Being broken has helped me fix other people

Publication Date15 January 2022
Publication titleBirmingham Mail (England)
More than 15 million of his selfhelp guides have been sold and now he has plugged into the pandemic zeitgeist with his new tome Positivity, offering a 'psychological vaccine.'

The book features techniques for helping people build confidence, become more optimistic and feel motivated, accompanied by an audio download in which he puts readers into a hypnotic trance to help them achieve that mindset.

Personally, he and his wife, Kate, implemented various strategies to help them cope with lockdown. Exercise (he bought gym equipment), gratitude lists every day, refraining from watching the news all day and learning to cook helped him through, he observes.

Paul, 58, who counts training NHS staff in hypnotherapy as one of his myriad involvements with the technique, has come a long way since his early entertainment career, when he used hypnotism to persuade volunteers from a studio audience to believe - and behave - as if they were doing things like treading on hot coals or riding horses.

That was decades ago and he has long since become much more serious about the trade which has made him a multimillionaire, holding masterclasses and motivational events, researching new techniques and psychological technology.

And yet it's undeniable that the one-time DJ, who came to prominence doing stage hypnosis mostly for comic effect, also takes advantage of commercial opportunity.

Take, for example, his collaboration with Aldi before Christmas when he hosted the world's first mass online hypnosis to make people like Brussels sprouts.

Surely, doing these light-hearted collaborations won't enhance his kudos in the professional sphere?

"You're right. The majority of my work these days is at the sharp end, big cases, basically incurables, people that everybody else has given up on - depression, suicide, OCD - I do a lot of that and I'm very proud of it.

"A lot of my work has been integrated into the NHS, the military, policemen, firemen, paramedics and we've made some major breakthroughs. "But you have to remember I'm partly an entertainer/performer and when the offer came from Aldi I did it because I wanted to show people that you can change your opinion about things like that. People know I've got a sense of humour so for me it was a bit of light relief."

"I want to show people the power of hypnosis," he continues. "Why not Brussels sprouts? There's always a danger that people will go (he assumes an upper-crust accent), 'Oh, that Paul McKenna, what sort of chap is he? If he...

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