Covert Hypnosis – Pacing and Leading

Covert hypnosis is a method of inducing trance during regular conversation. Now, this doesn’t mean that the person will suddenly fall asleep and start acting out your commands – rather that you are able to artfully insert commands into your language and guide the subject towards the belief or behaviour that you want.

Covert (also know as conversational) hypnosis is based upon the Milton Model. These are the language patterns of the 20th century’s greatest clinical hypnotist Milton Erickson.

Richard Bandler and John Grinder modelled Milton’s techniques and incorporate them into Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). That’s a simplified background, but hopefully it gives you some idea of the origins of covert hypnosis.

So, the first technique or pattern is pacing and leading. By pacing we mean describing the subjects experience to them and by leading we mean guiding their experience.

The pacing must be three statements or more about the subjects experience that they could not possibly argue with. Here’s and example – “You’ve visited this blog, you’re reading this post and looking at the screen…”

If a person was stood in a bar it could be “You’ve come to the bar and you’re standing here, listening to me..”. Hopefully you get the idea, they must be descriptions that are absolute truths and not descriptions that you’ve obtained through mind-reading e.g. you’re relaxed and thinking about…” Unless the subject has directly described their experience to you earlier.

After the three pacing statements there comes the leading statement. This is the command, the direction in which you want their mind to go. The principle is that after they have agreed unconsciously with the three pacing statements their resistance is down and they are more likely to agree with the leading statement. ” You’ve come to the bar and you’re standing here,listening to me…and perhaps you’ll start to wonder [insert command]

The art is to make the statements as natural and conversational as possible, in describing experience in particular in can often sound robotic if not done correctly.

That’s it for the first technique, the applications are practically limitless. Now you’ve been here, read this post and thought about covert hypnosis perhaps you’ll decide learn more!

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