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Is there too much snobbery around stage hypnosis?


I recently had a debate online with a fellow therapist who suggested that Stage Hypnotism is damaging the hypnotherapy profession and that for hypnotherapy to be taken seriously it needed to disassociate (or double disassociate) itself from stage hypnotism.

During this discussion I agreed that it did need to separate itself from the entertainment side but, in order for hypnotherapy to be accepted it really needed to be called something other than hypnotherapy. It was then suggested that changing the 'tail' as opposed to changing the 'dog' would be as effective. This is all well and good however, in this case the tail is much larger than the dog and is quite happily wagging away at the back whilst it is the dog that is wanting acceptance.

Hypnotism has been around in one form or another for many, many centuries and stage hypnosis was originally brought into the public domain for entertainment purposes during 1800's. Like it or not, stage hypnotism is always going to feature strongly in the mind of someone as soon as hypnosis or hypnotherapy are mentioned. If you were to ask 100 people what they thought hypnosis was I would bet that the majority would allude to a stage hypnosis effect either mentioning swinging pocket watches, people being turned into chickens or mind control.

I've been performing in one form or another for almost a decade now and stage hypnotism has been something that I've been performing alongside also using hypnosis as a therapeutic tool for sometime now. In the past other hypnotherapists have suggested that you shouldn't perform both as stage hypnotism invalidates your competency as a therapist and that I should either cease performing as a stage hypnotist or perform under a pseudonym instead.

I have considered either separating the two elements or quitting the performance side altogether however, it's something I really enjoy doing so I've decided to keep doing it and I believe that there are transferable skills to both sides of the art.