The international aid agency took empathy one step further by hypnotizing people to help them understand the horrors of the war in Syria

Amnesty International invited five people from the Netherlands and Belgium to a hypnosis session. In an empty warehouse, each person was put into a hypnotic state by a professional hypnotist who proceeded to place them in the shoes of a young woman escaping Syria—a country still in the midst of a war that has lasted almost seven years.

Participants were prompted to look for their siblings under rubble after bombings, pass through risky police checkpoints, travel on an unstable boat with other refugees and experience other traumatic events familiar to most Syrian refugees. The video shows how these people respond in very visceral ways to these prompts. People are shivering and even screaming for help. At the end of the session, they receive help to apply for asylum—a happy ending that few Syrians have gotten themselves.

“For most people, the hardship inflicted on refugees on their way to safety is hard to imagine. When people really experience what it is like to be forced to flee, this can create understanding and could fundamentally change the way we speak about refugees,” Eduard Nazarski, Executive Director of Amnesty International Netherlands, said in a statement.

Obviously there are a lot of questions about the validity of hypnosis but whether or not you believe, the narrative that the hypnotist shares is very real. To cap off the experience, when subjects “wake up,” they also get to meet Marwa, the young Syrian woman whose real-life story they just experienced.

Amnesty International

Amnesty International invited five people from the Netherlands and Belgium to a hypnosis session. In an empty warehouse, each person was put into a hypnotic state by a professional hypnotist who proceeded to place them in the shoes of a young woman escaping Syria—a country still in the midst of a war that has lasted almost seven years.

Participants were prompted to look for their siblings under rubble after bombings, pass through risky police checkpoints, travel on an unstable boat with other refugees and experience other traumatic events familiar to most Syrian refugees. The video shows how these people respond in very visceral ways to these prompts. People are shivering and even screaming for help. At the end of the session, they receive help to apply for asylum—a happy ending that few Syrians have gotten themselves.