In August of this year ITV announced “You’re back in the room”; their latest game show which features contestants being hypnotised by “master hypnotist” Keith Barry and longtime presenter Philip Schofield. As awful as I predicted this show to be, the trailer has proved to be even worse than my highly fertile imagination could have come up with.
For decades, the hypnotherapy profession has worked hard to legitimise itself and leave the parlour trick stage hypnosis image in the past. With so much research into the efficacy of hypnosis in medical and psychological worlds, the public is now to be treated to ridiculous tricks performed by people most likely role playing making hypnosis appear to be more magical than empirical.
Now, some in the public (and sadly some in the profession) will see a programme like this as a bit of fun and nothing to become agitated over. Some might even see this programme as positive press for hypnosis. I, however, see this programme as an abomination.
In my practice, as in many other professionals, all the people I work with have genuine issues that they want to change. The decision to see a hypnotherapist is not always an easy one due to the portrayal of hypnosis as being some odd occult practice. When a person seeks out a mental health professional they are not looking for a sideshow act.
As professionals it is our duty to put the welfare of our clients and potential clients at the forefront of everything we do. Programmes like this give a false idea of what hypnosis is, and I call upon all my fellow professionals to take to social media to voice your disquiet about this extremely tasteless and damaging form of entertainment. Let the public know what hypnosis is used for therapeutically and how programmes like this set the profession back in recognition terms, by years.
Remember there are no stage surgeons and there is a good reason for that, they are health care professionals who are take themselves seriously. Should hypnotherapists see their profession in any less of a light?