What is the fundamental difference between psychotherapy and hypnotherapy?
Rather than dealing with the conscious thinking analytical brain [as with psychotherapy], you are accessing the subconscious, where all feelings and emotions and behaviors exist, where 90 percent of our being is, where our brain function is. And so by quieting the thinking mind and understanding your issues, it makes getting to the root cause pretty fast and effective.
Can you give an example?
In the subconscious, sometimes there’s just glitches. From the time we are very young, let’s say our mother saw a mouse and screamed, and we may have been only one year old and don’t have a conscious memory of that, but here we are as adults and we are afraid of mice and we have no idea why. In talk therapy, it’s great to be able to pinpoint that issue, talk around it, and consciously process it, but a lot of time it is limited because you can’t actually clear the emotion itself. With hypnosis we can go right back to that very moment when your mother screamed, because our subconscious holds everything. The subconscious doesn’t know time, past or future.
I understand there’s a difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Can you explain their relationship?
Hypnosis is a part of hypnotherapy. Typically hypnotherapy has a purpose to help somebody resolve an issue. Hypnosis is a bit more broad, and people unfortunately have a connotation that hypnosis is what you have seen in the movies, where their eyes are spinning and their mind is being controlled, that sort of thing. That’s the myth that needs to be dispelled.
During sessions, clients remain awake, yet it is the client’s subconscious that is ultimately leading the session. Can you elaborate?
The most common thing I hear is “I don’t think I can be hypnotized. My brain’s too busy.” We are all in and out of states of hypnosis all day long. When you’re watching a movie, your conscious brain is not on, you’re in a TV hypnosis. This is the same for video games or when you’re in the heat of an argument, because you’re so focused on only one thing, and it’s all generally feeling based. Any kind of conscious thought is really not coming in. And so hypnosis is so much simpler than most people realize. The way that you access the subconscious is through the imagination, and so most sessions start off with a guided meditation. In the end, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Ultimately the client decides if they want to be hypnotized or not.
What is the most common reason people seek hypnotherapy?
I mostly see people with behavioral issues: fears, phobias, a lot of emotional stuff, perfectionism, self-sabotage, or even finding purpose in life. A lot of people-pleasing, a lot of inner critic, a lot of inner child. The range that I see is interesting but never the same. I think people really don’t want medication for depression, they’re looking for alternative forms of healing, and they’ve been in psychotherapy and they can’t get past it.
What is one of the more unusual reasons someone has come to you for hypnotherapy?
I had someone come to me who had recently started seeing a vegan but had simultaneously never eaten a vegetable in their life.
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