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“Close your eyes and go to sleep. And as you do, move your fingers in the left hand to let us know you are ready.”

There are the words (translated and simplified) we whispered to a five-year-old girl as she was drifting to sleep in her father’s lap. I met Nidhi (name changed) two days earlier as her parents wanted help, getting her to walk. To the best of the developments in medical technology, doctors examined Nidhi to report that as per medical knowledge she has to walk like any other child. But Nidhi wasn’t walking. She even stood up only with support. And we had this enormous responsibility in encouraging her using unconventional methods to help her walk.

We decided to adopt some NLP patterning for Nidhi. We wanted her to go to deep altered state and start communication using finger signals. That would be considered as communication from the unconscious (subconscious  mind or whatever you call it. The part of your neurology that takes care of everything outside your conscious awareness)

The challenge remained how we get a child who is five years to go into a deep altered state.

The opening line you read in the beginning of this article

“Close your eyes and go to sleep. And as you do, move your fingers in the left hand to let us know you are ready”

was a big success because she dropped into a deep sleep and twitched a finger in her left hand. We spoke to her and said, “If this is a response for what we are speaking, move the same finger again.” And she twitched it the same way again. And then we followed with the rest of the patterning.

And here is something that I learned from all of this. The success of that statement has to do with everything that happened MUCH MUCH before those words were said.  And three things were critical:

1. Framing – Giving meaning and purpose to an activity.

2. The Setup – The internal and external conditions and environment.

3. Time for Re-Orientation (TOR) – Time to wait/allow the neurology to respond to the suggestion fully.

In this article we are going to focus our attention on Framing.

The first two days, I got two of our practitioners and friends to attempt an induction on her. It was during an intensive training, so I was not able to be there. And they did manage to get her into micro trance states and then she would wake up and do whatever she did before. So, I went down to investigate what was going on.

And we started attempting an induction. Harini spoke in Kannada asking her (I do not know Kannada and Nidhi speaks only Kannada), “Do you want to Walk?” Nidhi said, “Do not touch my legs”. Harini continued, “I will not touch your legs. And do you want to walk?” Nidhi said, “Do not touch my legs. My shoes hurt.” Harini continued, “I will not touch your legs. And we won’t wear shoes. Do you want to learn to Walk. I can help you. Do you like to do this awake or sleeping? Will you be ready now or in 5 minutes?”

Harini repeated the above in a few different ways along with the full force of conversational programming for her to get ready for some real deep trance. And then, we let her do whatever she wanted for a few minutes. And there came the moment when we knew her unconscious was ready! And Anand started by saying some stories, and finally, we finished with the statement you read in the beginning of this article. (I have simplified the description of the entire sequence so that we can focus our attention on framing.)

So What is Framing?

What is framing in the above sequence?

“I will not touch your legs. And we won’t wear shoes. Do you want to learn to Walk. I can help you.” That is framing. It is letting the unconscious know the purpose and meaning of whatever you are going to do next.

Many times, novice hypnotists and amateurs think about conversational programming as tricking the unconscious of the person. I think of it as Working along with the Unconscious of the person. Framing means creating the big picture – What is the reason for the unconscious of the other person to be your Ally for whatever you are planning to do next? (This does not mean you have to convey consciously the meaning and purpose of what you are proposing as well. In articles to follow we will discuss how to communicate the frame to the unconscious while keeping the conscious out of the loop, and the possible use from such a disguise.)

The better frame for conversational hypnotist is to consider the unconscious of the subject as an Ally, instead of it as being someone who is being tricked. This is what happened with Nidhi. As soon as her Unconscious recognized our purpose, we had to do very little. Her unconscious took care of the rest, to lead her consciousness to sleep, so that we could communicate uninterrupted.

In the previous articles on Conversation Programming, I have explained how to time the suggestions right and how to form suggestions that work. In this article, I am proposing that much before you plant in these suggestions, set the right frame – to win – the unconscious support of the person you are influencing with conversational programming.

For Example:

You want to convince someone to go on a holiday. Think of what is the purpose the holiday will serve for the other person. And subtly communicate it (in a way the unconscious recognizes the intention and not necessarily the conscious mind). On my first post most of the comments I received to the question ‘Where do you want to use all this?’ reads ‘With my children’. So, figure out a frame within which all your suggestions will have a stronger impact.

Once you have the unconscious willingness of the other person to support you in your efforts, you are half way there already. And then, you can stack it with all the suggestion techniques you may be learning from this blog and/or the Milton Model. Setting the right context will make conversational programming much more fruitful.

Another Example:

You want to resolve conflict between two employees. So before you stack up Milton Model with hypnotic suggestions, set the Frame, subtly. “So, I understand that it is important for you to Grow in your Career and you are concerned about your reputation about what ABC is speaking about you and you want to resolve this. And you want me to help you by … “, followed by conversational programming with embedded suggestions in the direction you want to navigate the attention.

In the above statement, very subtly, the frame is set that all this is about your growth in the organization.

My favorite example of framing is a story about Leslie Cameron. Leslie was once working with a client who had an Obsessive Compulsion for keeping her house clean. She went to the limits of placing sheets over her carpet and asked her children to hop over them to avoid dirt. So, Leslie as she started working with this client – asked her to look at a – very clean and spotless house where the carpet is without a spot -and Leslie whispered in her ears – “Do you know what this means? It means you are very lonely and there is no one in the house to make it dirty”.

With that framing in place, Leslie had the full cooperation of the client’s  unconscious to set her life in a new direction.


As with every article so far. This one has a practice exercise as well.

Think of situation where you want to use conversational programming. And think – what framing will make this influence much much much easier… And you can share some of your frames in the comments below and/or post some challenging situations and I can comment on it with some possible frames.

Ps: This is a series of articles designed to help you become a Master Communicator who can change mindsets and belief structures conversationally. Each article will provide the exercise that build in mastering the skill of conversational programming. On this specific article, I want to give credit to Anand for his super fluency and translation of hypnotic language he learnt in english to Kannada. And also to Deepak for his extra-ordinary trust and faith in us and for all the initial change work. 


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