REVIEW: UK Hypnosis Convention 2016

Anthony Jacquin - Monday, October 31, 2016

I just returned from the inaugural UK Hypnosis Convention and what a splendid weekend it was!

The UK Hypnosis Convention is a spin-off of the popular hypnosekongress.NET and this was the first time it had spread it's wings to the UK.

Like The Hypnotism Conference change | phenomena that Head Hacking hosted in London from 2010-2015, UKHC is also independent  and therefore open and inclusive to all associations and training schools, giving everyone a platform to share in the development and promotion of the hypnosis profession. This is absolutely the way forward, encouraging a multi-modal, mixed-discipline approach to learning. We can clearly learn as much from those we disagree with as those we do.

This was self-evident at the pre-convention gathering on Friday evening, where possibly the most multi-cultural crowd of hypnotists I have ever seen assembled for a few drinks and a social meet-up. For many of us it was a chance to finally meet face-to-face many peers and friends, from around the world, who we are connected with on social media. Going from 2D to 3D was fun and like meeting your favourite sport or pop star, the overwhelming first impression is of course that oh, they are just people, normal, down-to-earth and despite their experience and reputation, still learning and looking forward to doing just that over the weekend. I enjoyed chatting with people from Brazil, Holland, and Poland within the first 15 minutes.

Many of those there had attended a pre-convention workshop with Bob Burns, where he had shared The Swan Technique. The Swan is one of my favourite techniques and has had a transformative effect on many of those who have integrated it into their practice. It has come to my attention that Bob punctuates his presentation by mocking me mercilessly, a true sign of his love and affection for me. It's just the British way.

The hypnochat continued in the hotel bar until the early hours. In fact every night, it was still going long after the lights came on and the staff had packed up! 

Saturday morning came around a little too quickly but, the hotel had a wonderful breakfast buffet and the lectures kicked off in ernest at 9am. The conference ran three tracks of presentations simultaneously, in three conference rooms; so a bit like being at a music festival, you simply could not attend everything. 

The first lecture I attended was Adam Eason's round-up of the current state of the neuroscience with regard to hypnotism. It was fascinating and served as a reminder that we should not succumb to the headlines we often see that suggest a unique brain signature has been found for neutral hypnosis. 'Science by press release' as Adam calls it, combined with the lack of critical analysis of the information we are so quick to pass onto others via social media causes misunderstanding and ultimately does not serve our industry well. There is no sign of a hypnotic state, but there are changes in brain activity that relate to specific suggestions. Adam did a sweet and swift group Stroop test before diving into the work of Raz et al showing us why these experiments are important. 


Just like the ethic of the convention itself, is clear that the hypnosis community should adopt a more integrative and coherent approach rather than restricting research to one theoretical orientation or another as has been the case in the past. Collaboration between current sociocognitive and neurobiological perspectives promises more than either perspective can offer alone, and a refinement of terminology and methods along the way will be an inevitable if temporarily uncomfortable outcome.

My presentation followed Adam's and was well-attended by many people who did not know my work that well and many others who only really know me for the impromptu stuff. It was refreshing to being mainly talking about hypnotherapy for once. I opened up with three reasons that I believe it is important that we attend such events.

1. First it is important that we familiarise ourselves with good information and dedicate effort to preserving and folding that in to our work. It is easy to imagine that the wonder of the internet will take care of the preservation of good information, that all information will be recorded and available. This is true to a large degree. However, the problem is that with such abundance, the good stuff easily gets buried. It is our duty to dedicate time to this process, to furnish ourselves with the good stuff, to be dedicated to continuous improvement and make adjustments in the light of that through incremental change.

2. Secondly, it is important we do this because there is a vast amount of suffering that we could help ease. Including our own. Even in a convention, many of us are carrying habits, fears and compulsions and pain that we would be so much better off without. There may be areas where we are experiencing a sense of lack, we feel we are missing or needing something, in others a sense of agitation, a feeling something is not right, a physical or emotional pain or we may feel disconnected from those around us.

We don’t have to be perfect just because we know about hypnosis, but these problems, like little demons amongst us, could with the right opportunity be banished, dealt with, finished, and I encouraged everyone to seek out the people who can help with that over the weekend weekend. These problems of course extends out into our family, our friends, our clients and other circles, and arguably into society as a whole. The good news, is that even in places in the world where suffering is as bad as you can imagine, where basic needs are nowhere near being met and access to clinical resources is nil, one resource is available - that resource is words.

We know words have the ability to change a individuals personal reality. Words are always available, even if those words are the spoken by the voice in our head.

One of my hero’s is the Irish Bard, intrepid psychonaut and one of the finest wordsmiths of our time Terence McKenna. He said

‘The world is made of words, and if you know the words, that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.’ Who knows? He was probably off his tree on dmt at the time. But if I had to guess, he recognised that words, become ideas, ideas become beliefs and those beliefs then shape our personal reality.

Let’s learn the words that satisfy that lack, that settle that agitation and reconnect us. Let’s and step up in our duty to share those words with ourselves, our loved ones, our circles and society and world..

3. Finally the continued study of this subject is important because of where it points. What it suggests? Literally. What does it suggest that the way we think, feel and respond can change us in the way we know it can. Why is it that seemingly intractable problems can fall, that pain can dissolve, that stubborn fears can simply be overcome, that we can hallucinate, forget, and so much more? What does this mean? This last point set-up the concluding part of my talk and my love of the non-dual perspective of Advaita Vedanta.

Before I got to that I demonstrated a few of my favourite techniques including my father's fingerlock which seemed to glue up 90% of the audience, how I take that into a challenge suggestion like not being able to speak or stand and also our preferred induction the Jacquin Power Lift. I followed up with a small group demo of the three step reframe I originally got from Rossi's work, featured in my book Reality is Plastic.

