Thursday, 11 November 2010

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Installing Ideomotor Responses

Talk, with the hand

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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Installing IMRs

Digital communications, really.

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Monday, 8 November 2010

Flight Fright

Up, up and away.

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Friday, 5 November 2010

Thain's Wrist-Lift

Hypnotizing an unhypnotizable hypnotherapist

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Thursday, 4 November 2010

Gastric Band Hypnotherapy

Is it overcooked?

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Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Monday, 1 November 2010


Competition time ... Count the suggestions

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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Mind Reading

It's instant amnesia, really.

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Thursday, 14 October 2010

NHS Approved Hypnotherapy

Open Question

Where can I find NHS approved hypnotherapy or an NHS registered hypnotherapist?

My Answer


The short answer is there is no such thing as NHS approved hypnotherapy, and there is no register of NHS approved hypnotherapists.

If you are interested, here's the longer answer.

The National Health Service (NHS) does not fund treatment by hypnotherapy normally. Any patient who wants to be receive hypnotherapy on the NHS (so that they don't have to pay for it themselves) must first convince their GP that it's a good idea.

If the GP really does think it is a good idea the GP will have to make an application to their Primary Care Trusts (PCT) Exceptional Treatments Panel (ETP). The ETP usually sits once a month to consider such applications. If the GP is to be successful, they will have to persuade the ETP of two things; firstly that the treatment they are recommending is likely to be effective and, secondly, that there are compelling reasons why their patient should get this exceptional treatment when no one else is getting it.

In reality, the GP is unlikely to want to make an application to the ETP. If they did, they would find it difficult to satisfy the efficacy test as it is such an individual treatment. (That is, the fact that I was able to use hypnotherapy to cure one person of a phobia this morning does not guarantee that I will be able to cure someone else of the same phobia in the afternoon.) If. Somehow, they manage to get over the efficacy hurdle, then they will have to prove their patient merits hypnotherapy for, say, chronic stress, when all the other chronically stressed people in the area don't.

For these three reasons, the NHS hardly ever funds hypnotherapy and has no need to 'approve' it, or any of it's practitioners. In fact the National Institute for Clinical Excellence(NICE) has' approved' hypnotherapy as a possible treatment for refractory irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); that is, chronic IBS that has not responded to any other treatment for a period of 12 months.

When hypnotherapists advertised themselves as providing 'NHS Approved' hypnotherapy, they are misleading potential patients. Hypnotherapy colleges have been know to teach that the British Medical Association (BMA) 'recognised hypnotherapy as a mainstream medical practice in 1955'. I have not seen the original pronouncement but my understanding is that in April 1955 the BMA approved the use of hypnosis in the areas of psychoneuroses and hypnoanesthesia in pain management in childbirth and surgery. That does not amount to universal approval. Also, it should be noted, the BMA is a staff-representative organisation, rather like a trade union. It is not the National Health Service.

As so very little hypnotherapy is ever done under the auspices of the NHS, it really has no need for a register of approved hypnotherapists and there is no such register. There are a couple of organizations with names like NHS 247, and the NHS Directory of Complementary and Alternative Therapists, which make themselves out to be part of or at least very closely linked to the NHS. They are neither. They are independent commercial operations whose revenue comes from selling advertising space to hypnotherapists who are led to believe they are gaining some sort of NHS-backed credibility by signing-up.

These operations tend to style the NHS part of their logo very similarly to that of the actual NHS; a ruse likely to deceive both the therapists who buy advertising with them, and potential patients who see “Member of the NHS Directory” on their websites.

I am a clinical hypnotist. I work in private practice at the Mindsci Clinic. I also work with the Occupational Health Department of Kingston Hospital, which is an NHS hospital, and have done for seven years. I have an ID (see below) which say I am a Clinical Hypnotist with the Occupational Health Department of Kingston Hospital (NHS) Trust, and I wouldn't claim to be NHS 'approved' – so take it from me: there is no such thing as NHS approved hypnotherapy or a register of NHS hypnotherapists. 

Best wishes

Barry Thain


Monday, 11 October 2010

Porn Addiction

Nice people get addicted to watching porn just as easily as nice people get addicted to smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, gambling money and eating food.

Porn is a drug. That’s the problem. Over the last few decades, and especially with the increase in download speeds on the internet, porn has become more commonplace. Surely, the argument goes, it is better to watch a movie in which two people make love than one in which the goodies and the baddies both go in for mass murder. Any debate about porn has been about morals and exploitation.

But it’s a drug. And like other drugs it changes you. That’s right, porn changes you. It changes your values, it changes your attitudes and it changes your behaviour. Things which ought to be unacceptable become acceptable. Things which should disgust are tolerated. You do things and, later, may wonder how you ever though that was right. Porn can do this because, like every drug, it changes your brain. It actually changes the way your brain connects-up and it changes the way your brain functions. Porn changes your brain, and it changes you.

Without going too deeply into the neurobiology, ease of access and novelty are two highly addictive characteristics of drugs. One of the reasons cigarettes are more addictive than, say, cocaine, is that you can get them cheaply at the local store. Like any other drug your brain gets used to it after a while so you need more and better, or different, to get the same high – which high is a hit of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. The internet provides porn addicts with an infinite array of free porn on demand.

Every fresh image or movie clip induces facilitates another dopamine hit. And as most porn addicts are men and as many of them play with themselves whilst watching, the effects are clearly not only neuro-biological.

So what’s wrong with that?

Sooner or later those guys won’t be able to perform in bed. Their brain gets used to dopamine hits arriving every few seconds. When they have sex with their partner they may get an erection quickly but then they lose it again, just as quickly. Although, consciously, they want to have a nice, long session with their partner, their brain soon realises it isn’t going to get a dopamine hit every few seconds and, so, gives up because it isn’t worth the effort.

