Tim Burton & Johnny Depp never fail me, since Edward Scissorhands to Sleepy Hollow to this campy remake of Dark Shadows, the duo have kept churning out what they do best – a huge combination of humor, satire and action all under a pretense of a thriller.

But Dark Shadows has gotten my goat this time – the hypnosis scenes sprinkled throughout the movie have the potential of reinforcing the misconceptions on my profession – not good since I am spending a considerable amount of time explaining what Hypnosis is NOT.


First, in contrast to what you see in the movies , YOU DO NOT LOSE CONTROL OF YOURSELF while in session. In fact, one still has the ability to decide what kind of messages to receive and the suggestions which they are advised to act upon.

Second, in a hypnotherapy session, it takes MUCH LONGER FOR CLIENTS TO ENTER A HYPNOTIC STATE, because relaxation and induction are absolutely necessary to bring upon hypnosis. Swinging a pendulum is not the usual method we employ or prefer as the clients are not hypnotized deep enough to carry any meaningful work.

There was a scene where Helena Bonham Carter essentially interrogated Johnny Depp while the latter was hypnotized. Again, this does not happen in real life. You never surrender your own will and consciousness while in session, you will wake up on being asked those questions. But in the movie, Johnny confessed for hours and hours has no connection to reality.

Don’t take it seriously , Please !

The original UK series has hypnosis as a vehicle to bring forth plot developments while never claimed to be an accurate representation of real situations. This movie adaptation preserves such a device, but having reached a much wider audience, especially in countries where the understanding of hypnosis or hypnotherapy is NON EXISTENT, only adds to my challenge to dispel any of that garbage mentioned in that movie.

I enjoyed the movie as any Friday evening movie-goer would but, as a hypnotherapist practicing in Asia, I see it as an obstacle to my work.

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