Then I introduced my father Freddy Jacquin, who did a magnificent pain control cameo! He asked if anyone was in pain and a lady came up. He asked anyone else wh had pain to just go along with the exercise at their seat in the audience. Gary Smiler Turner and James Tripp did so. I was most amused when he asked if James 'Hypnosis Without Trance' Tripp knew how to go into trance and simply requested him to do so and he responded appropriately, in his own way of course. The lady lost her pain, James went to a 3/10 and Gary seemed to lose his and a limp! My father did this to at least ten other people on the fly over the weekend and the stack of positive reports are testament to this technique he calls 'The Arrow'. We teach this stand-alone item on our Modern Hypnotism Workshop and have plans to release it as a download with a few variations very soon. It is a wonderful utility tool, that started out purely about pain control but has become something I use for a ton of applications much like I do The Swan.

I came back on and got into some self-enquiry exercises inspired by The work of Jean Klein and Rupert Spira. For those that enjoyed that I strongly suggest checking out their books and videos.

Next I attended a polished presentation by Beryl Comar on how to get and run seminars for the corporate world on EQ. Beryl has a wonderful voice and speaks from a place of real world experience. Like many of those attending I read the book on Emotional Intelligence years ago. Her talk brought it alive again. The only thing I balked a little at was the suggestion that there is 90% of our brain we do not use. I get the sentiment with regard to our potential but consider us to be a whole brained organism. Aside from that, this was an excellent presentation, almost a lesson in giving presentations. I would definitely consider her hypnodontics book and workshop in the light of her expertise.

After that it was time for Melissa Tiers and a two hour slot on Priming. When I ran change | phenomena it was always tough to find women to represent, give talks and bring some balance to the event; in asking for recommendations Melissa's name came up again and again. Now I now why. She is a great speaker and clearly an inventive and creative therapist. I knew next to nothing about Melissa and was completely blown away by her presentation as was everyone who attended. No notes, non-stop no nonsense hypnonourishment. She dances the line between science and anecdote wonderfully. We were all mesmerised by her enthusiasm and drenched in dopamine by her smile, laughter and encouragement to do the same. I was a bit star-struck and felt a bit like Alabama describing Clarence at the end of True Romance, 'you're so cool'. Her book Integrative Hypnosis is now on my to read list. In conversation she let me know about some of Overdorf's recent work and I shall definitely pursue training with him.

Saturday night was all high-jinx and hypnofun as well as informative. There was a convention dinner and an insider keynote from Adam Eason, about the value of the hypnofeud! Great message to take away with us. You really do learn as much outside of the lectures as you do inside. It was another very late-finish.

On Sunday, there was so much to choose from again.

James Tripp opened things up with an exquisite lesson in congruent communication, total body talk and appealing to the primal. It was like hearing a sage speak or watching a tai chi master move (which he may well be). When you have his level of mastery it is as if you can explain the whole by looking at any tiny part and he did just that, diving into the micro while informing us about the macro. There weren't tons of techniques taught, yet so much take-away. His use of non verbals is way beyond the theatrics of the witch doctor effect. Great to see how his ideas continue to develop.

Bob Burns Swan lecture followed and was as hilarious as it was informative. The demo was gripping yet gentle, spooky yet subtle. It is great to see the technique in the hands of it's creator. So much more flexibility than you may get by just learning the three steps. Again if you are not familiar with The Swan you should be. It has eaten hypnosis for breakfast and needs to be in your repertoire.

I caught the latter half of Kate Beaven-Marks presentation about using hypnosis in hospitals and realised I may have just missed the most valuable presentation of all. The tips on how to get access to hospitals were pure gold! Again a totally assured presentation with so many tit bits that would take years of working in such an environment to pick up.

Finally I had the dilemma of another two hours of Melissa 'you're so cool' Tiers or attend Gary 'Smiler' Turner's regarding Hypnosis in Sport. Unable to make a clear decision, my father attended Melissa's and I went to Gary's and we shared notes on the journey home. After such an incredible weekend and with a little hypnofatigue setting in, I am glad I did. It was absolutely incredible. The amount of content shared could have filled a weekend. Gary sets his own bar high and strives for perfection knowing it will always be a case of the frog jumping half way to the bank. Happy to move forward yet never reach it, he got as close as one might. This really did provide me with completely new lines of thinking, a ton of clues regarding where to look for current information that will inform my practice. I also got caught up in a demo, called the brain scrub. Yum. I sat down after and was still getting buffed by it. I am not going to attempt to do justice to his talk by listing the content. All I will say is that it was impeccable. Despite going at it at a dbl espresso driven 500 miles an hour you get the feeling he barely scratched the surface of his toolkit. Gary embodies the spirit of the event, learn from everyone, steal the best, reject the rest and be dedicated to continued improvement. I was truly spoilt by the quality of lectures but if I only had one champion prize to give it would have to go to him.

There were several lectures I would have liked to attend that also received great reports. 

Overall the event was extremely well organised and balanced, very sociable, the Saturday night dinner was fun, splendid venue although drinks prices were exorbitant - "£14.80 for a double vodka and soda, there must be some mistake". Having been involved in such things myself I know just how much work is involved in making this happen and how difficult it is to make these things financially viable. Those organising it deserve a day of rest and should know that everyone I spoke to throughly enjoyed it and got their monies worth. If you are on the fence about going next year, get off it, get involved and for the price of a few books get a ticket. You will definitely get your monies worth and establish some inspirational relationships and friendships. 

Special thanks must go to Nick Ebdon for the selfless, herculean effort he made throughout! Good man, top job, now sleep!

The UK Hypnosis Convention 2017 will take place in London on 3rd-5th November 2017!