Hypnosis has gained a lot of attention over the years. It has also begun to establish itself as a highly effective method of treatment for behavioral issues such as depression, alcoholism and weight control. And just like any other popular commodity, it has its share of controversy. One of the most controversial topics going around is the issue of stage hypnosis or hypnosis for entertainment.
Stage hypnotists and those who believe in taking the art of hypnotism into the world of entertainment argue that performing hypnosis on stage brings it to the attention of a wider audience. They claim that stage hypnosis makes it more accessible and helps to convince more people of its effectiveness as a method of habit control and medical treatment option. In fact, a lot of hypnotists who have been practicing hypnosis as a form of therapy have already taken it to the stage as well.
On the other hand, those who oppose stage hypnosis say that it is being used in a wrong way. They call this practice exploitative and manipulative, saying that subjects who are primarily there just to watch the show are forced to participate onstage. They are also apprehensive that taking hypnosis into the entertainment world will devalue it, as people may view it more as magic and less as therapy. Until now, this is still one of the gray areas of hypnosis.
Whichever side you are on, it cannot be denied that stage hypnosis does attract the attention of a lot of people and it does in fact encourage some to know more about hypnosis itself. Throughout the years, there have been many public demonstrations of the art of hypnosis which is often followed by an offer of private consultation with the featured hypnotist. However, the solid reputation that stage hypnosis was starting to gain, as well as the reputation of hypnosis in general was tarnished by some fake stage hypnotists who were only out to profit from its popularity.
The controversy even heightened in the United Kingdom such that a Hypnotism Act was put in place to protect the public from the actions of unscrupulous fake hypnotists. Furthermore, a panel of experts was tasked to conduct a study on the possible harms resulting from stage hypnosis back in 1994. Their report stated that there was no sign of any significant risk to those who participate in hypnosis performed for entertainment. These findings ensured the continued popularity for hypnosis in entertainment until now.
Perhaps the reason why a lot of hypnosis practitioners are still opposed to stage hypnosis despite its popularity among the mainstream population is that depictions of hypnosis on TV and Film are often inaccurate. This can cause a number of people to develop a baseless fear of hypnosis. The biggest fear that it injects in people is the fear that the hypnotist can take total control of the subject’s actions. It does make a story more entertaining, but it is absolutely untrue. These and other assumptions have to be taken out of any hypnotism performed on stage so as to ensure that hypnosis maintains a credible reputation.