The human mind is divided into two sections. The conscious contains our everyday thoughts, it’s analytical and logical, it makes the decisions and remembers our daily responsibilities,
Beneath all this is our subconscious, where our imaginations and creativity thrive, synapses fire, ideas bloom, and inhibitions are lowered. Without the weight and barriers built up by the conscious, the subconscious unveils one’s true, and often hidden, self.
The exploration into human psychology and the divide between these two separate ways of living is the basis for hypnosis. Hypnosis asks, ‘if you removed your conscious, who would you be? What would you do?’
These are the questions asked by Matt Davis, a hypnotist that will be performing at Baltimore Soundstage at 124 Market Place on Friday, May 20.
“What we do as hypnotists is relax the conscious mind and speak directly to that subconscious mind which allows us to make changes, help people explore their creativity, get rid of fears and phobias,” said Davis. “We all have thoughts that go throughout our minds every day, most of the time they’re on a loop and unfortunately a lot of those thoughts affect us negatively, so if you can break that cycle and feed the subconscious mind new information, it can make some pretty amazing changes.”
Hypnosis is commonly used as therapy, often to treat addictions and obsessive behaviors. In his show, however, Davis will hypnotize audience members and have them play out whatever scenes and bits he has prepared for some subconscious fun.
“My show, being in the industry that I was in, was steered more towards entertainment. I just wanted to have fun with people and help them explore their creativity on stage,” said Davis.
Hypnosis is simply about focusing all your attention onto one single thing. If it works, the conscious will fade away, leaving Davis a malleable subconscious.
“I just tell them to get in their own little bubble, forget about the audience and their friends, and just listen to my voice and follow the instructions,” he said.
He adds that hypnosis isn’t a cure-all, but people who can get into it have seen great benefits from it.
When he talks to his volunteers after the show, he said the perceptions of their hypnosis varies. Some remember the entire thing, some describe it as being like a dream, others can’t remember it at all.
“Most people will generally describe a really relaxed state, you release tremendous amounts of stress and tension.”
He said people’s inhibitions are lowered and while they are fully aware of what they are doing and their surroundings, they just don’t care. In a hypnotized state, people have the compulsion to do whatever Davis tells them to do, such as act out a scene or experience temporary hallucinations.
Most people in Baltimore know Davis from his stint as a DJ for 98 Rock and the long-time host of “Noise in the Basement”. He left the radio station in August of last year after almost 20 years.
“It definitely wasn’t an ‘I’m bored with radio’ decision’ because I think radio is my first love and always will be,” he said, adding that he will always be connected to and excited about the Baltimore music scene.
Davis made the decision to leave after a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to study under a hypnosis legend landed in his lap.
For ten months, he was mentored by and toured with Jim Wand, a veteran of hypnosis who performs over 300 shows a year around the country.
“That chance wasn’t going to be there again, so I felt like if I didn’t take it, I’d be wondering ‘what if?’ forever,” he said.
Through this intensive study and his travels, he began to develop as his own performer.
“Much like a musician or artist, you’re sort of inspired by this style and you get to emulate it in the beginning. Then, you take whatever things you’re doing and put your own flavor into it and you get some practice and it starts to take on parts of your personality.”
Calling himself a “perpetual student”, Davis said he is still developing his show and technique. He explains that he can never fully plan out a show because it all depends on who you bring up from the audience.
“When I can get somebody on stage who does have a great imagination, and they are creative and funny, it’s like magic. Sometimes we get somebody who is the biggest introvert and we bring out their inner extrovert, it’s pretty amazing.”
He has learned to not let the skeptics bother him, hoping that at the very least they’ll have both an open mind and a good time.
“I just hope you come to the show and have fun either way, whether you believe in hypnosis or not.”
For more information on Matt Davis’ Hypnosis, visit www.mattdavishypnosis.com.
By Gianna DeCarlo