Dave Elman

Dave Elman (actually David Kopelman; * May 6, 1900 in Park River, North Dakota; † December 5, 1967) was an American hypnotist, composer, musician and author.

Elman became known worldwide for his fast and efficient hypnotic trance induction. The Elman induction is now part of the standard repertoire of many show hypnotists, but is also used as an introduction to hypnotherapy.

Dave Elman’s interest in hypnosis awoke when he was 8 years old. A family acquaintance treated his father, who was suffering from severe cancer-related pain, with hypnosis for the pain so effectively that he was able to play with the children. At the age of 14, he had already trained himself with the help of literature and observations of stage hypnotists to such an extent that he hypnotized his classmates.

After leaving school, Elman worked as a composer, musician (saxophone and violin), comedian and show hypnotist. He changed his surname from Kopelman to Elman at this time because it fitted better on posters and seemed a better way to enter show business. Together with W. C. Handy, with whom he was friends, he composed the hit “Atlanta Blues (Make Me One Pallet On Your Floor)”.Their songs were also played by Louis Armstrong. Dave Elman also worked as a radio presenter; he was particularly successful from 1937 to 1948 with his radio show Hobby Lobby on KDKA and wrote several books. In addition to his professional activities, Elman worked for the US espionage service CIC from 1942.

So that a charity event didn’t have to be canceled, Elman stepped in to perform an impromptu hypnosis show in 1948. After the show, doctors in attendance asked him to teach them what they had just seen. In 1949, he demonstrated his rapid induction methods and his knowledge of pain control to doctor friends. He was then asked to offer a course on hypnosis for doctors and dentists. He insisted that he was not practicing medicine, but only teaching the techniques of hypnosis. His students often explored other medical applications and these collaborations were incorporated into the course. The medical hypnosis courses were passed on to thousands of doctors and dentists. In 1964 he wrote the highly acclaimed book “Findings in Hypnosis”, which was later republished as HYPNOTHERAPY.

Elman’s hypnosis induction, known as the “Dave Elman induction”, became known worldwide because this simple yet effective method can achieve a somnambulistic state in the hypnotized person within a few minutes. His suggestions, for example on hypnotic analgesia and healing and integration, have also become known from the medical hypnosis taught by Elman.


Sign up and receive inspirational articles, hypnosis techniques and tips on how to improve your life.