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Controversy Among Hypnotherapists About Stage Hypnotism!

Posted Under: Hypnosis Blog

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Oh, it looks like I have stirred up a little controversy among hypnotists! As you folks probably know, I’ve been telling everyone who will listen about my friends Tommy Vee and Jerry Valley who are great stage hypnotists, and are conducting a course on stage hypnotism this summer in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I mentioned the cool video of Tommy Vee doing his stage performance on an email group for hypnotists on Yahoo! called Speedy Hypnotic Inductions. And, almost immediately I received a response by a concerned Hypnotherapist. I’ll paraphrase it below. (Oh, by the way, Tommy Vee’s photo is on the left.)
The email from the concerned hypnotherapist went something like this, “I watched the very funny video you wrote about by Tommy Vee. It made me laugh, but afterwards I wondered if such shows help or hurt our profession. Afterall, what other professions use their skills to entertain, not doctors, dentists, accountants, and so on? I think that is a good question. ”


I responded with the following, “You are right. It is a good question! And, I understand your concern, and I gave it a great deal of thought right after I started in the profession. Just so you know, before I became a hypnotherapist, I was a talk-therapist and I have a Masters Degree in Psychology. I am just telling you that so that you will know that I come from a professional background.

Now after 10 years of working full time in the profession I can tell you that from my experience, well done stage hypnosis acts like those of Jerry Valley and Tommy Vee do more to promote hypnosis than most hypnosis organizations do.

I can’t count how many people have called our office and booked an appointment after seeing a stage show and getting excited about the potential that hypnosis has for helping people to change their behavior. Of course there are tasteless shows as well. There are “bad apples” in every profession. But, by and large, I believe that most stage hypnotists help to bring hypnosis to the attention of a population that just doesn’t think about hypnosis very much.

Did you know that Dave Elman, author of the book Hypnotherapy, was a stage hypnotist? And, Elman’s work is highly respected by most leaders in the profession and while he was teaching hypnosis, he only taught doctors and dentists! Ormond McGill, Dean of “American Hypnotists” a well respected and beloved hypnotherapist/hypnotist who passed away last year was a stage hypnotist and did shows into his late 80s at the NGH convention. Dr. Dwight Damon, the president of the National Guild of Hypnotists was also a stage hypnotist. All of whom have contributed a great deal to the profession.

I also understand that Jerry Valley, Tommy Vee’s trainer/mentor/co-instructor has a thriving hypnotherapy practice going in addition to his stage work. He has done a great deal of work with children with ADD/ADHD.

All in all, I believe that stage hypnosis, when done tastefully does the profession a big favor by showing audiences that hypnosis can change behavior and set people free of old limiting behaviors. A good stage show helps to get people thinking, I wonder if hypnosis will work for helping me to stop smoking? Or, maybe I can really overcome my fear of _________ (fill in the blank)?

My stand on this matter is to promote those stage hypnosis professionals who do a good job, and support the trainers who teach new stage hypnotists to do a classy show.

Besides, stage hypnotism is here to stay. I would not want to see the government outlaw it. That would be the kind of oppression I’d hate to see. So with that in mind, let’s all promote a fun and entertaining use of hypnosis which, in the long run serves to promote hypnosis in general.

Speaking of Dave Elman, and keeping with the topic of this group, Dave Elman, probably more than any other hypnotist or hypnotherapist has done more to develop and promote instant and rapid hypnotic inductions, which do a great deal to make our work much more effective and efficient than the slower and less reliable hypnotic inductions that were in existence before his time.

Now, if anyone reading this has not yet gone and taken a look at Tommy Vee’s hilarious video, go ahead and give it a look. You’ll smile, you’ll maybe even laugh. Heck, send it to a friend and let them see how fun hypnosis can be! Here is the link, http://tinyurl.com/nokub“.

Now you can make up your own mind. I vote for stage hypnotism. What do you think?

2 Reader Comments to Controversy Among Hypnotherapists About Stage Hypnotism!

  1. njhypnotist April 10, 2006 at 4:31 PM

    I agree with Cal, the tasteful stage hypnotist (Jerry Valley, Tommy Vee, the late Ormond McGill,etc.)is a tremendous asset to the hypnosis profession. It clearly demonstrates the power of suggestion in a way that mere words cannot. Also, I take exception to the idea that hypnotists are the only profession with a demonstrational/entertaining side. What do you call what Dr. Phil does in front of an audience of millions? Do his viewers really tune in for a somber discussion of mental health issues or is it for the titillation of confronting a promiscous teen or getting the dirt on a conservative businessman who likes to dress like Tinkerbell on the weekends?

  2. Cal Banyan, MA, BCH, CI, FNGH April 10, 2006 at 10:58 PM

    Thanks for you comment! I never even thought of Dr. Phill. And what about all of those physicians, and lawyers who appear on TV, or even have their own shows like Dr. Phill!

    Thanks for you great comment. I want to envite you to participate in the discussion that gave me the idea for this blog entry. Check out, http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/speedyhypnoticinductions/

    Here’s to your success!
    Cal Banyan

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