1. The Indian sex cult guru arrested for drugging and hypnotizing children
It’s being used more and more on children to help with everything from improving their grades to doing better at sports and even getting them to do chores.
But, some say the trend may be going too far.
Eric, 10, has ADHD. His mother doesn’t want to medicate him, but no other treatment has worked.
“We’ve tried meditation, relaxation, things like that,” Silvana Ferrer said.
She says he has trouble focusing in school, but she’s optimistic hypnosis will finally help him.
“I’m hoping for the teachers not to call me anymore,” Ferrer said. “Everybody calls me hypno mom.”
Hypnotherapist Lisa Machenberg said she’s hypnotized close to 1,000 children, including her own.
“I started hypnotizing the children at 7 months to sleep quickly, calmly, soundly and deeply all through the night,” Machenberg said.
She later hypnotized them to do better at sports and in school.
She said she’s essentially teaching Eric to hypnotize himself, to help him when he’s facing a challenging task.
After his session, a short homework session went well, and Eric hopes that continues.
“I hope it will help me because tomorrow, I have a lot of division and a lot of tests on math,” he said.
Machenberg said parents already control their children and there’s a power to be harnessed.
“Let’s learn how to use hypno-parenting to consciously influence our children to be more peaceful in the house, to have focused concentration,” she said.
Psychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez said putting kids in a trance is going too far and shouldn’t take the place of good parenting skills.
“The idea is not to gain control of your child’s mind, but it’s to teach them what’s right, what’s appropriate, what’s desirable, so they can have control over their own mind,” she said.
Mental health experts also caution child hypnosis is more appropriate to treat conditions such as extreme pain or bed-wetting – as well as serious trauma, such as the loss of a parent.
3. Veg-phobic mum with crippling fear of healthy food cured by hypnosis
A mum who ate just a handful of different types of food and wore rubber gloves to prepare her son´s dinners was hypnotised into trying vegetables for the first time since she was a baby.
Victoria Reynolds, 22, of St Austell, Cornwall, hit 19-stone after existing on a diet of just yellow, white and brown food.
From the age of three, she only ate potato smiley faces, chips, bread, chicken nuggets, sausages, plain rice, plain pasta, chocolate, sweets and crackers with butter.
Even when she fell pregnant underage, at 14, she refused to vary her diet.
When she became a mum, she prepared her son Chase´s meals wearing marigolds and experienced anxiety attacks if she sat next to someone eating a proper meal.
But after Chase, now seven, called her a "fussy eater" she paid hundreds of pounds to see a hypnotherapist.
4. The thief who mesmerized a shopkeeper during a robbery
The suspect entered the store, walked past the owner, and made a gesture to him. The victim then stood motionless as the thief went through his pockets, taking his wallet and hundreds of dollars worth of cash. The criminal then tapped his prey's shoulder and walked out of the store. Finally coming out of his stupor, the vendor shouted out after the crook, to no avail. The owner later said he was "stunned." A magician commented on the video, saying he believed the robber must have made prior visits to the shop to prepare his victim. “You can never hypnotize someone on the first go. I would have thought he has already gone in before and done some pre-suggestive stuff,” then added, “the shoulder touch could be a trigger.”
5. Hypnosis and holy water: Russian 'cures' for gay people
BBC Russian heard accounts of so-called cures, after it emerged that gay men were being persecuted in Chechnya, a mainly Muslim republic in southern Russia.
On Tuesday German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had asked President Vladimir Putin to "use his influence to protect the rights of minorities", referring to the reports from Chechnya.
Homosexuality is not officially considered a mental disorder in Russia. But homophobia is common - not only in Chechnya.
Russia removed homosexuality from its list of recognised psychiatric conditions in 1999 - after the US had done so in 1973 and the World Health Organization in 1992.
Globally, scientists do not recognise any "treatment" of homosexuality as effective or required.
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6. Nine attempted to 'hypnotise viewers'
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found that the segment broadcast on the program, A Current Affair, in September last year was designed to induce a hypnotic state in viewers.
During the segment, entitled Think Slim, references were made by the program's host, the reporter and a hypnotherapist to the fact that the story would feature a demonstration of a hypnotic process designed to help with weight loss.
The segment culminated with a brief hypnotherapy session that lasted for about one minute.
The Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice (2004) states that a licensee may not broadcast a program designed to induce a hypnotic state in viewers.
The watchdog also found that Channel Nine breached the code by failing to provide a substantive written response to someone who complained about the segment.
7. An Ohio Lawyer Hypnotized His Female Clients and Then Sexually Assaulted Them
The Washington Post reports that Michael Fine, who pleaded guilty in September to assaulting at least six clients in a plea agreement that saw other charges against him dropped, was sentenced Monday to 12 years in prison. He has also been disbarred and will have to register as a tier-two sex offender.
