Grant Boddington returns to Massey Palmerston North on Tuesday 28 February at the Events Centre. Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased online at musa.org.nz
Imagine what it would feel like to be standing in front of a crowd of thousands, all of them screaming and cheering your name. Some even scrambling to reach you on stage, only to be held back by your personal security guards. You don’t blame them. You are, of course, one of the world’s most renowned pop singers, finishing off one of the No 1 singles that gave you your fame.
Suddenly, reality hits. You blink, and you are welcomed by a crowd of less than 1000, their laughter ringing in your ears. What just happened, you ask yourself. A moment ago you were singing to adoring teenagers. That’s when it all comes flooding back. You’re not a famous pop singer – you were hypnotised by Grant Boddington.
With more than 20 years’ experience, Grant Boddington has hypnotised many people, including well-known New Zealanders. His journey as a hypnotist began “by mistake” while he was working as an entertainment agent and booked hypnotist James Marx for one of his clients. He later became Marx’s New Zealand manager and, after watching eagerly from the sideline, later began presenting his own stage shows.
He says he started hypnotism because “it looked like fun”. After receiving various requests, from help with weight loss to giving up smoking, he decided he’d better learn the therapy side of things. He trained as a hypnotherapist at the International Hypnotherapy Training Centre in England before opening his own clinic in Wanganui. He is now one of the very few in the world who is both a stage performer and a registered hypnotherapist.
“The best part about [stage shows] is that they are fun,” he says. “But on the therapy side, it’s really nice to help people.”
Letting someone else be in control of your body may sound intimidating to some, but he insists he cannot make you do anything you don’t want to. He says you are still in control, and likens the state to the feeling when you are coming out of a dream – the medium between being asleep and awake.
“You are aware of what is going on. Hypnotism isn’t about mind control – if it were I’d be rich by now.”
He says many people hypnotise themselves through the power of suggestion. By replacing negative thought patterns with positive ones, the hypnotist is able to help the patient make changes. “You can’t change the hardware in the brain, but you can install new software.”
Once awake from being hypnotised, subjects usually feel energetic or relaxed. In fact, being in this trance is beneficial for our mind and body.
When asked why hypnosis works, he says: “It works because people want it to.”
He believes openness to the idea of hypnotism is key. “If you are willing to be hypnotised, that’s the first step towards change.”
A veteran of Massey O-Week, having already put on several shows, Grant is looking forward to returning. “Students are the best audience. They’re more open-minded and have a big imagination.”
Students have the option to decide if they’d like to be hypnotised, and those wishing not to participate can sit back and enjoy the show. It is all good clean fun, and maintaining modesty and dignity with those participating is important to Grant.
When asked what to expect from his upcoming show, Grant responds simply: “Fun! Every show is 100 per cent different. I can do the same routine over and over but the results are never the same.”
The one thing guaranteed is that you will be entertained. From the reactions of men who have just given birth singing a lullaby to their newborn baby, to those who believe they have x-ray vision and the ability to see through people’s clothes, this is an event not to be missed at Massey O-Week.