How To Hypnotize

The Dave Elman Induction – Steps and Explanation

One of the first inductions that most hypnotists should be taught in a hypnosis course today is the Dave Elman induction. Unfortunately, a lot of courses start with a progressive relaxation or other “old timey” induction.

This is my explanation of how to do a modified Dave Elman induction. I think it has improved slightly from the original and easier for most neo learners to grasp. Even though Dave passed away about 40 years ago, this remains one of the best inductions in hypnosis today.

In short, if you don’t know this one, you want to learn this right away. If you do know it, then perhaps my explanation will add a few tidbits or tweaks that you can alter for your own use.

Have fun:


Take a deep breath, hold it for a mental count of three, and let it go with a sigh … As you let that breath go now, close your eyes, and go deeper and deeper into a perfect state of relaxation.

Physical Relaxation

Take that relaxation now and just go deeper …. Sweeping from the top of your head, to the tips of your toes … From the soles of your feet to the palms of your hands, with every breath growing more limp, more loose, more relaxed

Test for Eye Catelepsy, also called “The Eye Lock”

Now I want you to relax all those tiny little muscles in your eyelids, like an old wet dish rag has been placed over them. Relax all those muscles so limp, so loose, so totally relaxed, that you couldn’t possibly open them again without putting tension back into them. When you know that you’ve got them that relaxed, just go ahead and give them a good test. [Look at the eyes … When you see the first signs of eyelid flutter then say:] That’s good, stop testing now, and just let the relaxation grow deeper and deeper.

[Notes: You want to tell them to test the eyes only when they know that they have relaxed them sufficiently until they won’t work. If their eyes open that means they haven’t followed that instruction. Occasionally you’ll get people who say, “well do you want me to open my eyes?” and you have to explain to them that when the eyes get so relaxed, they get so they can’t open, and if they can relax their eyes to that point they will NOT open.

If they continue to fail then that generally means they aren’t following instructions – but keep in mind that as you get more experienced you’ll be able to work with more people and be able to troubleshoot what is going on much more effectively.]


In a second I’m going to ask you to open and close your eyes, and when you close your eyes back down, I want you to go ten times deeper. Now go ahead and open .. and close your eyes… ten times deeper.

In a second I’m going to ask you to open and close your eyes again, this time go twice as relaxed as you are right now … Go ahead and open your eyes.. close your eyes… two times more relaxed. Double the relaxation and then go deeper.

And in a second I’ll ask you to open and close your eyes one last time, this time go into the deepest trance that is possible for you, and open … and close your eyes… deeper .. and deeper relaxed… All the way down into the basement of trance

[Note: When you have them open their eyes, put your hand in front of their eye-lids so they don’t see the lights/distractions around them … lift your hand up a little bit for the open motion, and then guide their eyes down with the closed motion.

Fractionation is based on the principle that when you take a person in and out of trance, they tend to go more deeply into trance when you take them back in. Thus when you have them open their eyes, you are breaking their state. Skilled practitioners know how to fractionate very often and very effectively. Don’t underestimate how powerful of a tool this is.]

Test for Physical Relaxation and Deepener

In a second I’m going to lift up your right wrist. Don’t try to help me or hinder me, just let it hang there like limp, loose, dead weight. [Pick up the wrist] And just go ahead and let me have all the weight… [Move the wrist up and down and then side to side — it’s the side to side movement that they don’t anticipate] .. And that’s right… and I’m going to drop this hand, and let the hand drop only at the rate and speed that you’re willing to go … [Drop the hand] All the way down. [That’s a double bind: You already dropped the hand, so it presupposes that they agreed to go all the way down]

[Note: you can repeat this test at random points during the hypnosis if you want to deepen the relaxation, because it is an already accepted mechanism that if you lift and drop their hand, they’ll go deeper.

You have to make sure that they have completely relaxed their hand and arm. I find that it sometimes helps to give a little bit of touch around the shoulder joint because it implies that the hand is disconnected.]

Amnesia for the Numbers

Now we want to let your mind relax as deeply as your body continues to relax now. In a second I’ll give you some numbers, and you will begin counting outloud, slowly backwards starting with the number 100, and with the number 100, I want you to see the number 100, and with every descending number, just let those numbers grow smaller, darker, harder to see [gesture and imagine yourself the numbers being gone], until by the time you reach 96 or even 97, those numbers will just be gone … gone from your mind, gone from your thoughts, and you relax even deeper. Begin countingoutloud, slowly, backwards from 100 on down now. [When they pause for more than a second or so, say:] All gone? [Wait for a response] That’s right, now just go deeper and let that relaxation go all the way thru your body.

[Notes: (1) An option here is to have the person say the words “deeper relaxed” in between the numbers. For clients who might take a longer time to get the effect, this will speed up the process because they are saying “deeper relaxed” out of their own mouth.”

(2) Make sure they understand that they will count outloud, slowly, andbackwards. Very important when doing your Elman Induction.

(3) When you tell them that by the time they reach “96 or even 97” you are telling them that the numbers will be gone quickly, and you are testing for somnambulism. If you say a lower number even though it seems like you are making it more likely that they’ll get the effect, in fact they will simply take longer and the convincer aspect of it won’t be there as much.

(4) If they continue to count, you can intersperse the numbers with suggestions like: “Just make them gone now .. I can’t do it for you .. If you want it, it will happen instantly” … If they still continue to not forget the numbers (that is fail at the test) then transition to something else, as if they’ve done perfectly. Some people will take longer than others though.