I’ve treated a lot of guys for erectile dysfunctions and they were all able to maintain an erection whilst watching porn. It’s no coincidence. It isn’t about the stress of having to please another person. It’s about the brain habituating to a drug, porn, and thus needing more and new, more and new, more and new to get high.

The good news is, your brain can be unwired, as it were, and you can return to normal sexual activity. Just stop watching porn and stop playing with yourself. Stop watching porn and stop playing with yourself now and in a couple of months, maybe three, your brain will just love the nice, steady flow of dopamine it gets when you take someone to bed.

Just stop on your own. It’s easy. Make a commitment, delete the links, destroy the collections and find something more productive to do with all the free time you are going to have.

If you think you might not manage it quite so easily on your own, my Overcome Porn Addiction hypnosis mp3 might help. But if you’re going to quit, do it now. Instantly. Snap decisions work much better than analysis when it comes to breaking habits and overcoming addictions.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Hypnotism for Hypnotherapists

Unaccustomed as I am to self-promotion I hesitate to post the following kind words but if my DVD can help one practising hypnotherapist it may actually be of use to others too.

“As a full-time working hypnotist, I have to say Barry's material has helped me to re-focus on the hypnotic aspect of the helping work that we do.  After applying not just the techniques but also the very powerful underlying attitude and intent, I have certainly seen an intensification in the hypnotic experiences of my clients and the resulting benefits.  This is important because hypnosis is what people want and expect when they go to see a hypnotist, and it's what makes everything else we do, the "therapy stuff", actually work.

“His teaching is simple and direct, without being simplistic or superficial.  There is a great deal of depth behind it.  It is clearly the result of REAL experience with people in a clinical setting, not just demonstrations.  His presentation is authoritative, yet refreshingly free from arrogance and self-delusional overconfidence.

“I also very much enjoy how it seems that the only thing he is dogmatic about is that hypnosis is a distinct experience, and that hypnotists should have the ability to create that experience for other people.  In other words, hypnotists should be able to hypnotize!  That might seem obvious, but I think there is ample evidence that many "certified hypnotists" have merely learned how to get people to close their eyes and relax (if even that).

“The title of the course itself, "Hypnotism for Hypnotherapists", is deceptively simple and represents a deeper principle being communicated in this material.  This DVD is essential for anyone who wants to become a better hypnotist in order to multiply their effectiveness in helping people.” 
Steve Roh
Philadelphia PA

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

The following is the tail end of an exchange that took place as a series of comments in Facebook. I felt the last entry deserved a fuller answer and, perhaps, a wider audience than the thread allowed.

" @Barry - am too sensitive about the RCT comments. e.g. in the recent issue of the NCH Journal a Chartered Psychologist (no less) says "Hypnotherapists are, en masse, desperate for recognition. This can be seen in a constant alignment of ourselves with the medical profession, the latest fads in psychotherapy (CBT) and research that we think will convince those with greater status and respect (e.g. randomised control trials)."

Like maybe if had more solid RCTs under our belt we'd get on recommended treatments list with NICE more often - and God forbid - actually get a flow of work from the NHS (never mind the benefit to the public from greater acceptance and access to hypnotherapy treatments.)
And how can you be confident in what you do if never measure it... and check it against normal remission and placebo and non-specific factors etc...
To see hypnotherapists writing off vast dedicated labours of research studies... because it doesn't fit with the way they got trained... When you see how carefully some researcher has designed the study... really trying to find out if there is effect and what is the therapeutic factor.... and someone just goes - oh that research stuff is bollocks I know what works with my clients.... Arrrgh!"

The 'research stuff', might not be bollocks, but it's a bit of a red herring. There is not a single hypnotherapist alive who could guarantee to replicate what I do with one patient, for another patient. I know that for a fact, not because I am especially skilled but because I cannot guarantee to replicate what I am able to do with one patient for another one. I can see two people suffering from phobias in the same day, cure one and not the other. I am the same clinical hypnotist for both of them, but they are different. I know what worked for my last patient, but I have no idea what is going to work for my next patient and anyone who thinks they do is deluding themselves.

Research that relies on the reading of scripts or the playing of recordings to induce 'hypnosis', that is preceded by repeated demands for social compliance is insufficiently rigorous. Too much of it is compounded by having been conducted academics who believe hypnosis is a state of relaxation (as, indeed, do the vast majority of hypnotherapists). Relaxation is a state of relaxation. Hypnosis is a state of hypnosis. The two things are not the same, as any hypnotist knows.

I did a full Harvard Scale session with a volunteer in one of my group supervision sessions at Kingston Hospital. The volunteer (a hypnotherapist) acted some of the tests because that's what the script demands, but nothing actually worked. The whole thing took an hour. Immediately afterwards I hypnotised the volunteer properly (in seconds) and all the tests that had not worked in the conduct of the Harvard Scale, worked when she was actually hypnotised. The depressing truth is that the Harvard Scale, in the hands of a good hypnotist, failed to hypnotise a good hypnotee. The session was filmed.

I'm very keen for hypnosis to be researched properly but for that I suspect the design must involve both the hypnotist and the hypnotee being wired to brain scanners so their neurological activity can be recorded and analysed. I am keen on this research for reasons of academic interest: not because I need it to confer on me some spurious legitimacy.

