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Topic: Learning Hypnosis?
Message: Posted by: Socrates (Oct 24, 2002 10:08AM)
Greetings Magic Café,

Hypnosis has been of great interest to me for a number of years now and I’ve managed to collect a few books over the years on this subject.

Whilst I’d really like to use the art of hypnosis in conjunction with mentalism, I’m also extremely interested in using it to help others to break unhelpful patterns of behavior and overcome fears etc.

What I’d like to know is this, what would be the best way to practice learning the art of hypnosis and are there any excellent books out there that I should acquire?

So if any of you experienced hypnotists/mentalists out there can think of any useful advice to share, then feel free to put your fingers to work on your keyboard and send a reply that will help me on my quest to learning the art of hypnosis more efficiently, thanks.

I look forward to hearing from you all.

Take it easy


‘Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise; seek what they sought’ - Baslo
Message: Posted by: Mark Hogan (Oct 24, 2002 01:14PM)
Hi Socrates
I've got some NLP and Hypnosis stuff for sale, in the lets make a magic deal section if you are interested :nod:

Message: Posted by: Thoughtreader (Oct 24, 2002 03:21PM)
You said that "... I'm also extremely interested in using it to help others to break unhelpful patterns of behavior and overcome fears etc...."

If you are serious about wanting to help people through hypnosis, you MUST go to school to do this. You are talking about hypnotherapy and if you truly want to be a therapist, you MUST get the proper training. Taking a weekend course in hypnosis where you hand them a fat cheque and they hand you a diploma at the end is NOT the route to take unless you have a strong desire to become a hypnokook. If you truly believe that you can make someone stop smoking after a session (or a weekend session) then you have a very poor idea of what hypnosis really is.

I can think of no better person for you to ask about actual therapy than one of the leading hypnotherapists in the United States who also just happens to be the world's leading authority on peeks. I would highly suggest that if you are sincere about this endeavor, you private message Mr. Busch on here and perhaps he could help you to head in the proper course on a road to helping people. (After all, if you want to truly help people, then I am sure you want to put the best possible effort into it.)

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Message: Posted by: AllThumbs (Oct 24, 2002 04:57PM)
Well put Paul. There is no point doing anything halfway. It is especially important if your goal is to help people.


Kris Sheglova.
Message: Posted by: Peter695 (Oct 24, 2002 05:22PM)
Well, this could be a long one.

If you want to limit your practice of helping people to, smoking cessation and phobia erradication, that's one thing. If you want to go beyond that into "breaking unhelpful patterns of behavior", that could be quite another.

Two names for training come to mind off the top of my head. Visit [url=http://www.omnihypnosis.com]Jerry Kien[/url] or [url=http://www.kevinhogan.com]Kevin Hogan[/url]. I'm sure the National Guild would give each of them a glowing reference, but ask them yourself at http://www.ngh.net

Once you're sufficiently confused, post again. Take your time deciding. Some people spend lots of money to get certified. They think they are going to make substantial amounts of money by inserting a yellow pages ad into their local directory. Maybe.

I start an advanced certification tomorrow morning. I know exactly how, when, where and why it fits into my marketing plan.

Now close your eyes if you will and place your attention on your eye-lids for a moment. Imagine you've just gotten certified, rented an office and fill in the rest of the story...

The other side of the same coin is that if you just want to get certified for your own edification, I say go for it. Lots of people spend much more for flying lessons, owning horses and other expensive hobbies. I would just hate to see you go in with unrealistic expectations so, again, take your time.

Let me throw one more name your way: [url=http://www.stagehypnosiscenter.com]Geoffrey Ronning[/url]. Geoffrey Ronning is the best at marketing stage hypnosis and has just started teaching a certification curriculum which I know nothing about. I've purchased some of his products and had numerous, lengthy conversations with him and think he's a great guy.

I hope that's adequate information to give you a start.

Message: Posted by: Richard Busch (Oct 24, 2002 06:22PM)
I urge newbies NOT to take these certifications (unless they are an adjunct to something else in a *long chain of learning*). Hypnotherapy is not for newbies, at all. It's serious intervention, all of it, not some of it. Most "hypnotherapists" are script reading, tape selling well-meaning, good caring people. But they are WAY undertrained and naive for what they are undertaking. Hypnotherapy has just about been ruined by all the local yocals. Many of the certifications are worthless paper pushing money makers for the sellers. That's my professional opinion, as a professional Ericksonian hypnotherapist who realizes the field is in shambles and most of the hypnotists are naive kooks. Just a word to the wise. Hypnosis is not a weekend thing to do. Please don't do any of it, unless you have serious training. I even hope this thread goes away. Too much misinformation. Good luck!

