Daily Archives: 17th February 2015

Mind Over Menopause By Zoilita Grant MS. CCHt.

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Approximately 1,600,000 women enter menopause each year. Many of these women experience a variety of different uncomfortable symptoms. Even for those who are free of troubling symptoms, this is an important transition time that requires changes in attitudes that match the changes taking place within the body. All women need to be able to go through this transition feeling healthy in mind, body, spirit and emotions. Menopause is the end of menstruation. This is the time in life when women stop being able to produce children.

A woman’s period called Menses stops naturally (for most women) with the decline of monthly hormonal cycles between the ages of 40 and 60. It may stop earlier in life because of a woman’s illness or because of the surgical removal of the uterus or both ovaries. As the production of estrogen by the ovaries and pituitary gonad-stimulating hormones decreases, a woman’s ovulation and menstruation begin to slow down and eventually stop. Variations in the circulating levels of the hormones occur as the hormone levels decline. Hot flashes are the only general symptom of menopause that nearly every woman has. They can often be controlled with estrogen and progesterone but are seldom so bad as to need therapy. Hot flashes will stop in time without hormonal treatment. Occasionally, heavy irregular bleeding occurs at this time, usually linked to fiber like tumors or other uterine disorder.

The most common treatment for hot flashes and the other symptoms of Menopause has been hormone replacement therapy. However, recent research has found an increased risk of breast cancer in women receiving hormone replacement therapy. Because of this, many menopausal women and breast cancer survivors are deciding not to do hormone replacement therapy. Latest research has shown reduced rates of breast cancer. This is thought to relate to the fact that the use of hormone replacement therapy has gone down in the last few years. Many women are now looking for new ways of dealing with their symptoms. A variety of herbal replacements are being used with varying success. Other areas to explore are the use of yoga, mindfulness training, effective self talk and self-hypnosis.

Hypnosis can be very effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of hot flashes. Hypnosis is a mind-body intervention that is of significant benefit in treatment of hot flashes and other benefits may include reduced anxiety and improved sleep. Further, hypnosis may be a preferred treatment because of the few side effects and the preference of many women for a non-hormonal therapy. As you undoubtedly know, hypnosis is altered state of consciousness where it is possible to decrease the perception of an experience. This is very true with the symptoms of Menopause. We can also add suggestions that increase the client’s ability to cope with those symptoms. Remember that with hypnosis:

The client’s attention is more focused
They are more responsive more to suggestions
They are more open and less critical or disbelieving
The purpose of hypnosis as a technique for managing Menopause is to help the client manage their specific symptoms, emotions and physical well-being. What I have found personally to be the most beneficial to clients is teaching them self hypnosis and supportive self talk as well as counseling them about their beliefs and attitudes towards this time in their lives.

Author profile:

ZoilitaZoilita Grant MS. CCHt.
Colorado Coaching and Hypnotherapy Training Institute

When it comes to providing people with tools to improve their lives, Zoilita Grant MS CCHt. is truly a pioneer. As a nationally known psychotherapist and teacher, Zoilita has dedicated her life to helping people heal themselves. She works with clients to get to the roots of their issues so they may find happier, healthier lives. Zoilita uses five different styles of hypnosis. She is President of the Colorado Association of Psychotherapists and Director of the Colorado School of Counseling Hypnotherapy. Zoilita loves cats, practices yoga and has been meditating for 30 years. You can reach her at 303-776-6103




Stage Fright by Del Hunter Morrill, M.S, C.C.H

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There is an old saw that “speaking in front of others” is the second most terrifying thing a person has to do in his or her life. If it is the second, then what is the first? Some say death, and some say burning alive. What is it about performing that would make it almost as frightening as dying by fire?

For the majority of the population, it is hard to imagine standing in front of an audience without feeling one’s throat go dry, knees become weak and wobbly, and the stomach churn. Whether at work, in school or in a large performance hall, stage fright can take such a firm hold on people, that they can become temporarily immobilized and unable to respond. For many, the very thought of even having to offer their name in a group, or to make a brief announcement is so overwhelming that they will do anything possible to avoid being in such a situation. In many cases, performance fear can affect some people’s normal and necessary activities to such an extent that they are unable to succeed in the work they have been given to do.

The fact that the greater part of our population experiences being in front of a group, or having everyone’s eyes upon them, as terrifying, should not be surprising. After all, most of us have experienced the stress of having to perform “properly” from the time we entered school and had to correctly answer the teacher’s questions in front of all of our peers. Just the strain of having to “get it right,” suffering the responses of our teacher, or even our classmates, is often enough to make most people nervous about being “in front’ for the rest of their lives.

There are other causes of performance phobias that can stay with people for the rest of their lives:

? Repressed severe stress that can surface in the form of irrational fear, typical, for instance, of people on a job where there is a lot of pressure to succeed, or at home, where a family member tries hard to please.

? Another person’s reactions to having to perform before others may inadvertently serve as a role model.

? More than one negative experience many have built up fear to the point that just the anticipation of being in a performance situation can cause a phobic response.

? A seemingly unrelated issue may be involved, in which the inability to speak before the public without terror may be a symbol of the inability to speak up for oneself in other life situations.

? Continuous ridicule, depreciation, or dissatisfaction, especially by a parent, can lower a person’s self esteem to the point where they believe they have nothing worthwhile to say, or that whatever they say may be “wrong”. A painful emotional experience in the past can produce an unreasonable fear of the same or similar situation either at a conscious or subconscious level.

This leads us to the question of what to do about it. Telling oneself to simply “get over it” doesn’t work. And, for many people, just doing it more often does not lessen the fear. Such a fear can seem impossible to unlock, or even to understand. However, the competent hypnotherapist can help trace the majority of such performance phobias, and help the client release them forever.

Working at the subconscious level, where the fear has “hooked in”, is the most effective and quickest way to help a person through any fear, even if at a phobic stage. Hypnosis can do what will power alone cannot. Hypnosis can help a person achieve the relaxed, focused, and receptive state of mind that is necessary to change the negative programming that lies in the levels of the mind that we call the “unconscious” or “subconscious” self.

The problem with surmounting stage fright is that the conscious mind can come up with many justifications to support it. It can argue, however irrationally, that the fear is a real thing, and that one is quite powerless to change it. But hypnotherapy side steps that. In a sports metaphor, it is like a football player who makes an end-run around the other team’s guards in order to score a touchdown. The hypnotist makes an “end run’ around the conscious mind’s objections. By doing so, the client is more receptive to helpful suggestions and to accessing his or her own inner resources.

Often just giving suggestions that calms a person and encourages self confidence in performing situations is all it takes to help a conquer this fear. By “reprogramming” one’s subconscious mind, stage fright can be laid aside, and the client is freed to “step into the spotlight” with far more confidence. What you think becomes what you now can do, instead of what you did before.

Also, a trained hypnotherapist can act as a guide to help a person identify the specific event or person that caused the fear, and to sever its emotional ties. In a hypnotized stage of mind, the person confronts the fear, yet feels it now as a non-threatening experience. Once a “demon” is unmasked, it no longer has power.

Hypnosis is a remarkably effective tool for helping people conquer all kinds of fears and anxieties, not just stage fright. It can expose the root of one’s fear. The anxiety diminishes because the fear has been brought out of the dark of the past, into the light of the present. Releasing the fear and desensitizing one’s reactions brings the psyche back into balance. Once worked through in the subconscious mind, the conscious mind can take it and accept this new “memory.”

Author profile:

Del Hunter Morrill, M.S., Counseling Hypnotherapist Author of the GREAT ESCAPES script books and the NEW BEGINNINGS recording series

TRANSITIONS, a Center for Counseling & Hypnosis and home of New Beginnings Publishing Located in Tacoma, Washington USA
(253) 383-5757; (888) 663-5757 (toll free)



Overqualified or Over Stated? by Michael O’Sullivan

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A tongue in cheek look at our profession

The plethora of qualifications and designatory letters after many a hypnotherapists name can be a cause of some confusion to members of the public and indeed, other healthcare professionals.

Even should the reader know what the various letters mean, in some cases they may not mean what they imply! Some highly qualified therapists simply get by with their Dip Hyp and leave it at that.

For example, how many hypnotherapists are now called Doctor by virtue of a PHD? And is it a genuine PHD or a case of Pile it Higher and Deeper?

