Once you learn how to “hypnotize” someone, the next obvious step is to deliver suggestions that work. We have already elaborated on how to deliver irresistible hypnotic suggestions and also on how to master hypnotic phenomena. Though, recently I have been getting quite a bit of requests to elaborate on how to get some specific hypnotic phenomena to work for you, in this Lesson I am going to focus on the phenomena of Amnesia.
Amnesia (from Greek Ἀμνησία) is a condition in which memory is disturbed or lost.
Now, before I begin by telling you how to do and accomplish this phenomenon of hypnotic amnesia, you need to have read and understood the IAYH Code of Ethics and Standards. Basically, Hypnotic Amnesia always be temporary and for small things such as: Names, Numbers, Faces, etc.
With being a hypnotist and having this skill, you will get people who have had bad experiences in their life, such as the loss of a loved one or a trauma in their life that they believe they would be better off forgetting. We do not do this with Hypnosis, this will fall under area’s of being irresponsible and unethical. Every experience we have had in our lives is something to learn from, to grow from and to expand from.
Take for example someone who wishes to forget their former boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife. Forgetting a person, or experiences with that person also removes all the lessons learned from those experiences, and the reasons for their current position. By forgetting, a couple of things can happen, but most commonly; They could forget the reasons they are not with that person and fall for them again, more naive than before.
You may argue that you could also create an aversion to that person as well, but what if those reasons change, the people change etc, it is simply unfair and hypnosis should not meddle. Hypnosis is a process that is there to assist people in learning greater ways of improving their lives, it is not a quick fix solution that could backfire, as a hypnotist, you are responsible for the well-being of your subjects and you should be responsible in what you are doing. As a re-fresher, I suggest you also review the lesson on Hypnotic Safety.
Now, back to the actual lesson on Hypnotic Amnesia. (there is a really informative audio at the bottom of this post, so read everything and you will get an enormous load of information here to help you master this phenomenon and understand amnesia better)
Understanding the Basics:
Amnesia is basically the process of making someone forget something or lose a bit of information that they previous had. From previous lessons on how to structure and deliver your suggestions you would know by now that, What you focus on increases. We also know, from common sense, that it is quite hard to forget something you are being reminded about (though it is possible, just difficult).
Just as if I were to tell you, “Don’t think about a purple cow!”, you are mentioning the purple cow and in order not to think about it and obey the command, I have to first do what you requested me not to, and that is to think about a purple cow.
Understanding those basics of suggestion, we can then swiftly and effectively get hypnotic amnesia, and its quite simple.
Achieving Hypnotic Amnesia:
Getting hypnotic amnesia is easy and does not take a special level of ‘trance’ or an advanced skill level to achieve, it simply takes a few well articulated words to a hypnotized subject to achieve.
How to get Number Amnesia with Hypnosis:
If you would like to get someone to forget a number (make sure you, as the hypnotist, know how to count before you attempt this ) the easiest way is to suggest it like I do below:
“In a moment I am going to do ‘X’ and when I do ‘X’ you will completely have forgotten the number 4, there is no room for a number between 3 and 5, the space between 3 and 5 is completely blank, that’s right, if you are to count you would count 1,2,3,5,6… [Do 'X'] Count your fingers for me please…”
I just created this suggestion now on the spot (which is the best way to do hypnosis as its not rehearsed and feels and sounds natural, provided you have the focus and strong intent), I use association, compounding and a touch of compliments to make this suggestion work well.
Association: I associated the doing of ‘X’ with forgetting a specific number. This basically allows the subject to know when it will occur and also gives a reason in the mind of the subject for it to happen (though not a ‘real’ reason, just something to know that ‘A’ happened because of ‘X’). ‘X’ can be absolutely anything, such as counting from 1 to 3, snapping your fingers, tapping the subject, saying a particular word. ‘X’ becomes your hypnotic trigger.
