Are Suggestibility Tests Are Outdated

Sorry I haven’t been around the last few weeks. I have been trying to handle the fallout due to a recent fire. Yes, you heard me right; I have had to deal with a small fire that broke out at my home.

I lost my computers in the fire as well as some of my books and training material. The fire department said I had some bad wiring, which I can believe as my house needed some updating. So by the grace of god, the only thing I lost was my office, but all of that can and will be replaced.

Either way, I got access to a friend’s computer so I thought I would start to get back on the ball with this blog. Before I begin with my new post, I also want to say thank you again for all the support my readers have showed my wife and me after the loss of our dog Beawolf. All of you are the best, and I’m lucky to have readers as great as all of you.

What Are Suggestibility Tests?

So enough small talk- Let’s get down to the reason I’m writing this post. If you have any experience with hypnosis. then you have more than likely heard of something called the Suggestibility Test. For those of you who don’t know, suggestibility tests are basically techniques that some Hypnotists use to determine the level of a persons suggestibility.

Some of these suggestibility tests include the following techniques:

  • One hand rising while one hand is falling
  • Lemon Slice
  • Magnetic Fingers
  • Hand Clasp
  • and many other tests

These suggestibility tests are taught in pretty much every hypnosis training course or school around and have become a standard in the hypnosis community. These tests are used all over the world, and the reason they are taught to us is because they are supposed to help us gauge if the person we’re working with will respond well to hypnotherapy.  Thus we use them as tools to help us when working with clients.

Suggestibility Test Are Taught In Most Trainings

In the beginning, I also learned about suggestibility tests and was told these are the key to our success as Hypnotists. I was told that if a person fails one of these tests, they would be an awful subject. If they passed, they would be a great subject.

I bought into this whole idea of a test designed to gauge the suggestibility of our clients. In the beginning, I really thought this was a genius idea as it gave us a surefire way to make sure we only work with people who can be hypnotized.

As many of you know, I have been involved in the world of Hypnotism for quite some time, and I’ve learned a lot during that time. I have learned from some of the greats, and I have and still continue to study my ass off. Well, after many years of studying, working with clients, and other things dealing with hypnotism I have come to one conclusion……

Suggestibility Tests Don’t Test Suggestibility

Suggestibility Tests DO NOT gauge the suggestibility of the people you are working with in any shape form or fashion. In most cases, they are completely useless.

Okay, I have a feeling I’m going to start to receive some hate mail for this statement. If that makes you feel better, then please feel free to leave your view in the comments below. In my opinion, all a suggestibility test does is test how responsive the person you’re working with is toward you at that very moment. If you want to disagree with me, you have the right too, but my goal is to help you push your limits and expand the way you think about different techniques and concepts.

Now here is another problem I have with the term “Suggestibility Test”. This term uses the word “test” and the word test implies you can either pass or fail. Think about this for a moment; if you think about the word “test”, I’m sure you may have flashbacks to a really hard test you took during high school, one you passed or possibly failed. This term may have been fine in the past when our knowledge of hypnosis was limited, but we’ve come a long way in our overall understanding of this field.

We know better than most people how words affect us, and how our words affect our sessions. We are always fighting a uphill battle against fears and myths, and the last thing we need when working with someone is the idea in their mind that they have failed something because we know when people believe they have failed something results go down the drain. Good luck changing their mind.

We also know the way we view hypnosis and the way the client views you play a huge role in the overall hypnosis process. One of the mental laws I was taught by Gerald Kein which I have found to ring so true is the idea that what the mind expects tend to happens. So if a person believe they have failed or have a chance to fail, you might as well just move on.

Over the years as I worked more and more with people in an office setting as well as street settings, I began to notice something interesting. I would perform a so-called suggestibility test and sometimes the person would fail and still end up being a great hypnotic subject. In other situations, the person would pass and end up not being the greatest hypnosis subject.

So if they passed the suggestibility test, and it’s suppose to test suggestibility, then why didn’t they respond great to hypnosis? Some would say you have to consider other factors and I agree, but when all the factors are in order and tested over and over again this should tell you something. I get e-mails and talk to other hypnotists who also report the same thing.

All they do is help you determine how responsive they are to you at that moment, but the great thing about this is that how they view you and respond to you can change in an instant. I’m not saying knowing how responsive to you they are is a bad thing to know, but there are better ways than these suggestibility test.

So why are hypnosis organizations still teaching this outdated model of hypnosis? I wish I could answer that question, but I don’t have a clue why they still teach this model. Suggestibility test as they were being taught are outdated and it’s time we upgrade this technique.

Techniques For Hypnotist Who Still Use Suggestibility Tests

Personally, I have stopped using suggestibility tests completely within my hypnosis practice.  Now, I know some people still use suggestiblity tests and if you still use them and find some purpose that’s fine, but let me give you a couple of suggestions to help you improve your results if you still use these tests.

Btw, I do use suggestibility test as instant and rapid inductions, and I’ll create another blog post about this soon, but I don’t use suggestibility test with clients anymore.

Now, if you do still use these techniques, here are some little tricks and tips to help you overcome any issues that may pop up. First off, you need to learn how to reframe the suggestibility test. I prefer to drop the use of the word suggestibility and the word test. I recommend people call them imagination games or an imagination exercise or something to that effect.

Basically, I want to take the power out of the word “test”. The key here is to make sure the person you are working with believes that no matter what happens, they are a great subject. The concepts of belief and expectation are very powerful in the hypnosis world.

So the key here is to always frame these in a way where the person can’t fail and always win. Now a great point that my good friend Steve Roh brought up to me one day during a discussion at Tranced Out, which is my Free Hypnosis & NLP community mentioned:

“that you need to keep in mind that if the client accepts the frame that it’s just an “imagination exercise” that weak results may cause the hypnotist to pre-formulate a belief about the (in)ability of the client to succeed

(“Oh no, their hands aren’t separated widely enough… they’re not suggestible… this probably won’t work”), thus reducing hypnotist operator confidence, which isn’t good…… Steve Roh”

So you as the operator need to keep this concept in mind and know that if the person your working with fails one, who cares? It doesn’t matter and you just need to have the confidence to push forward.

Another thing to do is never even mention them at all and just have the person go straight into the routines. Once again, as hypnotists we have skills most people don’t know and since most people don’t know how hypnosis works this makes us the expert and gives us a amazing advantage.

It’s All About The Frame

So when working with someone always frame success from the get go and never leave a chance for your client or the person your working with to fail. If something doesn’t go like you think this doesn’t mean they failed. Everything is relative and since they don’t know they failed, unless you told them or framed it in that way, just say “perfect” and keep moving forward.

We have to keep asking ourselves over time what works and what doesn’t if we want our profession to grow. Just because something is being taught by the masses doesn’t mean we have to keep using it. I prefer not to use them in my practice as my client is paying me money to help them with a problem, not to have them make their hands stick.

Now, if you’re into street hypnosis or stage hypnosis, then maybe they serve a purpose in some context or form for you. Maybe you just want to show people the power of the mind to some small degree or just show people how the subconscious works at a party or something similar. I do use them in street hypnosis, but only as rapid inductions. I will take the start of a suggestibility test and then convert it right into a rapid induction.


Once again, this post is just my opinion from my experiences and the experiences of others in the hypnosis profession I talk to. If you still use them and find you get some type of benefit from them, then continue to use them. There are many different roads that lead to the same destination.

Either way, the goal of this post is to just cause you to think about what we do a little bit more and decide for yourself if these so-called “suggestibility tests” are actually doing anything for your client and yourself.