You might know conversational hypnosis from movies. One prime example coming from Hollywood is certainly the “Jedi mind trick”. Although simplified, it shows nothing more than how to manipulate the human mind and how to put someone under control.
What you might not know is that such techniques exist in reality. They are called conversational hypnosis and the subject causes big stir-ups and emotions the more is known about it.
The pioneer of such techniques of human manipulation is without doubt the Psychiatrist and Psychologist Milton H Erickson, MD, PhD(1901-1980). Dr. Milton Erickson is generally seen as the world’s leading practitioner of medical and psychological hypnosis.
His writings on hypnosis are authority on techniques of inducing trance, experiments that explore the outer limits of hypnotic experience, and many investigations in the art and science of hypnosis.
Dr. Erickson received a medical degree and a Master’s degree at the same time. He was Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and Honorary Member of many societies of medical hypnosis in Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Dr. Erickson was the first who discovered the principles of conversational hypnosis.
Those principles included manipulative techniques like rapport, confusion and manipulative suggestion
Erickson and his foundation believed, and still believe, that only physicians, dentists and psychologists should be allowed to use hypnosis. Only licensed members of those professions can join the society and attend their meetings. The manipulative hypnosis techniques discovered by Erickson were considered too powerful to be in the hands of the ordinary layman.
The controversy about conversational hypnosis started when a fellow hypnotist, Igor Ledochowski, came forward and openly published many of those formerly secretly guided techniques, made them available to the general public.
Knowledge which in the past has been confined to the circles of Doctors and Psychiatrists was now available. Some people digging into those powerful tools for human manipulation certainly did not use them as intended. (As if this would surprise anyone? Human nature at its best…)
On 22 March 2008, BBC News reported on national television a bank robbery conducted by a “hypnotist” who used conversational hypnosis to manipulate cashiers to hand him over cash. The events were caught on video and stirred up the controversy about the ethics (or the lack thereof) of such methods of manipulation. We are possibly dealing with an unknown and rather high number of incidents where similar methods were (and are) being used – and certainly not always to the benefit of the victim.
What is important to know is that this kind of hypnosis is not your typical Hollywood fantasy – but it is indeed a skill which can be learned, used and abused. Humans need to learn that it needs extraordinary responsibility to tap into such powers.
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