Good guess: I rarely let a day pass without pondering the
attraction of vast riches. But did I really want to sign up for this
kind of self-help? To find out more, I visited http://www.wendi.com/ - the most
popular hypnosis site on the web. This features among other things
help with allergies, bed-wetting, golf, dieting, impotence, smoking,
public speaking and the ultimate orgasm (the best, presumably, not
I also find the following sentence: "Look for an upcoming story
in the Financial Times about Abundance Training." I had not yet
agreed to write such a piece: it seemed that Friesen was using her
suggestive techniques on me already.
Abandoning myself to her power, I replied requesting attendance
at a workshop she was shortly to hold in London. She agreed, waiving
the customary fee, and that's how I find myself in a conference room
at the Thistle Hotel, off Marble Arch, surrounded by a group of
hypnother- apists eager to share her secrets.
To begin the session, Friesen says: "Money has an energy. If you
have money, you give something off to the people around you." As I
day- dream about giving off that kind of energy, she asks whether
anybody present has more money than they can spend. Nobody. Who
would like more? This time the hands shoot up.
"What is stopping you making the money you want?" Friesen asks
and instructs us to get in pairs and explain this to each other. I
turn to the smartly dressed hypnotherapist beside me, Angie
Lawrence, and do as instructed. My pathetic excuse has to do with
typing speeds, and how I couldn't write much faster if I tried.
Angie, more plausibly, tells me she is scared to raise the price of
her hypnotherapy sessions lest this put off potential clients.
While we are doing this, Friesen quietly turns the cover on a
flip chart, revealing a page to which she had stuck a fair number of
low- denomination currency notes. At the top of the page are
emblazoned the words: "Free money". But before we can take this in,
she instructs us to repeat our excuses, only this time with operatic
singing voices. (Angie, a former actress, turns out to be rather
good at this.) From now on, Friesen says, we must either sing our
excuses volubly or (preferably) not say them at all.
As she speaks, a man rises from his seat at the back of the room.
I assume he is going to the loo, but in fact he stops at the flip
chart, pockets a £10 note and returns. The effect is electric. For a
moment, nobody dares to copy him but then there's a stampede.
Friesen says with approval that we will not get rich unless we grasp
opportunities, as the first man did. She adds that American
audiences are usually faster to take what's on offer.
Next comes the actual hypnosis. Before I was hypnotised for the
first time, last year, I imagined a vivid, hallucinatory experience.
In fact, it felt more prosaically like breathing deeply to relax,
and listening attent- ively with the eyes shut. When Friesen puts us
under, it feels the same.
First she invites us to identify the part within us that doesn't
want us to make pots of dosh, and to interrogate it. My dissident
part for some reason resembles a vast cod- liver oil capsule, and
dwells inside my chest. It grumbles that chasing wealth is a bit
vulgar. Money isn't everything, it whispers. Somebody else's, I
later learn, resembles her grandmother and tells her bossily that
she should concentrate on being a successful parent, not on
After bringing us back from our trance, Friesen explains: "I keep
talking about money but that is not ultimately the thing that is
going to make you happy. It gives you freedom to do what you
Then she puts us under again, this time encouraging us to peep
over an imaginary wall dividing us from the abundance awaiting us. I
do as she says, climbing over the kind of wall you might find in
Frances Hodgson Burnett's secret garden, and spy myself in several
contexts: in a restaurant surrounded by hundreds of close friends,
sailing on a mighty yacht, peering from the battlements of an old
castle - that kind of thing. Finally, still following Friesen's
instructions, I knock down the wall and step into that abundance.
"Experience the future that lies ahead for you," she says. "Then
take another step and see how that feels."
It feels good. It feels terrific. But leaving the Thistle Hotel,
I return home to find a stern letter telling me I must pay a £27
penalty for missing last month's mortgage payment. Naturally I toss
my head back and laugh, then throw the letter away, because thanks
to Friesen I feel certain that something will turn up soon. And I
shan't be using a mortgage to buy my castle.
John-Paul Flintoff is a feature writer for the