Think of the smell of baking cookies. Does it remind you of mom?
Think of a special song (“our song”)? Does it bring a person to mind?
Throughout your life, mental associations affect your mood, action and reaction.

Does coming home and opening the front door trigger a sprint to the bathroom? Some associations make you feel relieved.

Anchors are so automatic you may be clueless that you’re using one. Meditation and prayer uses auditory anchors to access relaxation. Repeated words or sounds of mantras and chanting open the door of trance. Later, these sounds “anchor up” the same mind state. A smile is an excellent anchor. So is taking a deep breath. The word “sex” anchors up all sorts of associated thoughts doesn’t it! You get the idea.

“Call me, your friend Dr. Shelley, at (310) 541-4844 and good things will happen for YOU.” This is an advertising anchor that connects YOU to ME. I am your own personal friend, Dr. Shelley.


When someone offers to bring you a cup of tea, tap your cup in a specific way. Do this each time they offer and make you tea. Then later without the offer just tap your cup in the same way and they will go make you tea!


Anchors are used effectively in pain management. My Stockwell’s Joy Therapy® calls upon happiness as an anchor that links the intense neurological state of glee with a desired result.


Anchors with intense response, a unique stimulus, a well-timed association, and readiness for change may last a lifetime. This is true with negative anchors (like phobias) as well.

You “extinguish,” “get rid of” or collapse an anchor when you fire off a negative one at the same time as you fire off a positive one. They seem to cancel each other out.


Ceremonies mark meaningful experiences and passages. Religious rituals, tea ceremonies, sports events, and the like, set an emotional stage and leave associations that you may call forth at a future time. If you create a ceremony to set your intention, to make money, find a mate, or get high you just anchor in an outcome.

You anchor hypnotic inductions with a repeated procedure. For example, if you take your client to a “safe place” Saying “whenever you want you easily return to this safe place” all you have to say is “go to your safe place” and they automatically will.


Hypnotic processes eliminate limits to succeed. Stand with eyes closed: “Imagine a circle about a foot from where you stand on the ground before you. In the circle are feelings and thoughts you associate with excellence. You might think of a time when you were pleased with your own excellence… a big or small moment when you were filled with confidence and self-satisfaction… a time of great pride inside yourself. When you think of special a moment of personal excellence nod of your head…very good… Be there 100%. What is like for you to be in your excellence? Notice how you breathe, what you say to yourself, how your arms, chest, heart and stomach feel. Give your excellence a color; a sound; a smell; a taste. Notice the energy of excellence. Put all these into the circle. Good. You are ready to step forward into this circle of excellence. When you do you will notice wonderful changes inside yourself as you become one with excellence. All right at the count of three; one… two… three… take a step forward. Excellent. You are completely infused with excellence. You feel, see, hear, taste, smell and intuit it. Imagine a perfect song for this powerful truth; your own personal theme of excellence, strength and energy… good. Now do a gesture that symbolizes your power. Whenever you use that gesture, you’ll immediately enter into this circle and know that you are completely excellent from head to toe; mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. All right, take a deep breath and return to the room, eyes open and feeling great.”


Anchors occur naturally or can be set up. In hypnosis, an anchor “trance-ports” positive information from the trance state to the waking state. When you establish an anchor in trance, it translates later in regular awareness to trigger associated suggestions and reactions.

Any stimuli- sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, feeling, facial expression, gesture, word, phrase, color, good luck charm, totem, flower, place, person, teddy bear, photo, inner dialogue… that automatically (by association) brings up a memory or mind/body/emotional state, can be anchored during hypnosis. We call this hypnotically suggested, installed, or designed anchors.

Popular physical anchor are touching the knuckles on your non-dominant hand, your earlobe or making the okay sign with your thumb and middle finger.

Frank Genco anchors relaxation by having someone pretend to write the word “relax” in the palm of their hand. Dona Tooley has her clients write an affirmation for their session on the colored index card of their choice and the color becomes an anchor. Sharon Warhank stops shopaholic behavior in the mall by taking a deep breath and saying, “walk on by.”

Anchoring in a negative state can stop destructive behavior; “Just the thought of dope makes you croak” can work wonders.

EFT and other tapping trips work on this same idea of anchoring and anchoring collapsing. You anchor in the negative ad nauseum and them cross wire it with the “I deeply and completely accept myself.”

THE LAW OF ASSOCIATION: Is a stimuli that brings forth thought, action or emotion. When the smell of fresh baking bread makes you salivate; you pair yeasty aroma with yummy treats. You may even think of mom or grandma who used to make you bread. Any way you slice it, you’ve had a stimuli-response called “the law of association.” Research note that inhaling rose, rosemary, or mint scent when learning a new task enhances your recall when exposed to the scent a second time

This worked the same way as when Pavlov’s dogs salivated when he rang a bell before feedings. The dogs paired the bell with food and later just the bell ringing brought up the response.

