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Hypnotist visits North psychology classes

By Abi Murray

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As part of their States of Consciousness chapter, Jennifer Weisbrodt’s AP Psychology classes welcomed hypnotist Michael Brody to North on Tuesday. Brody, referred to Weisbrodt by South’s Psychology teacher, was brought in because of his previous experience as a teacher and familiarity with the curriculum.

Brody’s demonstration required seven students with parental per
mission to participate in a relaxation exercise. He chose certain students based on their ability to focus, which makes hypnotization easier then conducted the activity. Once the students relaxed, they were then given hypnotic suggestions and underwent visualization exercises.

Senior Colleen Corbet watched as Brody hypnotized her classmates and began to experience similar symptoms herself.

“He started off by playing this weird music and had them focus on the light on the top of the ceiling and he kept just saying, like calming stuff,” Corbet said. “Slowly, they all just got really tired and I was feeling tired too, but they just started feeling tired and then he just kept on touching them on the shoulder and like snapping his fingers and saying stuff and then slowly one by one, he would say ‘sleep’ and they would just like fall right over.”

Although not every student was directly affected, the room had an infectiously calming air that managed to relax Corbet as well.

If given the opportunity to be put under hypnosis again, Corbet would be interested in participating.

Corbet said she would like to try hypnosis.

“Everyone afterwards said it was just so peaceful and relaxing,” Corbet said. “They felt so good afterward, so I would really like to experience that.”

Senior Abby Kanakry was one of the chosen students for whom hypnosis wasn’t effective. Brody did succeed in relaxing Kanakry, yet unlike her fellow students, she remained awake.

“He would start coming by and whispering in people’s ears to like, ‘go to sleep,’” Kanakry said. “And it slowly started working, and my whole entire body felt relaxed, but I wasn’t actually asleep. Like I didn’t feel like I could move, but I wasn’t asleep.”

However, Kanakry said she was instantly pulled from the tranquil state upon hearing another classmate talking in the room so she opened her eyes and returned to her seat.

At the end of the period, Kanakry asked Brody why the hypnosis failed on her.

“He said that it might have been that I wasn’t focusing hard enough in the beginning, or he said that a lot of times like other distractions can just make you come out of it or if he asked you to do something that you didn’t want to do, like that you wouldn’t do in the right state of mind, that you’ll just instantly come out of it,” Kanakry said.

Weisbrodt said she hopes Brody can return in the following years to repeat this demonstration to her students.

“It makes the material memorable for the students and provides a deeper understanding of the process,” she said.

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