I started my career in hypnotism as a detective in the U.K. and was educated in the field of Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). NLP is an approach to communication, personal development and psychotherapy. I used specific NLP techniques when interrogating witnesses, suspects and perps; mainly as a detective, we sought to build a certain rapport with the questioned to increase their comfort levels and encourage them to open up and trust us. My years of experience with NLP led me to hypnosis and I fully believe that hypnosis should be used in the courtroom. Of course, there should be certain guidelines and parameters hypnotists should follow when introducing evidence and statements into a court of law.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “Courts admitting hypnotically refreshed testimony adopted three different positions: (a) a ‘credibility’ approach, which left the reliability issue to the jury; (b) a ‘discretionary admission’ approach, which left the reliability issue to the trial judge; and (c) a ‘procedural safeguards’ approach.”
Courts that accept and admit hypnosis testimony vary from state to state. Each state has their own rules and approach testimony and evidence obtained from hypnosis by examining the credibility, discretion and approaches used. Courts have also considered the use of hypnosis as a basis for expert testimony about an accused's mental state.
The judge, jury and attorneys often demand to know who was present during the hypnosis session; what specific questions were asked; and, whether the hypnotist is board certified, neutral and credible. That is why hypnotists are encouraged to film the hypnosis session should questions arise later as to whether the information was suggested or forced into the witness’s subconscious.
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