Make Affirmations work for you

By Trevor French

Affirmations can be perceived as a waste of time by some, and the “be all” by others. They can be a useful tool to support work you have done in trance and great to structure suggestions for self hypnosis sessions.

If you do not think of them as affirmations but more as compounding suggestions to assist the work you have done in trance, then you can be aware of the support they can give your clients in between sessions.
You have a client in trance and you give the suggestion “you feel more confident in every situation” you say it over and over ten times to compound your suggestion. This is an affirmation, compounding suggestions is in effect you doing the affirmation for the client. When you compound the suggestions after the deepener and before you do your metaphor or script then subsequent suggestions work to further compound the affirmation. This is a sturdy platform to proceed with direct suggestion work as the after the script/metaphor work you return to compounding the main points of the script again in form of an affirmation.


After the session you can give the client a sheet of the compounded suggestions as a list of affirmations for them to practice several times a day. This way they are building upon and strengthening the suggestions you gave them in trance.

The incorrect way to practice affirmations is to say them over and over without thinking about what it is you are saying. If you take an affirmation of “I feel more confidence in every situation” and say it 5 times over quickly as if it is a chore that you want to get out of the way, without even thinking about what it is you are saying, then of course it is going to be ineffective.

When you take the affirmation “I feel more confident in every situation” and say it in a way that makes you think about it then it is going to have more effect and work a lot more positively on multiple levels.
Here is how to do just that.

Using the example already given, what you have to do is break it down. You do this by compounding the suggestion but each time you repeat it, you emphasize a different word.

The suggestion we want to compound is:
“I feel more confident in every situation”
This sentence has seven words, therefore can be spoken or thought in 7 different ways.
“I feel more confident in every situation”
“I feel more confident in every situation”
“I feel more confident in every situation”
And so forth, emphasizing each successive word in the suggestion.

Go through the whole 7 different variations once more. If you practice this right now you can feel the difference immediately, as opposed to going through the motions of saying an affirmation by numbers over and over.

The benefits of approaching affirmations in this way are.

From one sentence you get several different meanings. It is easier to remember one sentence or suggestion than several different suggestions.

Because you are emphasizing a different word each time, you have to think about what you are saying, you have to apply a level of effort to go through the process.

When you emphasize a different word each time, one of the variations is going to be more powerful than the others and have a stronger resonance within you. In the example “I feel more confident in every situation” this word might be I or feel or more and so on. So the chances of the affirmation working are now increased 7 fold

By having a different emphasis on a different word, each time we repeat the suggestion the context changes.

1. I refers to the self or ego of the person using the affirmation.

2. FEEL refers to the emotion the person is strengthening.

3. MORE is an accelerator and presupposes that the person feels a level of confidence in the first place (you could use the suggestions “I feel even more confidence in every situation” as a stronger accelerator) Using accelerators and exaggerations pushes the level of the suggestions past the levels needed for moderate success in stronger, more powerful, amazing, ultimate levels.

4. CONFIDENT is the emotion we are addressing.

5. IN is how we place the emotion of confidence to the place we want it.

6. EVERY is a quantifier of how often we want confidence. How often? Every time.

7. SITUATION this is a generic ambiguity I used for the example what situation? Every situation, presupposes that the person will find themselves in situations where they can feel more confidence than before.
By going through all seven variations, emphasizing a different word each time we have now addressed the goal at 7 different levels ranging from personal to external, all with the same one sentence. We have also compounded the suggestion 7 times over whilst paying attention to what we were saying or thinking. This will elicit’ the state of confidence and boost that state as you do it.
Go through this whole process at least once. Here is a general rule for number of times going through the whole process according to the number of words in the phrase or sentence
1-5 words – three times over.
6-10 words – twice over.
10+ words – at least once through.

Knowing how this strategy works we can highlight some potential areas where the structure of the suggestion could cause negative repercussions.

“I no longer need to smoke”
“I am free of pain”
“I control my nerves ”
All of these are badly formed affirmations because they contain the problem area that the client wants to move away from. By emphasizing the words separately the problem could actually become worse “I no longer NEED to smoke!”

With affirmations and compound suggestions we want to move towards the positive not away from the negative and sometimes even move sideways.

“I no longer need to smoke” becomes “I enjoy new freedoms and control over myself”
“I am free of pain” becomes “I feel more comfort and relaxation in my life”
“I control my nerves” becomes “I feel more confident in every situation”
The best way to create affirmations that work powerfully for the client is for them to create them. Give several examples for them to use. Continuing with the example used.

“I feel more confident in every situation” If we give five written examples to the client including that one then the other examples might include
“Confidence comes easily to me”
“Stronger, braver, confident and secure”
“I know I have succeeded and I can be proud of myself” (future paced suggestion)
“My belief in myself is extremely powerful”
Whilst working with the client to create new affirmations or compound suggestions the process of thinking about those suggestions and getting them correct will also elicit the resource the client is looking for. This can be anchored by using the thumb finger squeeze method of self anchor or sliding anchor. You could also elicit deeper core values and make your suggestions around those.
In this example confidence.
“I lack confidence.”
“If you had confidence what would that give you”
“More self esteem.”
“And ultimately what would having more self esteem do for you?”
“I would have more self belief to go for what I want in life.”
So if we give compound suggestions to the deeper values as well as the surface value then we are working on multiple levels of belief.

“I posses the confidence to give me a powerful self belief”
Then by breaking the sentence down and emphasizing different words (11 in this case) each time we repeat or compound the statement then the context of the one sentence addresses the surface value and then moves to the deeper core value.

After the client has created their own affirmations check through them with the client explaining why some suggestion may work negatively, adding accelerators, modalities if necessary (“I can picture myself feeling more confident“) acknowledge how well the client has done to give them more motivation.

For homework, ask the client to do the compound suggestions 3 times daily at least and remember to highlight that they can be done whilst doing something else such as walking, driving or eating dinner, in fact if you want to feel confidence in every situation you can practice your compound suggestions in every situation. Adding the “thumb/finger press” anchor to the affirmations every time you practice makes the power of the suggestions work faster and more effectively .

You could also add compound suggestions to visualisation sub-modality work that you might use with NLP.
In Summary
1. Structure your affirmations as if they are compound suggestions you would use in trance work.
2. Always move towards the positive, never away from the negative.
3. Include accelerators/exaggerations in as many of the affirmations as is possible
4. Incorporate sub-modalities, i.e. visualise the words (optional)
5. Repeat the affirmation over and over emphasizing a subsequent word in the phrase on every repetition. Go through this process more than once
6. Anchor with thumb and finger or sliding anchor.
Using these tips you can create and use affirmations that work on many levels and have a greater chance of success.

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