Here I am, sat in my office and still feeling a tad bleary eyed and tired following the UK Hypnosis Convention.
I travelled up to London from Bournemouth early afternoon on Friday with my friend and colleague Lindsay Shepherd. After a taxi ride with our banners and suitcases, we met with a fabulous group of our friends (Etain, Claire, Kathy and Deborah) for dinner and were joined by Gary Turner, James Tripp and were joined a little later on by Anthony Jacquin and the convention organiser Nick Ebdon.
We had plenty of laughs, caught up, built some expectation about the weekend and of course talked about hypnosis, therapy, performance, projects we were working on and much more besides.
We then headed upstairs to the private bar where pre-convention drinks were being held. This was lovely for me. I spoke with friends from Iceland where I had run a training earlier in the year, I spoke with people from Romania, Mexico, Switzerland, Brazil and the UK who had all read my books or listened to my audios who had tracked me down, and I got to meet a number of my Hypnosis Weekly podcast guests in real-life for the first time and encounter a number of other professional peers for the first time, many of whom I hope will be friends for a long time to come. It was wonderful.
We were then entertained by the youngest and bravest upcoming stage hypnotist I have ever encountered. Even if I were a stage hypnosis performer, I doubt I’d want to perform to a group of hypnosis professionals and hypnotherapists, many of whom are incredible hypnosis performers. We had lots of laughter together, met up with plenty more people afterwards then for me, it was an early night (well, not typically early for me, but early in comparison to everyone else I spoke with in the morning who had been up into the early hours).
I was keen to be as fresh as possible for my morning presentation. I was presenting in the Quayside room and we had a great crowd gathered and tuning in to me lecturing about the latest information that we have on the subject of neuroscience and what it can tell us about hypnosis in order to understand it better.
Of course, we can draw no major conclusions currently, but we can explore the subject massively – I always want to give information of a high quality that is as grounded in science as possible, and it just so happens that much of neuroscience these days supports a non-state perspective of hypnosis and one which leans to hypnosis comprising of a number of facets similar to the component parts of the sociocognitive model of hypnosis (expectation, absorption, actively aware etc) and thus it is a subject that I have a lot of passion for.
I received lots of very encouraging feedback after the event and spoke with a lot of people. I framed the entire lecture as just that, a lecture; a hypnosis science geek lecture that would be free from fluff and filler, and though I offered up a demonstration of the Stroop effect, audience participation was minimal – I’ll have to get around to showcasing my practical skills next year if I’m welcome back.
For anyone in attendance, if you want a copy of the slides from the lecture, send me an email and I’ll gladly oblige, in particular you can use the studies listed (that were at the foundation of my lecture) to have an explore yourself should you wish. That said, for those wishing to explore the neuroscientific stance on hypnosis, I highly recommend Graham Jamieson’s book ‘Hypnosis and Conscious States’ – it is quite academic, but you’ll be amply rewarded for studying it well.
As soon as the dust had settled from my presentation, I got sat down straight away in the same room to watch the presentation of Anthony Jacquin. It was wonderful and Anthony is a real favourite of mine. He demonstrated some hypnotic phenomena, some skills that illustrated much of his own journey with hypnosis over the years and also moved into some of his newer themes that he presented when he visited us in Bournemouth a few weeks ago.
On this day, he also brought his father on, Freddy Jacquin, who I have not seen for quite a while, and I was delighted to see him step onto stage. Not only does Freddy make me laugh like not many people tend to (on both nights that I was there, I had jaw-ache and belly laughter thanks to Freddy) but he is a fearless, confident and inspiring presenter. He helped 3 people in the audience there and then to remove pain they were experiencing and the lady in the presentation later wrote on Facebook that she was still comfortable and without the pain. Throughout the weekend, Freddy did not stop there though; he helped a number of other people in corridors and in the bar to overcome pain using his hypnosis and approach, and it was a joy to be around.
We had lunch around the corner before heading back in, lunch involved lots of hypnosis talk and fun, and the next presentation I attended was that of Karl Smith speaking about working with military, forces and emergency services personnel.
It was illuminating for me as this is an area that I do not have much experience in. I was really struck by Karl’s personal story which sounded harrowing as well as amazing as he now draws upon it to help serve others today.
From there, I bombed it over to watch Beryl Comar talking about becoming an EQ specialist, again a subject I am not too familiar with, and I learned plenty. I had spoken to Beryl before on my podcast and she presents very naturally and warmly just as my previous communication with her had been.
Straight after Beryl, I watched Melissa Tiers give a presentation ‘Priming the Unconscious Mind’ and it was great. I really enjoyed the time I spent chatting with Melissa before and after her presentation and we had plenty of fun together despite that being brief.
She presents in a very fluid, very assured way that everyone can learn a great deal from, I enjoyed how she delivered it as much as I enjoyed the content of her presentation. Everyone was awestruck, myself included. In all my discussions with delegates, friends and colleagues, everyone seemed unanimously positive about these presentations, just as I was. No script, no notes, no slides, just engaging, effective communication, an eagle-eyed attention to detail of her crowd and a lot of smiling.
