hypnosis, hypnotherapy, hypnotism, stage hypnosis


Oh dear! The upcoming TV program using hypnosis as “entertainment” continues to cause alarm. Personally, I’m not over-concerned. People will always abuse hypnosis in order to make money make themselves well-known. The “master hypnotist” in the forthcoming program is only filling the gap left by Paul McKenna, who presumably has now made enough money and can put his feet up.

Yet of course there is a serious issue here. If hypnotherapy is to grow and progress then the sort of misconceptions encouraged by such TV shows are profoundly unhelpful.

The following letter was sent to me this afternoon by Julie Young, the Administrator of the National Register of Hypntherapists and Psychotherapists. This is the email as it stands, unedited by me, and it speaks for itself:


Dear Member

Some members have contacted the office regarding an upcoming TV programme.

In response, we copy the following article on Stage Hypnosis from an NRHP
newsletter in 1996. The advice it gives is as relevant today as it was

“Extract from National Register of Hypnotherapists & Psychotherapists’
Newsletter, Winter 1996

Action on Stage Hypnosis

At the recent Governing Council meeting in November the Student
Representative, Susan Brock, mentioned that she had been asked if the
Register could provide guidance for members who wished to respond to media
articles about Stage Hypnosis.

I am very pleased to oblige. The official line is that:
“It is the stated policy of the National Register of Hypnotherapists and
Psychotherapists to utterly condemn all frivolous uses of hypnosis.
Hypnosis should only be used for genuine therapeutic ends, conducted by
competently trained therapists who abide by the ethical obligations imposed
by membership of a properly constituted professional body.”

So, if you are writing to the press about Stage Hypnosis, please feel free
to quote from the above. It is also useful to provide reasoned arguments
for this stance, such as the following.

The main dangers of hypnosis being used for entertainment purposes are that:

* It perpetuates the myth that hypnosis provides power over individuals;
* It can encourage unsuitable individuals to learn hypnosis and use it
* It can provoke a spontaneous regression to unsuspected prior
psychological trauma in a participant;
* It uses a serious therapy to publicly demean the participants for the
amusement of others;
* By misrepresenting hypnosis, it may discourage suffering individuals
from seeking what could be the most effective treatment for a range of
emotional, behavioural or physical difficulties.

There you have it folks, write those letters, dial those phone-ins, oppose
those ‘public entertainment licences. Good luck.”


Julie Young, Administrator
National Register of Hypnotherapists & Psychotherapists Ltd – Established

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