So the law of association refers to connecting a stimuli or an internal or external representative as a trigger to elicit a desired response.


Touch your thumb to your forefinger (the OK sign) while in hypnosis and give yourself a post hypnotic suggestion like: “Whenever I touch my thumb and finger together like this I remember that I am in control of my behavior and I feel terrific. Later, during waking consciousness, when I touch my fingers together in this same way, my post hypnotic suggestion is activated. All the positive conditioning from my trance returns.


Adopt a buzzword or phrase in you waking life that evokes a conditioned response. For example, a runner might say “passing gear,” and they will automatically activate more energy. A weight releaser may say “Sophia Loren,” and feel motivated to pass up on dessert to look just like her. A sexual enhancer might say, “blissful and vital,” and feel sexier. And a test taker saying “I open my mind to all knowledge.” activates the part of the brain that learns and remembers.


RESULT or Resource State: “Choose a mind state that you would like to experience more often.”
Decide the thing you want to anchor for, e.g. “I want to be calm and relaxed,” “I’d like to be more motivated,” “joy,” “confidence,” “sense of humor,” “creative,” “relaxed…” NLPers call emphasizing a positive attitude “setting a resource anchor” or “resource state.”

ANCHOR CHOICE: “Select a special anchor that you can use to trigger this special state of mind. It can be an internal anchor like imagining a vivid color or it can be a physical place on your hand or upper body that’s easy to touch, but that you don’t usually touch… a place like your ear lobe, the knuckle of your ring finger, the skin in between your forefinger and middle finger for example.” Choose the anchor you want to use to trigger that state of mind.

BRING ON THE RESULT: “Recall or imagine a time when you fully experienced being motivated and Relive the experience, be there 100% with all your senses. Notice all the details of this moment in time; the smells, tastes, visions, sounds, feelings and anything beyond the senses. Sit the way your would be sitting, breathe the way you breath when you are motivated. Good.” Use all your senses to notice how it feels, smells, tastes, looks, sounds. Make this strong and vivid and then combine it with the anchor… and then hold until the high emotion cools (about 5-10 seconds). Release the anchor. Do this several times. The hypnotist may take an inventory the person’s obvious and subtle patterns as they do this.

ANCHOR: “Now that that thought is strong within you, touch or squeeze your chosen anchor.”

DERAIL, CUT IT, SEPERATOR, or BREAK STATE: After a few seconds, stop thinking of the experience and shake off the state. Do something else; small talk “Open your eyes, count to ten, remember how you brushed your teeth this morning…” in other words, distract yourself.

REINFORCE: You may repeat Step 4 & 5 several times, if you like.

TEST IT OUT: “Test your anchor by clearing your mind and simply touching or squeezing your self-anchor location. The associated experience of your positive state will come spontaneously without any effort.” Fire your anchor and notice if the state comes back.

MENTAL REHEARSAL, FUTURE PACING or COLLAPSE AN ‘ICKY’: “Think of a situation in which you would like to be _____ (motivated). Imagine being each situation touch your self-anchor and you create and automatic association.” Imagine a situation where this positive state would come in handy and use your anchor and check if you feel good.


THINK OF A PARENT PROBLEM: “Close your eyes and think of time in the past when your parent (or parents) made a choice that has affected you negatively.”

ANCHOR THE ICKY: “When that unhappy thought comes to mind touch your left shoulder with your left hand.” (The Hypnotherapist, can touch their left shoulder or left hand).

THINK OF A GIFT YOU HOLD: “Think or imagine having a wonderful resource like bravery, compassion, thoughtfulness, practicality, humor… one that you now have and wish you parents had back then. Good.”

ANCHOR THE STRENGTH: “When that happy thought of your strength comes to mind, touch your right shoulder with your right hand.” (Or you, the Hypnotherapist, can touch their right shoulder or hand as you choose).”

ANCHORS AWAY: “Keep your hand on your right shoulder (or the hypnotist remains holding the positive anchor), let’s imagine your parent(s) having this same precious resource and notice it would affect the choices they made in that time long ago, and now also put your left hand on your left shoulder (or the Hypnotherapist uses both the negative and positive anchor). You now freely relive that old memory in a new way. When you are complete smile, drop your hands in your lap. (or hypnotist stops touching the anchor) and open your eyes.”

CHECK IN: “As you think about the past what difference do you notice?”

This is your good friend Dr Shelley Stockwell-Nicholas wishing you happy anchors ahead!anchor-1


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