The Chartered Psychologist (“no less”) has a point. I cannot think of any other profession – with the possible exception of bouncers – quite so desperate to improve its public sense of legitimacy. You only have to see how many hypnotherapy FAQs feel the need to announce how the BMA recognised hypnotherapy as a mainstream medical practice back in the fifties if you want confirmation. It's indicative of the massive inferiority complex suffered by so many hypnotherapists, and the profession generally. Unnecessarily so, in my view.

Why do hypnotherapists want NICE recognition? So they can “actually get a flow of work from the NHS.” And why do they want a flow of work from the NHS? Presumably because they don't get enough work otherwise. After all, why would a hypnotherapist working in private practice want to treat NHS patients for half their usual sessions fees, with externally imposed caps on how many sessions they could do, and all the practical restrictions that come from working under the auspices of the NHS? I can think of only one reason: it's better than sitting on your arse looking at an empty diary.

But get this. Hypnotherapy is already legitimate enough.

I am a clinical hypnotist. I work in private practice at the Mindsci Clinic. I also work as a clinical hypnotist with the Occupational Health Department of Kingston Hospital (NHS) Trust, and have done so since 2003.

By virtue of various parts of the NHS subcontracting their occupational health provision to Kingston Hospital, I am also the house clinical hypnotist for a couple of primary care trusts and the Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability. Amongst other things I do monthly group hypnotherapy sessions at the hospital, which have been attended by several hundred staff, nurses, consultants and executives. I also give lectures on clinical hypnotism for the post-graduate medical centre.

Thanks, directly, to my relationship with the NHS, 40% of my new patients come through my being recommended to them by medical professionals. NB, the patients are not referred to me. The NHS does not pay for members of the public to be treated using hypnotherapy. Instead of referring, GPs and Consultants recommend me to patients who then contact me themselves and are treated by me in private practice. GPs even phone asking me to supply them with more leaflets. Thus, I get the desired 'flow' without the undesirable constraints of working under referral, and have treated NHS-sent patients for conditions ranging from anxiety disorders, through hyperhydrosis, to the neuropsychological sequale of a bilateral, intraventricular subarachnoid haemorrhage.

There is no reason why any other sufficiently competent hypnotherapist cannot have the same relationship with the NHS that I have. It does not require any more RCTs. It does not matter what a chartered psychologist does or does not say about hypnotherapy or its practitioners. And any hypnotherapist who doesn't have that relationship with the NHS mustn't blame NICE. They have only themselves to blame.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Appreciate Yourself

I have some hypnosis MP3s available online. I've just made one of them free. Yesterday it cost $19.99 but today it's free (and it'll still be free tomorrow so there's no need to rush.

Appreciate Yourself is a full hypnotherapy recording lasting 37 minutes. It's one of my favourite protocols and is based on my view that happiness comes much more easily when you are at ease with yourself.

Although this therapy does not aim to address any particular set of symptoms, in the past various people have found it's helped them with all sorts of things from insomnia to coping with teenage kids.

It can be used recreationally, just to chill out, or remedially. It might not work for you, but it certainly won't do you any harm.

There are other files on the site that do address specific issues, but Appreciate Yourself is free, so feel free to grab a copy if you want to, and listen to it when you go to bed.

Barry Thain
Clinical Hypnotist
Mindsci Clinic

Monday, 26 July 2010

Hypnotherapy for ADD Musicians

does hypnotherapy work?
i am a musician and i have and extremly bad case of ADD i cant focus enough to really play but i love music i was wondering could a hypnotherapist motivate me to keep me on track? i want advice from somone who has had a lot of expierience in the area not somone who just shouts it doesnt work. please and trhank you :)

My Answer:
Hi Hollan

The first thing to say is that the world is full of people who'd be great musicians if only they could stay on track. The vast majority of them do not have an ADD diagnosis. Being a musician requires a lot of hard work and discipline. It means hours of practice at your chosen instrument every day, and the sacrifices necessary to enable that.

Also, loving music doesn't make anyone a musician. Lots of people love music but that doesn't mean their brains are set up to be musicians.

My advice (as a highly experienced clinical hypnotist and father of a musician) is firstly go and ask your instrumental teacher whether they honestly think you have the potential to be a musician. I suggest you do this because if they say "No," there's no point paying a hypnotherapist to help you become one. If they say "Sure, yeah, of only you could focus," then it's possible (but certainly not guaranteed) that a hypnotist could help you with focus and concentration.

If you really want to be a musician, and you do have the aptitude, motivation should not be an issue, even with ADD.

Best wishes

Barry Thain
Clinical Hypnotist

Friday, 23 July 2010

Hypnotherapy Regulation (and Correspondence Courses)

From the Hypnosis Technique Exchange group on Yahoo!

Re: Distance Learning

How does one qualify to "certify" a student in hypnotherapy?

Dr Jane Fitch
Charlotte, NC


Dear Jane

I can only speak for the situation here in the UK.

No qualifications are really worth anything.

The basic model is a three phase training where passing the certificate qualifies you to pay for the diploma, and passing the diploma qualifies you to pay for the practitioner diploma. Thus the various certificates are really only evidence of ones ability to pay the course fees. Very few people ever fail.

The sanctioning bodies are usually reincarnations of the teaching bodies. Fundamentally it works like this:

Eric is made redundant and reads an advertisement telling him he can have a lucrative career and earn a shed-load of money working two days a week as a hypnotherapist. He submits himself to 'rigorous pre-acceptance scrutiny' and hands over his plastic.

A few weekends later he has a bunch of photocopied notes and a certificate as a hypnotherapist. Feeling good about himself (and wanting to do Smoking Cessation) he signs up for the diploma. A dozen weekends later he does an exam with questions like "Is nail biting a) just a habit, or 
b) a symptom of some underlying neurosis?"

