Monday, 28 May 2007

Two Hypnotherapy Seminars: Compared and Contrasted

Yesterday I went to a seminar with Andrew Newton, the well-known stage hypnotist, who trained Paul McKenna. It was interesting to compare and contrast it with the last seminar I went to, with Lawrence Follas.

Lawrence's seminar was somewhat dull and poorly organized, and I learned relatively little, whereas Andrew's was (as you would expect from someone who's been on the stage for almost 30 years) entertaining and professional, and I learned a lot more. Lawrence is an elderly and rather kindly man; Andrew is a dynamic man in his 50s (partly because of his accent, but also in his general appearance and manner, he reminds me of Tony Blair - a man he openly despises, so he wouldn't welcome the comparison). He has a persona (which I think is partly put on and partly real) of being cynical, sarcastic and uncaring. But there were also similarities between the two seminars.

Firstly, the amount I paid for each was about what it was worth (obviously, the Follas one was a lot cheaper).

Secondly, both of them could have productively been a lot shorter.

And thirdly, both of them were as long as they were because the presenters went on about their personal beliefs to an annoying and unnecessary degree.

Now, Lawrence Follas is a New Ager who believes pretty much anything, while Andrew Newton is an atheist who believes almost nothing. But both of these positions annoy me for the same reason, which they have in common with fundamentalist and evangelical believers of all religions, and don't have in common with me. That is, they think they understand how the universe works - not necessarily in every detail, but overall.

I don't think they understand, and I don't think I understand, either. The detail level is the only level at which I think I understand anything, and that's only satisficing.

Although I have very little respect for the content of their beliefs or the way they support them, I do respect and even admire the fact that they are passionate in them, that these beliefs are important components of their lives. It shows they're considering the important issues. I think their conclusions about these issues are totally off base, but at least they are admitting them into their mental universe rather than leaving them unexamined.

But I did learn something from both seminars, apart from the hypnotherapy techniques which were what I was there for. That was: However important my beliefs are to me, when I'm speaking to an audience which doesn't share them about another topic, I should mention them only in passing, if at all.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post. I too went on one of Andrew Newton's seminars and found his insistance on presenting his beliefs as the answer to the how the universe actually works very irritating. What happened to respecting another person's view of the world. In fact, at one point, I saw him openly jeer at someone behind their back because they were one of these 'new-agey' people, and wanted to discuss the possibility of past life regressions. Besides that, I learnt a lot, but felt it could have been a lot shorter without all of his ego talking. He also 'certifies' people without actually giving them a chance to demonstrate their capabilities. No practice sessions! Say what? .and how?

Douglas J. Taua said...

Lawrence Follas is Open Minded. He does not negate the possibilities which man can not possibly comprehend, nor does Lawrence Follas Conform to the ideologies which man have constructed on their views of the universe. Lawrence is also not a man of entertainment, nor is his profession of it. Andrew is Cliche to the term Stage Hypnosis. If you've read his books, you will understand his profound path of work... If you could see his Aura, you will also be aware that he is more consciously evolved than you and I. Lawrence is breath takingly profound. Would you prefer him to charge you more? he is a humble man, & his greatest reward is his healing of those in need.

Mike Reeves-McMillan said...

Thanks for your comment, Douglas. I'm posting it even though I don't agree with you, because I, too, try to be open-minded. I may be missing something about Lawrence Follas. To me, he seemed credulous, his ideas derivative and unfiltered by much reflection, and not profound at all (and if you read my post carefully, you'll see that I didn't want him to charge me more - I thought his low charge was all the seminar was worth). However, he is, I agree, a humble man and genuinely dedicated to healing. Of the two men, I definitely like Lawrence Follas much more as a person, and if I had to choose one of the two to be like it would be him. But I don't share your respect for his ideas. Partly, this is because they don't seem to be his ideas, but the ideas of a great many other people.

Anonymous said...


Mike Reeves-McMillan said...

Unfortunately, you won't be able to go and see him, because he has since died.

Emily Butterworth said...

He's not dead he is still very much alive, he has just retired. I'm his granddaughter so I would know. His daughter Susan Andersson is also an amazing hypnotherapist she continues to do the work he farther did so anyone wanting an appointment should look for her.