Compounding: I compounded the Suggestions above, which basically means I gave the same suggestion to forget a number in more than one way, I paraphrased and elaborated. So the compounding used here is:
Objective: Forgetting of the number four 
- First Suggestion (with association [hypnotic trigger]): In a moment I am going to do ‘X’ and when I do ‘X’ you will completely have forgotten the number 4
- Compound 1: there is no room for a number between 3 and 5
- Compound 2: the space between 3 and 5 is completely blank
- Compound 3: if you are to count you would count 1,2,3,5,6…
Here I used the initial suggestion, plus three compounds of the suggestion to make this as effective as possible. Though, you will have instances when you just give the plain suggestion and it works without compounds, or even with just one or two compounds as opposed to three. This is so that the subject fully understands the suggestion and what is expected of him, compounding is a way to make sure you elaborate in ways the subject will surely understand.
The Compliment: Though very simple, this can be quite powerful, you would notice that in my suggestion, I sneak in a little “that’s right” that is my way of complimenting the subject, that they are doing what is expected, creating the expectation and belief in their mind that they have begun to do what I am suggesting to do and also assists in making them more comfortable with following my suggestions. Though you will get your suggestions to work without compliments, this does help and also creates or strengthens rapport with the subject.
In one of the first hypnosis courses I taught in South Africa a few years ago, one of my students recorded some short snippets of the hypnotic amnesia phenomena that I suggested and created very similar to what I spoke of now, here are the short snippets of me doing it:
Forgetting the Number 6:
Forgetting the Number 5:
I chose these numbers because they each have a specific effect when one forgets them and goes to count their own fingers (basically any number above 0 below 5 and any number above 5 below 10 will do the trick. Other numbers to forget are their phone numbers, house address, etc.
How to get Name Amnesia with Hypnosis:
Many people also ask how they can get someone to forget something as well known to them as their name, and its just as simple as forgetting anything else, here is a demo suggestion you can work with to achieve this:
“In a moment I am going to count from 1 to 3 and when I do you would have completely forgotten your name, I can as you your name and its just blank, its there but you just cant say it, its gone, thats right… 1,2,3″
Here is a quick video of the hypnotic amnesia phenomena:
Its worth noting at the end that I do give his name back
Give it all back…
As I mentioned at the start of this lesson, You have to return things as they were, that is, give back whatever you have made your subject forget, revert the amnesia.
The quickest and easiest way is to just remind them:
“The number between 3 and 5 is 4, you remember that now!”
“Your name is John, back to normal, remembering your name now, What is your name?”
Always restore everything back to normal, never forget this.
You can always build in some powerful extra’s into your suggestions which help increase your success with some subjects or in general, like using metaphors and analogies to associate with the forgetting of a specific item such as referencing previous experiences similar to what you wish to achieve, like:
“John, do you remember sometimes when you forget something now and you know its there, its at the tip of your tongue and you try to remember it, try to say it but its just blank and you cant remember it, its gone? [get a nod or sign of agreement and understanding, then move on to them forgetting something in a similar way] in a moment you are going to forget your name, you know its there but you are just blank and you try in vain to remember and say it, but its gone, that’s right… what’s your name?”
Those are just quick examples of what you can do, mash it up, mix it together, make it your own and be confident and see what you get. Chris Baboch has written an interesting lesson building upon this idea: Hypnotic Phenomena: Reference Experiences for Increased Success.
- What you focus on increases, focus on forgetting as opposed to “not remembering”
- Do not remind them or mention what you wish for them to forget.
- Use Association or Hypnotic triggers to assist (When ‘X’, ‘Y’)
- Compound your suggestions, elaborate and paraphrase.
- Compliment… it helps!
- Use metaphors and analogies (take them to a point when they remember what it feels like to forget something)
- Be Confident and congruent, obvious but important.
- Restore Everything back to normal, give back what you got them to forget!
Tim Shay and William May have contributed an incredible Audio Lesson to this series. Its over an hour long and is a storehouse of brilliant information to assist you in better understanding and producing amnesia, you will definitely learn a lot from this even if you believe you are “efficient” at producing Amnesia. Masters are those who always Learn.
Listen in on this great Amnesia Conversation now:
I do hope you enjoyed this and that it elaborated a bit more on creating suggestions for hypnotic amnesia. Feel free to leave your comments and thoughts.