Learning Hypnosis is like Riding an Elephant

In the next three minutes, I’m going to share a powerful metaphor you can use to help explain the benefits of hypnotherapy to your clients.  I use it as a way to highlight the importance of learning hypnosis and incorporating it into the work that you do with your clients. The metaphor I use is a great way to introduce the concept of hypnosis to your clients – especially if they are stuck doing the same thing over and over again and if they feel powerless to change. If it is safe and appropriate to do so, why not close your eyes and engage with the short but powerful story.

A donation was made to the WWF to help take care of elephants and keep them in the wild where they belong 💕

A Powerful Metaphor to Help You Understand Why Learning Hypnotherapy Will Help You Get Lasting Results With Your Clients

Imagine that you’re riding on the back of a wild but gentle African Elephant. Your feet are straddled either side of his neck and you are tucked in behind his enormous flapping ears.

Soon you get used to the movement of the elephant’s head and trunk and your body sways to the rhythm of its powerful breathing as it trundles along. Your elephant is moving down a long dusty path.  There are lots of other riders and elephants on this journey with you.

Some of the riders look steadier than you.  Others seem less secure and some look very uncomfortable.  Some are happy and relaxed while others are clinging on nervous and tense. All things considered, you’re really quite happy with your first attempt to ride an elephant.

But soon you start to think about your destination and you begin to realise that you don’t know where you’re going. There are lots of elephants and riders in front of you and even more behind you and it’s hard to figure out who’s in charge.  You assumed that there would be a guide but now you’re not so sure.

But yet your elephant seems to know where they are going.  But is that where you want to go? What if you want to go somewhere else? Suddenly you begin to wonder how do you get your elephant to do what you want to do?

You’re going to have to figure out how to talk to this wonderful creature that is taking you on this remarkable journey. In comparison to the elephant, you’re just a tiny rider on this big, magnificent beast. So you’ll have to learn how to guide your elephant, understand how this creature behaves and figure out how those behaviours might help or hinder you. But you also have to trust your elephant and understand that in some situations, your elephant knows best.

The elephant and rider is a metaphor for what it’s like to be human and to possess the most amazing brain.  The rider represents the conscious thinking mind and the elephant represents the subconscious reacting mind and our body. We are sitting on top of this vast, set of powerful resources and forces that control countless processes within our brain and an extraordinary amount of activity that is constantly taking place in our body.

Learning Hypnosis – Don’t Let Therapy Be Hit and Miss

This metaphor presents one of the most compelling reasons why I think every therapist should learn how to use the state called hypnosis. And why as therapists we should incorporate it into our work.

Show Your Clients How to Update the Owners Guide by Learning Evidence-Based Hypnotherapy

You see, hypnotherapy helps our clients to communicate with their elephant or their subconscious mind. Mind Coaching – the non-trance form of hypnotherapy helps our clients to update their ‘owner’s guide to riding their elephant’.

As the rider – the conscious thinking self – well we think that we have all the answers, we think that we are in control and we think that we always know best.  But unless we work with our elephant – our subconscious mind – then it’s always hit and miss when it comes to making last changes in our life.

Donation Made To Support Elephant Rescue

A donation was made to the World Wildlife Fund to help support the work they do to preserve habitat and take care of elephants and all other endangered species. Although I use the metaphor I don’t condone riding elephants or keeping them in captivity when they could roam wild and free.

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My name is Susan Wallace and I’m here to help you be the best, have the best and give your best to your clients.

You’ll learn the best hypnotherapy and mind coaching interventions together with the systems you need to build a successful therapy practice on our Triple Diploma in Strategic Hypnotherapy, Mind Coaching and Online Therapy Diploma in Hypnotherapy and Mind Coaching courses in Ireland and the UK.


J Haidt, 2006, The Happiness Hypothesis. A Carr, 2004, Positive Psychology. M Yapko, 2011, Mindfulness and Hypnosis