The short answer is: yes. If you’re capable of reading this sentence you are capable of going into hypnosis.
The idea that some people can’t be hypnotized has been around for quite some time. However, excluding those in comas or similar states, everyone is able to go in and out of hypnotic states easily. The person who is so caught up in thought that they miss a turn while driving has the same brain wave patterns as a person who is officially hypnotized. Someone who is so absorbed in a movie that they temporarily stop noticing their surroundings is in a hypnotic state, too. The brainwaves state of someone in hypnosis is identical to being halfway asleep or awake. So we all experience hypnotic states at least twice a day.
There is some flawed research that promotes the idea that some people are more hypnotizable than others. One of the researchers, Ernest R. Hilgard, developed “hypnotizablilty scales” that are supposed to measure how susceptible a person is to hypnosis. These scales were based on the experimental volunteers’ production of various hypnotic responses, such as numbness, or temporary inability to open the eyes, in response to a standardized set of suggestions during their first experience of hypnosis.
As I’m sure that you have noticed by now, people are not standardized, and have a huge variety of different personalities, levels of education, and belief systems, all of which can influence how they may respond to a hypnotic suggestion.
Milton Erickson M.D., one of the great geniuses of hypnosis, taught that everyone can learn to produce all of the hypnotic responses if their unique personality needs were taken into account by the hypnotist. And, he demonstrated his beliefs by routinely hypnotizing people who were considered unhypnotizable on the Hilgard scales. Even so, there are still a great many schools of hypnosis that use hypnotizability tests, and the Hilgard scales to evaluate clients.
Of course, it’s true that some people will easily have the full range of hypnotic response the first time that they are officially hypnotized, and others will take a fair amount to training to have that level of response. The point being that everyone can learn.
Successfully going into hypnosis depends on several things. The client needs to feel comfortable with the hypnotist, and the hypnotist needs the ability to determine the appropriate approach for the client. So the well educated hypnotist brings a variety of techniques and approaches to produce a good hypnotic experience for the client. So, yes, everyone can be hypnotized.