To properly study hypnosis, learn outside of film fantasy! Certified instructors are available at all levels.
One can learn at an academic institute, on-line, through books, or with a private instructor. It’s recommended that all serious study be with the support and supervision of a certified instructor.
Learning hypnosis will depend on the goal of the student. If it is self-improvement, a very basic method of self-hypnosis may be sufficient. Such methods may consist of relatively simple training on learning to use written or audio hypnosis scripts which induce a trance state.
In these cases the student is also the subject. At the other end of the spectrum, if the goal is to work as a therapist, one studies the theory and practice of hypnotism and often pursues this as part of a larger study of psychology, medicine, and neurology or neurobiology.
Here, extensive training is required, often supplemented by ethical training to prevent abuse of the techniques. In the range between lies everything from hypnotherapy to stage hypnotism to hypnotic game-playing.
Generally, however, the practitioner intends to act on another subject and therefore must learn techniques to influence and induce suggestibility in the subject. A degree of basic psychology as well as public speaking is therefore required. The ability to induce trust and confidence in the subject is the key.
In terms of conservational hypnosis, there are largely two schools or paths, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), and Ericksonian hypnosis. NLP uses language to implant favorable behavioral traits in place of former unacceptable or counterproductive ones.
It claims to be modeled on Ericksonian hypnosis, a form of hypnosis making intense use of language and gesture, attributed to Dr. Milton Erickson. Erickson’s descendants generally insist that NLP is too formalized and menu- driven, not directly responsive enough to the subject. However both schools follow similar basic methods.
The practitioner in all cases must learn to induce the hypnotic state. In modern professional hypnotherapy, this can be achieved by using a standardized induction scale (the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale), implant suggestions which may be acted on immediately or post-hypnotically, and terminate the hypnotic state.
In its basic state this can be achieved with relatively simple instruction and the Internet is a source of many such training sites. For any serious hypnotherapy, advanced training is required.
Induction often takes the form of eye-fixation but can be achieved through verbal influence and body language, which is most often the case in conversational hypnosis. The implanting of suggestions, the more difficult task, is primarily a verbal technique reinforced by body language, gesture, and touch.
Since it is important to establish a connection with the subject and gain access to information from the subject, any successful hypnotist must have some rudimentary knowledge of psychology. To properly achieve certain goals of the session, such as reduction of pain or changes in physiology, medical knowledge is often essential. Like any proper therapy, hypnotherapy, once removed from simple parlor games, requires extensive knowledge of all factors that may affect a patient/subject.