Switch to Accessible Site
slogan
Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains

Blog/Articles

HOW HYPNOSIS CAN HELP ME TO STOP SMOKING

by Allen Sidwell, CHT

One if the first steps needed to stop smoking is to disassociate from the triggers and from the habit. It’s the ritual of smoking that needs to be broken. Once the triggers are “unplugged”, the therapist can then help you with limiting the “Separation Anxiety”, associated with stopping a daily ritual that you’ve probably had for decades.

My stop smoking program has been designed to be a comprehensive approach to living a smoke free life in two sessions. First we look at what part of your persona is sabotaging you and taking your back to the old habits.  Then we remove the part of you that thinks you should smoke to deal with stress and cope with the challenges of life.  We provide you with new tools to help manage your stress and a natural desire to life a healthier life.

I support my clients to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within them, and to heal on emotional and physical levels.  I support positive changes focusing on your strengths that lead to healing and transformation. 

My clients report life changing effects and it brings me great joy to see them leading a life free from smoking and moving into greater health and happiness. You have the power within you to change your life, call today to set up an appointment at 619-405-7410.

Hypnotherapy Works University Of Maryland Article 2017

What is hypnotherapy?

The term "hypnosis" comes from the Greek word hypnos, meaning "sleep." Hypnotherapists use exercises that bring about deep relaxation and an altered state of consciousness, also known as a trance. A person in a deeply focused state is unusually responsive to an idea or image. But this does not mean that a hypnotist can control the person's mind and free will. On the contrary, hypnosis can actually teach people how to master their own states of awareness. By doing so they can affect their own bodily functions and psychological responses.

What is the history of hypnosis?

Throughout history, trance states have been used by shamans and ancient peoples in rituals and religious ceremonies. But hypnosis as we know it today was first associated with the work of an Austrian physician named Franz Anton Mesmer. In the 1700s, Mesmer believed that illnesses were caused by magnetic fluids in the body getting out of balance. He used magnets and other hypnotic techniques (the word "mesmerized" comes from his name) to treat people. But the medical community was not convinced. Mesmer was accused of fraud, and his techniques were called unscientific.

Hypnotherapy regained popularity in the mid-1900s due to Milton H. Erickson (1901 - 1980), a successful psychiatrist who used hypnosis in his practice. In 1958, both the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association recognized hypnotherapy as a valid medical procedure. Since 1995, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recommended hypnotherapy as a treatment for chronic pain.

Other conditions for which hypnotherapy is frequently used include anxiety and addiction.

How does hypnosis work?

When something happens to us, we remember it and learn a particular behavior in response to what happened. Each time something similar happens, our physical and emotional reactions attached to the memory are repeated. Sometimes these reactions are unhealthy. In some forms of hypnotherapy, a trained therapist guides you to remember the event that led to the first reaction, separate the memory from the learned behavior, and replace unhealthy behaviors with new, healthier ones.

During hypnosis, your body relaxes and your thoughts become more focused. Like other relaxation techniques, hypnosis lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and changes certain types of brain wave activity. In this relaxed state, you will feel at ease physically yet fully awake mentally, and you may be highly responsive to suggestion. Your conscious mind becomes less alert and your subconscious mind becomes more focused. Some people respond better to hypnotic suggestion than others.

There are several stages of hypnosis:

  • Reframing the problem
  • Becoming relaxed, then absorbed (deeply engaged in the words or images presented by a hypnotherapist)
  • Dissociating (letting go of critical thoughts)
  • Responding (complying with a hypnotherapist's suggestions)
  • Returning to usual awareness
  • Reflecting on the experience

What happens during a visit to the hypnotherapist?

During your first visit, you will be asked about your medical history and what condition you would like to address. The hypnotherapist may explain what hypnosis is and how it works. You will then be directed through relaxation techniques, using a series of mental images and suggestions intended to change behaviors and relieve symptoms. For example, people who have panic attacks may be given the suggestion that, in the future, they will be able to relax whenever they want. The hypnotherapist may also teach you the basics of self hypnosis and give you an audiotape to use at home so you can reinforce what you learn during the session.

 

Gut-directed hypnosis more effective for treating irritable bowel syndrome

 

Published on May 23, 2016

The existing evidence for the efficacy and safety of hypnosis techniques in somatic medicine is inadequate. The authors therefore systematically reviewed meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials. It emerged that hypnosis was superior to standard treatment in the reduction of emotional stress, pain, time needed for convalescence, and drug consumption associated with medical interventions. Among patients with irritable bowel syndrome, symptoms were relieved more effectively by gut-directed hypnosis than by the treatments in the control groups.