PS - We don't use any scripts, sell tapes, or use those spinning wheels! Save your money.
Message: Posted by: Peter695 (Oct 24, 2002 10:48PM)
I'm sorry you hold those opinions, Mr. Busch.

With all due respect for your advanced knowledge, training and experience, I think the field does have some undertrained people who are active in it.

I would like to offer that the qualities you point to as peculiar to the hypnosis field extend to all fields. From law to medicine to education and beyond.

Message: Posted by: Dr Omni (Oct 25, 2002 03:29AM)
There have been several posts asking about how to learn hypnosis, so this is a copy-and-paste from my post to another such thread:

To really understand NLP, it's a good idea to read the works of its creators, Richard Bandler and John Grinder (who incidentally are no longer working together and have recently been involved in lawsuits with each other).

Their original book was "The Structure of Magic" (2 vols.), aimed at therapists and somewhat difficult reading.

More accessible is their "Frogs into Princes", a transcript of one of their workshops.

To study hypnosis from a show business persepctive, a good place to start is Ormond McGill, "New Encyclopedia of Stage Hypnotism" and Jerry Valley, "Inside Secrets of Professional Stage Hypnotism".

From a general and therapeutic point of view, the number of books is absolutely collosal. A fairly good introduction for those new to the subject is Paul McKenna, "The Hypnotic World of Paul McKenna", by Britain's leading stage hypnotist, who is also a therapist and trainer.

For the study of old-fashioned direct, authoritarian hypnosis (in a therapeutic context), I would recommend Dave Elman,
"Hypnotherapy", based on transcipts of his seminars for doctors and dentists, and Gil Boyne, "Transforming Therapy", which is mostly transcripts of actual one-to-one hypnotherapy sessions betwen the author and various clients.

Dr Milton Erickson was the father of the contemporary style of therapeutic hypnosis, which is based on indirect methods, tailored to the individual client. The best parts of NLP were derived from his work. Good introductions to Ericksonian hypnotherapy are Richard Bandler and John Grinder,
"Trance-formations", and Rubin Batttino and Tom South, "Ericksonian Approaches". Erickson's voluminous writings are assembled in "Collected Papers on Hypnosis" (4 vols.), edited by Ernest Rossi.

It also seems as if a new history of hypnosis, from Franz Anton Mesmer in the 18th century to the present, comes out practically every year. Having looked through most of them, it's difficult to single out one as being better than the others. The most recent, "Hidden Depths" (2002) is by Robin Waterfield, who was advised on stage hypnosis by my sometime co-perfomer and good friend Ron Alexander ("Sleepy Sam").

If I can just make a comment on the point raised by Richard Busch, yes - a part of me agrees that there are some *terrible* hypnosis trainings out there, and some even worse "hypnotherapists". This is true in the UK as well as in the US.

However, in my experience, these people don't last long in the field, either as trainers or hypnotherapists. I've heard that in the UK, at least 75% of the people who set themselves up as hypnotherapists are out of the field within one year. The people who are seriously dedicated to learning the craft - and continuously enhancing their knowledge of it - and who go the extra mile to do their best for their clients - will survive in the field (though even then, those of us who are working hypnotherapists don't exactly get rich from doing one-to-one hypnotherapy).

It's swings and roundabouts. To become a doctor of medicine, a psychologist, even a psychotherapist (as defined in US law or in the definition of the UK Council for Psychotherapy, which is not legally enforced) takes years of study, degrees, internships and so on. Not eveyone has the finances, time, academic bent or orientation to go through all that before helping people find solutions to their problems. Entertaining hypnotherapy *can* - when things go well - be a way of helping people much more quickly, and provides a route for good people to provide therapy who otherwise wouldn't be able to go through the degree courses, etc. Also, from my experience, there can be a tendency for people with PhDs, memberships of some elite body and so on, to be stuck in the model they have been taught, and sometimes to adopt a "superior" attitude to their clients. By contrast, as a general rule of thumb, I have found "lay" hypnotherapists to be a much more open-minded and diverse bunch of people, open to new and different ideas and with a much broader approach than the medical and psychological fraternities.

