Hypnotic suggestions are the particular kind of hypnotist’s use as a part of the treatment. These suggestions are either direct or indirect. An example of a direct suggestion could be something like “Your arm will raise in the air,” while the indirect suggestion would be something like “You may feel your arm getting lighter and perhaps wanting to raise from the chair.” In the earlier days of hypnosis, the technique of choice was a direct suggestion. Stage hypnotists often use this approach to create the illusion that the hypnotist controls the subject, even though that’s not the case. Modern hypnotists widely adopt the indirect method, as it has proven more pleasant for the client and thereby more helpful in solving problems. This is not to say that the direct approach hasn’t got its place; it certainly has. Some clients will respond better to the natural process.
One of the ground rules of hypnotic suggestion is that the request should not be harmful. When you suggest something, you should indicate what you want, not what you don’t wish to (Notice how I just did the exact opposite of what I was telling). This rule is that the subconscious mind doesn’t process negations. When I say, “Don’t think of a pink elephant,” that’s precisely what you’ll do. It’s similar to parents who tell their children, “Don’t fall,” sometimes, they will fall just because they were told not to. Imagination has a tremendous effect on the body, which is why you should always suggest what you want to happen. This rule applies to virtually every situation in life, whether you are a hypnotist or not.