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This is a space for musings and insights inspired by my practice and designed to help Mums on their own healing journey.



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Imagine You and I Are Going on a Journey to Somewhere You’ve Never Been Before

By Sonya Whaley, Nov 26 2017 12:15AM

Review of Mike Mandel’s UK Hypnosis Masterclass

Nov 6th & 7th 2017, Ufford Park, Suffolk

Mike Mandel and Chris Thompson felt like old trusted friends, I’ve listened to so much of their podcast output. Yet the British-born now Canada-dwelling master hypnotist Mike confided it had been 13 years since he last set foot on UK soil.

Unlikely, then, to be meeting the Canadian pair in the midst of rural Suffolk. An unexpectedly beautiful landscape, I walked past an ivy clad rustic red brick barn and a wildflower meadow in Melton to arrive at the venue in Ufford Park. The brilliant blue sky and crisp sunny coldness of the morning held steadfast all day. Inside, the Master Class participants began to build in number and enthusiasm.


Once Mike and Chris took the stage, we soon relaxed into their good-naturedness and were galvanised by their contagious energy. “Aim to take one or two things away with you from this class”, Mike preframed, “that really speak to you and can catapult your learning to a new level.”

The prerequisite of the class was to have some working knowledge of hypnosis. In fact, this event had pulled in quite a mixed crowd: a fresh-faced heating engineer, a gentlemanly doctor, a glamorous hairdresser wanting to set her clients at ease with better rapport, a woman from the North who reminded me of my old school dinner lady.

And we were soon in full flow, covering a wide range of skills and ideas, from ideomotor signals to the value of congruence, from ego states to embedded commands and much in between.

An open frame format was encouraged but audience members beware! Ask a question and next thing you know, Mike may have you fixed in his gaze in the start of the Fixed Attention induction. Why use words to explain a concept when it can be so elegantly illustrated with a live hypnosis demonstration? Then would follow a debrief and a chance to practice ourselves.

Rewiring the brain

In particular, as a therapist I found the trauma release exercises fascinating and immediately saw the potential usefulness in my practice. One way to disassociate from the emotions of a bad experience is by having the recipient run the memory repeatedly through the unconscious mind to release the negative charge. Only when the event is neutralised would you then have them run it through their conscious mind when it is safe to handle. We did this in tandem with setting up ideomotor signals so that we could communicate directly with the unconscious mind without compromising the trance (which speaking usually does) and got great insight into how powerful hypnosis can be in change work. Mike came back to the fact time and again, performing these exercises changes the brain’s pathways and you are literally rewiring the brain. Little wonder he has named his podcast Brain Software.

Constant referencing to texts, dates and influencers by Mike made clear that we were in the presence of an authority and we felt the benefit of someone who has made their life a study of hypnosis. Part of the duo’s appeal is that they are not afraid to credit the techniques used to their rightful originators and they pull from a vast library of tools, always respectful of whomever developed them.


Something I would have been keen to see is Chris Thompson demonstrating some of the concepts during the class. Mike identified himself as an auditory in the VAK (Visual Auditory Kinesthetic) system as laid out in NLP and it is clear that he is extremely skilled in fluent articulate delivery of spoken language. Of somewhat more interest to myself as a visual would be to hear how Chris, who also seems more visual-orientated, strings together the hypnotic language to induce and deepen trance. I’d find this especially encouraging, since I identify more with Chris’s traits.

It would also be great to hear some new anecdotes from Mike when illustrating the concepts. Many within his audience these days are attending live training after graduating from his online hypnosis academy and/or exposure to his podcast and have heard many of these stories before so he needs to be mindful to keep it fresh for such folks.

Somewhere else entirely

Towards the end of Day 1, I experienced my first profoundly deep trance at the hands of a practiced hypnosis trainer who I happened to be paired with. As I emerged from one light trance, he immediately performed a shock induction coupled with the words, “Sleep now.” I felt my head tilt fully forward, I heard voices – could make out individual voices, even – but felt like I was somewhere else entirely. Shout out to Sudbury based hypnotherapist Benjamin Ryan for that one, it was definitely a highlight.

Afterwards, we retired to the bar for cider and beer and to foster new friendships. An early night beckoned, there was much learning to digest overnight before Day 2: Mindscaping began.

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