During the 12 weekends he has had plenty of practical sessions where he has told people to close their eyes and that they are hypnotised, and they have closed their eyes. He now has a diploma in hypnotherapy. He has never, yet, hypnotised anyone but Eric believes he's cracked it. He gladly hands over the last of his redundancy money to do the practitioner course and starts thinking about office space.

Half a dozen weekends later he's a fully qualified practitioner with a lot of photocopied notes and three receipts; oops, I mean certificates. He still hasn't hypnotised anyone (but lots of people have closed their eyes for him).

Three months later he is nearly destitute having seen hardly any patients and those he has seen have a) all questioned whether they were really hypnotised and b) not come back.

Unable to make a living as a hypnotherapist (because he isn't) he realises he can do much better teaching hypnotherapy. He re-photocopies his training notes on his own letterhead, hires a school room for the weekend and sells 20 courses of four weekends at £250 each from The European Academy of Clinical Hypnosis (TEACH).

In order to validate his courses, he forms the World Office for Regulation of Therapeutic Hypnosis (WORTH) and, henceforth, all TEACH courses are WORTH approved.

But it's all smoke and mirrors.

Eric teaches the same stuff he didn't understand or couldn't do to an endless stream of other well-meaning people. Most of them fall by the wayside but one or two take their notes, re-copy them and - with the best will in the world, or not - dupe the next generation.

I saw a course advertised here recently. One day. £95. Gastric Band Hypnotherapy. At the end of the day attendees will receive a 'Certificate in Advanced Eating Disorders'. Aaaargh!

Hypnotherapy could seek statutory regulation whereby only hypnotherapists who had passed approved courses given by approved institutions could call themselves hypnotherapists, but the existing regulatory bodies (all WORTHs) preferred to pursue the path of voluntary regulation. Why? Because they are all WORTHs with their own little empires and their own income streams. Turkeys, Christmas &c.

And that's the scene for face to face training. Correspondence courses have all the same issues plus the problems of being correspondence courses.

Best wishes

Barry Thain


Hi Barry

That was so perfect!  LOL.. and so true!  thank you.


Friday, 9 July 2010

The (Flawed) Foundations of NLP

From Yahoo! Groups

Here’s a question for the Erickson/NLP aficionados. But first, a couple of brief passages from Transformations and Frogs to Princes.

Frogs to Princes

‘Now, what typically happens when you go to a seminar is that the leader will say "All you really need to do, in order to do what I do as a great communicator, is to pay attention to your guts." And that's true, if you happen to have the things in your guts that that leader does. My guess is you probably don't. You can have them there at the unconscious level, but I think that if you want to have the same intuitions as somebody like Erickson or Satir or Perls, you need to go through a training period to learn to have similar intuitions. Once you go through a conscious training period, you can have therapeutic intuitions that are as unconscious and systematic as your intuitions about language.’


‘Much of the material in this book is derived from Bandler and Grinder's careful and systematic observation of the work of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Until his death in 1980, Erickson was widely con­sidered to be the world's greatest medical hypnotist. He was widely known for his successful and often "miraculous" work with "impossi­ble" clients, as well as for his extensive writings on hypnosis.

‘Several years ago I went to visit Milton Erickson at his home in Phoenix. After he described some of his remarkable work with clients, I asked him how he knew to use one approach with one client, when he had used an opposite approach with another client who apparently had the same kind of problem. He responded "You just trust your uncon­scious mind."

‘That approach to hypnosis works great if you have Milton Erickson's unconscious mind. But how is it possible to learn to automati­cally and unconsciously respond as effectively as Milton Erickson did—to have an unconscious mind like Erickson's? Grinder and Bandler's special genius is the ability to observe someone like Erickson and then describe in detail what Erickson does, what cues he responds to, and how it all fits together.’

Now, here’s the question.

How much time did Bandler and Grinder spend in careful and systematic observation of Erickson doing therapy?

If you don’t know, hazard a guess at how much time you think would be necessary to model an intuitive therapist sufficient that you could absorb their skills and be able to pass them on to others.

Best wishes


The fact is, Bandler and Grinder spent no time watching Milton Erickson do therapy. None! Erickson had retired before they arrived on the scene. Richard Bandler met Erickson just four times. Apparently they didn't get on. No 'rapport'. John Grinder spent maybe about ten days with Erickson over a couple of years, but that was all. They modelled Erickson doing workshops and seminars. That might be a great way to model a great workshop-giver but it is not, I suggest, a great way to model a therapist.

Incidentally, they modelled film of Fritz Perls in his California incarnation by which time he had become a pastiche of the typical white-bearded, Austro-Jewish psychotherapist, and was a long way from his Gestalt roots.

That said, Virginia Satir was alive and well and on the scene at the time.

Derren Brown Cheats

I suspect Derren Brown might be quite a good hypnotist, but I don’t know.

I suspect he and his crew might use hypnosis off-camera, but I don’t know.

I suspect Derren’s shows are really Paul Daniels wrapped up in a cloak of psychobabble, but I don’t know.

But Derren Brown cheats. That I do know.

Apart from anything else, he admits it. At least, he admitted it.

“It is a mixture of real stuff and not real stuff. Hopefully part of the fun is   working out where the real stuff ends and the cheating starts.”

That’s what he said in an interview with Jamy Ian Swiss, in June 2003, answering criticisms raised by Simon Singh.

Working out where the cheating starts might be fun, I’m sure, if two things applied.

1)     That the audience knew the game was to work out “Where the real stuff ends and the cheating starts.”
2)     That the whole darn show isn’t cheating from beginning to end.

