What is expected of me as a client?  

The main part you play in creating your positive change is to have a goal and to want a successful outcome. So whether you want to free yourself of a compulsive habit, have more self-esteem, reduce your body weight, enjoy more restful sleep, be free of test anxiety or improve your golf game,  you are clear about what you want and believe that your life will be better after your positive change than it was before.

What is hypnosis?

Hypnotherapists guide their clients into relaxed states that slow down brain waves, drop them to certain levels putting them in a more open, accepting frame of mind. In this state, you find it easier to leave old self-defeating beliefs and behaviors behind and adopt new ways of thinking and behaving that serve you better.

According to Dr. Rima Laibow in Quantitative EEG and Neurofeedback, hypnotic states are characterized by measurable brain wave activity.  The deepest state is the Delta state which exhibits brainwaves of .5 to 4.0 cycles per second (Hz).  Human babies are usually in this state at birth and until approximately two years old.  The Theta (4-8 HZ) state is the predominant brainwave frequency in children from two to six years old.

According to Bruce Lipton in The Biology of Belief,  “As we get older, we become less susceptible to outside programming with the increasing appearance of brainwave (8-12Hz) Alpha activity that is equated with states of calm consciousness.  At around twelve years of age, the child’s EEG begins to show more sustained periods of a higher frequency (12-35)HZ Beta brain states that are characterized as active or focused consciousness.”  (more like a conscious adult waking state–our commentary).

If this is true, it is no wonder that hypnotic states feel so relaxing and natural to us.  We spent most of our developing years in these brain wave states!

Hypnosis occurs between a hypnotist and a client.  During hypnosis, the hypnotist guides you through the process un-hypnotizing you from old unwanted patterns and provides suggestions that support you to create what you want in your life – in a similar manner to the way Dr. Dahl helped Sergey Rachmaninoff in 1901.  (See the story below.)  As the client, your role is to accept the instructions and maintain an open state of mind.

Using hypnosis, and the heightened suggestibility that comes with it, you can resolve issues such as smoking, test anxiety, writer’s block, overeating or stress.

Does hypnosis really work? 

In March of 1901, the Russian composer Sergey Rachmaninoff dedicated his famous Piano Concerto No. 2 to his hypnotist, Dr. Nikolay Dahl for helping him end his depression and writer’s block so that he could create this masterpiece.

Rachmaninoff, in his memoirs (Rachmaninoff’s Recollections, told to Oskar von Riesemann), tells the story: “My relations had told Dr. Dahl that he must at all costs cure me of my apathetic condition and achieve such results that I would again begin to compose. Dahl asked what manner of composition they desired and had received the answer, ‘A concerto for pianoforte,’ for this I had promised to the people in London and had given it up in despair.

Consequently I heard the same hypnotic formula repeated day after day while I lay half asleep in my armchair in Dr. Dahl’s study, ‘You will begin to write your concerto ….You will work with great facility ….The concerto will be of excellent quality ….’ It was always the same, without interruption.

‘Although it may sound incredible, this cure really helped me.  Out of gratitude I dedicated my Second Concerto to him.”

Hypnosis works for writer’s block and many other purposes.  You can find testimonials on this and many other websites that point to the efficacy of hypnosis as a tool for positive change.

Can I be hypnotized?

If you can choose to follow directions you can be hypnotized. As an adult, you are actually experiencing varying states of brainwave activity each day and spent much of your childhood in the slower brainwave states.  So as long as you are willing, you can easily achieve these same brainwave states again and again.  All hypnosis is self hypnosis because of this aspect of the process – you choose to follow the directions – or not.

Hypnosis has the potential, if skillfully guided, to create the same perspective-altering effect that you have experienced in the past when you heard a story or had an experience that changed your  understanding of a situation or person so that you had a new perception and never went back to the old perspective again.  Through that experience you got un-hypnotized from your old perspective and adopted a new one.

Hypnosis can often change your old perspectives and help you to adopt supportive beliefs and actions to create more happiness and well being.  Clinical hypnosis usually works best on people who are reasonably intelligent, imaginative and oriented toward life improvement.

Hypnosis would not work on a person who suffers from a profound mental disability or is psychotic or intoxicated.

What can I expect during hypnosis?

