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 59)
Occupation(s)Hypnotist, writer, television & radio broadcaster
Known forhypnosis

Paul McKenna (born 8 November 1963)[1] 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.

Early life[edit]

McKenna was born in Enfield, London to a builder and a home economics teacher. He attended St Ignatius' College.[2][3] He was routinely bullied by his teachers for his dyslexia.[4]


Show business[edit]

McKenna started off in radio aged 16 at Radio Topshop, and went on to present for stations including Radio Caroline and Capital London.[2]

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 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 TRIC (Television & Radio Industry Club) Award for Best TV Newcomer in 1994 From small-time radio DJ to TV star attracting millions of viewers around the world 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 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]


McKenna specialises in working with PTSD, severe trauma, pain control and emotional overwhelm.[12][13]

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.[14]

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.[15] He helped Daryl Hannah cope with stage fright when she starred in The Seven Year Itch.[16] According to a book by McKenna, 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]

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

Libel lawsuits[edit]

The Star & National Enquirer[edit]

In 1999, McKenna successfully sued both The Star and National Enquirer for libel after they published articles that alleged that he had damaged the mental health of a man that he hypnotised in one of his shows.[18] Both lawsuits resulted in six-figure settlements.[18] The man had sued McKenna in a previous trial, but the judge dismissed that lawsuit after concluding that there was no evidence that McKenna's stage hypnosis posed any risk to those taking part.[18][19]

Daily Mirror[edit]

In 1996, McKenna was granted a PhD from LaSalle University in Louisiana. It was legally licensed by the state, but it falsely claimed to be an accredited institution.[20] The school exempted McKenna from coursework based on his prior works, and his dissertation was producing a series of self-help tapes that eventually became a book, Change Your Life in Seven Days.[21] Discovery of this lack of accreditation prompted McKenna to obtain another PhD from International Management Centres Association in 2003.[21][22]

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.[20] 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."[23]

List of published works[edit]

  • Control Stress Hay House 2017 ISBN 978-1-401-94913-6
  • Supercharge Your Intelligence Today! Hay House 2017 ISBN 978-1-401-94897-9
  • Get Control of Sugar Now! Hay House 2017 ISBN 978-0-593-07568-5
  • The 3 Things That Will Change Your Destiny Today! Hay House 2016 ISBN 978-1-401-94909-9
  • Freedom from Emotional Eating Hay House 2015 ISBN 978-1-401-94895-5
  • Instant Influence and Charisma Transworld 2015 ISBN 978-0-593-07566-1
  • Hypnotic Gastric Band Bantam Press 2013 ISBN 978-0-593-07074-1
  • I Can Make You Smarter Bantam Press 2012 ISBN 978-0-593-06405-4
  • I Can Make You Happy Bantam Press: 2011 ISBN 978-0-593-06404-7
  • Change Your Life in Seven Days - Updated version Bantam Press: 2010 ISBN 978-0-593-06661-4
  • I Can Make You Confident, Sterling Publishing: 2010. ISBN 1-4027-6922-9
  • I Can Make You Sleep, Bantam Press: 2009. ISBN 1-4027-6574-6
  • Control Stress Stop Worrying and Feel Good Now!, Bantam Press: 2009. ISBN 978-0-593-05629-5
  • I Can Make You Rich, Bantam Press: 2007. ISBN 0-593-05537-3
  • Quit Smoking Today Without Gaining Weight, Bantam Press: 2007. ISBN 0-593-05536-5
  • Instant Confidence, Bantam Press: 2006. ISBN 0-593-05535-7
  • I Can Make You Thin 90-Day Success Journal, Bantam Press: 2006. ISBN 978-0-593-05056-9
  • I Can Make You Thin, Bantam Press: 2005. ISBN 0-593-05054-1
  • Change Your Life in Seven Days, 2005.ISBN 0-593-05053-3
  • How to Mend Your Broken Heart, (with Hugh Willbourn) Bantam Press: 2003. ISBN 0-593-05055-X
  • The Power to Influence, Nightingale-Conant: 1998. ISBN 1-905453-56-6 (audiobook with Michael Breen)
  • The Paranormal World of Paul McKenna, Faber and Faber: 1997. ISBN 0-571-19245-9
  • Paul McKenna's Hypnotic Secrets, Boxtree: 1995. ISBN 0-7522-0192-1 (with Peter Willis and Clare Staples)
  • Hypno Slim, Sunday Books: 1994. ISBN 978-1-898-88501-6
  • The Hypnotic World of Paul McKenna, Faber and Faber: 1994. ISBN 0-571-16802-7


  1. ^ "Paul McKenna". Contemporary Authors. Vol. 338. Detroit: Gale. 2013. pp. 240–242. ISBN 978-1-4144-9727-3.
  2. ^ a b Norman, Neil (15 July 2006). "Paul McKenna: The eyes have it". The Independent. Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  3. ^ Wignall, Alice (2 November 2004). "The hypnotist". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  4. ^ Day, Elizabeth (4 May 2005). "How I healed my inner nerd". Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  5. ^ a b "Paul McKenna is launching a new book on the psychology of influence". The Independent. 7 January 2016. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. 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, Ph.D."
  11. ^ Fernando, Aneya (24 July 2014). "Paul McKenna on What Makes a Great Interviewer". Fishbowl NY. Archived from the original on 3 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Paul McKenna: 'I'm not built for relationships'". The Daily Telegraph. 15 January 2012.
  13. ^ James Moore (13 May 2013). "Paul McKenna: I can make you better". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022.
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ "Polly Vernon lifts the lid on Paul McKenna". The Guardian. 12 December 2004. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Daryl makes stage splash". Retrieved 24 December 2021.
  17. ^ "Can Paul McKenna Fix YOUR Sugar Addiction?". Woman&Home. 23 January 2017.
  18. ^ a b c "McKenna wins six-figure libel".
  19. ^ "Hypnotist cleared over schizophrenia". The Independent. 14 August 1998. Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ a b Addley, Esther (11 July 2006). "McKenna sues journalist over 'bogus' PhD claim". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 10 February 2023.
  22. ^ Blau, Rosie (16 November 2007). "I'm not a guru, I'm not a Svengali". Financial Times. Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  23. ^ "McKenna wins 'fake degree' case". BBC News. 28 July 2006. Retrieved 4 February 2014.

External links[edit]