Overt Vs. Covert Hypnosis

I know a lot of people are as much interested in covert or conversational hypnosis as they are the ‘overt’ stuff that I have been showing on the blog.  In this video I will discuss the two in contrast and let you know the advantages of each.



About The Author

James Tripp

Hypnotist and Transformative Facilitator. Creator of Hypnosis Without Trance.


  • John Morgan

    November 15, 2009

    I agree that it is more difficult to elicit less plausible phenomenon with conversational hypnosis and at the same time…I wonder…is redesigning plausibility the task of a powerful hypnotist?

    • James Rolph

      November 15, 2009

      John, I love that concept – redesigning plausibility. So if you can redesign plausibility conversationally, you are good to go! I am genuinely excited because it is giving me ideas. Lets knock heads sometime!


  • Korey Samuelson

    November 28, 2009

    I was thinking along the same lines as John. If, using conversational hypnosis, you could elicit a plausible scenario for the phenomena that you want to create you would increase your chances of success. Even if you had to start small and build from there.

    For example: “Have you ever been looking for your keys? Then, when you finally found them you realize that you looked in that place several times and, somehow, managed to look at them and NOT SEE them?”

    If they have experienced that they do indeed have a plausible scenario for negative hallucination (i.e. invisibility). From there you might ramp up the possibilities to include larger and larger objects, even a person. The whole time using embedded commands, seeding ideas, etc. Wow! This video has got my mind racing.

    James, I truly appreciate the thought you’ve put into your learning of hypnosis and NLP. I’m newly certified in both but I’ve had extensive interest for most of my life. Of all the hypnotists I’ve come across your ideas are the most consistent with what I’ve come to believe. As I was reading your report on the hand stick tutorial I found myself writing pages of notes that clarified my own thinking on the matter. Awesome stuff!

    Keep up the good work.


  • Jesus

    December 26, 2009

    James I’m very glad you made this video.

    I finally understood the main diference between Covert and Overt Hypnosis.

    As I understand it, in overt hypnosis the person is more likely to imagine things and extend theyr mental map, while in covert hypnosis the persona is “alert” in their “own” world, where they guide through their beleives and values. So any of these believes are meant to be changed (at least you tell them).

    So if you cross up with a person who’s romantic, you could make them hallucinate a infidelity for example, or attach him to some women, just with conversational hypnosis. While a non-romantic person if you try to influence them in liking a woman, or setting up an hallucination (as “your wife is with other man” (JUST TO TEST)) it would be almost impossible, cause this persona has almost no access to this resources, and their not part of their real world map.


  • Jesus

    December 26, 2009

    So if you hypnotised that second non-romantic person in a overt way, he’ll be more likely to imagine things, such as romantic things.


  • Steve

    January 10, 2010

    hi James,

    I am sorry to hear that you are still sick, hope that you get well soon.

    Regarding the movie of Covert vs Overt hypnosis to some degree i must disagree with you. I know that in the area of hypnosis i have very few experience when compared to yours, but still i would like to share these thoughts with you.

    Once i was in a bar and one of the workers in the bar came to shake hands. In the middle of the handshake i interrupted the pattern very covertly then i elicited some feelings into her and then i anchored those feeling to every time i touched. The thing about this story is that she did not remember what i did to her she just said she felt a bit strange, also i must say that the trigger worked.

    James I think that the what i have done in this situation is covert hypnosis and that the phenomina that i achieved can not be simply achieved in ‘standard’ talking context.

    James at this point i would like to take the opportunity to thank you for regularly updating this blog with such relevant entries and i am looking forward to buy the home study guide.


    • James Rolph

      January 10, 2010

      Hi Steve
      Hope you are well and getting a lot out of your hypnosis!

      I think what we might disagree about in this instance is what constitutes everyday experience within everyday contexts. For my money, changes in feelings and spontaneous amnesia are everyday phenomena so well within the scope of covert/conversational hypnosis.

      Only today I made myself a cup of tea and had a chat with Lexi (my wife) and after about 15 minutes I asked, “where is my tea?” It turns out I had drunk it and didn’t remember a single mouthful. Standard talking context and amnesia.

      Anyhow, the covert handshake induction and other work sounds very cool and I would love to see it in action some time!

      All the very best


  • macka

    February 18, 2011

    sorry realise this is an old thread. But anyway one idea that could help your friend the bus to convince his friend to be hypnotised is by showing him a mind reading trick or some trick and then claiming its because we now have that mind connection and if they believe it then you go into the next phase doing some hand stuck or something. The magic trick becoming the big because.


  • Richard

    April 9, 2012

    Hi James,

    If one does a pattern interruption leading into confusion .. it would seem that plausibility would not have to be a necessity in ‘conversational hypnosis’. I’m thinking of an incident with Erickson .. where he extended his hand to another doctor who was highly skeptical of his capacity to be hypnotized. As this man extended his hand back to Erickson, Erickson suddenly bent down and re-tied his own shoelace. The doctor was left standing there with an arm catalepsy and in a state of confusion – hypnotic phenomena accessed without plausibility it would seem. What do you think? Any comments about this kind of thing?

    By the way .. I have just received your Hypnosis Mastery program. It is as much of a revelation for me now as Rossi and Cheek’s ‘Mind-body Therapy’ was for me in 1990. Definitely the next important big step for me – a practicing hypnotherapist for over 20 years. Absolutely brilliant ! Thank you !!

    All the best from Australia ~ Richard

    • admin

      April 10, 2012

      Hi Richard

      My belief is that pattern interrupts create confusion, and as such kick in our reflex to ‘make sense’ of the situation. In an explicit hypnosis context, one type of sense we can make is ‘I am being hypnotised’… but this still needs to be plausible to us.

      An important thing to be aware of is that people have a ‘duel layered worldview’ – an ‘intellectual worldview’ and an ‘operational worldview’ and the two do not necessarily correspond.

      Our operational worldview is very difficult to know consciously – we can’t ‘see’ it because we ‘see’ the world through it. Our intellectual worldview is really just a bunch of relatively superficial opinions. So you get a situation where a person can believe one thing operationally, but intellectually disbelieve it (or vice versa).

      For example, when I was a teenager I thought I believed the human mind was a ‘blank slate’ and argued that in many debates. As I got into a lot of personal development I discovered that at an operational level (outside of consciousness) I didn’t believe that at all, and actually believed quite the opposite.

      So, to bring this back to hypnosis practicalities, it is very common for people to state disbelief in hypnosis but have sufficient ‘operational belief’ in it to get hypnosis happening. And the reverse is also true.

      The bottom line is – never trust what people tell you about what they believe!

      All the very best



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