2019-03 - Consent & Limits Workshop

Described below is the idealised version of the consent & limits workshop that I gave at the last Hypnosis Amsterdam Meetup, updated with the incredibly valuable feedback of the participants.

Originally inspired by a discussion I had with a dear friend after the consent talk/introduction at UK Recreational Hypnosis Workshop. Both of us felt that a real talk should be much more interactive and she shared with me how it worked for her at a different event.

Required Materials


Set the context for the discussion, for example discuss that the things we are about to discuss are intended for this event/today. Another important thing is to make clear that just because a like is on a list, doesn't mean that it's desirable with everyone.

It's important to discuss consent before you start with hypnosis. Outside of the obvious reason that it's good to know what to expect, it's also important to remember that in a trance, someone is no longer able to fully think critically.

The responsibility for this is shared between hypnotist and subject. It's both important to learn to ask as well as learning how to say what you want and need.

Going through Likes/Limits

It was very nice to do this with the whole group. Asking people to mention a like or a limit to see who matched it. Especially allowing both someone who likes it as well as someone who dislikes it to say why.

This helped people see that some of their likes are limits to others. Even unexpectedly so.

And it helped a lot of participants realize what kind of options there are. You don't always know what the possibilities are.

Socializing Exercise

Asking people to do the exercise helped them a lot to socialize. Introducing yourself, asking and answering a yes/no question was very interesting.

Some people realized that it was almost awkward to ask for a question to which the answer would be "no". This also highlighted the fact of how important it is to both say no and deal with "no".

The general response to this was very positive!

Emphatic Yes

Whenever you ask if someone wants to do X, it's important to look for the "Emphatic yes". An enthusiastic, clear yes, where verbal and non-verbal response matches.

If the reply to a question is: "I guess that's okay." or like "Yeah, I guess.", it's important to ask why.

Maybe someone is simply shy and doesn't know very well how to talk about their desires. And this is okay. But if someone is unsure about if they should do it or not, simply don't.

Whatever I want?

The last thing that came up was the answer of: "Whatever you want."

During the workshop I dealt with it by saying: "Alright, I will tell you what I'm going to do and you can tell me if you are okay with it."

If someone really doesn't know their limits, then how can you?

Final Thoughts

It was incredibly educational to do this and I will definitely do it again and repeat this at any conferences that that I speak at. I also hope that others will do similar things and tell me how it worked out for them.

Again I want to thank all the participants at the workshop for their patience with this experiment.