Maybe Derren doesn’t always cheat, but sometimes he only cheats. Sometimes the show is no more than a fictional sketch, as was the case when he appeared to take a novice and make them an accomplished pianist, capable of performing Mozart’s Variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star at the Wigmore Hall, in a matter of weeks.

I posted the following two messages to a Derren Brown discussion forum in 2007, in the days after the show aired.

Re: Trick Or Treat observations S01E04

The girl is a competent pianist.

DB (apparently) induced amnesia for her talent.

After an initial few duff notes during the performance her talent was restored and she played through some or all of Mozart's variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (iirc) very nicely.

Do we think he had consent to deprive her of her talent? If so, then is it any kind of big deal? If not, is our entertainment any kind of justification for denying someone their art for any length of time?

IMHO the girl was either complicit, or DB has deluded himself (and his audience) into thinking any person can be exploited to any extent with impunity so long as it makes for an OK TV show.

Seriously ... my son is a musician like the girl in the stunt. To deny him access to music and reduce him to 'beginner' would be an act of abject cruelty that no amount of air time or argument could ever justify.

"Oh well, it's all a jolly good laugh and no harm was done," is the moron's apologia. That being the case, I suspect the girl was complicit.

Throughout this Trick or Treat series I've been developing an uneasy feeling about the extent to which it is acceptable to exploit others so that DB can look good. And the line I've heard at the end of some of his previous shows, to the effect that everyone is checked over afterwards to make sure they are psychologically OK, is weak as Watney's.

I'm inclined to conclude, therefore, that no one is being exploited and it's all more of a sketch than a stunt.

But I might be wrong.

Best wishes


Re: Trick Or Treat observations S01E04

If some of the stuff we see in the shows was actually as we are encouraged to think it is, DB would risk of getting himself into some trouble. I don't think he wants to get into any trouble. I think he wants us to believe it's an edgy show when in fact it is harmless. No one is traumatized. No one is exploited except, perhaps, the audience.

The deceit in the pianist stunt was the suggestion *to the audience* that the pianist had been out of love with her art and that DB succeeded in reviving her passion.

Utter bollocks, as I think the following two internet entries indicate.

YSHANI PERINPANAYAGAM, born in 1983, began studying the piano at the age of four under Vladislava Bajic. At the age of 13, she gained entry to the junior department of the Royal College of Music to study piano, flute and composition and during her studies won both the Angela Bull and the Teresa Correno Memorial Prizes, the latter resulting in the main of a recital at the Bolivar Hall, Oxford Circus. In 2004, Yshani auditioned successfully for a place on exchange at the Prague Academy studying with the pianist Peter Toperczer and is now in her final year of study as a scholar at the senior department of the Royal College of Music under John Barstow. She has performed at venues such as St. Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, St. Paul's, Covent Garden and The Robin Howard Dance theatre located at The Place both as a soloist and with ensembles such as Sounds Positive and The Sarah Ings Ensemble. Yshani was a finalist in the RCM concerto competition in 2004 and has had a variety of competition successes at local festivals. In September, she will begin her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, as a scholar, with Caroline Palmer.

Yshani Perinpanayagam (Sri Lanka / UK) Alongside her long-term interest in music, Yshani has danced for most of her life. While at school, she attained her RAD Grade 8 Ballet and ISTD Advanced I Modern while successfully tutoring herself to gain her Advanced II Tap and Associate qualification. During her final year at the Pamela Howard School of Dance, she was awarded the Senior Category and Musicality awards as well as the newly founded Choreography Prize. In 2002, Yshani was awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music as a pianist. In the same year, having collaborated with its young choreographers as a composer, Yshani began work at the Young Place as an accompanist. It is here she came into contact with contemporary dance. Yshani is currently continuing her studies at postgraduate level at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama while working as a musician at London Contemporary Dance School and London Studio Centre. She further combines her love for both music and dance in outreach workshops including with the Philharmonia Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra Band both as an instrumentalist and movement leader. In 2007, five years after giving up dancing, Cloud Dance is making her realise how unfit she has become. She has recently joined Balletomane, a company performing ballet in the community for those not normally able to access it. Yshani is currently tied up with her end-of-term exams (and an ever- shifting performance on Derren Brown's 'Trick or Treat') but will rejoin us in the summer once that's all over.

NB - She was doing her end of term exams and ToT at the same time.

Best wishes


You see, Yshani was never out of love with talent; neither because of Derren Brown nor for any other reason. The show was a sketch. It was a work of fiction, a drama, and nothing else.

Neither the braystmichael nor the cloud-dance links work anymore, but they did at the time and their content was simply copied and pasted.

I hope neither Derren, nor his legal people object to this blog. After all, I am just having fun doing what he said; working out where the cheating starts.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Milton Erickson and The Holy Grail

From Yahoo! Groups

“I know it goes against the perceived wisdom, and is an heretical thought, but if Erickson cannot do Ericksonian hypnosis, what chance does anyone else stand?”

Forget perceived wisdom, how about common sense? No one is successful 100% of the time, even Ol' Miltie. I don't know this particular video, but I know when I was in class learning Erickson hypnosis, watching the videos tranced out most of the class.

Now if you want to criticize him, you can pick on that weird spanking thing he goes on about in one of his other videos, but it's plain silly to write someone off because of one bad session, or even more than one session. It's hard, if not nearly impossible, to make a client change who doesn't want to.

Remember that the big "E" didn't just use that slow grumbly induction, he also explored and pioneered rapid inductions, embedded commands, metaphors, storytelling, dissociation, and lots of other hypno-goodies that are now stock and trade.

Besides, so many people have been using "Eriksonian" so effectively for so many years that I have to ask where you've been all this time?



