Into hypnosis, Part II

Continuing from Into Hypnosis, Part I...Having had one positive experience, I went looking for more hypnosis sites on the web. There are lots of them, of all varieties: scholarly articles, hypnotherapists, sites offering to teach you hypnosis, sites offering to hypnotize you, videos of people being hypnotized and people hypnotizing, hypnodommes and hypnodoms, and the modern equivalent of the old comic book “Hypnotize your friends!, make anyone do your bidding!” ads. I perused probably hundreds of sites, watched videos, downloaded and listened to hypnosis recordings, read ebooks. I joined Yahoo groups dedicated to hypnosis and chatted with people here and abroad who shared my fascination.

A month or so later I mentioned to my wife that I was interested in hypnosis – the first time I had told anyone. She was, to say the least, surprised (she likes to think she knows everything there is to know about me, and here was a deep, dark secret she knew nothing about). When she recovered, a few days later, she asked me where I wanted to go with this.  I said I didn’t really know – but I started to think about it.

Meanwhile, I started attending the meetings of the local NGH (National Guild of Hypnotists) chapter. At one of these meeting the speaker was Dr. Judith Pearson, talking about her weight reduction program (and book), WHY – Weight, Hypnotherapy, and You. Judith was animated, enthusiastic, and small (I still wonder about fat therapists offering weight reduction!). Six months later, when I started Hypnosis Silver Spring, I would adopt her program for my practice.


In answer to my wife’s question, I decided I wanted to learn the other side: I had always been a subject; now I would learn to hypnotize. I began looking for a teacher, starting with a web search. Laura West, of Hypnosis Maryland, offered hypnocoaching; I called her and made an appointment. We talked about my history and my current interest (there was no hypno in this session, just coaching). Laura told me that she was a certified hypnotherapy trainer and was about to begin a new class. The class would have three levels: Basic, Advanced, and Hypno-Analysis, each level comprising two weekends, all day Saturday and all day Sunday.


I signed up, without considering any other teachers. Looking back on it, I was lucky – it would have been a good idea to investigate more. But Laura turned out to be an excellent teacher.


My fellow students and I were hypnotizing each other the very first day, using very basic “progressive relaxation” inductions. We learned how to do an interview and a “pretalk.” The interview is to get the details of the issue the client intends to work on, what changes she desires, what kinds of suggestions, and how she will know when she has what she wants. The purpose of the pretalk is to introduce the client to hypnosis and prepare him for hypnosis – in some ways this is the most important part of the session.


Then Laura turned us loose on the community, assigning each of us to spend ten hours working with any “clients” we could persuade: family, friends, or anyone who was interested. I remember sitting there amazed as my first “client” actually went into a trance state in front of my eyes. I gave her the suggestions we had discussed in the pretalk (and when I saw her again a couple of weeks later she reported that her issue had been largely resolved).


In the Intermediate class, the second two weeks, we learned how to approach some of the common issues such as smoking cessation and weight control (avoid saying “weight loss”, Laura told us – there is an implication that something is being lost and may need to be found). We learned about experienced deeper states of trance known as somnambulism and the Esdaile State. And we had a brief introduction to NLP – Neuro-Linguistic Programming – ways of bringing about changes in thinking and behaving (“neurology”) using language (“linguistic”), sometimes called “waking hypnosis”.  (NLP has since played a big role in my practice.)


The Hypno-Analysis part of the course covered advanced topics such as Word Association, Hypnotic Regression, and Dream Analysis.
By the time I was half-way through Laura’s class what had started as a fascination with hypnosis had become a passion. I found myself think about becoming a hypnotherapist myself, and by the end, in mid-June, 2007, my IMDHA (International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association) certification in hand, I made my decision, to start my own practice.   Laura’s was “Hypnosis Maryland”; mine would be “Hypnosis Silver Spring.”

More Training, More Experience

One of my first clients wanted to slim down, by some 50 pounds.  Not having a weight reduction program of my own, I remembered Judith Pearson and her WHY program; I bought her book and began working.  The WHY program consists of eight sessions.  There is a client workbook and “homework” assignments for each session.  The first session called for Core Transformation, an NLP procedure – at least half of what Judith prescribes in the book is NLP.  The book includes a brief dialog, but other than that I knew absolutely nothing about Core Transformation.  So I bought Core Transformation, by Connirae and Tamara Andreas, and read it.  (Core Transformation has since become one of my favorite ways of working with clients – I am hoping to become a CT trainer one day).  Judith’s second session called for another NLP procedure, “Six-Step Reframe”.  Knowing nothing about that, I read two more NLP books (Frogs Into Princes and Reframing, by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, the two founders of NLP).  And that is how I began to work my way through NLP.


Six months later I went to Indiana for a long weekend NLP training, really more of an overview and outline.  Although I received a certification as an “NLP Practitioner”, I realized that three days was in no way long enough to master NLP.  I continued to read and use NLP successfully with my clients, and by the time I was able to take a real NLP training, in the summer of 2010 (with Dick McHugh), I was in a position to broaden and deepen my understanding and skills, my competence finally catching up with my certification.


Over the next several years I continued with additional trainings: Insomnia, with Debbie Papadakis, Eliminating Allergies with Anne King, Pain Control with Michael Ellner, Pain Control again with Dan Cleary, and Core Transformation with Tamara Andreas (I am now a Core Transformation trainer.) More recently I have trained with Andrew Austin (Metaphors of Movement), Steve Andreas (PTSD), and Connirae Andreas (The Wholeness Process). It is with anticipation and excitement that I look ahead to many years of trainings (both given and received), working with clients as they transform their lives, and continuing to build my practice.


Continued from Into Hypnosis, Part I

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