As a professional hypnotist, I am in the business of empowerment. I teach people tools that they can use to accomplish their goals. Sometimes that tool is hypnosis, and sometimes it’s NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), cognitive reframing, self-hypnosis, or something else entirely. Some of the tools I teach are more common, like active listening skills to improve professional performance and memory. And sometimes those tools are more specialized. Working with my clients, we discover together what tools will work best for them, and I can teach them to use those tools easily and effectively.
I use hypnosis to work in the subconscious minds of my clients to help change their perception of events, unlearn unwanted habits, and build better coping strategies and healthier automatic behaviors. It’s not that what they’ve been doing all along is wrong, it’s just that the information the mind has been using to make those decisions may be outdated. Using hypnotic suggestions is like installing updated information in your subconscious mind. I can introduce new ideas that create new patterns of behaviors.
What is Hypnosis?
The myths and misconceptions that surround hypnotherapy often stem from people’s ideas about stage hypnotism as well as what they see in movies and on television. In reality, stage hypnosis is basically an interactive bit of theater, and has about as much in common with clinical hypnosis as television and Hollywood movies have with real life.
The fact is, hypnosis is a clinically proven neurological phenomenon that has valid uses in managing the symptoms of many common conditions, from chronic pain to digestive issues, stress and anxiety to memory and cognition. Simply put, hypnosis is a state of highly focused attention or concentration that is often associated with relaxation and heightened suggestibility. While in hypnosis many people are much more open to helpful suggestions than they usually are.
There are many different types of hypnosis. All of them involve accessing the subconscious mind, where all of your habits, feelings, and behaviors come from and introducing a new way of doing things. Two of the most commonly used methods are “waking hypnosis” and the hypnotic trance. The “hypnotic trance” that we are most familiar with uses language and directed instruction to bring the client to a deep state that resembles (but is not!) sleep to access the subconscious mind and give helpful suggestions for change. “Waking hypnosis” uses specific language techniques to get to the subconscious while the client is fully awake and alert. “Self-hypnosis” is a way to bring yourself into a hypnotic state and give yourself suggestions that most often uses imagery and breathing techniques.
Hypnosis is powerful, versatile, efficient, and effective. It can be used as a tool for physical healing, as well as emotional healing and growth. There are no side effects, and it is completely safe and natural. Imagination is the language of the subconscious mind. Hypnosis uses your own imagination to motivate changes, build better options, better strategies, and take all these new behaviors and make them so automatic it becomes as if that's just how it's always been.
You Are Most Certainly Not Under My Control!
Contrary to popular belief, people under hypnosis are in total control of themselves and will never do anything they would normally find highly objectionable. And in order to be successfully hypnotized, a person must want to undergo the process voluntarily.
The suggestions given to people during a hypnosis session are an important part of how hypnosis works. Many people, probably yourself included, won’t accept or respond to an up-front, direct suggestion. In hypnosis, suggestions are able to get into the mind by bypassing the filter called the “critical factor” and going directly to the subconscious mind where they often take root as important behavioral or psychological changes.
The Hypnotic Process
Change is a process. Nothing is built, torn down, or rebuilt overnight, and a single session of hypnosis does not usually produce lasting results. Like everything else, there are some objections to this rule. When using hypnosis, most smokers are tobacco free after the very first session, and subsequent sessions are used to build up resources like stress management and appetite control if desired. Most often, a person will find the greatest benefit in a series of hypnosis sessions to create small, reasonable changes that you can absolutely live with, and the result is permanent change.
When using hypnosis, repetition is not needed to create permanent changes. Think of it as the difference between training and programming.
When you train someone to do something, you are using repetition to learn a pattern, habit, or behavior. We can use repetition to train the control center of the mind that a certain activity, feeling, or reaction is desirable and eventually, with enough repetition, the control center will accept the change and make it permanent.
This method is effective, and the results are usually permanent, like learning to ride a bike. But it takes a long time, and can be difficult when trying to change habits, reactions, fears, and behaviors.
When you program something, like a computer, you are writing the new behavior, habit, or pattern directly into the control center. When you download a new app on your phone you don’t have to train the phone to use the app and perform the functions. It just happens automatically from now on. Hypnosis allows you to program you mind in the same way
Why Should You See a Hypnotist?
The most frequent uses of clinical hypnosis include weight management, smoking cessation, sleep issues, and stress and anxiety relief.
It is also effective in relieving the effects of digestive issues like IBS and other medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. In many cases, hypnosis is the best first choice in pain management.
Hypnosis is used by business executives to improve confidence and performance. Imaging standing in front of a crowd and speaking with ease and confidence, or easily remembering client details on command.
Professional and weekend athletes use hypnosis to hone their skills and perfect their game. If you have trouble getting the perfect swing or shot, hypnosis can help.
What’s interesting is that you don’t have to be sick or injured or have a bad habit that you need to quit. Many people use hypnosis to improve an already great life. Others use it as a way to relax and reenergize. Hypnosis can (and should) be used as a way to keep you mentally and physically healthy, much like meditation, exercise, and yoga.
Try It For Yourself
You can easily test the benefits of self-hypnosis for yourself. Simply sit down and get comfortable in a quiet setting. Think about something you want to change, some way that you want to be better. Now close your eyes and take a few deep, slow breaths. These deep breathes get you in a mild trance and a state of comfortable relaxation. In this state, imagine yourself exactly how you want to be, being able to do the thing you want to do, as if you have already reached your goal and are already living in your success. Repeat this phrase to yourself ten times either out loud or to yourself:
“Every day, in every way, I am better and better!”
By engaging the imagination and using the direct suggestion in the relaxed state of trance you created for yourself, you are using hypnosis to create real and positive changes in your life.
Using self-hypnosis is a skill that is most effective when it is practiced. Even though a five-minute session can prove very helpful to some people, we recommend using the exercise above for a full week. Try it just before going to sleep, and look for changes in yourself that reflect your goals, like feeling more relaxed, calmer, fewer cravings.∎