These are hard times for Australian hypnotists. While a woman has sued a hynotherapist for sexually exploiting her, another hypnotist has been charged with driving a man out of a show and chase leprechaun, a spirit. The woman has claimed more than $750,000 in damages from the hypnotherapist. The court has suppressed both their identities.
Depressed following the break-up of her marriage, the woman went to him for counselling.
According to court papers he touched her breasts, engaged in mutual masturbation and received oral sex during therapy sessions between July 2001 and March 2002. He allegedly claimed it would improve the "transfer of energy" from his "chakra" to her.
"He wasn't like usual counsellors," the woman allegedly told a friend.
Giving evidence yesterday the 50-year-old said the therapist told her she was "a special person" and "better than what your husband deserves."
During their sessions he would put her "into a trance-type situation, she told the court.
The court heard the woman discussed the sessions with a friend, saying the therapist had "power zones" running through his body and if she touched his genital region, she could tap into them and improve her own strength.
The man denies all claims of misconduct.
Cross-examined by barrister Chris Hickey the woman said she'd had an "inkling" that his behaviour was professionally and ethically inappropriate but "at the time I ignored it."
"What I wanted was to be loved and wanted and that was what (he) was doing for me," she said.
The woman is seeking damages for assault, claiming she could not consent to the sexual acts because she was hypnotised.
She is also suing for negligence and breach of contract, claiming the man was not a hypnotherapist and should have known that sexual relations would exacerbate her depression.
Her case includes a damages claim for being "permanently inhibited from entering into further relationships with members of the opposite sex".
The hearing continues.
In the other episode, a 22-year-old said he attended a show by noted hynotist Peter Powers that left him paranoid and running through traffic on October 19.
Moments earlier he was on stage feeling the effects of hypnosis-inspired lightning bolts, itching all over, smelling a stench and being led to believe Powers was invisible.
Chris, who has never felt paranoid before, said, "He told me to go look for a leprechaun and that's when I freaked out," said Chris. He did not want his last name to be published.
"At the time when I ran out I thought someone was following me, I was paranoid. I wouldn't be worried about that normally.
"The girl I went with was on stage hypnotised too, they ended up pulling her off saying I have done a runner and she has ended up calling me, I picked up the phone and was on the other side of the city. I don't remember how I got there."
A concerned Powers rang Chris when he was picked up to reassure him but he insisted this week his hypnosis would not prompt someone to run into traffic.
The hypnotist said he always removed hypnosis before his subjects leave stage and before asking people to chase leprechauns he instructs them to remain in the theatre.
Chris said Powers had not removed hypnosis when he went hunting leprechauns.
Chris described the lightning bolt as "a massive shock" and that he immediately felt freezing when told by Mr Powers that it was getting cold. "After it happened I was just pretty much wrecked," he said.