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Paul William McKenna[1][2] (born 8 November 1963 in Hackney, East London)[3][4] is a British hypnotist, behavioural scientist, television broadcaster and author of self-help books.[5]

Paul McKenna
Paul McKenna portrait.jpg
Born Paul William McKenna
(1963-11-08) 8 November 1963 (age 54)
Hackney, East London, England
Occupation Hypnotist, writer, television & radio broadcaster
Spouse(s) Kate McKenna

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.[5]



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 Radio, BBC Radio 1 and TV channel Music Box.

He became interested in hypnotism as a result of a guest who appeared on his show. 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. 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 a spell presenting at Radio 1 in the early 1990s, McKenna decided to branch out from radio. In 1993, ITV broadcast The Hypnotic World of Paul McKenna, which featured audience members volunteering to be hypnotised. During this time, he continued his studies into the science of hypnosis, and neuro-linguistic programming with the US psychologist Richard Bandler, the co-creator of the advanced behavioural science technique abbreviated to NLP.

Many of McKenna's one-to-one hypnotherapy clients are celebrities,[6] including Ellen DeGeneres[7] and David Walliams, who used McKenna to help with his swim across the English Channel.[8]

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.[9]

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.[10][11][12][13]

In the past few years, McKenna has been involved in the research and development of Havening,[14][15] with Ronald Ruden and Stephen Ruden, presenting seminars to health care professionals in the UK and USA.[16] He specialises in working with PTSD, severe trauma, pain control and emotional overwhelm.[17][18][5]

Recently, McKenna has focused on teaching people how to "deprogramme" their sugar cravings, claiming "sugar is the most dangerous drug in the World".[19][20][21]

PhD from LaSalle UniversityEdit

In 1996, McKenna was granted a PhD from LaSalle University. This university was legally licensed by the state, but it falsely claimed to be an accredited university. After the principal of LaSalle pleaded guilty to fraud, thousands of students, including McKenna, were awarded compensation from the US government. LaSalle is now discredited as a diploma mill.

In 2006, McKenna successfully sued and won his case against 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.[22][23] Justice Eady said (of McKenna's degree) in his summing-up: "Whether it is appropriate to characterise it as scholarship worthy of academic recognition is another matter. No doubt many would think not".[24]

McKenna's thesis, which was 55,000 words long, later became the basis of his best selling book Change Your Life in 7 Days.

DPhil from IMCA/Revans UniversityEdit

In 2003,[23][dead link] McKenna gained a "Doctor of Philosophy by Explication" from the International Management Centres Association (IMCA). The title of his thesis was "The Effects of Fixed Action Patterns and Neuro-Linguistic Programming in Determining Outcomes in Human Behaviour".[25]

Prior to 2005, IMCA were accredited by the US Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), but this accreditation was later removed by DETC in 2005, after McKenna's doctorate. However, IMCA was also accredited by Oxford Brookes University in the UK. The degree-awarding body for IMCA is Revans University. Their registered address is in Vanuatu, though it has also been associated with Boulder, Colorado. It has no physical campus, and all its activities take place online. Revans University's UK partner organisation IMCA was based in Buckingham[26] but neither Revans University nor IMCA was recognised as a UK degree-awarding body or course provider during McKenna's time, according to The Times Educational Supplement.[27] British universities do not accept qualifications accredited by Revans University.[28][29] This has led to complaints from former students.[28][29] The material in both McKenna's doctorates has been published.[citation needed]

Publishing careerEdit

McKenna has produced self-help books, CDs and DVDs in over 30 languages as well as several audio books that provide the information from the books in audible form. His latest book is Hypnotic Gastric Band.[30]

In October 2016, McKenna read Hans Christian Andersen's "It's Quite True" for the children's fairytales app GivingTales in aid of UNICEF, together with Sir Roger Moore, Stephen Fry, Ewan McGregor, Dame Joan Collins, Joanna Lumley, David Walliams, Charlotte Rampling and Michael Ball.[31]


  1. ^
  2. ^ ltd, company check. "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 Armstrong, Laura (8 May 2017). "Over a decade of hell" (Exclusive). The Sun (UK). Retrieved 11 May 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Vernon, Polly (12 December 2012). "Look in to my eyes" (Interview with Paul McKenna). The Observer (London). Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  7. ^ The Sun
  8. ^ Norman, Neil (16 July 2006). "Paul McKenna: The eyes have it" (profile). The Independent (London). Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  9. ^ "Private Passions: Paul McKenna" (programme listing). BBC Radio 3. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  10. ^ "Paul McKenna's spreadsheet of destiny". 
  11. ^ Monkey (20 April 2014). "Media Monkey's Diary: BBC, Tony Gallagher, Ipso and Zai Bennett". 
  12. ^ "Paul McKenna, PhD – Author Biography". 
  13. ^ "Paul McKenna on What Makes a Great Interviewer". 
  14. ^ Super User. "Home". 
  15. ^ Francesca Cookney (11 May 2013). "Paul McKenna: I can make you lose your fears with my 10 easy steps". mirror. 
  16. ^ "PAUL McKENNA shares his formula for super-charging your memory and boosting your intelligence". Daily Mail. 3 January 2012. 
  17. ^ "Paul McKenna: 'I'm not built for relationships'". The Daily Telegraph. 15 January 2012. 
  18. ^ James Moore (13 May 2013). "Paul McKenna: I can make you better". The Independent. 
  19. ^ "KILL THE CRAVING I'll help you kick world's most dangerous drug… sugar, says top hypnotist Paul McKenna". The Sun. 1 January 2017. 
  20. ^ "AXE THE SUGAR Self-help guru Paul McKenna continues waging his war on sugar with mind-bending tricks". The Sun. 15 January 2017. 
  21. ^ "Can Paul McKenna Fix YOUR Sugar Addiction?". Woman&Home. 23 January 2017. 
  22. ^ Bhattacharyya, Gargi (3 August 2006). "McKenna the brave" (editorial). The Guardian (London). Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ "McKenna wins 'fake degree' case". BBC News. 28 July 2006. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  25. ^ 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. 
  26. ^ "Report from the Accrediting Commission" (PDF). DETC News. Washington, DC: 26. Spring 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  27. ^ "Cyber university's credibility in question". Times Educational Supplement (London). 10 October 2008. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  28. ^ a b "Teachers' wasted study on popular emotional literacy course". Times Educational Supplement. London. 10 October 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  29. ^ a b "Emotional literacy course proves 'worthless'". Times Educational Supplement (London). 12 October 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  30. ^ The Sun
  31. ^ "Roger Moore backs children's fairy tales app in aid of Unicef". The Guardian. 18 June 2015. 

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