Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hypnosis for quitting smoking - does it work?

Question I received from a friend of mine out of state:

Q: Marti, I'm thinking about attending one of those "Xxxxxx XxxxxxSeminars," hypnotherapy sessions that are supposed to help with weight loss and smoking cessation. I definitely want to lose weight, and a kinda want to quit smoking. On one hand, I know I should quit smoking for my health...but there's also a part of me that enjoys smoking. Anyways, do you know anything about these seminars, about whether they really work or are just a way for some charlatan to get rich off other people's insecurities?

I have heard of people who have attended these "traveling hypnotism" seminars for smoking and who were successful in quitting. If the seminar includes a group hypnosis session, there will be fortunate attendees who are determined to quit, expect that they will quit due to the seminar, and actually do quit. I also hear that before the hypnosis part of the seminars there is a pitch to purchase additional CDs, DVDs, books, supplements, etc in order to maximize success. There will be a few more attendees who buy the additional material and find success.

But what about those attendees who don't quit? What about those who don't purchase the additional products? Most likely they come away with the belief that hypnosis didn't work for them, hypnosis is bunk, the hypnotist was a charlatan, or that they were scammed. And worst of all, the traveling hypnotist has left town.

The advantage of working with a local hypnotherapist, such as myself, is that I am here for follow up. I don't pitch products. My sessions explain hypnosis, what to expect in the session, and the hypnosis itself lasts over an hour, and covers all sorts of areas of interest to a smoker's subconscious mind. If the client isn't a non-smoker after he or she leaves the single session, we can evaluate the situation and come up with a plan. If someone continues to smoke after the session, it doesn't mean that the hypnosis failed, but that likely there are emotional issues that need to be resolved before the client can be completely rid of the smoking habit.

But what about the money-back guarantee? I cannot emphasize WARY of any hypnotist offering a money-back guarantee that you'll quit smoking. I know that statement contradicts advice you've probably heard. There was a short period of time recently where everyone who called asked me the "guarantee" question. I probably lost a few clients by saying that I do not offer a money back guarantee. I further explained that I cannot control human behavior. As I've said before, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. That means I guide YOU into making the changes you want to make, but YOU have to be willing to commit to the process. Hypnosis isn't something you try...if you "try" hypnosis knowing that you'll get your money back if it doesn't work, are you really committing to the process, or are you leaving room for failure? Hypnosis is a powerful tool for making postive changes in your life, but you have to be willing to learn how to use the tool, and be willing to accept the tool, and be willing to continue using the tool after the session is over.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July Group Session for Quitting Smoking

My next Smoking Cessation Group Session will be held Saturday, July 25, 2009 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM in the conference room of my building. The address is:

14960 Woodcarver Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80921

Cost is $100 per person.

We'll spend the first 30 minutes talking about hypnosis and answering common questions about using hypnosis for smoking cessation. The hypnosis portion lasts about an hour to 1 hr 15 minutes. Dress comfortably, and you are welcome to bring a pillow and blanket.

If you can't make it this month, the next group is scheduled for Saturday, August 29 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fitness Motivation Seminar this Saturday

Jenny Liebowitz and I are presenting a fun seminar on using hypnosis combined with aromatherapy to gain motivation to exercise. Please let me know by Friday night if you're interested in attending. If no one is interested, we'll postpone to another day/time.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, June 15, 2009

June Group Session for Quitting Smoking

My next Smoking Cessation Group Session will be held Saturday, June 27, 2009 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM in the conference room of my building. The address is:

14960 Woodcarver Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80921

Cost is $100 per person.

We'll spend the first 30 minutes talking about hypnosis and answering common questions about using hypnosis for smoking cessation. The hypnosis portion lasts about an hour to 1 hr 15 minutes. Dress comfortably, and you are welcome to bring a pillow and blanket.

If you can't make it this month, the next group is scheduled for Saturday, July 25.

Testimonial from a client

"First off I would like to say thank you! I feel like you worked a miracle on me! Since I have been back I haven't wanted to use or do anything pertaining to it. I'm not sure if you are spiritual or anything but I asked God to help me, to send me a sign give me a hand so I could let go of my addiction. He did. Here I am today almost 4 weeks later with a whole new outlook for life! I feel different. I am getting myself back together. I know you must get emails like this all of the time but I would like to you to know that I am so thankful; I feel a burden has been lifted, I feel like I can make the right choices. Again thank you and God bless!"

