TV Times chats to host Phillip Schofield and hypnotist Keith Barry about the new series of You’re Back in the Room, and Keith shares his four stages of hypnosis….

The show divided viewers when it first aired last year, how do you answer claims hypnosis isn’t real?

Keith: “Electrical activity in the brain changes under hypnosis, and over in the US, they’re performing surgery under hypnosis. The argument as to whether it’s real or not is gone. I actually hypno-birthed my wife with our second child, which is grounds for divorce if it doesn’t work!”



Phillip, were you surprised by the public’s reaction?

Phillip: “The show really is Marmite. My Twitter feed has been full of people saying either: ‘It’s the best thing on telly’, or, ‘It’s the worst thing I’ve seen in my life. It’s so fake’. There’s no question that it splits opinion.”



Do you think hypnosis works?

Phillip: “I watch the contestants very closely and I think I’m quite astute. It also takes a long time to record the show, so it would be hard to keep up that level of fakery.”



We hear there are more sceptics taking part this year.…

Phillip: “They came along to the initial tests because they didn’t believe it and there’s nothing more gratifying for us when they discover they’re extremely susceptible and want to play the game. People are so sceptical until it happens to them.”



How do you find working with Keith?

Phillip: “For me, presenting this show is utterly outrageous. I’ve never done anything like it. I roughly know what the games are going to be, but Keith adds things himself and I’ve ended up being mobbed, attacked, covered in foam… oh, and tomato ketchup, which turned my hair pink! But maybe this is my ultimate TV comeuppance!”



So Keith, what do you look for in a participant?

“You need three things to be hypnotised: creativity, imagination and intelligence. It’s often thought that only silly people can be hypnotised, but nothing could be further from the truth. Why? Because you need to be intelligent to listen to my voice, accept my commands and hear my suggestions, so if you’re a bit stupid it won’t work.”



Keith Barry’s four stages of hypnosis



1 Susceptibility test…

“Essentially, this tests your subconscious awareness and tell me who wants to be hypnotised and who doesn’t. I can also use various techniques on sceptics to get them into that headspace where they just accept it and go under…”



2 Relax the physical body

“…and shut down the autonomic nerve system, which regulates breathing, blood flow and heart rate”



3 Shut down the conscious mind…

“That’s where your rules and regulations lie, using a set of linguistics”



4 Ignite the subconscious mind… 

“This is where you’ll find your imagination, phobias or fears, and then I try to reprogram it…”