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Amnesty International and Hypnosis

Amnesty International and Hypnosis

In order to demonstrate the trauma of refugee journeys, Amnesty International employed a professional hypnotherapist to hypnotise five refugees and have them recount their journeys. These of course are harrowing, I cannot imagine, nor can most of us here in the west quite grasp the horrors of what these refugees are escaping from and the risks that they face in their escaping it.

However, I am very uncomfortable with using hypnosis in the way that Amnesty has done. Please understand that I am certain that this was done with the best possible motives in mind. Though, clinically, I question the wisdom of using hypnosis to in effect re-traumatize people with no therapeutic value in the act.

The use of hypnosis in the treatment of trauma should be taken very seriously. Indeed, I am lecturing in a couple of months at a BACP conference on trauma treatment. Hypnosis does have the ability to create the conditions for exceptionally clear recall of events. However, to simply recall them without helping the person to deal with them is a very dangerous thing indeed.

So in conclusion, I applaud Amnesty International for bringing the plight of refugees to light, I am concerned that their use of hypnosis was not in the best interests of participants.

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