Product reviews for Practising Safe Hypnosis

Hypnosis Australia Dr Tracie O'Keefe DCH - On Line Journal
This book is a very brave attempt to cover what is a deserving subject of the culpability of damage to people from side effects due to having undergone hypnotic procedures. It is not, however, what the title professes it to be - a risk management guide. Hambleton, a lawyer who also holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology and criminology, a Master's degree in law, MPhil research degree from Manchester University, and an advanced practitioner diploma in clinical hypnotherapy, fails to grasp many of the principles of the application of hypnosis.

The most profound mistake that Hamilton makes is that he normalises hypnosis. Damage that is caused to people under hetero-hypnosis is rarely initiated by the hypnosis itself but by the ineptitude in suggestion or negligence on behalf of the hypnotiser. The author gives almost no criteria by which hypnosis can be used in a profoundly safe manner and the reader is left with the sense that he is very poorly read in hypnosis and its applied therapeutic uses and contraindications.

Hambleton's hypnosis research at the beginning of the book seems to have been guided solely by a literature search and never with contact with people who may have been damaged by hypnotic procedures. The literature search is selective and contradictory. He quotes major hypnotists saying they believe people can and are damaged during hypnotic procedures and others who believe the opposite. In his conclusions he ignores those who presents evidence that people can suffer damage during hypnotic procedures. He personally has plainly joined the lobby that deludes itself that all in the garden is rosy and hypnosis applied inappropriately will do nothing more then annoy people. Those using hypnosis would do well to remember the principles of do no harm, and this makes the first half of his book very dangerous.

However, the book changes halfway through when he addresses the legal implications of accusations of damage due to hypnotic procedures in the fields of research, clinical practice and entertainment. Hambleton, who has been both a prosecutor and defender, clearly understands the artful dodger characteristics of the law in England, America and Australia where it is virtually impossible for those damaged during hypnotic procedures to gain redress via the legal system.

It seems that courts have refused time and time again to recognise the grievances of those who have been damaged using hypnotic procedures in any circumstance. When hypnotists can never be sued for their mistakes and negligence, society is truly failing to uphold the safety of the public. I have during my career met many people who have been severely disturbed and damaged in the short and long term by the inappropriate use of hypnotic procedures both in clinical settings and due to stage hypnosis. I have also met many academics and people selling hypnosis trainings and services that refuse to acknowledge that the dangers of procedures applied inappropriately in co-ordination with hypnosis can be as harmful as running a car into a tree. When the car is driven properly it is a useful and often life-saving tool, but when the same car is driven recklessly it is a maiming and killing machine.

This book is written by a lawyer who confirms the idiom that justice is really achievable in law. Those who win in the courts are normally the ones with the smartest lawyers, and who have the money to carry on legal cases until the other side is bankrupt or driven insane by the legal process.
Guest | 15/09/2004 01:00
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