In any case, who decides whether a particular qualification is ‘real’ or not? Some non-traditional Universities are indeed truly excellent, and lets face it, few of us have the time or inclination to spend 3 to 5 years sitting in a classroom when we need to be out there earning a living.

I recently read that a Spiritualist had been on the receiving end of a complaint that they were misleading people by using an inappropriate qualification, a PHD of questionable origin.

The complainant argued their case that this was misleading because it gave the impression that the advertiser was more qualified than they actually were.

Give them their dues, the advertiser wrote a letter for publication in a trade newsletter, to apologise, and explained their part of the story.

The argument was settled amicably and the qualification was not to be used in any future advertising. In our own profession we’ve seen some people embarrassed when their claimed PhD’s were traced back to spurious organisations. That the lure of fast sales talk would lure a hypnotherapists, a master of language and persuasion after all, might be worth another paper all on its own. maybe the sellers of these degrees are master hypnotists???

According to my unfiltered email inbox on an average day I myself am apparently qualified for several University degrees. These are generally unspecified, however recently they included offers of two PhD’s and a doctorate in divinity. Of course as I’ve lived for so long, have had so many life experiences, am able to read my email and therefore presumably able to send payment, of course I ‘qualify’!!!

In the spring of 2005 I was in communication with a colleague, who during said discourse, told me that his title was now Doctor! I was asked to amend my records accordingly.

Being the inquisitive type, I did some research and found that although my colleague may well be ‘entitled’ (as in not breaking any laws) to the title by virtue of the PhD that he had ‘earned’, the source of the PhD did not inspire confidence.

The title was ‘awarded’ by a ‘University’ that awards degrees and PhD’s for ‘life experience’. It was one of those ‘institutions’ that spam offers around the Internet ad infinitum, and one whose emails I delete on a seemingly daily basis as discussed above. Otherwise know as a diploma mill, these ‘Universities’ sole criteria for awarding any of their qualifications is that the recipient be alive and capable of paying for it.

In short, it is the kind of PHD that each and every reader of this page, as long as the fees can be paid, can ‘earn’. Should the public consider that these kinds of qualifications are confidence inspiring and mean superior knowledge?

Well, they don’t inspire me in the slightest, and having been involved in this field for a fair number of years I do believe that I know what I’m talking about.

Maybe it’s a sad reflection on market forces?

A hypnotherapist across the road now has 17 series of initials after his name??? OH dear! Quick quick, where can I find another 3 to get ahead again??? With that mindset people will have to start printing letterheads in landscape format to get them all on!!!

In comparison a dear friend of mine has just been granted her PhD – after 4 years of hard study and a year writing a thesis which was then presented before the rigorous scrutiny of a board of examiners.

Suddenly that Internet offer is looking a bit more attractive!

In any case, the wrong questions are usually asked about qualifications.

Most authorities will tell you that you should always ask a hypnotherapist what their qualifications are before agreeing to being treated by one. Most professionals within the field probably agree with that one.

However, to most people a PhD after a persons name usually means something and speaks for itself. In too many cases, and sad to see, these can be meaningless letters bought to impress.

A PhD from Oxford or Cambridge can’t be compared to one from a degree mill.

As there is absolutely no proven link whatsoever between how someone trains to become a hypnotherapist and how effective they are at their work; asking what their qualifications are is not always quite the right question!

Might it not be much better to ask ‘what kind of person has the qualifications?’

If this sounds like splitting hairs, then go back and read that last bit again, the questions use similar words, but are asking entirely different questions?

What good to a client is it if an expensively and well qualified therapists is also inept and obtains poor results with clients?

In the same street you may find a very competent but on the face of it, poorly qualified therapist who through personality, life and personal experience and knowledge is probably the best person in the world to help someone with their particular problem?

So, how far do we want to go – in the early days everyone had their Dip Hyp and went about their business quite happily. Today we have master hypnotists, advanced hypnotherapists and now a whole profusion of PhD’s and so many more ‘job titles’ its hard to keep up.

Where will it all end?

Author profile:

MikeMike is a highly experienced therapist, having first started using hypnosis in 1987 while in the military to improve sporting performance and endurance. Since returning to civilian life he ran a successful private practice for over 23 years before retiring from client work in 2011 to concentrate on research and education.Mike specialised in stress management with particular interest in traumatic stress syndromes.

Mike is a former director and founder of The Emergency Services Trauma Specialists, a charity providing education, training and services to the emergency services and their families following involvement in critical incidents. The charity came to a natural conclusion after many other organisations began offering those same services and a specialist charity was no longer deemed necessary. A resounding success story.

Mike currently holds the following professional memberships/awards among others:

Fellow of The National Council of Psychotherapists (NCP)
Fellow of The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH)
General Hypnotherapy Register (Registered Hypnotherapist)
NCP accredited supervisor (Professional Services)
And formerly:

Fellow of The International Association of Precision Therapists (IAPT) – Now closed
Co-Author of”The Hypnotherapy Resources & Careers Guide, a breakthrough publication when it first appeared helping potential hypnotherapists find their way into the profession
Former editor of “Fidelity” (Newsletter of The NCP)
Today Mike concentrates his efforts on providing quality distance learning courses at affordable prices as director of studies for The College of Integrated Therapies Ltd. His considerable experience adds value to these courses rarely found in this industry making our training courses unique


Hypnotherapy, yoga and meditation, what’s the difference? by Alice Penion

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An idea that takes root in the subconscious mind has no capacity for reasoning and MUST be discharged in motor action – whether a good or a bad idea. Essentially every single word uttered to a subject in a hypnotic state such as those experienced in any meditative or relaxation yoga practices may result in uptake of post hypnotic suggestion and thus influence that individual’s actions. Therefore it’s of utmost importance that everything said or thought during any yogic practice should not only be thought out thoroughly beforehand but tailored to be only positive and beneficial.

To highlight the importance of the correct use of wordings in suggestion I’ll use an example not only from clinical hypnosis but self imposed diets restrictions we’ve mostly all tried at some point. If you relax/hypnotise (same thing) somebody and tell them (or yourself) “Don’t eat cake” the subconscious mind will without doubt invert the “suggestion” and that person will want to eat more cake than they’ve ever thought possible – and seemingly can’t get the thought of cake etc from their mind!

Instead however, if you use the suggestion “you are amazed at how unbelievably easy it is for you to choose the foods that will help you become and remain slim and healthy” the subconscious, being the simple thing it is, will consume the suggestion, internally digest (so to speak) and turn it into the desired response i.e. no desire to eat cake or other junk food – just good healthy stuff in the right amount etc.

In other words it’s important to think about what you want and not what you don’t want.

So what exactly is hypnosis?

. That blurry place between sleep and awake and any time in fact you are engrossed in an activity such as work, a hobby, long distance driving and of course Hatha yoga, meditation and relaxation practices – where external stimuli are mostly blocked out. A hypnotic “state” is just a feeling of being relaxed coupled with a heightened state of awareness all of which is brought about by suggestion or autosuggestion. In fact it’s often said there is no such thing as hypnosis – only suggestion.

So what’s the difference between hypnosis and meditation?

One definition of meditation is the absence of all thought and to just be. If a person is mulling over a problem during meditation, they are actually thinking and therefore no longer meditating in its truest sense.

Hypnosis on the other hand, is to have a specific thought and affect a desired outcome, i.e. stop smoking, lose weight, stress management, pain management etc. In hypnosis just as in guided meditation the hypnotist may take you down a path, but instead of just suggesting a stroll through beautiful scenery the hypnotist skilfully uses suggestion to achieve predetermined goals – reduce exam test nerves, stop nail biting, develop confidence etc.

So as you can see if someone is participating in a guided meditation, the guide is also suggesting everyone to see this, hear that and experience with as many senses as possible. Some people may smell the flowers, feel the breeze, even hear sounds in this internal picture whilst usually also deepening relaxation and lowering anxiety levels albeit short term. Clearly this is no different in concept from the hypnotists scripting bar the actual suggestions themselves and resultant behavioural change.

So, hypnosis is just another word for relaxation. It’s what you do or think about when you are in this state of relaxation that differentiates between meditation, hypnotherapy, day dreaming etc.

