When I was at university, hypnotists were regular features at the May ball. One summer, I was lured on to a stage, somewhat the worse for drink, and persuaded that I was a lovelorn kangaroo in search of a marsupial mate. I’m not sure how effective the hypnosis was – I certainly remember acting like an idiot, but I suppose it did give me an excuse for doing so.
Clinical hypnotherapy is something different altogether. By accessing your unconscious mind, and deconditioning established habits, hypnotherapists claim to be able to treat everything from smoking addiction and depression to impotence. Increasingly accepted by the medical profession, they are regulated by the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis, membership of which requires proper training and an adherence to their code of conduct – which includes an undertaking not to perform hypnosis as a means of entertainment.
One of the fastest growing areas for hypnothrapists is the treatment of stress. Doug Osborne, a clinical hypnotherapist and self-proclaimed “modern-day shaman” has combined these two disciplines into a course teaching busy professionals the art of stress-free living.