I think it's good that each person has a choice: if an individual has a problem, he or she can find the person who works best for him or her. The openness of the hypnotherapy field helps that choice.
Message: Posted by: Scarecrow (Oct 25, 2002 04:25AM)
As a student of behavioral science and REALITY, I'd like to reinforce Paul Alberstat's and Richard Busch's strongly expressed points on the absolute danger of peddling snake oil and operating technology you're not trained to use.
Try this: Think of how many people there are in the world who own and operate a vehicle. Now imagine a likely statistic of how many of those people "know" their vehicle. To help with this, remember all the cars you come in visual and audio contact with on a daily basis that squeek, squeel, pour out suffocating emissions, choke under their own running engine, and fail to light up properly. Triple A is not a multi-billion dollar company because they are lucky.

People tend to feel more important if they can be helpful in some way. Take me for instance, I feel better knowing I put my two cents in for what I believe to be a too commonly misused and abused skill (-as opposed to talent) There is actually a chemical in the brain that makes us do this.

Neuroscience has just recently become a popular field of study. You can't even rely on the knowledge formulated a year ago due to the constant advances made. And that's only the engine. By the time you consider the individual as an individual and multiply that by their surrounding environment, add the singular conditioning they grew up with and subtract what they may be hiding from you, you could very easily be stirring ingredients together that can blow your face off - not to mention the believing soul you just warped with your own ideals.

No human in their right mind will inflict harm on another individual, period. And it's up to education to break down the denial that can disprove that statement. And by denial, I mean the powerful state of believing in a false truth.

Utmost care is necessary in this field of control/manipulation. THERE IS NO QUICK FIX. Just a quick scam. And of course, assured entertainment.

Fairly opinionated this evening,
Message: Posted by: Millard123 (Oct 25, 2002 07:50AM)
Serious researchers in the field of hypnosis are split about equally into two camps:

1) Those that think hypnosis can be dangerous when used by "lay" hypnotists. (A “lay” hypnotist is someone without an advanced degree in one of the mental health disciplines. They may or may not have training in hypnotherapy, but are still considered “lay” hypnotists unless degreed and licensed to practice mental health care.) This camp also believes that stage hypnosis should be illegal.

2) Those that think hypnosis is harmless no matter who uses it. This camp also believes TV shows and TV advertising is harmless.

My view is that both camps are wrong; hypnosis is safe and effective only when performed by someone that was trained by me. My training is the only training that is approved by me. At the present time I am the only graduate of my training course, so all hypnosis must be performed by me to be safe and effective.

Millard – The World’s Only Safe And Effective Hypnotist
Message: Posted by: CENDRE (Oct 25, 2002 08:16AM)
Millard123! I hope you're joking!

I will take the role of the devil's advocate but I hope you're not doing like too many magicians do on this forum: a big self-promotion.

Sorry if I'm wrong but I think that sometimes this forum turns into a big commercial site... and I don't agree with that.

I will end this digression with just 1 comment:

IMHO too many magicians that are looking for "the perfect hypnosis training" haven't tried hypnosis.

Be careful! I'm not against training groups, but I'm just convinced that hypnosis basis must be tested with simple techniques before we know if we want to jump into "professional hypnosis".

And everybody here can easily find on the web common techniques to begin little hypnosis seances on their friends. It's important to test it.
The basis will let you understand if you CAN do hypnosis (IMO everybody can do hypnosis). But, most of all, these little experiments (how to test if someone has felt into the good state, the arm which rises, etc...) are harmless and can show you the limits of hypnosis.

You can have a lot of fun with simple techniques, and I'm sure you are no fool: You won't try to do techniques that are the job of hypnotherapists or psychologists.

So, I want only to say: Don't speak about hypnosis: TEST IT!

See you soon,
Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (Oct 25, 2002 12:12PM)
On 2002-10-25 08:50, Millard123 wrote:
My view is that both camps are wrong; hypnosis is safe and effective only when performed by someone that was trained by me. My training is the only training that is approved by me. At the present time I am the only graduate of my training course, so all hypnosis must be performed by me to be safe and effective.