Both are an allowing process. No one can force you into hypnosis. Otherwise hypnotists would already rule the world by simply obtaining your bank account number for their financial benefit and have you run around like a chicken for their entertainment!

Similarly in guided meditation, no one can make you go down the paths and smell the flowers if you don’t want to.

Suggestions given in the hypnotic state that are against your personal code of conduct, morality etc will not be taken on board by the subconscious and thus will not be acted out. It’s an all too common misconception that hypnotists can “control” your mind. If only! Then my job as a hypnotherapist would be far far easier! Sadly it’s a common misconception, thanks to stage hypnotists, Kenny Craig and other TV misrepresentations of hypnosis. Stage hypnotists incidentally are just very adept at selecting the more outrageous wannabes from an audience whose very personality type is such that they are looking for any opportunity to be the star of the show, however “silly” they may be made to look. They do volunteer after all, don’t they?!

Both hypnosis and meditation can be used for the better good of the individual. You may quite simply need to decide which word sits more comfortably with you. If meditation is a more palatable word for you, then by all means meditate! However, if you need more guidance or the mere mention of the word meditation brings up thoughts of rigid discipline that sends you screaming into the night, then by all means go find a well qualified hypnotherapist.

Emotional release in yoga, massage, meditation and relaxation…

So what with the common experience of emotional release in yoga classes?

You may have experienced or seen people crying their heart out or experienced sudden deep feelings of sadness for example during yoga and meditation, or just as commonly on the treatment table during massage. Well essentially these situations all induce the relaxed and therefore natural hypnotic state which allows bubbles of emotion to break the surface. It’s a bit like with a fizzy drink you shake it a bit and the bubbles come up and pop as emotion and tears, but each and every time you shake that drink in the state of hypnosis those bubbles will be unstoppable. If you’ve experienced this it demonstrates just how close to the surface those emotions are within you. No doubt it’s usually a very conscious and exhausting effort for you to ordinarily keep all those bubbles held in the rest of the time. It isn’t just these specific activities where emotions bubble up but rather ANY time one is otherwise a little “relaxed”. There are many of us who just can’t stop, can’t get to sleep, can’t unwind, for if we let it go enough the jumping monkeys of the mind break out of their cage to wreak havoc in our otherwise ordered lives.

Really these experiences are a huge wake up call to go get help in the form of Pure Hypnoanalysis to excise those deeply rooted anxieties and free yourself from your problems for good. If you are a meditator (or in this case someone trying to meditate), or practice yoga but find your experience is more distressing than relaxing then you must also stop using mind wander meditation techniques that allow brooding and rumination upon your problems. For certain personality types this will actually increase your anxiety levels (in Ayurveda they’re known as Pitta types or anally obsessive in psychology speak).

It’s all about reading the signs.

In Pure Hypnoanalysis we go a hugely important stage further than meditation’s observing and experiencing feelings. We ask WHY there’s this blockage and leakage of emotions in the first place. Pure Hypnoanalysis offers a natural, gentle but effective way of stepping deeper into the psyche/subconscious to release the true root cause of the problem stemming from ones deepest bottled up emotions.

As long as these source emotions are bottled up, they will have effects in the form of anything from life disrupting phobias, fears, panicky feelings and bad habits to physical symptoms, negative behavioural patterns etc that are all seemingly within oneself but out of ones control. More on this below…

Here, even the most dedicated of yogi’s “wanting” to practice their Sadhana (dedicated spiritual exertions towards achieving enlightenment) will not be able to escape Emile Coue’s “Law of reversed effort” where the force of the Imagination is in direct ratio to the square of the Will.

Essentially where there is conflict between the Imagination and the Will, the Imagination wins hands down every time – so the more effort the Will puts in to oppose or command the Imagination the more the Will’s efforts are reversed and the exact opposite is compounded. So the more you sit and think “I am going to blank my mind, think of nothing and meditate” the more thoughts will flood in by the truck load! A lot has to be said for surrendering to the observing Ego state and detaching from the thoughts themselves via the reliable vehicle of self or induced hypnosis. Entering that very natural state of hypnosis by-passes the critical factor of the conscious mind, thus effecting negation of our daily distracting thought stream. This is the very basis of mindfulness meditation, chanting and other “one pointed focus” practices.

These are practices that quite literally bore the practitioner into a hypnotic/meditative state.

This law of reversed effort is also the explanation behind the phenomena of subjects in hypnosis/relaxation experiencing suggested physiological effects such as heavy or light limbs, heavy eyelids etc. Most Yoga Nidra practices (usually after deepening, internalising and body scan) utilise the reverse law with suggestions of developing first one sensation such as heat and then the opposite ice cold, pain/pleasure, heaviness/lightness etc.

Yoga Nidra and other ancient practices have been using the natural state of hypnosis therapeutically for thousands of years. Hypnosis in itself is not a particularly useful thing. It’s only when it’s coupled with positive suggestion that it becomes useful and therefore therapeutic. In Yoga Nidra this suggestion is your Sankalpa or a short positive affirmation or statement of intent. If you can’t think of one yourself then you can’t really go wrong with our man Emile Coue’s classic cover all for everyone…
”Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better and better”.

Pure Hypnoanalysis lays the path towards true peace of mind.

The other form of hypnotherapy known as Pure Hypnoanalysis works very differently from suggestion therapy. Instead of putting suggestions into the mind as with clinical hypnotherapy, seemingly conversely it removes the source of ones problems from the mind – permanently, safely and effectively. Its amazing results are most commonly life changing for those individuals with deep rooted anxiety related problems. So not only for the aforementioned yogi’s experiencing emotional uprisings but also anyone suffering from any of a plethora of anxiety symptoms. Those yogi’s outbursts will be without a shred of a doubt just the tip of the symptomatic iceberg of their emotional problems and those rising emotional bubbles are simply a call to action to address a deeper rooted problem that needs to be released with the assistance of a professional Pure Hypnoanalyst (located here:)


Pure Hypnoanalysis simply is THE most effective therapy available for the total resolution of anxiety, depression, phobias, fears, negative behavioural patterns, panic attacks and other psychological and emotional problems. Pure Hypnoanalysis is a powerful, specialised and highly developed form of analytical hypnotherapy that achieves amazing results by totally resolving the root cause of unconscious anxieties. This total resolution leads to life long liberation from symptoms – not just short term relief from the worst of the eruptions of that bottled up anxiety but complete and therefore life changing relief from the emotional baggage that has been lugged around for most of the sufferers life.

In fact as an insight into oneself Pure Hypnoanalysis has no rival.

If you are on a search for deeper Self Knowledge as most folk (let alone Yogi’s) are to some level or other, then you would do well to surrender yourself to the process of analysis. It doesn’t take years, or a great intellect but quite simply 8-12 weekly sessions of about an hour long each.

Pure Hypnoanalysis utilises this powerful natural phenomenon of hypnosis to allow the individual to swiftly and naturally locate the reasons they’re stuck in certain thought patterns, behaviours, reactions, or beliefs about themselves. Once the problem is found and cathartically “let go” the mind is then permanently freed from those troublesome paths of thought or unconscious forces that surround the thing that is inside yourself but out of your control and can once again realise its normal, natural, efficient and healthy quality of functioning.

Often people who come to Pure Hypnoanalysts have tried to deal with or manage their anxieties using many other coping mechanisms such as NLP, EFT, alcohol, drugs, counselling and other talking therapies to varying degrees of success. But they typically find that although they feel better for a while their problems return, or crop up in some other area of their life to trouble them further.

Even Yogic practices can be classed as coping mechanisms. I’m sure those of us who’ve been to a half decent yoga session have enjoyed the great feelings after class but they do wear off after a while and even with regular practice may not contain those persistent leaking emotions – in fact if not an engaging practice it may bring them on all the more in certain personality types. Yoga and the above mentioned coping mechanisms can calm frazzled nerves or anxiety for the short term and they certainly do have their place in the world but will never alone go deep enough to RESOLVE the deepest issues at their root source which is where your IAPH Hypnotherapist comes in.

The beauty of Pure Hypnoanalysis is reflected so tidily by Yoga’s twin sister Ayurevda (the ancient Indian health system), where the underlying principle is to tailor practices in order to achieve total alleviation of symptoms by dealing with problems from their root source as opposed to the temporary sticking plaster of continual symptom management. A salve is one thing one thing but complete relief from symptoms is the ideal that can be achieved with this amazing and unique therapy.