Fine, who is married with two daughters, hypnotized his divorce clients during meetings in his office, where he sexually assaulted them before instructing them to forget the encounters.
“I went to Michael Fine with help in getting out of a terrible and abusive situation,” one victim told the court before his sentencing. “I paid him to help me. He used my trust and his position as my attorney to gain information about my vulnerabilities. He then used that information not only to protect and defend me, but also to manipulate, hurt and take advantage of me.”
“It confirmed my worst fears,” she continued. “That my attorney, the man who had come to my rescue through a very painful divorce, the man who had made himself invaluable to me through this extremely difficult and vulnerable time in my life, the man who helped me with every challenging issue I encountered in my life and the man who built up my confidence when I was feeling anything but confident by calling me special, unique and beautiful, was sexually misusing many of his other clients as well.”
Some of his victims told prosecutors he would advise them to sit in a chair and practice breathing exercises in a form of meditation. Another would-be victim said Fine tried unsuccessfully to hypnotize her by telling her to “focus on his voice while he counted down from ten,” and later asked her if her arms felt weightless. She was unsure if he was successful during subsequent meetings ostensibly set to discuss her divorce case, which she said left her feeling like she’d “lost time.”
That was intentional, court documents reveal.
8. The CIA experimented with hypnotic mind control for interrogations
Believing that it's easier “to hypnotize large numbers of people” than individuals”, the unnamed agent suggested hypnotizing "loyal Americans" to have split personalities so they would appear to be ardent Communists, who could then associate with Communist groups to uncover their plans. After collecting information, the unwitting double agents, would be debriefed under counter-hypnosis. Another aspect the agency felt the process could be useful for, was resistance to torture. "Hypnosis may be able on the one hand to pre-condition a subject against the pressure” of enemy influence, it asserts, “or after the fact to help undo the damage.” After the development of psychedelics, the CIA seemingly decided to pursue a different direction in their mind control experiments.
9. Hypnobirthing: Hippie trend or legitimate practice?
The idea that childbirth is an intensely painful, exhausting and nightmarish experience is a fairly commonly held view in our society.
Pregnant women are often terrified in the lead-up to the birth.
They shudder at the thought of hours of labour with painful contractions, pushing the baby and the possibility of body tissue tearing. It's partly why many willingly choose pain relief at the onset of labour.
However, for a growing number of women, hypnosis is transforming the birth experience. Women choosing to have a hypnobirth say their experience of childbirth is not only less painful, it's also an empowering event that helps to set a positive mark to the start of motherhood.
10. Pensioner has knee surgery under hypnosis
Mrs Coady hypnotised herself before the "keyhole" surgery, an arthroscopy, in which a surgeon drills into a patients knee and inserts a camera to look for possible causes of pain.
She went home the same day "looking very happy", according to a spokesman for the private Orthopaedics and Spine Specialist Hospital, in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.
Ms Coady, from March, Cambridgeshire, has been a trained hypnotist for 15 years.
She used her training to hypnotise herself before going under the surgeon's knife.
It is not the first time that the pensioner has forgone traditional medicine for a pain free operation.
Ten years ago she underwent an operation which involved a surgeon sawing into the bone of her foot, using only hypnosis.
At the time she said: ``I said to myself that if I had any pain I was going to liken it to waves lashing against a sea wall.
"Every time it happened, I thought it was the pain going away, like the tide.
``I always thought that it was possible and I am proof that it is.
"I think it could be used for any operation - even heart surgery. If I ever need another operation, I won't be using anaesthetics.'' Mrs Coady, originally from Belize, moved to Britain to train as a nurse more than 40 years ago.
She gained a diploma at the British School of Hypnosis in 1994.
A spokesman for the hospital, where her surgeon was Ahmed Shair, said: "It's the third time she has been operated on by Mr Shair in this way - the first two were for foot problems.
"She has known Mr Shair for a long time and she came with the express wishthat she wanted to be operated using self hypnosis.
"She has gone home looking very happy so I presume it was a success."
The spokeswoman added: ``Ms Coady is the only patient we've operated on in this way.
"If anyone else wanted to come along and have the procedure we would look at it on an individual basis."
Patients can hypnotise themselves by concentrating on feeling extremely relaxed, in much the same way as traditional hypnotherapy. A spokesman for the National Council for Hypnotherapy said that the technique has been used for centuries for pain relief.
He added: "It is used often other countries, for example Belgium, as an alternative to anaesthetics and patients report that it is very successful, that they feel no pain during their operations."