Sounds like Millard is channeling someone who shares his initials.

Message: Posted by: kermitthefrog (Oct 25, 2002 02:33PM)
The original question seemed to express an interest in both stage hypnosis and therapeutic hypnosis. I would be interested in hearing knowledgeable people discuss the relationship between these phenomena. Once upon a time I took one of those weekend courses on hypnosis; I concluded that I had learned just enough to get myself and others into trouble, and so have not pursued it much since then -- though it's intensely interesting stuff. But it made me wonder about stage hypnosis. I have seen some remarkable examples of it in venues large enough for the performer to find a number of highly suggestible people who he could cause to do all manner of extraordinary things on stage. Is this ethical? Is it potentially harmful? What are the outer limits of performance-enhancing hypnosis? I realize the last question may take us away from magic, so if people want to stay away from it that's fine with me. But I'd be interested in and grateful for comments on any of this from those who have had more experience than I have had.


Message: Posted by: Scarecrow (Oct 25, 2002 05:44PM)
One of Kermit's questions was "Is it ethical [to use hypnosis technology to make people do 'extraordinary things on stage']?"
Well, the ethics of performing fall into a basic rule: know your audience so that genuine entertainment can be given them. And as far as the hypnotized subject goes, well, a volunteer is a volunteer is a volunteer, and are subject to becoming a temporary fool for the sake of aforementioned rule.

Unless of course you are there to entertain yourself. Then you don't have to worry about a thing. As a matter of fact, you'll probably sleep better at night knowing you've been able to neutralize your anxiety for the show with apathy. This method is highly recommended by nine out of ten Ivy League doctors. The six o'clock news told me everything was okay. Even dying at war. I'm signing up first thing tomorrow. I'll miss you all!

Tie a yellow ribbon 'round an oak tree for me,
Message: Posted by: kermitthefrog (Oct 25, 2002 10:23PM)
I guess I was thinking about all the ethical hand-wringing that occurred about misuse or casual use of therapeutic hypnosis, and wondered whether it carried over to casual use of stage hypnosis to cause people to make fools out of themselves. If the former is harmful and unsafe, why not the latter? (Or if the latter is safe, why not also the former?)
Message: Posted by: Peter695 (Oct 25, 2002 11:01PM)
Several 'notes':

Ethics are a process, not a protocol. The process has to do with holding people in high moral regard. "People" include; the hypnotist, the volunteer and the audience.

Hypnosis is potentially unsafe, I agree. May I know the name of someone who has been harmed by hypnosis, in the history of hypnosis.

Message: Posted by: Thoughtreader (Oct 25, 2002 11:05PM)
Ask any well experienced PSYCHIATRIST who has had to undo poor therapy sessions by an untrained or incompetent so called therapist. They cannot provide names for obvious reasons but they will provide you with many horror stores. Many of those so-called therapists work under the notion of hypnotherapy and those are the danger with hypnosis.
PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Message: Posted by: Peter695 (Oct 25, 2002 11:55PM)
Thank you for your response, Thoughtreader.

I'm looking for statistical data.

Your statement about privacy is true, however I wouldn't expect a psychiatrist to know the statistics I'm after.

Anecdotal evidence may be valuable, but not to me in this instance.

I know a good number of stories about poor psychiatry, but that isn't valuable to me, either.

I can, with some research, provide quantifiable data with respect to malpractice, the rates of divorce, depression, suicide, drug addiction and alcoholism among psychiatrists.

Message: Posted by: Scarecrow (Oct 26, 2002 03:34AM)
Numbers are fundamental.
They'll give you face value.
Grant it though, it doesn't take much thought to understand.
It truly is within the stories that you'll find articulated trends.
Just gotta learn how to shut up and listen.

Burying a dead horse,
Message: Posted by: Dr Omni (Oct 26, 2002 04:41AM)
Kermit - In reference to your questions:

"But it made me wonder about stage hypnosis. I have seen some remarkable examples of it in venues large enough for the performer to find a number of highly suggestible people who he could cause to do all manner of extraordinary things on stage. Is this ethical?"