In clinical practice hypnosis is already widely used as a complement to modern, safe methods of anesthesia, particularly to minimize anxiety and stress in patients about to undergo surgery. Live or audio file-aided hypnosis can be offered. The use of audio files is also effective in functional gastrointestinal disorders. Furthermore, therapeutic hypnosis is used in dentistry.

 

 

5 Ways Hypnosis Reduces Stress


Whether you are using self-hypnosis or working with a certified hypnotherapist, focusing on these five values can allow your unconscious mind to align with your conscious mind to manage life’s inevitable stresses:
    Simplify. Clear away any excesses in your home, your office, your computer files, your phone messages, your car, your closet, and in your head. If it’s crowded around you, it’s crowded within you. Literal and metaphorical open spaces allow for new people and experiences. Everything you see should be useful, meaningful, or beautiful to you.
        Trust. You can deal with whatever life presents to you. Indeed, you always have! Whatever happens to us happens for us.stress
        Ask for help. Some of us believe we should do it all ourselves, and in reality, none of us does it all alone. It takes a powerful person to ask for guidance and assistance. Even the greatest athletes need assistance.
        Accept. What we resist, persists. We tend to increase stress when we cannot accept what is so. Accepting reality, making no more or no less of it, allows for peace of mind. Like the Serenity Prayer states, “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
        Balance between others and self. Some of us are so busy serving others (hello, mothers!) that we forget about ourselves. Others are so self-absorbed, they forget there are others on the planet. Finding your own happy medium between the two diminishes stress.

Remember, there is good stress and bad stress. Good stress might be feeling overwhelmed by your job. Bad stress might be not having a job at all. Hypnosis, and of course self-hypnosis, can help you to simplify, trust, ask for help, accept the current situation, and balance between others and yourself. Remember, too, that your constant self-talk is a form of hypnosis in and of itself. Make sure you are staying positive in how you view your reality, so that your self-hypnosis is positive!



Symptoms of Panic Attacks and Anxiety


Unless you have experienced a panic attack, it is hard to describe it accurately.  They are very scary in that you may feel like you are having a heart attack or a stroke and are going to die.  Others feel like they are losing consciousness or sanity.  Panic attacks rarely last for more than 10 minutes, but some of the symptoms can linger longer. Fortunately, people rarely die from panic attacks. Yet the fear of doing so seems crippling. They can disrupt one’s life, be embarrassing, and lead to other fears and phobias.

The symptoms generally entail:
    Rapid heart beat.
    Profuse sweating, which can alternate between hot and cold sweat.
    Tunnel or blurred vision.
    Ringing in the ears.
    Dizziness.
    Chest pains.
    Difficulty breathing.
    Tingling in the fingers and hands.
    Feeling “out of my body” or out of control of the body.
    Sense of terror or impending doom (including fear of heart attack or death).

The first thing you want to do is get a medical check-up to rule out potential physical causes (coronary, diabetes, thyroid, vision, ears, etc.) of the above symptoms, particularly if you have a family history of heart disease.  We want to distinguish if your anxiety is medically-induced, substance-induced, or nutritionally-induced condition.  Assess your alcohol or substance use, abuse, and/or withdrawal. Further, notice what your caffeine intake is. Caffeine includes not only coffee per se, but caffeinated teas, chocolate, and sodas.


The second thing you want to do is take a realistic look at the amount of stress and anxiety you are dealing with. We all suffer stress in life, sometimes excessively so due to grief, divorce, job loss, unemployment, accidents, childbirth, post-surgery, disease, trauma, and more.  While anxiety is a normal response to any or all of these issues, one can learn to manage the unpleasant feelings these situations can cause without incurring a full-blown panic attack. However, if you have a suffered panic attacks more than three times in your life, and especially if they have occurred within a short timeframe (one month or so), see a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist to diagnose if you have a generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, an acute stress disorder, or PTSD.  There may be a genetic predisposition to your anxiety (e.g. there may be a malfunction in your central nervous system), and medications are available.


If you get a clean bill of health from both medical and mental health professionals, then you may simply suffer from occasional panic attacks. Please educate yourself and use self-hypnosis or another form of intervention to cope with this condition. If not, these things can take on a life of their own, frequently leading to more panic attacks, agoraphobia, and other fears.  The reason for this is that we begin to naturally associate panic with the location or situation where it first occurred; e.g., you take a new freeway to work one day and suffer a panic attack.  Your brain links the freeway together with the panic attack. Untreated, this can lead to a fear of driving on freeways, which can then lead to a fear of trains, airplanes, etc.  As well, without treatment, long-term effects of panic attacks can be depression, alcohol or substances abuse, an impaired ability to function on the job, at home, at school, and other domains of one’s life.


