Dr Peter Naish has long been a strong advocate of outreach – enhancing the public interest in, and understanding of science. He has spoken at all the country’s major science festivals, and for many years chaired the psychology section of the British Society for the Advancement of Science.
Dr Naish discovered early on that the topic of hypnosis was a great crowd-puller, so made a wonderful vehicle for delivering things scientific – much as it is for delivering things therapeutic.
He was a founder member of the old British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis and, back in the days before scanning could reveal what the brain did in hypnosis, much of his research was concerned with demonstrating neural effects which were unlikely to be caused by compliance or relaxation, those being the standard explanations offered by the sceptics of that era. As well as continuing his fascination with the science of hypnosis, Dr Naish is equally interested in its therapeutic qualities and, since a spell working with the Ministry of Defence, he has become especially involved in the use of hypnosis in treating PTSD.
He has served as chair of council in the BSCAH, as President of the Section for Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine at the RSM and, most recently, President of the BSCAH.