Rapid Hypnosis: the handshake interrupt technique

by | Nov 20, 2017

The handshake interrupt is a rapid hypnosis induction created by Richard Bandler, the co-founder of NLP.

The technique involves interrupting a normal handshake, and thereby inducing a moment of confusion in someone, so that they don’t quite know how to respond.

You can then utilise this momentary “huh?” response to lead them into hypnosis.

However, because it’s such an odd, “martial arts-like” manoeuvre, I find students rarely put it to practical use outside of hypnosis seminars. After all, it’s pretty rude to suddenly grab a stranger’s arm when they’re just trying to say hello to you!

This video demonstrates a method I use to segue into this technique conversationally, which I find makes it much easier to use with clients, and with anyone who wants to experience “instant hypnosis”.

It’s quite an old clip, but I think it’s still a valuable demonstration if you’re at all interested in hypnosis.

If you’re new to hypnosis, just notice how “the magic” is not in the handshake interrupt itself, but in how I begin by building expectation in the student, and how I make use of her momentary confusion to create a full hypnotic response.

At the end of the clip, you can see from the student’s astonishment what an impact the arm levitation made on her. Evoking hypnotic phenomena is a great way to let people know that they are genuinely in an altered state of consciousness, and that they aren’t just pretending.

If you’re more experienced at inducing hypnosis, notice how I seed the idea of automatic, ideomotor movement before I begin the induction, and how I utilise the arm catalepsy by attaching it to feelings of enthusiasm.

Even though I am apparently only talking to the student, the suggestions for enthusiasm (e.g. “Let’s do this”) are something I am indirectly communicating to everyone in the room, in preparation for the exercise they are about to do.

NLP co-founder John Grinder would often tell his students – “You can use quotes to easily, naturally and conversationally practice any NLP pattern“.

Well, if I were to add to that suggestion, I’d say that the phrase “Now if I were to say to you…” is a very subtle way of using quotes, where you are essentially quoting yourself.

And I’ll finish with some apt words from Richard Bandler himself – “Using quotes to teach the quotes pattern has been done to death by NLP trainers worldwide. Now stop putting words in my mouth! I never said any of this!“.

I am the head scriptwriter at HypnosisDownloads.com.
Two downloads I’ve helped to create, which relate to this blog post are
Hand Levitation and Be More Hypnotic.


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