Hypnotic suggestibility testing 101

Hypnotic suggestibility testing 101


Price in: $ USD / € EURO
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Video duration: 6 hours 2 minutes
Manual size: 160 pages


Learn to test hypnotic suggestibility

Whether you’re a hypnotherapist, stage hypnotist, hypnosis researcher or even a street hypnotist, you are probably already aware that hypnotic suggestibility tests (sometimes known as hypnotic susceptibility tests) are an invaluable tool, no matter what the environment. In this comprehensive hypnotic suggestibility testing 101 course, we cover 12 highly effective suggestibility tests that you can use in any environment, whether for therapy, entertainment or research. Also, we cover – in full detail -4 of the most widely used hypnotic research suggestibility scales!

The hypnotic suggestibility tests & scales covered in this training include:

The progressive relaxation suggestibility test
The lemon suggestibility test
The eye lock suggestibility test
The arm lock suggestibility test
The hand lock suggestibility test
The magnetic fingers suggestibility test
The fingers spreading suggestibility test
The magnetic hands suggestibility test
The bucket & balloon suggestibility test
The Chevreul’s Pendulum suggestibility test
The postural sway suggestibility test
The hand stick suggestibility test

…and the research tests included are:

Barber’s Creative Imagination Scale (CIS)
Barber’s Suggestibility Scale (BSS)
Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale (SHSS)
Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility (HGSHS)


Course format

For each individual hypnotic suggestibility test, we start by letting you know what type of suggestibility test it is (as there are a number of different suggestibility test categories), as well as giving you a brief overview of the desired result of each test. We then explore the advantages and disadvantages (pros and cons) for each test, and any ‘contra-indications’ or reasons that you might choose not to use the test, before giving you a full explanation of how each test works. Next, we explain how to interpret the results of each test, with examples of what you might expect to notice in terms of good/poor responses from your subjects (or volunteers/clients).

After breaking the tests down in full detail, you’ll then get to see a demonstration of each test being performed, so that you can really get to grips with exactly how to deliver the test to your own subjects. Finally, the suggestibility tests will then be delivered ‘to camera’ so that you get to experience them for yourself. This is an integral part of the learning process, as it gives you a greater understanding of exactly how your own subjects might respond when you begin using these hypnotic suggestibility tests.

As well as the comprehensive (6 hour) training video, you’re also going to receive a 160 page course manual that includes example scripts and instructions for every single hypnotic suggestibility test (and all 4 of the hypnotic research susceptibility scales), so that you can immediately go out and use all of these suggestibility tests and research tests for yourself, confident in the knowledge that you’re saying the right thing and that you’ll get a great response from your subjects!

A woman being hypnotised by a swinging pocket watch, her eyes focused on the hypnotic watch itself.


The individual tests (in more detail)

So, you’ve got an idea about what’s going to be covered in terms of structure, but what about the hypnotic suggestibility tests themselves? Well, here’s a little information about each test so you can get a better idea of exactly what you’re going to learn when you buy this course. Firstly, we start with the progressive relaxation test:

The progressive relaxation suggestibility test
This suggestibility test is focused on testing the subject’s ability to relax their body by responding to suggestion, and is generally presented in a permissive delivery style. This can be a great test to use with individuals, yet is also superb for use with groups. It is an easy test for a hypnotist to deliver, as the subject’s eyes are closed (so low pressure for the hypnotist), yet great for boosting rapport and engaging the subject in the hypnosis process.

The lemon suggestibility test
The lemon test is a great test of ‘sensory imagination’. This is a fantastic test to use with groups and can be a good discussion starter, particularly about how we all have individual differences in our sensory preferences. When delivering the lemon suggestibility test, you are able to give suggestions relating to each of the 5 senses (see, hear, feel, smell, taste) and then get feedback from your subjects, helping you to find out which sensory modality they are most connected to. This can help you focus subsequent hypnosis work in a way that will be most accessible for them.

The eye lock suggestibility test
This is the first of three ‘locking’ (or ‘catalepsy’) tests, and involves the subject imagining their eyes are locked shut. Some hypnotic subjects will be good at immobility (catalepsy) whilst others will be good at movement (IMR – more about that in a bit). However, some really capable subjects will be good at both. The eye lock is a particularly versatile test as it can be used with individuals and groups and either prior to hypnosis as a suggestibility test, or within hypnosis as a convincer or deepener!

