*NAME Entertainers offers members insurance coverage through our partners at Brown & Brown for stage hypnotists and street comedy hypnosis only.
Q: Please state your name, location and occupation(s)?
A: My name is Justin James, I’m a comedy hypnotist and a national touring artist based in Washington State. We do comedy shows, event management, artist booking, teach advanced classes on hypnosis and hypnosis safety authored safe on stage, the safety program for stage hypnotists nationwide and a requirement for insurance through N.A.M.E.. We also do seminars to help people lose weight, stop smoking, and manage their stress.
Q: How did you get into hypnosis?
A: That’s a great question and there are a lot of answers because I had multiple exposures to hypnosis from when I was quite young. As an entertainer, I have been performing and presenting since I was 7 years old doing anything from store openings to dancing on TV. Professionally I started out in the counseling field and hypnotic techniques were a great help in assisting clients. I started my studies in the persuasive arts in my early teens and continued my studies in college. By the time I was in my mid 20’s, I was working in a multi-national career counseling firm, teaching hypnosis three nights a week at a local college, and doing demonstrational shows.
Q: What exactly is hypnotherapy?
A: Hypnotherapy is considered short term therapy (20 sessions or less) where an individual is assisted with solution-based strategies. More common therapeutic approaches can have clients coming in for years to resolve issues where as a hypnotist can do the same job – sometimes in as few as one or two sessions. Most commonly hypnotists are seen for weight management, smoking cessation and stress control. Other very successful uses include pain, anxiety, sleep issues, nail biting, Tinnitus, IBS, fibromyalgia and many other illnesses that have a mental component.
Q: How is stage hypnotherapy different from a private session?
A: “Stage Hypnotherapy” would be more accurately described as group seminars. There are several differences. The main difference is in a private session there is an intake and considerable personalization for the client, however in a group session it is very generic.
Q: How is stage hypnosis different from hypnotherapy?
A. Back in the 1950’s, stage hypnosis was far different than what is seen today. It was demonstrations of hypnotic phenomena and people would sit quietly. Today’s high quality comedy show is far different and while the general principles are the same, the approach is vastly different. Your job is to essentially manage 10, 20 and even 30 people in a nonstop comedy fest that uses hypnosis to make everything work. It requires a solid technical knowledge of hypnosis, great stage presence, a quick wit and the ability to multitask at a very fast pace. This is all very different from the sedate pace a counselor may take in doing a hypnosis session with a single individual.
Q: How did you find N.A.M.E. Entertainers?
A: In 2007, we had a massive industry crisis that nearly left all stage hypnotists without liability insurance. The cause was due to a massive outpouring of poorly trained and ill-equipped stage hypnotists who were inexperienced on stage hurting others and sometimes themselves. I partnered with N.A.M.E. to create the first stage hypnosis safety program aptly called Safe On Stage and working together with N.A.M.E., I found a carrier who would insure us as a group. Today hypnotists who want to get insurance must go through a safety program first and I am proud to say our safety test has been a part of N.A.M.E. for over a decade.
Q: Why should someone join N.A.M.E. Entertainers?
A: N.A.M.E. cares, they pay attention and stay involved and that says a lot about who they are and when you need insurance for your entertainment business, they are the association to use. It’s important to deal with people who know what they are doing.
Q: We’re expanding our blog to include more marketing and small business information. How will you be contributing to the N.A.M.E. Entertainers blog?
A: That’s a great question! Being a successful full-time stage hypnotist is no easy task and as you may imagine, not necessarily the first type of entertainment someone may think of for their next corporate event. Staying relevant and current within today’s marketing outlets is a constant challenge for many artists, however it is something we are quite good at and I love to talk about. Safety is another big issue and it is not “Stage Hypnotist” specific. Today we are faced with a lot of challenges on stage and cord management is at times the least of them. With the Me Too movement, the new gender profiles and even just basic introductions many things are changing at a breakneck pace and doing what I do I am on the front line dodging those bullets.
Q: What kind of background do you have in this field?
A: Strangely enough, it’s rather broad and deep and ranges from being the Senior Executive VP of a $110 million multinational outplacement firm to working in EMS in my own community. Hypnosis has woven through all of it. Starting The Hypnosis Company in the early 90’s, I had to build everything from the ground up and master a lot of different skills like audio and video editing, graphic design, entertainment marketing, event management, contracts, stage setup and vendor management. When you own a small business, you have got to be a jack of all trades and when you hire employees it helps a lot knowing the job yourself. I got into EMS to help my community and for my own personal satisfaction and education. I believe any of us who are in entertainment should have at least some solid first responder training because you never know what’s going to happen. Safety is paramount in both hypnosis and EMS and I have spent thousands of hours training in both.
Q: Tell us about your company.
A: The Hypnosis Company (THC) was founded in the early nineties and like many other small businesses in entertainment, it was a part time on the weekends type of business. THC took off and we went from 10 events a year to over 300. Today we work in a wide variety of industries from high schools, colleges, fairs and festivals, to fortune 500 companies, cities and even federal contracts. We provide variety entertainers, speakers, auctioneers, Emcees, event management and anything else a venue may need to make their event a success.
Q: What kind of stories can we expect from you?
A: A little bit of everything. As an educator and presenter, I love sharing what I know. With the current social climate, there is a lot to talk about on a wide variety of topics that impact us as entertainment professionals.
Q: If people have specific questions, how can they reach you?