On of my teachers used to say that if a Martian anthropologist were to observe a hypnotherapy session, that he/she would report something like “Two humans had a conversation. One talked more than the other one, who looked sleepy for a while.”
The communication style called hypnosis is familiar to everyone, although we don’t call it that most of the time. For example, when a child begins to believe a parent who repeatedly says, “You’ll always be messy and have a hard time finding things”, some not so good hypnosis has happened.
When the founders of neurolinguistic programming (NLP) studied the communication style of one the great hypnotists, Milton Erickson, M.D., they noticed how he used his language in specifically vague ways. For example, Erickson might say something like, “As you’re reading this now, you may not have even begun to notice how much you’re learning about hypnosis.”
The vague phrasing allows the reader to easily accept the proposition that he/she is learning something about hypnosis. That idea is considered a “suggestion” by hypnotherapists, which, if accepted, is starting to build a belief. And, that new belief is, of course, that the reader is learning “something about hypnosis”.
During a session a skilled hypnotherapist will conversationally start to assist a client to challenge their unresourceful beliefs, and then begin to build new empowering beliefs in their place. For example, the hypnotherapist might ask a client something like, “Have you noticed that you already believe at some level that it’s possible for you to feel comfortable while giving public presentations? If you didn’t, you would have never come to see me today.” It’s really difficult for someone who has made an appointment for hypnosis to overcome fear of public speaking to deny that! And, consciously realizing that they really do believe that their goal is possible is a solid step in the right direction.
Using artfully vague language to directly and indirectly suggest resourcefulness, and success is simply one of the dimensions communication of a professional hypnosis session, which can also be though of as just a particularly fruitful conversation.