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What if your client falls asleep?

by Ruth Hazeldine in Hypnosis Forum · · 8 Replies · View last reply Respond
Ruth Hazeldine
Ruth Hazeldine

I’m really embarrassed to write this, but this afternoon, I had a client who I suspected had drifted into sleep, but I wasn’t quite sure.  While continuing with the session, I was also wracking my brain for the best thing to do if she was asleep. I decided to just be a bit more punching with my voice and it seemed to do the trick. This client had come to see me as she was having sleep difficulties! I am guessing I should have roused her (thought a more punchy voice, or whatever), then brought her out of hypnosis, had a little chat about saying actively involved in the session (and not sleeping) and then got going again. I’d love to know the best way to handle this situation. I guess having a chair that is not too comfortable is a start!!!

Adam Eason Administrator
Adam Eason

I think this becomes a risk if the client gets too comfortable. It is testament to the therapist that the individual feels comfortable enough to do so, but I always give a major lecture about them being active within the session. That is, that they need to engage their imagination with all the suggestions they are given and that many of the processes will require them to speak and give me feedback etc., and I think that usually keeps them alert and paying attention.

So I think first and foremost, the explanation is vital. Expectancy is vital.

I always have them sitting upright and in an attentive posture, and also don't use music or have my hypnosis sessions go on too long without any interaction from them. If you are using hypnotic phenomena at the start of the session, for example, this is a great way to get them focused without being too physically relaxed and inclined to nod off.

Speaking in a usual tone rather than as a 'Hush FM' DJ will help greatly and if all else fails, dealing them a taser to the privates usually gets the attention.

Andy Barrett
Andy Barrett
Improvise, tell/ask them to lift their arm off the chair, if there's movement then they're still tuned in to you.
Jill Harrington
Jill Harrington

I have had a couple of clients drift off (particularly early in Hypno career) and it can be a bit disconcerting.

As you decided to do instinctively, just raising your voice can help bring them back- as Andy says, get them to do something so that you know they are stuill responsive. Pre-empt it by saying something to them in induction, like-you may feel like drifting off to sleep but stay alert and enjoy the session.

Chairs can sometimes be too comfortable- if you use a foot stool then take it away- they are not grounded and will drift off :-)

Also the temperature in the room can make a difference- too hot and we drift off?

Ruth Hazeldine
Ruth Hazeldine

Thanks for the advice. It happened again last week (again with someone who had come for help with sleep), luckily I felt much more confident in dealing with the situation. Hopefully I’ll now be able to prevent it before it happens again.  Cheers, Ruth 

Craig Galvin
Craig Galvin

I have had this happen many times. If you set up an IMR you can still test for responses. Often when the client has been snoring I am still getting responses from the IMR which has been set. Not to mention the fact that when the session ends and I say ' wide awake ' or the equivalent. They still open their eyes. 

Mark Williams
Mark Williams
What is an IMR ??
Craig Galvin
Craig Galvin

Hi Mark. I hope you're well.

IMR is an abbreviation of Ideomotor Response. Much like a finger twitch, hand movement or a response which is requested from a client if you choose to use signals such as the above. IE: I want you to choose a finger on either hand to signal me with for a yes. Once you have that, please show me by moving that finger. Then set up the same for no etc.

Movements being used for yes and no without using voice are called ideomotor signals. These are things we all experience day to day, involuntary movements to various thoughts or stimuli which are usually outside of our conscious awareness. Have a look on google for ideomotor effect and you will see a breakdown of the explanation for it regarding non conscious movement. 

I hope this helps.

Craig

Mark Williams
Mark Williams
Thanks Craig, very interesting and not something I have picked up on before in any book or video. Hence I will research it in more depth.