The arm lock suggestibility test
The arm lock test generally works best with an individual, although it can be used with groups (e.g. a group of athletes, or a bunch of stage hypnosis volunteers). Whilst the eye lock test isn’t particularly interesting for onlookers, the arm lock test is much more visually interesting, and it is also a particularly effective physical convincer for the subject.

The hand lock suggestibility test
The third ‘lock’ test is the hand lock suggestibility test (sometimes known as the ‘hand clasp’), which involves interlocking the fingers of both hands together, and imagining they’re locked. This is a rapid test that works well with individuals as well as with groups or even entire audiences. It’s not a particularly ‘visually entertaining’ one for an audience to watch (due to the lack of movement), yet the fast pace of delivery and the impressive end result helps avoid any onlookers getting bored.

The ‘lock’ tests are then followed by ‘movement’ tests. We generally refer to these using the term ‘IMR’ (‘ideo-motor response’), which is a type of phenomena that means ‘movement in response to an idea’. The first movement-based test is the magnetic fingers test…

The magnetic fingers suggestibility test
Not only is this a superb first test to use in any setting, with individuals and groups, it also offers the hypnotist highly valuable information about whether someone is being resistant. This suggestibility test is super quick, and it’s sufficiently interesting for onlookers to not get bored, as such, it is widely used in stage and street hypnosis, as well as being a commonly used tool of the hypnotherapist.

The fingers spreading suggestibility test
This is a less commonly-used suggestibility test, yet it is also really quick, and highly effective. The subjects closed fingers are caused to spread apart using suggestion alone. It’s great for use with individuals and groups and you can even use it with children – they love it!

The magnetic hands suggestibility test
The magnetic hands test involves a large range of movement, so it is really visual for anyone watching, and it can also be used with both individuals and groups. When using this with groups, it visually demonstrates the range and variability of hypnotic suggestibility, as people’s hands move at different speeds and to different extents.

blue/green energy ball in between hands coming together, as imagined in the magnetic hands suggestibility test

The bucket & balloon suggestibility test
Another great test for use with groups and one that’s highly visual for any audience, is the bucket & balloon suggestibility test, sometimes known as the ‘heavy & light hands’ test. This is a well-established hypnotic suggestibility test that is frequently used by stage hypnotists, however it can be used in the therapy room too. Also, the hand raising/lowering components are featured in many research susceptibility scales, so it really is versatile in its application.

The Chevreul’s Pendulum suggestibility test
An old test, yet great for observers, is the Chevreul’s Pendulum suggestibility test. Whilst you do need to carry a prop for this one (the pendulum), you can get by with a makeshift pendulum such as a necklace with a stone, or even a key on a length of string. This suggestibility test can be a great convincer for the subject and audience, as well as visually showing the hypnotist how well a subject is following suggestions. It can also be used to indicate resistance.

The postural sway suggestibility test
The postural sway suggestibility test involves the largest amount of movement of all the tests, with the subject’s whole body swaying backwards. This can be very dramatic, so it’s good for an audience, yet as well as assessing a subject’s response to suggestion, it can also be a useful tool in helping build rapport and developing trust in the hypnotist.

The hand stick suggestibility test
Finally, before moving on to the research susceptibility scales, we have the hand stick suggestibility test. This is another catalepsy test and involves having the subject imagine their hand is stuck to a flat surface (such as a table). This one is generally best performed with individuals as there is some physical interaction between the subject and hypnotist. It is a particularly useful test in assessing the extent of a subject’s compliance and their consistent engagement with suggestions.


Research hypnotic susceptibility scales

In addition to the standard suggestibility tests mentioned above, we cover four key research suggestibility test scales. Research suggestibility tests are generally multi-component, and they enable the researcher (or hypnotist) to assess a subject’s individual strengths and abilities, as they tend to engage the primary senses (see, hear, feel), as well as eliciting a range of phenomena, which is often more broad than the use of just catalepsy and IMRs. As these tests are scored either objectively or subjectively (or even both), they enable a researcher to classify subjects according to their level of responsiveness (e.g. high, medium or low) depending on either the observed response (that can be seen) or the subjective response (that the subject experiences internally). This information can then be used for a range of purposes which are explored in more detail in the ‘Research Suggestibility Testing’ section of the course.

For each hypnotic susceptibility research scale, we give you a brief overview of the contents and components, before exploring the advantages, disadvantages and contra-indications. This is followed by a summary of how the susceptibility scale works. Finally, for each susceptibility scale you’ll learn how to interpret the results and what makes a good or poor response.

