Monday, October 02, 2006

A Question from a Hypnotherapist Trainer

The following is a question posed to me recently by a Hypnotherapist Trainer located in another country. His name and country is not mentioned in order to protect his identity:

I will call him Bob.

Bob, "I have been training successful hypnotherapists and would like to hypnotize my small group of 10 students and be able to demonstrate powerful stage hypnosis phenomena."

My Response:

Dear Bob,

Thank you for writing.

I have been presenting stage shows for over 30 years now and I would never attempt to show deep phenomena to a small group of hypnotherapy students. Its too much of a risk on my part.

When you see a hypnotist showing deep phenomena on Television (if you are watching a US television station) you are really watching post-hypnotic suggestion at work.

Here in the US, when you go on TV you initially take 30 or 40 volunteers out of the audience and work in the “Green Room” for 40 minutes or an hour before the show starts.

You present your typical show with those volunteers and implant your post hypnotic suggestion like, “when I point my finger at your head you will go deep asleep.”
By the time the televised show begins, all 40 people are back in the audience and you select the best 6 or 8 volunteers who worked great in the green room outside the viewing audience. Then you re-hypnotize using your finger or whatever post-hypnotic cue you administered during the green room exercise.

When people watch all 6 or 8 volunteers go deep into hypnosis in a flash of a second, they feel the hypnotist has great powers. Even experienced hypnotherapists who are watching the show feel emasculated after watching one of their peers hypnotize to a deep level in just a few seconds, not realizing these people are the best of the group and are responding to a post-hypnotic suggestion.

Here in America, at a typical American football game, if a hypnotist is hired to demonstrate during the half-time intermission, the stadium announcer will announce during the first few minutes of the game for 40 volunteers to be hypnotized during the half-time show and report to a certain area of the stadium. They are taken below the stadium in a large meeting room used by the football teams during the week.

Again, the hypnotist will begin working with 40 volunteers working his way down to the 10 best volunteers to bring out during the half-time show that is about 45 minutes from the time the hypnotist starts working with his volunteers. This gives the hypnotist plenty of time to get the very best volunteers. He basically presents a show for the volunteers using the volunteers and then another show 45 minutes later for the stadium crowd, however using only the best 10 people drawn from the initial group.

There are three factors that assist a stage hypnotist in achieving a deep hypnotic condition and exciting phenomena during a professional stage show.

1. A very large audience and group psychology. Large group psychology is much more predictable than trying to affect small groups. (I never, and I mean never work with an audience under 200 people unless in might be a high school marching band or other heterogeneous group) This is what I teach to all my stage hypnotist students as well. Most high school and college events are between 500-7000 people in size. I would rather present before 7000 than 700. The larger the group, the easier it is for the volunteers to perform and the audience to be fulfilled.

2. Motivation to be entertained. People who attend stage shows want to be entertained. They will participate in the form of volunteers or a great audience. If you have only 10 people in your class, how many are there to be entertained and how many want to volunteer? Unless you are specifically training your group to become stage hypnotists, many students are motivated to learn only, how to help people overcome problems and not “embarrass people on stage.” You may find that these students have read from works of Milton Erickson and others who look down on stage hypnotists.

I get that thinking from many hypnotherapy students who want to build their practices however, not be involved in stage hypnotism.

Is the primary goal of your students to become stage hypnotists or solve people’s problems as hypnotherapists? Many stage hypnotists who I have trained are professional magicians or musicians and want to entertain without getting involved in people’s problems.

3. A large speaking fee. Nothing guarantees the success of a show than a large speaking fee or very favorable, financial arrangement. When high schools and colleges are reaching deep into their pockets to fund your show, they do everything they can to hype your show, including newspaper articles, radio and TV interviews. If you are performing at a large night club, you are prominently displayed in their newspaper or other media advertising. This helps guarantee the success of your volunteers, and the people you entertain. A large speaking fee also guarantees that you will deliver a high impact show.

Without the 3 above requirements met, I would never attempt to deliver a show or demonstrate entertaining hypnotic phenomena.

Here is what I recommend:

If the reason for presenting the show is to impress your students on how the senses can be affected by hypnosis, here is what I would recommend:

Book yourself into secondary schools or colleges in the same city you are holding your live training. Book your show during the same week as your training for your 10 hypnotherapy students. Work your training around the day or evening that you are performing so you can focus on giving the best show of your life.

Make sure you charge a fee and only perform before a group of at least 200, whether that is a secondary school, college or nightclub.

As part of your booking arrangement put in your contract that you will be inviting 10 guests for the performance held that day or night.

Announce to your students that they will be treated into seeing your live performance in addition to their hypnotherapy course work.

At your performance venue, in your opening speech tell the audience, “I have 10 of my best students in the audience who will be watching and not participating on stage, in order to give all of YOU an opportunity to volunteer and experience hypnosis.” “They are located right over there, so you can monitor who is volunteering on stage an who is not.”

You do not want your personal students on stage because the audience will think they are stooges. This will discredit your show.

Go ahead and present your show.

After the show expect to get some audience members asking you questions about your next upcoming training. You will accomplish the following:

1. You will show your hypnotherapy students what is possible with hypnosis.

2: You will be paid a handsome fee

3: You will get additional clients/students the easy way!

If you still wish to set up a one-hour telephone consulting let me know and I will send you the details about cost and available time slots.

Good luck!


Wayne F. Perkins
Master Hypnotist Trainer

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