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The Power of Hypnosis

Date: 05-30-10
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: Rick Collingwood, Martin Richard

Ian Punnett welcomed renowned hypnosis trainer Rick Collingwood, who discussed the science behind hypnotism, how it can be seen in everyday life, and the medicinal benefits of the practice. "In good hypnosis, you'll actually lose total awareness of the body, like you're a mind floating," he marveled, "it's a wonderful, wonderful detached state." He explained that his method of hypnosis takes the subject's mind down to a deep realm called the Theta state. Following the session, when the patient recognizes their post-hypnotic suggestion, the mind "switches in a tenth of a second" back to that Theta state to carry out the command.

Collingwood detailed his work using hypnosis to help improve the quality of life for cancer patients. Using a post-hypnotic suggestion, he instructs the patients to "simply close their right hand" when they feel pain or fear. Once they do, he claimed, "everything will calm for them." According to Collingworth, this methodology has proven to be "phenomenally effective" in helping to alleviate the pain and anxiety associated with terminal cancer. Additionally, he recalled one instance where he'd hypnotized a terminal patient to return "from the light" rather than passing away. She did so and described seeing "friendly gatekeepers" who wanted her to continue onward but the hypnotic suggestion would not allow it. Collingwood speculated that this may not be a certain description of the afterlife, since such a place may actually be a construct of one's own expectations. Nonetheless, his extensive work with cancer patients has given him "one hundred percent confidence" that there is some form of afterlife.

Based on his experience, Collingwood said that anybody can be hypnotized, though the degree of difficulty varies with each person. He said that twenty percent of people can be taken to a "light state," sixty percent will go to a "good depth" but maintain awareness, and the remaining 20 percent are "relatively easily programmable." It is that final group that are often the "victims" of stage hypnotists, since they require the least amount of time to induce. Interestingly, Collingwood said that the stage hypnotist uses intuition to determine which potential subjects are most conducive to being in that ideal group. While he does perform occasional stage work for charity, Collingwood was critical of the practice because he believes it has "created this fear of what hypnosis is, that it's some kind of sleep or mind control."

Scrambled on 911

During the first hour, Ian chatted with Martin Richard, a former F-15 fighter pilot who was scrambled during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He recounted that his squad was ordered to return from a training mission and then were scrambled again as the events of 9/11 unfolded. During their mission, they were patrolling the skies for wayward air traffic, "chasing around aircraft and making sure they were going where they needed to go." Following that, they were ordered to form a combat air patrol over Ground Zero. Should the order have come to shoot down a hijacked commercial plane on 9/11, Richard said that he would have had to obey the command. However, he theorized that the commanders who would have given the order would not have had enough credible information to make such a bold command.

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