Yes, by any reasonable ethical standards. Each volunteer chooses of his or her own free will to go on stage and participate in the show. He or she is free to walk off stage at any time he or she chooses to do so. I have twice been a subject in a stage hypnosis show, and have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I had more fun on stage as a volunteer than from watching any of the numerous stage hypnosis shows I've seen as a member of the audience.

"Is it potentially harmful?"

No. There has never been any scientific proof of any person being harmed by stage hypnosis (or, for that matter, from hypnotherapy).

"What are the outer limits of performance-enhancing hypnosis?"

Hypnosis deals with the subconscious part of the mind and its potentials. These potentials are extraordinary. Hypnosis, especially when tailored to the specific individual who is motivated to achieve his or her best, can unleash this potential. In theory, at least, there are many outer limits, short of what is physically possible for the human body by the laws of physics, chemistry and biology.
Message: Posted by: kermitthefrog (Oct 26, 2002 09:47AM)
On 2002-10-26 05:41, Dr Omni wrote:

"Yes, by any reasonable ethical standards. Each volunteer chooses of his or her own free will to go on stage and participate in the show. He or she is free to walk off stage at any time he or she chooses to do so."

I'm not so sure. There are different ways for stage hypnotists to proceed. They can call volunteers to the stage and then see how deep any of them can go; or they can run a little induction on everyone in the audience -- especially in a big audience where some small percentage of the people probably can be taken deeply with great ease -- and then have the ones whose "hands are stuck together" come up to the front, where they become subjects. Are these people volunteers? Yes and no: they already are under the influence of the hypnotist when they decide to come to the front, and they probably don't realize that they are about to walk around the stage clucking like chickens. Nor do they remember much about it later. Whether this does long term harm of any kind (apart from the obvious harm to their dignity) I don't know; but it strikes me as not so different from questions about whether casual and irresponsible hypnotherapy can cause harm.

An important point to remember is that people vary considerably in their ability to go into deep hypnosis. For some people it's just a kind of relaxation in which they stay mostly conscious. For others, it's an experience where they become mostly unconscious, forfeit control of themselves to the hypnotist, and recall nothing later. The latter cases are the ones that most interest me.

Message: Posted by: Paradox (Oct 26, 2002 12:15PM)
As far as spectators being under the
"influence" of a hypnotist when they do the hand clasp test in the audience, they're already under the hypnotist's "influence" when they decided to buy tickets & come to the show.

I put "influence" in quotes because it's the SUBJECT that does the hypnotizing. The hypnotist only points him in the right direction.
Message: Posted by: Dr Omni (Oct 26, 2002 12:26PM)
Kermit - It's true that many stage hypnotists (including me) carry out testing (such as the hand-clasp test) on as many members of the audience who want to carry out those tests. This is a way of finding out who is most responsive. (But no-one is compelled to take par in these tests.) The point is that the hypnotist is doing his best to create a great show, where everyone there has a good time and is entertained. Because people have chosen to go and see the show, they presumably know what the standard format of a stage hypnosis show is.

In the large majority of stage shows that I've been to see, there have been far more people wanting to be subjects than the hypnotist needs. However, in a situation where no-one or only one or two people volunteer, then it's understandable that the hypnotist uses strong persuasion to encourage good potential subjects (whose hands are locked) to take part in the show. After all, if there are no volunteers, there is no show, right?

But even in those cirumstances, the hypnotist is not *forcing* anyone to take part, so I don't see how it's unethical.

It's a bit like advertising, salesmanship and so on. Some of the most effective advertising and sales pitches use
"hypntoic" methods and appeal to the unconscious mind. But they are not *forcing* anyone to buy. Provided that the advertising or salesmanship is not deliberately dishonest and fraudulent, surely that's not unethical.
Message: Posted by: Socrates (Oct 26, 2002 02:45PM)
Thanks for all the replies, there's a whole lot of useful information and that's exactly what I was looking for, thanks.


'He who can copy, can do' - Leonardo DaVinci :die:
Message: Posted by: Vaclav (Nov 6, 2002 11:18PM)
The New Encyclopedia Of Stage Hypnotism by Ormond McGill should help a little.
Message: Posted by: PK (Nov 7, 2002 07:43AM)
Stage hynosis is really nothing more than finding members of the audience who are willing to play along with what you say and cooperate. The whole hypnotism thing is a pretense.

If you are wanting to give therapy sessions then there is a track record proven, of how dangerous 'hypnosis' can be.

