Self hypnosis is a fast and easy way to achieve many types of self improvement and personal development. For people who have not used self hypnosis before, a question that naturally arises is, How good would I be at it?

To help answer that question, here is a simple procedure to test your ability to use hypnosis. This is also commonly referred to as a suggestibility test, since suggestibility is the major ingredient in the development of the self hypnotic state. To put this another way, the better (or higher) your suggestibility (a good thing), the easier you will find it to develop a hypnotic state (also a good thing).

The easiest way to do this test is with someone helping you. The other person can take care of the timing and keep you informed of time lapsed during the parts of the test where that is important.

You can also do the test without help. You just have to keep track of the timing yourself.

To administer the test it will be helpful to:

  • Have a timer available to get the timing right. This is why it is helpful to have someone assist you.
  • Be in a private place, alone, with no distractions. (Other than your helper, of course, if you have one.)
  • Be alert. Choose a time of day to do this test when you are wide awake and not overly tired. The test will not work very well if you are tired or sleepy.
  • The test requires you to clasp your hands together with the fingers interlocked. (See the picture above.) Some people find it works well to stand and clasp their hands behind them. Do whatever feels most comfortable for you. The important part is that the hands be clasped together.

To begin the test, get into a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down. Set the timer for 90 seconds in count-down mode and start it.

Clasp your hands together with your fingers interlocked. Keep your eyes on your hands. For the entire 90 seconds keep looking at your clasped hands and thinking that they are becoming tightly locked together. Keep thinking that thought over and over.

Here is an example of how your thoughts might go:

“My hands are becoming more and more tightly clasped. I can see them locking into place as my hands act as if they have a mind of their own. The tightness is increasing and it will continue to become more and more difficult for me to get them apart. I can feel the tightness increasing with each breath I take. Tighter and tighter, more and more locked together. Each finger is becoming more and more comfortably locked into position and wants to stay there. This will make it very hard to get them apart. They are getting tighter and tighter . . .”

And so on for 90 seconds.

You can vary the theme by imagining a rope that is being wrapped around your hands, making it impossible for you to separate them. Or you could imagine that super glue has been poured all over your hands and is holding them together. Any imagery that you want to imagine can be helpful.

When the timer indicates the end of the 90-second period, try immediately to pull your hands apart and begin counting the seconds from the instant you start trying to pull your hands apart. (Count “one-thousand one, one-thousand two, one-thousand three . . .” etc.) If you have someone assisting you that person will tell you when the 90 seconds are up and will then begin timing how long it takes you to get your hands apart.

What you want to find out is the time it takes you, in seconds, to pull your hands completely apart and free them. The number of seconds it took you to do so is your hypnotizability score.

Your score is not fixed in concrete, and of course your “timing,” if you are doing the test by yourself, is not very accurate. It will be more accurate if you have a clock with a sweep second hand where you can see it.

While the test is not perfect, it can very definitely give you a good indication of your hypnotizability, or suggestibility, at the time you administered the test. Take the test more than once, at different times, and you will notice a difference in scores. If you take the test a number of times over a spread-out period you will notice an increase in score value. That is, with practice your suggestibility score will improve.

This test is a more accurate test of ability than of limitation. That is, you can get an unrepresentatively low score, but you will not get a false high score. For instance, if your score is a five, that means you are capable of getting a five. You might also have been capable of more at that moment. But even if you test yourself later and get a lower score, you are still capable (at least sometimes) of being a “five.”

This test is good for a quick reference to see how you can do, but it is not nearly as reliable or trustworthy as the Red Rocks Scale of Hypnotic Depth (see my book on self hypnosis, Self Hypnosis for the Life You Want, page 46).

I mentioned that your score, which is to say your suggestibility, will increase with practice. That means you can test yourself as often as you like, but each time you do, the practice effect from previous times will influence your score. So although your suggestibility might vary up and down in an almost random way if you were to take the test several times, your scores will generally trend upwards as a result of the practice. (Each time you take the test, you are “practicing.”)

With these things in mind, here is a rough-and-ready scoring for you to get some idea of how you placed on the hypnotizability/suggestibility dimension:

Hands immediately come apart. About 3 percent of the general population falls into this category. You will need more practice to achieve self hypnosis. A longer, more concentrated effort will be required to develop usable states of self hypnosis. But don’t be dismayed. You can do it. It’s just that it will take a few weeks of practice before you begin to feel it and see results.

Some hesitation but no more than 1-1.5 seconds to get hands apart. Approximately 14 percent of the general population fall into this category. Short or abbreviated induction procedures will not be as effective for you in the beginning but a few weeks of practice will do wonders for you.

2-3 seconds to get hands apart. Approximately 34 percent of people are in this category. You will do well with self hypnosis with just a little application on your part. You could get some benefits from the short or abbreviated induction procedures but you will achieve a lot more with a longer-term approach and after you have put more into it.

3.5-4.5 seconds. Approximately 34 percent of people fall into this category. You will do quite well with self hypnosis with just a little application on your part. Try the SEVEN DAY approach (you’ll probably want to go further with self hypnosis because you will find it quite enjoyable).

5-6 seconds. Approximately 14 percent of the general population have this result. You will find it easy to do excellent work with self hypnosis. The SPEED FIX will work, but you owe it to yourself to put more into it to maximize your natural ability.

6.5 seconds or longer. Approximately 3 percent of people taking this test achieve this high a score. Outstanding. If you got this result, you have tremendous potential. It would be a shame if you did not take advantage of of your natural suggestibility.

(The sum of all percentages equals 102%. This is due to rounding error. To have stated the decimal points for each category would imply a precision of measurement beyond the capability of this test.)