David, welcome to the cottage, grab a mug of tea and let Joe go play with my dogs, they’ll be fine.
Now – hypnotism has always fascinated me which is why The Handshaker was such a great read. I understand that you trained as a hypnotist. Could you tell us more about that. Why, how, what you did and why you stopped?
I spent most of my life in industrial work as a result of which, back in the early 1990s, I began to suffer from two things: a trucker’s tummy and osteoarthritis. Because of the acidic tummy, I couldn’t have the usual anti-inflammatories to cope with the pain, and over-the-counter remedies, like paracetamol, were completely ineffective, so I tried hypnosis, and it worked. I can switch off most pain simply by using suggestions. You have to be careful. Pain is the body’s way of telling you there’s something wrong, so it’s not advisable to ignore it, but you can minimise it with the power of the subconscious mind.
I was so fascinated by this phenomenon that I decided to look deeper, and eventually, I took a course in hypnotherapy. I even practised for a short time in my local area, with variable degrees of success, but I don’t have any counselling experience, so I gave it up and instead began to research the subject. I’m the world’s worst counsellor anyway, because, as you know, I can be quite abrupt with people and I don’t do sympathy. Even when I can relate to people’s problems, even when I know how difficult it is for them I’m still more likely to say to someone, “pull yourself together” than offer sound advice.
Criminal hypnosis. That’s a scary thought. We’ve all read stories of stage hypnotists leaving volunteers with problems but seriously, how common is criminal hypnosis with evil intent?
Thankfully, it isn’t, but there are still many cases on file. They tend to be of the sexual assault type, although there are more serious incidents. Sirhan Sirhan, the man who assassinated Bobby Kennedy, claimed to have been hypnotised into carrying out the crime.
Every hypnotist or hypnotherapist in the world will tell you, ‘hypnosis is perfectly safe’ and I go along with that. Hypnosis is safe… hypnotists are not, or at least, they’re not necessarily safe. Whether through criminal intent or lack of training, if you’re seeing a hypnotist, you have no idea of his/her competence or intentions.
This brings us to the question, who controls a hypnotic session. I’ve had arguments with many people on it. Most say, the subject controls what happens, I say that is not so (and it’s not just me, but other, far more experience hypnotists say it too). The client controls whether or not hypnosis takes place, but once in the deeper states, where short term memory is bypassed, then the hypnotist is in control. He is at liberty to alter your perception of reality, and that can be a dangerous route to follow.
Qualifications are no guarantee, either. There is no regulation of hypnotherapists in the UK. Instead there is self-regulation, and we know how ineffective that can be. I don’t say that the various regulatory bodies are not sincere or that their disciplinary procedures are inadequate, but consider this. If I was member of such an organisation and I was guilty of malpractice, they would strike me off their register. What is to prevent me simply setting myself up on my own? Answer: nothing. And I would not be breaking any laws. There is no requirement in British law for a hypnotherapist to have any qualifications or, indeed, any training. Anyone can go to the library, pick up a book on the subject and set up in business as a hypnotherapist the following day.
So if you’re looking for a hypnotherapist, it’s very much a case of caveat emptor. Take a recommendations from friends, contact one of the hypnotherapy organisations and they’ll give you a list of practitioners in your area, and if you’re female visiting a male therapist, get friend to go along with you.
Could you tell us about the forthcoming novel please?
The Deep Secret picks up a year and a half after the end of The Handshaker. The criminal hypnotist is serving a life sentence in a Category A secure unit. In an effort to escape the nightmares Felix Croft has moved to Tenerife.
A handwritten manuscript lands on Croft’s doormat. It purports to divulge the secret of instantaneous and silent hypnotic induction, as used by Franz Walter to subdue Mrs E in Heidelberg in 1927. Croft does not believe in this Deep Secret, but from an academic point of view, he has to read the manuscript.
Days later, The Handshaker, with the aid of an accomplice, escapes from prison and begins another rampage of rape and murder. Detective Inspector Millie Matthews urges Croft to come back to England and help. He returns as the body count rises, and it soon becomes apparent that he is the main target. It becomes a race against time to uncover The Deep Secret and stop the killings.
The novel uses flashbacks covering 80 years, from Munich and Heidelberg in the early twenties, through the rise of the Nazis, the war and post war years in Great Britain, to the here and now as Croft struggles to outwit the killer.
It’s taken close on two years to come to fruition, and may I just drop a couple of names, here? I’m indebted to Steph Patterson of Crooked Cat Books, who comes from the Heidelberg area of Germany, for her help with the locations, the German history and translating Google’s German into the real thing. I’d also like to thank my editor, Maureen Vincent-Northam, for her patience in working through early drafts of the manuscript and pointing out those tiny things we writers so often miss, but which are sure to grate upon the reader. Ladies, I don’t know where I would be without you, but the novel would be very much poorer.
Thanks so much, David, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. So now the all-important links –
The Handshaker: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00B1FLYXK
My site: http://www.dwrob.com
My Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/davidrobinsonwriter
My email: firstname.lastname@example.org