Why Would Anyone Allow a Stranger to Access Their Mind?

BBC World Service, The Why Factor –¬†Hypnosis: Why Would Anyone Allow a Stranger to Access Their Mind?

On Monday, 12 February 2018, the BBC World Service transmitted a programme in the documentary series, The Why Factor, entitled ‘Hypnosis: Why Would Anyone Allow a Stranger to Access Their Mind?’¬† The programme introduced and explained the subject of hypnosis, and how it can produce false memories in the minds of suggestible people.¬† These memories – including ‘flashbacks’ – can appear completely believable, and yet be provably false.


Curing phobias, managing pain, entertainment: hypnotism has a number of tangible benefits. But it can also carry significant risks for the most suggestible people. So why would anyone allow a stranger to access their mind?

Nicola Kelly speaks to performers, dentists and therapists who use hypnotism in their work and discovers how the brain functions when in a trance. Through hypnosis, she faces her own fear of rats, hears from a patient who had his front tooth extracted without anaesthetic and witnesses colleagues convinced they are Donald Trump.

But does the hypnotic trance really exist? Sceptics explain why they no longer believe it works and set out the hidden dangers.


The programme addresses many of the surprising phenomena hypnosis can produce.

Dr Kevin Felstead, the BFMS Director of Communications, is one of the contributors to the programme.

The programme can be listened to or downloaded free of charge from the BBC World Service website at the following address:


It is available on iPlayer Radio, and users must register to listen to or download, however, unlike television programmes on BBC iPlayer, a tv licence is not required.