In the spirit of last years blog “2018’s Biggest Mistake“, I wanted to provide you another free hypnosis lesson in which I call myself out for your benefit.
First and foremost, I write these specific types of lessons for two reasons:
- The hypnosis community is filled with a surprising amount of ego. So much so at times, I look forward to closing out this decade by ending 2019 with an in-depth blog on how it’s impacted me. After all, I’ve seen few publicizing their own faults while happily highlighting the mistakes of other Hypnotists like myself. With over 400 people having joined HypnoKick since December 2016/January 2017, I’m now a trusted teacher (on top of being an entertainer). As such, I do these annual “Mistake” blogs to help keep my ego in check, by proving even the professionals make mistakes.
- This helps me help you. They say it’s better to learn from the mistakes of those who have already traveled your path. Thus, by calling myself out, I’m providing you the opportunity to grow by helping you avoid similar mistakes on your hypnosis journey.
So, let’s begin with set up.
Honestly, it went off without a hitch. There’s nothing to report in this department. I arrived very early, met/set up with the technician on hand and everything was smooth sailing in terms of lighting, music and mic check.
Audience management on the other hand, that’s where I misjudged the situation. There must have been around 700 people in the stadium.
Practically all the floor chairs were taken and much of the lower stadium chair seating was filled after. Being presented with the largest audience I’ve ever had meant one thing…statistically, a higher number of volunteers would likely be present.
This thought process proved true. I had over 50 people laying all over the stadium floor. While having them laying on the floor presented no immediate danger, since everyone else would remain seated and spectate, I didn’t take into account the space I was given.
While the initial induction went fine, I wasn’t considering that (unlike a typical small theater show) I’d have to continuously walk the entire floor to check up on volunteers.
Well, despite giving my usual psychological and physiological safety pre-talk (saying don’t volunteer if you have any serious issues), there were a few ladies who experienced abreactions.
My experience is that women tend to be more in tune with their emotions and body (being hypnotized creates hyper focus on those things). Psychology says when you heavily focus on something, it consumes your mind. As a result, when the ladies experienced their individual abreactions, they didn’t understand how to react and had strong emotional reactions
So while having a huge audience with a slew of volunteers in a large space may sound awesome, I didn’t take into consideration the scale at which abreactions could domino effect.
Granted, some may have had pre-existing conditions which, as per my pre-talk, I had suggested they don’t volunteer. If, however, they simply freaked out to the feeling of being hypnotized for the first time and needed reassurance they were alright, It would’ve been difficult for me to make my way through a stadium of bodies to help them at the drop of a hat.
Fun fact, did you know you’re not supposed to air a full hypnosis demonstration on TV? This is because the process of hypnosis could potentially hypnotize viewers at home and if, God forbid, something went terribly wrong, lawsuits could commence.
Likewise, it’s a terrible idea to live record for the internet or live project for a live audience. The venue had a cameraman live record the entire induction and what commenced as hypnotized volunteers went on stage and started the show.
The result? People in the audience were no more clear of hypnotic influence than those laying on the floor with their eyes closed listening to my voice. Everyone could hear the music & my voice, meaning those sitting in the audience (and seeing the reactions of the volunteers) were no more “safe from being hypnotized” than the volunteers themselves.
Result now? Progressive mass hysteria.
- Always give your safety talk: At the very least, if someone with some psychological and/or physiological issues volunteers and has a negative reaction (aka abreaction), you can say they went against your safety speech. This part of the pre-talk is meant to simultaneously help inform audiences of the potential danger they face should they choose not to abide by your precautions. For those unaware, the basic safety speech is provided in HypnoKick’s free hypnosis eBook via the “Training” tab.
