hypnosis their first image is of the stage. Watching people cluck like chickens etc, whilst the audience laugh away marvelling at the “control” the stage hypnotist has over the person. Stage hypnosis has helped clinical hypnosis become more recognised; it allows people to see the fun side as well as the therapeutic side.
So how does stage hypnosis differ from hypnosis that is used for therapeutic reasons? The trance you enter when under hypnosis is the same for both the stage and the therapy room. The difference is the goal, the objective. When you are on stage you are entering into this trance with a view to having fun with your subconscious, playing games and entertaining the audience. You are in that frame of mind. Just like all hypnosis, stage hypnosis is self-hypnosis, you have to want to go up on stage and prance around.
Very often when you go to a stage performance the performer will get a group of people on stage, usually made up of people who have volunteered. The performer then does suggestibility tests with this small group and gets it down to the most suggestible person, the one that they can work with best on that day.
Derren Brown is someone who I really admire; he has understood the human mind and how it works to an amazing degree. He tends to get people on stage by throwing a Frisbee into the audience; he will say something like if you don’t want to come up then pass it to the person next to you. This way he gets a willing participant up on the stage.
Similarly with clinical hypnosis, you have to be willing; you have to want to make that change. For example if you want to stop smoking, you don’t necessarily need to know how you are going to do it, but you have to want to become smoke free. If you are only coming for hypnotherapy because you have been nagged into it then even though you will still enter into the trance state, the hypnosis won’t have the amazing long lasting affect that it could have if supported by your own willpower.
No stage hypnotist would choose me, as I would be a “difficult” subject to work with. They would choose someone who was eager to “act the fool” and entertain the crowd. Great fun to watch! However, put me in a room where a hypnotherapist is working together with me to help me, and I enter into a trance state very easily.
Whilst as a hypnotherapist I do have the skills needed to perform stage hypnosis, I personally choose not to mix the two. I have chosen to get into the wonderful world of hypnosis to help people challenge their negative beliefs and become the person they want to be. I find my work extremely rewarding as I watch people beginning to make changes and take control of their world. Personally I wouldn’t feel comfortable mixing that professionalism and trust with the tricks of the stage.