HYPNOTIC: How a life-altering event took Wayne to the stage
WAYNE Donnelly lay on a hospital bed for two days, waiting to find out whether he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
"In 2005, I had an injury in a surf boat accident. I ended up with a ruptured disk and didn't think I was going to walk again," he said.
"The doctor said, 'If we don't operate in the morning, that's it, you're paraplegic'."
After the operation Donnelly said he spent two days unable to "cough, sneeze or laugh" to ensure the operation was successful before he was given the good news - he would walk again.
Two years later the high- flying financial planner of 25 years was hit hard by the global financial crisis.
"We come to the GFC, when the s--t hit the fan, my future was freed up for new opportunities," he said sarcastically.
Donnelly said his life quickly changed course, and he was pushed to reflect on a dark period.
Years before, Donnelly said he dealt with depression and came close to making an attempt on his life when a phone call from a mate changed his life forever, and led him on his path of hypnosis.
"I thought 'Oh I'll take the call' and he ended up referring me to a guy who specialised in men who hit the wall and was turning them around with hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming," he said.
"So fast forward, I look back on that event to do this (hypnosis) and help others."
Donnelly completed a diploma of clinical hypnotherapy and learnt the performance side of things from a friend.
Now, he works with people coping with anxiety, depression and PTSD, to help them come through a place he knows only too well.
But he doesn't just work on the serious side of the practice. Donnelly takes his skills to crowds around Australia, leaving people in fits of laughter - sceptics and believers alike.
Donnelly said hypnosis needs a re-branding, he wants to change the public's perception of what "mind control" actually is.
"People get on stage and you think you know what they're going to do, and they surprise you, even though you've said, 'Do this' - they go off and do something completely different," he said.
"On stage I always carry around fluoro gaffer tape and run it around the stage and say, 'Stay behind the tape, you don't leave unless you ask, or I tell you to'. Because you just don't what people will do.
"The shows are a convincer for people, they see their friends and they go, 'I know they'd never do that if they weren't hypnotised'."
See Total Mind Control at Grafton District Services Club on August 9. Tickets $22-plus, available now via eventbrite.com.au