- Audience management: While having a slew of willing/eager volunteers is an awesome feeling, this lesson proves it can go awry quickly. Instead, I should have filtered the volunteer count down to about 20 or 30 and have them all lay in the front, between the audience and my stage. This would have given me full view of everyone, helping me ensure everyone was on the same page and safe. If one or a few began experiencing any abreactions, I would’ve spotted it quickly and handled it accordingly to ensure their safety while keeping the flow of the show. This wasn’t possible with my having everyone sprawled everywhere and having to power walk around the stadium floor. Lastly, to ensure you can attend to any volunteer(s) that may experience an abreaction, have volunteers space themselves out if you end up doing a floor induction. Though, as I’m sure many Hypnotists would agree, designating the first row or two of audience seating for volunteers would be most ideal. Proceeding with your induction in this manner allows ample room for you to move through the venue and immediately attend to people (if required) with ease.
- Avoid live projections: Had I considered that the university’s decision to live project my performance would produce similar potential danger to the audience as TV stations live recording a show for folks at home, I wouldn’t have allowed it. I was simply excited to end my successful University Welcome Week Tour & impressed there were even projection screens to begin with (allowing students in the back to see what was happening up front). Since this specific lapse of judgement wasn’t considered by the university, all blame was placed on me. If you’re thinking this detail didn’t matter because people in the audience would’ve been hypnotized regardless since they too could hear my voice, let me explain. Most people are visual and as a visual communicator/learner, people will sometimes follow suite with what they see others doing (much like growing up to realize the way you act and your mannerisms mimic your parents). Therefore, it’s possible an audience member feeling weirdly affected by the hypnosis induction may see me on the projector screen helping someone with an abreaction and develop an abreaction themselves. As stated earlier, I’ve noticed women tend to be more in tune with their emotions. Almost all of the students affected at this show were women who already felt on edge with the hypnosis and developed their own abreactions after hearing/seeing others experience abreactions. Terrible domino effect.
- Personal Attendance: While I’m not surprised my efforts went unreported, I did attend to all the negatively affected students by the end of the evening. The cameraman kept projecting, abreactions continued forming/reforming and despite having a group of students on stage/reacting to the hypnosis regularly, we cut the performance short. The majority of the student body present was unaffected and I personally brought some students back to my dressing room. I spoke with each of them individually before reassuring them they were always in control and could go back to their dorms with a friend/dorm mate. One gentleman actually went from upset to smiling, shaking my hand and thanking me. Others, however, had greater difficulty convincing themselves they were alright. Interesting fact, for anyone who believe hypnosis is BS and doesn’t help anyone, we had police and medics on site. One woman was hooked up to a heart rate monitor and after about 60 seconds following my guidance for basic hypnosis (aka relaxation), her rate rate went from over triple digits to around 90. I taught several of the student staff members techniques to help their peers control their breathing and psychological state. At the end of the evening, with the help of the university staff, everyone made it back to their respective quarters for the night safely. So, even if your performance seems flawless, check up on your volunteers after to double check their well-being. There have been a few venues where organizers have thanked me for this alone because other Hypnotists have disregarded the personal touch if there were no outright abreactions mid-show.
If you follow this week’s lesson to the T, you shouldn’t ever have to experience the nightmare I lived with for weeks afterwards.
Having toured this type of hypnosis show throughout the United States for High Schools, Universities, festivals and the like without issue for years left me confident. All it took was this incident to instill the worst anxiety I had had in a long time.
From avoiding all social media and barely leaving my room for days except to primarily use the bathroom, I lost weight, had issues resting & felt like the world was closing in. I could only imagine how those who experienced abreactions felt. For that reason, I actually told one news source I wouldn’t interview because I found it insensitive and didn’t want to remind those affected of the situation and make them re-live it. I’m sure they wanted to move on, just like I did.
Build yourself a strong support system whether it’s with family, friends and/or in-field colleagues you get along with. Building yourself such a community will help build you up professionally and stay afloat personally.
Understandably, this may be a heavy blog for a complete beginner. If you’re a beginner wanting to learn the basics for free and/or to start mastering hypnosis from home today, Check This Out 🙂