The National Council for Hypnotherapy in the UK has challenged BNP leader Nick Griffin to see if hypnotherapy can ‘cure’ his ‘racism’.
A press release from the Council states the following:
The ongoing furore over the appearance by British National Party leader Nick Griffin on the BBCâ€™s Question Time has once again brought racism to the forefront of news headlines.
Racism is perceived to be at the very heart of the British National Party. It appears to be racism that separates it from any other political party; and it seems to be racism that attracts many of its members. Whilst the party has tried, in recent times, to tone down the words, the message is apparently unchanged.
The Council thinks it might have a solution. Here’s what they say:
“…The key to reducing racial bias â€” at least in a short-term, laboratory setting â€” is exposure to people in personalised ways that challenge stereotypes. And this is where hypnotherapy can play an important role.
Healing by a â€˜cognitiveâ€™ set of attitudes and motivations (or an altered state of awareness) is among the oldest phenomena known to man and is found, in one form or another, in virtually every culture throughout the world. It could also be legitimately described as the original psychological therapy and somewhat more contentiously, as the basis for many of the more recent styles of psychological intervention.”
Here’s the rest of the press release I had to share with you all:
So, what is racism and can it be â€œcuredâ€?
Now that Barack Obama, the first African-American president in United States history has taken office, researchers have shown that it may be possible to scientifically reduce racial bias.
The results are still preliminary and the real-world effects of reducing bias in a controlled laboratory setting are not clear. But despite this, the findings add to a growing body of research suggesting that science can battle racism.
“Any time you can get people to treat people as individuals, you reduce the effect of stereotypes,” said Brown University cognitive scientist Michael Tarr. “It wonâ€™t solve racism, but it could have profound real-world effects.”
Tarrâ€™s findings overlap with other results suggesting that the key to reducing racial bias â€” at least in a short-term, laboratory setting â€” is exposure to people in personalised ways that challenge stereotypes.
And this is where hypnotherapy can play an important role.
Healing by a â€˜cognitiveâ€™ set of attitudes and motivations (or an altered state of awareness) is among the oldest phenomena known to man and is found, in one form or another, in virtually every culture throughout the world. It could also be legitimately described as the original psychological therapy and somewhat more contentiously, as the basis for many of the more recent styles of psychological intervention.
Although such altered states have been known for thousands of years, the term â€˜hypnosisâ€™ (from the Greek â€˜hypnosâ€™, meaning â€˜sleepâ€™) was only coined in 1841 by James Braid, a Scottish surgeon and remains a somewhat less than accurate description of the experience, as the hypnotic state is, in most respects, entirely dissimilar to sleep. He defined hypnotism as focused conscious attention on a single dominant idea or mental image, accompanied by heightened expectation.
Renowned psychologist Hans Eysenck found that, by means of careful statistical analysis, measures from many hundreds of subjects indicated those who suffered from phobia, anxiety, depression, and related problems, tended to be considerably more responsive to hypnotic suggestion than average.
This includes people perceived to be racist. He also discovered that cognitive-behavioural therapy could change racist views and other prejudices in a large sample of another study.
What is racism really? Is it a fear, a phobia or associated with certain personality types?
Often it is the result of oneâ€™s attitudes towards others which are formed during childhood.
If someone is taught to be racist from an early age by a family member, for example, these attitudes are likely to stick with the person throughout their life. Often racists are unable to explain why they hate people of a different skin colour, nationality or culture. Racists commonly use people of different ethnic backgrounds as â€˜scapegoatsâ€™ on whom to blame their problems and make sweeping generalisations about these groups of people.
Often the best way of explaining these types of phenomena is to draw distinction between â€˜feelingsâ€™ (emotions) and cognitive processes; is it indeed the case that racists feel threatened, feel hatred and they feel an innate superiority to other ethnic groups and it is these feelings that make racists able to make sweeping generalisations without supporting evidence or intellectual rigor.
Hypnotherapy, recognised by the British Medical Association as a valid modern medical treatment since 1955, can be used to modify a subject’s emotional content, behaviour, and attitudes, as well as a wide range of conditions like dysfunctional habits, anxiety, stress-related illness and pain management.
Eysenck wrote an important analysis of experimental data on hypnotic suggestion in his book Dimensions of Personality (published 1947).
The fifth chapter, â€˜Suggestibility and Hypnosisâ€™, looks at evidence relating to the classification of different types of suggestion and the relationship between suggestibility and personality types.
His research led him to conclude that it was necessary to make a distinction between two main factors or types of suggestion. And he found a third.
He said primary suggestion, associated with traditional hypnosis, was a direct command or instruction given to the subject in which the response desired is explicitly stated. In essence, it is the power of mind over body.
Secondary suggestion, he says, is suggestion by indirection or indirect methods, leading to a manipulation of the subjectâ€™s beliefs and expectations.
Then Eysenck adds a third category, prestige suggestion.
This form of suggestion employs the authority, charisma, or â€˜prestigeâ€™ of the hypnotherapist to influence the client.
Many experimental studies demonstrate the tendency of individuals to imitate the attitudes and opinions of others whom they admire or identify with. The prestige, traditionally attached by many to medical practitioners whom they trust, can lead to a social compliance and suggestibility.
In a study on the causes and cures of prejudice using 6,796 male subjects aged between 45 and 55, Eysenck and other researchers found that all sources of prejudice correlated positively together and that each was related to personality.
Importantly, the team found that attempts to change personality through a type of cognitive behaviour therapy led to significant changes in prejudice.
While it took more than two hundred years for hypnotherapy to become incorporated into medical treatment, modern trends show a greater acceptance of this treatment.
Only three years after Britain recognised hypnotherapy as a valid medical treatment, the American Medical Association gave its approval in 1958.
The challenge now would be for Nick Griffin to perhaps visit a qualified hypnotherapist and seek a â€œcureâ€â€¦
The National Council for Hypnotherapy is the UKâ€™s largest independent, not-for-profit governing body for Hypnotherapy practitioners. The high standards it requires for membership ensures that all of our therapists must have achieved a certain level of training and demonstrated competence in practice. In addition all our members are bound by a strict Code of Ethics & Practice, which includes the requirement for Professional Indemnity Insurance.