Paul McKenna

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Paul McKenna
Paul McKenna at The Best You Expo 2018.png
Born (1963-11-08) 8 November 1963 (age 57)
OccupationHypnotist, writer, television & radio broadcaster
Known forhypnosis
Spouse(s)Kate McKenna (2016-present)

Paul William McKenna[1][2] (born 8 November 1963)[3][4] is a British hypnotist, behavioural scientist, television and radio broadcaster and author of self-help books.

McKenna has written and produced books and multimedia products, hosted self-improvement television shows and presents seminars in hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, weight loss, motivation and the Zen meditation Big Mind and Amygdala Depotentiation Therapy (ADT), otherwise known as Havening Techniques.[citation needed]


Show business[edit]

McKenna started off in radio aged 16 at Radio Topshop, and went on to present for stations including Radio Jackie, Radio Caroline, Chiltern Radio, Capital London, BBC Radio 1 and TV channel Music Box.[citation needed]

He became interested in hypnotism as a result of a guest who appeared on his show.[5] His interest stemmed initially for reasons of self-development, although he discovered that there was an entertainment aspect that he could develop which would expose more of the public to the power of hypnosis. He was taught hypnosis by American practitioner Richard Bandler, with whom he continued to work closely with for many years. While working at Capital Radio, McKenna began experimenting with small hypnotic shows, first for the amusement of friends, then for audiences in locations like pubs and clubs, UK military bases, and University events. From there he starred in a regular Sunday night show at the Duke of York's Theatre, which was owned at the time by Capital Radio. The success of those shows led to his playing other theatres across the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, the US, Australia, and Hong Kong.[6]

After several years presenting at Radio 1 in the early 1990s, McKenna decided to branch out from radio. In the 1990s, McKenna presented a number of TV programmes including The Hypnotic World of Paul McKenna (1993–97), The Paranormal World of Paul McKenna (1996–97) and Hyp the Streets (1999). He won the prestigious TRIC (Television & Radio Industry Club) Award for Best TV Newcomer in 1994 [1] During this time, he continued his studies of hypnosis, and neuro-linguistic programming with the US psychologist Richard Bandler, the co-creator of the advanced behavioural science technique abbreviated to NLP.[citation needed]

McKenna hypnotised the Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond on series 4, episode 2 of the motor show in 2004. In October 2009 he was a guest on Private Passions, the biographical music discussion programme on BBC Radio 3.[7]

From February 2014 to September 2015, McKenna hosted a talk show called McKenna that was broadcast on Hulu featuring "non-journalistic" interviews with Simon Cowell, Ryan Seacrest, Roger Moore, Rachael Ray, Tony Robbins and Richard Dawkins.[8][9][10][11]

In October 2016, McKenna read Hans Christian Andersen's "It's Quite True" for the children's fairytales app GivingTales in aid of UNICEF, along with other celebrities including Sir Roger Moore, Stephen Fry, Ewan McGregor, Dame Joan Collins, Joanna Lumley and David Walliams.[citation needed]


In the past few years,[when?] McKenna has been involved in the research and development of Havening,[12] with Dr Ronald Ruden PHD and Stephen Ruden, presenting seminars to health care professionals in the UK and USA.[citation needed] He specialises in working with PTSD, severe trauma, pain control and emotional overwhelm.[13][14]

McKenna was also involved in a research study conducted by Professor Neil Greenberg of The Royal College of Psychiatrists Lead for Military and Veterans’ Health.[15] He is also President of the UK Psychological Trauma Society at Kings College in London.

Self help career[edit]

McKenna’s interest in hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming and other self-improvement techniques has resulted in him becoming an author of self-help and personal development books.

Many of McKenna's one-to-one hypnotherapy clients are celebrities.[16] Ellen DeGeneres credits him with helping her to quit smoking,[citation needed] Rob Brydon claims that McKenna helped alleviate his fear of flying, Stephen Fry advocated McKenna's weight loss strategies and David Walliams used McKenna to help with his swim across the English Channel.[5]

Recently,[when?] McKenna has focused on teaching people how to "deprogramme" their sugar cravings, claiming "sugar is the most dangerous drug in the world".[17]

List of published works[edit]


McKenna attended St Ignatius College in London, and East Hertfordshire College, now part of Hertford Regional College.

