How and Why to Use Hypnotic Phenomena in Stage, Street, or Clinical Hypnosis Settings

by Richard Nongard

How and Why to Use Hypnotic Phenomena

Both new hypnotists and those who have been in practice for quite a while sometimes just can’t seem to wrap their minds around the concept, or they are afraid to try different forms of demonstration, so this article will try to explain what hypnotic phenomena is really all about, and how to make it work for you in both stage or street and clinical hypnosis settings.

Using Hypnotic Phenomena in Stage or Street Hypnosis Show Skits

Most people think of Hypnotic Phenomena specifically in terms of stage hypnosis show skits - see the lady giggle when you point at her, see the guy lift his arm like it's attached to a helium balloon, and so on.

Unfortunately, this is often the extent of phenomena demonstrations you see in comedy stage shows. That's sad, because there are so many more things you can WOW the audience with and have your participants experience - beyond just gyrating like Elvis or making silly faces to funny noises.

Hypnotic Amnesia can be extremely powerful entertainment on stage, yet tons of hypnotists don’t use it to its fullest potential – they will not even try - simply because they are afraid it won’t work right and they'll be embarrassed.

Get over it - IT WORKS!

If your stage subjects will follow your suggestions to feel like they are freezing cold, or to milk an imaginary cow, they will also experience hypnotic amnesia and forget their name, where they were born, and who they arrived at the show with.

Confidence - on your part - is all it takes.

In decades past, many hypnotists ended their show with a demonstration of full body catalepsy, but this is not really recommended these days due to safety and liability concerns. However, one can still accomplish some amazingly astonishing effects with simple arm or leg catalepsy demonstrations.

Don't you think that Positive and Negative Hypnotic Hallucination is just fascinating? Have you tried becoming invisible to your subjects yet? Or have you made an object, like a doll or flashlight, become invisible? Audiences love this kind of skit because it is so powerful – there is no denying that hypnosis is real when the participants are freaking that you've just vanished off the stage right before their eyes.

Once upon a time there was a video on the Net of a stage hypnosis show where the hypnotist actually had a crocodile walking over a lady. She was laying on the stage, and she could not see - or feel - the huge animal climbing over her. This is a prime example of a “negative hallucination”: something that is obviously right in front of their eyes is not seen or felt or heard, as indicated by the hypnotist's suggestions.

When you tell a hypnosis subject that they will see something that actually is not there, this is called “Positive hallucination.” For example, the hypnotist says that the back of their pants have gone missing, and their bare behind shows to the subjects when they turn around to face the audience. This skit will have both the audience and the subjects laughing spontaneously as if on cue.

Have you ever tried Sticky Hypnosis? Talk about generating bewilderment and laughter! You can stick the hypnotized subject's hands to their head or to a wall, or glue their behind to a chair, or cement their feet to the floor - and no matter how hard they try, they can’t lift. The harder they try to break free, the more stuck they become. This is really funny stuff and the audience loves it.

Using Hypnotic Phenomena with Clinical Hypnotherapy Clients

Hypnotic Phenomena is a great tool for clinical hypnosis sessions for both convincing and to help achieve long-lasting results.

How? Watch this video of Richard Nongard doing a complete ‘quit smoking’ hypnosis session in under 10 minutes.

This is a first-time client. He has never been hypnotized before, and must quit smoking immediately for several reasons. He knows nothing about hypnosis, but he is highly motivated to quit.

As you saw in the video, Richard uses an eye-focusing awareness induction, followed by a bit of general confusion. Then, to enhance the effectiveness of the age-regression ‘as if you never smoked’ phenomena suggestions, he inserts an arm catalepsy effect to target and remove all of the client's negative resistance and stubborn blocks to his success. This video was filmed in August 2007, and the client has not smoked again, not even once, since he left the session.

Using arm catalepsy in situations like this – as a collection point for rounding up negativity, anxiety, depression, fear, confusion, anger and so forth - helps to focus concentration on the therapeutic suggestions, driving them deeper into the client's subconscious.

Arm catalepsy can also be useful for the effect of ‘giving the client what they want.’ Some clients want to ‘feel’ the power of hypnosis and to ‘know’ that they are hypnotized. This is done easily when, after the catalepsy is solid, you simply have the client open their eyes and see their arm being stiff and rigid. Have them acknowledge this fact either verbally or with a head non, and then instruct them to re-close their eyes and pick up where you left off in the session. Sometimes this bit of physical and visual ‘proof’ can substantially increase therapeutic efficacy with skeptical or resistant clients.

In this video demonstration, once the intention of the catalepsy has been realized, Richard has the client drop their arm in order to release the tension and 'let go' of the negative goal blockers. Another powerful way to do this, however, is to have the client open their fist – fingers splayed wide - and feel the built up negativity as it bursts out of their fingertips and across the room, dissolving into meaningless, harmless nothingness, never to return or bother them again.

As you saw in the video, the phenomena of Age Regression can be a useful tool in clinical situations. Regressing to an earlier age or place in their life can help the client remember what it was like before (they smoked, gained weight, became phobic, etc). This strategy can help to re-orient the subconscious mind, underscoring the valid idea that what once was, can be again. This provides a different, healthy array of emotions and behaviors as mental resources to draw upon for altering today’s behaviors towards the desired goal.

Hypnotic Phenomena Training Course Resources

For help with better understanding and applying hypnotic phenomena techniques in your stage, street and clinical hypnosis work, check out the “Mastering Hypnotic Power, Hypnotic Phenomena” 2 DVD training set from Hypnosis Guru Richard Nongard, at either or, or feel free to call our office at (918) 236-6116.