Monthly Archives: May 2021

Does “Stage Hypnosis” Give Clinical Hypnosis a Bad Name?

For many people, their only contact with hypnosis is the stage performance, where the use of hypnotism is used to entertain and delight an audience. Stage performance can either be on tour, traveling throughout the country, or be on television shows, or both. This is obviously different from clinical hypnosis, where a hypnotherapist works one-on-one with a patient in an effort to solve a problem or seek a solution to an addiction

But the techniques are basically the same. Both attempt to induce an hypnotic trance, and bypass the conscious mind to reach the unconscious, and then plant a suggestion into the unconscious mind.

But that’s where the similarities end. The stage performer’s priority is to entertain, so his suggestions to his participants would have that as a goal, so he would suggest things such as quacking like a duck, talking with aliens, dancing like a ballerina, etc.. This would be unlike a clinical hypnotherapist whose chief aim would be more serious, for example, to root out an addiction or solve some ongoing problem for the patient.

Another difference would be the speed and depth of a trance performed by the stage hypnotist. He has a waiting audience to appease, so he can’t take too long to get his volunteers hypnotized. The stage performer would carefully look for signs with his volunteers to determine how open to suggestions they are, and who responds best to his suggestions. The need to find easily hypnotizable subjects is why the performer chooses more volunteers than he needs and that allows him to reject those he considers are not easily able to be hypnotized.

The clinical hypnotist,on the other hand, would take his time and ask his patient lots of questions, so he could determine the best and most effective way to induce an hypnotic trance.

A stage hypnotist has to be a good performer and have good stage presence. After all, he is putting on a show.

The clinical hypnotist works with his patients in trying to arrive at the best and most effective way to induce an hypnotic trance and reach a solution to the problem at hand.

A good stage hypnotist is no less skilled in trance induction and suggestion than a therapeutic hypnotist. In fact, a number of stage hypnotists have previously been clinical hypnotists; others may go on to became clinical hypnotists, and some do both at the same time.

A question that is frequently asked is about the use of free will. The generally accepted view among experts ad practitioners is that no person can be hypnotized to act against their will. They feel that there is always a part of the mind that is aware of what is happening, and the person would come out of the hypnotic trance if they would be given hypnotic suggestions to perform an action contrary to their belief.

In the late eighteenth century, stage performers would take part in elaborate stage shows in order to attract fee-paying clients. Hypnotism became a popular parlor game as the craze swept Europe and America. In the united States hypnotism stage performance really took off in the 1890’s and became a popular form of entertainment.

The dominant figure in the early part of the twentieth century was a man by the name of Ormond McGill, a great showman during his day, who first became interested in magic shows before he eventually changed to stage hypnosis. He was the author of several popular books on hypnotism and had a long and successful career both as a stage performer and in clinical hypnotism. In fact, he was an early pioneer in the use of television for his performances, and has served as an inspiration to many of today’s performers.

There are now thousands of stage performers throughout the world, performing before live audiences or on television. There are probably as many stage routines as there are performers. The basic pattern of each show may be similar; a group of volunteers are selected from the audience to come up on stage, put under an hypnotic trance, given suggestions and post-hypnotic suggestions, and then act out according to the suggestions, with the suggestions given only limited by the imagination of the performer.

Which brings me back to the original question: Does “Stage Hypnosis” give Clinical Hypnosis a bad name?

Critics say that the stage performances give clinical hypnosis a bad name because they trivialize the effectiveness of hypnosis in solving personal problems, and give the general public a warped idea of what hypnosis really is and how it can help in many aspects of life.

The counter argument is that the opposite occurs. By seeing hypnosis at work first hand, the public is more likely to believe in the therapeutic effects of it, and may even contact a clinical hypnotist for help with their particular problem.

The jury is still out on a final answer. What do you think?

Copyright 2006 by Gary Machado

Hypnosis Facts And Fiction: De-Mystifying Hypnosis

The sad truth is that hypnosis is a fairly misunderstood practice. When many people think of hypnosis, they think of either:

A) The myth of the “evil hypnotist,” taking away peoples’ free will, and hypnotizing them into doing something immoral, or humiliating, or-

B) The stage hypnotist who will get them to behave out-of-character in public for the purpose of entertainment.

But the truth is far more optimistic, complex, and useful than either of these images would suggest. For one thing, readers can rest assured that there is no way for people to be hypnotized in to evil activities (as the story goes with the villainous hypnotist). And stage hypnosis differs greatly from the clinical hypnosis that is used in treating medical conditions. Clinical hypnosis is, in fact, a valid medical tool that is potentially beneficial to numerous people for numerous things.

What’s The Difference Between Stage Hypnosis and Clinical Hypnotherapy?

Stage hypnosis is showy and entertaining, and is used for entertainment purposes only. People act out characters or behaviors for the sake of humor.

Clinical hypnotherapy on the other hand is a very subdued process. The person being hypnotized keeps his or her eyes closed the whole time. He or she generally doesn’t act anything out (beyond perhaps an “anchoring” gesture, which will be explored elsewhere.) Plus, it is a tool, verified by scientific evidence, which helps people all over the world with a variety of medical conditions, including everything from pain management, to smoking cessation, to anxiety, and weight loss.

How Does It Work?

With the help of a clinical hypnotist, people are able to enter a highly relaxed and focused state, in which they are receptive to positive hypnotic suggestions. In this way, they are literally changing their minds about their approach to certain issues pertaining to their health.

Can You Be Hypnotized?

A lot of people naturally assume that they cannot be hypnotized simply because they would never, of their own volition, engage in stage hypnotism. (After all, someone who is naturally shy would never willingly be hypnotized into clucking like a chicken in front of hundreds of people; it would be far too embarrassing.)

But what people don’t realize is that, those who choose to engage in stage hypnosis want to engage in it. It is a form of entertainment that attracts participants with exhibitionist tendencies, and their willingness is key to the effectiveness of the stage hypnotist’s work.

There are also those who assume that they cannot be hypnotized as they think that hypnotism implies either a placebo effect at best, or weak-mindedness at worst. Neither of these things is true. In terms of the placebo effect, recent scientific studies have shown that hypnosis has been more effective at treating anything from warts to impotence compared to those treated with placeboes.

Lastly, to dispel the myth of weak mindedness, it’s worth clarifying that there are only 3 qualifications necessary for you to be capable of entering a hypnotic state. You must have:

· The ability to focus for an extended duration

· An IQ higher than 60

· An openness to the process of hypnotism

As you can see, even those who are strong of will, and highly intelligent, can be ideal candidates for all that hypnosis has to offer.

When you become familiar with the facts of hypnosis, it becomes clear that, while our culture often relegates it to the realm of illegitimacy, the truth is that hypnosis is a highly effective medical tool. It is available as a drug free option to numerous people, many of whom assumed previously that they would not be appropriate candidates for the practice.