You can expect to feel relaxed.  Some people report that they relax deeper in hypnosis than at any other time. The relaxation is usually accompanied with a feeling that “everything is okay, I am okay, I like these suggestions, I want them to be true for me.”  Sounds that are unrelated to what you are doing usually do not bother you – such as times when you lie in bed in the morning and someone is in the kitchen making noise and you are in that floating alpha state and so it doesn’t bother you – or when you are relaxing on the couch and a car starts up outside and even that just seems like part of the experience of relaxing that you are enjoying at the moment.

In reality, hypnosis is a safe and natural state of mind that you enter whenever you are deeply absorbed in an experience.

A person in hypnosis is more suggestible, more imaginative and has better memory than usual. This is what allows people to make changes during hypnosis.

What hypnosis is not:

Hypnosis is not mind control, a state of unconsciousness, or a state that you can become stuck in. These are myths..

You have the ability to accept or reject every suggestion given to you. In fact, hypnosis only works when you choose to accept the hypnotist’s suggestions.

For this reason, hypnosis is not an unconscious state. You are aware of what’s happening throughout the session unless you fall asleep. If you accidentally fall asleep during hypnosis, we will usually wake you because a sleeping person is less responsive to suggestions.  If you accidentally fall asleep while listening to a hypnosis program at home, you will wake up normally after some time, as though you had taken a nap.

What is the unconscious/subconscious mind?

There are both conscious and unconscious/subconscious processes. Conscious processes are the ones you’re aware of and can control: thinking, remembering, visualizing, and so on. Unconscious processes are the ones you’re unaware of or cannot – or do not – normally control, such as automatic habits, emotions and cravings.

Most processes in your mind are unconscious or at the subconscious level, although it is possible to make some unconscious processes conscious. For example, you can choose to breathe consciously, but when you stop breathing consciously, it becomes automatic and unconscious again.

One way to imagine this relationship is by using the metaphor of a rider and a horse. The conscious mind (or rider) looks ahead, makes decisions and thinks it’s in control—but only until the horse bolts off or decides not to cooperate. At that point, it becomes readily apparent which part of the mind is actually in control.

Hypnosis works by creating new blueprints or maps in the unconscious mind. In guided clinical hypnosis, the hypnotist’s voice and the client’s relaxation bypass the client’s normal conscious defending of the old ways, so that new ways of thinking, feeling and acting can be suggested and accepted.

Will hypnosis work well for my problem?

Your old problems are caused by habitual thinking patterns or routines, or are caused by feelings that arise automatically.  These are functions of the unconscious (or automatic) mind.

We employ several types of empowerment techniques that tend to affect the unconscious mind in positive ways.  Guided clinical hypnosis is one of those methods.  In a way, all of the methods we use are hypnosis because they bring about change by addressing the habits that have been stuck in the subconscious.

We work from a premise that all compulsive behaviors are caused by one thing and that one thing is ANXIETY.   Anything we can do to reduce the anxiety level will be helpful at the causal level.  Add to that the potential of these methods to create motivation and confidence and you can begin to imagine your success.

Skillfully applied hypnosis speaks to the subconscious mind using powerful voice tonality, repetition, and specially constructed language patterns. These techniques allow you implant suggestions for new ways of thinking, acting and living.

Why do people have such a struggle with the cravings that make it hard to lose weight? 

People have difficulty with cravings because they have been conditioned or “hypnotized” over time to eat in certain ways.  After these habits are embedded in your subconscious mind, change becomes a struggle.  In the same way a smoker gets triggered to light up a cigarette, others can be triggered to repeat robotic eating habits. Hypnosis can help you “un-hypnotize” yourself so that you can stop repeating unwanted habits.

What are some proven techniques to eliminate cravings? 

In the programs at Positive Change Unlimited, we use and teach our clients effective empowerment methods like EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques™) and Self-Hypnosis among others.  EFT is a technique that employs tapping on certain acupuncture points on the body. It helps to manage mental and emotional responses to maintain a resourceful state.

Clinical hypnosis with an experienced and trusted guide or therapist who understands your goals helps you to clear your blocks to success.  Self Hypnosis is taught in our programs so that clients can learn to program their own deeper mind to have healthy thoughts and behaviors.

What is the connection between our chemical and psychological make-up and how does that affect our bodies?

Emotions arise at the place where the mind and body meet.  The mind and body cannot be separated.  You know how you are feeling emotionally by the sensations in your body.  Self destructive compulsions such as compulsions for sweets are created by various forms of anxiety or negative emotional states.  It often seems miraculous to people that their cravings for unhealthy foods and substances disappear when they release self criticism (a major cause of anxiety) and negative emotions and thoughts through these empowerment methods.