As a form of entertainment, hypnotism has remained largely unchanged for the past century. From its humble beginnings on carnival stages and county fairs to its current presence in colleges, corporate events, and Las Vegas casinos, stage hypnotists are mostly doing the same shows today that their predecessors were doing fifty years ago. And that’s a serious problem.
We aren’t advancing as a profession.
- The global film industry produced $77 billion in revenue in 2022.
- In the United States, the recorded-music industry reached $15.9 billion in revenue.
- The global sports market in 2022 was $486 billion.
These are gigantic numbers, numbers so big that it may seem like you can’t even compare hypnotism to these other forms of entertainment, and yet they are all forms of entertainment, so some level of comparison is appropriate.
What do these other industries have that performing hypnotism does not have as an industry? Advanced organizational structures. From writers’ guilds, to players’ unions, to professional academies, all of the entertainment industries that are producing serious revenue have various organizing bodies that coordinate the growth and advancement of the industry. Entertainment hypnotism has no such organizing body.
That’s where the idea of a professional organization for entertainment hypnotists comes into play. There are three core reasons why entertainment hypnotists need their own professional organization.
It All Starts With Education
A centralized set of standards for the education of performing hypnotists would be beneficial to the entire profession, and to each individual within the profession. A professional organization is needed to promote and set a standard for professional education in the field of entertainment hypnotism.
There are many different ways to learn hypnotism – through reading books, attending seminars, taking courses online, and even apprenticing with a professional hypnotist. While some of these methods are certainly valid, there is currently no central place where standard education guidelines are set for aspiring hypnotist performers. Individual trainers are operating on their own in the marketplace with no common guidelines for how curricula should be developed or taught. Put simply, the bar for hypnotism education is way too low.
A professional organization could offer a set of standards for education in the field to ensure that aspiring hypnotists receive a comprehensive and consistent education. This would result in hypnotists feeling more prepared to enter the field and work as entertainers, and it would also raise the quality of the entertainment itself.
Advocacy and Leadership
Nobody is advocating specifically for entertainment hypnotists. Much like the entertainment situation, individuals are operating on their own with a natural focus for how they can get work and make a living, but that’s where the focus stays. As a result, performing hypnotism is not making inroads in the entertainment industry.
The entertainment industry is notoriously difficult to break into, and entertainment hypnotism is no exception. Even though there aren’t a lot of performing hypnotists, perhaps only a thousand serious professionals in the whole world, there is a saturation in the broader entertainment landscape that makes getting work highly competitive.
Comedians, magicians, mentalists, jugglers, and a variety of other performance artists are targeting many of the same venues and opportunities to perform. Unfortunately, there is no one advocating specifically for the needs of hypnotists in the entertainment industry. As a result, performing hypnotism is not making sufficient headway in this area.
A professional organization for entertainment hypnotists, with its collective voice and lobbying power, would be of great help here. The organization could liaise with other entertainment industry associations and work on behalf of entertainment hypnotists to promote their interests and increase their visibility with audiences.
Improving the Product
The art form itself is stagnant. The most common criticism of entertainment hypnotism is, “if you’ve seen one stage show, you’ve pretty much seen them all.” There is a serious lack of creativity in the marketplace, and entertainment hypnotists have been getting away with it for years.
In order for entertainment hypnotism to grow and flourish, practitioners of the art need to continually challenge each other and push the boundaries of the form. Unfortunately, there is currently no central community of professionals where such an exchange can take place.
However, with the establishment of an entertainment hypnotist professional organization, such a community would be possible. Hypnotists could exchange ideas and techniques, offer feedback and support, and engage in constructive criticism to help move the art form forward. Instead of each hypnotist operating in their own “silo,” we could see a renaissance of performing hypnotism that would be amazing.
Where Do We Go From Here?
By creating a centralized set of standards for education, advocating for the needs of performing hypnotists in the entertainment industry, and fostering a community of like-minded professionals, a professional organization for entertainment hypnotists would not only enhance the credibility of the art form, but also help practitioners to improve their craft. Indeed, such an organization would play a vital role in taking entertainment hypnotism to the next level.
The challenge is that this would require a greater level of commitment and work from every professional in the industry, and that may not feel worthwhile to many of the individuals currently in the profession. Some will naturally feel like the status quo is just fine for them. There is an altruistic way of looking at this issue, and a practical way of thinking about it. Both offer compelling arguments.
By joining and supporting a professional organization dedicated to entertainment hypnotism, individuals would be doing something to leave the “environment” better than they found it. To some degree, it would be a sort of legacy project. Even if you feel that the status quo is fine for you, by joining and contributing to a professional organization you have the chance to improve the profession for others.
In a more practical sense, forming a professional organization and raising the standards of the practice could lead to an improved entertainment product that leads to the value of entertainment hypnosis going up and becoming more desired throughout the global market. The cliche, “A rising tide lifts all boats” is appropriate, in this case.
The synergistic effect of performing hypnotists truly working together for the first time in the history of the art form could lead to a new level of prosperity for multiple generations of hypnotists, and that is a worthy goal.