Mass Hypnosis - How does it work?
- Chris Harrison
- 3rd December 2008
Mass Hypnosis (or group hypnosis) works on exactly the same principles as one-to-one hypnosis, except that the hypnotist is limited to techniques that do not require specific actions with individuals.
For instance, all the usual language patterns work, but obviously physical anchoring cannot be used and so must be replaced (if required) with another form of anchoring such as tone of voice, specific words, or spacial anchoring.
Some people may assume that pacing and leading cannot be used for mass hypnosis, but this is untrue. A Hypnotist will often seek to pace a dominant member of the group (useful for business meetings), and then lead them, often directing embedded commands directly at the individual through eye contact or hand gestures at the correct moment. .
When a group is approached in this way, the people surrounding the 'victim' or chosen individual tend to respond first and then the effect spreads out through the group.
It is also surprising how often a group will all fall into the same breathe patterns as the hypnotist, especially if the hypnotist speaks in a particularly rhythmic manner or emphasizes their breathing. Some hypnotists start their work with a deep and loud breathe which seems to bring the group into time with them.
In Mass Hypnosis the hypnotist will generally focus on using a lot of stacked presuppositions and use much denser language patterns, along with metaphors, as these are their main tool.
Another interesting issue of mass hypnosis is that the hypnotist can rely on the group to maintain its own rapport.
Very few groups consist purely of 'members of the public', and usually the group will have something that brings them together such as an interest in Fly fishing, or a common company goal. In such situations the fear of not fitting in or being embarrassed can help the hypnotist to suggest quite outrageous actions (as in Jim Jones). This can work with any group that holds a common identity, even cultural - which is a pretty big group!
This use of fear/embarrassment is the similar to the suggestions in adverts on TV everyday. i.e. If you don't use our product, then you're stupid - all the attractive people are using it.
In some groups it is clear that one specific person holds the groups 'view of reality', especially in business. In this situation, the hypnotist would attempt to affect that individual, knowing that the others with simply drop into line.
So if you want to work with hypnotizing groups, you will firstly want to build up your language patterns (the milton model is the place to start). Metaphor may also be a useful skill depending upon the group.
You also need to be extremely confident in front of a group and it is important to be able to develop whatever state you want in front of a crowd and work on getting the crowd into that state. There is some information on developing states here.