After prom hypnosis scares parents
This recent headline did the rounds and made it to many news outlets. It involves a student being hypnotized at a graduation event by a hypnotist at an after prom. There are thousands of after prom events just like this one that run typically from March until June in the USA every year. The press reported “What seemed like harmless fun at Bellevue West High School’s after prom turned into a hospital visit and an evening one senior says he can’t remember” In this post I am going to break down each comment and go through them with an official hypnosis response to help educate and inform.
I have been a Professional Hypnotist for 20 years and this video and article content in the media is incorrect, although I can empathize with the student and parents. I would love to reach to the parents Elizabeth and Harrell Cox and their son Jaylin so that I can offer support and help them understand the power of hypnosis and the positive benefits it can bring. There are many incorrect issues surrounding this recent news coverage that I would like to address.
Stage hypnosis has been around for hundreds of years and is perfectly safe in the hands of the right professional. There are lots of misconceptions as to what hypnosis is and what it isn’t and I feel we must address the following
- What happened in the video
- The thoughts and feelings of the parents and student
- The hypnotist and his response
- What constitutes a successful hypnosis show for Grad night
- Misconceptions of hypnosis
- What exactly is hypnosis
- Volunteer handling and safety
- The future of hypnosis shows
- Firstly here is what happened in the video
0.26 sec The mother states that when she saw Jaylin he was going in and out of consciousness. This person was NOT going in and out of consciousness at all. During hypnosis you actually have a heightened sense of awareness. In fact whilst your critical mind might be closed (Decision making consciousness mind) your subconscious mind which represents 80% of your brain, including where your habits and behaviors lie, is definitely active. Nobody is ever unconscious.
0.29 sec. Jaylin states the only thing he remembered was waking back up and the hypnotist put him back to sleep. Firstly as a hypnotist we use the word “sleep” which is really not a good description of what is actually happening, it is just a word. The volunteer is not actually sleeping and they know where they are at all times and can hear all the sounds around them. We could substitute the word “Sleep” with “Relax” or any word for that matter. We need to use a word to illicit a response of control and having everyone react the same way. This is known as a trigger word and embedded or suggested command. For example, “when I say this (insert word) you do that IFTT (If this, then that)
0.48 sec The mother states “Your messing with a child’s mental state” firstly when a hypnotist signs a contract with a school, PTA or Graduation night committee (Project graduation or Sober Grad Night) we are there to keep the kids safe whilst providing entertainment. At these after prom style shows there are many other attractions including bounce houses, hypnotist, climbing walls, photo booths etc. When a child or their parents purchase a ticket, there is an implied permission that the child will participate in numerous activities hosted by the event organizer. The grad night usually runs after a prom from 11PM until 5AM in some cases to keep a child safe, alcohol and drug free, and off the streets. There is a believe in some people that hypnosis can mess with the mind but this is untrue.
During a show like this, there is always an introduction to the show and when the hypnotist asks for volunteers, they ask for permission to hypnotize the volunteers. The volunteers are not forced to come up on stage and are not forced into hypnosis because the latter is impossible. The child is giving full consent to be hypnotized, they are usually over 16 yrs old and can make full informed decisions as to their permission and intent. If someone does not want to be hypnotized they are removed from the stage immediately.
There is no “Messing with a mind” because the volunteer won’t do anything they don’t want to do. The volunteer will only follow the suggestions they want to follow and they cannot be made to do something against their will.
1.04 Jaylin is seen falling to the floor but clearly he does not hit his head. Indeed if you study the clip you will see the boy is aware he is falling and block the fall with his knee and lifts up his head so it does not actually hit the floor. It is a rookie mistake to have volunteers go to the floor in this way; I have even been guilty of this in the past, but it is wrong to allow volunteers to be on the floor. When this person goes to the floor you can see there is no injury and unfortunately we don’t see the rest of the clip which is probably Jaylin standing back up uninjured and then going back to his seat.
1.14 sec “I think it is the scariest part, we don’t know” says the Dad. It is a shame the hypnotist didn’t do a good job of educating the parents as to the outcomes and what happened. They need to truly understand what hypnosis is. The weird behavior from their son that night does not align to any side effects of hypnosis, which in my experience are typically positive.
1.16 sec Medical experts show no injuries or abnormal results from their examination of jaylin, the hypnotized grad.
1.23 sec Mother says “I don’t know what happened” and here is the reason why I teach through the Hypnotist Stage Academy that every hypnotist MUST film their shows so that anyone examining the events afterwards can clearly see on video what did and didn’t happen
1.34 sec Mother is indicating that she never gave consent, yet these grad nights are clearly advertised as well as promoted. The activities are always explained beforehand and parents buy tickets and allow their kid to go to the event. This is absolute implied consent and permission. We do not need consent forms for a hypnosis show because we do not know who is going to volunteer and be in the show. The whole enjoyment is that members of the audience could be in the show at random should they volunteer as long as they have no injuries or illness, and want to be in the show. Clearly Jaylin wanted to be in the show.
Elizabeth says Jaylin’s eyes kept rolling to the back of his head. His parents say he was almost in a trance-like state and didn’t seem to recognize them. Jaylin says he didn’t remember much. Typically in MY SHOW all hypnosis ends the minute they leave the stage. There are no permanent or long lasting effects or suggestions. The only time a long lasting suggestion is in effect is for health benefits when I am creating a non smoker by using hypnosis to help someone quit smoking or lose weight.
