The basic unit of hypnosis is the session. A hypnosis session has a series of steps, consisting of a discussion called a "pretalk", followed by an induction, suggestions, and wake-up. A common way of modelling a hypnosis session is as follows:

  1. Checklist

  2. Pretalk

  3. Induction

  4. Deepener

  5. Suggestions

  6. Conclusion

This model is useful to let you know what you need to do and when — it helps to define these explicitly to begin with, so that each step is clear. The guide starts off by walking through the model explicitly, and starts condensing and playing more with it in the later stages. This builds up the comfort level with hypnosis for both subject and hypnotist, and introduce different inductions and styles at a steady pace.

Each stage shows the additions and modifications to the model and calls out changes.

  1. PMR Stage is a progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) that takes roughly ten minutes. This is intended to run through the session model in detail and get familiar with hypnosis in general.

  2. Elman Stage uses the Elman Induction that takes around five minutes. This stage focuses on deepeners and suggestions, and assumes you’re comfortable with the session model in general.

  3. Fractionation Stage uses a fractionation induction that can vary between two and five minutes. This is where the session model loosens up and goes into triggers more.

  4. Butterfly Stage uses a butterfly induction that takes around a minute for the initial induction and reinduction trigger, but implicitly relies on fractionation through the reinductions.

Some of the older hypnosis books will tell you that you need to "assert authority" or "establish compliance" with your partner and that hypnosis depends on establishing belief that you are the hypnotist. This is problematic, wrong, and counterproductive. If hypnosis depends on anything, it depends on rapport, and rapport depends on authenticity and trust. If you are both newbies, be honest and true about it.

Hypnosis is a skill, both for the hypnotist and the hypnotee. Hypnotizing someone for the first time is like the first time you get behind the wheel of a car. It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous or awkward the first time you do anything, and you should know that this is something that absolutely everyone goes through. As Jake the Dog says, "sucking at something is the first step to being sorta good at something."

If you or your partner are skeptical or unsure that they can be hypnotized, please go through the introduction and theory pages for how hypnosis works. If you can follow suggestions and can engage in automatic behavior, you can be hypnotized.

Recreational hypnosis has some strong advantages over other kinds of hypnosis; you can experiment, play, and communicate with your partner what works best for both of you, and you can take all the time you need to try out inductions and have fun.

Go slow. Be kind.