This book should be essential reading for any practising Clinical Hypnotherapist. It addresses the all important topic of safe practice and offers a comprehensive review of the potential damage which may arise from the unskilled application of hypnotic techniques.
I particularly like the practical nature of this book. Roger Hambleton gives sound explanations to the hypnotist in how to avoid -˜adverse effects' and at the same time maintain a high standard of practice management.
Commentary is offered on the history of hypnosis and the nature of present day hypnosis including a section on the controversial debate about hypnosis being an -˜altered state of consciousness'.
The author has skilfully managed to draw together recent research together with legal case histories to give the reader a good understanding of the criminal and personal injury liability of the hypnotist. He writes from the perspective of an experienced prosecutor and defender in criminal cases as well as in civil law, and holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology and criminology in addition to Master of Laws degree. Each of the main legal points covered in the book is supported by relevant and interesting case histories.
As a whole, this book offers a comprehensive and svstematic review of the issues surrounding the safe use of hypnosis within the context of laboratory research into hypnosis, hypnosis in a therapeutic setting and finally within stage hypnosis. Six detailed cases are helpfully included to illustrate the legal points in question.
The text is well laid out and begins by exploring the history and theories of hypnosis and goes on to offer an explanation of the nature of hypnosis and the process of hypnotic trance induction. To the qualified practitioner, these early chapters will probably represent useful revision of basic concepts rather than any new learning. To the researcher, general medical or legal practitioner however, these early chapters offer a vital platform on which to build the detailed legal information which forms the core of the book.
As the book progresses, the reader is given an overview of the risk of hypnosis and is introduced to the categories into which these known risks fall. Essentially these are:
In chapter four, the author offers a particularly helpful discussion on the nature and definition of psychological injury and uses the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder) as the benchmark. He gives some useful examples which are backed up with further definitions in the final appendix.
- The inherent dangers of Hypnosis per se and its therapeutic use;
- Failure to terminate;
- Coercion; Performance on stage.
The remainder of the book evaluates each of these risk areas in detail, with subsequent chapters dedicated to the topics of criminal assault, civil assault, consent and negligence.
As the book draws to a close, two entire chapters are dedicated the subjects of Australian law and American law respectively. Whilst this may not be of particular interest to the UK reader, it none the less reinforces the importance of safe practice.
Finally, there is a helpful summary of the key elements of good practice, providing a useful concise overview of the main points of learning throughout the book. For example it was interesting to learn that “informed consent cannot apply to the induction of a hypnotic trance and other hypnotic procedures, because among other things, it does not involve surgery or invasive tests.”
Of particular interest to the practising hypnotist is an appendix giving good examples of both permissive and authoritarian induction scripts, a deepener and termination or awakening script, so gathering and putting into practice many of the concepts outlined in the body of the book.
This is an important reference book and should be on the book shelf of every practitioner of hypnosis who is engaged in therapeutic work, entertainment or research. It would equally be of interest to those in the medical and legal professions.