I admit I love the look on some peoples’ faces when I say I am a hypnotherapist. Invariably, with that look comes one of three beliefs:
1) I’ll quack like a duck.
2) It’s mind control.
3) It’s a form of magic, and scary.
Let’s examine these myths.
1) Quacking like a duck, barking like a dog… when I was 18 I saw Raveen- a famous stage hypnotist in the 80s and 90s- with my high school sweetheart and we both went up on stage to try to be part of the show. I was quickly sent back down, but Marc remained up and wow, he was the STAR of the show! He ended up “playing” a small wooden footstool as the bagpipes as all the ladies in the front row were trying to look up his (imaginary) kilt. The look of disgust on his face, while he tried to pull that non-existent kilt down over his jeans was priceless.
Now Marc was also one of the stars of our high school musical, was SUPER comfortable with being in the limelight, was fine with having attention focused his way and was always one of the most fun and charismatic kids in the room. Me? Well, I was shyer and more introverted and after the first hypnotic test Raveen knew I wouldn’t be an entertainer that evening. He knew I wouldn’t do what he told me to do.
Raveen was a master at finding those extroverted people who wanted to quack like a duck (or play the wooden stool bagpipes.) In hypnotherapy, you will never say or do anything that you would not want to say or do in your regular conscious state. I’ve seen it; people will say no to telling more details, will say it’s a secret. They can even choose to lie in hypnosis.
2) It’s mind control… The main reason you will not quack like a duck or bark like a dog is that in hypnotherapy you are fully aware through the hypnotic process. I do not and cannot control your mind. My role as your hypnotherapist is to be a guide. You do all the work with the amazing power of your subconscious mind, and I just ask the questions to move things along. (In stage hypnosis the hypnotized may be asked to forget the events on the stage. They will only do so if they are okay with forgetting!)
3) It’s a form of magic… Well, I can see why hypnosis and hypnotherapy may seem like magic because the results can be astonishing! Hypnosis is simply a way to have the conscious and critical mind take a step back (they are still there, and often yammer away at a client in hypnosis) so that communication can take place with the subconscious mind. It is in the subconscious mind where we store our emotions, our “truths” and the beliefs that no longer serve us. So being able to access that part of our mind and communicate without the ego and the “rationalizing” part of our minds getting in the way, we can find the root cause of many of our challenges and change how our pasts define us and how we limit our futures.
3b)… and it’s scary… Did you know that you go into hypnosis several times each day? That you need to go into it to process the tens of thousands of pieces of information you receive each day? Have you ever been driving or riding the bus and you go off on a tangent in your mind only to find you are at your destination? Do you ever watch TV or Netflix? Do you ever daydream or fantasize? Do you fall ever asleep? Natural hypnosis takes place in all these instances. Hypnosis takes place at different brainwaves than the conscious state you are in to learn, to have conversations, to read this blurb. Hypnosis is as natural as breathing, eating and sleeping. Here’s a quick trick: if you are learning a new skill: take a break every few hours and allow yourself to zone out, daydream, plan a mental vacation. We need these breaks periodically throughout our days to “dump” our learned information from our conscious minds to our subconscious where it is stored and collated.
What Can be Helped?
In hypnosis you can work on many concerns not limited to:
Phobias and fears (of taking exams, flying, falling, failing, animals, dentist, doctor, success, spiders, heights, water, loss of control, crowds, being alone, public speaking, death and dying etc), addictions (gambling, substance use, sexual, sugar, food, alcohol, cigarettes, nail biting, behaviours, etc), self-esteem issues, anxiety, depression, pre and post operation healing, trauma and PTSD, increasing your body’s health, brain injury healing, abandonment, anger and/or sadness, bed wetting, negativity, chronic pain, concentration, forgiveness, stuttering, nightmares, perfectionism, sexual challenges, obsessive compulsive tendencies, weight concerns, self-blame, shame, guilt, aggression, PMS and perimenopause, procrastination, premature ejaculation, memory, distrust, worry, overeating, career concerns…. If it is on your mind and you truly want to change it, hypnotherapy may help you find the answers you seek.
