How important is knowing whether someone is suggestible or not? Well, it really depends on the context of the hypnosis that you’re doing. For example, a hypnotherapist will generally not need someone who is ‘ultra suggestible’ in order to work effectively with them. This is because hypnotherapy is hypnosis + various therapy techniques (if you’re new to hypnotherapy, check out this blog to learn more about how hypnotherapy works). Said therapy techniques could work without the hypnosis part (however, the hypnosis tends to make them more effective). In contrast, a stage hypnotist will generally require highly responsive hypnotic subjects due to the nature of the suggestions they will be given during a hypnosis show…
There are different areas of suggestibility that can influence a hypnosis session/show. Beyond simply ‘responding to suggestion’, suggestibility will come into 2 main categories; imagination and physical. It is useful to test whether someone can use their imagination to visualise or even ‘hallucinate’, as this can drastically shape the way that you work with them in hypnosis. If you find out (using a suggestibility test) that a client is not able to visualise, then you can alter your session/approach to ensure that what you’re doing is not primarily ‘visual’ in nature, leading to more success.
With the ‘physical’ suggestibility testing, you are able to work out whether someone will move in hypnosis when they are given the suggestion to move. This is helpful, as some people are naturally more prone to moving whilst hypnotised, whereas others are naturally more still or slow at moving (catalepsy). Thinking in terms of a hypnosis show, a comedy hypnotist wants volunteers who will move around on stage (as that’s the main part of the show), so again, this is another really useful reason to test suggestibility.
Although, as mentioned above, a hypnotherapist may not be too bothered about HOW suggestible a subject is, testing hypnotic suggestibility also gives an indication of resistance. So, rather than doing an hour of hypnotherapy with a client only to find out at the end that they were actively resisting the process, a suggestibility test can help identify this resistance beforehand so that it can be addressed before the hypnotherapy itself begins.
Obviously there are times when a hypnotherapist may want a client to be ‘deeper’ or ‘more suggestible’ in order to achieve more complex hypnotic phenomena, such as when using hypnotic anaesthesia for pain management, or regressing a client back to a time in their past to work through a traumatic event. However, these are generally approaches that would be engaged in later in the therapy process, and as such, a client will have more experience being in hypnosis, and may also have developed a greater level of suggestibility because of that. Similarly, some street hypnotists will not always use complex hypnotic phenomena (such as hallucinations), and may only give simple suggestions for alteration of feelings and generation of catalepsy, at which point a highly responsive/somnambulistic subject is not required.
Learn to use suggestibility tests
As I’m sure you’ve realised by now, it is always a really good idea to test the hypnotic suggestibility of whoever you will be hypnotising, whether for therapy, stage shows or even impromptu hypnosis demonstrations. But how do you do this? Well, there’s a bunch of free information on the internet that will explain/show you some of the basics of suggestibility testing. However, if you want to really get to grips with suggestibility testing, we have the perfect solution…
Our ‘Hypnotic suggestibility testing 101’ online course gives you over 6 hours of in-depth video training and is supported by a comprehensive (160-page) course manual. Covering pretty much ALL the suggestibility tests that are commonly used by hypnotists and hypnotherapists (seriously, click the button below to check out the huge list of suggestibility tests included), it even includes sections on the 4 most popularly used research suggestibility scales (the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Barber’s Creative Imagination Scale AND Barber’s Suggestibility Scale).
So, if you want to go beyond the average hypnotist/hypnotherapist and take your suggestibility testing skills to the next level, you’ve gotta check this course out. Click the button below to see the full course syllabus and a quick video that explains exactly what you’re going to get when you sign up:
We hope that this blog on the topic of the importance of hypnotic suggestibility testing has been helpful to you. If you have any more questions about this topic or anything else for that matter, do please get in touch, because we’re always happy to help!
– written by Rory Z Fulcher