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Handshake Hypnosis Induction

The Handshake Induction in Hypnosis

The handshake induction (Erickson, Rossi and Rossi, 1976, p. 108) is probably the most famous of Erickson's inductions and the most misunderstood due to its seemingly mysterious appearance. It is a non-verbal induction that initiates catalepsy by tactile confusion. Due to its complexity, it requires much practice and attention to non-verbal cues. This is an advanced induction and is not for everyone. It is not always successful and it is not appropriate in all situations. Its attempt should be at the hypnotherapist's discretion. The only requirement is the willingness of the individual to be approached and shake hands. If it fails, nothing is lost. When mastered, it is a beautiful art form.

The following explanations taken from Erickson and Rossi (1976, p. 108).The induction is initiated by approaching an individual and shaking hands in a normal manner. The induction begins when the firm handshake is being loosened. This loosening is transformed from a:

firm grip into a gentle touch by the thumb, a lingering drawing away of the little finger, a faint brushing of the subject's hand with the middle finger - just enough vague sensation to attract the attention. As the subject gives attention to the touch of your thumb, you shift to a touch with your 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 under surface 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 medical touch so that the hand is even more rigidly cataleptic.

If the induction is not utilized, you can simply verbally distract the individual by conversation. Utilization will increase trance depth and should proceed as a continuation of the procedure as you would with any other trance induction.

From the book "Ericksonian Approaches"

Ericksonian Approaches
by Rubin Battino, Thomas L. South

The definitive training manual in the art of Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. Topics covered: The History of Hypnosis; Myths and Misconceptions; Traditional vs. Non-Traditional Inductions; Rapport-Building Skills; Language Forms; Basic and Advanced Inductions; Hypnotherapy Without Trance; Utilization of Ideodynamic Responses; Basic and Advanced Metaphor; etc.