Freely printed from: https://learn.nimja.com/techniques/double_binds
Double binds are a very simple and extremely powerful structure that has been used by many parents all over the world. Do you want to go to bed now or in 5 minutes?
Basically, you provide the subject with multiple options (usually two) that are all in the favor of the hypnotist.
Offering more than two options is possible, but can also easily confuse a subject. Which is fun but generally a different purpose.
Do you want to go into trance now, or later?
Did you want to go into a profoundly deep state or are you already there?
Will you forget to remember or remember to forget?
- Now or later?
- Would you like to go into trance quickly or slowly?
- Is it happening or has it already happened?
- How soon will your eyes get heavier?
- Do you want to go deeper into trance before or after you've blinked again?
- When do you think the warmth will start to spread?
- Where do you feel it most?
- Which hand/arm/leg feels the most relaxed?
- What is more stuck, your fingers or your palm?
- Is it more of a glowing feeling or more of a gentle pulse?
- Does the relaxation feel heavy or warm?
By its very definition, the unconscious mind is not part of the conscious mind and providing an option like this means that either the conscious mind is hypnotized or the unconscious.
- How will your unconscious mind help you to relax your conscious mind even more?
- If your unconscious mind wants you to go deep into trance, your left hand will lift, otherwise your right hand will lift.
- You don't need to listen to me as your unconscious mind can listen to me without your knowledge.
- Do you really think you're awake?
With resistance play or someone who might be struggling, it could be nice to provide them with two ways to resist. Picking either one means they still follow your suggestions.
- You could become completely blank and unresponsive or maybe your body wants to fidget a little, but not too much.
- Do absolutely nothing for a while or you might wish to move or talk just a little bit.
- Maybe you want to think you're still awake or pretend that you're very deep in trance.
A strange form where the two parts are connected by the content of the two options without a logical connection. The confusion caused tends the mind to sort of "go along with it".
- Would you like to sit down after going into trance or shake my hand to drop deep?
- Let's begin now or use our time constructively.
- You could go into trance as we speak or notice how your thoughts have slowed down.
- You can either learn from this experience or teach it to someone else later.
Opposite or new directions
The questions can also be used to offer new choices or ways to do something while still directing them into a nicer place.
- Do you want to float up into trance or sink down into relaxation?
- Can you hear your breath slowing down or do you feel your body relax?
- (with resistance play) - Are you still trying to resist or have you already failed?
- (amnesia play) - I don't know whether you've completely forgotten that name or whether it's as if a part of you still knows it but you simply find yourself unable to say it.
Did you notice?
A fun variation is to ask a subject if they know/realize/notice X. This gives only two options of: "Yes, I noticed that it's happening." or "No, I didn't notice, but it's still happening."
- Did you notice your eyelids getting heavier?
- Do you realize that you're relaxing already?
- Did you know that your mind is responding to my words?
Covering all options
Rapidly combining double-binds with all possible options can also make someone feel like they're doing everything you're saying.
- Shortly your right hand, or maybe your left, will begin to lift up or press down or may not move at all.
- As your eyelids are getting more affected you might notice your blinks slowing down or perhaps going even faster than normal.
- Some people experience a warping of time while in trance, slowing down to a wonderful crawl or passing by faster as if time itself barely exists.
These are more complicated to work with and should only be used when there's well-established trust between hypnotist and subject. The concept is to provide two options where neither is desired by the subject. Often they imply with either option that something is wrong with the subject.
The result is a vulnerable confusion state as the subject doesn't want to admit to either.
- Are you too weak to resist or have you given up entirely?
- Are you disobedient or have you simply forgotten how to obey?