Category Archives: Basic Questions About Hynotherapy

Hypnosis and Health Insurance — saving money and time

Question:

I was talking to a friend and she said she was paying half as much for hypnosis than she did last year because her insurance now covers some of it.  Is that true?

Answer:

Yes, it’s true.  One of the things that’s a real benefit with the Affordable Care Act is its awareness that covering sickness is only half the battle; you have to promote Wellness if you want to reduce disease, increase productivity, and allow people to live happier and longer lives.  Plus, with fewer people ill or suffering, less money is spent on all forms of medicine and therapy not to mention how much money is added to the economy when people make it to work more often in more positive moods.

Before January 2014, some insurance companies would reimburse clients Hypnotherapist for things like smoking cessation, weight loss, etc.  But they didn’t have to unless there was a Wellness Program to sign up for or if a company decided to have one.  However, with the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies have to give some level of reimbursement for Wellness.  This includes Hypnotherapy, Massage, and other alternate therapies like Naturopathy.

This is what I’ve been doing for my clients.  So far the usual amount reimbursed is 50%.  

I give my clients a receipt that says:

•The state’s code number for hypnosis (in California it’s 90880).
•A list of the reasons the client is seeing the Hypnotherapist (It should look like “Wellness:  Weight Loss, Sleep Disorder, Smoking Cessation, Anxiety, Stress Relief, Agoraphobia, etc.).
•The dates the client saw the Hypnotherapist and how much they paid.

The client should be given two copies, one to send to their insurance company and one to keep.  How much a person will be reimbursed depends on their health insurance company and program.

However, I am not putting myself out as the expert on this.  I’m located in California and I do know how Wellness is covered in the Affordable Care Act here, but I do not know exactly how it works anywhere else.

I would suggest that everyone call their insurance company to find out how the new law is helping them in this and other ways.

Hypnosis has been show to be the shortest-term therapy available and thus saves time and money.  Now, with reimbursement, seeing a Hypnotherapist is more cost-effective than ever.

 

 

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So What is a Suggestion, Anyway?

Question:

Every time I hear people talking about how effective hypnosis is, they mention the power of suggestion.  You mention it in your articles, but have never really defined it.

Answer:

In a normal day, everyone gets suggestions all the time such as when someone tells you what route to drive or which shirt to buy.  It’s an idea given to you by someone else that you receive and consider consciously.  Usually their effectiveness depends on the knowledgeability of the other person.  If they know the area better, you’re more likely to travel as per their suggestion.  But, even if they are only as familiar with the place as you are, just hearing a suggestion gives it power.  It goes to the forefront of your mind and overshadows your other ideas.  However, if that suggestion is different from what your subconscious is comfortable with, then when someone tells you to take a route that involves going through a neighborhood you have negative associations with, your subconscious isn’t going to let you take it no matter how much faster it is or more logical.

But there is one time when the subconscious mind is very open to absorbing suggestions — during hypnosis.  Hypnosis occurs during the thirty minutes before a person falls asleep.  You may have heard in school that what you study just before you go to sleep is what you’ll remember best.  This is because during hypnosis, the critical facilities in your conscious mind, such as logic and reasoning, are already only half aware of what’s going on and are no longer filtering out new, potentially uncomfortable, thoughts and ideas.

A hypnotherapist is skilled at coming up with words and images that “speak” to their client.  The idea that a person’s hand can become so light that it will defy gravity and float up into the air seems impossible consciously, but to the subconscious anything is possible.  If a person is not in hypnosis, logic and reason will tell them that their hand is not getting lighter; however, when under hypnosis, the subconscious mind pays more attention to the voice of the hypnotherapist than the physical reality. Therefore, they will believe that their arm is becoming lighter.  If a person is visual, one might concentrate on the image of the hand rising or playing in the breeze.  Auditory people are encouraged to hear the air lift their hand.  Kinesthetically oriented people are told to feel the air lift their hand.  In nearly every case, the hand will rise.

It’s never just the power of suggestion that affects people, it’s how a suggestion is given and when.  When created by a skilled hypnotherapist, the results can be profound and life changing.

How can Hypnosis Help with Stress?

Question

A lot of my friends are always complaining that they are “stressed out.”  Can hypnosis help?

Answer

Like everything else your response to stress is a learned behavior, a habit.  Some things that trigger stress begin in childhood and are related to specific things such as going to the doctor or a general pressure to be Number One.  Others are related to current pressures or fears.  Sometimes stress may not seem to be related to anything at all.  While some people think they strive on stress, they are all actually using the anxious energy to drive them forward in a way that will cause them to mentally – and possibly physically – collapse.  Through a few sessions of hypnosis you can always lighten one’s current stress level, but sometimes, that is not enough.

While it would be nice to get rid of stress by what causes it, that’s not always possible.  Everyone has to see a doctor at some time.  Life gives us difficult situations that can’t be resolved for a long period of time or you can’t always leave a job even though your co-workers, bosses, or responsibilities are overwhelming.  In these situations, dealing with the stress comes from two directions:  techniques that help the individual control the feelings of stress and suggestions that adjust their response to outside triggers.