Hi Jeff

The most obvious thing about common sense is that it is a rare commodity indeed. Despite that, I'll try to apply some here.

I publish a DVD called Hypnotism for Hypnotherapists (this isn't spam so I won't provide a link). It's a demonstration of hypnotic phenomena. In it I use two volunteer hypnotees. One of them I knew was a good hypnotee. The other I had never met or communicated with before the session.

I used a known, good hypnotee for the demo because
a) I wasn't trying to prove I could hypnotise people, I was trying to show what could be done with hypnotism, and
b) if I used unknown subjects and the first one was a flop I'd have moved on to another, and another until I found a good hypnotee: the film of the flops would have never left the cutting room and the video would have shown me working with a good hypnotee.

Common sense dictates (doesn't it?) that you wouldn't publish a demonstration of hypnotic techniques and phenomena when the subject doesn't get hypnotised and the only phenomena on display are confusion and social compliance.

But that's what Erickson (or Haley or whoever was responsible for the Ruth video) did. So, using common sense still, it's hard to argue that Erickson and his colleagues thought it was rubbish.

I've attempted to substantiate my opinion that it is, indeed, rubbish by publishing a transcript and commentary here:

Ericksonian advocates can argue that my opinion is tosh. They can argue that they are amongst a select band of cognoscenti who really get Erickson and the rest of us don't know what we're talking about, but it would be much more interesting if they read the transcript and debated that. These discussions always seem to be more productive when people stick to the principles and eschew the personalities.

If your 'where have you been?' question is about my credentials; I've been around. I'm a full time clinical hypnotist and have been for many years. I work in private practice and with the National Health Service in the UK. I've posted thousands of hypno-related messages in various fora going all the way back to when Yahoo! Groups were Clubs.

I don't have a 'let's bring down Erickson' campaign going and so don't have this discussion very often, but the subject does interest me - so much so that I've spoken with Betty Erickson and Judith de Lozier about Erickson's relationship with Bandler and Grinder (Judith was John Grinder's girlfriend at the time and later his wife). I've even tried to track Ruth down.

And I've read a good chunk of the Erickson/NLP canon. Like most hypnotherapists (I guess), Erickson was introduced to me as the Grandfather of Modern Hypnotherapy, and spoken of in quasi-religious terms. I started reading him with awe and amazement. But I have a questioning mind and don't take much at face value. (I was so impressed in the famous Basketball experiment, for example, where the group that only visualized throwing hoops made most progress because 'they only visualized the success', that I tracked down the source. It wasn't conducted in Boston or Miami as is usually quoted, but in Australia. And the people who practised throwing hoops actually did better than the visualizers.)

I suspect that if one approaches Erickson expecting the Holy Grail, the Holy Grail is what you'll find. I have no doubt that lots of Ericksonian hypnotherapists have great success with their patients, but then lots of therapists of all sorts have successes, and all power to them.

The bottom line is, Erickson spent 32 minutes trying to get arm levitation with Ruth, failed, and then published the video as if it was a success. I have yet to read any reasonable justification for that.

I don't doubt Erickson was a good therapist, and he may have been a good hypnotist. All the stuff about 'successive approximations' and 'apposition of opposites' is not, I think, Erickson's fault. He just went with what he had in his gut. I think Ruth was a poor hypnotee and I don't suppose I could have hypnotised her either. But then, I wouldn't have published the video.

Best wishes


Milton Erickson - Is the Emperor Naked?

From Yahoo Groups!

In, "Bhadra"
I'm interested in learning more about Rapid Inductions and Ericksonian Conversational Hypnosis Techniques.

Hi Beth

If you look hard enough you might find a video on-line of Erickson working with
a girl called Ruth. The film lasts about 30 minutes during which time Erickson
uses just about every Ericksonian trick in the book, mostly in an attempt to
achieve some kind of automatism.

Two things about the film are surprising, in my opinion. Firstly, nothing works.
I know that sounds daft, but it's true. Secondly, Erickson seems to think it has
worked. After all, if he knew it was a flop, why publish it?

You can read my transcript here:

I know it goes against the perceived wisdom, and is an heretical thought, but if
Erickson cannot do Ericksonian hypnosis, what chance does anyone else stand?

For a rapid induction, try this

I don't mean to compare myself favourably with Milton Erickson, but I think I
manage in thirty-two seconds what he fails to achieve in 32 minutes.

Best wishes

Barry Thain
Clinical Hypnotist

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Hypnosis and States of Mind

From correspondence with an NCH member.

Hi Barry

What's your take on the state of mind of hypnosis? You give some snippets here and there, but it would be interesting to hear it directly.


Barry Thain July 1 at 5:11pm
I think I may have said somewhere that I have moved to view hypnosis as an act of communication rather than a state of mind. That act of communication can happen alongside several different states of mind.

Irrespective of what I do, some patients lose conscious awareness altogether, trip off and play with the pixies. Some report that their conscious mind observed what was going on but could not intervene. Some have fallen consciously asleep (so much so that their eyelids float open, each eye differently to the other) whilst continuing to communicate non-consciously, usually via IMRs. Some are wide awake and discussing existentialism but still react to suggestions (amnesia, hallucination, involuntary movement) automatically. And that's all before I intervene by doing anything to direct their state of mind.

And, of course, some stay wide awake and conscious the whole time because they aren't good hypnotees.

I don't think it's any easier to hypnotise relaxed people than anxious people. I don't think it is any harder to hypnotise analytical types than new-agey types. I don't think it makes any difference whether people 'believe' in hypnosis at all. In fact some of the best hypnotees I have worked with have been highly analytical, and sceptical to the point of cynical.

