Hold Me Back — Hypnosis Nonsense Alert!

Yes indeed… Someone hold me back…

So, the weekend is upon us which means I am ready for a big blow out on the blog… It’s Friday… And there are some utter nonsense going on out there in the world of hypnosis that I need to highlight today…

Ok, so let me vent my spleen… Ahem… Let me explain:

Many of my hypnosis professional peers are mentioning it and I have to join in…

One of my pet dislikes in this world is the fact that the vast majority of media articles about hypnosis seem to use the headline “you are getting sleeeepy” or something similarly clichéd and predictable or unimaginative along those lines…

Another is people thinking it is absolutely hilarious to say “look into my eyes, look into my eyes, not around the eyes, into my eyes” which was moderately funny at the start of century but my enthusiasm for the joke from TV’s Little Britain has waned somewhat during the past 100 years…

Then we come on the downright ill-informed and non-educated responses and comments from people… Like when I was at my solicitors Christmas dinner and as we sat down to dinner at the posh hotel, in black tie attire, the head solicitor said to his wife “Oh this is Adam Eason, don;t look into his eyes, he’ll make you do all kinds of things!” as he chuckled to himself, he actually surreptitiously ensured that his wife actually did not look into my eyes any time we spoke!

I was tempted to capitalise on this in a very naughty manner, and use the fearful trance induced by her husband and suddenly unveil my velvet lined cloak, and start to wave my black gloved hands in front of her face — Svengali style — and start suggesting that she get a divorce… But I had not brought the props with me that night, not suspecting I’d need them… 😉

What about the classic remark “Oh, he’ll make you cluck like a chicken” ?

I mean come on… Even if you speak to stage hypnotists, hardly any of them ever actually do this! Or barking like a dog!

Yet the basic education… The basic message we attempt to get out there on a daily basis does not seem to have reached Kansas… The place, (which if I was equally uninformed about) is a place in the world that had me believing in flying witches being killed by storm swept houses!

Yes indeed, over in Kansas, a school had been using the services of a local minister who had been using hypnosis and hypnotising the school basketball team in an effort to improve the season’s performances, which had ben poor.

By all accounts, the students enjoy it and found benefits in it, but the school board has some reservations, and in keeping with nonsensical beauracracy has ordered the hypnotherapist to stop with the sessions.

What’s more… If you listen to the radio interview here about the
entire thing, having lost their previous games — then following the hypnosis sessions, the team won their next
game by 10 points… Is no-one thinking that there is some kind of
coincidence going on there? It is not even this that I am frothing at the mouth about today though…

If you read either this hypnosis article about the episode by the lady in the radio interview or this hypnosis aticle at USA today… The thing which is irritating me is to read all these clichéd ideas and plain inaccuracies that formed the school boards decision to stop with the hypnotherapy.

The truth is that hypnosis can advance performance massively… And aslo aid the personal belief system of those performers. This particular school board are just replaying old antiquated cliches and nonsense about hypnosis that deters people from using hypnosis to make fabulous benefical enhancements to their peformance and life.

For example, superintendent James Kenworthy is quoted as saying, in reference ot the use of hypnosis: “It may give kids a mixed message if you can’t do it on your own.

Pah! Hypnosis is not something you stick in a syringe and then intravenously inject into your body… It is not giving anyone anyone anything that did not exist within them as potential anyway.

It is like people climing in the 90s that the boxer Nigel Benn had an unfair advantage in the boxing ring because Paul McKenna had worked with him… he still had to go in the ring and fight… He was still only using himself as his tool.

Hypnosis shows how to make more of your mind and how to use it to enhance so many facets of yourself… Imagine being able to harness and control your skills and abilities!?

Someone who should know better is sports psychologist Scott Ward, who adds his pearls of wisdom to the debate: “When I think of hypnotism I think of someone going into a comedy club and being hypnotized to cluck like a chicken, it’s not used in sports with the leading athletes.”

Scott, ahoy there… Join us in the 21st century will you?

First up, in the recent Olympics, there was Vincent Hancock, the skeet shooter who used hypnosis to get a gold medal, Australian pole vaulter Steve Hooker used hypnosis and he got a gold medal and the Olympic record last year, and also former Olympic silver medallist from Canada, Angela Bailey who is now an actual hypnotherapist herself!

There are many more examples I could give.

