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Hypnosis 101 - 'Yes Sets'


You may be asking yourself: ‘What is a ‘Yes Set?’

A ‘Yes Set’ sometimes also known as a compliance set is an effective method that the hypnotist uses to reduce or eliminate resistance on a conscious/sub-conscious level within the subject to create compliance.

By getting your subject to agree to statements of fact (undeniably true) you increase your chances of them responding to suggestions that follow. The best way to begin building a yes set is to pace the subject’s ongoing experiences. You could use physical truisms such as:

You’re standing/ sitting there (yes)…

listening to the sound of my voice (yes)…

Noticing you’re breathing (yes)…

You’ll eventually learn to pace anything within the client’s environment for example:

The sun is shining (yes)…

You can hear dogs barking (yes)…

You can see the wall in front of you (yes)…

To further build the ‘Yes Set’ the hypnotist then offers commands to do small tasks. The language is often quite permissive. For example can you, could you or would you. It’s more of a request than a command to do something. Below are some examples that you may have heard other hypnotists use or that you may be using yourself.

Can you place your feet flat on the floor…

Could you hold your hands out in front of you…?

Would you stand over here for me?

The above are all examples of smaller suggestions that the hypnotist is observing to see whether the subject is following your commands. The subjects’ responses to these suggestions could indicate whether the client is beginning to follow your commands and highlight the likelihood of them accepting bigger suggestions later.

From this point on the suggestions then become more direct and are commands to do rather than requests. The hypnotist’s language would change and he/she may use direct suggestions such as:

Now close your eyes…

Take a nice deep breath in….

To break it down you can think of the ‘yes set’ being a pacing statement and the suggestion being a leading statement. The following phrase is an example of a yes set that we often use in our sets whether in a street or a stage environment:

You’re standing there (pace), listening to my voice (pace), as you begin relaxing (lead).

From here you can build your suggestions or include other pacing and leading statements. If you’re not already using yes sets in your work why not give it a try next time? A great exercise that you can use is to pace your own ongoing experience so the next time you’re walking down a street pace the things that you see, smell, hear.

If you have any questions or if you’d like further information on anything hypnosis related please feel free to contact us. Similarly sign up to our mailing list for further updates and new blog post alerts.

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