For example the supposed 'recovered memory' cases where people apparently remember instances of satanic ritual abuse, that they were unaware of before-hand.

People went to jail over this! Pseodoscientific thinking prevails again (ahem). It can be dangerous.

Is there such a thing as trance and is hynosis helpful? Both of these issues are very contentious.

Conclusion - 'hypnosis' can possibly be a useful psychological tool, but there is clearly plenty of scope for disaster.

It's not so much the hypnosis itself (I doubt there is such a thing as a trance) but the fact you are dealing with potentally very vulnerable people who can be manipulated.

So much so, that if you suggest the cause of a client's problem is child abuse from 20 years ago, they actually start to invent memories.

If you keep telling them the belief is real then major problems emerge.

Psudeoscintific thinking can be very dangerous indeed.

Message: Posted by: Burt Yaroch (Nov 7, 2002 02:00PM)
Kevin are you stating fact here or just your opinion?

If, indeed, you can prove what stage hypnosis really is and provide us with this "track record" of how dangerous hypnosis is, I would love to read about it. I'm sure many others here would too.
Message: Posted by: Paradox (Nov 7, 2002 06:48PM)
I, for one, would also like to know what is allegedly dangerous about hypnosis.
As I understand it, Kevin isn't stating that "stage" hypnosis is dangerous. He seems to me to be saying that HYPNOTHERAPY can be dangerous, especially if it causes the subject to have "false" memories and the like.
Am I right about this?
At any rate, I, too, would like chapter and verse on proof of alleged "harm" caused by hypnosis. Methinks it's not the "state" of hypnosis itself that's dangerous (since it's merely narrowed attention and a natural "state" of human consciousness) but what is done to, or with, a person who is IN that "state".
I know there's controversy about whether hypnosis "exists" or not, or whether it's a "state" or not. That, of course, brings up the question of how something that allegedly doesn't exist can cause so much harm - - -
Message: Posted by: The Bear (Nov 8, 2002 04:55AM)
I have to agree with Paradox that hypnosis is a 'natural' state of consciousness, merely being the focussing of one's attention onto an idea or concept in an uncritical way.

When Kevin says that hypnosis can be dangerous, we could also make the claim that 'medicine' can be dangerous, in that there are examples of missed diagnoses or wrongly administered drugs. So the issue of 'danger' boils down to the competence and training of the practitioner, not the subject matter itself. (I'm not trying to have a go at the medical fraternity - merely using it as an example).

To put it into perspective, here in the UK the cost of obtaining professional indemnity insurance for a hypnotherapist is ten times LESS than the same level of cover needed for a psychiatrist. So insurance companies don't seem to think it's dangerous!

This is not to deny that there have been incompetent or badly trained practitioners, but I can assure everyone that a properly trained therapist would NEVER suggest that someone's current problems are caused by childhood abuse (for example), and would NEVER try to manipulate a vulnerable patient.
Message: Posted by: Dr Omni (Nov 8, 2002 06:19AM)
The Bear - An excellent point. There is no sharply-defined dividing line between "hypnotic" and other forms of communication or states of awareness. My own view is that hypnosis *is* a real thing, in that it's a useful term to describe certain specific communications and states. But what we call "hypnosis" is simply an inherent faculty within human being, just like, for instance, the language faculty and the capacity to draw or paint pictures, to create, perform and enjoy music, and other faculties which can be developed through learning and practice. Sure, there are hypnotherapists (and stage hypnotists) who are "bad" at what they do in the sense that they have learned little about it and practise it poorly, just as there are "bad" writers, musicians, artists and so on. But this does not mean that hypnosis is dangerous or harmful, any more than "bad" writing, music, art, etc is dangerous or harmful.

From what I've read about the whole "false memory syndrome" hoo-ha of the 1990s (which we don't hear much about today), I see no conclusive evidence that the use of hypnosis *as such* led to dangerous or harmful consequences. People come to believe thing that aren't true from all sorts of sources (try listening to politicians, the press or the TV).

With reference to the world of medicine, it is a verified statistical fact that in the UK every year, some 70,000 people die from medical errors which are preventable. Also in the UK, 25% of the people who die in hospital every year die from infections they have picked up in the hospital itself.