M. M. 10/20/2008

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm co-presenting a seminar on Sat. May 30: Fitness motivation using hypnosis and aromatherapy

Jenny and I had such a great time yesterday with our presentation at the YMCA. The topic was finding motivation to work out by using a fun combination of aromatherapy with hypnosis. We have decided to give this presentation on a regular basis but move the venue to the conference room in my office building.

Aromatherapy uses essential oils to treat many disorders of the mind and body. One of the areas of particular interest to me as a hypnotherapist is the affects of the aromas on the emotions. Scent is highly tied to emotion. When we encounter a scent, a message about that scent travels through our olfactory nerve into the nerve center of our brain, where it gets stored as an emotional memory. In the hypnotic state, our senses are heightened, and it is easy to create new, positive emotional memories using essential oils.

I often use essential oils in my practice with my clients who want to quit smoking. So many of them have associated smoking with feelings of relaxation. What we want to do is create a new emotional memory of relaxed, calm, peaceful feelings. In the hypnotic state we recreate those feelings, then anchor them with the scent of an essential oil. I give my clients a small vial of the oil to take with them. Later, whenever they want to relax, the scent of that essential oil will trigger those same feelings that they experienced during hypnosis. Some clients prefer for personal reasons not to use the essential oils and for those clients we use an alternative technique of deep breathing exercises. However, since scent has such a powerful effect on our emotions, many clients find that using the scent helps them recall those feelings of relaxation much more quickly.

In this seminar I do a group hypnosis exercise using essential oils to anchor feelings of energy, vitality, power, confidence, and motivation to exercise. It's a fun way for people to learn about the wonderful uses of essential oils for aromatherapy, and for them to experience hypnosis.

Our next seminar is Saturday, May 30, 2009 from 1:00 to 2:30.

The address is 14960 Woodcarver Road, Colorado Springs, CO, 80921. This is my office building, and you can get directions from my website.

If you or anyone you know is interested in attending, please let me know.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hypnosis for Fertility

Question asked me via Facebook:

Q: How can hypnosis help with fertility?

A: It's the whole mind/body connection. The mind is very powerful and can have a profound impact our our physical health. Just think of how you feel when you're depressed versus when you're happy. Here are a couple of other examples. I love to eat lemons...the sourer and juicier the better. Just hearing me talk about lemons gives my husband the shivers. For another example, there are people who hate fingernails on chalkboards so much that all you have to do is describe the action and the sound and they are writhing in discomfort. In both of those examples, the person with the reaction isn't actually tasting the lemon, or actually hearing fingernails on a chalkboard, but their bodies are reacting to it anyway. That demonstrates how powerful the subconscious is.

Hypnosis for fertility goes beyond just giving suggestions under hypnosis. There is a lot of guided imagery involved and often a lot of interactive work where we ask the subconscious questions and it answers back and we resolve issues that way. How does that help fertility? Well first and foremost it relaxes the woman. When women are trying to conceive and having difficulties, they get very stressed out, and it often overtakes their lives and sometimes damages their relationships with their partners. People are telling them to just relax but they find it hard to do. Do you know women who were told that they couldn't have children so they adopt a child only to get pregnant on their own afterward? I know of a few women who this happened to. I also know someone who had 2 children through IVF and then had a surprise third baby naturally. Some women too might have a subconscious block toward getting pregnant, being pregnant, childbirth, or being a parent. Sometimes that stems from past traumas such as abortion, miscarriage, sexual trauma, abuse as a child, or any number of reasons. Hypnosis will resolve those issues too.

It's not just for women who are trying to get pregnant naturally. Hypnosis helps create a sense of mind/body balance that helps them work with any steps along the way if they are getting medical assistance for conception. It also helps them deal with their disappointment and/or conflicted emotions should they find out that donor eggs, IVF, or adoption are the only options for them.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why would I want to be hypnotized?

We say that hypnosis brings about rapid change, but what does that really mean? If you read my post about the power of the subconscious mind, you know that the subconscious develops our core beliefs about who we are, it creates our perceptions of events that occur in our lives and how we feel about them, and it leads us to act in ways that our subconscious believes to be in our own best interests.