What to Expect in Your First Session
Are you excited? Wondering what to expect? I am definitely excited for you in this!
Your first session is unique in our journey together. Regardless of if you have had hypnotherapy before or not, your first session will be about building your trust in me and giving you a beautiful, restful experience while you are in hypnosis. Your first session is like getting 6 hours of sleep in a much shorter time. The following sessions will still have those calm peaceful moments and we will be working in the time we have together to help you implement the change you are searching for.
The first session will be between 90 minutes and two hours long. (All sessions following are about 70 minutes, but be prepared for 90 please.) We will spend a lot of time in discussion, getting you comfortable and at a place where you are ready to try this type of therapy. There will be some forms to fill out, I’ll explain about hypnotherapy and answer any questions you may have, and then with your permission I will hypnotize you.
~There is a special chair for hypnotherapy, and clean, warm blankets. Similar to when you are asleep, your body may lower in temperature.
~The lights will be dim and there will be soft music in the background.
~I spend some time making sure you are well grounded which simply means taking you out of your thinking self and helping you be present in your body. This is all done with me talking- nothing out of the ordinary.
~there will be some guided relaxation.
~a few times I check to see your level of hypnosis.
~I will offer up some positive suggestions to your subconscious mind.
~I will guide you slowly out of hypnosis.
Expect to feel a little groggy, similar to waking from sleep. You will feel AMAZING, as if you had just had a long nap. We will spend a few minutes discussing your experience and then you will go forth in your day having had this amazing peaceful interlude.
First a little lesson on the mind: The human mind is a fascinating thing. Please consider this square glass box, and imagine that it represents the mind. As you may know, 95% of our minds is made up of the subconscious mind (blue jell), leaving 5% for the conscious mind (yellow jell).
Our subconscious minds is where we store all the important information we take in each day alongside our emotions, beliefs, our habits and the “truths” we live by. Almost always these truths were learned before the age of 5. We learned these as toddlers: we learned how to keep ourselves safe, what other people’s tones of voice meant, what their facial expression meant and what happened to us if we did something others thought was wrong.
These truths and meanings probably don’t serve your adult self anymore, but they were there to KEEP YOU SAFE when you were your most vulnerable- as a child, and they are deeply rooted in your subconscious. So, if you perceived that your caregivers didn’t have time for you, you may have made up the false “truth” that is “I am unlovable” and your subconscious mind, who wants you to be right, clung on to that. This belief that is still there may contribute to you attracting lovers who don’t love you back, or if they do, you just can’t believe you deserve them.
Now, your conscious mind is where you learn your day to day tens of thousands of bits of information, where you have conversations and learn new tasks. Maybe you try affirmations like “I deserve to be loved!” or “I am lovable!”. You receive this information into your conscious mind.
Between your conscious and subconscious mind is your critical mind, also called the gatekeeper (green layer of jell). The gatekeeper decides which of the thousands of bits of information you take in each day get to drop from your conscious mind to your subconscious mind. If these bits of information do not match up with your truths, they get kicked to the curb. So ifyour affirmation of “I deserve to be loved!” does not match up with the false truth that is “I am unlovable”, then that affirmation will get booted out. Affirmations DO work, but it may take thousands of emotionally felt repetitions before the gatekeeper lets it in.
So, how does hypnosis work? It works by creating a space for the conscious and critical parts of the mind to take a step back. THEY DO NOT DISAPPEAR! Hypnosis allows affirmations to bypass the gatekeeper so they drop directly into the subconscious as powerful suggestions your hypnotherapist offer you for your highest good. More importantly, hypnosis creates space to allow us to communicate directly to and from the subconscious mind, to find out why you believe you are unlovable and how to change that story that no longer serves you so you can go forward with a new, more powerful belief.