"Shopkeeper robber by Hypnotist - Thief uses hypnosis to put victim in a trance"
What a great headline that is !
As a Clinical Hypnotherapist and a man who spent many years at the BBC as a broadcaster I am used to seeing sensational headlines and I can spot when the story is being manipulated to make it more interesting but in this case I found myself dragged into the story myself and then pushed back out again because I wanted to tell the truth...here is what happened this afternoon.
When I saw this story appear on twitter it caught my eye. Often stories of hypnosis in the news rely on the fact that people perceive what I do as mind control when nothing could be further from the truth. I watched the video that came with the story and and it was clear to me that the man was a pickpocket and stealing from a shopkeeper who was clearly embarrassed by what had happened. The story appeared on Crimewatch with no suggestion of hypnosis but the papers picked up on the shopkeepers story about being hypnotised by a criminal mastermind.
I wrote a blog about the story and if you would like to read it, there is also video of the incident included to: http://www.markpowlett.co.uk/myblog/read_122037/hypnotist-thief-robs-shopkeeper-although-he-doesnt-really-hypnotise-his-victim.html
Whilst I was writing about it I received a call from a junior researcher from a news organisation asking if I would be prepared to talk about the incident from the point of view of a hypnotherapist. I said that I would be delighted to do so and put the record straight. They scheduled a time and then I was called by the producer who briefed me on what they wanted. When I explained that I didn't think this was story about hypnosis but actually just a pickpocket she sounded a little shocked, then suggested that I may want to talk about it as if he did use hypnosis. I said that I couldn't do that because I don't believe that is what happened. She asked me to wait and then suggested that she call me back. Then I was called by the junior again who apologised and said they wouldn't be able to use me. Sure enough they managed to find a hypnotherapist who said that it could be done and implied that was what had happened !
What a shame that rather than go with an opinion which they disagreed with they actually sought out someone who wanted to fulfil their agenda!
Now you know what they mean by...making the news ( UP is silent)
It's not the first time I have been dropped for not wanting to sensationalise and I doubt it will be the last, but as a hypnotherapist who is proud of the work I do and lectures medical students as well as dentists and other health professionals I know that hypnotherapy isn't showbiz.
If you are asked to comment on a story for the media I hope you will be true to yourself rather than the news agenda. I feel much happier not appearing than appearing and saying things that I don't feel comfortable with...or lies as I call them!