On his blog, my good friend Phil Mattingly has been commenting on the same thing and he cites actual research done specifically in the field of basketball that Scott Ward seems to have blissfully missed too:

Pates, J., Maynard, I., & Westbury, T. (2001) An investigation into the effects of hypnosis on basketball performance. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology 13(1), 84-102.

The effects of hypnosis on flow and in the performance enhancement of basketball skills. Vasquez, B. (2005). Thesis (Ph. D.) Washington State University, December 2005.

With each of these studies, it is clearly shown that hypnosis does improve a person’s basketball skills in a wide variety of areas if used correctly.

Now to top it all off… The Coach, a chap called Jerod Horchem really does add the cherry on top of this entire cliché fiasco, here is what he says:

If we did something like that we’d probably hypnotize our guys, they’d fall asleep and never wake up. But if that would make them shoot better and I could do that in the next 10 minutes, then get me a watch on a string.

Hahahahaha… If I did not laugh I would cry…

Sleep is nothing at all to do with hypnosis, they are utterly different states… And as for the watch on the string, when that cliché is at home stuffed in the cupboard with my velvet lined cloack and black hypnosis gloves!

Hypnosis works with the mind… You ask Michael Phelps or Tiger Woods how important the mind is to their performance and they’ll tell you… In fact, you ask any and every top performing sports performer if they use their mind to advance what they do and they’ll tell you the importance of it… heck, I worked with Gold Medallists Sally Gunnell and Steve Cramm on the BBC1 TV show “Run for Glory” so that they could impart the mind skills into the competitors…

Everyone ought to know that the mind affects sports performance — ask John Terry about how he came to miss a penalty in the European Cup final… Or many athelets that have choked at the final hurdle when their mind has impaired performance.

Ok… That is out of my system… It has started snowing again outside… I mean really snowing… I hope you enjoy a fabulous weekend, thank you for reading this week, I’ll be back on Monday :-)


Charlie Hampshire

Hi Adam …

Hypnosis is about the mind and we are part of the lucky gang that know that!

It seems a shame to me that just by mentioning the word hypnosis a door closes in some people’s minds … Do we need to be more creative in how we open that door? How we develop rapport …

I had a similar experience with yoga .. a few of my friends asked me to teach them yoga … they weren’t looking for spiritual enlightment .. relaxation … stretching .. OK, I just needed to find a venue … I phoned the nicest of our local halls .. that happens to be attached to a methodist church.. all sorts of clubs and classes and parties go on there.
‘Oh no .. we won’t hire the hall for that sort of thing … you might do that … meditation stuff’ said the lovely lady at the end of the line….

Now, if I had said a relaxation class …or a mind and body class .. it would have been a different story. I know that what I am doing is Yoga .. but if the name scares people off, should I change it? Is there part of us that gets attached to the title?

Charlie x

Adam Eason

Charlie… Spot on… You must have been taught wonderfully well.


I think there is more than just the title and connotation derived from it… I believe that people learn something, confirm it in their mind and then hold onto that initial learning – something which is tough to update when the person involved is not necesarily as motivated or interested to learn as you or I might be…

Still, if one of these guys turned up on my street today… They’d get a snowball to the head!


Ali Ludlow

Totally agree with you Charlie

I am fortunate that I am being tutored and guided by someone wonderful, who is well informed about all these things. For me hypnosis has given me keys/passwords that have unlocked parts of my unconscious mind. Without it I wouldn’t be who I am today.
I am truely blessed that I found the right people from the outset to inform and train me well.
It is this suspicious beliefs that bring up barriers that might actually prevent people from getting the life they deserve.

That Charlie’s yoga group was prevented from using a methodist hall is possible another reason why some of us find the actions of so-called Christian folk. Very Unchristian.

Don’t knock it #til you’ve tried it!!!

Marty Drury

This is hard for me to write. I’ve been using hypnosis products and techniques from lots of different countries (I’ve got a library of several hundred hypnosis CDs, even more on MP3 and so many books that there just isn’t space any more and I keep falling over them) for about 12 years now. In my own small, limited way, I’ve written about the positive impact hypnosis can have on people’s lives. I’ve written about it for national magazines, websites and for my blog network and- speaking of Yoga- some of you who enjoy Yoga might well have seen the odd article in Yoga Magazine by someone called Martin Drury. That’d be me.

