I had a wonderfully interesting week last week following the release of a clip of me hypnotising players from Port Adelaide Football Club.
As a Hypnotist there’s always going to be different opinions about what I do and what hypnosis is but I find it hilarious when some people really play the stick in the mud, calling Stage Hypnosis dangerous. These claims are not only developed from very outdated thinking regarding hypnosis, bordering on the ludicrous suspicions of it being a supernatural event but they are unfounded in any data and reports. I could liken it to Christians going on a witch hunt in the 1700’s.
Comments made by Sunrise’s resident Psychologist, Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg on radio station 3AW riled up his Co-Host Neil Mitchell into a finger pointing session which resulted in a rather abusive phone call to Port Adelaide’s assistant coach Matthew Nicks. When Neil actually doesn’t know anything about hypnosis he has no opinion of value, has most likely never seen a comedy hypnosis show and he tries to make Matthew feel bad about the show when any sane person can see it was just a bout of fun with the lads.
Hypnosis is simply a wonderful tool for communication. It’s putting one’s reality on hold for a time whilst you then become highly suggestible. We see this occurring naturally, multiple times a day such as when we’re watching TV or going to the movies, reading a good book, driving and getting lost in your thoughts or sitting in a classroom or meeting and drifting into your imagination.
When you look at Dr. Carr-Gregg’s profession in comparison to mine we will see vast and important differences in the way that we use hypnosis.
In Psychotherapy it is the practitioners job to navigate deep emotional trauma, often coming across terrible negative memories that cause much pain for the client holding onto them. These issues are usually dealt with using regression therapy where the client is taken back in time to the first moment these memories occurred. Throughout this experience the suggestions given to the client by the psychologist will be designed to be post hypnotic suggestions (designed to last even after the session has ended), these are implemented to assist the client in their road to recovery and self development. If an amateur hypnotist didn’t craft these suggestions to be ecological for the client in the future then they can run into issues down the track which is what Dr Carr-Gregg is referring to as unwanted side effects.
In Entertainment hypnosis it’s on an entirely different spectrum. We are not chasing these negative emotions and instead focus on positive one’s such as laughter, confidence, creativity and an overall sense of feeling wonderful. A safe and professional hypnotic entertainer will simply avoid any routines that involve regression, cutting out 99.9% chance of having an unwanted emotional response. Finally, we REMOVE ALL SUGGESTIONS. If a volunteer is suggestible enough to be on my stage at the end of the show, they are suggestible enough to return to their previous state of mind, with all suggestions erased. Rendering the entire experience about as harmful as a good movie that can also take you on an emotional roller coaster.
Generally, Stage Hypnosis is not regulated around the world, at least not in Western Society. The only area that is is in the UK where regulations were enforced basically to the effect of; don’t hypnotise pregnant women, don’t hypnotise people with a mental or physical condition, terminate the hypnosis at the end of the show. I follow all of these requirements, they are more common sense than anything else and I whole-heartedly agree with them. These were reviewed in the 1990’s and again in 2000’s and both times it was declared that Stage Hypnosis is no more dangerous than any other stage show.
Dr. Carr-Gregg had three points going into the discuss on sunrise and I’d like to address them all here as I didn’t have the time on Sunrise.
- Stage Hypnosis acts as a deterrent for people to use hypnosis for self development.
- Volunteers need to be screened before going into hypnosis
- Profound psychological and physiological effects can occur and need to be professionally monitored
1. Through my experience, after every show I have done, I have people asking me about hypnotherapy. Contrary to the conservative belief that Stage Hypnosis is a deterrent it actually shows the power of our minds and has people more interested in using this tool for bettering their lives.
2. Volunteers do not need to be screened to go into hypnosis. If they have volunteered to come on stage they are there to have a good time and enjoy themselves. The hypnotist is not there to do therapy and is simply there to entertain. There are a lot worse themes and concepts shown on television and Facebook without warning and without screening the viewers it’s no different in Stage Hypnosis.
3. This was the only point I had time to respond to on Sunrise and it explains why the whole controversy is a non issue in a nutshell. As we remove the suggestions after every show it can be likened to a good movie. When watching a movie we enter the same trance state used in my shows where our current reality is placed on hold and we become highly suggestible. You’ll then get deeply involved in the story and the characters and you’ll respond emotionally to the story. You’ll laugh when it’s time to laugh, become terrified in a scary scene and cry when the hero dies. When that movie ends though, so do these emotions and they will not affect you moving forwards. The same happens with my Comedy Hypnosis Show.
Finally, the medical world’s view on hypnosis is typically an outdated one. The level of ignorance around the field is quite alarming and it’s not hard to see why when you look at the Dr’s comments on our discussion on Sunrise that the Australian Society of Hypnosis would not let him be present when a hypnotic entertainer is working; such is their level of concern. What this really is telling us is that they are happy to put their heads in the sand and refuse to go and have a personal experience and see the fun being had using hypnosis on stage. They wouldn’t want to be convinced that their views are wrong, outdated and unjustified. There are of course a handful of progressive medical professionals who can see that hypnosis in all it’s forms is beneficial to society and who actively look at it from all angles. Unfortunately there is just not enough of them.
You can see all the media articles below:
Chad Wingard on being Hypnotised
Channel 9 Segment