I saw the first episode of E4’s Look Into My Eyes the other day. I thought it lacked something. Stage hypnosis is the same psychology as what I do but a different delivery which I am not well practised in but I felt his performance was good but the gags were disappointing. I smiled a couple of times and laughed once at the boxer trying to protect a football from harm because he thought it had feelings but none of gags really went anywhere.
There was a filler gag where Archie Manners hypnotises a man at a cafe table next to him and borrows money, his shoe, his shirt, his wife’s telephone number and his wedding ring. I thought this was cheap and unconvincing. He used a very rapid induction, along the lines of “look into my eyes” which is unlikely to work on anyone but a very few without set-up and the gag promotes everything that some people distrust about hypnosis – that hypnotists can do anything that they want with you.
Then we get to the end section of the show. A guy who is terrified of heights, hypnotised, put into a deep trance and transported to a platform up a mountain where he can zip line up to 200 mph from several hundred feet in the air.
The subject was not happy to be ‘woken up’ there but then the Archie puts him back into trance and straps him in. When he wakes up this time he is trussed up, attached to a zip line and facing down into the valley. He is understandable unhappy and starts to say he does not want to do this. He is ‘zapped’ back into trance with a gesture and then given the suggestion that on a count from 10 to 0 all the fear he has always experienced for heights will disappear. On opening his eyes again he looks down at the valley and says with quite a bit of enthusiasm – “let’s do this!”
This is interesting but does give people the opinion that hypnosis is that easy. I would be interested if he remained without a fear of heights after the show had finished, and it is entirely possible that he did, but there is a chance that he didn’t. He was still in hypnosis when they let him go on the zip so there is a chance that once out of hypnosis is fear is still there.
The subject was a somnambulist – in the trade that’s what we call someone who is extremely good at being hypnotised – and so a suggestion this simple may work on him, but in order to make the change stick outside of hypnosis often requires more pattern changing. This is especially the case with anyone that is not as good at hypnosis as him but is also true for some somnambulists.
Often the suggestions we make to free someone from a fear for example needs to fit the framework of their mind so there is no contradiction to the new way of thinking otherwise things can unravel.
I do get the odd client who enquires or comes for a session that expects to be basically put to sleep and the wake up a changed person. This is very rare and you’ll be pleased to know that generally more art and care is taken than that to achieve your change over the long term. And often it takes more to hypnotise you than an instruction to look into my eyes.