Suggestibility Tests in Hypnosis

HYPNOSISThe success of placing a subject in to a state of trance is largely dependent upon the belief – expectancy  and the suggestibility of your client. The suggestibility of your client/subject will determine how successful your attempt at hypnosis is likely to be. The purpose of this essay is define “suggestion and suggestibility” and also to provide the more popular suggestibility tests which you may employ to determine how easily you may play a subject into trance.

What is a “Suggestion”?

Hypnotically speaking. A suggestion is an idea or sensation which reaches the brain via the five senses (also via the sixth sense, intuition).

What is “Suggestibility?”

Suggestibility is the intensity with which the idea is accepted.

With knowledge of the above, let us now consider two of the most effective suggestibility tests, namely;




This simple test, is employed at the start of your consultation, ideally to gauge how relaxed your subject is, the more relaxed the subject, the more likely they are to enter into a satisfactory hypnotic trance. The Arm Drop Test is executed thus: You ask your subject to close their left hand into a fist and then to extend their left forefinger so that it points up in the air.

You then instruct them to place the lower part of their right arm, near their wrist, upon the tip of their extended left forefinger. They are instructed to allow the full weight of their right arm to be supported by the forefinger of their left hand. Next they are instructed to relax every muscle in their bodies, paying particular attention to their right arm, so that all the weight of that arm rests upon the left forefinger.

You then advise the client that you will now count to three, with each count they feel that their right arm is becoming more heavy, the heavier it becomes the more difficult it becomes to hold it up, and that on the count of three,  they are to swiftly pull their left forefinger away from under their right arm.

You count 1…2….3, and on the count of three they rapidly move their left hand away. If your client is suitably relaxed and if they have followed your instructions they will find that having allowed the entire weight of their right arm to rest fully upon the left fingertip, that upon removal of the left hand’s finger, their right arm will suddenly and rather dramatically  fall.


The reason that their arms falls is due to the fact that they have totally relaxed their arm and it has in effect become a “dead weight” supported by the left fingertip. Should the arm fall in such a manner, that’s precisely what you are looking for. A person who can relax easily in this manner. A person who did not react due to not relaxing enough will probably have remained with their right arm still suspended in the air once the fingertip was withdrawn. Or perhaps if the arm did fall it would more likely be a delayed reaction. The more rapidly the arm falls, the more suggestible the person.

The principle of this test is to identify if whether your client can relax quickly when asked to do so.


This suggestibility test is a naturally occurring test. That is to say that the result largely occurs naturally, even without any form of suggestion, in essence, this is a “trick”, however, the fact that it works will of course increase the belief and expectancy in your client. The test is executed thus:

You instruct your client to interlock their fingers so that the fingers of the left hand are pressed against the back of their right hand, and the fingers of the left hand are pressed against the back of the left hand.  Palms pressed tightly together with their thumbs resting on top of their interlocked fingers.

You then instruct them to extend their two forefingers, so that the tips of each outstretched finger are touching.  They are then instructed to separate the tips of the fingers so that they are approximately an inch and a half apart, and lastly they are instructed to stare directly into your eyes and not at their hands.  You then place your own hands in the same position as their hands, as you suggest that by the count of 3 their fingers will be touching just as they were initially. You instruct them that should they try to keep them apart then the fingers will just draw nearer and nearer together.  You then count as follows:-

One….You begin to feel as though there are two strong magnets on the tips of your fingers, drawing, pulling them together, more and more, bringing them nearer together.

Two…..They are drawing closer and closer, so close now, that they are almost touching as those magnets become so powerful and pull your fingertips together.

Three…..The magnets are so powerful that your fingertips are now touching.

(Note to the Hypnotist)

As you count, you close your own two fingers together slowly, in such a way that by the time you reach the number three, your own fingertips are touching. A number of clients will regard this as a non verbal suggestion that their own fingers are getting closer together.

You now observe your client and the position of their fingers. Indeed you will observe that they are touching. The more rapid the response and the more tightly the fingers are closed together, the more suggestible the client.

In conclusion, there are indeed a number of other suggestibility tests, however, the two outlined above rank above the most effective. Following the suggestibility tests. You may of course lead into a full hypnotic induction.

N.B. I am not speaking in absolute terms  the results can vary for each person.

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