There is no doubt that, especially for the new hypnotherapist, scripts can be a life-saver. Even more so for scripts that are well developed and written. They provide a confidence boost around delivering a hypnotherapy session, giving instructions and having a logical progression surrounding the instructions to be given. In short, they are a wonderful addendum to starting out as a hypnotherapist.

For the following reasons though, scripts can be somewhat limiting in their application:

• As a new hypnotherapist, it is very difficult to know what a good script is and what a not-so-good script is. This makes it very difficult to decide on whether the script is of value or not-so-much.
• Using a script can limit your interaction with your client. As everyone knows, it is important to watch the client closely to judge how deep they are in hypnosis, how they are maintaining their level of trance, how they are responding via ideomotor signals and how they are interacting with the instructions being given.
• Scripts can also limit the effectiveness of a hypnotherapist’s delivery. While I might deliver an instruction by saying, “You know…and I know as well…that your ability to move forward after something bad happens is excellent based on your previous experiences and learnings and you can use this knowledge and this confidence to approach new situations without fear”. This would work for me because this is a personal communications structure but someone else repeating this phrase could sound, stilted and insincere.

As previously stated though, there isn’t any doubt that scripts are also beneficial. When asked by students in the past about scripts I’ve advised them of the following points:

• Use scripts in the start but never feel like you are a new anchor delivering a report on television. Even if it feels uncomfortable, deliver your message slowly and watch your client carefully.
• Have a couple of ‘stand-by’ phrases ready. Inevitably, you’ll lose your place in the script and need to find it again. Having a blank-space filled with silence will probably make you feel uncomfortable and increase your own personal stress levels. Filling that black space with something like, “…and here and now you feel yourself feeling better, more confident as you gently float deeper and deeper along with my count from 10 to 9, now 8, (etc), and one…” give you time to find your place (while the count is happening) and continue on from there.
• After you have use scripts a few times and prior to your next session, grab the script you would use and read through it. Having done so, read through it again but this time note down the important points or phrases in dot-point. Then, after inducing and deepening the trance, start with your dot-points and use these to form your instructions. By doing so the delivery will be more personal and more comfortable.
• Don’t hesitate to write your own scripts either.

In summary, Hypnosis Scripts are a handy facility and it would be silly to advise not to use them. Rather, I would encourage everyone to employ scripts, especially firstly practicing and even once more experienced, the use of a script for something that has not been treated before can be of great assistance. However, all should be aware that a script is an adjunct to treatment and results can certainly be improved upon if they are not relied on completely.

Michael Werts