It has been quite a while since I wrote about hypnosis stories featuring in the news, because there has not been a huge amount happening in the field that has made it into the mainstream media.

However, a case I referred to earlier int he year has started to gather some more momentum and I wanted to mention it.

This hypnosis article in the Sarasota Herald Tribune with the headline “Lawyer suggests teen’s death caused by hypnosis” which would not seem to bode well in the portrayal of hypnosis. Not a million miles away from some things I discussed in my previous blog entry about Derren Brown’s TV show, such a case highlights the difficulties in isolating what was caused by hypnosis, if anything and what would have happened anyway… Lawyer Robert Widman is considering trying to show that incorrect useage of hypnosis by an unlicensed (unlicensed as a hypnosis professional, as legally required in the US) former school principal contributed to the death of a school student.

The parents of the boy who died are considering suing as a result of this as you can also read about here in this other hypnosis article by the same newspaper.

How do you prove that hypnosis from a school teacher in some way contributed to a teenage driver fatally crashing into a tree? Insurance companies have enhanced premiums for teenage drivers as a result of the number of accidents that occur when they are driving. Maybe it is because of the way they tend to drive and are easily distracted without a great deal of experience at the wheel?

What’s more, the teenager who sadly died in this case was driving with his girlfriend following a visit to the dentist where he had received some painkilling medication. Why is that not being placed under the same scrutiny by the lawyer?

The girlfriend survived and has talked about how Marcus got “a faraway look on his face” just before the crash and the lawyer, Widman, suggests this could be because of the hypnosis he was having to deal with his pain, as administered by his school principal, George Kenney.

The reason I wrote about this man earlier in the year was because another student at the school committed suicide earlier this year and many questioned the use of hypnosis by the principal then too. Some attempted to blame the use of hypnosis.

As the newspaper article suggests; “there have been no allegations that he tried to do anything but help students. Usually he used hypnotism to help them relax and perform better during tests and athletic events. Usually he had parental permission.”

Here is the crux of the matter though, the article states the following:
“Kenney has acknowledged using hypnotism to help Marcus control pain so that it wouldn’t distract him during football games. And, Kenney has said, he started teaching the quarterback to hypnotize himself.
So what?
Widman, the lawyer and hypnotism skeptic, says he has no idea if Marcus learned that technique correctly, or if it really eases pain. But that’s not the point, he says. The point is that Kenney’s unauthorized sessions — while acting in a professional capacity as principal without a license to use hypnotism professionally — convinced Marcus that it would work.
And, as far as we know, he never told Marcus not to use it while driving.
So, Widman argues, it is perfectly plausible, even for people who aren’t sure hypnotism does anything at all, to think a teenager might have totally lost focus on the road while trying to use that pain-control technique.
“It’s quite likely that he would have done self-hypnosis,” because such a well-liked authority figure taught it to him and presented it as a great and safe thing to do, Widman said.”

Hmmm… I am going to watch how this plays out but surely we can’t be blaming self-hypnosis in this way, can we? Everyone knows that you have to pay attention at the wheel and what about people who have spent a long time on any road who get a bit ‘tranced out’ at the wheel and often forget to take turns and even wonder how they arrived at their destination?

On a lighter note, I had to laugh loudly at the headline “Brad Quitt” in one source for this story(note the double ‘t’ on the end of that, hahaha) because Brad Pitt had been caught smoking by his family who were telling him to stop. He has now stopped and one of the things he used along the way was hypnotherapy, great news.  You can read about it here and then here in the Sun too.

Also, I see a lady who used to drink seven pints of diet coke a day for seven years has stopped doing so with the help of hypnotherapy too. Though how on earth she did not pop at some stage during those years beats me. You can read about the former coke swigger and her help with hypnotherapy here at the Telegraph.

That is it then, the blog will gradually return to its usual self after a few unusual weeks now… I shall not tell you what on earth is going on here, but here is a picture of one of my current students and I on my diploma course last weekend… No, I am not doing some highly unsubtle mirroring and matching. No, we are not doing a two man hypnosis stage show and are tractor driving in some way… Though anyone sending me the funniest comedy caption will receive a prize…