Enhance your meditation and whole life with hypnotherapy

Hypnosis is a wonderful, powerful tool to amongst other things locate the reasons why you’re stuck believing certain things about yourself. Once you find the source of the problem, you can let it go fully. Once you let it go, your mind is emptied from old negative qualities of thinking. Once you’ve done that your mind is clear and you can finally move into a quiet state of peace and meditation and connect with your True Self.

This is proven time and time again at the culmination of Pure Hypnoanalysis where the subconscious is finally free and untroubled by anxiety. The mind is just incredibly quiet, at peace and able to rest in a truly meditative state.

Author profile:

Alice Pinion BSc (Hon’s) DHyp MIAPH, IAYT is an IAPH therapist holding clinic in Cambridge, Hertfordshire and Essex


Alice is also a published author and internationally respected Yoga Teacher and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist.

© Copyright 2009 Alice Pinion, all rights reserved

Hypnosis and fertility: how can hypnotherapy improve the IVF experience and increase the chances of success? By Sjanie Hugo BA, D.Hyp, PGD.Hyp, MBSCH GQHP

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Conception is defined as the union of a male sperm and a female ovum resulting in a zygote. Prior to the first pregnancy which resulted from in vitro fertilisation (IVF) in 1973 it was believed that human fertilisation must occur within the woman’s body. Although this pregnancy only lasted a few days, it wasn’t long before further experimentation resulted in the successful birth of Louise Brown in 1978.

Louise Brown has gone down in history as the first ever ‘test tube’ baby, signifying the beginning of reproductive endocrinology. Since her birth extensive research and further discoveries have meant that couples with fertility problems now have a variety of medical options available to them. Many couples, who may never have been able to have a baby, are now parents because of assisted reproductive technology (ART). And yet there are many others, who after countless attempts at a variety of interventions remain childless.

Unfortunately ART only offers people another option and isn’t necessarily the solution to fertility problems. When it comes to having a baby, there are no guarantees. With all the advancements in science, embryologists still can’t say who will and who won’t go home with a baby. The creation of life is wonderfully intriguing and mysterious, and I suspect the answers can’t be found under a microscope.

It isn’t hard to see how difficult having fertility problems can be. And with an ever increasing number of people choosing to try IVF(1), it seems that this struggle may have become compounded. IVF is a very time consuming, intense and demanding procedure. People put a lot of financial and emotional investment into it, and some believe that there happiness depends upon the successful outcome.

Irrespective of the outcome, going through a cycle of IVF is likely to have a negative effect physically, emotionally and psychologically. The impact of which is magnified by treatment failure. The demanding nature of the procedure can also affect people’s work and social life. The high financial cost of IVF is well known and with some couples choosing to do 3 or more cycles the financial burden can become heavy. It is also quite understandable that relationships may suffer sexually and emotionally under these kinds of stressful circumstances. Simply put, IVF can affect every aspect of life, and in the case of an unsuccessful outcome, people may be left feeling devastated, disappointed, exhausted, stressed and without hope.

In the time that I have worked with people undergoing IVF, I have heard repeatedly that hypnosis has made such a positive difference to their experience that they can’t believe anyone would go through IVF without it. Whilst some fertility units offer counselling to their patients, I think that the inclusion of hypnosis offers so much more than talking therapy alone.

Firstly, clients can be taught how to achieve a deep state of relaxation using hypnosis which will help to significantly reduce levels of stress. Secondly, hypnotherapy can be used to equip them with tools and inner resources which will help them to cope better and handle an unsuccessful outcome more easily. Thirdly, hypnosis can be used to help prepare mentally, emotionally and physically for IVF. This preparation can range from positive lifestyle changes, changing limiting beliefs to eliminating a needle phobia. And lastly, hypnosis can help to increase the chances of a successful outcome.

According to a study presented to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Berlin in July of 2004: hypnosis can effectively double the success of IVF treatments. The study was conducted by Professor Eliahu Levitas and his team at Soroka Hospital in Israel to determine if hypnosis could improve the success of the embryo transfers stage of IVF.

The study of 185 woman found that 28% of the women who were hypnotized for the IVF treatment became pregnant, compared to 14% of the women in the control group (2). Professor Levitas studied the effects of hypnosis for the IVF treatment and embryo transfer only, because prior studies that demonstrated the stress of the procedure created small contractions of the uterus that prevented the successful implantation of the fertilized egg. The professor indicated that tranquilizers had been used in prior studies, but nothing worked as well as hypnosis. “Performing embryo transfer under hypnosis may significantly contribute to an increased clinical pregnancy rate,” Professor Levitas told the conference in Berlin.

A few months ago, a young woman called Mary (3) came to see me for hypnotherapy because she was due to go for her fourth and final round of IVF treatment. She, like many others, had been diagnosed with unexplained infertility. Instead of giving up after trying naturally for 18 months, her and her husband decided to give IVF a go. After a year of unsuccessful fertility treatment she felt at an all time low. She spent some time telling me about what the last two and half years had been like for her and how it had left her feeling. She explained how trying to have a baby had become all consuming, and that without her attention the other areas of her life had begun to deteriorate. She had turned down work opportunities, social engagements, holidays and family gatherings all in an attempt to get pregnant or avoid the heartache of not being pregnant yet. She had changed her diet and entire lifestyle to include only things which she believed would help her to conceive. She spent hours every day on infertility chat rooms and seemed to know as much about infertility and medical treatments as a reproductive endocrinologist. Although her relationship with her husband was strong, he had finally drawn the line and said that he was only prepared to do one more cycle of IVF. He could see how much their attempts to get pregnant were affecting her, and he did not want the next 5 years of their life to be on hold while they continued trying.

Although terrified at the prospect of stopping, she knew that she could not go on like this for much longer. Her health and psychological wellbeing were suffering, and she felt she no longer had the energy to keep on struggling. Knowing that this was her last attempt at IVF, she decided to try hypnotherapy. She was hoping that hypnotherapy would help increase the chances of success, but also knew that she needed some help to cope with each stage of IVF, as well as the outcome.

Mary is a very typical example of the kind of IVF case that I hear. In a situation like this, I like to follow a simple six stage therapeutic framework:

  1. Outcome
  2. Balance
  3. Resolve
  4. Enhance
  5. Prepare
  6. Support

This framework has come to be known as the Fertile Body Method, and can be applied in varying ways to the treatment of any fertility case. Below I have illustrated how this method was used in Mary’s case to help bring about the changes that she wanted.

After hearing about Mary’s situation we began detailing what outcome she wanted from the hypnotherapy treatment. I used solution focused (4) questions get a detailed and specific goal for therapy. Through this process we identified significant markers along the path to this goal, as well as some of the resources she may need to get there.

Mary’s goal focused on wanting to feel ready mentally, emotionally and physically for the IVF treatment. We discussed in detail, what this would be like and how she would know she was prepared in the way she wanted to be. We identified some unhealthy beliefs that would need to change, as well as what she would need to be doing differently before and during this cycle. She then went on to describe how she would feel when all of this is happening.

Mary knew she would need inner strength to be able to come to terms with the possibility that it may not work, and greater perspective so that she could see how her life could be happy without her own children.

Once the outcome for therapy was clear, we began by looking at how we could restore balance to Mary’s life. This stage in the process is vital, and really needs to precede all other therapeutic intervention. This stage ensures that general wellbeing is restored and that the client is in a stable and resourceful state before continuing to address more complicated issues.

During this second stage we did some work together to help her give the different areas of her life the attention they needed. We created mini-goals to identify what changes she would like to make to her relationship, social life, work, hobbies and lifestyle. This immediately broadened her narrow baby focus to include the rest of her life. She began putting more energy and time into the areas of her life which gave her a sense of satisfaction and pleasure. I also taught her self-hypnosis so that she could enjoy some time each day in deep relaxation.

After a couple of weeks Mary felt that she was well underway to having a more well rounded life, and was already noticing the benefits of having made these changes. Now in a more stable and resourceful state it became much easier for her to access her inner resources which we worked together to develop and build.

