Why Hypnotherapy – 2 of 2

Our previous post described the general pattern of hypnotherapy.

You might expect that hypnotherapy can be faster than talk therapy practiced by psychologists, and you’d be right. That said, talk therapy is necessary when the undesired behavior results from a chemical imbalance in the brain or deeply painful personal history. In that case, the ethical hypnotherapist will work in partnership with a licensed practitioner. Similarly, when pain or bodily disfunction is involved a medical doctor will be brought into the treatment team.

In fact, under California law, without a referral from a licensed practitioner, the hypnotherapist is allowed to support clients only to enhance work (vocational therapy) and enjoyment of life (avocational therapy).

For certain types of behaviors – such as nervous habits or fears and phobias – hypnotherapists will apply techniques that are tailored to the problem. In some cases (such as smoking cessation) change can be accomplished in a few sessions. On the other end of the scale, behaviors that evolved to deal with powerlessness can require twenty or more sessions to address, as at root we must first convince the subconscious that it can take control of the client’s life.

While this may seem indirect to some practitioners, the most important part of the process is that the total mind comes to accept a powerful new known: that positive behavior change is possible. By allowing the experience of change to evolve in its full depth, the client discovers that in the future their subconscious is more open to change.

There’s a famous question about the hungry man: should you give him a fish, or teach him to fish? I prefer the second option. I’d like every client to become a fisher of new behaviors.


Why Hypnotherapy – 1 of 2

Hypnotherapy helps us change our behavior.

Why is that help necessary? It seems that when we realize that our behavior is hurting us, it should be easy to change our mind and act differently. But it’s not.

The reason is that during elementary and middle school our mind breaks into two parts: the conscious and subconscious. The subconscious is the part that controls our behavior. It’s our oldest and dearest friend, concerned only with our well-being and happiness. The challenge is that it prefers the experiences that we survive (even the frightening ones) and is anxious about the unknown. It resists the attempts of the conscious mind to create change. Because the subconscious is “seven times more powerful than you think,” it normally wins the battle. 

Sometimes change is necessary, of course. To minimize danger, the subconscious considers change under the safest conditions: sleep. The body is inactive and the conscious mind disabled while the new behavior is imagined in dreams. If the dreams play out positively, the subconscious may try the new behavior in waking life. If that works out, the behavior often is accepted as a known and is available for future use.

A Comfy Client

In hypnotherapy, I facilitate a direct dialog between your conscious and subconscious minds. We begin the session by talking about your conscious behavior and discuss suggestions. After guiding you into hypnosis, I’ll offer your consciously accepted suggestions to your subconscious. Your conscious mind will monitor the dialog, and I’ll watch for signals in the body that tell whether the subconscious is comfortable with the suggestions.

In many cases, we also suggest that the subconscious release unwanted fears and motivations, through the venting dreams that we have just before waking up in the morning.

Between sessions, you go about your life and observe whether and how your behavior has changed. As you learn, new ideas and opportunities will come to mind. This is the where the next session starts, and the cycle continues until your goal is met.



Therapeutic Imagery Master Certification

This weekend I completed Cheryl O’Neil’s Therapeutic Imagery Series. The series is an extended course in guided hypnotic journeys that allows the client’s subconscious mind to speak freely. The sequence of journeys builds strength and confidence in the mental landscape to facilitate the exposure of deep motivations with “Divine Timing” – that is to say, when the subconscious is confident that the waking mind will not become confused or debilitated.

The series spans the full kaleidoscope of life’s experiences: from relationships to grief to unmet goals to psychic connection. Many of the journeys are suitable for group sessions, an activity that I intend to make a cornerstone of my practice.

I am proud of the association with Cheryl, not least because of her demonstrative patience, warmth, and positivity.


Client Ready!

With the support of Brian Chapman at Anacapa Office Furniture and the team at PTS Furniture, I’m blessed with a wonderful therapeutic space. Knick-knacks were gifted from my grandmother, collected from Taos on my 49th birthday, and acquired here and there on “random destination” vacations over the last five years. Steve Richardson contributed two paintings that capture my joy in life. “Green Peace” is evident here, but you’ll have to come in to see “Freedom from Association.”

I’m so pleased and proud to have this environment in which to fulfill my intention to channel peace and healing into the lives of my clients. Hope to see you there soon!


Post-Traumatic Stress

Imagine being forced from a place where everything is provided into a world where nothing is certain.

Being born is traumatic, but the newborn is hard-wired to open his or her eyes to seek a comforting face. When the mother presents her nipple, the sucking instinct teaches that if we cooperate, the world is full of wonderful surprises.

But events can break down that confidence. The persistent threat of violence, witnessing violence committed against others, and natural disasters: all threaten our core belief in safety. Our subconscious clamors for our conscious mind to make certain that never happens again.

Our Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) steals life’s wonderful surprises.

For those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the fear response takes over. The sights and sounds of the traumatic experience are brought back when a car horn sounds, or a waitress serves a certain sandwich at another table. PTSD sufferers withdraw from the world.

Through hypnotherapy, the subconscious is made part of the known effective therapies for PTS and PTSD: Innoculation Therapy builds habits that soothe fear; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy breaks down guilt and shame; and as self-esteem improves, Exposure Therapy allows us to find good in the situations that we’ve been avoiding.

If you are suffering from PTSD, talk to your doctor and psychotherapist about adding hypnotherapy to your treatment program. If they agree – or if you are eager for other methods to address PTS – contact Brian to discover just how powerful a tool hypnotherapy is for reconnecting with the love that surrounds us all.


War of the Psyche