I think, therefore, that the 'state of mind' might be a bit of a red herring.

I think it's actually more to do with a state of brain. Some brains are great at being on the receiving end of hypnotism, and some aren't. I really do think there's an issue of neurological architecture involved and I guess that may also be true for the hypnotist.

Best wishes


Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Gastric Band Hypnotherapy

From Yahoo! answers


has anyone had a gastric band fitted through hypnotherapy if so did it work?

Additional Details

i mean to make someone think they have had it im told the results are pretty good

My Answer:
Hi Barry

The idea behind gastric band hypnotherapy is a good one, and there's no reason why a good hypnotherapist should not alter a good hypnotee's reality such that they behave (unconsciously) as if they had a gastric band fitted.

Like many good ideas, it has been wrapped up in a lot of unnecessary packaging. I have read, for example, of a machine being used to make the therapy room smell like a hospital, and tapes being played of ambulances in the distance. If a hypnotee is good enough to accept the gastric band suggestion then they will also easily accept "and you can hear and smell the hospital around you."

But gastric band hypnotherapy isn't (or shouldn't be) used in isolation. (Please excuse me while I do the dull bit about therapy.)

It is not good therapy to take someone's crutch away without curing their lameness as you risk that they either fall over or find another crutch. Thus in therapy it is important to treat the person, not the problem.

People have weight issues for all sorts of reasons. Of course they eat too much and of the wrong things, and don't exercise enough, but why? Often it is for reasons of which they are not consciously aware. I've treated many people for morbid obesity and you would not believe the reasons why they behave the way they do.

Slapping a gastric band on someone, either surgically or hypnotically, will stop them eating so much. But it won't do anything about any extant psychological drivers that caused them to over-eat. You end up, then, with all the same motivations and needs for a behaviour without the ability to express it.

That is not good therapy.

It is important, therefore, to establish and resolve the drivers for the behaviour before going for the gastric band. And if the drivers are resolved then there's a very good chance that the behaviour will change anyway (because there's no psychological need for it any more) and the gastric band will not be necessary.

Best wishes

Barry Thain
Clinical Hypnotist
Mindsci Clinic
Kingston Hospital
(NHS) Trust


From Yahoo! Answers
What do you think about hypnotherapy?
I'm a Christian and I WONDER of hypnotherapy would help me with my coordination. Any comments?

My Answer:

Being a Christian is not a problem. I've treated quite a few ordained ministers, both Anglican and Catholic. In fact, my Chaplain considers that he and I do similar jobs in that we are both doing our best to help people get through their lives as happily as possible.

Whether hypnotherapy can help you with coordination is another matter. I have treated people who simply could not tell left from right (their brains just didn't do it) and that has been successful. But if the problem stems from a profound neurological deficit then even if hypnotherapy could be used (to exploit the brain's natural plasticity and get a different bit of your brain to take over from the bit that isn't working) that could take too many sessions to make it economically feasible.

And then there's the usual caveat that hypnosis is a great therapy vehicle if you have a good hypnotist and a good hypnotee. It is not the case that anyone calling themselves a hypnotherapist could necessarily help any patient who wanted hypnotherapy, either with this, or with anything else.

Best wishes

Barry Thain
Clinical Hypnotist
Mindsci Clinic
Kingston Hospital
(NHS) Trust

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Hypnosis: (The Power of) Words v. Intent

From the Gnostic HypnoPsychology Discussion Board

Hi Jeff

Words ... well, I think they are more important when you are doing conscious work than when you are doing non-conscious (hypnotic) work. And in both, I think there's a good chance that intent is more important than the words themselves.

Here's an anecdote. If you have time to read it, you might find it interesting.

There's a 'mentalist' called Derren Brown. He's on TV in the
UK quite a lot and is often very entertaining. I think mentalism is nothing more than conjuring tricks wrapped in psychobabble, but Derren is also a good hypnotist. One time, he hypnotized a popular radio DJ (called Jo Wiley) on her show and stuck her hand to the desk. Someone posted a transcript of the stuck-hands bit of the show in an on-line forum. Someone else posted that they'd learned the patter, tried it on their gf, and it didn't work.

Lot's of people wrote in saying that it wasn't just a question of getting the words right, you had to be a genius in the delivery of the words, getting the inflection just precisely right if it was going to work.

Others wrote in saying that you had not only to get the words right but, also, be a genius at observing the subject's body language so you could time the delivery of the words just precisely right if it was going to work.

I wrote and said "But if you're a hypnotist you can do it silently in a blindfold."

I got rocks.

I wrote that in hypnosis it wasn't about the words, the inflection or the timing; it was about the intent.

I got more and bigger rocks. Many of them had 'Put up or shut up,' pasted over them.

So I picked a patient I thought could stand it (i.e., not be psychologically scared by being involved in an experiment she knew nothing about) and set up a video camera before she arrived. I let her in without saying anything, took her through to my consulting rooms, put on a blindfold, sat her down, and ...

Well, I had quite a lot to do. Not only did I need to get her to do a double hand levitation, and get the hands stuck together without saying anything (stuck hands, silently in a blindfold) I also had to get her to give a running commentary, without asking for it, because otherwise (being blindfolded) I'd have had no idea what was happening.

It worked. (Of course it worked or I wouldn't be writing about it here.) When it was over I explained what it was all about, as I have done here. I gave her a copy of the clip so she could show her husband and decide whether I could post it on YouTube for a week so those who had said 'Prove it,' could see the proof.

They agreed and the clip was posted. Some said "Wow!" Some said "You did what you said could be done." And some said "That's not possible. It must have been staged."

It wasn't staged. Actually I think it's easy to tell from the hypnotee's reactions that it isn't staged.