Mary now felt ready to begin to address her fear of being childless and resolve some of the unhealthy beliefs she had about herself as an infertile woman. She believed she was a failure if she didn’t have a baby of her own, and that she had let everyone in her family down. She also believed that her life could not be worthwhile without children. All of these beliefs were contributing to her high levels of anxiety and preventing her from coming to terms with being childless.

With a combination of cognitive behavioural techniques and hypnosis, Mary was able to overcome her fear and begin to see how she was worthwhile irrespective of whether she had children or not. I also asked her to create a picture collage of how she would like her life to be like if she did not have children. During this process she began to think about what some of the benefits of not having children might be and was able to see how she could be happy without children. This brought her such a sense of relief and she explained that she felt as if a weight had been lifted.

I created a tailor made self hypnosis CD with specific guided visualisations designed to help enhance fertility. The CD contained visualisations for the different stages of IVF: stimulation, embryo transfer and implantation.

We spent our second last session together focusing on helping her to feel ready and prepared for the IVF treatment which was due to start within the next couple of weeks.

I also taught her some self help tools which would help her to feel more in control throughout the treatment.

Mary used the self help tools and self hypnosis CD throughout her IVF treatment and booked her last appointment with me after she had heard the results of treatment. To her absolute disappoint, the IVF treatment failed. When I saw her for our session together I was so inspired by the courage and strength that she showed. Despite being very disappointed that the treatment had not worked, she felt she was able to handle it because she knew that it no longer meant the end of her world. She also told me that the treatment had gone really well and she had felt the best she had ever felt. She knew that she had done everything she could and it was now time for her and her husband to focus on building their life together. Because the outcome of the IVF had been unsuccessful the focus of the session was to support Mary through this time of grief and moving on. She came to see me after that for one more session to help support her to maintain some of the positive changes that she had made in her life and to continue to build a happy and fulfilling life for her and her husband.

When I received a phone call from Mary 3 months later to say that she had conceived naturally and was pregnant, I was shocked but not surprised. The work we had done together had helped Mary to make many changes to her life, and above all else had helped her to let go of the anxiety and fear that she had about being childless. How and why she conceived will forever remain a mystery.  However the transformative journey that Mary undertook in an attempt to become a mother, will have a long lasting effect on her and her family’s future. It may even be that it was a very necessary part of her unique preparation for parenthood.

Time and time again I have witnessed the wonderful effects of hypnotherapy on couples undergoing IVF treatment. I feel very passionate about the benefits of hypnotherapy becoming available to more people with fertility problems and would love to see it offered as a standard part of IVF treatment.

I welcome your comments and would love to hear about other therapist’s experience of hypnotherapy and IVF.


In vitro
fertilisation (IVF) is a process by which egg cells are fertilsed by sperm outside the woman’s womb, in vitro. IVF is a major treatment in infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed. The process involves hormonally controlling the ovulatory process, removing ova (eggs) from the woman’s ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a fluid medium. The fertilised egg (zygote) is then transferred to the patient’s uterus with the intent to establish a successful pregnancy.

Levitas , E. et al 2006 ‘Impact of hypnosis during embryo transfer on the outcome of in vitro fertilization–embryo transfer: a case-control study .’ Fertility and Sterility  Volume 85, Issue 5, Pages 1404 -1408

The name of this client has been changed to protect her identity

Solution focused therapy (SFT)  is a talking therapy that focuses on what clients want to achieve through therapy rather than on the problem that made them seek help. The specific steps involved in its practice, are attributed to husband and wife Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg and their team at the Brief Family Therapy Family Centre in Milwaukee, USA

Author profile:  www.hypnosisinfertility.com

Sjanie Hugo (BA, D.Hyp, PGD.Hyp, MBSCH, GQHP) is a clinical hypnotherapist specialising in fertility and related issues. She works privately and as part of an integrative medical team at the renowned Zita West Fertility Clinic in Central London. During her years in practice, Sjanie has successfully treated many couples with fertility problems.

Sjanie developed the Fertile Body Method which is a unique approach to treating fertility problems using hypnosis. The Fertile Body Method training for therapists is being taught throughout Europe and continues to grow in popularity every year. It is now considered to be the training course of choice for therapists wishing to specialise in fertility problems.

Sjanie is currently writing a comprehensive textbook about hypnotherapy and fertility, which will be available in 2009. This book will be the first of its kind and will include a detailed description of the Fertile Body Method: a six stage approach to increased fertility.

Sjanie is an international lecturer at the London College of Clinical Hypnosis (LCCH) and a guest therapist and workshop leader on the Chrysallis Health Detox Retreats.
Copyright Sjanie Hugo 2008 – all rights reserved

Hypnosis: A Muslim Perspective – Mubashar Latif

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“Does anyone know the position of hypnosis in Islam?”

“I did ask and was told it was haram….the reason being that it was likened to a state of intoxication, in that you have voluntarily given up your control over your mental faculties….And Allah(swt) knows best”.

This was the reply to the above question I received on a Muslim community group mailing list by one of its members.

Hypnosis is defined as a state of deep relaxation; just short of deep sleep. A popular misconception is that hypnosis is a form of unconsciousness resembling sleep. However, contemporary research suggests that hypnotic subjects are fully awake and whilst focusing attention, have a corresponding decrease in their peripheral awareness. Subjects also show an increased response to suggestions. In one of the first books on the subject, Neurypnology in 1843, Dr James Braid described “hypnotism” as a state of physical relaxation accompanied and induced by mental concentration. It is a state of well-being and the client is fully in control. This means that EVERY single one of us can be and has been in a state of hypnosis; on a daily basis. For example, when we’re waking up and put our alarm on snooze and half-awake: this is a state of hypnosis. When we are sometimes watching TV and don’t hear the other person; this is a state of hypnosis also. Hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation but short of being asleep. The methods of Hypnosis being referred to here are those that allow the client to be in full control of the suggestions and imaginations that they are given; at which they are in a state to accept or reject them.

A quick research into the history of Hypnosis can show that this was common in Egyptian and Indian sleep temples. Hypnosis was even practiced by ancient Greeks. Furthermore, in his Book titled Kitab Al-Shifa (The book of Healing), the Persian physician Avicenna (Ibn Sina 980-1037) wrote about Hypnosis and referred to it as Al-Wahm Al-Amil. He was seen as the first physician to make the distinction between sleep and hypnosis. He stated that one would be able to create conditions in other people so they can accept the reality of this process of Hypnosis.

If we look at one of the Fathers of modern Hypnosis, Dr Milton Erickson (1901-1980), one who is known widely by any training organisation of Hypnosis; much of his language patterns are those that are already in the Quran. Yes! This not an extreme comment and nor is it anything taken out of context. How many of us knew this?

Ericksonian hypnosis combines metaphorical stories which start and don’t finish at the same time. They sometimes finish at the end of the sessions or sometimes a few sessions later. This is like in the Quran of many stories of the Prophets (Peace Be Upon Them all); which clearly continue throughout. Amongst many language patterns used; Ericksonian hypnosis also refers to many things with much vagueness. Another aspect clearly found in the Quran. The benefit of vagueness is that it can and does relate to any and every point in time – the less specific, the more it can relate to wider audiences with no limits or lesser limits of time, place and situation.

These are just some of the methods and language patterns that will be used. None of it goes against Islam; and is not ‘haraam’ (forbidden); a word used much freely and yet only appears in the Quran a few times.

Hypnosis does NOT give the effects similar to that of ‘intoxicants’. Intoxicants are physical substances in the form of gas, liquid or solid (powder and tablets, for example). They are man-made substances or natural substances which are processed in a manner to produce these harmful substances. They effect the body, mind and the soul. They block out some neurons and cause imbalance and effect the neurology. Hence they result in effecting the complete body in this manner and clearly don’t allow the individual to be in control of one’s senses. Regardless of what they are; the purpose of them is to fulfil the individuals need for ‘more’ for a fulfilment they aren’t getting from another area of life. Hence; widely resulting in addiction. They also cause one to say and do things they wouldn’t in their own right mind or in their daily normal lives when not using these substances.

