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Motivational Hypnotism

by Fiona Biddle (Author), Shaun Brookhouse (Author), Dwight F. Damon (Foreword)


  • Direction - is movement required towards something or away from something?

  • Value - how important is meeting the goal? Does it fit with the client's value system.

  • Difficulty - how hard does the client feel it will be to achieve?

  • Identity - is the client's identity integral to behaviour as is, or as will be?

  • Barriers - what obstacles are percieved by the client, and do you see any others that they have missed?

  • Orientation - is this goal primarily ego or task orientated?

  • Support - does the client have support in making this change?

  • SMART - is the goal Specific? Measurable? Adjustable? Realistic? Time-based?


  • Where is the client's typical Locus of Control?

  • Specifically for this goal, where is their Locus of Control?

  • How much control do they percieve they have over their behaviour and the outcome of that behaviour?

  • How realistic do you feel their perceptions to be?

Intrinsic Motivation

How much of the following would the process of reaching the goal bring the client?

  • feeling of making a free choice

  • interest

  • challenge

  • enjoyment

How much would the process of reaching the goal, and the end result help meet the following needs?

  • relatedness

  • competence

  • autonomy

Extrinsic Motivation

How much does the client agree with these statements?

  • I must do ut

  • I should do it

  • I want to do it

  • It is important to me to do it

General Motivation

How high does the client rate their own motivation?

  • Globally

  • Contextually

  • Situationally

Give guidance by providing some examples


  • Does the client generally attribute success to internal or external factors?

  • Does the client generally attribute failure to internal or external factors?

  • If the client has previously failed to reach this goal, do they attribute this to internal or external factors?

  • Are there any signs of learned helplessness, generally or specifically to this goal?


  • Confidence - how confident is the client generally? Hoe confident are they in the behaviours necessary to reach the goal?

  • Ability - do they tend towards an entity or incremental view? Do they believe they are capable of reaching the goal?

  • Outcome - do they believe that the planned behaviour will result in reaching the goal?

  • Success - do they have prior success in similar areas they can draw from?

  • Imitation - do they know of anyone who has achieved the goal? Do you?

  • Worthiness - do they feel they deserve to reach the goal?

  • Persuasion - is there anyone persuading them to reach the goal? If so, do they percieve this as helpful or not?


  • Beliefs - how does meeting the goal fit the client's belief system?

  • Emotions - what emotions are linked to both success and failure in reaching the goal?

  • Behaviour - how does the client's current behaviour assist or hinder the process of reaching the goal?

  • Others - do others have an influence on the process of reaching the goal?

  • Habit - if a habit is to be broken, how strong does the client percieve it to be? Do they have a tendency towards being habitual?


  • What physical feelings are assoiated with both the client's current position and the intended position on reaching the goal?

  • Does the client have sufficient knowledge of the physiological processes involved?


  • In what ways may the client's physical and social environment affect the process of moving towards their goal?

  • When the goal is reached, will there be any conflict with their physical or social environment.

PROs and CONs

Assist the client to draw up a list of all the pros and cons of achieving the goal. For each, ascertain:

  • the percieved severity (how good or bad it will be)

  • the percieved probability of this happening

  • how much the effect of the behaviour is likely to have to increase/reduce (as appropriate), the severity and/or likliehood of the outcome.


  • approval and gains for the client

  • approval and gains for others

  • disapproval and losses for self

  • disapproval and losses for others

Elements for Invervention Strategies

Select and use in whatever order is appropriate:

  1. Guide the client through a guided imagery to experience intensely the emotions associated with achieving and/or not achieving the goal

  2. Build an awareness and acceptance of how things will be, both en route, and when the goal is achieved

  3. Suggest (following discussion) substitutes for current behaviour, where appropriate (some behaviours will not need substitutes)

  4. Move the client further towards the 'integrated' end of te extrinsic continuum

  5. Maximise intrinsic motivation

  6. Suggest self-rewards if appropriate

  7. Stengthen beliefs

  8. Highlight the ways that the goal fits the client's value system

  9. Suggest (following discussions) ways to control stimuli

  10. Work with pros and cons; presuming the client does want to go ahead, enhance pros, minimise cons

  11. If possible create awareness of a goal as being toward positivity and away from negativity

  12. Maximise the client's belief in their ability to suceed

  13. Maximise task orientation (where appropriate)

  14. Tie client's idenity in with end result and seperate from current behaviour

  15. Help the client to find ways over, under, around or through barriers, or to remove or reduce them.

  16. Assist the client in maximising their environment and support

  17. Use ego-stengthening techniques and build on past success

  18. Boost feeling of control, and help them to have more in reality

  19. If motivation is high in other contexts, transfer it

  20. Reduce perception of the strength of the habit

  21. Assist te client towards internal attributions

  22. Educate the client as to physiological processes

  23. Address percieved competence/adequacy using the Hater model

  24. Address self-esteem using the Shavelson model

  25. Assist client to be aware of possible set-backs and how to deal with them

Harter's theory

This theory is that there are different domains of competence/adequacy:

  • sociability

  • job competence

  • nuturance

  • athletic abilities

  • physical appearance

  • adequate provider

  • morality

  • household management

  • intimate relationships

  • intelligence

  • sense of humour

Shavelson's theory

This theory is that there are four primary domains of self-esteem, all of which can be chunked down(two of many possibe examples give for each domain):

  • Academic Maths, languages

  • Social Friendships, making small talk

  • Emotional Dealing with rejection, expressing feelings

  • Physical Sporting ability, appearance


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