Hypnosis and Music

Music can be very helpful in assisting in a wide range of therapeutic disciplines.

Here, I look at the way music can be incorporated into the hypnotic session to aid the process in a number of ways.

Music is a truly universal language that can be a powerful emotive force when used in the correct context.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the movie, media and advertising industries.

Emotive Music

Next time you watch a horror movie, listen to the music used in the scariest parts.

It will have been perfectly engineered to conjure up feelings of anticipation and fear, exactly as it is designed to do.

Alternatively, when you watch a sad part in a film, the accompanying piece of music will add an enormous amount of emotional weight to the script and parts played by the actors. Advertising companies have long known the ability of a certain piece of music to increase many-fold the sales of a certain product.

It also helps to anchor the product firmly in the memory, so that simply by hearing a certain signature tune, a person will think of the product and, if in a position to, will be tempted to buy it.

By way of an example, do you remember a TV ad campaign for a well known brand of soft drink that used a catchy tune with the verbal hook: "Things go better with..."?

Their arch rival countered with "Lip-smackin-thirst-quenchin-..." . That is just the tip of the iceberg, however. There are far too many similar examples to outline here, but I think you get the idea.

The movie industry is equally aware of the impact that music can have on an audience.

The theme tune to "Jaws" was every bit as hauntingly scary as the film itself, invoking fear in the audience by the simplicity of a few carefully chosen low notes played on a cello. "The Dam Busters" theme tune invoked a feeling of patriotism and pride in the battle of good over evil.

Many other examples abound, I'm sure you can think of quite a few, yourself.

Music for Hypnosis

Equally, the right kind of music can greatly assist and enhance a hypnotic session by relaxing the person to be hypnotised in a subtle, yet emotive way. A soothingly slow piece of music with long sustained notes played on certain types of musical instruments is usually best.

An electronic keyboard or synth is good for this as it can create long notes with soft sounds, such as breathy woodwind patches, or soft string pads. It is better to produce a piece of music that does not have a recognizable tune.

We do that because while we as hypnotists want the client to be aware of the music, we don't want them to focus all their attention on it. Which they will tend to do if there is a recognizable tune for them to hear.

Soft and Slow

The emphasis must be on "slow" and "soft" as tones or notes with a hard edge may be off-putting to a client and may even have the opposite effect to that desired, i.e. to may make them anxious rather than calm. Also to be avoided if possible, are fast runs of notes. For instance a piano sound producing a rapid arpeggio run of notes, or worse a full crescendo.

The best type of music to use has soft, rounded tones played slowly and repetitively, without any obvious tune or melody. There should be no audible beat to the music, although I have found that using a subliminal beat is very useful in relaxing a person.

I start with the beat at a medium slow pace, at approximately the normal average heart rate for someone who has just begun to rest (around 70 – 80 beats to the minute). Then I gradually slow it down to the heart rate of someone who is just drifting off to sleep (around 50 beats to the minute).

As the beat is subliminal, ie inaudible to the consciously listening ear, the effect on the subconscious is slightly more pronounced. By that I mean it gently coerces the heartbeat to slow down to where it should be when a person is very relaxed, thereby physically assisting the verbal hypnotic induction.

The presence of the music also helps the client focus their attention on the voice of the hypnotist by subtly masking unwanted extraneous sounds that might otherwise distract the client's attention.

So hopefully you now understand some of the benefits of using the right piece of music to enhance the hypnotic induction and experience as well as how that piece of music is best created and employed in the hypnotist's consulting room, or on a specially produced hypnotic self help CD.

Terry Didcott


Posted on 1 Mar, 2007 in Hypnosis | 0 Comments
Last Updated on Tue 3 Nov, 2020

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