Islam may also not have allowed Hypnosis on the basis that it maybe the works of a Soothsayer (fortune-teller) and/or working with Jinns (spirits). This may have been true or maybe true today still in some parts of the world as some people have the ability to communicate with spirits. However, the hypnosis being referred to and applied here has NO link or connection with spirits or fortune-telling. Working with spirits is seen as contrary to Islam on the basis that it’s seen as ascribing power to those other than God. Where-as the primary foundation of Islamic belief is upon the conviction that There is Only One God and all power is with Him. This refers to that we mortals have no knowledge except that which God has allowed us to have. Having belief in spirits and making use of them to intervene between the Hypnotherapists and the client is completely contradictory to Islam and definitely to the modern Hypnosis being referred to here.

Hypnosis does none of that as there is no two-way conversation; just suggestions. Also, the client does not do or say anything which they wouldn’t in their right mind. Clearly this is a misconception within the Muslim community. It highlights that a judgement has been made on something without looking into it. As we, the Muslim community, constantly do this; truly we are denying ourselves the means for progression in all areas of education, employment and further advances in any area. If or as long as we continue to think in this much limited manner then so will be the fruits of our labour have the same effect.

There are many Muslims; who are practising and trained hypnotherapists. If anything, they’ve come closer to their faith rather than further from away it. I even know a Muslim colleague on my training who came from Saudi Arabia to learn Hypnosis. He is a practising Muslim, works in a corporate environment in change-management and has been there for over 10yrs. He states himself; that in Saudi Arabia there is much withdrawal from anything they don’t understand. If certain things aren’t understood; they are dismissed. I’m not saying this is the case for every aspect in every area of discipline. It is however, in reference to those he has met in his company who are mostly practising Muslims. This is an indication of what is much a problem in our communities and hence gets ‘blamed’ on religion. This is something much terrible of an example for those looking from outside, into this amazing faith.

This opinion is respected (“That Hypnosis is haraam in Islam as it gives effects of intoxicants”) but it’s not one that I will accept for myself. As stated before, it is something of highly much benefit to the community. There has been much of a response as some individuals have seen the value of this and how it can manifest in their lives and those around them.

You are requested and urged to look into this as to what it’s benefits are, it’s methodologies and purpose; whether you are Muslim or not: regardless. It can be verified by medical doctors that Hypnosis is perfectly safe and accepted by the medical profession as a means of curing some illnesses; whether they are of the body, mind or soul. Medical science will not accept something that includes working with spirits and fortune-telling. Furthermore, hypnosis does certainly NOT give effects of intoxicants; as can also be verified medically. By definition of Hypnosis, The Quran certainly brings about a deep relaxation through reciting or listening to it. Hence, The Quran itself brings about a state of Hypnosis. It was known that even people would fall into trance through speech and conversation with Dr Milton Erickson. Such was the effect of The Beloved Prophet (Peace and blessings be Upon Him) who would talk to people in such a relaxing manner that they felt his warmth; bringing about greater relaxation within them; with an intention of reaching out for the goodness.

Hypnosis is a tool necessary for the Muslim community to allow the recipients to bring out more of their amazing uniqueness that every individual is special and is born with such amazing gifts. Regardless of what area of life you are at; we can always achieve more as we dream in the night; then the days are to fulfil those dreams. It can be used to work with clients to achieve their goals, relieve stress and even improve their health whilst curing some illnesses. It is beneficial and necessary for individuals as well as the Muslim community in order to concentrate and focus deeper upon their daily and personal goals.

Anything that the mind can conceive, perceive, and achieve; the body can physically easily achieve.

Author profile:

I’m a Muslim Master Practitioner and therapist; working work with clients to INCREASE VALUE in their life, increase MOTIVATION, SELF-ESTEEM, CONFIDENCE whilst….REMOVING any EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE they’ve been carrying for many years. Trusting that you find this of BENEFIT; please SHARE this with anyone you may know who would like to benefit from this. This therapy uses techniques of NLP, NLP Coaching, Hypnosis and TimeLine Therapy – in ways that comply with Islam and the Quran. I’m based in London, UK. Please contact for more details.

Mubashar Latif: I’m a certified Master Practitioner in NLP, NLP Coaching, TimeLine Therapy and Hypnosis. I’m based in East London and have my own therapy, coaching, NLP and Hypnosis organisation: “Tripod Training”; working with a target-market of Asians/Muslims between 28-40year olds; whilst open to clients of all backgrounds and ages: as are some of my clients.
Tripod Training – “Changing Lives; for life!”

Manage Stress with the Waterfall Technique By Tracey Burchard

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Stress is a powerful influence on how we feel, emotionally, mentally and physically. This powerful technique can be used anywhere to help you relieve stress and relax. All you need is two minutes and a quiet place where you can close your eyes.

You’re stressed out – admit it. Everywhere you go, you are subjected to stress. Your boss at work, standing in line at Starbucks while the lady in front of you tries to make up her mind (how can she not know what a mocha is?), and sitting in traffic during rush hour. That’s enough to get anybody’s blood boiling!

Why do we get so stressed out? Are we really in that much of a hurry? Are we that worried that we are going to look bad? Are we overstimulated? Are we too busy trying to cram everything into our lives that “somebody” thinks we should be doing?

That’s part of it. But realize that much stress is related to events from your past. Emotional stress from the past plays a big part in your blood pressure readings. Here’s why.

Your subconscious mind is the part of you that manages your emotions. It creates them and then you feel them in your body and your mind. But what happens when you don’t feel the emotions – what if you don’t process them? For instance, if you have a lot of emotion all at once, and you still have to take care of life events – like when someone close to you dies, or you get into a car accident…you don’t have time to process all the sadness, grief, fear, shock, guilt, anger and other emotions that might be present. So what happens to them? We’ve all heard of stuffing emotions, right?

Your subconscious mind will be kind enough to store the emotions for you. It’s just doing it’s job – protecting you from being overwhelmed. So it might store the emotions along with the memory that created them. It’s easy to tell if this is the case – when you access that memory, or think about what happened, you will feel the emotion – even though it may have happened years before. Or the subconscious might store that energy in your body somewhere – in effect blocking other energy and possibly causing physical issues. Especially excessive stress.

So, here’s a technique you can use, pretty much anywhere you are. It’s a visual exercise, but don’t worry if you are not visual. Just imagine or pretend…it works just as well.

Find a place where you won’t be disturbed for a couple of minutes. After a little practice, it will only take you seconds to do the exercise, but for now give yourself plenty of time. And since your eyes will be closed – don’t do this while you are driving…

Close your eyes and take a couple really deep breaths. Breathe all the way down to the bottom of your stomach, filling your lungs completely, and exhaling all the way. As you breathe, mentally will all of your muscles to unwind – imagine that you are a bowl of spaghetti, and mentally untie all the knots in your muscles and let them go loose.

Keep breathing, and as you do, imagine yourself walking along a beautiful stream. As you walk, pretend that you can hear the birds, frogs and crickets around you as the stream rushes by. Imagine that you can feel the wind cooling your face and the sun warming your back. Take a moment just to visualize it…to feel it…to really internalize how that would feel.

Now imagine that you see a gentle waterfall. You can feel the mist on your face and hands as you approach it, watching the water bounce off the rocks at the bottom. You might even see a rainbow as the sun glistens of the mist. Raise your hand and put it into the waterfall, and feel the perfect temperature of the water, refreshing and cool. Imagine stepping into the waterfall and feel it splash down around you, gently rushing over your head, your neck, your shoulders and down over the rest of your body – it feels wonderful. Now it occurs to you that this is a very special waterfall, and as the water rinses the stress from the surface of your body, the energy from the waterfall penetrates deep inside you, rinsing away negativity and old emotions that are simply not needed anymore. You look down at your feet and see a darkness from your body seeping out into the water as the energy from that intense, cleansing waterfall rushes over you. Let it go…let it all go. The stress, the worry, the anger, the fear, the guilt, the shame, the sadness, the grief. Watch with amazement as it is rinsed out of your body by that cleansing, pure waterfall. Let it all go. And as the water at your feet begins to run clear, feel yourself begin to fill up with a wonderful sense of peace and well being. Breathe it in to every cell in your body. Allow yourself to feel it – give yourself permission to really feel good, relaxed and peaceful. Let it resonate with your deep inner being, with your spirit, your soul. Notice how good it feels.

Take another deep breath, and step out of the waterfall, feeling refreshed, cleansed, optimistic and objective. Open your eyes when you are ready.

