Pacing and Leading
- Chris Harrison
- 13th December 2008
When pacing and leading, pacing is simply the skill of gaining rapport with the client. Leading is what happens after this has been achieved.
For instance, if a client comes in who is extremely angry, you could match their breathing rate, loud voice and gesticulations and then start to lower you voice and slow your breathing and see if they follow.
For a hypnotist the most common lead you use will be to lead a client into a trance. If you try to hypnotize a client without being relaxed yourself, you will find it almost impossible. Your own state is extremely important.
I always like the idea of using subtlety in my inductions - it's nice to be halfway towards the goal before the client is aware that anything is occurring at all.
A good way to practice is to start pacing during your pre-amble with the client, and then just before you wish to start a formal trance slow your breathing and soften your focus, and see if they begin to follow you. Working in this way will make your inductions very smooth.
One of the hardest issues with pacing and leading is knowing when to start leading and how quickly to switch state. Its no good matching the clients angry state and then immediately shifting to catatonic - that will have no effect at all (except make the client question their choice of hypnotist).
Once you are sure you've got rapport, then shift your breathing slightly and if they don't follow shift it back. Continue to take little steps until you get the result you want.
Like many hypnotic skills, pacing and leading becomes automatic the more you use it.