PhD from LaSalle University[edit]

In 1996, McKenna was granted a PhD from LaSalle University. It was legally licensed by the state, but it falsely claimed to be an accredited institution. After the principal of LaSalle pleaded guilty to fraud and was imprisoned; the university was discredited and thousands of students, including McKenna, were awarded compensation from the US government.[citation needed]

In 2006, McKenna successfully sued the Daily Mirror for libel over claims made by former Mirror TV critic Victor Lewis-Smith that McKenna's degree from LaSalle was merely a purchased "bogus degree" bought with the intention of deliberately defrauding the public.[18][19] McKenna won the case, and the newspaper was ordered to pay £75,000 in costs. Mr. Justice Eady (the judge), stated that while the scholarly characterisation of the degree was "another matter", McKenna did not believe the degree was "bogus or that he [had] misled anyone in allowing himself to be referred to as a PhD."[20][21]

DPhil from IMCA[edit]

In 2003,[19][dead link] McKenna gained a "Doctor of Philosophy by Explication" from the accredited International Management Centres Association (IMCA).[21] His work was reviewed by Dr Robert Parkinson (London Guildhall University) and Dr Brian Edwards CBE (Sheffield University).[22] The title of his thesis was "The Effects of Fixed Action Patterns and Neuro-Linguistic Programming in Determining Outcomes in Human Behaviour".[23] The material in both McKenna's doctorates has been published.[24]

While the IMCA were accredited by the US Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) and Oxford Brookes University in the UK at the time of McKenna's study, the DETC removed this accreditation in 2005. Neither the IMCA nor Revans University, its US-based degree-awarding unit, was recognised as a UK degree-awarding body or course provider during McKenna's time, according to The Times Educational Supplement.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Paul McKenna’s parents are William Joseph McKenna, a building contractor, and Joan Brenda McKenna, a former Middlesex University lecturer who was a chief examiner for the London Regional Educational Board. He also has a younger brother John who took over the family business.[citation needed]

Paul McKenna is married to his former PA of 15 years, Katherine Jane Davey. They married in 2016 and live in London.[5][26]


  1. ^ "Paul William McKenna - National Portrait Gallery".
  2. ^ "MR PAUL WILLIAM MCKENNA director information. Free director information. Director id 903815880".
  3. ^ "".
  4. ^ "Who is Paul McKenna? The Self-Help Hypnosis Guru". 11 November 2012.
  5. ^ a b c "Paul McKenna is launching a new book on the psychology of influence". The Independent. 7 January 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  6. ^ Vernon, Polly (12 December 2012). "Look in to my eyes" (Interview with Paul McKenna). The Observer (London). Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  7. ^ "Private Passions: Paul McKenna" (programme listing). BBC Radio 3. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  8. ^ "Paul McKenna's spreadsheet of destiny". The Daily Telegraph.
  9. ^ "Media Monkey's Diary: BBC, Tony Gallagher, Ipso and Zai Bennett". 20 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Paul McKenna, PhD – Author Biography".
  11. ^ "Paul McKenna on What Makes a Great Interviewer".
  12. ^ "Home".
  13. ^ "Paul McKenna: 'I'm not built for relationships'". The Daily Telegraph. 15 January 2012.
  14. ^ James Moore (13 May 2013). "Paul McKenna: I can make you better". The Independent.
  15. ^ Gursimran Thandi, Deborah Tom, Matthew Gould, Paul McKenna, Neil Greenberg, “Impact of a Single-Session of Havening”, Health Science Journal, Vol. 9 No. 5:1, 2015 ISSN 1791-809X
  16. ^ "Polly Vernon lifts the lid on Paul McKenna". The Guardian. 12 December 2004. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  17. ^ "Can Paul McKenna Fix YOUR Sugar Addiction?". Woman&Home. 23 January 2017.
  18. ^ Bhattacharyya, Gargi (3 August 2006). "McKenna the brave". The Guardian (London) (editorial). Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  19. ^ a b "Hypnotist McKenna sues over degree claim". The Scotsman (Edinburgh). 11 July 2006. Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  20. ^ "McKenna wins 'fake degree' case". BBC News. 28 July 2006. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  21. ^ a b Paul McKenna v MGN Ltd. (High Court of Justice) 28 July 2006
  22. ^ Paul McKenna v MGN Ltd. (High Court of Justice) 28 July 2006 Paragraph 17.
  23. ^ McKenna, Paul (2003). "The Effects of Fixed Action Patterns and Neuro-Linguistic Programming in Determining Outcomes in Human Behaviour" (Abstract of DPhil explication). International Management Centres Association. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  24. ^ Flintoff, John-Paul (30 July 2006). "Repeat after me . . . I am not dodgy". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0956-1382. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  25. ^ "Cyber university's credibility in question". Times Educational Supplement (London). 10 October 2008. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  26. ^ Cooke, Rachel (7 July 2007). "Look into his eyes - can hypnotist Paul McKenna help you lose weight?". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 March 2018.

External links[edit]