Hypnotists and Hypnotherapists
My mum sent me a newspaper clipping a few weeks back. It was about a hypnotist who was touring NZ. The journalist had interviewed a couple of hypnotherapists in Christchurch and quoted some material from the hypnotist’s press pack. The general impression the article gave was that the show was funny but somehow “bad”.
I am reminded of a quote from Richard Bandler. He said when he first learned of hypnosis that people would tell him that “it doesn’t work” and “it’s bad”. That’s what inspired him to learn more – how could it be bad if it didn’t actually work, both statements couldn’t be true, perhaps neither were.
One hypnotherapist that was interviewed for the article made the astonishing claim that the on stage volunteers were all extroverts and were in essence faking it, and went on to observe about the stage hypnotist that “he couldn’t make me [the therapist] do any of that stuff”.
If that hypnotherapist believes that a hypnotist should be able to compel someone to do something they are set against doing, then he knows little about his supposed profession. A stage hypnotist can no more compel a reluctant volunteer to perform a gag than that hypnotherapist can compel a willing smoker to give up smoking. That’s why hypnotherapists have a mixed record in creating non-smokers. I was left wondering if he was incompetent or deliberately deceitful. Neither was an attractive thought.
By implying that one should be able to compel a subject against their will he is damaging the reputation of all hypnotists and hypnotherapists. And he is suggesting that his own clients are at risk of being compelled against their wills when they visit him. He cannot actually do that, of course, but now some people will have the genuine fear that he can (and that he might try).
The other observation he made that all volunteers are extroverts can be disproved at almost any stage hypnotist show.
I haven’t named names, because that is not the point.
Most therapists are fine with hypno shows, some have volunteered at my shows. Many therapists also do shows and vice versa. But there remain a few therapists who are threatened by the show biz side, and think that it demeans their "art". Sadly, a few will indulge in the very thing they accuse others of in order to score points or to play up to the press.