Good Subjects

I believe that anybody and everybody can experience hypnosis and hypnotically altered realities – but it is definitely my experience that some do it more easily and readily than others.  Indeed, some people seem to live most of their lives focussed into the moment and with their critical faculties ‘off-line’ – and for the purposes of hypnosis demonstration these people will always be your best subjects.  Such people are what are classically referred to in hypnosis as somnambulists (literally meaning sleep walkers).

 You will also meet people who are almost chronically prone to analysis and critical thinking, and with these people you will have to work a lot harder (or smarter) to lead them into hypnotic loops. These people are what are classically referred to in hypnosis as analytical (literally meaning crap subject or no good 🙂).  When making impromptu demonstrations of hypnosis, I recommend that you just avoid these people, unless you wish to make life harder than it needs to be (which you may do when you get competent and want to start expanding your skills).

Those who have accrued much experience in the art of AAA (anytime, anyplace, anywhere) hypnosis usually develop a keen ability to spot somnambulists from analyticals.  While this comes with experience, there are a few clues that may help you as you start.

Somnambulist Analytical
Tend to ‘be in the moment’, often ‘part of the action’ and uninhibited.     

Tend to make eye contact a lot, and have generally less eye movement.

Tend to have a relaxed and open ‘body language’ – relaxed shoulders, head and eyes upright, fluid movement and breathing, relaxed facial muscles, often smiling.

Are happy to follow your lead, and go along with what you suggest.

Tend to be ‘set back’, as if observing what is going on.    

Often a lot of eye movement, often down and to their left.

Tend to hold a lot of tension and have more closed body language – look for crossed arms/legs, tense shoulders, pulling the head down, caving the chest, shallow breathing, ‘tight’ body movements frowning and facial tension.

Will follow your lead, but make sure they do it their way – asking questions, making comments, adding unnecessary movements (‘fidgets, shuffles’ etc.), will often say “let me just ____ first”


Please be aware that the above as ‘clues’ and not definitive markers or ‘rules’.  Ulitimately you will develop a sense for it.

Whatever type of subject I think I have, I will still run what I call ‘flag tests’ to check that they are playing the process 100%.  What I want from a ‘flag test’ is a ‘green flag’ response – this means good to go. a ‘red flag’ response means either ‘stop’ or ‘proceed with caution’.

An example of a flag test is asking “do you have a good imagination?” What I am looking for is a clear and congruent ‘yes’ without hesitation – this would be a green flag.  If the person says “yeh, sure” with a little shrug, for me this is a ‘red flag’ – the subject is replying, but they are doing it in too much of an ‘independent’ way. They are doing things their way instead of my way.  This is what is tied up with what I call the ‘Game Model’, but I’ll have to save that for another time.

I am currently working on getting all the Hypnosis Without Trance material into a comprehensive format for learning, which should be available in the new year.  This will hopefully cover anything and everything you need to know about doing hypnosis with confidence and precision.

Please do keep your questions and comments coming, as they are very much appreciated.

All the very best


About The Author

James Tripp

Hypnotist and Transformative Facilitator. Creator of Hypnosis Without Trance.


  • Joe

    December 18, 2009

    Well said.

    It all about them following the spirit of your directions, not merely the letter.

  • James Rolph

    December 18, 2009

    Nicely put Joe – I think that just about sums it up.


  • Parkey

    December 21, 2009

    I like this post James.

    I especially like the way you describe analyticals as “…people who are almost chronically prone to analysis and critical thinking…”, and that they will “…follow your lead, but make sure they do it their way.” I couldn’t have put it better!

    I’m an analytical myself, and as I’m sure you know my pet project is to make myself better as a subject. Something that I’ve noticed about my own responsiveness recently, especially now you mention it, is that I am caring less about the specifics of how I follow an instruction given by the hypnotist, I’m willing to just go with what comes naturally. I think this helps, but it’s not something that’s particularly been in my nature before.

    I think some hypnotists make a mistake in thinking that an analytical is interpreting instructions or “following instructions their way” to be awkward or difficult. Usually this simply isn’t the case; they’re doing it because they are concerned about getting it right, and analysing is their instinctive way of trying to do that.

  • Steve

    January 11, 2010

    Hi James

    In the case we have an analatical subject that we have to perform upon, what is the best line of approach that we should adopt.

    Some time ago i was working with a friend of mine who is very analatical and i knew it but i still wanted to give it a try. Anyway with her nothing worked. In your opinion what is the best way to deal with such issues.



  • James Rolph

    January 11, 2010

    Hi Steve

    I’ll put together video on this in a day or two!

    All the very best


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