Is Stage Hypnosis fake, or do we really lose control?

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I know that this blog is, in all likelihood, going to put a few hypnotist’s noses out of joint, but I believe that it’s time to clear up the myriad misconceptions about stage hypnosis once and for all.

The illusion of control surrounding hypnosis which arises from such shows does, unfortunately, have a hindering effect on the immediate progress that people who have debilitating phobias, fears, habits and limiting beliefs can make in just one session.

I want to illustrate the process a hypnotist will go through to organise a stage hypnosis show.

I will give you two versions of events, and I want you to pick the one that you know as being reality.

A hypnotist wishes to host an event, so he hires a group of van-driving ‘kidnappers who arrive in a town and abduct numerous people by putting sacks over their heads, hustling them into a van and driving them to a local venue whereupon they are put into seats as the hypnotist bounds onto the stage saying; are taking part in a hypnosis show”.

Sound familiar? No, I didn’t think it would.

Here is what really happens.  The hypnotist will select an area to advertise in and use all conventional means to publicise their show including printing tickets, posters etc and relying partly upon word-of-mouth to help publicise the show and one person will say to another;

“Hey! there is a hypnotists show in town, do you fancy going?

The reality then is that people will buy tickets of their own free will and attend the event in the knowledge that some members of the audience will be a part of the performance.

The hypnotist knows he will need audience participation or the show won’t be a success. The hypnotist will be aware that approximately 20% of the population are susceptible and 5% are super susceptible to stage hypnosis.? How do you think the Hypnotist differentiates between the ones who are willing or even good hypnotic subjects, and the not-so-willing.  A professional can see who they are but, even more effective than that, they will just ask “Who wants to be part of my show?.

The hand-picked members of the audience are asked to walk on stage of their own free will.

I might add one more time, in case it was not obvious the first time.   The members of the audience who are most susceptible to hypnosis tend to be those who love to act, be the centre of attention or feel a calling to be a singer, drawn to karaoke; it doesn’t mean they will be good at these things but they are hard-wired to perform in some way.

This is obviously a generalisation and I’m sure some introverted individuals have ended up on stage, but I’m also sure that the effects may have been different.  So, when they are checked for their ease of going into that trance?state, this clearly identifies the willing vis-a-vis the not-so-willing and the show can begin.

During the show people may be asked in that trance state to look, for example, for their left arm or talk to the audience in an alien language.  This can be entertaining and cringe worthy at the same time; perhaps that is merely the perspective of an introvert that wouldn’t be seen dead on a hypnotist’s stage show.

Most importantly, no one at any time was forced against their will….but there was an illusion of just that.  Unfortunately the same perspective is applied in the mind of many people to hypnotherapy, they are not able to differentiate between the two.  This invariably leads me to have to explain stage hypnosis to virtually every client who comes to see me.

When I first began as a qualified hypnotherapist I would witness clients making substantial immediate changes and it never ceased to amaze me.  My passion for helping others encouraged me to notice people with the same complaints; I was trained to listen to people talk about their challenges; the world had changed for me. There was a new frequency to tune into, one of facilitating others, inadvertently aligning myself with a calling. The same calling I see my students aligning themselves with and also finding a great sense of fulfilment in their life.

Every so often I would come across someone who had the same challenge as a previous client, and I would insist on helping them, convincing them of the change they were capable of.  Do you think that there would have been the same outcome of immediate change after coercing that person into a session? No, certainly not and for one very simple reason; it was against their free will, one of the unwritten laws of the Universe.

We all do what we want and if forced into an alternate attitude, at some point, we will revert back to an old behaviour or mentality because it was probably still serving us in some way.

I hope this blog helps to clear up the control aspect of hypnotherapy and gives you reassurance.

All hypnosis is self-hypnosis.

You are in control and only you can let go or create a brighter future, that is your responsibility and no one can take that away from you.

Hypnotherapy is an amazing way to make instant changes in your life, dealing with the powerful subconscious mind, rather than the limited conscious mind which (most other but not all) traditional facilitators focus on, for example,  counselling, psychology and psychiatry.

If you learnt something new please share or like this blog so others can be enlightened.

Upcoming blogs:

  1. How is hypnotherapy so effective in just one session.
  2. Is smoking an addiction or just a complex compulsive habit?

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