Presupposition Method

Learn to make your communication more persuasive with presuppositions. A presupposition is essentially an assumption. It may be stated directly or implied. Your listener may or may not consciously perceive it. In fact, people don’t consciously perceive many of their own presuppositions. This is why debates can be so maddening.

A very common presupposition I used with clients in my hypnotherapy practice was, “Before you go deeper (into hypnosis), I would like you to notice how your breathing seems to be deeper….” That line had 2 presuppositions embedded in it: 

(1) You are already in hypnosis. 

(2) Your breathing already seems to be deeper. 

Even if the client has consciously negated one, the other would still be accepted. Milton Erickson was able to embed his communications with presuppositions that were often quite well hidden.

Select your presuppositions.

Imagine that you are about to encourage a trance state while in a conversational format. Think of at least five things that you could presuppose (assume is a close synonym) about the person and their experience that you could leverage for relaxation, rapport, healing, and trance. For example: “… this allows you to more fully feel the relaxation spreading from your shoulders,” (presupposing that the person is already relaxing and that it is spreading from their shoulders, making it possible to feel sensations that can be interpreted as relaxation and increase awareness there that will induce relaxation), or, at a higher logical level, “As you go into your day, your subconscious will continue to heal you and build you,” (presupposing that the subconscious has this agenda and is already healing and building).

Embed them in sentences.

Create sentences that, as I showed in step one, include these presuppositions. You get bonus points for preceding each sentence with a sentence or two that set up the presupposition to make it stealthier. For example, “As you inhale, you can feel your shoulders spread very slightly, with your exhale allowing them to feel their natural weight. This allows you to more fully feel the relaxation spreading from your shoulders, into the weight of your hands, through the ends of your fingers.”

Create a conversational approach with the sentences and set ups.

String these presupposition-bearing sentences together in a conversational approach to trance.

Practice on people.

Try this on a willing participant, or record it and try it for yourself. Observe your subjects for signs of trance. Notice how your use of presuppositions can encourage what you presuppose to actually take place or become the basis for other behavior.