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Forensic Hypnosis

by Dr. Jerome Beacham, interviewed by Editor Jo Greenwald

Category: Forensic


Jerome Beacham, PhD, is an IMDHA Fellow, Forensic Hypnotist, Certified Forensic Hypnosis Instructor, Licensed Detective and Retired Detroit Police Sergeant, and that is only part of his background!

What is Forensic Hypnosis?
Forensic Hypnosis means to investigate with Hypnosis as the main tool. Hypnosis may be defined as: a state of increased receptivity to suggestion characterized by an altered state of consciousness. The degree varies from very light to very deep and usually include relaxation and increased awareness.

What is the court's view of hypnotically refreshed recall?
In states where Forensic Hypnosis is acceptable it may fall under the same admissibility requirements as polygraph. Forensic Hypnosis may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction therefore you must check the legal status for the use of Forensic Hypnosis in your state. Forensic-investigative hypnosis is a highly specialized application, which requires specific training, skills, and precautions to protect the integrity of its use and /or to make a determination and evaluation as to whether it should be used in a particular criminal or civil case.

What is the difference between Therapeutic and Investigative Hypnosis?
Therapeutic Hypnosis - Considers "hypnosis" as "a state-relationship within which the therapist wishes to increase healing potential, and will do everything possible to maximize the relationship with the patient. Furthermore, he/she will change induction techniques, suggestions, interpretations, and all interventions to facilitate symptom improvement. The last thing he/she wants to do is apply a standardized technique equally to all patients. The therapist will build this relationship with the patient as strongly as possible over many sessions in which resistances and transference reactions are dealt with and resolved. Investigative Hypnosis -The purpose of using Investigative Hypnosis is to refresh memory. In the forensic application, hypnosis is applied to recover the memory of the subject and is to be conducted with witnesses and preferably recorded by both audio and visual means with a witness present during the interview. This differs from therapeutic hypnosis where the session(s) may be conducted in private and are concerned with only the subject and therapist.

What are the types of Forensic Witnesses?
There are three types: Fact Witness - You conducted the investigative hypnosis interview and will testify to that fact. You will testify that, yes I was called by (hiring party) to conduct an investigative interview, here are the procedures that I used, and here are the results. Opposing attorneys can call in another expert to testify as to whether you conducted the interview correctly. Expert Witness - Someone else conducted the hypnosis interview, and you would testify on the HYPNOSIS portion ONLY, as an EXPERT. Consulting Expert - Someone who is called in by either side to testify that the investigative hypnosis session was conducted properly. As a consultant, you must make sure that your DOCUMENTED techniques and procedures can withstand any scrutiny by the court and opposing attorneys and experts.

What preparation does the person need in order to take your Forensic Training Course?
The Forensic Hypnotist must be prepared to have his/her total background, statements and all credentials examined under microscopic conditions. This is the reason for specific training in this field of Hypnosis. One must be proficient in the history of hypnosis, induction techniques, deepening techniques and emerging the witness/victim. In order to do this I have made arrangements with the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association® to provide this basic training through its approved hypnosis training schools. To find a school in your area call 248/549-5594 EST weekdays 9-5 for a referral or go on-line to www.infinityinst.com.

What are the benefits of taking this training?
The first thing that comes to mind is an increase in income as well as status in one's profession and a further knowledge of Hypnosis. Both civil and criminal cases often make use of Hypnotically refreshed recall by witnesses, victims, plaintiffs and defendants. Learning the proper legal protocols is an integral part of this program. You will learn new regression techniques and how to recover repressed memories while assisting both police agencies and defense attorneys with witnesses. One can become part of a distinct hypnotic discipline in this fast growing industry by taking this fascinating course.


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