What happens in a panic attack is this: the body goes into the natural fight-flight state, where you are hyper-anxious, hyper-alert, and hyper-suggestible.  Suggestible simply means you are open to suggestions; therefore, if someone around you “freaks out” when you are panicking, or you “freak out” during a panic attack, that person and/or you are suggesting panic, driving the attack further.  Fight-flight is a powerful state to be in; it can work for your good or your detriment. When you are faced with threat or danger, your autonomic nervous system gets triggered, which helps you escape that danger. During a panic attack, however, your automatic nervous system is stimulated for seemingly no reason – – like a false alarm.  Yet it is scary and seems so real!  Hypnosis, as well as self-hypnosis, can help you use the fight-flight state to calm yourself, to know what anxious symptoms are, and to manage them without their turning into a full-blown panic attack.

Hypnosis can help these five specific issues:
        Anxiety.  How to lower levels of normal anxiety to prevent panic attacks.
        Anticipatory anxiety.  Understanding this powerful state and how to use it creatively to stave off an attack.
        Embarassment.   How to deal with this feeling if you do have a panic attack.
        Balance.  How to design your life for balance so that ordinary stress does not become extraordinary.
        Confidence.  Learning how to be your best, have more ease, and trust you can cope with anything life serves you.


Management of anxiety is possible. Medication, hypnotherapy (AKA “clinical hypnosis: or “therapeutic hypnosis”), cognitive-behavioral therapy, as well as other talk therapy approaches are highly effective in treating panic attacks and anxiety.  Without minimizing your pain, think of it this way: if panic attacks are your worst health issue, you are really doing OK!



Hypnosis And Phobias

Fear? Anxiety? Phobia?


Test out a home study program that guarantees to banish all your fears and phobias.

There is a major link between hypnosis and phobias, and of course that link is simply that hypnosis can be used to treat phobias. In order to see that this is the case, we first have to look at the nature of both hypnosis and phobias. What we’ll see when we do so is that both hypnosis and phobias affect the same part of the psyche, therefore, what is done with hypnosis can affect what phobias a person has.

Hypnosis and phobias are both affected by and have a major effect on the subconscious mind. For example, when you undergo hypnosis, you’re using repeated sounds, feelings and ideas to tap into your subconscious where you can then leave behind minor suggestions or ideas.

Phobias are different, but they do involve the subconscious. Basically a phobia is when a fear becomes so lodged into the subconscious that it then proceeds to override all of your normal thoughts if it becomes triggered. As you might guess, this link between hypnosis and phobia is one of the reasons why hypnosis can be used to treat phobias.
In order to treat phobias with hypnosis, you have to think about the nature of both hypnosis and the phobias that you might have. For example, you need to know what it is that you’re afraid of specifically. Once you’ve decided what you have a phobia about (and it should be fairly easy to determine) you can begin to set up your hypnosis routine that will reduce the effect that your phobia has on you, or even get rid of it altogether.

First, you need to make sure that you have a good place in your home where you will not be disturbed while you practice your hypnosis, and you also need to make sure that you will have enough time every day to work on hypnosis. After that, you need to decide on what suggestion it is that you’re going to implant in your mind.

When it comes to suggestions, the general rule of thumb is that you want something that is going to be simple to remember, but that is also fairly specific to the problem that you’re having. Both hypnosis and phobias are tricky things, so you need to make sure that you make it very clear as to what you’re dealing with. After all, you’d hate to “cure” yourself of a phobia that you don’t even have instead of dealing with the problem at hand.

Another thing to consider when dealing with hypnosis and phobias is that self-hypnosis may not be your best bet for treatment. If you don’t think that it is, there are plenty of professional hypnotists who can help you with your hypnosis and phobias.

The other thing to consider about hypnosis and phobias is that when you’re dealing with such an ingrained idea as a phobia, it will often take more than just a few days to get rid of the phobia. Therefore, it’s important that you stick with your routine in order to reduce the effect that your phobia has on you. Don’t get discouraged, instead stick with your hypnosis routine and wait to see if it helps!

 

Hypnosis, Meditation, and Relaxation for Pain Treatment


Meditation involves using a number of awareness techniques to help quiet the mind and relax the body. The two most common techniques are:
Transcendental meditation . The patient repeats a single word or phrase, called a mantra, and is taught to allow other thoughts and feelings to pass.  Mindfulness Meditation. The person focuses all of his or her attention on thoughts and sensations. This form of meditation is often taught in stress-reduction programs.


Benefits of Meditation


Studies suggest that meditating can increase pain tolerance, activity levels, and self-esteem and decrease anxiety, stress, depression, and use of pain medications.


Mindfulness meditation has been used successfully in programs to reduce pain and improve mood in patients with chronic pain from a variety of conditions, including headache, low back pain, chest pain, and gastrointestinal pain.
There are varied forms of meditation and training certification organizations; for example, one can get certified in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), but if you're not sure, speak to your doctor, who may be able to recommend a good teacher or teaching facility.
To practice meditation, repeated meetings with the instructor may not be necessary. A recent study examining the perception of pain and various mental training techniques has found that relatively short and simple mindfulness meditation training can have a significant positive and long-term effect on pain.  Please contact Mindfulness Hypnotherapy to learn more about meditation.

