Theory of Physical and Emotional Suggestibility
by John Kappas, PhD
Dr Kappas determined that hypnotic clients could be divided into two types. He named them for their reactions to information they receive as a message unit. He called this our “suggestibility”.
Suggestibility is the way a person receives and interprets input and is predicated on how they were communicated with from infancy to 8 years old, by the primary care giver which Kappas called the Maternal figure. It is the communication process – how one takes in information and responds to information.
He named one type Physicals because their first reaction to taking in a message unit/information is to act upon it- either physically, or verbally.
When a Physical type is in hypnosis they will accept suggestions and instructions for Hypnosis that are worded directly. For example: “Go down the stairs”.
They will also accept this type of direct suggestion about what is happening to their physical body. Such as, “your arm is becoming heavier”. They believe what you are saying is true, that it is a fact that their arm is heavier.
They don’t respond as well to suggestions about their emotional state. If you tell a Physical that they are feeling much more confident they will have more difficulty accepting that if they don’t actually feel confident. They may not understand how their feelings changed.
If you send a physical a letter, they read (hear) exactly what is written, rather than trying to “read between the lines” or infer information that is not written.
The Physical Suggestible takes in a single message unit literally as a thought, then becoming an image, then a physical feeling, and finally an ‘emotional’ response – i.e. crying.
He named the other type Emotionals because their first reaction to receiving information is to Emote or Feel or Think before they will take action.
Emotionally suggestible people will respond to suggestions affecting their emotional behavior, but will not respond to suggestions affecting their physical body or physical movement.
If you send an Emotional a letter, they will attempt to read between the lines to determine exactly what you meant by what you said, not trusting the words as they are written.
The Emotional Suggestible takes in a single message unit as a thought, becoming an image, an emotional feeling and then ultimately a ‘physical’ reaction. Delayed action with an Emotional is possible. A suggestion has been known to cause a reaction for as long as a year after it was given.
Kappas called the 50/50 person a natural somnambulist. Kappas felt they are best for stage hypnosis because they respond to physical challenges, emotional suggestions, positive and negative hallucinations, amnesia, anesthesia, and time distortion.
You can determine your Suggestibility Type by completing the Suggestibility Questionnaires and scoring with the Suggestibility Scoring Table found here (these documents are also found in your Hypno Toolkit).
Traits of a Physical Suggestible:
-Speaks inferentially but hears literally/directly
-is an extrovert
-is constantly seeking rewards, needs more feedback
-will bounce into a group & likes to be the Center of attention (life of the party)
-understands & hears literally – takes things at face value
-speaks inferentially – will ‘hint’ or ‘beat around the bush’
-will respond to any direct, literal suggestion, especially regarding their bodies but not their emotions
-may try to control through physical action – the use of force
-is very physical when explaining something & uses animated gestures
-usually dominates conversations – doesn’t listen will, loves to talk
-may have to be exited out twice from hypnosis
-avoids direct eye contact when talking
-has a great need for physical touch – becomes assertive when deprived of physical closeness or contact
-uses physical body reactions as a defense to protect their true emotions – i.e. cry or scream or throw things
-relates physical touch as acceptance
-will mimic others unconsciously
-has rejection as their greatest fear
-has other fears such as flying, heights, exams, closed spaces
-displays psychosomatic external, physical problems – i.e. shingles
-will act first and think later
-feels good when they feel good
-reads letters literally
-responds to rapid, literal, authoritarian (paternal) patter in hypnosis
-is easy to hypnotize, and is recognizable when in hypnosis, recognizes that they have been hypnotized (more likely to than an emo)
-literally seeks pleasure and avoids pain
-moves physically closer to someone in conversations
Traits of an Emotional Suggestible:
-speak literally and understand inferentially
-most successful corporate business people
-will try to control by withdrawing affection / approval
-quietly enters a group situation unobtrusively
-understands/hears inferentially (thinks – “what do they really mean by that?”)
-often may not appear to be in hypnosis, or think that they have not been – DEEPEN, DEEPEN, DEEPEN them
-makes direct eye contact in conversations
-tends to be overly concerned about what others think of them intellectually
-prefers to sit back and listen rather than talk
-when faced with aggression, will close off and withdraw into themselves; dislike conflict
-patterns are based on defense to protect the physical body with emotions of embarrassment, fear, anger, apprehension, irritation or frustration when faced with an uncomfortable situation, physical contact or unwanted attention
-is not comfortable with others touching them – need space
-fear death, contamination, loss of control
-prone to depression, and internalizes illness psychosomatically (e.g. ulcers)
-thinks first, acts later
-feels good when nothing is bothering them
-in therapy – use inferential directions (i.e. ‘allow the calmness to flow in)
-responds to suggestions affecting the emotional behavior but not the physical body
-does not like to be told – never TELL them to do something
-responds to soft, lulling (maternal) patter