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arrowHome arrow Articles arrow ASA Adjudications arrow Alex William Smith t/a Jonathan Royle & Hypnotorious Wednesday, 23 July 2008  
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Alex William Smith t/a Jonathan Royle & Hypnotorious PDF Print E-mail

Alex William Smith t/a Jonathan Royle & Hypnotorious
Studio 161
Mardyke
College Bank Flats
St Marys Gate
Rochdale
Lancashire
OL12 6TY

Complaint:

Objection to a direct mailing for training materials on hypnosis and hypnotherapy. The direct mailing claimed "''MAKE A MILLION FROM HYPNOSIS'' = Basically this is a complete step by step business plan, detailing in an easy to understand manner how you may be able to earn between £50K to £100K per year, working only one or two days a week and taking several months Holiday a year ... ''THE LAZY MANS GUIDE TO STAGE-HYPNOSIS''

This manual reveals for the very first time the true inner secrets of Stage-Hypnosis. It also reveals all of the tried, tested and proven to work Legal Loopholes which enable anyone to perform a Stage-Hypnosis show and/or give a Hypnotic Demonstration anywhere, anyplace, anytime without the need for any form of Local Authority Permission and/or Licence! Furthermore as Insurance is currently unavailable for UK based Stage Hypnotists and those doing Public demonstrations of Hypnotherapy etc, this manual also reveals many techniques you could successfully use in order to ensure that you never face any form of Compensation or other legal claims against you ... Furthermore we will also send the people intelligent enough to take advantage of this strictly limited special edition offer ... all of the following extra FREE BONUSES ... You''ll get a Diploma in Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy and be able to use the letters DHP after your name ... A Diploma in Royle''s unique treatment method of Complete Mind Therapy entitling you to use the the letters DCMT after your name ... A Diploma in Advanced Stage Hypnosis entitling you to use the letters DASH after your name ... Certificate of Lifetime Membership to ''The Association of Professional Hypnotherapists & Psychotherapists'' (APHP) incorporating '' The Association of Complete Mind Therapists'' and membership benefits thereof ... Certificate of Lifetime Membership to ''The Professional Organisation of Stage Hypnotists (POSH) incorporating ''The Association of Professional Stage Hypnotists (APSH) and membership benefits thereof ...". The complainant challenged whether:

1. the claims "reveals all of the tried, tested and proven to work Legal Loopholes which enable anyone to perform a Stage-Hypnosis show and/or give a Hypnotic Demonstration anywhere, anyplace, anytime without the need for any form of Local Authority Permission and/or Licence!" and "this manual also reveals many techniques you could successfully use in order to ensure that you never face any form of Compensation or other legal claim against you" were misleading and irresponsible, because they could encourage readers to break the law, and

2. the advertisement misleadingly implied that readers could obtain professional qualifications or membership of trade bodies by sending money to the advertisers.

3. The Authority challenged whether the claim "this is a complete step by step business plan, detailing in an easy to understand manner how you may be able to earn between £50K to £100K per year" exaggerated the earnings readers were likely to achieve.

 

Codes Section: 2.2, 3.1, 4.1, 7.1, 54.5, 54.6 (Ed 10)

Adjudication:


1. Complaint upheld
The advertiser sent a copy of THE LAZY MANS [sic] GUIDE TO STAGE HYPNOSIS. He drew attention to the Hypnotism Act 1952 (the Act), which provides that the performance of hypnotism as part of public entertainment requires either a licence or authorisation from a local authority. He said the Act allowed the performance of hypnotism, except in connection with an entertainment, for scientific or research purposes or for the treatment of mental or physical disease and performers could argue that they gave demonstrations to show how hypnosis could treat ailments or, if participants in the show completed a questionnaire after the performance, that the show was for scientific or research purposes. The advertiser explained that, because the Act excluded hypnotism that was self-induced, performers could legally perform hypnosis on stage if the participants in the show hypnotised themselves, following instructions from the performer such as "just ALLOW YOURSELF to let your mind & body relax", and signed a questionnaire confirming that they had hypnotised themselves; the advertiser said performers could argue that all hypnosis was in reality self-hypnosis. He said legal claims could be prevented by having participants sign a form confirming that they had hypnotised themselves and that the performer had no liability to them. The advertiser drew attention to a 1996 Home Office Circular that referred to evidence from the British Psychological Society and the Royal College of Psychiatrists and stated that the risk to participants in stage hypnosis was very limited.

The Authority noted the mailing had been addressed only to mind therapists. It also noted the Act, the Home Office model conditions to be attached to licences for the performance of stage hypnotism and a recent High Court judgment that indicated that hypnosis might cause psychological harm in certain circumstances if not properly performed. The Authority considered that the performance of hypnotism as entertainment could not be turned into scientific or other research merely by the exercise of form-filling or other such steps and that self-hypnosis of the type advocated by the advertiser, with the subjects effectively still following the performer''s instructions, would still be regarded as hypnosis within the Act.

The Authority concluded that, although it provided ideas on how to reduce the chances of detection and prosecution, the advertiser''s Guide did not, in the main, set out lawful loopholes in the Act or reveal techniques likely to eliminate compensation or other legal claims against the performer. It concluded that the claim "reveals all of the tried, tested and proven to work Legal Loopholes which enable anyone to perform a Stage-Hypnosis show and/or give a Hypnotic Demonstration anywhere, anyplace, anytime without the need for any form of Local Authority Permission and/or Licence!" was irresponsible, because it encouraged readers to break the law, and that the claim "this manual also reveals many techniques you could successfully use in order to ensure that you never face any form of Compensation or other legal claim against you" was misleading. The Authority told the advertiser not to make those, or similar, claims in future advertisements, because performers'' attempts to exclude or limit liability as described in the Guide were, in practice, likely to be unsuccessful.

2. Complaint upheld
The advertiser said no legally recognised trade body for hypnotists or legally recognised qualifications in hypnotism existed; he argued he was therefore entitled to issue diplomas and certificates. He sent samples of diplomas and certificates he issued. The Authority noted students were not required to complete a course of study or take an examination to qualify for the diplomas or certificates and those diplomas and certificates were not accredited by an independent body. It was concerned that the mailing encouraged mind therapists who had not completed a course of study or been assessed, but had sent money to the advertiser, to claim they had professional qualifications. The Authority concluded that the advertisement was misleading because it implied that the certificates and diplomas that the advertiser sent to his customers were professional qualifications. The Authority told the advertiser not to advertise such qualifications in future.

3. Upheld
The advertiser said hypnotists could charge people who wanted to give up smoking £250 to £275 for a one-hour hypnotherapy session. He said a hypnotist who treated ten customers a week for 40 weeks a year could earn £100,000. The advertiser said the claim "how you may be able to earn £50K to £100K" did not imply that readers were guaranteed to earn over £50,000. He sent an extract from his publication "Make a Million from Hypnosis" but sent no evidence that hypnotists had earned more than £50,000 a year. The Authority acknowledged that the claim was tentative and did not imply that readers were guaranteed to earn between £50,000 to £100,000 a year. Because he had sent no evidence that those earnings were achievable, however, it considered that the advertiser had not justified the claim; the Authority asked him not to repeat it.

 

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