come up. On that note, if you’ve enjoyed this article, or other things on this site, I’d like to invite you to sign up for my newsletter.
And that’s really all there is to it.
Learning hypnosis is easy. It’s just a matter of following step-by-step instructions, like those in this article, and refining each step until it works flawlessly for you.