Should a Hypnotherapist Hypnotize?
A couple of weeks ago I asked a friend for some notes on my site-- what he felt worked or didn't work. What he liked or didn't. He's a smart guy and his opinion means a lot to me. He's also a very honest and straight-forward fellow. In short, I knew I what I was getting into.
He gave me a lot of great notes, suggestions, a couple of critiques-- all very helpful.
Except... just at the end he mentioned something that kind of hit a nerve. He said something like:
"Do you think it's a good idea on a hypnotherapy site to post about you performing?"
It hit a nerve because I had been asking myself the same question. As mentioned elsewhere on this site, I came to hypnotherapy through performing stage hypnotism. Although both use the same tools, it's for two very different purposes. It naturally raises concerns about tone, brand.. maybe even professionalism. And what many people outside the hypnosis community don't know is that that same debate continues among hypnotists and hypnotherapists.
Some hypnotists argue that public performance is a great way to market yourself and build interest in and excitement about experiencing hypnosis. Some hypnotherapists are concerned about how a lot of "stage hypnosis" perpetuates myths and can trivialize its incredible potential with crude, even demeaning, "skits."
I think it's up to hypnotists to demolish those myths and be the change we want to see and to do so in as public a way as possible. Hypnosis is like any art or science it can be used for profound or trivial purposes.
Also, though it might sound obvious, hypnosis is a huge part of hypnotherapy. Yet some people who try it walk out of sessions unsure if they've had that experience-- often because the hypnotherapists are unable or unwilling to test their work.
I want to be able to explore hypnosis as a means of expression-- and as a tool that we have yet to find its limits. I want my clients to know something about me and the way I see the world-- and have confidence in my skills to help them.
Having asked myself the question, I think performing hypnosis in public builds confidence in potential clients-- and allows me to maintain confidence in my own skills.