As you use this visualization, you will be able to imagine it more and more intensely, and it will get much faster for you. Soon you will be able to use this technique for relaxation even if you just have a few seconds. The more you use it, the more powerful it will become for you. You are training your mind to let go and relax. Use it often, and enjoy!

Author profile:

Tracey Burchard is a Certified Hypnotist and Life Coach in Central Florida and does sessions by phone and in her office. She has authored and produced a line of audio CDs and MP3s based on the Law of Attraction and Emotive Visualization™. Visit her hypnosis website at http://www.bodymindhypnosis.com or check out her Self Improvement CDs at http://www.cdonlinewarehouse.com

Surgical Hypnosis by Paul Gustafson RN BSN CH

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When people set aside the usual myths and misconceptions associated with hypnosis good things usually happen. Recently, hypnosis has been getting some positive national exposure increasing the publics general awareness of its health related benefits and its role as an increasingly popular frontline holistic healer. Hypnosis is non-invasive, soothing and once the client understands the process they may continue making healthy changes all on their own.

Hypnosis is the simple process of accessing subconscious thought. The subconscious mind has many important functions; it is where all our values, beliefs, habits and patterns reside. It also is the home of our body’s control center. It regulates our heart rate, breathing and coordinates every step we take.

Having the key to such a powerful place enables us to initiate positive changes supporting how our body responds to situations like stress, fear, pain, depression or even the trauma of surgery. Clients fortunate enough to be given the option of receiving hypnosis prior to, and after surgical procedures, sing its praises. Also, scientific research supports these claims with reduced complications and medication needs; more timely recoveries and shorter hospital stays, which is good for everyone.

“An average savings of $1,200 per patient resulted from this simple 5-minute intervention.” (Disbrow EA. Western Journal of Medicine. 1993)

Another study discovered that the hypnosis group did better than 89% of those who did not receive hypnosis. “These data strongly support the use of hypnosis with surgical patients.” (Hypnosis with Surgical Patients, Guy H. Montgomery, PhD)

Hypnosis isn’t magic, its nature. We all go in and out of hypnotic-like trance several times a day. We call it day dreaming or zoning out. Hypnosis is the process of enabling this dream-like state to occur and then offering helpful direction, which support the client’s specific goals.

Surgical hypnosis involves relaxation, improved immune response and circulation that minimizes infection and promotes rapid healing. By increasing endorphin production pain is minimized requiring less medication and the unwanted side effects that usually result. And because the imagination resides in subconscious thought, wonderful images show the client relaxed, comfortable and successful further reinforcing this positive plan.

This healthy direction creates a blueprint, which becomes reality. Surgical Hypnosis disconnects patterns of fear and worry. It puts the client in the drivers seat when need they need it most. In life we all follow the path of our most dominant thoughts and with hypnosis you get the unique opportunity to create the thoughts and images, which serve you best. What your mind conceives your body achieves.

In the mid 1840’s when John Elliotson and James Esdaile began using hypnosis in the surgical setting as an anesthetic with great success. Prior to their efforts mortality rate was 40%; with hypnosis it was 5%. In spite of their success hypnosis would soon take a backseat to either, nitrous oxide and chloroform by the late 1840’s. (Origins of Surgical Hypnosis. John F. Kihlstrom)

The 3 important keys to success with hypnosis are how open a client is to this type of relaxation, how motivated they are to make positive changes and how prepared the hypnotist is to offer the suggestions and imagery supporting the desired change.  Hypnosis is a relationship of trust and co-operation. If a client believes the hypnotist is working in their best interest they are likely to be more open minded and accepting, ensuring positive results.

It is impossible to predict the outcome of any treatment option but when clients understand the technique, benefits and are involved with the process, results are consistently positive.  Also, considering the mountain of research supporting clinical hypnosis as an effective compliment to traditional medicine, the time has come to open the door to this and other holistic options.

An advocate and practitioner of surgical hypnosis is Elvira Lang MD. Dr. Lang teaches at Harvard University and is the Director of Interventional Radiology at Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston, MA. Her study involved 241 patients receiving percutaneous vascular and renal procedures either received no special treatment, structured attention or self-hypnotic relaxation. “Structured attention and self-hypnotic relaxation proved beneficial during invasive medical procedures. Hypnosis had more profound effects on pain and anxiety reduction, and is superior, in that it also improves hemodynamic stability.” (Elvira V Lang The Lancet, Vol 355 2000)

Other studies reveal more positive results:

“Positive intraoperative suggestions seem to have a significant effect in reducing morphine requirements in the early postoperative period.” (McLintock TT. BMJ 1990)

“Patients in the hypnosis group had significantly less vomiting, 39% compared to 68% in the control group, less nausea and less need of analgesics postoperatively. Preoperative hypnotic techniques in breast surgery contribute to a reduction of both post operative nausea and vomiting and postoperative analgesic requirements.” Enqvist B. Bjorklund, Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica 1997)

“ypAnxiety before the operation increased significantly in the control group but remained at baseline level in the experimental (hypnosis) group. Postoperative consumption of analgesics was significantly reduced in the experimental (hypnosis) group compared to the control (non-hypnosis) group.” (Enqvist B. Fischer International Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis 1997)

“A significant correlation was found between anxiety and perceived knowledge of procedures. The results suggest that pre-operative hypnosis provides a quick and effective way to reduce pre-operative patient anxiety and anesthetic requirements for gynecological daycare surgery.” (Goldmann L. Anaesthesia 1988)

Through the early 20th century the debate was if hypnosis existed at all. The American Medical Association said it did in 1958 and since then hypnosis has been dissected and analyzed and the positive results are available for anyone to read.

Now the debate is over and the verdict is in. It may not be for everyone, but what is?  Hypnosis is safe, relaxing and an effective option for clients going through the trauma of surgery. There are no side effects or allergic reactions and it costs next to nothing. Some also believe that it should be the client’s right, not the hospital’s option, as to which holistic supports are available. Someday soon it will hopefully be as simple as selecting ‘hypnosis’ on a pre-op check list.

Paul Gustafson RN, BSN, CH is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and practices in Burlington, Massachusetts. His 11 years of acute cardiac and hospice nursing experience offer a solid foundation supporting his clinical approach to hypnosis. Visit BurlingtonHypnosis.com or call 888-290-3972 for more information.

Author profile:

Paul Gustafson, R.N., C.H. is a Clinical Hypnotherapist in Burlington, MA. His 11 years of acute cardiac and hospice experience offer a solid foundation supporting his empowering and creative use of hypnosis. Visit BurlingtonHypnosis.com or call toll free at 888-290-3972.

©2004 Paul Gustafson  – all rights reserved


Hypnosis Relieves Symptoms of IBS by Paul Gustafson RN BSN CH

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastro-intestinal (GI) condition with no known cause or cure. Symptoms include diarrhea, constipation, cramping, gas, pain or bloating. Symptoms run in cycles lasting for days, months or years.  IBS can be disabling and force many sufferers to feel like prisoners in their own homes.

Traditional intervention includes high fiber diets, antispasmodic and antidiarrhea medications, sedatives and antidepressants which offer relief only 25% of the time. Because IBS is not life threatening, is not a precursor to acute illness and is undetectable with diagnostic equipment, sufferers are usually told they have to live with it. Thankfully this is not the case. Hypnosis has been researched for over 20 years and stands alone as the most effective option for long-term IBS relief. Its success rate is consistently 70-95% and relief usually lasts at least two years. (Olafur S. Palsson)

IBS is an enormous problem affecting 35 million Americans and 4 of 5 are women. It is more common than asthma, diabetes, acid reflux and depression combined. IBS is responsible for 10% of all primary physician visits and is also the 2nd leading cause for employee absenteeism and costs the US 8 billion dollars a year.

Diagnosing IBS is no simple task. First the physician needs to rule out infections, parasites, lactose intolerance, Crohn’s disease, celiac and gallbladder disease, dumping syndrome, ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease before an IBS diagnosis can be made.

The onset of symptoms ranges between the ages of 20-29 in adults and 9-11 in children. Some clients can trace the symptoms back to a traumatic event, illness or injury. Some begin having symptoms early in life for no apparent reason at all. IBS is also known to be generational. Many IBS sufferers go through life with no concept of what normal GI function is like.

