For some it’s something of a contentious issue – do young people have the ‘maturity’ to learn and study hypnosis?
Let’s get this out of the way quickly, so we can address what should be the question people are asking; “what is the best way to get the youth of today involved in hypnosis so that they grow as people and the future of the modality and profession is secured.”
I know from a lot of firsthand experience that young hypnotists get one of two reactions when we speak to older professionals.
1: ‘Come back when you are a) 21, and b) have lots of money to pay us.
2: ‘Wow, I wish I started learning hypnosis at your age, how can I help?’
I am hugely grateful for the many hypnotists who took the time to help me out when I was just getting started in hypnosis, and those who spend the time to support other members of the International Association for Teenage Hypnotists (IATH), and help encourage and educate the younger generation.
Put colloquially: You folks rock!
The sad fact is these people are, if not in a minority, certainly are not an overall representation of today’s hypnotists.
In an online article about the IATH, I found myself described as a “self confessed teenage hypnotist,” apparently the leader of a gang of dangerous and reckless young folk who are, as you read this, out on the street terrorizing everyone caught with their eyes shut, looking relaxed.
Though comical, this is worryingly typical of some of the messages myself and others in my position have received.
The reality is, there is a middle ground here. Let’s agree that, compared to all the other things teenagers could be doing, learning about how to grow and understand their own mind and help others in the process is a pretty good thing.
Let’s also be realistic and accept that if you were suffering from depression or if you needed help with a therapeutic issue, a 16 year old therapist would not be your first choice.
This, of course, should not stop young people engaging their minds and learning these skills.
Provided they have a good understanding of safety protocol, and the common sense to avoid dangerous issues, then why not allow people to engage in their passion, regardless of their age?
So, how can we as hypnotists secure the future of our profession, and help out some young folk in the process?
Like with most things, we need to exercise a little common sense.
The International Association For Teenage Hypnotists currently has over 2000 members worldwide.
These are intelligent, inquisitive and decent young people who genuinely want to use their skills to help others and further our understanding of the human mind.
That said, I’d be willing to bet that two thirds of the members would leave if instant and rapid inductions and entertaining impromptu hypnosis routines weren’t part of the training program.
It is possible to both treat hypnosis with maturity and respect, and have fun at the same time. This is what ‘street hypnosis’ should be about.
Young hypnotists should be encouraged to get out there, hypnotize people and have a great time, but they should also be helped to understand the importance of the responsibility we have as hypnotists.
This responsibility extends both to the immediate safety and comfort of the hypnotic subject, and also to the way hypnosis itself is presented to the curious and impressionable onlookers.
In my opinion those who use hypnosis as a cruel way to appear important whilst humiliating innocent volunteers should not be allowed to practice.
People who, however, are able to balance fun with responsibility, and demonstrate, in an enjoyable way, just how powerful our minds really are and how much good hypnosis can do, should be the type of people our profession nurtures and embraces.
Not every teenager who is interested in hypnosis today will become a professional hypnotist, but I’d like to think that those who do will be proud to have been looked after by an accepting and supporting profession, and those who don’t will still have useful skills and abilities that they can take with them, wherever they go.
There are stories in my in-box from teenagers who, through hypnosis, have relieved their parents of 30 year smoking habits, helped shy kids gain confidence and self esteem, removed their friends exam nerves, taught others how to manage their minds and communicate effectively, and in general just grown into confident, caring and all round brilliant young adults.
Hypnosis is not the thing that today’s youth should be asked to avoid.
If hypnosis, the way we view it, was taught in schools, the world would surely be a much better place indeed!
Let’s help young hypnotists realize their potential, and in the process move the hypnosis industry forward so that 30 years in the future, we can all be proud.
17, self confessed teenage hypnotist.
Help support the future of hypnosis at the International Association for Teenage Hypnotists. Join the forums and help share your knowledge and experience TeenageHypnosis.
Nathan Thomas is a young hypnotist from Auckland, New Zealand. Having finished high school he is now traveling the world meeting and training with other hypnotists, as well as continuing to work with the IATH and Keys To The Mind. You can contact Nathan at: firstname.lastname@example.org