To hypnotize someone who claims they cannot be hypnotized, destabilize their unhelpful beliefs with a double bind. Then use a hypnotic induction that they cannot identify to help them to experience an undeniable hypnotic phenomenon.
One of the things that I run into time and time again is someone will tell me that they cannot be hypnotized. As a hypnotist, this makes me smile because to me their claim is the same thing as them claiming they cannot learn. And most amusingly, it often happens while they are currently hypnotized and exhibiting very obvious signs that they are in trance.
Naturally, when this happens, if the circumstances are right it can be hilarious to give them an experience of a hypnotic phenomenon. To engineer this, you first want to find out what is underlying their belief that they can’t be hypnotized. Whatever reason they give you, you then put them into a bind where they are either already experiencing hypnosis, or their argument cannot be true.
As an example, suppose that they claim that they cannot be hypnotized because their mind is too strong.
In this case, all you really have to do is simply say something like Hey that’s really interesting! You know, since you’ve got a really strong mind… wanna see something really cool? They almost always say sure or something equivalent at this point.
When they have agreed, if I think they need a little more convincing first, I will say something like Now I want to be absolutely clear… this will only work with someone who has a really strong mind and it seems like you’re in control of yours… you are fully in control of that mind, aren’t you? Once again, they will say yes. And I’ve handily seeded just a little doubt that they are.
After that you can follow up by immediately giving them that experience.
I usually go with immobilizing their feet, and you can choose pretty much any hypnotic phenomenon that amuses you. Or that you want to practice.
Approaching it this way you really can’t lose. Either they will manifest the phenomenon, in which case you’ve got evidence that they can be hypnotized. Or they won’t, in which case their argument that they can’t be hypnotized due to the strength of their own mind falls apart, and you can do a full induction on them.
But what do you do when they aren’t already hypnotized?
After you get their permission to hypnotize them, if you do anything that looks like hypnosis to someone who strongly believes they cannot be hypnotized, they will probably throw it out. What’s needed is another way.
There are a lot of ways you can do this, and all of them rest on one central principle: Unless your subject happens to be a hypnotist, it is very unlikely that they will recognize most hypnotic inductions as being hypnosis.
This means that all you have to do to hypnotize them is use something they don’t expect or know about. Usually I will do this concurrently with doing something else that does look like hypnosis to them, so that there is something for their conscious mind to focus on and think it is not being hypnotized by.
You can find out more about that in my article on Decoy Hypnosis.
So what kinds of things can we use to hypnotize them that they won’t recognize as hypnosis until after they’ve experienced it?
Well… for most people, this includes most forms of hypnotic induction. When I bother to do an induction at all, I will typically use some variant of an Ericksonian non-awareness induction. By and large, no-one outside of the fields of hypnosis and NLP even knows that this exists, so there is no way they can resist it because they don’t know that it’s even possible.
Here is what you want to do.
First, make a list of every means you have of inducing hypnosis in someone. This may include things like progressive relaxation, non-awareness, storytelling, shamanic journeys, and so on.
Next, go through that list and for each item, ask yourself whether it is something that average non-hypnotists out in the world would recognize as hypnosis. This allows you to become clear inside your own mind on exactly what kinds of things look like hypnosis and what kinds of things don’t.
Then, out of your list of things that most people won’t recognize as hypnosis, pick just one induction that you can become absolutely masterful at. You can add further inductions later.
Finally, take that one induction that almost no-one will recognize as hypnosis, and practice it a lot. Become exquisite at it. Practice it on people who do not resist first, so that you can learn the basic patterns and flow of it, then move on to the more difficult ones.
That’s really all there is to it. Like many other things in hypnosis, the solution is very straightforward.
To hypnotize someone who thinks they can’t be hypnotized, simply choose an induction they won’t recognize.
Naturally you then flow on to the things at the beginning of this article: figure out why they think they can’t be hypnotized if you didn’t do so already, destabilize that, and give them an undeniable hypnotic experience.
As hypnotists, each of us has different ways of doing things. When I use an induction, I tend to go for something around non-awareness because it is essentially impossible for non-hypnotists to spot.
And if they can’t spot it, they can’t interfere with it and prevent it from working.