But a week or so ago, I saw a video about hypnosis on one of the video sharing websites and watching it made me feel very bad indeed. I really should have known better. I know all about smoke and mirrors and how to make something look like something it isn’t. I used to be a magician after all (no, really, I did. Pick a card, any card). But the video upset me. I very nearly threw out my hypnosis books and CDs and, if anyone mentioned hypnosis to me that week, I didn’t want to engage with the conversation. In short, I very nearly changed sides-so to speak.

Fortunately, I am blessed with two important things: 1) My own critical thinking and 2) Wonderful people such as Adam Eason and Glenn Harrold who, through their books and blog posts, provided me with enough information to realise I was in serious danger of letting an irrational fear based on very, very little destroy something that had been an amazingly positive part of my life for 12 years.

Perhaps, somewhere deep down, I feared the loss of hypnosis in my life. Saying that sounds stupid. Hypnosis is natural. You cannot drive a car without being in a state of hypnosis-unless you really want to do all the tasks you have to do to keep the car on the road on a conscious level. What I mean is, I may well fear the loss of the benefits I get from using hypnosis products in many areas of my life. You see, to some extent, I built a lot of my life using hypnosis.

My introduction to hypnosis products was Paul McKenna’s Supreme Self Confidence tape. I really, really fancied this girl in the year above me at school but I’d get so nervous even being near her that she’d probably get a conversation about waste management out of me and little more even if I could get the courage to talk to her. After much agonising, I bought the tape and used it over and over again, night after night. Eventually, I got the courage to talk to her and the tape helped set off a chain reaction where I became more confident in other areas of my life. To suddenly look back on those wonderful times with suspicion and fear- however irrational that fear was-made me feel very bad indeed.

One of the ways I stopped feeling so bad was by thinking things through logically. First of all, I have over 100 “become more confident” hypnosis recordings. I’ve listened to them all and used many on a regular basis. So how come I still have moments where I’m scared out of my wits by a social situation? How come I still have conversations with women about waste mangagement instead of normal things?

I’ll tell you why. Every time my subconcious mind heard a suggestion on one of those recordings that it didn’t like or agree with, it blocked it. I’ve got a bald spot and people are going to think I’m silly for doing this and my better half hasn’t stopped laughing about it either. But I got hold of this hypnosis recording that was meant to make me really attractive to women. In essence, to make me a “player”. Now, deep down- as it turns out- I don’t actually like the idea of being a player because my ethical and religious values are strongly feminist and being a “player” conflicts with those values. Needless to say, that recording didn’t work. I stopped it from working.

People who create adverts find subtle ways to manipulate and influence but why do they go to such great lengths to do that? Why not just hypnotise people and fill the ad with: “You are getting very sleepy…buy a Nissan”?

Why bother with driving tests? Just get someone to hypnotise you into being an amazing driver and off you go. Why bother with hospitals? Just get someone to hypnotise you not to be ill any more. Why bother with death? Just get someone to hypnotise you to tell your cells to keep on dividing and you can live forever. Why bother learning or studing a language? Just get someone to hypnotise you to instantly speak Green or Russian or French or whatever.

Thinking like that is what helped me see sense. Hypnosis is a very powerful tool and a natural state we go in and out of many times during the day. But you can’t make someone into something they’re not and you can’t make someone do something they don’t want to do.

That is how to win the battle for the image of hypnosis in the public at large. Take the argument of the enemy to its logical extreme and pull it apart from there. But at the end of the day, I’m afraid those who earn their money from hypnotherapy can’t really do as much to restore the proper image of hypnosis amongst the public at large as they might want to.

However good the argument and however genuine the motive, the vested interest will always stop some people from trusting. What’s needed is for people from all walks of life who have used hypnosis for a long period of time to band together and basically launch an assault on the negative image of hypnosis in some people’s minds.

Everyone is entitled to the opinion and I’m not talking about converting people to believe what we believe. The best option is to encourage people to think critically about the issue. To ask their own questions. If we do that there is every chance that people who are unsure about hypnosis- like I was last week for that brief period- will understand the truth.

Now then, let’s try something…You are getting very sleepy…when I snap my fingers you will visit:


You will then sponsor me a lot of money for Comic Relief. Are you ready…snap…

Did it work? No. Didn’t think so.

Marty Drury

Point of order: it should say “speak Greek” not “speak Green” in my previous post. I’ve been unwell over the weekend. Please be gentle over my typing errors.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *