Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Practical Guide to Hypnosis, Part 3

Can YOU Be Hypnotized?

Research has found that all persons who are of sane mind and have an IQ of more than 70 can be hypnotized. People who have mental problems do not qualify for the same. Old people (the senile) are hard to hypnotize but if they have the desire to hypnotized, they can be taken through the process.

What does this mean?  It means that the saying is true--"all hypnosis is self hypnosis."  Because one of the prevailing myths about hypnosis is that it's something that someone (a 'hypnotist') does to someone else.  Like I could kiss you, or punch you, or hypnotize you--without you having any say in the matter. And that simply isn't true.  You can't be hypnotized (overtly) against your will.  Overt hypnosis is a self-generated state--it comes from within.  So, while I (a 'hypnotist') have an understanding of what hypnosis is and what is most likely to produce the state in you, you must be a willing participant in the process in order for it to work.  If you are resisting that process, then you simply won't go into hypnosis.

The majority of people who say they "can't be hypnotized" subscribe to this misunderstanding at some level and that is the reason for their experience.  They CAN be hypnotized--if they want to be. (As long as they are of sane mind and have an IQ of 70 or more, etc.)

Sometimes a person will resist hypnosis from an other-than-conscious place. That is, they consciously want to be hypnotized, but an inner part of their mind steps in and prevents trance from developing.  When this happens some exploration of the myths of hypnosis, or prior experiences with hypnosis or perhaps witnessing hypnosis at a party, stage show etc. is in order.  In order for (overt) hypnosis to occur, there must be trust and good rapport between the hypnotist and the client.  While you COULD, conceivably, move this subconsciously resistant client into trance using some covert or abstract method, I believe this would be a mistake.  If the client feels tricked or deceived into creating the state, that might create even greater distrust of hypnosis and the hypnotist, and further drive a wedge between that person and the wonderfully beneficial state of hypnosis.  What I do recommend is patience on both parts, exploration and open discussion, and a gradual moving into trance-producing activities with full explanation and disclosure so that the client can feel in control of the process at all times

You may notice that I mentioned a couple of times in this post that you can resist OVERT hypnosis.  When I ask for the hypnotic contract and say that I'm a hypnotist, and refer to the state that I'm looking to produce in others as hypnosis, that can be resisted, either consciously or subconsciously.  However, we all move into trance all the time, call it by whatever we call it--zoning out, covert hypnosis, waking hypnosis, etc.--and that type of hypnosis is difficult to resist, because you "don't see it coming."

So, the take away?  (Overt) hypnosis IS a wonderful, beneficial, natural, internally-produced state of mind that everyone can benefit from, if they are willing!

Next post: 

Uses of Hypnosis

Monday, March 30, 2015

A practical guide to hypnosis, part 1

hypnosis for anxietyWhat is hypnosis? Debate about hypnosis has been around for ages. Some say it doesn’t work, some even say it’s evil, while others think it’s the best way to overcome a wide variety of issues.

There's debate about what hypnosis is.  Some things we know:  we can observe brainwaves while people are in hypnosis, and see that hypnosis has some commonalities from that standpoint with other mental states, such as daydreaming.  So, can people create healing states while daydreaming?  If hypnosis is a natural state that our minds move in and out of naturally throughout the day, and it seems that's true, how is it that the state can resolve issues, and create healing?  Or can it?  Is it not the state itself that is helpful, but what is done in the way of technique and direction to the subconscious mind while you're in the state?  Or is it a combination of both (which is what I believe)?

 It's been awhile since we got "back to basics" on this blog, so this short series takes you through the basics about hypnosis, what it is, why you should use it, the precautions to take and the myths surrounding the therapy. I will frequenty use the terms that are closely related with hypnosis, such as hypnosis, hypnotherapy, hypnotist, hypnotism, hypnotherapist etc. Information is power, they say, and it is always good to equip yourself with plenty so that you can make informed decisions.

 So, today let's start with a couple of definitions:

  Hypnosis: Let's look at how some authorities define hypnosis. Medterms.com calls hypnosis "a part of healing from ancient times."  I like that, as it gives nod to the fact that 1) hypnosis is a part of healing and 2) it's been with us for ages. However, it doesn't really tell me what hypnosis IS.

 The Sci-Tech Dictionary says it is "a presumed altered state of consciousness in which the hypnotized individual is usually more susceptible to suggestion than in his or her normal state. In this context, a suggestion is understood to be an idea or a communication carrying an idea that elicits a covert or overt response not mediated by the higher critical faculties."  This is useful, to me.  Some people might balk at the word "presumed" but if you take it for it's literal meaning, the denotation not the connotation, presumed means that you do in fact assume its existence. Also, it states that hypnosis is a state of consciousness (not an unconscious state).  This definition helps us to see how hypnosis is USED, based on the qualities or characteristics of the state-that you are more suggestible while in hypnosis and therefore more open to creating (desired) responses. It also acknowledges that in hypnosis the "critical factor" of the conscious mind is at rest and so "not mediating" the suggestions coming to the unconsonsious part of the mind, where beliefs, self image, self esteem, habitual behaviors are created, housed and driven.

 OK, one more...just for fun...!

  The Dictionary of Psychoanalysis says, "hypnosis is the altered state of consciousness brought on by a hypnotist using various techniques (staring at an object, verbal commands, etc.)."  I don't care for this one personally, because really, ALL hypnosis is self hypnosis, and this definition implies that hypnosis must be "brought on by a hypnotist."  As a hypnotist, I am a guide to help you move into a natural state of mind, but YOU are the one creating your own hypnosis.  This definition would leave self hypnosis completely out, wouldn't it?

  So, what's MY definition of hypnosis?  Let's acknowledge that a really, truly complete definition of hypnosis, if one is even possible, would be much longer than your typical blog post (which, ah-hem, this already is!).  I suppose millions of books have been written on hypnosis, and probably most of them have slightly different definitions of hypnosis.  But for the sake of creating a definition that is concise, and therefore understandable, and that reflects my own personal experience of hypnosis, both as a subject and an operator, here goes:

  Hypnosis is a natural, conscious state of mind that has qualities and characteristics (heightened suggestibility and a strengthened mind-body connection being notable) which, when coupled with effectively conceived & presented suggestions and techniques, (delivered either by the self, or a hypnotic operator), or when spontaneously triggered by the individual's mind, can allow an individual's mind-body to create emotional, psychological and physical changes.

 Why do I feel that this is a helpful definition of hypnosis?

 1. It acknowledges that this is a natural state.  In my research I've run across sites that suggest that hypnosis can be drug-induced.  Personally, I feel that if a state like hypnosis is achieved through drugs, that is NOT true hypnosis. I believe that a fundamental truth of hypnosis is that it is naturally occurring, and naturally induced, NOT with drugs.
 2.  It emphasizes that hypnosis is in fact a level of consciousness.  Even DEEP levels of hypnosis are in fact, conscious states.  An altered state of consciousness, to be sure, but I feel that the inclusion of this distinction helps to quell the myths that you are somehow unconscious or "knocked out" when in hypnosis.
 3.  It acknowledges that suggestibility and a stronger mind-body connection, the qualities of hypnosis that we harness to create positive change, are characteristics of the state that can be harnessed through the use of proven techniques or can be harnessed by the person's own mind.  I feel that this helps to explain why there is often positive value in simply being in the state itself.  This is often the case with people who have a "flash of insight" that creates instant and lasting change in their lives and the fact that simply moving in and out of a hypnotic state on a regular basis will often allow a person to access and consciously process repressed memories and emotions, leading to emotional healing without the direct intervention of another individual.
 4.  A little bit more about the mind-body connection, which is strengthened through hypnosis.  The mind-body is a holographic experience, and emotions, memories, imprints from experiences are not just stored in the mind, but are stored in the body as cellular memories, and also emotional states are somatocized, or expressed through the body. Many people are unaware of this until they become familiar and work with the hypnotic state for a period of time.  An awareness of this mind-body connection allows a person to feel much more connected within themselves, to be more aware of their emotional states and to more easily shift their emotional states at will, and, I believe, leads to a lessened degree of emotional repression.  I believe that people who practice hypnosis, self hypnosis or meditation on a regular basis are more likely to process emotions and events in their lives in a timely manner, leading to obvious emotional and psychological advantages.
 5.  In my definition I state that the use of hypnosis CAN lead to positive changes. The positive changes are not, however, a guaranteed outcome of the use of the state of hypnosis, or even any given, carefully crafted suggestion or application of technique.  There are many more factors that come into play here, such as the individual's own motivation, the presence or absence of secondary gain factors, passive agressive tendencies, the rapport, or lack of rapport, with the hypnotic operator if one is being used, and the mind's own perception of its readiness to reveal, to a conscious level, past traumas.  A skilled hypnotic operator (hypnotist or hypnotherapist) should be able to make a determination of these factors given enough time to become familiar with a person and the workings of their mind.
 6.  And lastly, one more take on that last point.  The engagement of the qualities of hypnosis (suggestibility, etc.) can lead to positive changes.  They can also lead to negative ones.  Basically, suggestibility can lead to change, and that change can be perceived as good or bad.  Many of us talk negatively to ourselves all the time, limiting and deepening the limitations we perceive in the world (and yes, I believe that MOST limitations are indeed a result of our perception, not in fact, reality). 

Also, you must realize that heightened suggestibility is triggered by a hypnotic modality, which involves being in the presence of an authority figure that possesses a doctrine--a good example is being in your doctor's office.  And please, I'm not picking on doctors here, but people in authority roles need to recognize that everything they communicate has the potential to become a suggestion to a subconscious mind.  I have had a number of clients come in with conditions that we were able to release, that resulted from a careless or not-well-thought-through statement from someone in authority.  I am currently remembering the insomnia client I had who was told, by a doctor, that she "would need to be on anti-anxiety medication for the rest of her life to handle her insomnia."  Insomnia she'd only had a couple of months, and that released in 1 hypnosis session. 

So, let's all be careful about how we talk to OURSELVES, and be aware of when WE are in a hypnotic modality.  When you're in that situation, protect your subconscious mind from accepting unwanted suggestions by engaging the critical factor of your mind--basically, QUESTION statements from that person in authority.  Do this in a constructive way, of course, not out of disdain or question of the person's authority, just in the vein of looking for the best possible information you can get. Well, this has turned into a book. I promise (heh, heh, ahhhh, yeah really!) that the rest of the parts of this blog series will be a bit shorter.  I hope!

 Blessings on your life and on those you love to all who read these words!

  Cindy Next post:  Facts and Myths About Hypnosis

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What is it like to be a hypnotherapist? (Radio Replay)

Join Cindy Locher & Jody Kimmell as they discuss the life and work of the hypnotherapist. Learn what to look for in a hypnotherapy certification program and the many choices available to those trained in the art of hypnosis!

(Episode originally aired September 6, 2014 on KDWA 1460 AM)

If you're interested in learning hypnosis in Minnesota, whether you want to start a new career or add the skill set to your existing career as a nurse, social worker, therapist or counselor, we invite you to come explore with us at the Midwest Hypnotherapy Academy.

Anxiety, blood sugar and you!

What does how you SLEEP have to do with your feelings of anxiety?  How could what you choose for breakfast possibly influence how you feel at 3 in the afternoon?

If you have anxious feelings, particularly if you find that the afternoon and evening are more challenging for you, then you will want to watch this video and learn the simple changes you can make to start reducing your anxiety right now.

Ready to address your anxiety? Cindy can help.  Visit online at www.MinnesotaHypnosis.com or just call 952/356-0010 to set up your complimentary consultation.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

New Hypnotic Radio Hour show: What does hypnosis feel like?

One of the most common questions that we hear, and that clients are asking themselves even if they don't ask it out loud, is "what does hypnosis feel like?"

 Some people want to know just because they are curious about the state. New clients want to know because they often wonder "if they are doing it right." So join Jody & Cindy as we cover this topic. We have another past client calling in on this show to share her experience, so you'll get multiple perspectives.

Then, the next step is to try hypnosis for yourself and find it what it feels like for YOU!

Learn more at http://www.MinnesotaHypnosis.com or http://www.MidwestHypnotherapyAcademy.com

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Using the power of hypnosis to heal body and mind

The article below is a reprint of an article from the New York Times HealthScience section.

My husband, Richard, smoked cigarettes for 50 years, having failed several attempts to quit on his own. When a friend told him in August 1994 that hypnosis had enabled her to quit, he decided to give it a try. "It didn't work; I wasn't hypnotized," he declared after his one and only session. But it did work; since that day, he has not taken one puff of a cigarette.

Gloria Kanter of Boynton Beach, Florida, thought her attempt in 1985 to use hypnosis to overcome her fear of flying had failed. "When the therapist brought me out, I said it didn't work," she recalled in an interview. "I told her, 'I heard everything you said."' Nonetheless, the next time she and her husband headed for the airport, she was not drenched in sweat and paralyzed with fear. "I was just fine," she said, "and I've been fine ever since."

 Like many others whose knowledge of hypnotism comes from movies and stage shows, my husband and Kanter misunderstood what hypnosis is all about. While in a hypnotic trance, you are neither unconscious nor asleep, but rather in a deeply relaxed state that renders the mind highly focused and ready to accept suggestions to help you accomplish your goals.

 Hypnosis has been mired in controversy for two centuries, and its benefits are often overstated. It does not help everyone who wants to quit smoking, for example; then again, neither do other kinds of treatments.

 And the patient's attitude is critical. In the words of Brian Alman, a psychologist who practices hypnosis in San Diego, "The power of hypnosis actually resides in the patient and not in the doctor." Roberta Temes, a clinical hypnotist in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, insists that hypnosis cannot make people do anything they don't want to do. Hypnosis can succeed only in helping people make changes they desire, she said in an interview. In her book "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hypnosis," Temes points out that success in achieving your goal is the best proof that you were really hypnotized.

In effect, hypnosis is the epitome of mind-body medicine. It can enable the mind to tell the body how to react, and modify the messages that the body sends to the mind. It has been used to counter the nausea of pregnancy and chemotherapy; dental and test-taking anxiety; pain associated with surgery, root canal treatment and childbirth; fear of flying and public speaking; compulsive hair-pulling; and intractable hiccups, among many other troublesome health issues.

 Writing in The Permanente Journal in 2001, Alman said that "useful potential" for benefiting from hypnosis "exists within each patient." "The goal of modern medical hypnosis," he said, "is to help patients use this unconscious potential." Alman described a 65-year-old concentration camp survivor who repeatedly choked when she tried to swallow, though examinations of her esophagus revealed no obstruction. After three hypnotherapy sessions, her problem was solved. "I was liberated from my esophagus," the patient said.

 You may not even have to be face to face with a hypnotist to benefit medically. Temes said hypnosis could be helpful even if done with a cassette tape or CD, or by telephone, which she offers as part of her practice.

 Ellen Fineman, a physical therapist in Portland, Oregon, had had five surgeries to repair a retina that kept detaching. Hoping that a sixth attempt would hold, she used a hypnosis tape prepared by Temes for patients undergoing surgery. The tape "was very calming and reassuring," Fineman said in an interview. "It told me that I would be in the hands of professionals who would take good care of me and that I'd have minimal swelling," she said. "This time the surgery went superbly - no inflammation, no swelling and no more detachment. The surgeon was amazed and asked what I had done differently this time."

 As with any other profession, some hypnotherapists are more talented than others. Temes suggests that word of mouth may be the best way to find someone practiced in hypnosis for the kind of problem you're trying to solve.

 While not everyone is easily hypnotized, nearly everyone can slip into a therapeutic trance, Temes maintains. Another of her patients, Dr. Susan Clarvit, a New York psychiatrist, thought she could not be hypnotized - she was too scientific, too rational a person, she said. "But I was desperate," Clarvit said in an interview. "I was pregnant with my second child and too nauseated to be alive. Dr. Temes asked me what I held most often, and I said a pen. She hypnotized me so that when I held a pen I had an overall feeling of wellness. I held a pen all the time, even while driving, and didn't feel nauseated." Under hypnosis, Clarvit was given a posthypnotic suggestion that linked holding a pen to feeling well.

Such suggestions enable people to practice a new, desired behavior after being brought out of the trance. Someone trying to overcome snacking on sweets might be told, "When you are hungry, you will eat vegetables." The suggestion to a smoker might be "you will drink water when you want a cigarette."

 Sometimes patients with well-established illnesses can benefit indirectly from hypnosis. Alman told of a woman with multiple sclerosis who was treated with hypnosis for depression that had failed to improve with antidepressants. Almost immediately, he reported, not only did the woman's depression ease, but her gait and speech improved markedly. He explained that for many patients the medical problem is so complex that specific directions and commands may be ineffective. The benefit from hypnosis may rely more on unleashing unconscious processes within the patient. He suggested that there exists "a wealth of material in the patient's unconscious that can be used in healing" but lamented the fact that although medical hypnosis can often produce rapid change even in difficult cases, it is "underutilized as a therapeutic tool." 

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/07/health/07iht-snbrody.1.17514970.html?_r=1

Learning how to artfully and elegantly help others use the healing power residing in their own minds is what we do at the Midwest Hypnotherapy Academy. I love this article because it describes hypnosis so well and so realistically and gives several examples of what is possible when hypnotherapy is correctly applied. Come learn hypnosis with us at the Midwest Hypnotherapy Academy in Apple Valley Minnesota!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Falsified research led to the "low-fat heart-healthy" guidelines

Dietary fat is NOT the enemy

As journalist Paul John Scott (not to be confused with John Paul Scott, the only Alcatraz inmate to conclusively reached San Francisco during an escape attempt) writes in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota bears the blame for the wrong-headed low-fat diet that has been promoted by the FDA: We embraced the erroneous low-fat paradigm because a University of Minnesota-based expert named Ancel Keys had a gut feeling that saturated fat caused heart disease; collected carefully chosen data from dietary practices in Greece and Italy to back up his hunch, then brushed off all contrary evidence. Keys quickly developed alliances at the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health, on Capitol Hill and at the USDA — with the help of an eager and unquestioning health press much like that of today.

 Okay, so Minnesota isn't really to blame, but rather Keys and his ilk. Scott goes on to further describe how Keys's well-meaning — but misguided — efforts to get people to eat less animal and especially saturated fat hurt rather than helped us.

Many of these points come from the book "The Big Fat Surprise," by investigative reporter Nina Teicholz. She argues that the data to support a low-fat diet doesn't exist, as CNN reported: Take the 30-year follow-up to the landmark Framingham Heart Study, for example. It is one of the largest epidemiological studies evaluating the roots of heart disease in our country. In the follow-up, scientists found that half the people who had heart attacks had below-average cholesterol levels. In fact, scientists concluded that "for each 1 percent mg/dL drop of cholesterol, there was an 11 percent increase in coronary and total mortality."

 Not everybody agrees, however. Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, told CNN that replacing saturated fats with healthy fats improves blood lipids, and in turn reduces heart disease. But both sides would probably agree that a shift from a diet high in animal fats to a diet high in simple carbohydrates like sugar — a pattern seen in the United States — isn't healthy.

 To make up your own mind, check out the book yourself here, and read reviews of Teicholz's tome at the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Sun-Times, and on Amazon.com.

  This article originally appeared on Popular Science