 

How Does a Hypnotherapist Treat Anxiety?

The goal of hypnotherapy is to change the negative fixed ideas that fuel anxiety by replacing them with positive, realistic coping thoughts that are imprinted into the subconscious mind.

For pain and physical issues creating anxiety, such as impending surgery, suggestion hypnotherapy enables patients to release anxiety by responding positively to proposals from the therapist. Symptoms of anxiety can be addressed when the hypnotherapist teaches skills for relaxation, mental control, and behavior modification. Instant relaxation skills, for example, can help a patient cope with episodes of anxiety while they are occurring. These skills include deep breathing, refocusing attention, and thought interruption.

For anxiety disorders, hypnotherapy can help uncover the root causes for the phobias so they can be brought into awareness and processed. Patients can explore experiences or negative fixed ideas that are now triggering anxiety, reprocess the memories, and reframe them to desensitize their emotional responses to the anxiety triggers.
Why is Hypnotherapy Effective for Anxiety?

For anxiety disorders, hypnotherapy is effective because the patient is able to follow the same channels used in ordinary consciousness to learn how to respond to new situations. When something new happens, people learn a particular behavior in response to that circumstance. Each time similar events occur, the emotional and physical reactions associated with the original memory are repeated. These reactions can produce excessive levels of anxiety.

A hypnotherapist guides the patient through memories of the original anxiety-provoking event, helps the patient to separate the memory from the learned behavior, and then helps to reconstruct the event with new, healthier associations. This results in less anxious responses to the same event or object.
What Happens During a Hypnotherapy Session for Anxiety?

A hypnotherapist begins a session by discussing the presenting problem. Then the hypnotherapist begins combining relaxation suggestions with imagery to help a patient move into a trancelike state, similar to the consciousness experienced during daydreams or meditation.

This heightened state of concentration opens the mind to suggestions that will assist the patient with overcoming anxiety. The patient, however, remains in control and exercises free will during the hypnotherapy session. Upon entering deeper levels of awareness, distractions disappear, blood pressure drops, and breathing and heart rates slow down. Forgotten emotions and memories are accessed so the patient can explore the causes of anxiety and then release the critical thoughts and phobias.

The hypnotherapist can use different techniques to help the patient face her or his fears and look at them in new ways to decrease their hold. The hypnotherapist then suggests new ways for coping with the sources of anxiety. The patient is brought to normal conscious awareness, and the session concludes with reflections on the experiences.

Most people can be hypnotized, though people who are more trusting and comfortable with the hypnotherapist are more easily drawn into the hypnotic state. Hypnotherapy sessions last about an hour, and most people begin to improve within four to ten sessions. Children ages 9-12 can usually be easily hypnotized and may respond after only one or two visits.


Hypnosis has a better success rate than any other type of therapy for smokers.

In 1970 a groundbreaking meta-analysis of hypnosis research studies was conducted by Alfred A. Barrios, which led to the mainstream acceptance of hypnosis as an extremely effective form of therapy.  Hypnotherapy has great success for people who really want to stop smoking.

Barrios compared 1,018 studies and articles on hypnosis, 899 articles on psychoanalytic therapy and 355 in therapy. In particular he noted the overall lasting success rates of the different therapies.
He found that hypnotherapy had a massive 93% success rate after only 6 sessions compared to only a 72% success rate with behavioral therapy (after 22 sessions on average), and only 38% success rate with psychotherapy (after an average of 600 sessions).

This led him to conclude that for changing habits, thought patterns, and actual hypnosis was not only the most effective method, but that it needed less time / sessions than any other type of therapy.
There are so many ways to quit smoking, and in their quest to stop, many smokers try everything from quitting cold turkey to one-on-one counseling to nicotine patches and gums — or combinations of all of the above. If these stop smoking methods haven't worked for you, or you just want to take a more holistic approach, you may want to try hypnotherapy.
 
Stop smoking triggers and how to cope better.

Most ex-smokers today experienced at least one smoking relapse on their way to quitting for good. So how did they get back on track? Experts share their best tips to help you avoid a cigarette setback...
If you’re a smoker, chances are you want to give up a habit that’s bad for your health, wallet, and social life. About two-thirds of U.S. smokers say they want to quit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Even if you’re committed to freeing yourself from nicotine, it typically takes several attempts to stop smoking for good.
“Research indicates that, on average, people try quitting between five and seven times before they’re successful,” says Patricia Folan, R.N., director of the Center for Tobacco Control at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y.

