2b@1 hypnotherapy

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The use of Anchors with and without hypnosis

An anchor is a stimulus that is linked with a particular state of mind or emotion. For example; a particular song heard on the radio may bring happy memories flooding back or perhaps a certain smell reminds you of the many hours spent baking in the kitchen with your mother.
I’m sure you’re familiar with Pavlov's experiment with dogs. Before he fed the dogs that he kept he would ring a bell. After time the dogs began to associate the sound of the bell with feeding and each time Pavlov rang the bell the dogs would start to salivate, even though the food had not arrived. The bell induced a reaction from the dogs. It became a stimulus to an emotion or a state of mind or an anchor.
However, the anchors that are created throughout our lives aren’t always linked to positive, enjoyable experiences. They can just as easily be associated with a negative experience which produces negative responses which hypnotherapy can very successful detach.

So how do we use anchors to our advantage?
Anchors are relatively easy to install ourselves and we can attach them to resourceful states such as motivation, relaxation or confidence. These resourceful states can become instantly available whenever the anchor is activated allowing us to feel and behave in a certain way whenever we want to.

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How we do it?

  • First of all identify the desired state you want to achieve, i.e. motivation, relaxation, or confidence etc. We’ll use confidence in this example.

  • Now recall a time when you felt really confident. Perhaps it was a time you made a presentation at work or an exam you passed or a race you won when you were at school. It can be any confident situation at any stage in your life.

  • If you’re experiencing difficulties recalling a time when you felt confident simply picture someone who is confident. It can be a friend or family member or perhaps someone famous. It can be anyone you associate with being confident. Become them for a moment in time.

  • Associate with the feelings that you, or the person you’re thinking of, felt at that time. Don’t simply just think about it, really experience it. Be there at that time and notice the feelings and emotions within your body. How you looked, how you held yourself, your composure. If it helps close your eyes to enhance the image further.

  • Notice how you’re viewing that experience. Are you seeing yourself in that confident situation or are you looking out through your own eyes? If you’re seeing yourself step inside your body and look out through your own eyes. Take a deep breath in and release it slowly. See what you see, feel the feelings associated with that positive experience. Hear any sounds around you at that time and notice those positive feelings of being completely confident

  • Now it’s time to really crank up your experience. In your mind increase the size of the picture you’re visualising. Make the picture the size of a cinema screen. Turn up the colours and make everything really vivid. Turn up any smells or sounds associated with your experience as if you had a remote control and you were setting everything to maximum.

  • In your mind add a powerful piece of music to that experience. A piece of music you associate with confidence, success and achievement. It can be anything as long as you associate it with confidence.

  • As you continue when you recognise your experience is reaching its peak, a 10 out of 10 on the scale of confidence it’s now time to anchor it. 

  • Squeeze your thumb and first finger together on your dominant hand. You can attach the anchor to anything, a touch on the arm or a scratch of the nose but we’ll use a thumb and finger in this example.

  • Open your eyes and release your thumb and finger. Now think of something completely different. A red stop sign perhaps or yellow banana normally does the trick. It can be anything that clears your mind.

  • Once your mind is clear evaluate how you now feel, rate it on a scale of 1-10. 1 being not very confident and 10 being bursting at the seams with confidence.

  • Now it’s time to trigger the anchor so touch your thumb and figure together once again and notice how confident your feel. Rate it on the scale of 1-10 once again. 

  • If your confidence levels have not increased as much as you want them repeat the process from the beginning until you’re happy with the results.


This is your anchor to use, available whenever you need it. Simply touch your thumb and finger together whenever you need a boost in confidence. It can be activated at any time, in any place. At a job interview, or work presentation or sporting event perhaps. 
Hey Presto confidence has entered the building! 
One final note, anchors fade so……Use them or lose them. 


This is an NLP(Neuro Linguistic Programming) technique that works particularly well within hypnosis during a hypnotherapy session. Please contact me if you’re interested to find out how NLP and hypnotherapy can help you.