By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
Even though he had worked as a certified hypnotist for years, Richard Conrad of Washington admitted to being ?scared to death? the first time he took the stage at the University of Dubuque to assist stage hypnotist Dr. Jim Wand with his show.
Facing the line of people in a hypnotic trance, Conrad began describing an air flight to Australia the volunteers perceived they were taking. He then explained the GPS of the plane had malfunctioned causing the plane to land in the Amazon. The volunteers showed signs of fear as he described a tribe of cannibals that surrounded the plane. He explained each of the volunteers had to kiss a cannibal to ensure the safety of the flight, to the amusement of the audience.
?You always wonder when you are on stage if what you are doing is going to work,? Conrad said. ?It ended up I had the best time of my life.?
Since that first show, Conrad has performed with Wand about five times, creating a scenario for people under hypnosis on stage to react to. Conrad said Wand had hoped to find someone with stage experience to help with his show. Conrad has had stage experience as well as being a certified hypnotist. The two had done shows together and Conrad said Wand is setting him up to work under him.
Conrad said he hasn?t done an induction (the process undertaken by a hypnotist to establish the state or conditions required for hypnosis to occur) on stage yet.
Conrad said his next goal is to perform a solo act on stage, which he hopes to do soon at a local nightclub.
From an early age, Conrad has been fascinated with the mind and how it impacts the body. One night while surfing the web, he came across a video of a hypnotist showing speed induction. He became interested and quickly figured out how it was done.
Later, while speaking with a friend who had also learned hypnosis, the friend had recommended Wand for further study.
?I have been having fun ever since,? Conrad said.
He said among the things he has helped people with using hypnosis include confidence, anxiety, and he has a 90 percent efficiency rating of helping people quit smoking. He said there are many other things that can be done, including helping athletes perform better.
Conrad explained to become certified he had to take training and go in front of a board to answer questions pertaining to doing hypnosis and induction. He explained he had learned hypnosis during a course with Dr. Richard Nongard of Oklahoma, an internationally recognized expert in clinical hypnosis.
?What we are doing is putting the conscious mind to sleep so we can talk to the subconscious mind, because that is basically where everything resides,? he said.
Conrad said hypnosis is basically self induced and the hypnotist just guides the subject. He said most people are in self-hypnosis an average of three times a day, when they catch themselves daydreaming or losing time while driving.
?People keep saying ?you did this to me,?? Conrad said. ?No, you did it to yourself. I cannot make someone do anything they don?t want to do. It is a state of mind, that is all it is.?