This is a hypnosis glossary that contains a list of definitions for most terms used in hypnotherapy.

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Abreaction–An emotional expression of unconscious material that can sometimes occur during a hypnotherapy session.

Age Regression–A hypnotic technique used to take someone back in time in order to relive a previous experience.

Alpha–Alpha is a brain wave state that is characterized by deep relaxation and a detached conscious state. It is the brain wave state of mind that is associated with a light hypnosis state (8-14HZ). You experience the alpha state as you drift off to sleep at night. Alpha brain waves are also generated during daydreams. It also functions as a link between the conscious and subconscious mind.

Anchor–A programmed stimulus that triggers a response from the subconscious mind. An example would be a programmed suggestion that the blue sky makes you feel peaceful.

Associated–Seeing the world from your own perspective.


Auto-Suggestion–To give yourself suggestions for reprogramming your subconscious mind.

Aversion Therapy–A therapeutic technique using the negative aspects of continuing a habituated behavior as a motivation to change the behavior.

Behavior Modification–Changing a behavioral pattern.

Beta–The normal, waking state with brain waves at 15-40Hz. The state we are in as we function day to day in the world.

Brain Wave (or Brainwave)–Rhythmic electrical impulses measured in per second cycles called hertz (Hz). They include beta (15-40Hz); alpha (8-14Hz); theta (4-7Hz); and delta (0.5-3Hz).

Cataleptic Trance–A medium hypnotic state where the subject is no longer aware of external stimuli.

Conditioning–A series of suggestions designed to “condition” the subconscious mind to be receptive to given ideas.

Deepening Techniques–Techniques used to deepen a subject’s trance state.

Defense Mechanism–A subconscious response whose purpose is to protect the individual from anxiety.

Delta–The deep sleep or coma state, 0.5-3.0 Hz.

Direct Suggestion–A suggestion given to a subject as a command.

Double Bind–When confronted with two alternative suggestions within a sentence, the person will likely respond to the stronger suggestion when the other suggestion is weaker.

Ericksonian hypnosis–A branch of hypnosis based on the practices of Milton Erickson.

Expectancy–The state of expecting or anticipating an outcome.

Eye-Fixation Technique–An induction technique in which a subject stares at a fixed point.

Flopper–This is a term used to describe someone who is easily hypnotized.

Fractional Induction–An induction which progressively relaxes different parts of the body one area at a time to focus the mind and induce a deeply relaxed state.

Guided Imagery–A technique used to focus a subject’s imagination on an imagined scene or journey.

Hypnosis–A state of mind characterized by deep relaxation and focused concentration, and a slowing of brainwave activity into an alpha brain wave state. This state is characterized by a receptiveness to suggestibility.

Hypnotherapist–Someone trained to use hypnosis as a therapeutic tool.

Hypnotherapy–The use of hypnosis as a therapeutic tool.

Hypnotism–The theory and practice of hypnosis.

Hypnotist–Someone who guides another into a hypnotic state.

Indirect Suggestion–Suggestions that utilize metaphors or analogies to get an idea across to a subject.

Induction–The part of the hypnotic process in which the subject is guided into a deeply relaxed hypnotic state.

Kinesthetic–Relating to the sense of touch or feeling.

Maternal Hypnotist–A hypnotist who uses a nurturing approach.

Mesmerism–The philosophy of Franz Anton Mesmer which was the forerunner for hypnosis.

Mirroring–Aligning oneself in the same position or posture of a person in order to establish rapport.

NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming)–The science of modeling people (studying and imitating) to produce similar results in others.

Paternal Hypnotist–A hypnotist who uses an authoritative approach to hypnosis.

Past Life Therapy–A therapeutic technique by which a therapist guides a subject into a past life, real or imagined, to help understand or heal a current issue.

Post-Hypnotic Suggestion–A suggestion given to a subject during a hypnosis session which is to be acted upon sometime after the session.

Progressive Relaxation–The same as a fractional induction in which a subject is asked to relax different areas of the body to induce a deeply relaxed hypnotic state.

Rapport–A state of trust between hypnotist and subject.

Regression–Guiding someone back in time during trance to relive a past event.

Revivification–Reliving a traumatic past event.

Self-Hypnosis–Practicing hypnosis by oneself. Learning to move into a trance state without the guidance of a hypnotist.

Stage Hypnosis–Hypnosis practiced on individuals or groups in front of an audience for entertainment purposes.

Subconscious–The intuitive, imaginative, artistic, uncritical part of the mind that we are unaware of. It holds all our memories, heals us, is the seat of our emotions, and directs the automatic functions of our bodies.

Subject–A person who is undergoing hypnosis.

Suggestion–Ideas given to the subconscious for the purpose of influencing behavior.

Suggestibility–The degree to which an individual is responsive to ideas given to them.

Theta–Brainwaves in the 4-7 Hz range produced by the subconscious mind. Theta waves are present during dreaming and REM (rapid eye movement). A deep hypnosis or meditative state.

Trance–The state of mind (alpha) associated with hypnosis.

Triggers–A programmed signal, like a color or auditory phrase that triggers a specific response.

Unconscious–The repressed psychological material held within the subconscious mind.

Visualization–The process of imagining mental images to help create or change awareness or behavior.

Waking Hypnosis–A trance state achieved without induction. Natural Hypnosis. Some examples would be reading, watching television, painting, etc. Any highly focused state where the mind is focused on one thing to the exclusion of all else.

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