We give you a script for each research susceptibility scale, and although these scripts are generally as close as possible to the original versions of each test, there have been some minor adaptations in three of the protocols (CIS, BSS, SHSS) to make the tests more relevant for a contemporary audience. The Harvard Scale (HGSHS) script, however, is presented verbatim as in the original version.

Research infographic with lots of different images relating to research and hypnotic research suggestibility testing

The Barber’s Creative Imagination Scale (CIS)
The first research susceptibility scale is the Barber’s Creative Imagination Scale (CIS). This test, consisting of 10 individual activities is considered to be more permissive in delivery style than some of the other research suggestibility tests. As it is self-scoring, it could be delivered to a group or to an individual. The suggestibility test components include: limb heaviness, limb levitation, anaesthesia, hallucinations (water, smell/taste, music and temperature), time distortion, regression and relaxation. As with all of the research susceptibility scales, you could perform each test component individually or as a small series of tests, or, as intended, in their entirety.

The Barber’s Suggestibility Scale (BSS)
The second research suggestibility scale is the Barber’s Suggestibility Scale (BSS). This can be perceived as more directive than the CIS. It has just 8 tests, which can be scored either objectively or subjectively (or both). Tests include limb lowering and raising, locking (hands, mouth/throat and body), hallucination (thirst), amnesia and a post-hypnotic like response. Although a comparative paper in 1974 considered that BSS and the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale (further on) measure similar responses, the BSS is quicker to deliver, doesn’t require any ‘props’ and it also doesn’t have a formal induction process, where the Stanford Scale does.

The Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale (SHSS)
The Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale (SHSS) is perhaps one of the most commonly used scales in hypnotic research. We use the updated 1996 version of the 1962 original test, as it relates better to modern subjects. This series of 13 tests starts with a formal hypnosis induction and then examines a broad range of phenomena, including limb movement, catalepsy, hallucinations (both positive and negative), catalepsy, regression, amnesia and a post-hypnotic response. As well as quantitative, objective scoring by the researcher (hence this is delivered individually), there is also an opportunity for the subject to give a subjective rating of depth of their experience. In addition, there is a more formally-structured post-hypnotic interview afterwards to ascertain greater qualitative information about the subject’s experiences.

The Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility (HGSHS)
The final research susceptibility scale is the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility (HGSHS). Like the SHSS, the Harvard Scale also includes an induction. However, unlike the SHSS, it has a suggestibility experience prior to the induction. Also, the experience of the induction itself is included in the scoring process. Phenomena tested include IMRs, catalepsy, hallucinations, amnesia and a post-hypnotic response. This test is self-scoring and explores a range of responses including the subject’s own assessment of their objective/outward responses (what other people might observe they did), as well as their inner subjective experiences and a rating for how they experienced each effect. As this test is self-scored, it can be delivered to individuals and, most commonly, to groups.


Your development

When you buy this hypnotic suggestibility testing 101 training course, you will receive a detailed training video (over 6 hours) together with a 160 page PDF course manual offering comprehensive notes about all of the hypnotic suggestibility testing techniques and approaches featured in the video. This means that you can watch each section of the video as often as you need, supported by the informative manual to grasp a full working appreciation of the broader and finer points of each suggestibility test or susceptibility scale. To further enhance your proficiency, we recommend that you engage in delivering these suggestibility tests in your own words, working towards understanding the key components of each test, in order that you can create your own ‘scripts’ and deliver these tests in a way that is congruent to your own delivery style. By doing this, you will quickly develop familiarity with these suggestibility testing techniques, and enhance your own proficiency at delivering suggestibility tests.

Hypnotic suggestibility testing is an integral tool of the successful hypnotherapist, hypnotist and hypnotic researcher. The more proficient you become at using hypnotic suggestibility tests, the more useful information you will have to create a truly bespoke and effective hypnosis process for your subjects.

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Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Certificate

Upon purchase of this course you will be given the option to download a CPD certificate*. This certificate will reflect the number of hours of video training provided in this course. You will be able to download your CPD certificate from the course page via your member dashboard.

Though there is no mandatory requirement for you to evidence your understanding of the course material in order to receive your CPD certificate, we strongly encourage you to practice all of the techniques that you learn during this online training course, in order to get the full benefits from it.

*All short courses have CPD certificates. The Advanced Hypnotherapy course (coming soon) offers an Advanced Diploma which is available on successful completion of that course.


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