This is all well and good when the subconscious' core beliefs and perceptions are mostly positive. If we believe that we are successful, happy, attractive, a good person, or any other warm fuzzy feelings, that's great. If we never really experienced any pain or disappointment or fear or shame, even better. Maybe we do experience some negativity along the way, but it doesn't change our core beliefs or perceptions, and we're able to turn that experience into something positive. If we're that lucky, then we don't know anything different, and since we get what we expect to get, then we'll get more of the good, the positive out of life. According to popular theories such as The Secret and The Law of Attraction, positive attracts more positive.

On the flip side, negative attracts more negative. Unfortunately, most of us don't get through life without some negative messages getting into our subconscious. Sometimes they don't have much of an impact on our daily lives. For example, my aversion to meat loaf is insignificant to everyone except for my mother, who still feels insulted by my gagging and retching sounds at the mere mention of it. However, there are other negative beliefs and perceptions that are more detrimental. These can lead to problems such as a lack of self-confidence, fears or phobias, bad habits, addictions, lack of motivation, self-sabotaging of relationships or careers, stress, anxiety, and sometimes even medical conditions.

The beauty of hypnosis is that it's not necessary for you to understand on a conscious level the origin of your issue. You could speculate and analyze for years and not necessarily find the answer. The subconscious always knows, though, and that's where the rapid change comes in. In hypnosis, we access the subconscious and find out the root of the issue very quickly. Once we know the source, we can resolve the issue. We can actually change the way your subconscious perceives it and change the way it reacts in the future. By doing this, you can make the positive changes necessary to live your life to the fullest.

Is hypnosis like mind control?

Hypnosis is often perceived as mystical, magical, or downright evil. Books, movies, and TV shows prefer to portray a hypnotist as an all-powerful magician and the subject as an unwilling or vulnerable pawn in some evil scheme. While these portrayals make for interesting storylines, they perpetuate the continued misrepresentation of hypnosis and are downright false.

Please allow me to clear up the most common myths and misconceptions about hypnosis:

Will I lose consciousness? No. Actually, in hypnosis you are alert and aware of everything at all times. It's actually a state of focused concentration, similar to how you feel when you are engrossed in a good book or fascinating movie. You're aware of your surroundings, but you really don't care.

Are you going to make me quack like a duck? If you've seen a stage hypnotism show, you might have that question. In those shows hypnotist gives outrageous suggestions and the volunteers can't seem to help but follow them. Stage hypnotists are performers first. They have to put on an entertaining show. Plus, those people up on the stage are called volunteers for a reason. They typically want to experience the feeling of hypnosis, and are in it for fun. Their subconscious minds are ready to accept and follow the hypnotist's suggestions in order to have a good time. Clinical hypnosis is used for serious purposes and no outrageous suggestions are necessary.

Is hypnosis like mind control? Will I surrender my will to you? Absolutely not! All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. The hypnotist guides and develops the hypnotic state, but the ability to be hypnotized and the suggestions you accept are up to you. You are always in control.

I'm too smart to be hypnotized. Actually, the smarter you are the better the hypnotic subject you'll be. Intelligent people often recognize when they need to make improvements to their lives and this same intelligence will help you understand and accept the benefits of the suggestions. It is nearly impossible to hypnotize people with low intelligence (below 70 IQ), psychotics, or anyone who is unable to differentiate between fantasy and reality.

Will hypnosis cause me to reveal secrets? No. Hypnosis is not a truth serum. You will not reveal any information under hypnosis that you wouldn't be inclined to reveal while in the waking state.

Can you hypnotize me against my will? No. Hypnosis relies on mutual trust and cooperation between the hypnotist and the subject. If you don't want to be hypnotized, or are uncomfortable with the process, then you won't be hypnotized.

Will I do anything I don't want to do under hypnosis? No. If you wouldn't normally do something in the waking state, you can't be forced to do it under hypnosis.

Can I get stuck in hypnosis? No. On of my favorite movies of all time, "Office Space," depicts a hypnotherapist dying of a heart attack while the main character is in a hypnotic trance. The premise is that the character stayed hypnotized the rest of the movie, causing him to change his attitude toward work. In reality, if for some reason the hypnotist not have the opportunity to "awaken" the subject due to death or otherwise, the hypnotized subject would either fall asleep, or emerge himself or herself after a long period of silence. In the case of "Office Space," the commotion caused by the reaction of the other people in the room when the hypnotist died would have brought the main character right out of his trance.

