Just recently, I have had a number of opportunities to practice Street Hypnosis. More than usual I would say. Now although Street Hypnosis does involve getting people to do what they seemingly otherwise wouldn’t, its important to understand the difference between those that practice this style of impromptu hypnosis demonstration and Stage Hypnosis.
Our first clue really is in the name. Stage Hypnosis is just that. Staged. The hypnotist will be using a much practiced and furthermore, tested routine. Very little is left to chance. Even the participants are carefully chosen through the use of suggestibility testing on the wider audience so that the hypnotist can be sure the people he has on stage will take the least work to induce a hypnotic state and that they are extrovert enough to do what they are told, no matter how silly it makes them look. Any props or music is finely managed and the show will proceed timed to the n’th degree. Very little is left to chance. The Stage Hypnotist will usually soak up the applause and massage his own ego before deferring any such applause to his subjects and very little, if anything is said about how the same hypnotic state can be utilized in a therapeutic way.
Street Hypnosis, on the other hand, is completely spontaneous and it is down to the hypnotist to manage any phenomena that are produced. As the name suggests, it can be done in the street, the park, on the beach or any public place. For the most part a formal induction is not used. Instead, waking hypnosis without inducing the more formal trance state is favored. The skill of the hypnotist is paramount as they must be able to think on their feet and utilize whatever reaction they get. But here is what I believe to be the most important thing. It is generally practiced by hypnotists who want to advertise the power of the participant’s mind and what hypnosis can do for people in the therapeutic setting.
For example, I was with a friend last weekend who suffers terribly from an irritating skin complaint. Through conversation, I found out that the complaint is always worse when she is stressed. Obviously, being a hypnotherapist, I suggested that learning how to relax properly would do her the world of good and went on to explain the differences between her version of relaxation and actual relaxation. During the conversation, I slipped in a few general suggestions regarding the itching and she suddenly realized that said itching had stopped. Pouncing on the opportunity, I then asked if she’d like to see another example of the power of her mind. After having stuck her hand firmly to the table (and it was so stuck she thought it felt like it was a part of the table), this lady now has a new found respect for what her mind can do for her.
So yes, a Street Hypnotist will probably have you doing silly things in much the same vein as a Stage Hypnotist, BUT nine times out of ten they will only be doing it to advertise what hypnosis can do FOR you and not WITH you. If ever you meet a Street Hypnotist, I dare you to volunteer. I bet you will be amazed at what YOU can do with the power of your mind!