The number of deaths worldwide ever caused by hypnotherapy or stage hypnosis: zero.
Message: Posted by: PK (Nov 8, 2002 07:23AM)
Is stage hypnosis dangerous?

No. It is nothing more than finding people who are wiling to co-operate with you. As I said before the whole hypnosis element is a facade. Subjects are not really in a trance.

For reading on the dangers of therapy sessions read the brilliant Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan.

Another example of false memories is people who think they have been examined by aliens following therapy sessions.

Since the satanic abuse cases involve real court cases I'll see if I can get citations for you.

This is not opinion. They are very real examples of how dangerous a belief in hynotherapy can be if you encourge people to remember 'forgotten causes' of their problems and then tell them the memories are real.

As I said before, people have gone to jail who have been wrongly accused of child abuse.


I'd like to emphasise that in my initial post I said hypnotherapy 'can' be dangerous.

I'm not saying it always is.

I'm not even saying that it is not useful, in the right hands.


It turns out that the skeptics dictionary has an excellent essay on hypnosis, which makes the point better than I can in a few minutes of typing.


Message: Posted by: The Bear (Nov 8, 2002 08:44AM)
Just to play Devil's Advocate again, but I think that the article from the skeptics dictionary is littered with inaccuracies, selective editing and poor conclusions. And this applies to several of the entries on the site, not just the hypnosis one.

That site is an insult to true skeptics IMO.

As to whether hypnosis exists or not, we first have to define what the word "hypnosis" is supposed to mean, as different people have different conceptions. I think Dr. Omni's point is a good one, in that it's a useful description of various psychological states based around communication, and that they're normal and natural states, rather than being some esoteric 'power'. And to agree with another of the Dr's points, for every example of supposed hypnotic abuse that can be found, we could find hundreds (maybe thousands) of examples of medical malpractice.

There is much good work that goes on by hypnotherapists worldwide, but of course that never gets reported on the news. So please let us keep the problems in perspective.

I hope we're not getting too off-topic!
Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (Nov 8, 2002 10:46AM)
In case anyone is interested, here is a link to the Scientific American's article on the latest research into hypnosis:

Message: Posted by: procyonrising (Mar 17, 2004 11:56PM)
Dr. Omni,

I'm sorry to report that there was indeed a case of someone dying of hypnosis. The hypnotist was tried and convicted of murder.

But it's the only reported case of significant physical harm arising from hypnosis.
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Mar 20, 2004 09:46AM)

Can you point the members to somewhere where this report can be read? There was a spurious "report" about such a thing that turned out to be an urban legend a few years ago and is still being put out by people who were unaware of the nature of the report's hoax factor as being fact. This happens in almost every field out there. In fact, I got caught by one, just last week, so, if this turns out to be the same one, don't feel bad.

Not an attack, but I'd like to take a look at it. As a professional in the field, I'm very surprised that it didn't get more press in the professional journals.

Thanks in advance,

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
Message: Posted by: procyonrising (Mar 20, 2004 06:20PM)
Mr. Darrow,

Fair request.

However, let me first amend my previous post by saying that the hypnotist was actually tried and convicted of manslaughter (not murder). My mistake, and I apologize.

The hypnotist's name was Franz Neukomm, and the unfortunate event happened in 1894.

Here's the reference:

Schrenck-Notzing, F. 1902. Kriminalpsychologische und psychopathologische Studien: Gesammelte Aufsatze aus den Gebieten der Psychopathia sexualis, der gerichtlichen Psychiatrie und der Suggestionslehre. Leipzig: Verlag von Johann Ambrosius Barth. (For those who don't know, this is in APA format, just print it out and hand it to the librarian).

I found a copy of this at Widener Library, at Harvard University. If your local branch doesn't carry it, just go down to the closest major university and they should be able to get it on interlibrary loan from Harvard.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hallahan (Mar 23, 2004 02:00AM)
I wonder if the man died "of" hypnosis, or if he just happened to die "during" hypnosis. I suppose the distinction might seem unimportant to his family. I wonder if he was under stress while he was hypnotized.

My point is that just about anything can kill someone who has a weak heart, or an embolism, or any number of other life threatening conditions.

Considering how common hypnosis is, then I would think even if the report turns out to be valid, then it is actually a testament to how non-life threatening hypnotism is that you have to go back more than 100 years to find a fatality.