When undergoing hypnosis, an induction is required to ensure that the subject is sufficiently relaxed to experience the process fully. The form which this induction takes may be dependent on the hypnotist used, or the type of hypnosis being undertaken. Some hypnotists will rely on a standard format for all inductees, whilst others advocate the use of personalised scripts tailored to each client. Whether this is a more effective method and produces better results for those undergoing hypnosis is a question open to debate.
Hypnosis is widely used in therapy for a number of reasons. The promotion of hypnosis as a cure for weight loss, smoking, exam nerves and other such common problems have ensured that generic hypnotherapy materials such as CD's, DVD's, books and MP3 tracks are highly marketable and widely available. Mass marketing means that there is no option for personalising material, and the purchaser has no choice but to accept the tone and style adopted by the hypnotist. However, producing material in this way allows the therapist to reach a far greater audience with only a relatively small amount of time and effort required.
Advocates of a personalised approach believe that clients should be analysed and the type of induction they receive should be dependent on their 'modality'. As Alder (1994 p.48) states, 'we all have a preference for which sense we use, for the way we think', with most people primarily defining their world in a visual, auditory or kinaesthetic way. Hypnotherapists using this method conduct a preliminary interview to define their clients modality, and the type of induction consequently received may be determined through factors such as language, eye movements, body language, and through the results of questionnaires carried out by the hypnotist. However, this carries a risk of miss-judging the individual, and thus producing an induction based around a modality which they fail to identify with. Additionally, this view does not take into account the fluidity of human nature. As Alder (1994 p.72) says, 'our feelings change frequently throughout the day, as we are exposed to events, circumstances and people that cause us to react in different ways'. Thus how a client presents on one occasion may not be typical of that person in general, and some clients may even feel the need to try to project an image of themselves that they believe their therapist wants to see rather than being at ease enough to show their genuine modality. Some people can also have 'dual modalities', and which modality comes to the forefront when they are meeting with their therapist may be dependent on how they are feeling on that specific occasion. When creating a generic script, practitioners may use a technique called 'compounding' whereby descriptions employing as much sense data as possible are used (Karle and Boys 1987). It could be argued that this is a more effective way of engaging people, as through using a wider approach, the risk of miss-judging the subject is avoided.
It could also be argued that some forms of hypnosis are more successful if carried out in a certain format and not personalised to take into account individual modalities. Hypnosis for issues that require the client to cease an activity, for example smoking, may require the individual to feel that the practitioner is confident and strong, and 'if the subject views the hypnotist as an authority figure, the subject may have greater confidence in the power of an induction' (Hadley and Straudacher 1996 p.26).
Group inductions are common place in some areas of hypnosis, and in this situation having a multiple clients prohibits the use of a personalised induction. However, in this instance hypnotherapists may adopt a highly permissive approach whereby members of the group are able to develop their own imagery (Karle and Boys 1987). This may be beneficial as it gives group members...