The Perfect Hypnotist

The perfect hypnotist, that mythical figure, is able to hypnotise anybody, anytime, anywhere – but can we even get close?

This post takes the form of a question (posed in the comments section of the about page on this blog) and an answer.  Not the answer… but an answer.

Here it goes…

Hi James,

As an expert (in my opinion) I would LOVE your opinion on this short video:
It is a video from Jonathan Chase explaining that only 80% of the people can be hypnotized. Period.

Do you agree with this James?

Thanks a lot up ahead!


Hi Rudy

That’s not a bad rule of thumb (for most good hypnotists) from Jon… but it isn’t necessarily that simple! I believe that everyone can experience hypnosis and does everyday. By this I mean if you take the definition “hypnosis is the use of communication to alter a person’s perceived reality” (which is close enough to my working definition), hypnosis is happening all the time. But this general, everyday hypnosis only relates to what I would call ‘soft phenomena’ – simple changes in state and thinking.

To get ‘hard phenomena’ (catalepsy, hallucination etc.) you need to distort reality much more, when you do this, people notice it happening and tend to correct in order to reinstate reality as they know it.

So you need to set frames that will explain the distortion, and you need to get them to ‘buy in’ to those frames (believe them 100% or close to 100%). Now, from a psychological perspective, some people are habituated to scepticism, which means that it is hard work to get them to buy into the frames you set. THIS IS KEY!

The perfect hypnotist is skilled enough to get ANYONE to ‘buy in’ to the operating frames… but this hypnotist doesn’t exist!

It’s a bit like Martial Arts – even the best of the best cannot beat everyone on the planet (because there will be those who surprise them with something they were not equipped for, or some contextual element will make difference… or they will be having an off day).

The more experience you have in hypnosis, the higher the percent of people you meet you can hypnotise. 80% is a good level! Most hypnotists that good (and this will include Jon, who is excellent) will learn to recognise the percentage that they are going to struggle with, and carefully avoid them (thus engineering for themselves a close to 100% success rate).

For me, the ongoing fascination with hypnosis is learning more and more about how people respond (especially those in the tough 20%) so as to start cutting into that percentage and move towards the ‘holy grail’ of being able to hypnotise ABSOLUTELY ANYONE.

This is where the HWT No-Fail material (which is being ‘pre-launced’ today) comes from – it’s for dealing with that tough percentage that just aren’t going to plan. This doesn’t mean that you are going to get ‘invisibility’ with everyone you work with, but taken in combination with good general hypnotic skills, you can get some category hypnotic phenomena from almost anyone, and for those who you can’t (at that time), you can exit the process on your terms and with your credibility intact.

Please be clear that this is my take on things based in my experience, and that Jon Chase and I have very different worldview from each other when it comes to these things (and that may even be an understatement!).

For me, the downside of the 80/20 rule in this context is that if you write off 20% as unhypnotisable, you place a psychological barrier in the way of developing your skills to tackle that tough 20%.

If the Wright brothers were hypnotists, I wonder how they would have responded to being told that %20 of people are unhypnotisable?

All the very best


P.S.  the No-Fail Protocol DVD’s will be going on a limited Pre-Launch later on today.

About The Author

James Tripp

Hypnotist and Transformative Facilitator. Creator of Hypnosis Without Trance.


  • Rudy

    July 26, 2010

    Thanks James for the clear reply!
    Yes, i was figuring this 20% is the 20% that love control,
    OR are simply not interested.
    Let’s get these as well then by ordering your new DVD-set
    the no-fail-protocol!
    I just send you an email ordering one!

    thanks James!

    • John P Morgan

      July 26, 2010

      Brilliant James. One of the best and most concise answers to a very common question. A couple points:

      1. If to get “buy in” the hypnotist allows himself or herself to go beyond the frame of “hypnosis” and finds a doorway into the mind of the subject not locked shut by scepticism, then they will have an easier time getting “hard phenomena”. As more a persuader than a hypnotist, I think it is important to remember that hypnosis is only one frame of choice. I have worked with people who don’t believe in hypnosis but may certainly believe in the “power of their mind”, “guided meditation” or even “ideomotor catalepsy”….because “It’s true! I read about it in Wikipedia and you can check it out when you get home!”

      2. I’d suggest that the 80/20 rule applies to hypnotists as well. 80% of hypnotists can only hypnotise 20% of people. Let’s be honest here…typically upon approaching a group of 10, most hypnotists look for the “somnambulist” (1/10?) and will only get “hard phenomena” out of 1/5 at best.

      Honestly, the only way you are going to get into the top 20% of hypnotists, is to work on the other 8 people in that group.

      And if you want to be able to hypnotise the 20% of people who myself, Jon Chase and most other hypnotists (not including James!) can NOT hypnotise, then you’re really going to have to bust your ass!

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