I'm a Clinical Hypnotist, and full Member of the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis.
I knew nothing about hypnotism until 1994 when I was running a company employing some 50 staff. A colleague, Ben, had some issues he wished to resolve and had bought himself a book on self-hypnosis with a view to making himself a tape. He asked me if I would consider making the tape for him as he felt I had a better voice. I read the book myself and agreed, though I had no previous experience of hypnosis at all.
The book said two things which really stuck out. "Say these words and it will work" and "Tapes are fine but it's better to get someone to do it for real first." So I suggested that while I recorded the tape my colleague should sit and listen; if he went into trance all well and good. That is what we did and within 40 minutes (it was a long induction) Ben was clearly in a trance. After I had woken him up we did it again. The third time (my having read ALL of the book) I took him all the way down into a somnambulistic trance. I could have stuck pins in him and he wouldn't have flinched. (I should add that the book called this the somnambulistic state. Most other sources refer to it as the Esdaile state.)
I thought "there's something in this" and decided to read more. Over the next few years I read, practised and experimented with dozens of different people. This was a unique advantage for me. People would come and ask if I could help them with this, or help them stop doing that. I would say "I don't know. Let's try". There was no commercial pressure. It didn't have to work. Some days I would do as many as twenty inductions and brief therapies. I asked people if I could experiment on them and tried out lots of things I didn't believe were possible. I found that anything a hypnotee can imagine, they can experience. Their imagination can become their reality, and stay their reality.
My formal training with the London College of Clinical Hypnosis led to me exploring the various schools of psychology, many of which use hypnosis for its speed and elegance. I found myself wanting to cry "But the emperor has no clothes." Then I discovered J J Ratey's wonderful book 'A User's Guide to the Brain' and everything started to make sense. Hypnosis wasn't mystical at all. It was scientific. It was neuroscience. It was all in the brain.
If you like your hypnotists to have a goatee beard, wear a kaftan, burn incense and play whale music you've come to the wrong place. I don't do mystical and I don't do stage hypnosis. I do do good clinical hypnotism.
Barry Thain PDCHyp, MBSCH
Member of the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis