In this article I reveal the ploys that are employed in stage hypnosis. You may not want to read this if you prefer the mystery, but by understanding stage hypnosis we may be able to allay confusion, in particular the sterotypical notion of hypnosis being used to control peoples behaviours. Here are the major reasons why stage “hypnosis” appears to magically be able to control people:
1/ People are aware the setting is one of entertainment and performance. Those that volunteer are likely to go with suggestions and socially accept the role of entertainer, rather than spoiling the event or being seen as boring. They may also feel special for being able to be “hypnotised”
2/ A general exhibitionist trait exists in the volunteer who will enact the requirements of the “hypnotist”. Even if performing on stage is not your thing, you may want to try the performance for fun or due to peer pressure. Most people relate to the idea of doing something they never expected themselves to do, but did it anyway
3/ Preselection of volunteers. A good stage hypnotist will preselect volunteers weeding out those that may want to jeopardise the performance, or those looking for objective proof of hypnotizability e.g. by seeing that they go along with the instructions to clasp hands together as likely volunteers
4/ Use of stooges so that if all else fails the stage hypnotist can demonstrate their magical powers of control
These ploys have been well documented, but nonetheless the ability of good stage hypnotists to carry the crowd and entertain is a highly skilled art. However, it does also demonstrate the source of both skeptical and fearful ideas of the omnipotent hypnotist being able to override peoples thoughts and behaviours. In terms of the skeptics, I would ask what there is to be skeptical about? If I asked you to “take a seat” surely it is you that decides whether you want to go with it or not? That is similar to “going under” in hypnosis, you decide if you want to and follow the process and suggestions offered.
This also goes some way in understanding why hypnosis is perfectly safe and natural state, just like any other psychotherapeutic approach if grounded on ethics, evidence, knowledge and experience.
PathTherapy provides a confidential Counselling and Hypnotherapy services for adults and young people in Bracknell Forest and the surrounding areas of Berkshire including Warfield, Binfield, Wokingham, Twyford, Crowthorne, Ascot & Winkfield. Specialist areas including stress, anxiety, relationships, bereavement, fears, habits, phobias, anger and addiction. Call for free no obligation session.