How can you help your clients accept hypnotic suggestion?

What If Suggestions Don’t Work?

I recently got an email from a fellow who had hypnotized someone, given them suggestions, but the suggestions weren’t followed. He asked me for advice about ‘what went wrong’. Well, let me straighten a couple of things out, and give some suggestions as to how to make sure a higher percentage of your suggestions take effect, as you intend them to.



Hypnotic suggestions don’t create mindless zombies who must obey everything we, the hypnotists, suggest.

Folks are generally free to accept or reject any suggestions we give.

It’s up to us to explain to the person being hypnotized, what mindset will help them accept suggestions. And it’s up to them to adopt that mindset. And it’s up to us to deliver suggestions in a way that motivates.

Here are some factors which make people more likely to accept suggestions.

  • Depth Of Trance
  • Reward
  • Alignment With Goals
  • Feelings About Hypnosis
  • Rapport/Trust

Depth Of Trance

The relationship between depth of trance and following suggestions is not fully understood. However, let’s just accept that, if someone isn’t following your suggestions, going for a deeper trance is one place to go.


If you can attach something good to the idea of following a suggestion, it helps.  Framing following a suggestion as an accomplishment is nice. “And you’ll be amazed at how powerful your mind is.” Appending, “And it feels wonderful.” to the end of a suggestion can work wonders, too.

Alignment With Goals

In general, people don’t want to be puppets, with you pulling the strings. Making them do silly things, so you can show how cool you are, is not going to be the most motivating scenario for them. Even if you’re just doing a demonstration, ask them what they’d like to accomplish, and tell them how what you do can help them get there.

“We’re going to stick your hand to your leg as a mind-power demonstration, and then I’ll show you how to apply the same power of the mind, to help you get motivated to exercise.”

Feelings About Hypnosis

If someone is scared of hypnosis, or doesn’t understand what their role is in the process, then they may not want to participate. It’s much easier to do formal hypnosis with someone who is cooperative. So, a good pre-induction talk is key. You’ve got to dispel myths and misconceptions, allay fears and let them know what they can expect, and need to do to be successful.


Here’s the biggie. Rapport and trust go a long way. If they trust you, they’ll be more willing to accept what you say, and follow instructions. Think about it this way. . . If someone you don’t trust tells you to relax, how do you respond?

Rapport not only increases the odds of someone following your instructions, it also helps you to be more in tune with them, and that helps you do a better job.


PS: There’s lots more information on how to effectively deliver suggestions in my hypnosis certification course (which includes a full pre-induction talk), and I have a program on how to develop a high level of skill generating rapport too. Check ’em out!

About The Author:

Keith Livingston is the main instructor for Hypnosis 101. Keith has been studying hypnosis since he was a boy and doing hypnosis & NLP training since 1997.

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