Stage hypnosis is a show performance for entertainment purposes, usually in a theatre or club. The main noticeable difference between Stage Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy is their aim.
One is therapeutic, and the other is commercial entertainment. And there is nothing wrong with it. My only problem with Stage Hypnosis is that it tends to creates a misconception about what is hypnosis and hypnotherapy. For that reason, I think it’s essential to evaluate the relationship between comedy stage hypnosis and modern hypnotherapy.
Most people seeking help from a hypnotherapist have a distorted image of hypnosis.
This image comes from movies and also shows of hypnosis.
They tend to make people believe that hypnosis is a loss of control and that they can push us to do things you do not want to do. They also tend to make people think that hypnotherapy is a magic wand that can quickly remove your problems without effort.
Many stage hypnotists have a magician or illusionist background and use the same kinds of tricks to mislead the audience.
The problem is that during a “magic” show, nobody believes that the magician has really cut the lady into two parts on stage. Nobody believes that he has disappeared, or make an object float in the air.
During a stage hypnosis exhibition, the hypnotist not always (rarely in fact) addresses the fact that there are tricks.
Some methods are commonly misleading the audience and also contribute to disappointment when they come to hypnotherapy in search of a magic “quick fix.” What strategies and techniques are used in stage hypnosis to mislead the audience?
YES, Stage hypnosis does have methods in common with hypnotherapy, and some people on stage can be undergoing real hypnosis.
The techniques used with misleading or deceptive effect number in the many, but some of the most common are the following:
Private whispers ruse – e.g., speaking into a microphone connected to the subject’s ear and soliciting their cooperation, asking them to play along.
Stage hypnotists employ fake hypnosis tricks, aka “Hypnotrix”. The ball under the arm to simulate a stopped pulse, to the plank trick are some of them.
A whole repertoire of methods is gathered and described in McGill’s book, “The new encyclopedia of stage hypnosis.”
Use of stooge – Ensuring one stooge is enough to respond first to suggestions during the show. This is a perfect example of a role modelling effect, as other participants will tend to follow hypnotic suggestions more readily after.
Failure to challenge – This is a well-known trick that people in the audience tend not to notice. Stage hypnotists do not challenge their subjects into going against their suggestions, but that is a “trick.”
Can hypnotherapists usefully learn from stage hypnosis?
In my opinion, Yes! I think it is the interest of hypnotherapists to study stage hypnosis and to familiarise with common “Hypno-tricks”. It would allow them to address the misconceptions and the presuppositions of people who have perhaps attended stage shows. It is also crucial that whether we like it or not, hypnosis is the art of delivering suggestions successfully. We have to admit that stage hypnotists can be very good at gaining and maintaining people’s attention, which could be helpful even in legitimate practice.
Two techniques used in stage hypnosis are selection and compliance. Neither is automatically misleading for the audience, and they can be useful for the hypnotherapist as well. Hypnotherapists proceed to a kind of choice too. Not all the people can benefits from hypnosis the same way and that some factors ( severity of symptoms, functional impairment, the willingness to change of the client and his midset …) can affect the potential outcomes. Compliance, i.e., social compliance, is also an important thing. Hypnotherapist often uses role modelling as skill training which can be seen as a form of compliance.
I advice you to read the book I mentioned earlier “The new encyclopedia of stage hypnosis.” of McGill If you want to learn more about that subject.Learn More