Now that we’ve covered what hypnosis is, what hypnosis is good for, and whether or not hypnosis is safe, you might be curious whether you yourself can be hypnotized. Well, the good news is, yes, almost everyone can be hypnotized.
Don’t be surprised when I say that almost everyone can be hypnotized. Experts on hypnosis agree that everyone enters various kinds of trance states during the day (such as daydreaming, or being highly absorbed in a movie or a game). Hypnosis is a trance experience on this scale. The only difference is that hypnosis means entering such a state voluntarily and maintaining it. According to Herbert and David Spiegel’s scientific look at hypnosis, Trance and Therapy:
Often in the course of the day we may enter and leave various meditative states, periods of apathy, or states of intensely excited activity and exhilaration. […] No absolute dividing line exists between nonhypnotic and hypnotic alterations in consciousness, but altered, dissociated, or hypnotic-like experiences clearly occur in everyday life […] The absence of the professional [hypnotist] by no means implies that hypnosis has not occurred. Rather, the trance state exists on a continuum of everyday life experience. However, there does seem to be a difference in how easily and deeply different people can be hypnotized.
Some of this is probably due to differences in personality. It has been speculated that people who become absorbed deeply and who find it easier to focus on a single task without getting distracted will find it easier to be hypnotized.
Beyond having less natural “talent” for being hypnotized, there are lots of other reasons that you may fail to be hypnotized on your first few attempts. Some of these might be high expectations (especially if hypnosis is a last resort for a problem you are trying to solve), nervousness, fear of the hypnosis (due to some misconceptions about what hypnosis is), fear of what might happen when you are hypnotized, or a distrust of the person who is trying to hypnotize you (this distrust can be either conscious or unconscious) .
However, like with most things in life, you can achieve a lot by being motivated and persistent. The experts agree that most people can be hypnotized to some level. Therefore, you too will probably benefit from putting in the effort to learn self-hypnosis. In the words of Melvin Powers: The effectiveness of self-hypnosis depends upon many factors. Strong motivation, intelligent application of suggestions and diligence are prerequisites.