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Not everyone is a good subject and not everyone will follow suggestions immediately. A client needs time to assimilate a suggestion and time to decide whether and/or when they wish to respond. This is as true in self-hypnosis as it is with heterohypnosis.


In heterohypnosis how can the hypnotist know when their client is responding as they want them to respond when asked to think about something? If the hypnotherapist says something like, “Your arm is getting lighter and lighter and soon it will begin to rise.” Then it is quite clear if and when this suggestion is being followed. On the other hand, if the therapist says something like, “I want you to recall the last time you had such-and-such a feeling”. How will the therapist know that they have recalled such a feeling? How much time should a therapist give their client to recall such a feeling? The problem, of course, is that the therapist has no idea what is going on in the head of their client. Even more difficult is when the therapist suggests something along the lines, “Your unconscious will know if you are prepared to do such-and-such even if your conscious mind does not know.” Now if this were truly the case, then how will the therapist know (not to mention the client) that the unconscious does know such-and-such and is prepared to do it? It is here where ideomotor signals are useful.


Typical ideomotor signals are:



But these should not be haphazardly used. The therapist can quite readily create these ideomotor responses very early in a session and then use them repeatedly. We shall describe some of these in a moment. Once the ideomotor response is established, then the art is asking the right questions and seeing the response.


But there is another important reason for using ideomotor signals. A person may not consciously know the answer to a specific question but the unconscious does, especially where the problem resides with the unconscious in the first place. Or the individual may not be able to consciously recall when a problem first began, but the unconscious does. The unconscious has access to everything the person has thought, felt and experienced throughout their life. Ideomotor signalling, then, can be used to pinpoint when something occurred, or pinpoint the stimulus that first led to the problem under investigation.


Ideomotor signally is important because it can be used to illicit answers to a whole variety of questions. Some simply ones are the following.



Although not an exhaustive list they do indicate that ideomotor signally has a very useful role to play in therapy. Furthermore, not just an important role to play in therapy, but also in self-improvement.

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Why is ideomotor signalling important?