- The thoughts and feelings of the parents
Elizabeth and Harrell say Jaylin did volunteer to be hypnotized. They have seen many videos taken that night. Twice they watched their son fall, they worry he hit his head. They have every right to be worried but clearly as you see in the video, he did not hit his head and on medical examination was not injured in any way.
Jaylin was taken to the hospital that night. Doctors say he didn’t have a concussion and his toxicology report came back clean. What about any bruises, or cuts. I would want to see and determine if Jaylin’s head actually hit the floor.
“I don’t know what happened, what took place at the event and why they would even allow a kid to participate in something like that without our consent,” said Elizabeth. During a hypnosis show at a school event, private event or festival and fairground you do not need a parents consent for anybody volunteering for a hypnosis show. There is no law to say you have to seek parental consent. The hypnotist gets consent by asking his/her volunteers “Do I have permission to hypnotize you?” I get all my volunteers to nod their heads or say “yes” and it is always on video as evidence I gained true consent. Why would a parent need to consent? If this is the case where do we draw the line? If a magician asks for a volunteer during a magic show, would the magician also need to get consent>
- The Hypnotist and his response
As far as I can see the hypnotist that night has not been interviewed and has not responded. I urge the hypnotist to get in touch with me so i can find out the exact facts and then work with the parents to resolve their concerns. If you are the hypnotist reading this, get in touch.
- What constitutes a successful hypnosis show at a grad night
Post prom or a grad night is one of the most exciting experiences of graduation. It is when the graduating class comes together to have fun, to make new memories, and to leave school with quite the bang. While there are plenty of choices out there for activities to include; one that is really growing in popularity is the appearance of a High School Comedy Stage Hypnotist. A grad night hypnotist can help to make for one unique and memorable experience that all will love. You have people getting involved, everyone laughing, and everyone loving this night more than they ever could otherwise. It is excitement and wonder rolled into one fantastic experience
A Project Graduation hypnotist is a safe way to make the night fun, too. There are really no downsides here because the entire event is focused on humorous ways to play with hypnotism and willing participants. People go on stage, are hypnotized, and become part of a comedy show. They enjoy themselves and the audience laughs away. No one is harmed, no one is forced to take part, and no one comes away from this with a sense of dissatisfaction or the thought that it could have been better somehow
Click this link for a checklist of questions to ask a hypnotist before hiring them
- Misconceptions of hypnosis
- Hypnosis is a state of unconsciousness or sleep.
Hypnosis is a state of altered consciousness, much like any activity in which the person’s concentration is narrowly focused, such as meditation. Volunteers of a hypnosis stage show are aware of sounds, smells, and other sensory stimuli, as well as where they are.
- You can be forced to act against your will or contrary to your morals, or may reveal private information.
Hypnosis is not a form of mind control or brainwashing. Volunteers are in full control throughout hypnosis and will not be receptive to suggestions that contradict their values.
- You may not “wake up” from a hypnotic trance.
Everyone, without fail, comes out of a hypnotic state. If a person were to refuse to emerge, he or she would eventually fall asleep and upon waking would no longer be hypnotized. In the case of jaylin Cox, he was no longer hypnotized the minute he left the stage and all hypnosis typically ends either when you stop hearing the hypnotist or you leave the location of the hypnosis.
- What exactly is hypnosis
The definition in Dictionary.com is an artificially induced trance state resembling sleep, characterized by heightened susceptibility to suggestion. While you may think of hypnosis as something only in the movies or on a hypnosis stage show, hypnosis is used in real life to help people with depression, gastrointestinal disorders and other health problems. Because hypnosis can help people manage and, in some cases, recover from illness, it is becoming a more common part of treatment and therapy plans. Princess Kate Middleton had been listening to Natal Hypnotherapy CDs. This is a hypnobirthing course and CD set a well as adopting hypnobirthing techniques
- Volunteer handling
When you have volunteers on stage it is important you make them feel special and loved. Watch this video at 1.41 sec onwards to see how you should handle volunteers at the end of a show. This video was taken the same week of the hypnosis show that Jaylin Cox was part of.
- The future of hypnosis shows
Hypnosis shows are growing in popularity because everyone wants to be a star of the show, people love interaction and feeling a part of something instead of a one dimensional act. A Comedy Stage Hypnosis Show will combine several aspects of hypnosis in an entertaining, comedy and fun performance. The stage show allows hypnotists to showcase the power of hypnosis through live demonstrations using volunteers from the audience. Some people can be apprehensive or skeptical as to how a hypnotist is able to embed suggestions and commands in someone’s subconscious mind. A comedy hypnosis show gives people of the audience an opportunity to witness firsthand how hypnosis works.
Each person will have different stories of how they felt when they were hypnotized. The majority of hypnosis volunteers describe it as feeling like:
- They’ve had the best night’s sleep of their life.
- They knew what was going on around them and they just wanted to follow the hypnotist’s instructions.
- They were having an out of body experience and could see themselves on the stage.
- They couldn’t hear anything but the hypnotist’s voice.
Hypnosis is a highly personal activity and you should experience it for yourself to see what you feel like. Overall, you will feel more relaxed than you ever have felt in your life.
For more information check out these 50 interesting facts about hypnosis shows
Richard Barker Hypnotist is available for further comment