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Our Profession Should Reach Out to Non-Whites

Posted Under: Hypnosis Blog,Hypnosis Manifesto

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Too-Many-Whites-jpg.jpgI don’t know, is it just me or does it seem like 99% of all hypnotists and hypnotherapists are white people?  After years of training hypnotherapists, I would estimate that only about 5% of the students in the classes I have taught in the USA were “non-whites.”  And, I would go further and say that only about 1% were African American.  (Before we moved to California in May of last year [2006], our school was located in Minneapolis, Minnesota where the ratio of whites to non-whites was much greater than the one represented in my classes.)

It is interesting to note that, when I teach in Singapore, the classes are much more racially mixed.  The reason for this is obvious, the country of Singapore is made up of mostly non-whites.  I would estimate that in my classes in Singapore, the ratio of races that are in attendence pretty much match the ratios of the population of that country.  I can’t help but wonder why that isn’t so in the USA.


It appears that this racial imbalance exists outside of my classes.  As this imbalance can also be observed at national hypnosis events that are held in the eastern, western and midwestern areas of the country.

If this imbalance does exist as it seems to, I would suggest that the profession should look into this.  If my assertion is correct, we should begin an organized effort to bring more non-whites into the profession.  A very good reason for doing this is that we will be able to better serve a greater number of people in the country, because having more people from every race trained and certified in hypnosis, will tend help to make our services widely available to more people.

Furthermore, if this imbalance does exist, reaching out to all races would be the right thing to do.

So, with this being said, I believe that we, as a profession needs to study the topic and see if this observation is correct.  If it is, then we need to look for ways in which we can begin to pierce this invisible barrier that seems to be keeping non-whites away, and keep our profession from becoming more racially balanced.

I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

14 Reader Comments to Our Profession Should Reach Out to Non-Whites

  1. Steve R. January 21, 2007 at 10:43 AM

    Great observation Cal. I don’t think it’s just you. I definitely get the feeling that hypnosis is currently thought of as a “white people” thing, at least in the US. Talk about self-limiting beliefs! This is a shame since something so powerful should be shared with as many people as possible. I think if a hypnotist of a certain ethnicity could market their services to their own group, this could be a good niche strategy in certain markets.

    Maybe a group like the NGH could send out a voluntary survey to find out the ethnic backgrounds of not only the hypnotists themselves, but estimates of their client makeup. Once this is measured, then it can be improved through some sort of outreach.

  2. Gil Boyne January 21, 2007 at 9:12 PM

    I agree with your perception Cal. In more than forty years of teaching hypnotherapy, less than 1/10th of one percent of more than 7,000 students have been Afro-American. I have frequently stated that the Black Nation in the USA
    has been brainwashed (hypnotized)by politicans and black “leaders” to accept beliefs that perpetuate their underdog status. These “leaders” have hijacked and distorted the liberating messages of Dr. Martin Luther King to maintain their influence.
    I believe that a few hundred black hypnotherapists in the USA could create a new and transforming self-image that would spawn a new generation of leaders.
    With Respect to those who have earned it! Gil Boyne

  3. Teresa Hill January 22, 2007 at 11:46 AM

    This is a wonderful topic of discussion. I am fairly new to the hypnosis industry, but racial inequality has always been a subject of interest for me. I am wondering if you notice the same ratio difference in the clients you see as well? I have been planning to contact the Chicago Abused Woman’s Coalition to see if I can give a class on Self Hypnosis for Self Esteem. I have worked in the non-profit industry in Metro Chicago for the last seven years and am expecting the class will be mostly non-whites. (Thank you for not using the word ‘minorities’) I don’t expect to get an influx of client referrals from this class, but I think it would be great to help these women and their children to build their self esteem and to spread the word about hypnosis. Who knows, maybe they will decide to become hypnotists themselves. Thank you Cal for such an interesting topic.

  4. Cal Banyan, MA, BCH, CI, FNGH January 22, 2007 at 5:37 PM

    First off, I want to thank everyone who has responded so far to this entry on the blog.

    Let me respond to your comments in the order that they were received.

    Steve, I agree with you as well. I hope that the NGH will look further into this matter and perhaps conduct the research that you suggested. I have it from a reliable source that some of the leadership of the NGH read my blog from time to time, so hopefully we will get some input from them as well.

