I am sat here at my desk this morning with a big smile on face. A big smile despite the fact that my son has his first day at school today (my account exposing my psychological frailty on this matter will be on my personal hypnosis blog) and the ensuing nerves and excitement that any Father has when he is about to walk his child to the school gates for the first time.

The reason for my smile is that last night I got my quarterly dose of hypnosis love. Here, it has always been an aim of mine and this college to create a supportive, nurturing and informative environment for hypnotherapists to come in from their often  isolated roles and develop a sense of community and to feel part of something that has value, a vision and an ethos.

We had a packed house here last night, as we welcomed Anthony Jacquin back to present to us. As I said in my brief introduction before Anthony presented last night, I speak about him often on my courses as he has been a leading peer of mine throughout the years and has offered me support as well as given me much inspiration and valuable perspective. I introduced him according to what my experience of him has been: that he is erudite, incredibly well skilled, an innovator as well as being a bit of an urban philosopher and also very humble with it all. I also usually tend to laugh a lot when he is around.

During his presentation, he framed and contextualised things with a candid account of his own development and numerous shifts through the years as he has performed, worked with clients and studied the field. He detailed his hypnotherapy approach and gave a fascinating account of how his model of hypnosis and aspects of his therapeutic approach fell apart as he dug deeper into it.

Anthony began to present some fascinating points about hypnosis, non-volition and a sense of involuntariness where he described hypnosis as “turning a doing into a happening” which I absolutely loved. The notion that hypnotic responses were qualified when someone felt uninvolved with the responses to hypnotic suggestions was described beautifully and if you are familiar with “Ripped Apart” whereby Anthony and Kev Sheldrake describe their automatic imagination model, or listened to my Hypnosis Weekly podcast episode with Kev Sheldrake, you’ll recognise the notion.

I made notes on this first hour and was absolutely engaged, took photos and watched on as someone who was going to report on this event and as someone who teaches this subject and is always looking to learn more. SO when Anthony advised us he was then going to go a bit left-field, I did not count on that beguiling me quite as much as it did. He got to the point that he had explained and described in the episode of Hypnosis Weekly that I recorded with him (do go and listen to that, it is wonderful) and then went deeper……

He explored the notion of us having no free will, as well as illustrating (via a series of exercises) the fascinating exploration for what “I” is, if it actually exists at all. We began to observe ourselves and posed questions such as “if there is no free will, if there is no ‘I’, then who are we treating in therapy?” and many of us had our minds blown as the exercises progressed and we explored non-duality – and I’ll be honest, I cannot and will not attempt to do justice to the presentation that was delivered from there. It was wonderful.

I commented to the group, that for me, the classic Stoic mediation of the ‘View From Above’ adapted to include elements of time and space perspectives was something that usually permitted me to get all cosmic, but last night I became an invisible set of eyeballs floating in never ending presence, awareness and consciousness and thus my cosmic boundaries were pushed further back for sure.

The feedback was unanimously positive from all who gathered in the bar afterwards.

Another great element of yesterday evening was that we were joined by Nick Ebdon, the organiser of the UK Hypnosis Convention, who travelled in to spend the evening with us (*Pssst* you can get a 20% discount on fees for the convention if you use the code AEDISC when buying tickets!). Nick, Anthony and I had agreed to go out for dinner afterwards and there was an open invitation to anyone who wished to join us. I had heard back from another person (nice one Jamie!) and had booked a table at Chimi Changas for 4 people for 9.30pm. So the restaurant staff were a little surprised when I turned up 10 minutes late and with a group of 20 people.

We talked hypnotherapy, we got our hypnosis geekery going, we belly laughed together and Anthony got to display his fine magic and mentalism skills that really made everyone’s night. Nick Ebdon held me down and forced me to drink a bunch of tequilas…..

I got home far too late for a school night. Something which would usually pain me the following day, but instead I am buoyed.

I write and talk often about the need for educational standards to be raised in our field, I write and talk often about ways to bring this field in from fringes in a wide number of ways. One thing I am reassured of every time we have our hypnotherapist peer support group events is that the sense of community helps us raise the bar, keep our standards high, keeps supporting what we do, keeps motivating us to strive, and keeps smiles on our faces while doing so.

For those who attended last night and wish to get in touch with Anthony for a variety of reasons, please visit this page on his website to get in touch with him via phone or email. Anthony Jacquin Contact Page

My sincere thanks to Anthony Jacquin for his stimulating and jam packed presentation. My thanks to Nick Ebdon for making the trip down and for making me laugh so much (and for dinner!!) I look forward to spending more time together soon.

Of course also, my sincere thanks to all of you who continue to make this community all that it is. It is nothing without you, your attitude, your open minds, your warm welcome and your love for this field of ours.

Long live the hypnotherapy massive. Vive la hypno geeks!