This weekend just gone by was the second UK Hypnosis Convention held at the Canary Wharf Hilton Hotel in London.
I was well involved in the inaugural event last year when it was an unknown quantity and with it having been such a success, there was potentially added pressure and scrutiny that goes with higher expectations for this year, but the event took all of that well within it’s stride, warmly embraced the additional delegate numbers and took it up a level.
Wow. It was incredible.
I call this a brief report despite it’s length, as it is only my singular perspective and I only saw a fraction of the presentations and I have not really managed to fully exhaust all of my experience. Let me get on with it…..
The founder Nick Ebdon has done something that I see very, very few people ever able to do with the field of hypnosis and hypnotherapy; and that is to create cohesion, unity and togetherness. I’ll make another mention of Nick later on.
I arrived on Friday afternoon when the pre-convention workshops were well underway, I was able to travel up North to London with friends by train and taxi and a journey is always better and goes faster as a result (thanks Lindsay, Annalise and Claire). We checked in, freshened up, and met up with a big group of weekend attendees who were graduates and friends of my college for dinner together to catch up, reconnect, talk hypnosis and have some fun.
At around 9pm, I hosted a live panel edition of the Hypnosis Weekly podcast; my friends Anthony Jacquin, Melissa Tiers, Gary Turner and James Tripp answered questions submitted online from regular listeners, offered up factoids and shared some insight from times when hypnosis has featured in the media. Here’s a quick selfie from just before we started.
In particular Anthony’s contributions were as excellent and considered as they always are. His factoid went down particularly well when he stated that Etienne Felix d’Henin de Cuvillers was responsible for introducing hypno’ nomenclature decades before Braid and he cited the reference online afterwards; American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis : 36. 1, 7-11 A Founder of Hypnosis.
We had a cameo from Flavio (in the red jumper in the picture above), a doctor and surgeon from Brazil who joined us for lunch on Saturday and I was all the better for meeting him and learning from him. He shared some of his insight on how hypnosis is used within his own work. Here is a shot of the full panel in action….
And of course, you’ll see from the photo above that we had a very lively cameraman who filmed the entire event – the high-energy stream of positivity that is Tim Cummins who was involved throughout. It was a lot of fun and the aim was to whet the whistle for the weekend ahead.
My first of a couple of late nights ensued, catching up with people I’ve not seen for ages, as well as connecting with new people and of course handing out loads and loads of ‘Hypnosis Geek’ badges. I mentioned online that as a means of promoting evidence-based hypnosis and wanting to familiarise more people with the literature supporting the field of hypnosis that I’d give these badges to anyone who asked me for one and that I’d offer up some materials to those who shared a selfie of them wearing it. This morning I am working my way through a lot of selfies, a lot of emails and delighted to be giving so many people access to those promised materials.
I did some swotting from my hotel bed before heading down to breakfast and getting stuck in to the convention as it unfolded in earnest on the Saturday.
First up, I went to see Sarah Swanton delivering her presentation on Therapist burnout. It was a really slick presentation, beautifully delivered and I worked through the handouts that Sarah gave all present and had some really useful insights. I think her protocol for dealing with and ideally avoiding therapist burnout is brilliant.
As someone who has worked as a hypnotherapist for 20 years, with some periods of incredibly high volumes of clients, I really recognise the need for this kind of insight and enjoyed it greatly. I also loved the references to using reflective practice effectively (I am a big lover of reflective practice and experiential learning protocols as anyone who has ever studied with me will know) and it was a marvellous start to the convention for me. If you missed Sarah’s presentation but would like to hear her speak on the subject, you can listen to the podcast that I did with her a little while ago where she talks on this subject, I think you’ll be pleased you did. Sarah is very generous with her time and sharing of resources, so do get in touch with her for more information.
Then at 10am, I had to dash next door to deliver my own presentation. It was about using hypnosis to advance immune functioning and cardio-respiratory endurance. Here is the view from my lectern as I was setting up and readying myself while people were filtering in (there’s a bunch more on my twitter feed or at instagram though).
There were 162 people present, I am chuffed with that and I’ll explain why it pleases me so much:
1. It highlights a good appetite for those keen to learn about the evidence base of our field, in an area seemingly obscure but with wider implications and applications.
2. So many of the presentations at this event are of a very practical nature, I offer up much more theoretical underpinning and those who have not attended a lecture by me before could be forgiven for thinking that such a topic and presentation would be a bit dry.
Here’s a picture of me when well underway. Yes, that is a picture of Gandalf the Wizard on horseback!
Here’s a little clip too, taken by Gary Turner, with the following caption:
Hypnosis for endurance – an expert area of mine – Adam Eason delivering science bombs and the supporting research…
Hugely entertaining interesting thought provoking and exceptional presentation. 10/10.