Anyway ... in hypnosis, at least, it really isn't about the words. It's about the intent.

So even when you are relaxed and telling yourself that ... "from now on ... you only ever want to eat and ... only ever do eat ... just the right foods in ... just the right quantities at ... just the right times for ... just the right reasons and ... you are completely content and ... satisfied with that ... naturally," don't just say it, mean it. Intend it so that ... "you become slimmer ... fitter ... healthier and ... happier ... naturally". 

Best Wishes

Barry Thain 

Friday, 4 June 2010

Neurology meets Psychotherapy

At the neurobiological level the aim of all psychotherapy is to alter connections in the brain so that real or imagined stimuli no longer evoke the stress response.

Barry Thain
Clinical Hypnotist

NICE, Hypnotherapy and Refractory IBS

From the message board of the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis

I was just wondering how many hypnotherapists here have actually treated anyone for refractory IBS? I have. Once.

I ask because two hypnotherapists wrote to me last month about NICE ‘recognising’ hypnotherapy as a ‘psychological intervention’, and the last BSCH newsletter referred to Bill Doult’s excellent blog on the same subject.

Several things strike me as curious about this.

Firstly, why now?

The NICE guidelines were published in February 2008 (not Feb 2010). They say:
 1.2.3 Psychological interventions Referral for psychological interventions (cognitive behavioural therapy [CBT], hypnotherapy and/or psychological therapy) should be considered for people with IBS who do not respond to pharmacological treatments after 12 months and who develop a continuing symptom profile (described as refractory IBS).
1.2.4 Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) The use of acupuncture should not be encouraged for the treatment of IBS. The use of reflexology should not be encouraged for the treatment of IBS.”*

Secondly, I think we ought to be quite careful how we choose to interpret this.

On the strength of the extract from the guidelines above, I have seen it argued that “… hypnotherapy is not classified as a Complementary Therapy by … the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)”. Is that really what it says? Surely, the thing it isn’t being classified as is a complementary or alternative “medicine”. Surely we’ve never thought of ourselves as purveyors of medicine, have we? Under “Psychological interventions” it lists CBT, as well as hypnotherapy and psychological therapy. I do not imagine that caused all the cognitive behavioural therapists to go off and proclaim that they are no longer complementary or alternative anything but are now psychological interventionsists. CBT is CBT. It was before February 2008 and it is now. And hypnotherapy is hypnotherapy. Nothing has changed.

Thirdly, so what? I admit it’s speculation only on my part but my guess is that refractory IBS is a tiny, insignificant part of the average hypnotherapist’s caseload. What I’m not guessing at is that no PCT in the country is going to pay for anyone here to treat it. Unless you are, or work for, Prof Whorwell the NHS will not finance the treatment of refractory IBS (for reasons which have been rehearsed elsewhere on this board).

There are some other aspects of the NICE findings that may be of interest to members.

“Hypnotherapy: A deep state of relaxation is achieved through focused attention.”**

Oh well. As the report wasn’t written by hypnotherapists I don’t suppose we can complain too much that they think hypnotherapy is a deep state of relaxation but, apparently, no state of hypnosis. (I know – a lot of hypnotherapists think that too.)

“Psychological interventions: The treatment of any condition by psychological means. This may utilise insight, persuasion, suggestion, reassurance, and instruction so that patients may see themselves and their problems more realistically and have the desire to cope effectively with them. There are many different psychological interventions, these include psychotherapy, biofeedback, cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy, hypnotherapy, interpersonal therapy and psychodynamic therapy.”**

This looks like woolly thinking to me. Isn’t psychodynamic therapy a subset of psychotherapy? It’s like saying ‘Pets include fish, dogs, cats, poodles, birds, Labradors …’ Of course, patient’s seeing themselves and their problems more realistically is an entirely conscious activity and doesn’t require hypnosis (communication with the non-conscious mind) at all.

“The costs of hypnotherapy were based on the mean number and duration of sessions used in the Whorwell (1984) and Galoviski (1998) studies, weighted by their contribution to the meta-analysis. This gave a mean duration of 3.6 hours of hypnotherapy. As there were only two studies used to estimate the RR, the cost range was based on the range from the various studies included in the clinical effectiveness review (2.2 – 4.9 hours). This gave a total cost for hypnotherapy of £171, (range £105 - £237).”**

So, even if we were going to be paid by the NHS to treat refractory IBS, we’d be paid £171 for 3.6 hours (£47.50/hour) to relieve a condition that 12 months traditional NHS treatment had not helped. I wonder how realistic this is.

In summary then, I suspect that NICE’s acknowledgement of hypnotherapy as a possible long-shot in the treatment of refractory IBS is something of a red herring. One might argue that NICE recognition for anything takes us out of the mumbo-jumbo smoke and mirrors closet and into the professional light. If that were true, however, hypnotherapy would be recognised as a frontline intervention in a whole host of physiological and psychological issues for which NICE ignores hypnotherapy completely.

The question, therefore, isn’t so much ‘what can we do to leverage NICE’s recognition of hypnotherapy as a treatment for refractory IBS?’ but ‘what can we do to get NICE to recognise all the other conditions for which hypnotherapy is a reasonable treatment option?’

Best wishes

Barry Thain
Clinical Hypnotist

* NICE clinical guideline 61 “Irritable bowel syndrome in adults. Diagnosis and management of irritable bowel syndrome in primary care.”

** Clinical practice guideline - Irritable bowel syndrome in adults: Diagnosis and management of irritable bowel syndrome in primary care. National Collaborating Centre for Nursing and Supportive Care, commissioned by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, February 2008