Hypnotic Seal: where one hypnotist places a block, preventing other people from hypnotising that person. A good idea, or bad?
One of the strangest uses of hypnosis that I’ve read about is the Hypnotic Seal. Briefly, this is where one hypnotist places a post-hypnotic instruction about who can — and can’t — hypnotise a client.
Abusing one’s professionalism
The important thing about a seal is that it is almost always put in place without the client’s permission or knowledge.
Now, you may ask, what possible reason could a hypnotist have for creating such a seal?
There are several different types of hypnotic seal. Here are three main examples.
The hypnotist is a psychiatrist, and he (or she) instructs the client that only qualified psychiatrists will be able to hypnotise the client from now on.
The reasoning behind this is simple. The psychiatrist thinks, “Only psychiatrists know how to heal clients and so no one else must hypnotise people.”
Let me ask you a few questions. How does the psychiatrist know? What about trained medical doctors — are they incompetent? What about, say, Richard Bandler, who is not a medical practitioner, who co-developed NLP, and has healed many people whom psychiatrists had given up on? What about a dentist dealing with a phobic patient? Or a hypnotherapist specialising in anaesthesia for patients allergic to anaesthetics but needing an operation?
This type of seal exposes an incredible arrogance and conceit.
The hypnotist instructs the client that no one (apart from himself) can ever hypnotise the client again.
Wow, what possible reason could there be behind this one? A big head and a small ego, perhaps?
The hypnotist places a seal against the client being hypnotised by a specific person.
In one (anecdotal) case that I read, the client was a woman who had been repeatedly hypnotised by an abusive husband. The seal was placed (with the woman’s permission) against the husband only in order to protect the her from further abuse.
When the hypnotist places a seal without the client’s knowledge or permission, this violates the client’s personal rights. It can also create a dangerous situation.
For example, suppose you have a dangerous allergy to anaesthetic drugs, but you need an urgent operation. The only known solution to this is hypnosis. If you’ve had a seal, what can you do?
Or suppose the original hypnotist was incompetent (and certainly not ethical) and makes a mess. Now, who’s going to fix it?
Breaking a hypnotic seal
The good news is that a trained practitioner can quite easily and usually quickly break a hypnotic seal. If you suspect or know that you have been the victim of a hypnotic seal, you can visit a hypnotherapist to find out more.
Is a hypnotic seal ethical?
If the client needs or desires the seal (such as the woman with the abusive husband), and it is done with her knowledge, and she is given a way to break the seal, then it’s entirely within her rights and privileges. As she can break the seal herself any time, she does not rely on someone else to do this.
But when placed without the client’s knowledge or permission, this is a clear violation of our ethics, trust and professionalism. If this happens to you, report the hypnotist to the relevant authorities and seek help to break the seal.