The Elman-Banyan Hypnotic Induction

Calvin D. Banyan, MA, BCH, CI

The Dave Elman induction is a beautiful rapid induction, which in its original form has proven effective for over 30 years. I have changed it somewhat to make it more reliable for the therapists at The Banyan Hypnosis Center for Training & Services, Inc. where we have used it in thousands of sessions with improved results.

There are three major changes to the original Dave Elman Induction. In the first part of the original induction, the client is asked only to relax her eyelids one time and then send the relaxation down across her body. Next, the subject is asked to open her eyes and close her eyes twice during the induction. This is a very effective fractionation induction technique and I would not have changed it except, through experimentation, I found that having the client continue to relax her eyelids and check them to make sure they won't work, gave me a more reliable test for eye catalepsy later on in the session. This was important because I recommend that all of the therapists at the center use eye catalepsy as a convincer during the first session. Making this change does not seem to cause a reduction in reliably obtaining somnambulism later in the session.

Another important change was in the direction of the numbers that the client is asked to count. In the original form of the second part of the induction where the client is asked to relax the mind by counting, the numbers are counted backwards starting at 100. In the Elman-Banyan version of the induction, the subject is asked to start counting with the number 1. This change was made for two reasons. It seemed that sometimes clients, especially those who work with numbers as part of their work, may be reluctant to loose the numbers. It seems that as soon as the suggestion was given to begin counting backwards from one hundred and to relax her mind with each number until the numbers fade away, some would fixate on counting down to the number 1. Reversing the numbers and starting with 1 eliminated this tendency. It seems that these individuals become more able to lose the numbers because, counting any further than a few numbers as suggested is completely futile, because there are always more numbers because theoretically the counting can go on forever.

The second reason that I changed the direction of the counting came from an interaction I had with James Ramey. Mr. Ramey is an expert at attaining extremely deep levels of hypnosis. Although we did not talk about altering the Elman induction, I took what I learned from him and applied it to the induction. Mr. Ramey made a good case for counting in an ascending order when deepening hypnosis. After all, you are asking them to go more relaxed, or deeper. Since we are asking them to become more of something (relaxed), it makes sense to count with the numbers getting larger. Furthermore, if I am asking my client to use the numbers to relax the mind it seems likely that I should engage her in a procedure that is likely to facilitate mental relaxation.

Here is my reasoning on that. Although there might not be a great deal of difference consider this. It seems that the idea in this part of the induction is to relax the mind so much that it cannot continue to count, or recall the next number. So I should consider which would be more relaxing, meaning in this case, which requires less mental work to do, count forward or backward. It seems to me that counting forward would require less mental effort.

Taking all of this into consideration, I made the changes that you will find below. My third change to the original form was the addition of an immediate deepening of the hypnosis upon losing the numbers. It could be argued that this is not part of the induction. Well, as I learned from Gerald Kein, you need to immediately deepen the hypnosis as soon as you have obtained somnambulism, because the depth of hypnosis is constantly varying. So if you continue with the intended hypnotic techniques having only reached, perhaps the threshold of somnambulism, the client may only be in somnambulism part of the time. So just to be on the safe side, it is best to go right into a deepening technique. To help ensure that this is routinely accomplished and thus increase the quality of the work being done, I added a quick and simple deepening technique. It can be replace with any deepening technique that the hypnotist would prefer to use.

Here is how you do it.

Get your client/subject in a comfortable position. Ask them if they would like to do hypnosis with you. Ask for permission to touch your client's arm or hand.

Then follow these three steps by saying the words in italics.

  1. Relax the body:

    "Take a nice deep breath and hold it. Now let it out and close your eyes."

    "I'd like you to take your attention to your eye lids and the area around your eyes. You can relax your eyelids so much that they just won't work. Once you are sure that you have done that, hold onto that relaxation, and test them to make sure they won't work. (Watch to make sure she tests them.) Good, stop testing and go deeper relaxed. Now send that feeling of relaxation down through your body, from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet."

    "I'm going to do a check to make sure you have understood the instructions, and have been following directions. I'm going to lift your hand and drop it. Don't help me lift it. Helping me would remove the relaxation. Just let your arm be limp and relaxed." (Lift your client's hand up a couple of inches and then let it drop down in her lap.)

    "Human beings do better with practice, so let's do that one more time and you will find that you can go even deeper. Take your attention to your eyelids and hold onto that relaxation. One more time, test them to make sure that they won't work. Good, stop testing and go deeper. Now send that feeling of relaxation that you are allowing in your eyelids down across your entire body, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes as if you meant to go ten times deeper."

    "One more time. Take your attention to your eyelids and test them to make sure that they won't work. Now send that feeling down across your body as if you meant to go two times deeper. Good."

  2. Relax the mind:

    "Now let's relax your mind. Really allow your mind to relax like your body is relaxed. In a moment I'm going to have you slowly and softly begin to count starting with the number one. After each number, let your mind double its relaxation. After a few numbers, it doesn't take long, you will be able to relax your mind so nicely that the numbers will fade away and disappear. Want that and you can have it very easily. When the numbers are gone, raise your right index finger to let me know."

    "Begin.... (Client says 'one.') Softer... (Then she says 'two', etc.) Now double your mental relaxation. (Three.) Now let those numbers begin to fade away as you relax your mind. (Four.) Double your mental relaxation and let them fade away to nothing, nothing, nothing." (Continue to give your client suggestions for relaxing her mind until the numbers are gone. This usually only takes about 3 to 5 numbers.)

  3. To deepen the relaxation:

    "In a moment I'm going to count from one to five. With each number that I count, I want you to relax so much that by the time I get to five you have doubled your relaxation.

    One. Relaxation is beginning to double.

    Two. Relaxation is doubling more and more.

    Three. Relaxation is doubling throughout your entire body.

    Four. Your relaxation has almost doubled.

    Five. The relaxation has completely doubled from the top of your head to tips of your toes."

    That is it. Give it a try. If you have any questions give me a call or email me. I hope you will look at all of the training materials on www.Hypnosis.org.

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