I'm stronger than my my subconsious really that powerful?

Imagine for a moment that you are a little girl about five or six years old. Let's say you have a very pretty older sister. You know she's pretty because everyone says so. Perhaps she is known as the "pretty" one, and you are known as the "clever" one. Maybe when you were really little, some insensitive adult made a comment like, "Let's hope she grows into that nose." Now imagine that when you get a little older, the boy you have a childhood crush on chooses to sit next to your friend rather than you because "she's prettier." As time goes on, your subconscious receives many messages that lead you to believe you are an ugly duckling. As you get older, though, perhaps people start complimenting you on your appearance. Your friends and family may tell you how nice you look. However, because you've heard so many times that you aren't pretty, your conscious rejects those compliments and you don't believe them. Those messages don't get through to your subconscious because the contradict the reasoning that the conscious mind has learned based on past experience. Now you've reached adulthood and you take a good, honest look in the mirror. You now realize "consciously" that you are actually very attractive. Then you go out on the town and maybe your friends get more attention than you do, or the guy you are interested in is more interested in your friend, and your emotions revert right back to that "ugly duckling" feeling you had when you were a child. Perhaps your feelings of insecurity cause you to retreat to the corner, or stay quiet, or become too introverted to meet anyone new.

This is a simplified scenario that demonstrates how our subconscious minds can stand in our way of being who we truly are. In this example, you received negative suggestions in your childhood that formed a belief about yourself and your looks.

When I was in kindergarten, my mom made meatloaf for dinner one night. It was really tasty and I'm told that I liked it so much I went back for seconds. The next day at school, after our nap, I threw up meatloaf in front of the entire class. I can still picture the scene including the horrible details. I remember my teacher calling the secretary on the intercom, frantically asking her to call my mother. I also remember her telling a classmate of mine not to step in it. Then I remember being moved to the hallway with my blanket to wait for my mom to come get me. Lastly, I remember the way the janitor glared at me as he was cleaning up the mess. At the time I was physically sick from what turned out to be the flu, I was embarrassed about disrupting the class, and I was frightened by the janitor's reaction. All of those emotions went straight to my subconscious creating the strong message that MEATLOAF IS BAD! To this day, thirty years later, I won't eat meatloaf. Consciously I know I had the flu that day long ago. Consciously I know that there was nothing wrong with the meatloaf itself. It doesn't matter, my reaction was so strong that my subconscious still won't let me go near it.

Imagine that you are a teenager and all of your friends smoke cigarettes. They can't believe you've never tried it. Maybe they tease you about it. You really want to belong. Maybe you're just curious about what the big deal is anyway. You try it, and hate it, but you don't want your friends to know that you hate it. So you keep smoking. Eventually you stop feeling sick from smoking and start feeling that nice buzz. Before you know it, you're addicted to that feeling you get from smoking. You find yourself smoking when you're tense or stressed, when you're with friends, when you're driving, etc. Your subconscious has begun to associate all these activities with the good feeling you get from smoking, and it believes that you can't enjoy those activities without a cigarette.

Our subconscious begins forming long before our conscious minds do. Research has shown that our subconscious minds begin receiving suggestions as early as when we're in the womb. Our subconscious minds are where are emotions are stored. Our subconscious is where our habits get formed. It's where our long-term memory is stored. It's also where we form our belief system. Our subconscious wants to protect us and makes sure our needs get met. It's where our reactions come from. Babies get hungry, they cry. We hear a loud noise and we jump. Someone yells "Fire" and we flee. Our subconsious takes over and reacts for our own self-protection.

When we are children, up until we're about seven or eight years old, everything we see, hear, feel, or experience goes directly into our subconscious. Our conscious, or critical, mind isn't fully formed yet, so we really don't have much to help us reason and filter the suggestions we get. If we are told enough times from an early age onward that the sky is green, we're going to believe it. If we're told that we are ugly or stupid, we are going to believe it. If we discover that throwing tantrums gets us our way all the time, we're going to believe it. If we learn that sucking our thumbs makes us feel safe and secure, then we're going to believe it. And if we experience a trauma or upsetting situation that causes us a strong emotion, our subconsious will do everything it can to make sure we avoid any situation in the future that might cause us to experience those same terrible feelings.

