Hartlands Progressive Relaxation

Hartlands Progressive Relaxation

HPR is considered a permissive induction – where the instructions are not explicitly stated.

Progressive Induction


The permissive approach was successfully pioneered by Milton Erikson; however, Erikson was prone to using very authoritarian instructions within his practice. HPR is permissive in its pace and tone (slow and soft) but in actuality, the instructions are very explicit.

For example: “…and I want you to let all the muscles of your body go quite limp and slack” and “you can feel a heaviness in your legs”.

This combinational approach may have been developed to enable the successful induction of patients who respond to authoritarian inductions whilst still being fitting for those more suited to permissive inductions.

This script works well with a wide range of patients; however, it is particularly suited to nervous patients of or those new to hypnosis as it allows them to relax and is very “natural” in terms of wording and instructions. Whilst being appropriate for many, it could be argued that it is particularly well suited for patients who are logical and analytical due to the focus on naturally occurring phenomena of relaxation that we can all relate to or imagine. This is in comparison to more “mystical” scripts, for example, Healing White Light, which is arguably more suited to creative and artistic patients who show a propensity for right brain dominance.

HPR primarily makes use of the kinesthetic modality which indicates that it would be well suited to patients who respond to feelings-based suggestions.

The use of HPR is contraindicated if the patient is experiencing depression. Phrases such as “heavy as lead” should not be used with patients presenting weight problems, and “limp and slack” should not be used on those presenting symptoms of psychogenic impotence.

Due to the focus of attention on self and feelings, HPR should not be used on patients who suffer from panic disorder.


Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

The Progressive Muscle Relaxation or PMR is a favourite amongst hypnotherapists across the world. In more recent years, it has been criticised by some who favour rapid or instant inductions. However, it seems that they may have simply underestimated the value and healing power of relaxation.

The PMR works because as the body relaxes the mind follows downing its guard and becoming open to suggestions. This is a great induction to use with clients, as it teaches them the process of relaxation that they can take away with them.