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Hypnotism

Hypnotism includes hypnotism, mesmerism, and any similar act or process which produces or is intended to produce in any person any form of induced sleep or trance in which the susceptibility of the mind of that person to suggestion or direction is increased or intended to be increased.

 

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Department: 

Licensing Team, Vale of Glamorgan Council, Civic Office, Holton Road, Barry, CF63 4RU

 

Application Process

An application for consent to conduct an exhibition, demonstration or performance of hypnotism shall be made by the applicant or his/her agent.

 

The application must be accompanied by the required fee.

 

Applicants must make application in good time to ensure the consultation period and where necessary a committee hearing can take place prior to the performance. In cases where a hypnotist has performed at the same venue within the last three years without any problems occurring, this period may be reduced.

 

On making application, the applicant must at the same time forward a copy of the application to the Chief Officer of Police and to the local Fire Authority.

 

A consultation period of 28 days will then commence.

 

Authorisation will last for the period of performance or performances at that given venue.

 

Tacit Consent

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact us.

 

The target time is 28 calendar days

 

This may be extended if a committee hearing is to take place.

 

Background and Eligibility Criteria

The Hypnotism Act 1952 states that no person shall give an exhibition, demonstration or performance of hypnotism on any living person at or in connection with an entertainment to which the public are admitted, whether on payment or otherwise, at any place unless the controlling authority have authorised that exhibition, demonstration or performance.

 

  •  The Applicant
    Applicants must not have been previously refused, or had withdrawn, a consent by any licensing authority or been convicted of an offence under the Hypnotism Act 1952 or of an offence involving the breach of a condition regulating or prohibiting the giving of a performance of hypnotism on any person at a place licensed for public entertainment.

    Refusal of consent by another authority does not necessarily indicate that the particular hypnotist is unacceptable and will not of itself prejudice the application. 
  • Exemption
    Nothing in the Hypnotism Act 1952 shall prevent the exhibition, demonstration or performance of hypnotism (otherwise than at or in connection with an entertainment) for scientific or research purposes or for the treatment of mental or physical disease.

    The need to gain authorisation does not apply to an exhibition, demonstration or performance of hypnotism that takes place in the course of a performance of a play (within the meaning of the Theatres Act 1968) given either at premises in respect of which a licence under that Act is in force or under the authority of any such letters patent as are mentioned in section 17(1) of that Act. 

   

 

Conditions

 

  • Publicity

    No poster, advertisement or programme for the performance which is likely to cause public offence shall be displayed, sold or supplied, by or on behalf of the licensee either at the premises or elsewhere;

     

    Every poster, advertisement programme for the performance which is displayed, sold or supplied shall include, clearly and legibly, the following statement:

    Volunteers, who must be aged 18 or over, can refuse at any point to continue taking part in the performance.

  • Insurance

    The performance shall be covered to a reasonable level by public liability insurance.  The hypnotist must provide evidence of this to the local authority if requested; and it must be available for inspection at the performance. 
  • Physical Arrangements

    The means of access between the auditorium and the stage for participants shall be properly lit and free from obstruction.

     

    A continuous white or yellow line shall be provided on the floor of any raised stage at a safe distance from the edge.  This line shall run parallel with the edge of the stage for its whole width.  The hypnotist shall inform all subjects that they must not cross the line while under hypnosis, unless specifically told to do so as part of the performance.

  • Treatment of Audience and Subjects

    Before starting the performance the hypnotist shall make a statement to the audience, in a serious manner, identifying those groups of people who should not volunteer to participate in it; explaining what volunteers might be asked to perform; informing the audience of the possible risks from embarrassment or anxiety; and emphasising that subjects may cease to participate at any time they wish. 

     

    The following is a suggested statement, which might be amended as necessary to suit individual styles so long as the overall message remains the same;

    “I shall be looking for volunteers aged over 18 who are willing to be hypnotised and participate in the show.  Anyone who comes forward should be prepared to take part in a range of entertaining hypnotic suggestions but can be assured that they will not be asked to do anything which is indecent, offensive or harmful. 

     

    Volunteers need to be in normal physical and mental health and I must ask that no-one volunteers if they have a history of mental illness, are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs or are pregnant.”

     

    No form of coercion shall be used to persuade members of the audience to participate in the performance.  In particular, hypnotists shall not use selection techniques which seek to identify and coerce into the stage the most suggestible members of the audience without their prior knowledge of what is intended. 

     

    Any use of such selection techniques (eg, asking members of the audience to clasp their hands together and asking those who cannot free them again to come onto the stage) should only be used when the audience is fully aware of what is intended and that participation is entirely voluntary at every stage;

     

    If volunteers are to remain hypnotised during an interval in the performance, a reasonable number of attendants as agreed with the licensing authority shall be in attendance throughout to ensure their safety.

     
  • Prohibited Actions

    The performance shall be so conducted as not to be likely to cause offence to any person in the audience or any hypnotised subject;

     

    The performance shall be so conducted as not to be likely to cause harm, anxiety or distress to any person in the audience or any hypnotised subject.  In particular, the performance shall not include:

     - any suggestion involving the age regression of a subject (ie, asking the subject to revert to an earlier age in their life; this does not prohibit the hypnotist from asking subjects to act as if they were a child etc)

     - any suggestion that the subject has lost something (eg, a body part) which, if it really occurred, could cause considerable distress

     - any demonstration in which the subject is suspended between supports (so-called “catalepsy”)

     - the consumption of any harmful or noxious substance

     - any demonstration of the power of hypnosis to block pain (eg, pushing a needle through the skin)

     

    The performance shall not include giving hypnotherapy or any other form of treatment.

  • Completion

    All hypnotised subjects shall remain in the presence of the hypnotist and in the room where the performance takes place until all hypnotic suggestions have been removed;

     

    All hypnotic or post-hypnotic suggestions shall be completely removed from the minds of the subjects and the audience before the performance ends.  All hypnotised subjects shall have the suggestions removed both individually and collectively and the hypnotist shall confirm with each of them that they feel well and relaxed (the restriction on post-hypnotic suggestions does not prevent the hypnotist telling subjects that they will feel well and relaxed after the suggestions are removed);

     

    The hypnotist shall remain available for at least 30 minutes after the show to help deal with any problems which might arise.   (Such help might take the form of reassurance in the event of headaches or giddiness but this condition does not imply that the hypnotist is an appropriate person to treat anyone who is otherwise unwell.)

     
  • Authorised Access

    Where:

     - a constable

     - an authorised officer of the licensing authority

     - an authorised officer of the fire authority

     

    has reason to believe that a performance is being, or is about to be given he may enter the venue with a view to seeing whether the conditions on which approval for the performance was granted are being complied with.

 

 

Fees

The fee for the consent is £154.00

 

Offences and Penalties

A person who gives any exhibition, demonstration or performance of hypnotism without gaining authorisation, or undertaking it in such as way to contravene any conditions attached to an authorisation, may on summary conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (currently £1000).


A person who gives an exhibition, demonstration or performance of hypnotism on a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years at or in connection with an entertainment to which the public are admitted, whether on payment or otherwise, shall, unless he had reasonable cause to believe that that person had attained that age, be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

 

Complaints and Other Redress

Failed Application Redress: Contact the Local Authority in the first instance.

 

Licence Holder Redress: Contact the Local Authority in the first instance.

 

Consumer Complaint: View our consumer complaints page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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