Our conscious mind is logical, rational, and helps us reason. It utilizes experience and knowledge to help filter suggestions. If a suggestion is received that the subconcious agrees with, then the conscious mind will allow that suggestion to go through. If a suggestion is received that contradicts what the subconcious mind believes, then the conscious mind kicks back that suggestion and it never reaches the subconscious. Now since the conscious mind is reasonable, rational, logical, and intellectual, it may understand an even agree with a suggestion, such as "Smoking is dangerous. It will kill you and you should stop." However, the emotional subconscious believes that smoking feels good, helps you to relax, and there is no reason to stop.

In a battle between emotion and logic, emotion will usually win. In a battle between the subconscious and conscious, the subconscious will usually win. Now, with a lot of effort, diligence, and commitment, logic can win. This is called "will-power." It is often difficult and takes a long time, but it can be done. Hypnosis eliminates the need for will-power and enables change to take place much quicker.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hypnosis: is it a scam or is it for real?

Well, since I'm a hypnotist and a very truthful, ethical person, I can honestly say hypnosis is for real. Hypnosis refers to a state of mind where the subconscious is highly open to suggestion. We drift in and out of hypnosis naturally many times throughout the day. Basically our conscious mind takes a mini-vacation and "zones out" for a few moments. If you've ever been driving your car and arrived safely at your destination with no recollection of the trip there, you've experienced "highway hypnosis". Maybe you daydream at work or school. Maybe you meditate. Maybe you've experienced this sensation during prayer.

When we're in these states of awareness, we're highly open to suggestion. When we are highly responsive to the hypnotic state, we will see, hear, feel, smell, or taste in accordance with the suggestion given. A popular demonstration I've seen is one where a subject gets hypnotized, he is handed a raw onion, and he receives a suggestion taht he is biting into a sweet, juicy apple. The subject then bites into the raw onion and since he believes he's eating an apple, he reacts as if he is actually eating an apple. In hypnotherapy, we deliberately achieve this same state in order to enable positive suggestions to go straight to the subconscious.

All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Hypnosis itself is a tool that if used correctly can help someone make positive changes in his or her life. The key point here is that the subject really desires to make the changes and really gets involved in the process. Hypnosis is not something that is done TO you. As a hypnotist I am not waving a magic wand at you and making you change. I just guide and develop the hypnotic state. I'm like a tour guide to the subconscious. I guide you to the necessary points of interest within your subconscious, but you have to be on the tour with me in order to be successful.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Why I became a hypnotherapist...

"Wow, I can't believe you are a hypnotherapist," my friend Melissa emailed me after reading my Facebook profile. I get that a lot, along with "I don't know any hypnotists." Three years ago I would have said the same thing. Other than attending a few stage hypnosis shows at various comedy clubs over the years, I never really gave hypnotism much thought.

Then I got sick.

Shortly after my daughter was born, I was diagnosed with Graves disease, which is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid causing it to become hyperactive. I started researching the disease, treatment options, and what I could expect long-term. I was horrified and frightened by what I learned. I was also starting to feel sorry for myself and wondering why this was happening to me. I began a journey to find answers. Along the way I read about the powerful effects the mind can have on the body. I read about terminal cancer patients who became cancer-free just by using the power of their minds. I learned about people making major changes in their lives just by believing that they could.

I decided to learn more about hypnosis, and the more I learned, the more fascinated in it I became. I really like helping people and I truly believe that hypnosis is a great tool for bringing positive changes to people's lives. Every day I hear family and friends talk about their issues, and I believe that most of the time hypnosis can help them.

You'll notice me referring to myself as both a hypnotist and a hypnotherapist. In clinical hypnosis, or the therapeutic use of hypnosis, the term is interchangeable.

Hypnosis isn't the solution to every problem, though, particularly in cases where mental illness is a factor. There are also situations when cognitive therapy or family counseling is more appropriate. I strongly believe that in medical situations hypnosis should only be used to complement, not replace, traditional medical treatment. However, when used appropriately and competently, hypnosis can help bring about powerful changes in most people.