If you’re not using hypnosis for sports performance, you’re not hitting optimum performance…
I enjoyed the presentation, and the feedback and commentary online has been really positive and encouraging.
I spent quite a bit of time after the presentation taking questions from audience members, handing out more geek badges, and speaking to people who were hungry for more and it absolutely made my day. Thanks to everyone who tweeted, instagrammed and facebooked me with pictures and messages of appreciation during and after my presentation, I will reply to them all personally as soon as I can.
I could then relax and start getting right into it. I headed over to see Claude Ribaux’s presentation on Active-Alert hypnosis. I love this topic in a wide number of ways and I love the way Claude champions this subject matter. I cite the research and work of Eva Banyai often in my classes (and wrote on this subject a bit here too: Are hypnosis and relaxation correlated?) and so it brought a huge smile to my face when Claude quoted Banyai’s work too at the beginning of his presentation.
After explaining the principles and evidence base of the active alert protocol, Claude also highlighted his own studies of his own self-monitoring and I was fascinated with this. Him and I have spoken before about some of the ways in which my own work on using hypnosis whilst running and engaged in endurance exercise and the active alert hypnosis applications have similarities and it is another reason I wanted to be in this presentation. I love how so many of the typical ways hypnosis gets portrayed are naturally dispelled within this topic.
Claude gave a wonderful demonstration too where he had a member of the audience running around for 7 minutes whilst also hypnotised and responding to suggestions and it was lovely to watch, I smiled non-stop. He also offered up a group session and then I had to dash out for a quick meeting and it was then lunchtime already!
I got to spend some quality time with the Jacquins and some good friends during lunch and of course Freddy was not going to let lunch get in the way of hypnotising people.
Straight after lunch, I headed over to watch James Brown talk about performance hypnosis and his reality bending ideas. I have known James well for many years and as I said to him later on in the day, I always sit in the audience when he is presenting with a sense of absolute faith and confidence in what is going to happen. He never takes an easy option, never looks for the most hypnotisable people to work with, in fact he looks for those that are typically more challenging and difficult to work with, and he has a tenacity and a smoothness in the way he deals with and hypnotises people.
Following a really wonderful demonstration about perception that was layered with his own brand of humour and entertainment, he also hypnotised another couple of audience members with great effect, duly eliciting hypnotic phenomena. He explained his mindset with regards to how he frames success and failure – or rather, how we refuses to frame or label anything as success or failure and there was much about how he refuses to let fear into his performance hypnosis that was incredibly relevant and insightful for any hypnotherapist in my opinion.
I pulled his leg at dinner about how he uses a camp demeanour on occasion, but he can pull that off and he used it very well to get a very particular response when eliciting name amnesia from his demonstration topic for whom it did not happen fully straight away – the kind of thing that most people dread happening in a demo, that James merrily walks and smiles his way through and turns into a full response shortly afterwards. It was great stuff.
Next I raced over to the other side of the convention area to catch the presentation of Lindsay Shepherd talking about her work with those classified as super morbidly obese. Right from the off, there was a huge amount of information being shared during this. She spoke about some of her experiences of working with clients who are classed as being super-morbidly obese, and brought to the attention of all those present some of the major considerations of working with these clients and really brought home a lot of understanding about how so much of life is complicated (and that perhaps the rest of us take for granted) when you are such a size.
Lindsay offered up a lot of ways in which we can use hypnosis with these clients and also talked about how to circumvent many of the typical issues that may occur along the way. She fielded questions, was very giving and I appreciated it greatly. Like so many of the speakers, Lindsay is greatly approachable and offers up lots of help and resource for those seeking it. She was on my podcast some time ago talking on this subject, though she has updated much of her work since then. You can track her down on the links page as she is active online too.
Fuelled up on caffeine during the tea break and chatted to lots of people, including getting the best picture of anyone wearing one of my hypnosis geek badges with Rory Fulcher – pinning one to his beard!
Melissa Tiers was next for me. I joked at dinner that she is usually electrifying to watch and yet here she was “sending me to sleep” by presenting on her sleep protocol and the way she works with clients to help them get to sleep and overcome insomnia. Loads of great nuggets of information from Melissa, as always. I also always love the way that Melissa has a sort of diversion or foray into another thread of thought whereby she gives something really useful to the audience, then picks up seamlessly with her original thread, it is lovely to watch.
We did a bunch of exercises too, which started to get me wanting to head off to my room for a nap as I was getting so relaxed. Melissa has a very infectious sense of humour, I really enjoyed whereby she shared something that had made her laugh in an earlier presentation and she was laughing within herself at something she found genuinely funny that I was now finding funny just because she was.
