Dr. John Kappas’ Development of Emotional and Physical Suggestibility

(Exercising Your Mind) Dr. Kappas noticed that only about 1/4 (0ne-fourth) of subjects hypnotized were actually experiencing hypnosis. After some work as a stage hypnotist and ventriloquist, Dr. Kappas noticed that people responded to certain types of of suggestions more readily than others.

As a Hypnotherapist, he noticed the same relationships with responses to suggestions. His father was a stage hypnotist, but he was not comfortable with the profession, nor did he like the “paternal” approach to suggestion his father primarily used.

Instead he found that varying between paternal and “maternal” type
suggestions according to the individual was more frequently successful. Dr. Kappas began to video-record and review the sessions and soon concluded that some subjects respond more to  literal (paternal) suggestions, and others respond to inferred (maternal) suggestions.

The recordings also revealed revealed how extra-verbal communication like voice-tone, speed of delivery, volume, pauses, etc., were effecting his clients/patients/subjects.

He saw that all subjects possessed some degree of each type of suggestibility. He named the literally suggestible people “physicals”, and the inferentially suggestible people he called “emotionals”.

The names emotional and physical come from his behavioral work, in which he called behavior “sexuality”. He found that both behavior and suggestibility are learned traits that can be altered. Through researching his subjects past history, Dr. Kappas found that ALL of his subjects could be categorized as emotional or physical.

It was observed that emotional suggestibles’ information processing was from a thought, to an image, then to a physical reaction; indicating the person would respond to suggestions about feelings. The physical suggestibles’ information process was from a thought, to an image, to a physical feeling, and finally to an emotional reaction.

By putting his theory into practice, Dr. Kappas proved that EVERYONE responds to either a predominantly literal/paternal suggestion, or, an inferred/maternal suggestion type.


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