I recently read an article about how to increase a hypnosis subject’s suggestibility. They called it “hyper-suggestibility”. The article introduced a new concept that forced me to rethink hypnosis. The concept was “hyper-compliance”.

To better understand hyper-suggestibility and hyper-compliance let’s compare the two. Suggestibility is the skill of accepting what the hypnotist says as true. Compliance extends suggestibility by including directives to act. Here’s the difference, a suggestible subject may fully hallucinate they are standing on cliff with a friend. But only a compliant subject would push that friend off the cliff. This is regardless of whether the friend was also a hallucination. Suggestibility and compliance overlap but they are not the same.

A more practical example would be having a client being fully able to imagine confidently saying “No!” to a cigarette (suggestible) but being unable/unwilling to do it in real life (compliance).

This insight inspired the question “What would happen if, as hypnotists, we measured and tested for compliance instead of suggestibility?”

The first thing we’d have to do is better understand the difference between the two. Compliance is the willingness to act on a suggestion. What we refer to as hyper-compliance is demonstrated when the hypnosis subject follows a suggestion or instruction without review or editing. What the hypnotist says is what the subject does.

Regarding hypnosis, suggestibility and compliance both have degrees of strength. Suggestibility is largely internal and subjective, though not entirely. Compliance is a willingness and readiness to act and therefore has a more objective quality.

Hyper-suggestibility implies that a hypnosis subject can easily make subjective changes in the form of thoughts, perceptions and beliefs.

Hyper-compliance can be thought of as acting immediately as instructed with a little or no reflection.

How to Instill Hyper-Compliance

  1. Bring up the concept during the hypnotic pre-talk. “Understanding and following the suggestions is great. Doing them immediately is even better. Every time you analyze what I say during the hypnosis you slow down your progress.
  2. Use entrainment. Entrainment is a process that happens before the hypnosis session. The hypnotist give simple and direct instructions like: ift your right hand, put it down, wiggle your toes, etc.. This process can take place from 10 to 30 minutes. The goal is to train the subject to respond quickly and without any mental analysis.
  3. Eye engagement. Just before beginning the hypnotic induction the hypnotist will say or imply the hypnosis session will begin. What follows in a silent eye-to-eye contact with the subject. The purpose is to induce a strong feeling within the subject of anticipation or “okay, now what?”. They should feel a readiness to begin that borders on discomfort. The length of the eye engagement does not have to be more than 10 seconds.
  4. Recognize and reward compliance. When the subject complies to an instruction rewards are given with phrases like “that’s right“, “very good“, “you’re doing great”, “you are perfect…at this“.
  5. Repetition of hypnosis. The more someone practices going into hypnosis the better they get at it. Combine the process with success results and always feeling better after each hypnosis and compliance will naturally improve.

This is only the tip of the iceberg on the topic of hype-compliance. There is much more that can be added and each of these methods can be talked about in greater detail. Hopefully this article will give enough information  for practical application.

In the hypnosis course Advanced Hypnosis: The Three Session Program That Gets Results some of these methods are further discussed and used in a clinical setting.