It is commonly quoted in popular literature that 10% of people are "highly hypnotizable". Given a set of 10 suggestions, such people would have 7 or more suggestions become active. On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who are very hard to hypnotize and will have 0 out of 10 suggestions become active. Everyone else falls somewhere in between.

I'm interested if the person's susceptibility to hypnosis can be altered? Can a person who would previously respond to 7/10 suggestions be made to respond to 1/10, thus becoming hard to hypnotize (or vice versa)?

If so, what is the mechanism behind such change - is it localized to some brain area?

  • $\begingroup$ I'm guessing relaxation and trust are important, and could be trained. I'm thinking the training involved in meditation is somewhat analogous too. $\endgroup$ Commented May 3, 2014 at 3:13
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    $\begingroup$ In my professional experience I have yet to meet a person who was unable to go into a trance state. However, I have experienced clients who were initially anxious or fearful and those states do create a resistance which needs to be overcome with trust and safety before that person will allow themselves to be open to suggestion. I would say that those "highly hypnotizable" people are simply those who are able to put their trust in the hypnotist and the hypnotic process fully, whereas those who appear un-hypnotizable are those who are too anxious to let go of the conscious vigilance to allow sug $\endgroup$
    – S. King
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 19:19
  • $\begingroup$ @S.King - As said on another post, adding sources and references is considered an essential component on this site. Anecdotal reports are of interest, but may be more appropriate as a comment, instead of a full answer. The help center on answering questions will be of help. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


There is no a single answer for this, but I will tell from what I have read of Milton Erickson's ideas.

Everyone is suceptible to hypnosis. The difficult in being hypnoized depends on the person's experience more than a specific part of the brain, and this implies that the most important thing is how the hipnotist is capable of capturing the person's unconscious attention, which is purely determined by the person's experience.

In conclusion, the person's suggestability is completely alterable. In my experience (not too much), if you fail hypnotizing someone and you do not handle ir properly, the next time that person will be less suggestable. This is only an example, there are many other factors that influence this process.

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    $\begingroup$ Although you're citing Milton Erickson, some references to what specific materials you're referencing would be appreciated. $\endgroup$
    – Seanny123
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ I do not remember exactly where I read it from. Probably it was in Frogs into Princes or Trance-Formations. These books were written by John Grinder and Richard Bandler, who were Erickson apprentices, and they name him and talk about hypnosis the same way he understood it. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 20:51

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