Viewers Think “Hello Stranger” Hypnosis TV show Is Forgettable​​​​​​​

Article by Tony Sokol

Imagine meeting the love of your life. See yourself going through the process of your first dates, the wedding planning and setting up a home. Feel how it becomes familiar, maybe even tiresome. Now imagine meeting that person again. Can you see yourself going through it all again? You can see this done through hypnosis on TV in England on Channel 4’s new dating show Hello Stranger. The show isn’t about hypnosis for therapy, it showcases a struggling couple hypnotized into thinking they are single and meeting for the first time. Disgruntled viewers didn’t buy it, taking to social media to claim the volunteer couple Lucy, 20, and George, 24, were acting and left wondering is hypnosis, fake while hypnotherapy practitioners explain this is not how hypnosis works.

Channel 4’s hypnotic show Hello Stranger, which joins Derren Brown’s Trick of the Mind as the country’s prime time mind programming, explores amnesia hypnosis. Aaron Calvert, who trained in medicine at Nottingham University before he hit the stage as a hypnotist, erased four years of memories and replaced them with images of the couple’s friends. George and Lucy, who run YouTube channel The Juicy Vlog, went on three dates, believing they were single. One of them saw the former couple meet for a “first date.” Viewers thought it looked like the couple recognized each other and were faking the hypnosis in order to gain publicity for their vlogs.

It might seem romantic, but hypnotic amnesia is most associated with heartbreak. In the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Jim Carrey tries to get over Kate Winslet with a medical technology that selectively eliminates memory. This technology doesn’t exist. It is not currently possible to erase a relationship, but hypnosis can help the subconscious mind take away the importance of the memories. Hypnosis can help people disassociate from the memories, and take the power away from repetitive thoughts of an ex-lover.

In 2014, pop star Katy Perry was hypnotized to get over her breakup with blues guitarist John Mayer, and went to a hypnotherapist after her marriage to comedian Russell Brand ended in 2011. During a deeply relaxed state, a person can target negative memories and allow healing by improving self-esteem and confidence. You can’t be hypnotized to forget a past lover but you can use it to see the other person for who they are rather than who you want them to be.

People who get their information about hypnosis from TV might also conclude hypnotic amnesia occurs as a matter of course during hypnotic sessions.

For many hypnotherapists, amnesia is a common occurrence of a deep hypnotic experience, but amnesia is not automatic with hypnosis. Some suggestions can be more powerful when coming from behind an amnesiac barrier leading some to believe people follow suggestions they don’t remember. There is some evidence that suggestions that fade from the conscious mind can be carried out automatically by the unconscious mind.

Milton Erickson’s model of the mind considered the unconscious mind is the most powerful part of us when the conscious mind was bypassed. Richard Bandler uses confusion language because the unconscious mind responds to suggestions aimed at creating amnesia. During a typical hypnotic session, the subject hears everything the hypnotist says and can accept or reject any suggestions.

Hypnosis can be used to help people take the power out of memories of trauma, allowing the subject to dissociate from a memory. Amnesia occurs naturally. People forget names, phone numbers, passwords, and where they parked their cars. They go into a room and forget why they went in. Instead of erasing the past, you can be hypnotized to reframe the memories of the past and cognitively distance yourself from the emotions associated with specific people and events.