The chance of a smoking relapse is highest in the first few weeks after you stub out your last cigarette, Folan notes.
After that, the risk declines. Once you’ve made it three months without a cigarette, the likelihood you’ll ever smoke again diminishes substantially.  Self-Help Steps to Prevent Smoking Relapse.  You can do many things yourself to help fight cravings and triggers.

Here are some helpful strategies from the experts:
If you’re having strong cravings: “Write down a list of five things you’re going to do before you run to the store to buy a pack of cigarettes,” Folan suggests.  For example, you might chew a piece of nicotine gum, sip some water, take some deep breaths, do some quick stretches and look at a picture of your children.
“Usually, you’ll be past the craving before you get to that last thing,” Folan says.

 If something reminds you of smoking: Memories of tobacco use can lead to a smoking relapse. So you need to make new memories about being a nonsmoker that are stronger than the old ones, says Ralph Miller, Ph.D., a psychology professor at SUNY-Binghamton.

Eventually, the automatic mental image you get when you see an ashtray, drink coffee or hang out with friends will be of you without a cigarette in your hand. Until the old memories fade, however, you’ll need to manage cues that remind you of smoking.  Some can be avoided. For example, you can remove ashtrays from your home and stop standing around with smokers on work breaks.
The power of other triggers can be reduced by changing your routine. For example, you might have tea instead of coffee for breakfast or take a different route driving to and from work.  The good news is that you’re making progress simply by not lighting up.

 The Top Ten Benefits of Hypnotherapy

Can hypnosis really help me?   What are the benefits of going to a hypnotherapist? These are the most common questions asked when people consider going to see a hypnotherapist.  Some people are understandably a little apprehensive about considering hypnotherapy  as a treatment, usually because of misconceptions by what they have seen on the television or in films.  But when you think about the benefits that can come from Hypnosis you’ll see it’s really worth it:

1. Hypnosis can help treat addictions – An addiction builds up over time, people are born with certain temperaments, certain predispositions and certain behaviours. Genes, environment, upbringing and childhood experiences can combine to make certain people more prone to addiction than others. Treating someone with an addiction should never be taken lightly by a hypnotherapist as so many different factors come into play. Whether you’re addicted to food, alcohol, drugs, smoking or gambling hypnosis can help you kick these habits. Many different hypnotherapy styles and teachings come into use during these often complex sessions including regression, Ericksonian therapy and Neuro-Linquistic Programming. Hypnosis can help you regain control of your thoughts and actions ensuring you make the right choices, it also helps alleviate the physical symptoms of addiction. Hypnotherapy is proven to help break addictions for good so that you don’t relapse and become addicted again within a short time. Read more on How Hypnosis Can Help Treat Addictions.

2. Hypnosis can help you lose weight and keep it off –  One of the key benefits of Hypnotherapy is  to help people lose weight but as you can imagine many factors have to be accounted for. Weight loss can be one of the easiest and most rewarding sessions a hypnotherapist can do but can also be one of the hardest. Hypnotherapy is proven to be 30% more effective than  just dieting alone when it comes to weight loss. For most people who need the extra motivation to lose weight for an event or to kick start a diet my simple to use suggestion therapy download is a great start and I  have had many successes using this technique. I would always suggest using this method for at least a month to give yourself the best chance of successful weight loss. A small proportion of people may require a more in-depth program to explore if they are holding on to their weight for  psychological reasons. Hypnotherapy is also an effective tool to help people that overeat for psychological reasons eliminate their  need for the extra food they crave.

3. Hypnosis can help manage chronic pain – If you have a disease or ailment that leaves you in frequent pain like Fibromyalgia, Arthritis or Migraines then you already know that sometimes it feels like nothing will stop the pain.  You can use hypnosis and meditation techniques when drugs and diet have not helped you manage your condition. Very often intense pain can be brought under quick effective control using self-Hypnosis, in many different scientific studies Hypnosis and hypnotherapy has been proven to be an effective pain management technique. If nothing else is working for you when it comes to controlling your pain, or if you don’t want to take prescription painkillers, you should try Hypnosis. Pain management is taught only after a diagnosis of your ailment from a doctor. I have personally found hypnotherapy is particularly effective in the management of pain in cluster headaches. If you suffer from chronic pain then I would recommend the guided relaxation and simple meditation techniques. The techniques in this session will give you a massive head start in helping you to control and manage your pain quickly when you feel an attack coming on. Hypnosis can also greatly reduce the length of the episode as well as extending the time between attacks ensuring you are comfortable and pain free for as long as possible.

