Covert Hypnosis Vs. Powerful Communication!

In a recent blog post (I’m Sorry I Cheated… Can Covert Hypnosis Fix the Damage?) I raised the point that ‘covert hypnosis’ was not such a good idea!

With so many people out there selling ‘covert hypnosis’ as a means of getting what you want in life, I thought I’d better say something about why ‘covert hypnosis’ and trying to use NLP in sneaky ways will actually undermine your ability to powerfully influence.



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There is an exchange that took place in a Facebook discussion relating to this that is worth adding in here as it helps to bring some deeper refinement. Thanks to Robert Schryvers for contributing!

Robert: I would offer that one can be quite solid in ones intentions, so feel just fine about them, yet ones target of influence may not. e.g. one could desire to be in a mixed race relationship and yet the society one finds oneself in may see this as some great evil etc – Someone can be morally clear internally, but still be at odds with the status quo. Where does that leave us within this empowering frame?

James: That is when being willing to show up solidly becomes even more powerful Robert. It doesn’t mean you have to force your values and intentions into people’s faces, but being centred in them in the face of potential ‘disapproval’ is the strongest position.

Otherwise you are operating from an unconscious organisation where by the other person has true power and hence you need to win/keep their favour. as Ayn Rand said:

‘Ask not who is going to let me, but who is going to stop me.’

Again, this doesn’t mean being pushy, aggressive, inelegant or unflexible… just 100% clear, centred and unafraid in your values and wants.


P.S. And please ‘LIKE’ ↓↓↓↓↓ this and share it if you have any FB friends who would benefit from this information!

About The Author

James Tripp

Hypnotist and Transformative Facilitator. Creator of Hypnosis Without Trance.


  • Brian

    December 11, 2013

    James I agree with most of what you say…..However I have found a more simpler and effective way to talk about it is to talk about persuasion vs manipulation. Manipulation is where you have your own agenda and your needs and values and you want to use hypnosis to get them met at any cost. You don’t need high level persuasion or psychological skills to use manipulation you could just lie. This might work for a short time but never works in the long term. Persuasion is where your intention is find out or to reach deep inside those you are trying to persuade and find out what their deepest emotional needs and desires are and align them with what you want. And if you can’t meet their needs/values then you move on. Hypnosis/influence used for creating win/win situations is a very powerful tool….

    The problems you describe early on in the video about sneaking around and coming from a place of fear really doesn’t have anything to do with covert or conversational hypnosis they come from a certain mindset. And maybe from bad marketing of hypnosis that appeals to certain triggers or fantasies ( which is usually BS.) Before you can use any of this stuff with great success you need to work on yourself “self persuasion”. You need to work on your own unconscious fears and limitations or no matter what kind of training you do – you will just get better at staying where you are….

    Even in seduction it can work when your intention is to find out what the other person wants to experience in a relationship and you help them experience it…..

    ~In the most basic language its about win/win..

    • admin

      December 11, 2013

      Hi Brian

      Your persuasion Vs. manipulation distinction is useful, though personally, I don’t like the whole persuasion frame either :D.

      I often teach the distinction between ‘persuasion’ and ‘influence’, with the rule ‘if you catch yourself persuading, stop it – relax back and connect with your influence’. I may go into detail on that in another video some time.

      That said, I get your distinction.

      Regarding the point about ‘sneaking around from a place’ of fear being nothing to do with ‘covert hypnosis’ I agree with too… on one level. But we are hypnotists, no?

      So how does the phrase work hypnotically?

      What are the connotations of the word ‘covert’? What kind of attitude/mindset is is likely to pace and re-inforce?

      Now compare the connotations of the word ‘conversational’ as an alternative. Different connotations, different effect.

      Now sure, the two phrases (‘covert hypnosis’ and ‘conversational hypnosis’) can said to be simply different labels for the same thing (and that, that thing doesn’t explicity include sneakyness and fear), but then, I would suggest, we are taking a simplistic view of how language works and somewhat ironically ignoring its hypnotic properties.

      Anyhows, I get what you are saying on one level, but on another level I have to make the case for abandoning the frame on the grounds of its connotative and therefor hypnotic properties.



  • Brian

    December 11, 2013

    The other aspect about having high level success with this stuff is that it should be ingrained and become part of your everyday unconscious behaviour. you should be doing this stuff on autopilot with little or no conscious thought. It should be an expression of who you are. If you want more you need to become bigger inside to be able to accept it first!

  • Chins

    December 11, 2013

    Here’s a question James. What if you don’t know what you want, really, you just have feelings? Like, you might have feelings of attraction towards someone, but you don’t know if you want a relationship with them, and if you were to have a relationship, you don’t know what kind of relationship you’d want that to be. You just know your feelings, you just feel those feelings towards them. What then?

  • admin

    December 11, 2013

    Hi Chins

    I made a video for you for this one. It’s right here:

    What if I don’t know what I want?



  • sean crawford

    December 11, 2013

    This video has really helped me understand the essence of covert hypnosis. I agree that a person that is not clear and comfortable with what they want will be less effective in influence. I would like to know if your courses will teach someone how to communicate powerfully in casual situations for influence?

    • admin

      December 11, 2013

      Hi Sean

      I have a course due for release soon called The Fundamentals of Non-Verbal Influence which is all about just that! (At least, the non-verbal aspects of it!) I will probably put together a programme on hypnotic language fairly soon too.

      All the very best


  • Brian

    December 12, 2013

    The other thing to consider is hypnosis is just a process or a skill or knowledge or a combination. Not all hypnotists are equal in skill, ability knowledge creativity or talent.

    The label hypnotist is really so inadequate to describe the different levels of skill and experience.

    The difference between persuasion and influence is we don’t always persuade but we all ways influence an outcome even if its not the outcome we desire. Even if there was no outcome there is still influence. Truly effect persuasion always has an outcome and is about creating win win situations. Influence is generally softer where persuasion is more focused. They are two different things each with their own value.

    Connotation is subjective and partly due to projection. If I discover someones deepest needs desires criteria values whatever you want to call them then I believe its ethical to use whatever means to get them the results they are looking for. Covert in the sense of sneaking around has been popularized by the tacky marketing appealing to base instincts and desires. Covert simply and often does mean using a simple process that isn’t normally recognized as hypnosis. In fact you will find many “hypnotists” will even argue it isn’t hypnosis.

    But I agree with you totally on the type pf marketing that describes “covert hypnosis” in the way you say…..

    Hypnosis is an art its not a science and that brings different view points and ways of seeing things depending upon the creativity of the person using it…

    There really is no right wrong or definitive answer only application and results and ways of getting there.


    • admin

      December 12, 2013

      Again, I 100% agree with all of that Brian. Absolutely.



  • Andrea

    April 20, 2014

    By being careful not to exaggerate, you’ll get
    them to think (imagine. Now if your in a bar or an
    interview you can’t expect to be able to get away
    with dangling a watch in front of someone’s face or asking
    them to think of a fond childhood memory, they will definitely
    notice and will probably think you are a bit weird.

    What he expected from the experiment was for the woman to count:
    1,2,3,4,5,6, 8, 9, and 10.

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