One of the most powerful ways to enhance the effectiveness of a first hypnosis session is for the client to initially have an obviously hypnotic experience. It is standard practice for many hypnotherapists to have a new client do the balloon and bucket exercise, in which the client imagines a bucket of wet sand in one outstretched hand and that the other hand is attached to a big helium balloon. When one arm moves up, and the other down, it is undeniable that something unusual is happening.
When Dan (not his real name) came to my office it was because he could not wear his dentures. Every time he put them in, he gagged. This was distressing to Dan who wanted to be able to chew and eat normally. So when his dentist suggested hypnosis Dan was immediately willing to try it since none of his other efforts to get used to his dentures had worked.
One of the first things I did with Dan was a technique that I learned from Applied Kinesiology called the temporal tap. It is a way to modify a physiological response, like gagging, temporarily, and it is sometimes used to help a doctor or neuromuscular therapist work inside the mouth of someone prone to gagging. The human skull is actually made up of a number of bones. The temporal tap technique is performed by tapping along the joint of the temporal bone on both the right and left sides while giving the client a suggestion, such as, “you’ll do fine without gagging”.
Once I did the temporal tap with Dan, he was able to put in his dentures with perfect comfort, and he was free of gagging for the first time. So he knew from experience that he could wear his dentures comfortably. His belief in his ability to wear his dentures and in his ability to benefit from hypnosis changed in a matter of seconds. And, from that moment on, it was simply a matter of guiding Dan into hypnosis and giving him suggestions for lasting success and comfort in wearing his dentures. Dan left the office wearing his dentures and a happy smile.