Symptoms can be exacerbated by stress, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, foods high in animal or vegetable fat, food dyes, artificial sweeteners, food or medication sensitivities or hormone fluctuation, but none are the cause. Some research indicates that IBS sufferers may have an abundance of specialized cells in the intestinal tract making them more reactive and sensitive. (Melissa J. Roth)

The irregularity of the GI tract is what is responsible for all the problems. If it moves too quickly the body doesn’t absorb what it needs resulting in diarrhea. If it moves too slowly the body absorbs too much resulting in constipation. This erratic pattern can also dramatically affect how nutrients are absorbed and how well the colon absorbs waste out of the blood stream.

Hypnosis has a long history cluttered with myths, misinformation and manipulation. Most people only know about stage hypnosis but there is also a serious minded clinical side that is quickly establishing a foothold as a viable compliment to mainstream medicine.

Hypnosis is the simple process of accessing subconscious thought which is where all of our habits, patterns, values and beliefs reside. With hypnosis clients are empowered to embrace healthier patterns of nutrition, exercise and to release unhealthy patterns like smoking in favor of more positive ones.

The subconscious mind is also our body’s control center which regulates our inner network of complicated mechanisms.  It regulates our heart and respiratory rate and controls the thousands of metabolic functions which occur automatically everyday of our lives. With unique access to this immensely powerful place hypnosis can also positively redirect specific areas of GI function, dramatically reduce stress, improve compliance with medication and diet regimes and also help clients see themselves as healthy and whole again. It gives them the feeling of control.

Hypnosis is by no means a magic pill. Success requires clients to be open to the process and motivated to assume responsibility for their recovery. Hypnotherapy for IBS relief involves up to several months of treatment and listening to recorded sessions at home. There are, however, some who do not respond as well as others. This includes clients over 50 years of age, those not open to the process and those with psychiatric disorders. One study indicates males with diarrhea as their major symptom as another group who do not experience as much relief. (Olafur S. Palsson)

The steady accumulation of positive scientific research is the reason hypnosis has finally begun to gain acceptance. For over 20 years researchers like Olafur S. Palsson, Peter Whorwell, William Gonsalkorale and L.A. Houghton have been studying the benefits of hypnosis for IBS symptom relief. The following are brief descriptions of some of their findings.

One study compared 25 severe IBS clients treated with hypnosis to 25 patients with similar symptoms treated with other methods. The hypnosis group showed that in addition to significant IBS symptom relief they had fewer MD visits, lost less work time and rated an improved quality of life. Hypnosis clients unable to work before treatment went back to work afterwards. The study shows the economic benefits and improved health-related quality of life. (Houghton LA)

Another study which is the largest to date followed 250 IBS clients who were treated with 12 hypnosis sessions over a 3-month period and they also listened to recorded sessions at home. The conclusions showed dramatic improvement in all IBS symptoms. The average reduction in symptoms was more than 50% as well as increased quality of life and relief from anxiety and depression. (Whorwell PJ)

Lastly, the longest study to date treated and followed 204 IBS clients for up to 6 years. 71% showed immediate improvement, and 81% of this group was still improved years later. Quality of life scores were also still significantly improved at follow-up. Patients had less MD visits and required less medication long-term after hypnotherapy. Results indicate that most hypnosis clients benefit for at least five years. (Gonsalkorale WM)

Hypnosis isn’t magic but can seem magical. Think of it as a daydream by design. It is a wonderful escape into an inner peacefulness that not only feels good but can be extremely good for you. In addition to offering IBS symptom relief clients also become more relaxed, focused and centered in general and much less affected by the day-to-day distractions of life.

Author profile:

Paul Gustafson, R.N., C.H. is a Clinical Hypnotherapist in Burlington, MA. His 11 years of acute cardiac and hospice experience offer a solid foundation supporting his empowering and creative use of hypnosis. Visit BurlingtonHypnosis.com or call toll free at 888-290-3972.

©2004 Paul Gustafson – all rights reserved

Hypnosis for Stop Smoking By Diana Powley

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The law to ban smoking in public places will come in next year and we need to prepare now, says Diana Powley, a leading UK hypnotherapist and founder of Habitbreakers

Smoking will probably be banned in all pubs, clubs and workplaces in the whole of the United Kingdom from summer 2007. It could still be banned at outdoor locations that are ‘substantially enclosed’ such as football grounds and railway platforms. It is believed that an extra 600,000 smokers will give up over ten years as a result of this ban.  The Irish Government hails their smoking ban as a success that is already bringing health benefits to bar workers and creating a more pleasant atmosphere in which to socialise.

Throughout the UK thousands of people’s lives are severely damaged every year as a result of smoking and this impacts on their health, relationships, family life, work and finances. This is therefore yet another powerful incentive for stopping smoking.

So what has been preventing people until now? Personal health issues don’t stop many people, the smell doesn’t stop them, and the cost doesn’t stop them. Yet, why not?

I would suggest that it’s fear and fatigue. Fear of failure. Tired of trying. You know the story: they’ve tried so many times before using willpower, patches, maybe Zyban, even acupuncture, and nothing has worked for very long. So they’ve accepted that they are unable to stop.

Then clients come to hypnotherapy, often as a last resort. They may know someone who was stopped using this method. And provided that they really want to stop then this method can reach the parts that all those other methods just couldn’t reach. The majority of clients stop and stay stopped (see success rate chart). Why? Because smoking is a mental habit. It’s a deeply ingrained habit which has been reinforced several times a day for years, even decades. It’s like an old record that has got stuck. ‘I need a cigarette, I’ve got to have a cigarette.’

New Scientist magazine (vol 136 issue 1845) reported the largest ever scientific comparison of ways of stopping smoking. Of all of the different methods analyzed the survey found Hypnotherapy to be the most effective, being five times more effective than will power alone, and three times more effective than nicotine gum:

. . .  “Most techniques turned out to be hopeless. Hypnosis, however, came out as the most effective anti-smoking technique”  “

 Let me explain a little about hypnosis

Hypnosis is increased relaxation and concentration. We take negative habits and replace them with positive habits. We all go into hypnosis everyday – when you drive your car, when you daydream, whilst listening to music, watching a film – when you’re on automatic pilot, its known as environmental hypnosis.

Now let me explain the connection with our conscious and unconscious minds. In the conscious mind is our awareness, our logic and reasoning, our short term memory. Yet this part is only about 10% of our mind and can only process about five or six pieces of information a second.

On the other hand our unconscious mind can process over 2 million bits of information a second. This is the part which is on auto-pilot and runs our life for us. It’s been building habits for us perfectly since the day we were born. Everything we do is an unconscious habit. The way we brush out teeth, the way we put our shoes on, drive a car, even breathing. We don’t have to think about because the autonomic nervous system is run by our unconscious mind and does it for us.

However when we were learning to drive we had to think of so many things – looking in the mirror, how and when to change gear, signalling. It was a complete overload for the tiny conscious mind until, by repetition, it downloaded the information to the powerful unconscious mind and those things all became, over a period of time, automatic habitual behaviours. It is the same with smoking. It is a learned experience which by repetition becomes an unconscious habit.

So how do we do it? 

Hypnotherapy removes the desire for smoking, replacing that ‘record’ with one which will serve them better: ‘I am now a non-smoker and I’ll be a non-smoker for the rest of my life.’

Most people stop smoking after one session with a few usually stopping after a backup session or telephone support.

During the session we replace the old ‘negative’ habit with a new ‘positive’ mental attitude. This ensures that the client leaves, not only as a non-smoker, but with a more positive focus which will serve them better, with a much healthier approach to life. For example, many choose to drink more water, eat more fruit, salads and vegetables, others to exercise more.

Whilst the majority of people stop smoking after just one session, many hypnotherapists like myself provide full back up support for up to a year following the appointment.

Ultimately the facts speak for themselves: We have got a year to turn over half a million smokers into non smokers. We can do if we work together and utilise the most effective methods of helping people break their smoking habit, and hypnotherapy is the most effective statistically proven method.

Author profile:

Diana Powley is a leading Neuro-Linguistic Programming Hypnotherapist. She is founder of Habitbreakers, a UK-wide organisation of professional NLP Hypnotherapists specialising in smoking cessation, weight management, fears, phobias and other negative habits – www.dunehypnotherapy.co.uk

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