Is Hypnosis Dangerous
Hypnosis is definitely beneficial is many ways if used correctly. Personally I don't like the name hypnosis as I feel there is so misunderstanding about what hypnosis actually is and how it works. Largely the stage hypnosis shows in my opinion have done a great disservice to the practice of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, as well as produced a lot of confusion about what hypnosis actually is.
A bit of background about me and hypnosis, and how I fell in love with this amazing tool we call hypnotherapy. For me it all started when I was introduced to NLP by a development program I was undertaking with my current employer at the time. The business was focused on improving the client journey, sales and communication, so the sales team got to complete a very comprehensive program that focused on many things NLP ( neuro linguistic programing ) related.
Finding out hypnosis and NLP were directly related and looking at history or NLP, I began reaserching and learning about hypnosis. I purchased a set of hypnotherapy CD's on line that were aimed for relaxation with hypnotherapy. So I would listen to them for 30min every couple of days on my lunch break in the car and very often they would completely relax me and sometimes I would drift of to sleep completely and not make it back in time to work from my lunch break. This went on for a while and I slowly transitioned from CD's to hypnosis apps on my iPhone, as it was way more convenient.
With the popularity of YouTube raising, I also started to notice hypno shows more and watched more and more content about it on YouTube and wonder how it was possible that these random strangers seem to be under full control by the hypnotist. So you can say I was very curious, but I didn't know anyone practising hypnosis, or even where one would go to learn how to perform these acts.
In 2010 while at a bucks night, for the first time i finally got to meet a stage hypnotist in person. I was apprehensive to talk to him at first as I thought we was going to somehow make me do stuff I don't want to do or tell him my secrets, or even worse bring me up on stage. As luck would have it, I didn't end up on stage, and I watched the performance with with rest of the guys there, while we laughed hard at all the ridiculous things that were happening on stage like people speaking in other languages, being stuck to chairs, and much more graphic acts that our friends and family members were performing on stage at the time. We had a great time, and there is this memory i keep of this night as being so fun. I was hooked, after the show I spoke to the hypnotist straighr after the performance and he was nice enough to point me in direction of some hypnosis books, places that teach hypnosis etc... and I became obsessed.
Fast forward to now in 2021, I have read many books on hypnosis, NLP, studied the art for many years, run and operate a clinical hypnotherapy practice in Melbourne, and have used this amazing tool to transform many of my clients lives, including my own life. So my love for the practice and use of hypnotherapy is still as strong as it ever was, and im always looking at learning more and becoming even better at my art.
This leads me to stage performance and my personal concerns about what the public perceive by watching such shows. Its commonly said that hypnotherapy is very safe, a person can not behave in a manner that is not aligned to what they would not be comfortable with, etc... but the stage hypnosis shows generally portray an image of domination, and perceived power over another human.
As a Clinical Hypnotherapist, I have first hand seen how much positive change can be produced by hypnosis, and using these techniques and states of mind, I have successfully help clients make drastic immediate and lasting changes, on emotions, perspective, goals, confidence etc...
One has to understand that we as humans, we fabricate our own reality based on our thoughts, feeling, attention, memory and external stimulation using our senses. Our brain creates, pleasure, pain, happiness, sadness, colour, smell, vision, perception, responses..... the lost goes on. Good qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist, is trained in how to carefully tip toe when it comes to suggestions, memories and ideas, to ensure there is always minimal risk and maximum benefit to the client they are working with, and focus attention on making positive changes and behaviours.
I can't see this in stage hypnosis at all, and watching a hypnosis show at the start of my learning journey was rather fun, but now watching a hypno stage show I always wonder about how much of the show is fabricated by the participants just putting on a good show due to wanting to be on stage and wanting to participate. The other part of me wonders about all the negative and so called funny suggestions in a show environment, how much of the negative suggestions stay around and linger with those people way after the show is done. How many of those suggestions are subconsciously processed and stored even with the best effort of the stage hypnosis performer so called clearing those suggestions at the end of the show, do those suggestions really get cleared? Is that even possible? How can one be sure suggestions can be completely cleared? Once the seed is planted it naturally grows, ideas seem to find a way of spreading all by them self, and when someone is in a heightened mental state or deep state of concentration, there is no way to say that those suggestions are not making an Impact.
Sometimes I also wonder, these stage performers, where do they get training from? Are they self thought from watching videos on line? Is there a minimum credentials needed to be a stage performer using hypnosis? Who regulates them? Do people practing the art understand potential dangers of what they are practising and what safe guards are there in place for the public volunteers safety on stage?
I don't think in any way hypnosis / hypnotherapy is un safe, if used carefully, correctly and by qualified individual that knows how to use the tool to get the desired outcome from a person. Hypnosis or this state of mind can really be an amazing tool for positive self change.
At the same time I can't help but worry about unqualified individuals with lack of training or experience using this very powerful state of mind for the purpose of stage hypnosis or therapy, and a part of me questions is it safe in this scenario. In most Australian states practice of hypnosis is very much unregulated, and it's not uncommon for people who have nothing more than a weekend seminar, two day training workshop certificate to promote them self as hypnotists, and practice hypnosis on others. It's also not uncommon for these individuals to offer free hypnosis as they are wanting to get in front of as many people to practice the techniques they have just learned, or perhaps they might charge small amounts of money for sessions as they are just starting off and learning.
If you are working with hypnotherapy, my suggestion is always go to a person that is fully qualified and don't be afraid to ask questions that dig deeper in to their credentials. The old saying, you get what you pay for! So be mindfull cheap hypnosis might not be good hypnosis.
Going back to original question if hypnosisis dangerous, and the answer is hypnosis is safe, very safe as long as it is being used by a qualified professional and not every hypnosis/hypnotherapy practitioner is equal, so choose carefully.
Igor Prstojevic- Clinical Hypnotherapist