The New Encyclopedia of Stage Hypnosis
By Ormond McGill
Crown House Publishing Limited, Bancyfelin, Wales
ISBN: 9781899836024 1996, reprinted 2009 604 pages £45
I am not advocating revision of the Society’s policy of barring entertainment hypnotists, but historically stage performers have made a huge contribution to training therapeutic hypnotists, and the bookjacket blurb promises ‘widespread therapeutic applications as well’.
The volume is illustrated with reasonable line drawings and poorly reproduced photographs. Over half the book is devoted to entertaining, and is interesting as a note of what has been done in the past but it does not cover modern performances. The first part, covering ‘Mastering Hypnosis’, is of more general relevance.
The vast array of inductions and deepeners has certainly impressed a number of internet reviewers. However, in the main they are just different ways of focussing attention (usually eye-fixation) and lead in to a set routine. Too many of them involve handling the subject (not always gently) to be of use to therapists.
The lesson one can draw is that almost anything can be used to induce trance, provided it suits your client. It might be interesting to try some of the unusual inductions at a Braid meeting.
Some of the preliminaries for testing / demonstrating the power of suggestion (without trance) would be useful when working with a group of people new to hypnosis, but we would never stoop to the deceptions that are apparently used by performers as hypnotic convincers.
I’ve seen it on Amazon for about £26. If you see a copy for £5 or £10 and have the shelf space then you should buy it. If only to keep it out of the hands of the irresponsible.
Elwyn Griffiths May 2017