Hypnosis in South Africa is still viewed with suspicion and most people have many misconceptions about how it works. Despite this, there are a large number of Hypnotherapists who use it every day to help people to successfully overcome their many problems and issues. These hypnosis practitioners are not always recognised for their work and the contributions that they make. This has recently been rectified with a new award that recognises those who are taking the lead in positioning hypnotherapy in its rightful place, as an effective option for healing in this country.
The South African Modern Hypnosis Academy (SAMHA) introduced the Angela Thorp Award in 2020. Angela Thorp, who is 85 years old, has been a keen supporter of SAMHA since its inception in 1993. She was one of the motivators who kept this training institution going during the good years as well as during more challenging times.
Students from all over Africa and abroad have passed through SAMHA’s training program. The academy focuses on training and mentoring small groups of students and emphasises the latest practical hypnosis techniques.
Aiden Lottering, a practising hypnotherapist based in Pretoria, was the first winner of this award. Notably he is also the SAMHA Gauteng Regional Officer.
Heather Fountain, the winner for 2021, was recently announced. She is a hypnotherapist from Durban. This award recognises her efforts in promoting hypnosis, which includes a website she created and administers, called Find A Hypnotist. This is a free online platform where hypnotists can list their services so that members of the public can easily locate a hypnotist in their area. The site also boasts an active blog with regular articles about many aspects of hypnosis, highlighting the services that hypnotherapists provide to their clients.
Heather has been very enthusiastic about helping people through hypnosis. When she was completing her studies through SAMHA, she became ill and was hospitalised during the time that she had to do her final exam. This did not stop her and she wrote the exam from her hospital bed, passing with flying colours!
John Dutton, the director of SAMHA, gave the following reasons why Heather was awarded the trophy: “Her professionalism, comradely behaviour, and determination make Heather a shining example to hypnosis practitioners worldwide. She has put in a great effort in offering free therapy to South African health workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as to create unity between all hypnotherapists in the country.”
The Angela Thorp floating trophy is a unique hand-carved creation by Penny Shone, who is the administrative director of SAMHA.