Then I made my way back across the hotel and met with Gary Turner in the hallway before his presentation. He had just drunk two double espressos. For those that know him, you know what is going to happen next….. Earlier in the day he had shown me his “Hypnosis for Muppets” guide that he was going to be adhering to in his presentation…..
His presentation on hypnotic phenomena started by getting several people’s hands stuck to the wall, some to their legs, some to their heads, creating catalepsy, hallucinations, amnesia and more besides – the room was full of people responding to hypnotic suggestions. He then created hypnotic effects with a chap who he swept off his feet at the front of the room, did group sessions and we were about 3 minutes in!!
I’m kidding, but things were going fast, as they do when Gary is at the front of class. I had the honour of seeing some of this presentation in written form earlier in the week and so I knew I was going to be in for a treat, but I had not expected that so much more was going to be included as Gary kept on sharing more of what he knows….
What I really appreciate about Gary is how in order for him to share anything, he has to know it is right, supported by evidence or science or at least got some solid principles supporting it – he drew upon physiology beautifully when talking about eliciting hypnotic phenomena and it helped make so much sense of it to everyone.
Later on at the Gala dinner, Bob Burns quipped about me “oh he loves Gary Turner” – he was absolutely right, because I do. He is a massive fast-paced breath of fresh air for me, he speaks so much sense, and makes sense of things that others just do without really understanding and therefore perhaps struggling to master in the way Gary does. It was a whirlwind and also a masterclass on hypnotic phenomena and I learned a great deal, I took away a huge amount of references that I will be researching and I laughed greatly when Gary kept on dancing like Jarvis Crocker and Carlton from the Fresh Prince.
I got showered and changed and bombed it down for dinner. The Gala dinner was ram-packed. We ate well, had the company of great friends, and I drank too much too soon. To the point whereby when I was introducing the keynote speaker (in my capacity as last year’s keynote speaker), I left out the single most important part of what I was wanted to say about Plato’s Allegory, I don’t think it is likely to bother anyone other than me (plus I’m going to write about it tomorrow to help myself deal with how mortified I was in the morning) especially given what happened next.
Bob Burns stepped up and delivered a hilarious keynote speech, my face actually hurt with laughter. I even laughed heartily at the stuff which involved nearly 200 people cracking up at my expense. It was timed to perfection, had some lovely moments and I thoroughly enjoyed the way he managed two unite everyone in the room by referring to us all as “healers” and talking about the impact we can help to make upon the world in that role.
Nick Ebdon rounded off the evening by speaking about a couple of key themes that were and are important to him, and he showed two big cheques for a total of £4000.00 that he has given to charity – all from proceeds from the UK Hypnosis Convention. The amount of time and effort he has put into this event, I for one would have understood him wanting to make a profit from the event, but instead, he gave it away to charitable causes that he had connected with.
I think that probably gives you some sort of a measure of the guy that made this entire event possible. I am personally aware of some of the challenges he has had to deal with throughout the organising of this event. I am also aware of how reluctant he is to even take praise for what he has created here. For me, he is the star of the show. He framed this whole event to create it’s tone and continues to do so with a sense of independence and with a view of wishing to bring the field together – I love that about him. Those of us that have done all we can to support this event, we followed him into battle when he got the balls rolling because we all connect with him and we all shared in his vision, and he does much well that we can all learn from:
1. He builds a sense of community.
2. He highlights the strengths others have.
3. He has an incredible team around him.
4. He develops and maintains friendships.
5. He serves others incredibly well.
That’s how to run an effective hypnotherapy business right there. He should give a presentation on that subject at next year’s event and I’d recommend everyone go and sit in on it.
Nick’s wife Louisa and the team who welcomed others, sold products on behalf of the speakers, organised people, offered tireless support and such friendliness throughout were just brilliant.
The party went on well into the night. I had to check in with myself to be sure that half the stuff I thought had happened actually did happen. My flashbacks are pretty surreal and crazy I have to say. I got to bed at 4am and the bar was still pretty busy.
Too much else happened for me to be able write about in an exhaustive manner, but I hope this gives you a sense of the event and my experience of it. I had to head out first thing on Sunday morning to catch a train down south, have lunch and then spend fireworks night with my wife and children, but have read so much and spoken to lots of friends who were there on Sunday who said the presenters continued to be out of this world.
Sincere thanks to everyone involved; everyone who attended and embraced the spirit of the event, the presenters who deliver their material and want to educate the field, awesome stuff. It is hard to truly connect with so much busy-ness and distraction going on in such an environment, but all those people who came and said hello to me, who took photos, who grabbed badges, who expressed an interest in what I do, I send much love to you and I will catch up with all my emails, messages, comments, tweets and so on in the next day or so and hope to connect further with you all.
I slept well last night, I’ll sleep well tonight too.
I’ll be back here on the blog very soon.