Fears over TV show which ‘hypnotises’ contestants

Phillip Schofield hosts ITV game show You're Back In The Room
Phillip Schofield hosts ITV game show You're Back In The Room
  • Experts sceptical over hypnosis TV game show
  • Therapists say programme doesn’t make sense
  • ITV says care of contestants is paramount

A Belfast hypnotherapist has poured scorn on a new television programme featuring people competing for prizes while under hypnosis.

Hosted by Phillip Schofield, the comedy game show You’re Back In The Room airs for the first time on ITV on Saturday at 8.20pm.

Each week five contestants are ‘hypnotised’ by mentalist Keith Barry. The contestants work together to complete simple challenges – however, their quest to win cash will be hampered when Barry activates hypnotic triggers, causing them to sabotage their chances.

Warren York, who helps people overcome stress-related and other conditions through hypnosis, said very few people can be made to do things against their will under hypnosis so the show “doesn’t make sense”.

He added: “Some people also see this as doing damage to the reputation of a serious therapeutic intervention for many important issues such as phobias, anxieties, irritable bowel syndrome, panic attacks and stress.

“This programme might deter people from seeking hypnosis as a cure or a treatment.”

Producers claim “hilarious” results but already a number of other experts, including the National Hypnotherapy Society, have expressed concern.

Barry is shown convincing contestants, for example, that their pants will feel tight each time they hear a bell, or that they should push their face into a cake when they hear certain trigger words.

Barry said the selection process allowed him to weed out anyone he thought was merely “playing along”.

A spokesman for ITV said their “duty of care towards the contestants was always of paramount importance” and that “all of the hypnosis and games are regulated under the 1952 Hypnotism Act”.

Some people see this as doing damage to the reputation of serious therapeutic intervention

Warren York