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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Handshake Induction - Mastering the Art of Rapid Hypnosis

If your familiar at all with the ideas of hypnosis, you have probably heard of the handshake induction. It is a rapid hypnotic induction technique first developed by master hypnotist Milton Erickson and it is also the favored technique of stage illusionists such as Derren Brown due to how impressively showy it is in front of an audience. Also called the handshake interrupt, the handshake induction depends in large part on the automatic mirroring that people do towards each other in the name of courtesy and politeness.

Since people respond automatically to gestures of greeting, it is easy to see how effective the handshake induction is, since what this hypnotic technique does is interrupt the pattern of shaking someone's hand, creating the brief moment of confusion necessary to put someone into a trance. Trance states are a normal part of everyday life. We all fall into and out of trance states on a regular basis. So the handshake induction itself, as used by Erickson, is a fairly subtle form of rabid hypnosis, but it is over very quickly. If you don't put the induction to use, your subject will snap out of it, just like he would out of any other trance.

There are all sorts of handshake inductions to learn, but Erickson's is definitely one of the most subtle and therefore has the most use in regular environments rather than on-stage. Erickson's handshake induction starts with a normal firm handshake, but before the hands separate entirely, the hypnotist 's grip transforms to a light touch by the thumb, as he draws his little finger away slowly and then brushes the subject's hand with his middle finger. As described in Rubin Battino's book, Ericksonian Approaches, the touch is then shifted to the little finger:

As the subject's attention follows that, you shift to a touch with your middle finger and, then again, to the thumb; the withdrawal from the handshake is arrested by this attention arousal, which establishes a waiting set, an expectancy; touch the undersurface of the band (wrist) so gently that it barely suggests an upward push. This is followed by a similar slight downward touch, and then, I sever contact so gently that the subject does not know exactly when.; and the subject's hand is left going neither up nor down, but cataleptic. Sometimes I give a lateral and medial touch so that the hand is even more rigidly cataleptic.

Upon completion of the induction, then the hypnotist would either lead the subject with suggestions or let the trance lapse by simply engaging in further conversation.

So that is basically how the handshake induction works, but it should be noted that it is not an easy induction to achieve and that there are many simpler ones to learn. If you do decide to attempt the handshake induction, I would suggest practicing it on a willing participant to make sure that all of the small hand gestures can be done smoothly and without hesitation before attempting it on someone who is unaware of what you are up to.

Ready to accomplish amazing things? Then learn the techniques of Covert Hypnosis, featuring many covert methods of rapidly gaining rapport and making your hypnotic suggestions powerfully persuasive through everyday conversation.

You can also learn more about Milton Erickson and his incredible work with hypnosis at: http://www.squidoo.com/miltonerickson/

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