Everyone can achieve a state of hypnosis to some degree. There are people able to use hypnosis easily and they can achieve incredible experiences in that state. Researchers call such people high-hypnotizables. Others have a challenging time achieving a typical hypnotic state.
These people are termed low-hypnotizables. Some researchers believe that if you are a low-hypnotizable individual, you cannot benefit from hypnosis. This is incorrect. In fact, I would be considered a low-hypnotizable individual, and yet I have achieved a lot of success with hypnosis as I will describe later in this blog.
Am I Receptive to Hypnosis?
People who are highly hypnotizable tend to have particularly good imaginations and can picture things easily and in detail in their mind’s eye. They tend to lose track of time when they are engaged in reading an enjoyable book or watching a movie. In fact, when they read or view a movie, they can feel that they are part of the action. A physical characteristic that is associated with being highly hypnotizable is the ability to roll your eyes back into your head so that hardly any of the eyeballs are seen.
Highly hypnotizable individuals can respond very easily to hypnotic suggestions such as appearing to fall asleep when they are told to do so or be unable to separate their hands when it is suggested that the hands are glued together. Therefore, stage hypnotists choose such people as volunteers for their shows.
Highly hypnotizable individuals can use their imaginations to achieve medical or mental health benefit such as by turning off their reactions to pain, or to going into their memories to rewrite them in a way that the memory feels better. Some of these patients can learn how to open up spiritually in a way that they gain a much more unique perspective on the nature and meaning of life.
Am I Resistant to Hypnosis?
Low hypnotizable individuals often report that they are unable to visualize well. Sometimes, they say that they have no imagination. They tend to be more distractible. Sometimes, people are too anxious about doing hypnosis “right” or they try too hard to do it. Hypnosis works best when people allow it to occur. Low hypnotizable people may not experience much change when they imagine a relaxing place, as opposed to the highly hypnotizable who might report feeling much more associated relaxation.
The reason that low hypnotizable individuals can still benefit from hypnosis is that there are other factors affecting the success of hypnosis besides a person’s natural abilities. These factors include the nature of a patient’s relationship with his or her therapist, the patient’s interest in helping themselves, patience, and having the belief that hypnosis can work. These factors are part of the reason that some researchers think low hypnotizables cannot benefit from hypnosis, while clinicians know that low hypnotizables can benefit. A clinician often has the advantage of having a good relationship with his or her patient, a patient who is motivated to overcome symptoms, and perhaps a patient who is especially interested in hypnosis as a form of therapy. All these factors are missing in hypnosis research experiments.
Take Home Message
My personal experiences with hypnosis as a low hypnotizable individual include learning how to: Calm myself by imagining how something might appear, rather than how it actually appears; Make myself more comfortable at the dentist’s office by imagining I was elsewhere; Become more empathetic by being open to people’s feelings; Trust and appreciate better my subconscious by going along more readily with my gut thoughts and feelings, even when they don’t appear to make much sense initially. Later, I often develop a good understanding of how I came to such conclusions on a subconscious level.
A better question than “How can I tell if I am good at hypnosis?” might be “How can hypnosis help me?”
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