Self hypnosis

Setting your goals

Before starting your self-hypnosis practice at home it's important to choose your goal for the session. Here are some tips to help make it effective:


State your goal in positive terms. The subconscious finds it easier to focus on what you want rather than what you don't want. So if you want to not feel nervous in an interview you need to identify what you want to feel instead e.g. feeling confident or feeling calm.


Make sure your goal is self-initiated and self-controlled, e.g. you can't change other people's behaviour towards you, but you can change how you feel about their behaviour and how you respond to it.


Describe your goal in sensory based language. It helps your subconscious to have a multi-sensory idea of your goal, because that's how it stores your memories and it's also how it rehearses the future - through your imagination, fantasies and dreams. For example if you would like to feel confident during exams. You could say something like "when I see the exam paper and when I hear the invigilator's voice saying 'begin' I notice how confident I feel."


It's very helpful to give your goal a precise context. For example when using hypnosis to help with confidence it's best to decide on a specific situation where you want to feel confident. Concentrate your hypnosis efforts on that particular situation. In the examples above you would deal with confidence either at work or in exams.


Check there isn't any reason in your mind to not make the change stated in your goal. This is sometimes called a secondary gain. For example somebody's goal might be going to the gym every evening after work. But if they like going for a drink with mates every Friday after work they're not going to be motivated to achieve the stated goal. However they can easily adapt the goal and restate it as going to the gym four evenings each week instead.


Similarly, it's important to check your goal doesn't have negative consequences in other areas of your life . The gym example above would be a problem for somebody if going there each evening made them too tired for work the next day. They would have to make adjustments to their goal until it fits with the other parts of their life. They could decide to go to the gym just three evenings a week for only one hour.

Once you've run through the above checks on your goal you can write it down and have it available to remind yourself before each self-hypnosis session.


Preparation for self hypnosis


Goal Setting

(Well Formed Outcomes)

After you have read the notes on this page about setting your goals for self-hypnosis you can use the list below as a quick reminder:

  • Positively stated
  • Self-initiated and self-controlled
  • Sensory based langage
  • Contextualised / specific
  • Secondary gain
  • Ecological
  • Thinking easily
  • Acting naturally
  • Responding flexibly
  • Enjoying the task
  • Encouraging self
  • Feeling energised
  • Seeing things clearly


Self Hypnosis - Steps