    By the way, I want to mention that the NGH is taking some significant steps to reach out to Spanish speaking people in the USA and around the world. I noticed that at the convention there are now some talks and workshops given in Spanish and their training materials are now available in Spanish! The NGH is usually “ahead of the curve” as they say, on these kinds of things.

    Mr. Boyne, it was wonderful receiving a comment from you. I am also pleased to hear that your observation matches mine, with regard to the imbalance, and lack of non-whites both working in our profession and benefiting from it. And, I concur with your statements and would extend what you said by stating that the members of every race, religion, ethnicity, around the world would benefit both as a group and individually by using hypnosis and hypnotherapy.

    While I am at it, I want to publicly thank you for the work you have done to both develop and promote the profession. Thank you, for all you have done, and I hope to meet you in person some day.

    Teresa, thank you for your kind comments about my initiating this topic. And, in answer to your question, I would say that about the same imbalance exists in my clientele as well.

    I want to encourage you to contact the Chicago Abused Woman’s Coalition, or any other organization that you feel interested in working with to help spread the word.

    By the way, while we are at it, I want to once again express my desire to hear suggestions about how we can promote the profession to non-white people in the USA.

    Thanks again for commenting,
    Cal

  5. Steve R. February 2, 2007 at 12:06 AM

    Hi, I ran across this study published on a US Dept of Education website and thought I would pass it along, it’s regarding hypnotizability among black college students:

    http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/Home.portal?_nfpb=true&ERICExtSearch_Descriptor=%22Hypnosis%22&_pageLabel=RecordDetails&objectId=0900000b80176ff2&accno=ED470013&_nfls=false

    To be honest with you I don’t understand much of it (aside from the general point of the abstract) as I do not grok statistical stuff too well, but I’m sure you can understand what they’re talking about.

    PS. I ran across this govt site (which has a ton of other interesting material on hypnosis) because I was trying to find the source of something I read elsewhere regarding a University of Northern Arizona study showing hypnosis improving test scores. Have not been able to find this study online; I think in general it’d be better to link to the published study or at least name the authors and publication when mentioning studies like that. Many clients will be saavy enough to ask to see the source of facts that are cited. Oh well that is just a pet peeve of mine, sorry for the off-topic tangent.

    Thanks again for raising this important issue about making hypnosis a more diverse (and more marketable!) field.

  6. Steve R. February 2, 2007 at 12:09 AM

    Im so sorry, I wrecked the layout of this HTML page by pasting that huge URL, and i cant figure out how to edit the post!

    Here is the TinyURL version: http://tinyurl.com/39cdkn

  7. Fauziah Shah, MA, HBCE, BCH, CI February 2, 2007 at 12:59 AM

    Hi Cal,you have touched on a sensitive topic which
    most people would just avoid.You mentioned that there
    is a right mix of races when you teach the certification
    class in Singapore. However as a practising hypnotherapist
    and trainer in Singapore, I find that almost all my clients
    happen to belong to one particular race-Chinese, althouogh I
    am an Indian Singaporean. One would have thought that I would
    attract more Indians or maybe Malays as I am also a Muslim but
    no, I keep attracting the Chinese. So I believe there must be
    something else going on like cultural and religious beliefs of
    some racial groups. I know you are more concerned about what’s
    happening in USA but more people in Singapore needs to be
    educated about hypnosis too so that they will come forward.

  8. J.B. February 23, 2007 at 9:09 AM

    Hi Cal,

    As a ‘non-white’ hypnotist I agree with your observation and I applaud you for touching on the subject. Reaching out to a broader spectrum of races & cultures is something that would only benefit our profession.

    At the same time, beyond the sometimes ridiculous constraints of ‘Political Correctness’, as a hypnotist (like you) who understands the power of the nuances of language, I might suggest the term ‘non-white’ isn’t the best when referring to people of other ethnic or racial backgrounds.

    Perhaps Eldridge Cleaver isn’t the bastion of tolerance and understanding we should look up to but I think he may have a point when he said of the term “non-white”:

    “The very words that we use indicate that we have set a premium on the Caucasian ideal… When discussing interracial relations, we speak of ‘white people’ and ‘non-white people.’ Notice that that particular choice of words gives precedence to ‘white people’…making them a center–a standard– to which “non-white” bears a negative relation. Notice the different connotation when we turn around and say “colored’ and ‘non-colored’ or ‘black’ or non-black’.”