4. Hypnosis can help reduce stress –  Stress can cause serious illness in people like heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and sleep disorders.  If you have a lot of stress in your life and your body is constantly in a high alert state then one of the benefits of hypnotherapy would be learning some simple relaxation, hypnosis and meditation techniques that can change your life. If you feel like you can’t get your stress levels under control by using diet, exercise and  medicine then it’s time to think about what hypnotherapy and hypnosis can do for you.  Because Hypnosis involves putting you in a deep state of relaxation it gives your mind and body a chance to recuperate, repair and heal itself by experiencing the relaxation that it desperately needs.

5. Hypnosis can help deal with childhood issues – Childhood issues, almost everyone has them.  From serious abuse or other problems in the home to lack of self esteem or a need to be successful at all costs the issues and problems that you experienced as a child may still be impacting you today and causing you to make bad decisions or to not take very good care of yourself.  Hypnosis is a great way to work through childhood issues and replace those negative messages about yourself with positive ones.

6. Hypnosis can help cure sleep disorders – Millions of people suffer from sleep disorders that range from full insomnia to night terrors, wakeful sleep, sleepwalking, and the inability to fall into the REM sleep which your body and mind needs.  Sleep disorders can cause a wide range of other problems like obesity and addiction to either sleeping medications or to caffeine or other stimulants in an effort to keep the body going even though it’s exhausted. Sleep disorders are notoriously hard to treat. Many sleep disorders have an associated psychological condition that makes it necessary for people to get both psychological and physical treatment in order to be able to get some sleep.  Hypnosis can help treat the psychological problem that is causing the sleep disturbance while at the same time it puts the body in a deeply relaxed state that helps the body and mind become rejuvenated.
 
7. Hypnosis can promote deep relaxation – If you have ever tried meditation you know already the great things that relaxation does for the mind and body.  You can become more creative, better at problem solving, less irritable, and you can reduce your risk of health problems like heart disease or high blood pressure significantly if you meditate or relax regularly. But if you have trouble relaxing, or if you never seem to be able to relax deeply enough to really feel refreshed, then you should try hypnosis. Hypnosis is a wonderful way to experience truly deep relaxation that will make you feel much healthier and alert.

8. Hypnosis can help you change your thinking – Are you the kind of person that is always snapping at others? Do you get irritated and angry often? Do you have trouble managing your anger? Hypnosis can help you change your behavioral patterns so that you can be healthier and happier. Often behavior patterns are learned in childhood, but a hypnotic suggestion given while you’re in a deep hypnotic state can help you get rid of those old messages telling you to behave in certain ways and replace the with messages to act in new, more appropriate ways. If you are the type of person who has a short fuse and quick temper then you should already realize that what you are creating about in that moment is nothing to do with the real reason for the anger. If you are trying to recover from the effects of a dysfunctional family or an abusive childhood using Hypnosis to help eliminate the unhealthy patterns that you learned to survive can be very therapeutic. Hypnosis can help you identify with the real underlying issues in your life that make you react to thing the way you do. Of course this not only benefits you the client but your family, friends and work colleagues who have close contact with you.

9. Hypnosis can help recover buried memories – All of the experiences that you’ve had throughout your life are buried in your brain somewhere. If you have lost touch with the parts of your brain that hold memories of your childhood hypnosis can help you go back and remember the things that you need to remember in order to know why you act the way you act now.  Typically this is used to help people that were abused as children understand their behavioral patterns but there can also be happy memories that you have forgotten as a result of an injury or accident that can be recovered with Hypnosis.

10. Hypnosis can help treat Anxiety and Depression – Many people are reluctant to take medication to treat anxiety and depression because they don’t want to become dependent on these notoriously addictive medicines.  Other people just can’t seem to find a medication that works for them.  Enjoy the benefits of hypnotherapy using this drug free and effective way to calm anxiety and to treat the symptoms of depression. By using hypnotic suggestions to eliminate the triggers of anxiety and depression people that suffer from depression and anxiety can sometimes find 100% relief from these conditions by using Hypnosis.

Benefits of Mindfulness Practice
If asked to explain the value of mindfulness, you may want to consider the following question, can you sit for one minute and completely quiet your mind?  Can you do this without feeling like you’re coming out of your skin?  When Dr. Donna Rockwell (link is external) first became interested in mindfulness, she discovered that this exercise proved quite a challenge. She found, like so many of us would, if we really took the time to try it out, meditating, or even just calming our mind, can be tough to do. It’s no wonder that in an age of high-speed this and digitized that, it’s even harder to slow down, to connect with ourselves, and to just be.

In February, I was fortunate to meet up with Dr. Donna Rockwell at the Society for Humanistic Psychology Conference in Santa Barbara, CA. In addition to being a clinical psychologist, a writer, and an international speaker, Donna is now a teacher of mindfulness meditation. On March 14, she and I will be presenting an online CE Webinar on “Mindfulness in Everyday Life: Incorporating Mindfulness Techniques into Clinical Practice (link is external).” When I had the chance to interview Donna on this subject, she described the state that most people pass their time in, in which they are either “bemoaning the past or catastrophizing the future.” We spend very little time in the present.

Mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn (link is external) has described mindfulness as paying attention to the present moment with intention, while letting go of judgment, as if our life depends on it. The present is the only real moment we have. And, in fact, our life may actually depend on it. Among its many benefits, mindfulness meditation has actually been proven to increase telomerase (link is external), the ‘caps’ at the end of our genes, which, in turn, can reduce cell damage and lengthen our lives. In addition, research demonstrates that mindfulness bolsters our immune system (link is external), making us better able to fight off diseases, from the flu to cancer. Mindfulness helps improve our concentration and reduce ruminative thinking that contributes to the high levels of stress that is so prevalent in our society. Stress and ruminative thinking are not only mental health hazards, but they are, quite often, the very symptoms that lead people to seek out the help of a therapist. So why is mindfulness so helpful to mental health professionals?

Mindfulness is an incredible tool to help people understand, tolerate, and deal with their emotions in healthy ways. It helps us to alter our habitual responses by taking pause and choosing how we act. When we are mindful, we experience our life as we live it. We experience the world directly through our five senses. We taste the food we are eating. We recognize the thoughts we are having. In doing so, we learn how our minds work, and we are better able to label the thoughts and feelings we are having, instead of allowing them to overpower us and dictate our behavior.

Because mindfulness presents an effective method to get to know oneself, to reduce stress, and to live in the present moment, cultivating mindfulness is a powerful practice in therapy. For one thing, research has shown that therapists who practice mindfulness themselves have better outcomes with their patients, even when they don’t utilize mindfulness techniques in their therapy. Nevertheless, incorporating mindfulness into therapy has been effective in treating many common mental health struggles. Marsha Linehan was one of the first to integrate mindfulness practices into Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) with positive results. As it’s been applied more and more, mindfulness has further proven to help treat individuals suffering with personality disorders and bi-polar disorder. Mark Williams has written extensively on how mindfulness can lessen the likelihood of recurring depression. Having shown such positive results, mindfulness has been integrated into clinical practice, with many therapists incorporating techniques and meditation into their methods.

When you teach a person mindfulness techniques, you help them train their mind to observe their own thoughts, feelings, and sensations with an objective view. This must be done with compassion, as people tend to lose patience with themselves, particularly in the early stages of practicing mindfulness or trying out meditation. When we release judgment and learn to live in the moment, we increase our mental agility. We can also better regulate our emotions. As Williams wrote in his book The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (link is external), “Get out of our heads and learn to experience the world directly, experientially, without the relentless commentary of our thoughts. We might just open ourselves up to the limitless possibilities for happiness that life has to offer us.”

As human beings, we are often surprised to find that we can tolerate much more than we imagine. People who have anger problems fall victim to their emotional reactions when certain triggers set them off. By learning mindfulness, they are far better able to take pause and react in a more constructive way to conflict. A simple breathing exercise can interrupt their outburst and lead to a more favorable outcome. This is also true for parents who are struggling with their children and couples who are keying off each other based on destructive dynamics that have built up between them.

When we are reactive, falling victim to our immediate thoughts or emotions, we are not always acting in our own self-interest. Mindfulness provides a great tool for developing more self-acceptance, which helps us build our compassion for others. It allows us to take more power and be more strategic in terms of our goals. It can bring us closer to the people we care about and help us to interrupt self-sabotaging patterns (link is external) we’ve adopted throughout our lives.

Teaching ourselves to calm down and to be more receptive than reactive is a practice made possible through mindfulness techniques. Whether learning to meditate or merely to tune in with ourselves at various times throughout our day, we are enhancing our ability to feel more integrated and to act with integrity. We improve our ability to focus our attention. We are better able to slow the racing thoughts that lead us to engage in limiting or self-sabotaging behaviors. We strengthen our resilience and enhance our capacity to experience the joys of everyday life.  As therapists, cultivating mindfulness is perhaps the greatest gift we can offer our patients. In a sense, it is a gift of time, the permission to slow down and be present, to experience life as we live it and to discover who we really are in the process.

 

OCD. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Only 3 words. An incredibly subtle understatement for such an emotionally painful condition that more than 3 million Americans experience everyday.

3 letters to describe a medical situation that is both humiliating and, at times, deadly. Yes, OCD can definitely be deadly.

Sometimes it’s a slow, almost imperceptible path of destruction and sometimes it leads to suicide. A very dear friend of mine died from the ultimate outcome of obsessive behavior.

What is tragic is that her condition was not diagnosed as such and therefore was left untreated. Had her symptoms been recognized, it would have been much more likely that her death would have been avoided.

 

What is OCD?

It is a disorder which causes a person to have intrusive or insistent thoughts of such a nature as to have a significantly disruptive effect on their life.

