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How to Hypnotize a Sleeping Person
This method is ideal for hypnotizing a sleeping partner or child.

On entering the room where your sleeping subject is, you will need to establish a rapport with them. You can do this by sitting quietly by their bedside and watching their breathing. By matching your own breathing to that of your subject for a few minutes they will become receptive to you on an unconscious level.

Gradually, change your own breathing by deliberately slowing it down - your subject should soon follow suit - don't worry if it doesn't happen instantly - they will eventually follow.

The next stage is to gently stroke one of your subject's fingers - keeping this in time with your breathing. Avoid any abrupt movements as this will disturb your subject - after a few minutes you can commence by saying (softly) the person's name, followed by:
This is your mother/father (or whatever your relationship to the subject is) here - you can hear me - but you won't wake up - you can hear me but you won't wake up.
Repeat this sentence several times. Your subject may move but even if they verbally respond at this stage it is unlikely that they are awake.

Follow this through with:
When the very deepest part of your mind is listening to me - you can let me know by moving this (index or whichever) finger - and you can still hear me - but you won't wake up.
Again, you may need to do this several times. Milton Erickson used this method with his son after he was involved in a road crash and I believe it took him several nights to achieve bringing him out of sleep and into hypnosis so do persevere.

When you get the response you're looking for, you can continue with suggestions such as:
You can talk, but you won't wake up. The very deepest part of your mind knows what your problem is and can help us to find the solution.

Or - you can give direct suggestions for whatever you're trying to achieve. But - remember - this must always be something that is in the subject's best interests - because even in this level of somnambulist hypnosis they will not take on board suggestions that are against their own moral judgement.

Note - when Erickson used this method his son was experiencing very bad nightmares after his accident.

Erickson verified what had happened and reframed it. He described the accident and told his son - yes - it did happen - but you survived. He could not deny the accident and knew that his son knew that it had happened and - even in hypnosis - would not believe him if he had said that it never happened.
When you've finished with therapy you can give the subject suggestions to return to a peaceful sleep, having beautiful dreams, and awaken at their usual waking up time, feeling refreshed and alert.

One, two, three, four, five.

Views: 78469

Comment by Joshua Houghton on November 30, 2008 at 12:53am
Hey Rich,

Great technique and I have heard this before, but not sure where ;) Funny because I think my wife used this on me as my checkbook had a carbon copy of a check written out for the entire balance of my checkbook to her.......yet, i don't remember writing it :)

Seriously I remember Gerald Kein talking about how he used this technique on his kids as well once and how they all turned out great. I never knew about Milton Erickson using this technique though. Thanks for that insight.
Comment by Taylor Sherman on November 30, 2008 at 6:43am
Don't worry Rich, Josh's wife has him thoroughly hypnotized already :)
Comment by Ty on December 1, 2008 at 10:26pm
lol Taylor your funny. Josh is your wife a hypnotist too? Great article Rich!!
Comment by New Era Hypnosis on April 15, 2009 at 11:17pm
Awesome article! I'll have to make a mental note of this.
Comment by Omar Alexandro on January 27, 2010 at 1:26am
Its very interesting. But I think I would need something a little bit more explained. When it says "Several minutes", it means 2, 3 or 10 or 15?
And something else... When a person is asleep, and she or he starts talking asleep, is he/she hypnotized? They will accept the suggestions? Even without this procedure?
Comment by Omar Alexandro on January 19, 2011 at 10:32pm
I tryed it several times, and I couldn't make them follow my breathing :(
Comment by Fiorenzo Tassotti on May 5, 2016 at 2:27pm

Hello Rich,
I know this method and with me as hypnotist, has always worked.
I ask: There exist some researches about this process?
Has been made some quantification about number of responders versus non-responders?


Comment by Fiorenzo Tassotti on May 5, 2016 at 3:26pm

 ... if there are not official researches, can you tell me about your experience, or about the experiences of hypnotists you know about?
Thank you

Comment by Taylor Sherman on May 26, 2016 at 11:25pm

To my knowledge there hasn't been any research on this method. I am sure there is some research out there, however, on similar topics such as sleep learning. Here is one example:

Hypnotic Suggestions for Learning during Stage I REM Sleep

Dave Elman used to use this method of hypnosis as well.

Comment by Fiorenzo Tassotti on May 27, 2016 at 7:00am

Thank You Taylor Sherman


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