Have you witnessed a crime, but you’re not sure if you remember the details correctly? Seeking the help of a forensic hypnotist is a good way to refresh your memory and see the picture vividly.
Forensic Hypnosis & Therapeutic Hypnosis
What is Forensic Hypnosis?
Forensic Hypnosis is among the specialisations of Alpha Hypnotics in Doncaster VIC. This form of hypnotherapy assists civil and criminal investigation by obtaining information or evidence using the power of hypnosis.
Hypnosis is the process of increasing the mind’s ability to receive suggestions. While in a hypnotic state, the mind can be slightly receptive or very receptive, and the person experiences total relaxation and an increased awareness of their environment.
What Does a Forensic Hypnotist or Hypno-Investigator Do?
A forensic hypnotist uses hypnotherapy techniques to gather facts, information or evidence that may be used in legal proceedings, prosecution, civil process, ethical enquiry and disciplinary procedures.
A qualified hypno-investigator employs different induction and deepening methods depending on the circumstances at hand. There are instances when they would use authoritarian techniques, especially when there is a need to protect the wellbeing of a client.
The Difference Between Therapeutic & Investigative Hypnosis
Although therapeutic hypnosis and investigative hypnosis have many differences and similarities, maintaining the welfare of the client is the top priority of the therapist. The Council for Clinical Hypnotherapy has set strict regulations with regard to the practice of forensic hypnosis, as well as high ethical standards which its members must comply with.
In therapeutic hypnosis, the hypnotherapist may employ different techniques to facilitate healing in their client. The successful outcome of the session is hinged on the strong rapport of client and therapist.
On the other hand, forensic hypnosis focuses on the recovery of a client’s memory using hypnotherapy techniques pursuant to the law. A forensic hypnosis in Australia should be conducted in private and recorded. There may be additional requirements in cases where the client is a minor.
Below are notable differences between these two hypnotherapy approaches:
Investigative Forensic Hypnosis Function
- Historical truth
- Emotionally neutral
- Goal is no change
- Suggestions undesirable
- Leading questions avoided
- Video taping required
- Rules of Evidence
- Methodology is constant unorthodox procedures are not used
- The intention is that the evidence may be used in court
- Procedures governed by case law
- Practitioners need not be members of a professional association
- Fees non claimable except through application at court
- Practitioner experienced in therapeutic investigation/legal process
- Practitioners should be registered
Therapeutic Clinical Hypnosis Function
- Narrative truth
- Emotionally oriented
- Goal is change
- Suggestions required
- Leading questions required
- Recording considered intrusive
- Hypnotherapeutic techniques
- Various therapeutic modalities may be employed
- Nil intention that the procedure will be used in court
- Procedures governed by professional association rules
- Practitioners should be members of a professional association
- Fees are claimable with private health funds
- Practitioner experienced in therapeutic process
- Practitioners should be registered
The Goal of an Investigative Forensic Hypnotic Session
Forensic hypnosis is not intended to resolve traumatic issues, phobias or a medical condition. It is primarily used to refresh a client’s memory to gather as much information from them. A forensic hypnotist is highly trained in asking non-leading questions and using non-threatening induction and hypnotherapy techniques.
The therapist is expected to maintain integrity, transparency and an ethical approach throughout the hypnosis process. What is deemed an appropriate approach in therapeutic hypnosis is considered an erroneous method for forensic investigation.
How Does Forensic Hypnosis Work?
Forensic hypnosis starts with the hypno-investigator conducting an initial interview with the client to evaluate them and orient them to the process. The client is expected to provide consent and a pre-hypnosis statement to a third party, which could be an investigator, police or solicitor, before the forensic hypnosis takes place.
During the session, the hypnotist may ask about the time and place of the incident, as well as the events that took place herein. However, this would depend on the laws governing hypnosis in a specific place. In the USA and other countries, a hypnotist’s questions are limited to the client’s information, date of the incident and the type of incident.
The Court’s View of Evidence Obtained From Hypnosis
The court reviews all laws or protocols governing hypnosis before using any information obtained from a client by means of this modality. The use of hypnosis to refresh a person’s memory of a crime or incident is mentioned in R v Jenkyns (1993) 32 NSWLR 712 and in R v Tillott (1995) 38 NSWLR 1. In reference to the latter, the Court of Criminal Appeal said hypnosis and other similar techniques could cause suggestibility, confabulation, pseudo memory, an unjustified increase in witness confidence, and possible falsity.
That being so, the Court came up with a set of rules to protect the process of obtaining evidence through hypnosis. The disclosure of any prosecution material produced from recovering a client’s memory is now a requirement (R v CPK NSWCCA 21 June 1995).
The rules governing forensic hypnosis may vary according to the court where a case is being tried. However, courts have a different take on therapeutic hypnotherapy, especially in situations where an accused person seeks therapy or counselling. So, it’s important for a forensic hypnotist to seek legal advice before practising hypnosis for the purpose of obtaining evidential information.
What Happens in a Post-Hypnotic Session?
At the end of a forensic hypnosis session, the therapist will ask the client certain questions to check the state of their emotions, physical wellbeing, as well as their interpretation of what has just transpired. Then they will be instructed to report to the investigator in charge of their case. They may also ask the forensic hypnotist questions to clarify any part of the session, and the hypnotist will answer all of these questions.
Under no circumstances must the hypnotist divulge to the client the level of hypnosis they achieved during the session, nor should they discuss good or bad statements obtained from the session. If the client needs counselling or psychotherapy, the forensic hypnotist should refer them to another therapist.
The Benefits of Therapeutic Hypnosis Following Forensic Hypnosis
Therapeutic hypnosis is beneficial for people who have been subjected to stressful events that have affected their mental health. Recommending a client to a therapeutic therapist after having undergone forensic hypnosis will help address their concerns, including:
- Courtroom phobia
- Victim fear of confronting perpetrators
- Witness box phobia
- Memory enhancement
- Advocacy fears
- Overcoming forgetting evidence and facts
Book an appointment to find out more about forensic hypnosis and how it can help you.