I’m just back from the 54th convention of the National Guild of Hypnotists. This is the largest hypnotism gathering in the world with more than 2000 persons in attendance. The convention was in a new location this year at a Trade Show and Convention Center in Massachusetts. The Guild long ago outgrew the hotels in its home state of New Hampshire. Even in the new large facility, the hallways were crowded and the hotel, and two others close by, sold out.
It’s an energizing time for me. I’m on the Advisory Board of the Guild and so my time at the convention is often taken up with meetings. As I oversee the legislative and governmental concerns program of the Guild, I’m connected virtually to Guild members all over the nation. At the convention I have the chance to meet the people I’ve been working with over the year and to see what they actually look like.
I was especially proud this year at the Awards Banquet when two of my students, Mike Redell and Lynsi Eastburn both received awards. Mike got the award for political work and Lynsi got the Research Award for her work in using hypnotism to increase fertility. Both have gone on to become solid professionals and Lynsi now has her own state-licensed hypnotism school in Colorado.
So I felt proud, and sort of...well, old.
Over the years I’ve somehow managed to win most of the awards bestowed by the Guild, including the two highest—the President's Award and the Rexford North Award for Lifetime Achievement. As one can basically only receive an award once, a number of long-time members have gotten so many awards we are no longer in the running. Therefore, I was surprised when I heard my name called at the Banquet. I was elevated into the Order of Braid along with a short list of others.
The Order is named after James Braid, the Scottish physician who gave hypnotism its name in the nineteenth century, arguing in an authoritative book that the old name “Mesmerism” should be abandoned.
Guild members who have completed four decades of service to professional hypnotism, or who have won the major awards, are eligible for appointment to the Order of Braid. The Order is an honor society within professional hypnotism and it nominates the people who receive Guild awards.
Shortly after receiving the blue collar and medallion given to members of the Order of Braid I was greeted by one of the venerable older members who welcomed me into “the old fa*ts club.” I was pretty happy about it. It made me feel proud, and sort of....well, old.
Rounding out the convention was another opportunity to teach the curriculum for complementary medical hypnotism in the post-convention institute. I’m really inspired by the high quality of people who are in training today to be hypnotists. Some of the students this year were the best I have ever taught.
I also had the chance to sneak off for a fine dinner at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury. This is the establishment on the old Boston Post Road made famous by the widely read book of poems published in 1863 by Henry Longfellow called TALES OF A WAYSIDE INN. If you ever have the chance to dine there do so. The Lobster Pot Pie was a delight, and the Blueberry Pie was amazing.