Many people, seeing the bizarre behaviour displayed in stage hypnotism shows, might ask themselves is hypnosis real? Could it just be a fraud, involving paid stooges? Other viewers might take the opposite view and assume that stage hypnotists must be exceptionally powerful to achieve such effects. In fact, stage hypnotists have first “tested” the entire audience, to select a few people on whom to work. These people are suggestible extroverts who enjoy being the focus of attention. The power of hypnotism is enhanced by the pressure of the audience’s expectations. Although many hypnotherapists condemn stage hypnotism, some of the early hypno-psychotherapists actually learned a lot from stage hypnotists. I myself have learned from stage hypnotists such as James Brown, as well as from hypnotherapists. However I do not like some of the modern stage hypnotists whose shows include crude sexual “humour”. Irresponsible sexual suggestion in hypnosis are potentially dangerous, because many people have secret “hang-ups” about sexuality that the stage hypnotist would not know about, and cannot possibly check for in the short time available.
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