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Hypnotic Interruption Techniques

Meaningful Non-Sequiturs

A communication is always understood in terms of its context.A listener will usually understand a verbal statement in relation to those preceding it as well as the nonverbal communications accompanying it.

A statement totally irrelevant to or not following from the established context is known as a non sequitur.The listener will usually be taken aback and surprised by a non sequitur, then respond to this automatic interruption of language patterns by trying to figure out what the heck the speaker meant.

If the non sequitur is delivered meaningfully in a manner implying it is a perfectly sensible and in fact rather important statement, the listener will typically continue to search (in vain) for the "real" meaning of the utterance.

The longer a person tries to grasp some sense in the non sequitur, the more uncertain he or she will become.This building response potential can often be utilized after 3 - 5 seconds by the hypnotherapist softly, but emphatically suggesting that the subject drop into trance.

The non sequiturs will have maximal hypnotic effect when they are delivered meaningfully by a speaker assumed and expected to speak rationally and relevantly in a context where the listener trusts the integrity of the speaker.

Interrupting Accessing Cues

There are a variety of ways in which accessing cues can be interrupted:touching a person, dropping a pencil on the floor or making any sudden and unexpected movement, clearing a throat or saying something unexpected - any of these create a mild state of uncertainty. 

If someone were feeling sad or depressed, one of the ways to get the person to feel better instantly is by having them look upward.This way they would shift from accessing kinesthetic to visual processing and the emotional impact would be diminished.

Polarity Plays

Polarity plays involve enacting more dramatically and congruently a dominant behavioral pattern of the client, thereby interrupting the person's ability to continue with such behavior.

Overload Technique

The overload technique follows the five-step procedure:  

  1. behavioral patterns, especially trance-inhibiting ones, are identified; 
  2. the person is paced appropriately; 
  3. involvement in a dominant pattern is intensified and overloaded, thereby making it difficult to continue to process information at a normal rate;
  4. the ensuing confusion is amplified to create more uncertainty and consequent response potential; and
  5. the confusion is utilized to introduce a simple directive to which the person can respond in order to reduce the uncertainty.

The intent in overloading is to unbind attachments to fixed ways of being, thereby paving the way for therapeutic explorations.This disorientation can involve temporal referents, external or internal spatial referents, surreal imagery, conceptual disorientation or verbal overloading.Because overload techniques are usually ways of talking about unavoidably basic ideas, special attention must be paid to employing a delivery style meaningful enough to develop and maintain attentional absorption.

Emergency Situations

Sudden occurrence of an unexpected and impactful event will interrupt conscious processing and make the person highly responsive to suggestions that reduce the ensuing state of uncertainty.Because the function of a formal induction has already been handled in such situations, trance utilization strategies can be introduced immediately.