There was time to shower and change for dinner, and I have it on good authority that Nick Ebdon and Bob Burns both went for an afternoon nap, and it was time for the Gala dinner. We had a few drinks at the bar and I took a lot of selfies (I have shared lots of them in the UK Hypnosis Convention Facebook page)….. Here is a moment Bob, Nick (the nappers) and I were preparing in the dining room before dinner had begun….
I found it tough to fully relax at dinner, despite the company of some very close, loving and supportive friends and colleagues. Big thanks to my very dear friends Steve, Lucy, Lindsay, Claire, Etain, Deborah and Kathy – you guys made this an extra special weekend for me and kept me laughing from start to end.
We had a lot of fun at dinner, lots of laughter and it was a valuable distraction, but I still had to get up and present a keynote presentation at the end of dinner.
Despite a very unusual introduction from Hansreudi Wipf, and me deciding not to retort at all, I delivered a message that is important to me and that I think is important to the field of hypnotherapy. Following a bunch of gags aimed at Nick Ebdon, Gary Turner (who was texting me hypnotic messages not to give him a hard time as he’d been pulling my leg all day), James Tripp and Bob Burns, I swiftly explained a number of key feuds that took place in the history of hypnosis. Feuds that actually we can all learn much from. I then pressed on with my message, and that is to not take sides of a feud until we understand in depth both sides of it. That is, I insisted that hypnotherapists would be wise to develop critical thinking abilities, and that they should make decisions based upon thorough and diligent research and not just simply because of what we have been told or taught. The notion of seeing both sides of theories and not adopting a single dogmatic stance is vital if we wish to advance the field. I wanted to offer up enough challenge, enough provocation and still hopefully offer up something that my fellow professionals would be keen to aspire to. I love the field, I want it to progress and I hope I demonstrated that here.
Nick Ebdon rounded off the dinner with much more severe leg-pulling and the banter levels got raised. Though being compared to Dr Indiana Jones was much kinder teasing that Bob Burns received from Nick.
Dinner ended, and what ensued was something special for me, I received a lot of handshakes from people who I had not met before and enjoyed many stimulating, thought-provoking discussions and made a lot of friends. The sense of relief and relaxation were upon me, and as my gin glass got repeatedly filled (at roughly £20.00 a time!), so my ability to debate, discuss and contribute value to conversation diminished and we were upon the high jinx hours….
We did hypnosis in the bar until 3am, and that was factoring in the clocks going back. A lot of tequilas got drunk (at one point I ordered two and my order got revised by Nick Ebdon as he doubled the numbers – at that point, it was only him and I drinking them). I had some illuminating discussions, heard many hilarious jokes (thank you Freddy), watched Gary Turner sticking people’s hands to walls as well as my friends Claire John and Kathy Fuller creating hypnotic hallucination with each other, and Gary did a bunch of stuff on me, which is what I think caused us to be the last one’s leaving the bar, getting the lift upstairs to our room and me prolonging my goodnight hug with him for longer than is socially acceptable, regardless of our friendship.
Having got up in good time, had breakfast and then said my goodbyes, I was on a train back home on Sunday morning with Lindsay again, though our conversation was perhaps more jaded and not quite as enthusiastic as when we were on our way up to London. I had to be back with my family by Sunday afternoon. My conversations with friends since have highlighted that some absolutely brilliant presentations happened on Sunday, in keeping with the high standards of the previous day.
With any event of this kind, the tone gets set from this at the top, and it thus filters down. This event had a very inclusive feel, it embraced diversity, varying backgrounds and the atmosphere just got better the longer I was there. For that, I have to doff my cap to Nick Ebdon. This was a massive undertaking – so much planning, preparing, and the odd challenge and dissenting perspective along the way. Yet he remains positive, humble, honest, and absolutely open which I hope means that this event becomes something of a mainstay in the UK hypnotherapy field.
Upon reflection, what made it so good was an open-minded attitude of those who were present, and that was made easy by the way Nick established it himself. His fabulous wife Louisa and the rest of their team were impeccable with their patience, with their politeness, and with their organisation. What’s more, they did it all with smiles on their faces. I congratulate Nick for what he has done here.
I plan on being back next year, I hope many more of the hypnotherapy field here in the UK also attend, I think you’ll be very pleased that you did so. You’ll learn lot, you’ll get better at what you do, you’ll laugh much, you’ll rub shoulders with like-minded people, you’ll make friends and I think you’ll be inspired. That is how it was for me anyway.
For those of you attending – I set up a special offer for all of our online training courses for attendees of the convention. Visit this page of my Anglo European College website for more information, they are cracking offers on awesome CPD materials: UK Hypnosis Convention Attendee Offer (and without the /convention bit on the end, you can have a good look around at all of our classroom courses too).
Good news for you regular listeners of my podcast; I met loads of people who are going to come and feature on the show who I think have got lots of wonderful things to say and share.