It’s okay to call it hypnosis

I get frustrated when people dance around descriptions of imagery without incorporating hypnosis into the dialog. This morning I saw an article on a popular weight loss website teaching the reader to visualize their weight loss without mentioning the “H” word.

It was a well written piece but there was no specific direction that would enable one to actually enter the depth of meditative thought (hypnosis) necessary to initiate substantive positive change. Instead, there was nebulous verbiage on how to take calming breaths and quietly be with the notion of weighing less.

I ask all of my clients if they have any experience with meditation, and those who do, usually describe frustration and failure to achieve the desired results. This frustration is rapidly relieved when they are shown how to take control of their thoughts with self-hypnosis.

4 steps to meditative bliss

Step 1: Take 5 deep breaths with the intention of stimulating the flow of relaxing endorphins. Why not take advantage of how the body works to get the relaxation ball rolling? Smokers think smoking relaxes them but is really because of the deep breaths they take while smoking that does the job.

Step 2: Once the endorphins initiate the shift into relaxation it is time to focus within for the purpose of entering meditative thought. The fastest, easiest way to do this is to just pay attention to the process of each breath. By paying attention to how the chest expands and contracts you force yourself to focus within thus begins your journey into self-hypnotic bliss.

Step 3: This where it gets good. With the subconscious now activated we can begin imagining, fantasizing or pretending we can inhale pure relaxing comfort with each breath. Intend for this to happen. Feel it before you feel it. This works for two reasons. 1) We all like the feeling of deep relaxation; 2) The subconscious can easily create the sensation with just a little practice.

Once you feel the shift into relaxation deepen, begin to imagine the accumulation of relaxation. If every breath carries in more and more it makes perfect sense that it will quickly fill you up, so get to the business of making it happen. You will be pleasantly surprised how deeply relaxed you will become.

Step 4: If you can pretend that you can inhale the good stuff, then pretend you can exhale and release the rest. Spend a few moments anticipating letting go of any and all limitations, frustrations or distractions. Once you get into the flow of pure 100 proof hypnotic comfort, then you can start visualizing yourself weighing less, being less stressed, or just being happier with your life.

By: Paul Gustafson RN CH


It’s not mind control

The fear of relinquishing free will while hypnotized is a very common misconception that couldn’t be further from the truth. Hypnosis actually helps individuals tap into powerful inner resources they never knew they had. If sessions are not in line with ones values and beliefs, clients will reject the experience out right. Not only does the hypnotist have to offer sessions of value but the phraseology and technique need to be just right for a positive connection to occur.

If someone is worried about giving up their free will a more relevant concern is the insidious manipulation of advertising. As previously mentioned, we all go into a light state of hypnotic trance everytime we stare at a television. With the conscious mind taking a break it is more likely that what we see can be subconsciously filed away, and considering the nature of advertising and the content of television programming in general, the actions we take as a result may not be in our best interest.

A.C. Nielsen says the average American watches more than 4 hours of television per day. In 65 years that adds up to 9 years of tube time. To that end, Time magazine study revealed that today’s children believe that fast food is healthier than a home cooked meal. (Time 2004)

By: Paul Gustafson RN CH


What is hypnosis?

Unfortunately hypnosis has been buried under decades of myth, misconception and manipulation. It has been one of the most misunderstood of the complimentary sciences. Over the years, the accumulation of positive scientific research has become too great to ignore.

Hypnosis research organizations:

American Society of Clinical Hypnosis
Society for Clinical and Exp. Hypnosis
Inter Journal of Clinical and Exp. Hypnosis
American Psychological Association

Hypnosis is now consistently validated as one of the leading therapeutic tools for personal positive change. Today’s practicing hypnotists have benefited from all of the dedicated research by these fine organizations.

Knowledge is power for the practitioners and clients alike. Research certainly helps me better understand the science of hypnosis, which in turn helps me prepare and treat my clients. Informed individuals have a good idea of what hypnosis is and how to productively use it are more likely to experience their desired success.

I describe hypnosis as a daydream on demand. During hypnosis, we go to the same level of thought as when we zone out, meditate or practice guided imagery or progressive relaxation. This is when the subconscious mind becomes open and active. With hypnosis, our goal is to positively empower an individual’s inner thoughts to support their goals.

Imagine that wonderful feeling we all experience during a deep daydream moment, when we don’t have a care in the world. It feels like a layer of comforting insulation has been added between us and the stressful assembly line of life. The reason daydreams feel different than our usual reality is because the subconscious becomes a bit more open and active than it normally is.
We are all hardwired with this ability to access the subconscious mind or long-term memory. Unfortunately, until we learn about hypnosis, the only time we usually experience this is while staring mindlessly at a television or computer screen, waiting in line at the grocery store, or on a long drive when we have no conscious memory of parts of the trip.

The reason it is so helpful to visit this level of thought is that it is where we store all of our life experiences, habits, patterns, values and beliefs. With such unique access to the subconscious two important goals can be accomplished: We can remove unproductive values, habits or beliefs and we can also replace them with preferred alternatives With hypnosis, the unproductive connection to past problems can be quickly severed, thereby freeing one to establish a new life path.