    As UW Professor Haig Bosmajian, author of “The Language of Oppression” noted “It’s more than etiquette, it’s power.”

    Language… it’s a funny thing.

    All the Best

  9. GregG May 10, 2007 at 12:39 PM

    J.B.
    I think perhaps you misunderstood Cal’s use of the word “non-white”. Even the quote you provided is of a different context. If Cal were speaking of simply “blacks” and “whites” then it would be entirely different. Instead though, he was referring to ALL races.

    Your right, using the term “non-black” would have a different connotation; in fact, it would completely change the meaning.

    The point Cal was making is that the OVERWHELMING majority of hypnotists are in fact white. You can’t use the term “non-black” or “non-colored” to refer to them, because that would simply leave out the many other races. However, in reverse, since the bulk are in fact white, you can use the term “non-white” which encapsulates all other races… Hopefully you can understand the point I’m making here?

    What term would you determine better to refer to the rest of the entire population that is not “white” or “caucasian” ???

  10. Brian David Phillips May 28, 2007 at 8:45 AM

    Well, most of the hypnotists I meet on a regular basis are not white . . . but I live in Asia. 🙂 However, as far as the US goes, I strongly agree that more outreach needs to be made . . . in hypnosis and in all helping professions. I would also agree that the most accurate term to use is non-white in the context of your post.

  11. Susan French May 4, 2009 at 11:15 PM

    I’ve noticed that for a long time. Thank you for giving us a way to help. How can we do it other than support it and be aware?

  12. Cal Banyan, MA, BCH, CI, FNGH May 5, 2009 at 10:15 AM

    Hi Susan and Everyone,

    Now you can join http://www.OurHypnoSpace.com and become a member of our group discussion. There we can consider ideas and actions we use to improve racial balance in our profession.

    Here is a direct link,
    http://www.ourhypnospace.com/grp.php?action=group&ID=37

    Cal

  13. ClintClay May 9, 2009 at 11:59 AM

    Cal:

    This has been a long time concern of mine, especially as I speak from the “deep south” where segregation held fast for so long. My concern is across the board, churches, civic clubs and organizations, etc. etc. I was one of those “white” who spoke out when it was unpopular to do so, sometimes even scary. In the pre-1960s my profession could not have meetings in public places, except federal facilities, because we social workers were always an integrated group. I well remember one occasion when Governor Lurleen Wallace, wife of the infamous George Wallace, called a meeting of mental health professionals, presidents of mental health professional organizations, and civic leaders who supported mental health. She asked that we give ideas on improving mental health programs, and especially in getting well trained staff for the clinics and in-patient programs.

    Wonderful high flung ideal suggestions for more adequate funding, etc were presented. As the president of the Alabama Chapter of Social Work I presented the dilemma of of denying many competent and well trained professional social workers who had departed Alabama and the South to get jobs on the west coast and in the North because they were Black and denied employment by the respective state merit systems. Afterwards the then president of the State Psychological Association commended me for my “courage” to broach such an idea.

    Well, at least my professional organization is well represented by minority groups. the state conferences and conventions I now attend are almost equally represented by Black and White. However, I do not see this with respect to the hypnosis groups, the energy psychology groups,etc. It is not taking place in our churches, community performance groups etc.

    Yes, we have a problem and I do support the suggestion that we reach out in the giving of programs to minority churches, colleges, civic groups, etc.

    As a hypnosis trainer (NBCCH), I gave a scholarship (6o hours of hypnosis training) to a black graduate student and recently a black social worker/Baptist preacher wrote me of his appreciation for my being in his life and of his desire to enroll in future training. We must remember that after years of exclusion, legally and otherwise, we have years of segregation history to overcome.

    It behooves all of us to reach out and to begin the long overdue healing.

    Clint

  14. Cal Banyan, MA, BCH, CI, FNGH May 9, 2009 at 12:54 PM

    Hi Clint – Thanks for your positive and thoughtful comment! I hope you will join our group on http://www.OurHypnoSpace.com and re-post your comment there! Your insights and experience will be a great resource.

    Thanks – Cal

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