Being Human Can Kill – Part 1

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Recently, a Florida school board settled a lawsuit with three families whose children died in 2011. The infraction? The school principal practiced hypnosis on them prior to two committing suicide and one dying in a car crash.

Without a doubt, this is a sad, tragic event. Unfortunately, both the school board and the media are getting it wrong. The hypnosis sessions did not kill those children. Hypnosis is a focused state of attention. We actually go into hypnosis all the time – it’s how we learn and how we remember and why we respond to circumstances in particular ways.

If you’re an athlete, you’ve experienced hypnosis or “the zone” frequently. If you’re an employee and you feel like the day just whisked by and you don’t know where it went, you were in a state of hypnosis. The opposite is true too. Essentially, you’re focusing on programming in your brain, following the instructions and allowing disruptions or self-sabotages. In my business, I actually use hypnosis to de-hypnotize people from self-sabotages, to quiet the noise.

It has been said that we are the sum of all our experiences. In reality, we are a self-edited and curated version of all of our experiences. At any given moment, we’re in multiple states of hypnosis in which we’re learning, adopting and repeating programming from family, friends, school, the internet and the world at large.

Technically, the children were in a state of hypnosis, but not one caused by the principal. They were under the control of ideas and people that have been influencing them throughout their life. Does this mean their parents should be blamed? The school? Not necessarily.

Some children have had very tough lives. Also, some people say that millennials and younger age groups are too coddled and aren’t resilient enough (tho I would say that growing up with the Internet has its own challenges). There is rarely just one reason for depression. Often, when one child commits suicide, it triggers others because it demystifies or romanticizes suicide and makes it seem like an actual option. Compared to depression, suicide can seem like peace.

The real tragedy? That suicide, depression and people getting help is ignored so people can sensationalize and villainize hypnosis. This is sad.

So, what went wrong and what is the school board really paying for?

The principal was practicing outside his role as a principal. He also did not get permission from the parents. And, when the school asked him to stop, he did not. No matter how well-meaning he was, this was where he went wrong. (Note: I could go into deeper analysis of his methodology, or other causal factors i.e. the student driving after undergoing a painful dental surgery, but basing the analysis on primary factors is really sufficient.)

Ultimately, what can you expect from hypnosis? You are always in charge. It’s not the hypnotists who hypnotizes you, it is you who is allowing yourself to go into hypnosis based on trust and rapport.

Also, you can’t be guaranteed success. A lawyer or doctor can’t guarantee success, neither can a therapist, a nun, or coach. But what is success anyway? This is what we need to teach our children, our students and one another. This world is not about being the best, it is about experiencing what we can and sharing meaningful moments.

At the end of the day, hypnosis is just a tool. But, it is a highly effective tool because it is leverages many of our strengths as human beings. Some people say that hypnosis works better than anything else. I prefer to say that it takes everything you’ve done before and shines it more deeply into your subconscious and unconscious mind. It helps the truth heal the lies and helps you build a better relationship with yourself more quickly. Now, that is a good use of time!


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