Some hypnotic entertainers boast credentials obtained from unofficial "cottage industry courses", online "diploma mills" and "hypnotherapy" colleges, but very few have a recognised Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from a chartered UK university. I do!
Some hypnotic entertainers are members of Equity, hypnotists associations (such as FESH) or performers unions. Very few (in fact no others that I know of) are members of the British Psychological Society, the officially endorsed representative body of professional psychologists in the UK. I am!
Some hypnotists have experience of very large venues but not performing with limited selections of volunteers in constrained environments. I have!
I have performed for major corporate clients (Lloyds, Halifax, Primark, Unilever, Sun Alliance, Alamo), small and medium businesses, in student theatres, private villas, night-clubs, restaurants, bars and pubs, of every variety with the entire spectrium of social milieu. Over a thousand sessions in my first decade. In Britain and more recently in Europe.
Credentials aside, it is this range and extent of sustained experience that counts.
On a web forum I blithely commented on the number of people I had hypnotised. Someone privately sent me a message wondering if I had over-estimated. So I sat there and worked it out, in what became a detailed reply. This was my reply:
"Well, lets see, Started hypnotising 1990. For the first year mostly "waking suggestion" rather than full hypnotising, so we wont count that. From 91 to 93 still "building up", hypnotising between 3 and 10 people a week ( roughly ). Just practising. So if we say 5 on average per week, that'd be roughly 250 in that period. However, that was only about a quarter of the subjects I worked with in all ( including unsuccesful or responsive to suggestion but declined to be hypnotised ). So about 250 hypnotised out of 1000 worked with.
In 93 about ten of my first actual shows, only about a hundred volunters but very high ratio of those hypnotised to those not, so about 80/100.
However, from 94 to about 99 an average of about ten shows a month. Thats about 120 a year or 600 the period. Averaging about 15 volunteers of whom about 8 hypnotised and 7 not. Thats about 600 shows. That is ROUGHLY 5000 / 9000 .
From 2000 til now averaging 8 shows a month, or roughly 100 a year. Thats 900 shows roughly, averaging at least 5 hypnotised out of ten candidates per show, is about 4,500 hypnotised out of about 9000 worked with.
Adding those last two time periods together we come to roughly 9,500 hypnotised out of about 18,000 worked with. Adding the previous odds and ends brings us up to about a round ten thousand hypnotised and many more than that worked with up to a lesser degree.
The criterion of "hypnotised" here is succesful induction leading to responding positively to a suggested rigidity in one arm ( which they cannot bend when challenged to ), suggested weight which cannot be lifted and suggested "balloon" which cannot be pulled down. Also, usually, post-hypnotic re-hypnotising by cue and positive reports from the subject that they experienced a sense of compulsion in these sensations. I emphasise, it is only a subjective sensation. Its all in THEIR mind. No such compulsion actually occurs. But "success" is when they are convinced that it has.
Nonetheless, even having passed this level, many succesful candidates I end up not using in the actual show, for various reasons. Often they are hypnotised easily "out back" but dont want to continue to the actual performance. One like this last week was positively terrified of doing it again ( OR SO HE SAID?????? ). In all, I usually end up relying on a third of the original number evaluated.These subjects obviously are the ones that are, in traditional or conventional ways of putting it, take to the greatest possible "depth" and demonstrated the fullest publicly practicable range of hypnotic "phenomena":hallucination, delusion, identification with suggested characters etc. Like other hypnotists, when I started I believed these acts as well, but I realised that I shouldnt after about the 100th subject and never have since. That my job involves getting the subject to believe it doesnt mean that I have to myself.
Oh, I have also hypnotised people in a fetish club.
I cannot remember if in my comment I said I had "hypnotised 10,000 people" or had as a hypnotist "worked with 10,000 people". Clearly, if it was the former, it could hardly be an over-estimate, whilst ifit was the latter, it was surely an under-estimate."
In any discussion of "hypnosis" I place some store in the fact that few who discuss the matter have anything like the degree of experience that I do. But experience is subjective. It is only useful in countering arguments based in themselves on experience, or lack of. Vastly more important is the scientific literature on the topic.
Words for search: Bristol, Bristol hypnotist, Bristol hypnotism, Bristol hypnosis, Bristol hypnotherapy, Bristol hypnoanalysis, Bristol stage hypnotist, " I Can't Believe it's NOT Hypnosis ", CBT, NLP, Erickson, Ericksonian, expert, author, writer, science, sceptic, sceptical hypnotist, psychological illusionist.