 

These thoughts can manifest in mild to moderate behavioral disturbances or they can cause a person to do things repeatedly such as rituals guarding against danger, extreme cleansing, re-checking locks, stove burners and such.

 

Constant counting is another symptom of OCD. Although the symptoms and behaviors associated with OCD are wide and varied the primary thing they have in common is they are generally unwanted behaviors and/or thoughts that occur with above normal frequency.

 

Most people with OCD also have difficulty with daily activities. These difficulties can manifest as tardiness, perfectionism, procrastination, indecision, discouragement and family difficulties.

 

This is not unusual as around 80% of all OCD sufferers have been diagnosed as significantly depressed during some period of their lives.

Other symptoms of OCD includes "having" to do things a certain number of times such as going to your car and then back to your house door 3 times to make sure it is "really" locked.

With the exception of opera and rock & roll songs, if you find yourself subject to nonsensical words or phrases repeating themselves in your head, this may be a sign of OCD.

Another sign of OCD is the hoarding of truly useless objects (such as lint--no joking!) in the event they may be needed some day. This hoarding occurs because many sufferers imagine the guilt they would feel if they threw something away only to need it someday.

Probably the most commonly known characteristic of OCD is an excessive fear of contamination. This comes in many forms such as an extreme fear of touching something that may have been "contaminated" by saliva or blood.

Here are some interesting facts:

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a condition that afflicts somewhere around 1 in every 50 people.

 

In general, the average person with OCD will develop this condition before the age of 25.

 

It is relatively rare (about 15% of all cases) for someone over 35 to suddenly develop symptoms of OCD.

 

Also, according to some experts, OCD is more prevalent than diabetes and, like diabetes, a large number of cases are left undiagnosed and untreated.

 

For those who do receive treatment, they have typically suffered with the OCD for 7 years before getting help.

 

Do people ever recover from OCD?

Well, according to traditional thinking, a person’s obsessions and compulsions will persist throughout their life. This same thinking estimates that around 60 to 80 percent of people with OCD can expect marked symptom improvement with a combination of medical and behavioral treatments.

 

These conventional treatments have so far yielded a significant improvement response within 4 to 6 weeks. In most cases, patients have needed follow-up monitoring and treatment to sustain their improvements.

Standard treatment of OCD includes the use of SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors) such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and others.

This drug regimen is typically combined with the most common behavioral treatment method called Exposure and Ritual Prevention (ERP). This approach differs only slightly from Desensitization Through Reciprocal Inhibition.

What can hypnosis do for the OCD sufferer?

A great deal. One thing that is certain is that the more hypnosis is recognized by the medical establishment as a truly legitimate healing modality, the more OCD sufferers will benefit.

 

This is obvious because most of the recent, significant breakthroughs in OCD treatment have been centered around Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. C.B.T. is a form of talk therapy that can be blended very nicely with hypnosis.

 

Also! since OCD is recognized as an anxiety disorder, it stands to reason that the medically proven effects of hypnosis on anxiety can be applied with a good chance of success to OCD. This success can be observed in degree rather than in a "pass/fail" measurement.

Through my personal and professional experience I am certain that hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) will play an even greater role in the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

I state this because it is only a question of time before more evidence comes to light concerning the emotional etiology of OCD. My observations and convictions do not agree with the established opinion of most "experts" who believe that the psychological experience of insight has nothing to do with the treatment of OCD.

Many OCD experts believe that sexual abuse, bad parenting, childhood neglect, abuse, early loss and other related trauma have nothing to do with OCD.

As it would be too lengthy to go into mine or my clients' personal experiences and resolutions, suffice it to say that these experts are evincing a very narrow perspective.

To anyone reading this who subscribes to the Emotional-Newtonian, Flat Earth Society, Pharmaceutical Mouth Piece, point of view that OCD is purely bio-chemical in nature and not at all psychogenic in origin I pose this question: Why do widely published experts (Dr. Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. for example) believe that OCD can be conquered with just talk?

This widely noted expert states that an OCD sufferer can actually change their brain chemistry through a cognitive-behavioral process. And without professional assistance!

Doesn’t this point of view beg the question that if an OCD sufferer has abnormal brain chemistry that can be altered with healthy talk therapy, then perhaps the condition was a result of abnormal cognitive-behavioral processes such as sexual abuse, bad parenting, neglect and so on?

Another very interesting fact to note is that it is well known that stress can either exacerbate or trigger the onset of OCD symptoms. This seems to point at the fact that it is a distorted cognitive process preceding the appearance of abnormal brain chemistry.

In conclusion, I would like to state that the contributions of hypnosis and NLP (combined with appropriate drug therapy when necessary) to the successful treatment of OCD will be very welcomed by those who suffer.