First off, while the story of Maxime Nadeau and his problematic hypnosis show in which he failed to emerge a few girls from hypnosis at the end of the show and had to call in an expert hypnotist for backup is fascinating, it’s also to impress upon folks that this is not a typical event and there was absolutely no need for anyone to be concerned . . . although, honestly, I do think the “expert” Richard Whitbread probably could have done a bit better job of instructing Nadeau on how to handle trance partners who do not emerge on command (typically, this happens when the state is so pleasant that they hypnotized person’s unconscious would like to stay a bit longer . . . contrary to some news reports, it is absolutely impossible for a person to become stuck in hypnosis, the girls could have emerged at any time on their own had they so wished it and that includes the girl who caused a stir for staying in state for several hours – four or five depending upon which poorly researched article on reads).
The essence of the story is as follows:
It was an end-of-year school activity featuring a hypnotism show and it didn’t go quite as planned.
A Quebec all-girls high school said the activity went awry as numerous students had problems after the show — including one girl who remained stuck in a trance for four hours.
The incident occurred last week at a private school, College du Sacre-Coeur in Sherbrooke, during a lunchtime end-of-year event.
Thirteen students reported having headaches or nausea. At least five other appeared to experience more serious trouble after the show, given by a 20-year-old hypnotist. Some were in a daze with their eyes open. At least two were reportedly conked out on a table.
The school said one girl remained in a trance for four hours — which principal Daniel Leveille, in a statement Friday, described as a “deep sleep.”
School administrators had to call in the hypnotist’s mentor, who came to help deal with the problem. The mentor and trainer, Richard Whitbread, brought the teens back to regular consciousness.
Administrators said they learned after the fact that hypnosis isn’t recommended for people under the age of 14 because people that young are particularly susceptible to it. The school said through a spokesman Friday that it had no idea such a show could have those side effects.
Leveille said the administration plans to hold a news conference next Tuesday to provide updates. In the meantime, they’re keeping tabs on students affected by the show. “This incident raises questions about our practices, which we wish to discuss to ensure similar events don’t occur again,” Leveille said in a statement. “We also wish to gather all relevant information before talking to the media about this unfortunate event which, fortunately, did not leave any consequences.”
Some 450 students between the ages of 13 and 17 attend the Eastern Townships school, about 150 kilometres east of Montreal.
The young hypnotist, Maxime Nadeau, was quoted in a news report saying he did not panic because he knew the students were never in actual danger.
Some things worth noting . . . uh, hypnosis is NOT sleep so the girls were NOT sleeping. No one can get stuck in hypnosis, there are other factors involved with this incident. Before doing a show, getting in formal training and-or extensive practice is always a good idea. There are very simple procedures that can be followed when someone does not emerge from trance immediately. Despite what the principal was told (see this story), hypnosis is perfectly safe for young people and there is absolutely no medical or psychological guideline that hypnosis might be inappropriate for persons under fourteen years of age (although many hypnotists do ask for parental permission before working with young people for shows like this but this is not about safety but about respecting parental boundaries and certainly therapists proceed with parental consent).
Every once in a while a story like this comes out and the media and certain groups go into a tizzy . . . from the sounds of it, the students were not freaking out and the adults involved had some sense about keeping them calm . . . there never was any danger . . . it’s an odd event, that’s certain, and I seriously have some misgivings about Nadeau’s competence in regard to having allowed the situation to occur in the first place (there are so many easy ways to ensure that one has control over the situation at the get-go so this sort of thing not only won’t happen, it can’t). I suspect Whitbread needs to do a bit of self-assessment on his training program as well.
The story can also be found covered at http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/06/15/quebec-school-hypnotist_n_1600770.html (uh, no damage to undo) and http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/06/15/quebec-hypnosis-show-high-school.html (uh, the students weren’t actually “stuck” in trance and the rescue was not a rescue of the students as they were actually fine, just enjoying the experience and refusing to come out of it on their one, but rather the rescue was more along the lines of an experienced hypnotist coming in to save the younger’s ass), among other places.
If you’re in Taipei and interested in hypnosis, check the services page linked to in the top left sidebar. Not in Taipei, check the store for recordings in the same menu area as well as links to lots and lots of info and goodies.