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I have serious concerns about Marc Savard's shocking school demonstrations in which hypnotized students believe they have caused catastrophic car accidents by drinking and driving (Hypnotized By Sober Second Thoughts -- June 14).

Hypnosis is a natural state of consciousness, much like daydreaming, and is not harmful. Its power lies in the increased suggestibility patients experience when in trance. When assisted by a qualified professional, patients can effectively deal with a variety of psychological and medical problems such as depression, anxiety, pain and habit control.

Mr. Savard's methods upset these youngsters severely while they were in a highly suggestible state. Despite his statement that the experience would not leave the students traumatized for life, research suggests this may not be true. And not only the volunteer students are at risk. Research shows that observers of hypnotic demonstrations often enter a trance state and their reactions may put them at risk as well.

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These students may learn something about drinking and driving, but putting them all at psychological risk is too great a price. We need standards to protect against this kind of mistreatment. School boards should know better.

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