WHEN `ACTING BECOMES REALITY'

Stage hypnotism is potentially dangerous even though it depends mostly on the exhibitionism of those taking part, according to experts on the medical uses of hypnotism.

Dr Hamilton Gibson, the president of the British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis, believes that ``some people love an excuse to be exhibitionists on stage and do daft things which they wouldn't normally do.'' But, he warned, there are aboutten to 15 per cent of the population who are genuinely susceptible.

The performance aspect was emphasised also by Dr Michael Heap, lecturer in clinical hypnotism at Sheffield University, ``In the end there may not be a real distinction between acting and reality for those who go into trances during stage hypnotism acts, '' he said Such people ''have a genuine experience of getting deeply involved in the hypnotist's suggestions.'' They get so profoundly caught up, he believes, that they suspend normality.

Georges Philips, a hypnoanalyst, also believes that ``no one can be hypnotised against their own will. Nobody would do anything that they would not consciously do.'' He believes hypnosis is a natural phenomenon, in between being asleep and awake.

The hypnotic trance is where someone gets immersed in something that is going on inside them, according to Dr Heap. It can be imagination, memory or fantasy, with the hypnotist orchestrating the experiences.

Hypnotism has two main applications in conventional medical practice. One is to make suggestions which will alter people's experiences: the way they think, feel and behave.

The second use is based on the assumption that people in a trance are more in touch with things below the level of common emotions. There are case studies showing that under hypnosis people can get access to emotions which have been partly suppressed. DrHeap cited the example of a trauma, recent or past, which is there but is too anxiety provoking to be accessible normally.

Dr Gibson stressed that practitioners should use hypnosis only as an adjunct to their normal professional expertise. ``There is no such thing as hypnotherapy. It's humbug. You can't hypnotise people's ills away.''

All three called for tighter regulation of stage hypnosis acts.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore