Now here is something incredibly positive and progressive in the field of hypnosis in relation to the law in the US. In addition to my highlighting a particular case last week, in Texas a website has run a story about their local Sheriff Gary Painter. Gary and his law enforcement team use forensic hypnosis to help people remember details about crimes or their experiences in relation to certain crimes…

I am naturally delighted with the exposure and the value being placed upon hypnosis, though I am just a tad concerned about the efficacy and the way hypnosis is used in such cases… Let me explain…

Here is what this hypnosis article at had to say:

It’s a technique you might expect at a spa, not the local jail house, but for more than 20 years Sheriff Gary Painter says forensic hypnosis is a tool used to solve crimes.

“It’s a very good tool,” Captain Rory Mckinney, who took the course in Huntsville last month, said.  “There are a lot of things people see and don’t remember.”

McKinney is now one of three in the Midland County Sheriff’s Office, licensed to perform investigative hypnosis.

“Hypnosis works, there is no doubt in my mind hypnosis works, but it only works if that individual will let it,” Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter, said.

Painter says the technique is used to illicit information in a criminal case when witnesses or crime victims can’t remember details of a crime due to shock.

“Homicides, robberies, rapes, anything where there has been a traumatic experience there is a chance there can be some evidence recovered or memory brought back that would assist in the investigation,” Painter said.

Sheriff Painter says a landmark appeal case back in the 1980’s outlined the guidelines used today. Sheriff Painter says since he became licensed back in 1987, he has gone through annual training.

“It was something that was coming along in the state of Texas that I want to be a part of,” Sheriff Painter said.

He brought it to West Texas as yet another avenue to investigate.

Sheriff Painter once served as President of the Texas Association for Investigative Hypnotists, a non-profit organization dedicated to continuing education on the topic.

During a session, the investigator must record the process and know nothing about the case.

“You just talk to an individual and you just guide them through the hypnosis, you take them to a deep state of relaxation,” Sheriff Painter said.

Hmmm… I am not sure about this… Any good hypnotist worth their salt will tell you that hypnosis is not about relaxation and certainly does not need to be so, so I worry when this is given as the mainstay of it’s application.

Secondly, I am still concerned at the lack of evidence on the efficacy of this application of hypnosis…

Finally, I would love to examine procedure involved here… Because if it is actually he law enforcement team employing the techniques, then surely they have a belief invested in the case, they have a slant and they are not likely to be totally value free… Even the tiniest of nuances amongst even the most evolved and neutrally thinking individual is going to pollute the process, in my opinion…

I am going to be interested in seeing how this goes and hope to read more about it soon…