Hypnotherapy and Entertainment
Ask the average person on the street about hypnosis and there is probably a 50/50 chance that the first thing they will mention is stage hypnosis. Stage hypnosis for many people is the most enduring image of the hypnotic phenomena. After Freud disavowed hypnosis near the turn of the last century it is true that stage hypnosis kept the practice of hypnotism alive. This was until there was a need for treating shell shock (PTSD) and having a viable anaesthetic when supplies ran low at the front.
In the UK, there are few, if any stage shows still going on. Insurance issues as well as a lack of public interest can account for that. However, in the US, it is still not uncommon that hypnotherapists, have alter egos which also preform stage shows. These are often at night clubs or county or renaissance fairs. I cannot lie when I say that I have a really hard time squaring that circle.
Hypnosis for entertainment does not often show hypnosis in the best possible light. Indeed, it will often show it as more of a parlour trick to be ridiculed than to be studied and utilised therapeutically. If I had my way, stage hypnosis would go the way of the barber dentist, an interesting part of history no longer practised as the world and profession has moved on.