(5) At the end, say “All gone?” or “Are they gone?” … Don’t say “Can you see the numbers?” because that is a direct suggestion for them to see the numbers]

– End of the induction –

Where to go from here

If your intent is simply to show the person what it feels like to be hypnotized, just give them a couple more feel good suggestions, and then emerge them. To emerge them say something along the lines of:

“In a second I’ll count from one to three, when I reach the number three you’ll emerge out of trance, feeling rested, relaxed, feeling good and full of energy… And one, all suggestions and commands are integrated deeply… two .. as you open your eyes you acknowledge and admit this has been very very relaxing and fun, and three… eyes open, wide awake, feeling fine and in perfect health, better than before”

Otherwise you can bridge into pretty much any other hypnotic thing that you want to do. At this point is where I would create instant induction triggers, the circle of excellence exercise, etc.

Notes on how to enhance this induction using automatic deepeners:

One thing most professionals will do is to build automatic processes based on utilization. What this means is that they utilize things in the environment that are going to happen anyway and they use it as a way to automatically deepen the trance effect. So, in most inductions a professional will say something along the lines of:

“Outside sounds, outside influences cannot disturb or distract you, they’re only the sounds of the environment, and in fact that can only cause you to go deeper.” “With every breath you take, with every word I say, you can just go deeper, and deeper relaxed.” “Becoming now more attuned to the sound of my voice.. the sound of my voice taking you all the way inside.”

You are going to keep talking, the person is going to keep breathing, they are going to hear things … So instead of being afraid of somebody yelling in the background, why not train your people to the effect that if they did hear that yell, it would just make them grow more relaxed and follow the suggestions even more, even to the point where the louder that yell got, would be the deeper quality of relaxation they would experience? It’s not going to happen that they tense up again because the yell gets softer, so you might as well build it in.

Other things to link automatic deepeners to include any sensation the person experiences, the weight of their body on the chair, the feeling of the clothes on their body, the blood moving thruout their body, the air moving thruout their lungs, air touching their skin, cars moving by in the background, or anything else that they see, hear, feel, or experience.

When do you use the automatic deepeners? Sometimes right after the eye lock you want to give the suggestion that noises in the environment will only cause you to go deeper, otherwise do it when they are in a good starting level of trance like at the fractionation step, and repeat it when you know they’re in really deeply.

The original Dave Elman Induction is © Dave Elman and can be found in his book “Hypnotherapy.”

If you’re looking for a video version on how to do this and other inductions, check out the Rapid and Instant Inductions Study Course on my website.


The Dave Elman induction: Pure Original Form
By Gerald Kein
©Dave Elman 1935

Take a long deep breath, fill up your lungs real good and hold it for a second. Now when you exhale, close your eyes down… And let yourself relax. Get rid of that surface tension in your body, let your shoulders relax. It’s ok to relax today.

Now put your awareness on your eyelids. You know that you can relax those eyes beautifully. You know that you can relax those eyes so deeply, that as long as you choose not to remove that relaxation, those eyelids just won’t work… And when you know that you’ve done that, hold on to that relaxation, give them a good test, make sure they won’t work… And notice how good it feels. Test them hard, it’s ok. (pause) that’s good. Stop testing let yourself relax much more.

That quality of relaxation you are allowing in your eyes is the quality of relaxation i’d like you let yourself have throughout your entire body. So take that same quality, bring it up to the top of your head… And send it down through your body from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. Let go of every muscle. Let go of every nerve. Let go of every fiber… And let yourself drift much, deeper, relaxed. You got it.

Now let’s really deepen this state. In a moment i’ll ask you to open and close your eyes. When you close your eyes, send a wave of relaxation through your body, so very quickly, you’ll allow this physical part of you to relax… Ten times deeper. Just want it and you can have it. Let your eyes become open… Close your eyes… And really… Let go. Feel your body relax, much more. You’re doing fine.

In a moment i’ll ask you to open and close your eyes again. This time when you close your eyes, double this physical relaxation… Really let it grow twice as deep. Let your eyes become open… Way down… Deeper… Deeper… Relaxed.

In a moment we’ll do it one more time… And notice how well it comes in this time as you learn how simple it is… At least double it. All right let your eyes become open… Way down (——), really let go. That’s good. That’s good.

In a moment i’m going to lift your right arm and drop it. Don’t help me lift that arm… And when it drops down, just notice how much more, your body can relax very easily. (arm drop) perfect. Way down. Great.

Now the body’s relaxed (——) so let’s get the mind relaxed, that’s really what we want to do. When your mind’s relaxed you really can achieve anything you can think of, within certain restrictions of course. In a moment i’ll ask you to slowly begin counting out loud, backwards, starting with the number 100. After each number, simply say the words, deeper relaxed. After each number double your mental relaxation, let your mind grow twice as calm and still and serene. Now if you do this, you’ll discover by the time you just say a couple numbers, doesn’t take long, you’ve relaxed your mind so beautifully and so completely, you’ve actually relaxed all the rest of the numbers out. Want that… And you can have it quickly.

Slowly begin counting out loud, backwards, starting with the number 100. Saying the words, deeper relaxed… And relax those numbers right out of your mind.

(100 deeper relaxed.) That’s good. (99 deeper relaxed.) That’s fine. (98 deeper relaxed.) Now you can let those numbers grow dim and distant, there not important. (97 deeper relaxed.) And when your’re ready just push them out. (96 deeper relaxed.) Now push them on out, just tell them to leave and they will go. Just let them go… And let them be gone.