You go to the physical gym to increase your stamina and strength. Why not go to the mental gym to positively enhance your thoughts and perception? The repetition of physical exercise tones and strengthens our bodies just as the repetition of hypnosis establishes and solidifies a new philosophy of positive change.

As a hypnotist, I teach individuals to relax in a particular way and then guide them into the depths of subconscious thought where dreams can manifest into a new reality. Clients apply meaning to the message in whatever manner works best for them. Some connect more with the words while others create vivid imagery. Enabling clients to understand this simple truth helps them to own the process which further empowers them to shape the lives they choose to live.

To those who doubt that they can be hypnotized, I ask if they like the idea of becoming so powerfully relaxed that they can easily establish positive change. Who could resist such a notion? If an individual has difficulty entering into hypnosis it is more likely due to inadequate preparation or technique on the part of the hypnotist. In my experience this is never an issue.

Another significant part of the process is rapport. Effective sessions require a relationship of trust and cooperation. If clients feel comfortable with the process and the practitioner, and values what is suggested to them during a session, then success usually follows.

As a baseline, even for those uninformed about hypnosis would agree that we have a short-term and long-term memory. The short-term memory is the conscious mind and the long-term memory is the subconscious mind. The conscious mind is the more active of the two. It is the gate keeper, it analyzes, judges, accepts or denies information for storage in subconscious mind.

The subconscious is a complex and powerful place. Think of it as our storage and control center. It is also the home of our imagination. The subconscious is active when we daydream, zone out, watch television, and when we sleep. It is also active when we’re hypnotized. When clients understand that entering into hypnosis is something we are all familiar with, the process is easier, more enjoyable and productive.

By: Paul Gustafson RN CH


Hypnosis vs. meditation

Think of hypnosis as meditation with intention. The word meditation comes from two Latin words: meditari, which means to exercise the mind or to think or dwell upon, and mederi, which means to heal. Meditation is the process of focusing within, becoming free of outer thoughts, creating a serene moment of inner stillness. Routine meditative/hypnosis practice establishes a lasting peaceful afterglow which positively enhances the overall quality of life.

We all carry around repressed issues and emotions of our day-to-day lives. Over time, this accumulation leads to chronic emotional and physical problems which we either do nothing about, or like so many, pursue relief in the form of drugs, food or alcohol.

One of the first questions I ask clients is if they have ever practiced any form of meditation or relaxation techniques. If they have, I explain the similarity between what they already know and hypnosis, which helps them more easily jump into the flow of hypnosis.

Clients often express frustration with meditation because they either weren’t given an adequate explanation of how to do it, or weren’t able to achieve the level of peacefulness they desired. Through the course of our work together, clients learn how to do self-hypnosis, which helps them become more proficient with their own meditative process.

My goal is for all of my clients to become self-practitioners. By learning how to independently create the feel-good comfort of hypnosis, they enhance the effectiveness of the formal sessions, which results in more lasting success. We are all hardwired with the ability to focus within. With a little instruction and practice this thoughtful journey can be a life changing experience. (more)

By: Paul Gustafson RN CH

Before it was called hypnosis

Animal magnetism was postulated by Franz Mesmer in the 18th century, the term referred to a supposed magnetic fluid or ethereal medium believed to reside in the body. Mesmer chose the word animal to distinguish his supposed vital magnetic force from those referred to at that time as “mineral magnetism”.

The theory became the basis of treatment in Europe and the United States that sometimes involved on “laying on of hands,” and was very popular into the nineteenth century, with a strong cultural impact.

From some of the practices of animal magnetism branched out Hypnotism, Spiritualism, New Thought, so called “magnetic healing”, and Parapsychological research. Some forms of magnetism continue to be practiced, especially in continental Europe, even today.

By: Paul Gustafson RN CH

Simple truth about hypnosis

Hypnosis is the simple, enjoyable way to establish positive lasting change in your life. All change starts with a simple thought and hypnosis transforms positive thoughts into action. All it takes for success is to have an open mind, and the desire to create positive change.

Hypnosis accesses the powerful subconscious mind where all habits and patterns reside. It is repetition that creates lasting life-long patterns. It doesn’t matter if the pattern is good or bad; with repetition it becomes automatically rooted.

Over time, patterns develop deep roots that are long and strong. Hypnosis is the only technique that can pull these unwanted patterns out by the root. And because the imagination is in the subconscious you can create visions of success. It is these visions and sensations of success which guide inner thoughts toward new goals.

Nearly everyone can hear and remember all that is said to them during a hypnosis session. However, some go so deeply into the subconscious realm that they may not consciously be aware of segments of the session. There also can be many interesting physical sensations of the hypnosis experience.

Some individuals experience the weight of hypnosis, as though they are sinking into the surface beneath them. Many hypnosis clients lose awareness of their physical body’s altogether. Sensations of warmth or tingling in the extremities are also very common sensations.

Overall hypnosis is a thoroughly enjoyable experience for most individuals. It not only opens the door to tremendous positive life change but it also helps us to become more centered, calm, and focused on what is most important in our lives.

By: Paul Gustafson RN CH