Embedded Commands Explained - Language Pattern of NLP & Hypnosis

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Picture of light bulb on a pinned yellow noteSimply explaining what an embedded command is and how it is used by NLP practitioners and hypnotherapists too. Examples are offered in a metaphor for someone who has come to therapy for anxiety. They can be planted like the seeds of an idea just requiring some repetition to grow. This language pattern speaks directly to the subconscious by using tone of voice changes and pauses for subtle but effective emphasis.

What are Embedded Commands in Simple English?

Simply put an embedded command is taking what would be a direct command (e.g. let go of my anxiety now), softening it and allowing it to become an indirect suggestion. Putting a direct command into a larger sentence or even a metaphor will soften it and make it more subtle. This in turn changes it from what could be seen as barking and order at someone to gently, indirectly suggesting something to someone.

Example of Embedded Command in a Metaphor for Anxiety

picture of forest with stream runinig throughAn example for someone who has anxiety might be: Now, you find yourself walking through a lush green forest feeling a gentle breeze on your face and listening to the birds sing and notice you want to (lower voice tone for greater effect) (pause) … let go of my anxiety (pause) … now (pause) … as you walk further you hear a babbling brook and notice the bright sunshine making you warm allowing to you really (lower voice tone) (pause) … relax … (pause) Yes. Well done.   

Softened Subtle Indirect Suggestions

Seed sprouting into an ideaThere are 2 embedded commands above both in bold. The main, longer one in the middle and the smaller one at the end to relax. They have been metaphorically planted like seeds. All they need is a bit of nourishment. Perhaps by repeating the phrase or word relax, softly, indirectly, a few times through the session for it to grow. Because it is so indirect, it may grow into what the client sees as their own idea which is even better. Who wouldn’t agree with their own ideas?

NLP & Hypnotic Language Heard by Your Subconscious

This technique can be used with a client who is in or out of hypnosis as it speaks directly to the subconscious. The subconscious picks up the emphasis given to the embedded command though using a lower tone of voice and the pauses in delivery. It is a subtle technique and as long as your client has told you something like “I want to let go of my anxiety now” it will be agreeable to them. It is even more agreeable to them as it is their own words, just as it was spoken to you.


D. Waller, B. Turner (2022) Advanced Anxiety Management

Centre of Excelence (2023) NLP Master Practitioner Course – Module 3


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