The one technique that helps everyone is to get them deeply hypnotized and create a Special Place in their mind where they are absolutely calm, comfortable, and safe.  I work intensely with the imagery of the place, not just what you see, hear, and touch, but the more primitive smell and taste.  The trick is to have them feel so relaxed and secure that even the concept of anxiety can’t arise.  Then that feeling of calm is tied into an anchor, usually pressing together the thumb and first finger of the non-dominant hand.  The suggestion is given that whenever they press their anchor, the calm and safety of the Special Place will flow throughout their body, washing away all feelings of stress.  Or, they can close their eyes, press their anchor, and take a mini-vacation.  This quickly becomes a valuable tool a person can use for the rest of their lives.

While there are many things that people can do to take control of their stress they are all, of course, much more powerful if they have been instilled and reinforced in hypnosis.  I start with calming breathing techniques, teaching how to relax one’s body, and, finally, self-hypnosis.  I also use this, my favorite breathing technique, for sleep and anxiety.  All you need to do is take very deep breaths through your nose using your abdomen inhaling “CALM,” hold it for a moment, and then exhale through your mouth as though you had a straw there and exhale STRESS.  After you pause, then start again.  Imagine the Stress leaving your body never to return.  I generally recommend doing CALM and STRESS twice and then at least 2-3 repetitions using C-A-L-M and S-T-R-E-S-S.

Stress caused by job issues, relationship problems, problems stemming from childhood, and more, need to be addressed directly.  Very often the problem at work is with the boss or a co-worker.  I usually block the person to those people’s negativity.  Then I retrain so that instead of responding with stress, they remain extremely calm.  Relationship problems need similar treatment, but often you have to work on getting the strength to start directly addressing the problems with the other person.

Incidents that occurred in the past have to be attacked in many directions.  You have to give people general calming tools and block them to both external AND internal negativity.  But because the negative emotion causing the stress comes from the inside, you have to work with the memories of what initially caused the stress.  Sometimes you have to search for them before you can desensitize them.  Then you cut the emotional connections to the incident and the trigger.  Ironically, very often what triggers stress may not even resemble what originally caused it.

The other things that people can, and should, do on their own is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and make sure they get in approximately 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week.  This not only keeps your body and mind healthy, but it releases endorphins, the brain peptides/neurotransmitters responsible for putting you in a positive mood.

Is Hypnosis Dangerous?

Question

A lot of people say hypnosis is dangerous.  Is that true?

Answer

Myths about hypnosis, perpetuated by Hollywood movies, urban legends, and fiction, lead people to think all kinds of untrue things about hypnosis, including that it is somehow dangerous.  In fact, hypnosis is a natural state that always occurs 30 minutes before you fall asleep.  Nothing bad can happen to you in hypnosis; you are always in control and can come out of it whenever YOU want to.  In fact, you will hear everything that is going on and will be talking with your hypnotherapist while you are hypnotized.  It feels like when you’re caught up in a movie or a book – or just about to fall asleep.

One of the oldest fears about hypnosis is that the hypnotist is controlling you and can make you do whatever they want – even commit murder.  This is completely impossible.  If anyone suggests something that goes against your values, moral belief system, or is in any way dangerous to yourself or anyone else, it is rejected immediately.  Your hypnotherapist is merely giving your subconscious the suggestions you asked for.  Even a stage hypnotist – who is an entertainer and not a hypnotherapist – doesn’t make people do things they don’t want to do.  He or she finds the people who are extroverts and love to perform.  People are also much more likely to do silly things while they’re with a group.

You don’t have to worry that you will suddenly start thinking about scary or painful things.  The number one job of the subconscious mind is to protect you, and it is always on the job.  Another fear is that you can go into the trance and not wake up.  However, since hypnosis is a normal part of the sleep cycle, your hypnotherapist can easily wake you if you do fall asleep.

The only area of concern regarding hypnotherapy is making sure you find a well-trained, capable hypnotherapist you feel comfortable working with.

Why does it look like mind control when someone is under hypnosis?

Question:

Why does it look like mind control when someone is under hypnosis?   Niall Wade

Answer:

The reason people confuse hypnosis with things like mind control is that most people only see examples of hypnotized people in movies and on TV.  But those people aren’t really hypnotized; they’re actors pretending to be hypnotized.

Many years ago, when hypnosis first became popularly known, plays and books started distorting hypnosis to use it for dramatic purposes.  The hypnotist became a villain, often a wizard or vampire, who would use his “powers” to make the other characters do evil things like murder.  The actors’ faces look almost frozen, zombie-like — just like you think they would be if they were actually under someone else’s control and their own mind and will power have been taken away.  But this is all pretend.

If you want to see someone who is actually under hypnosis, you’ll notice that at stage hypnosis shows, people are usually slumped over in their chairs and they look like they are sleeping.

But in no way can any hypnotist or hypnotherapist ever make someone do anything that they personally believe is wrong.  A person’s moral, core beliefs are sacrosanct and cannot be affected or changed.  You can also never be made to do something that would hurt you personally.  Hypnosis consists of suggestions and the subconscious mind will always reject the dangerous ones.


How does hypnosis work?

Question:

I’ve been reading your site and was wondering exactly how hypnosis works.

Answer:

There are two parts to our minds, the conscious and the subconscious.  The conscious mind is our awareness, the thoughts and feelings we experience everyday.  It experiences the world based on what comes through our five senses during the time we are awake, but it doesn’t take everything in.  While we can control most of our actions and feelings through our conscious decision-making, we can’t always — such as when our will power is too weak to stop us from eating things we shouldn’t or emotions boil up that we have no control over.

Below that is our subconscious mind which we are not directly aware of except when thoughts “jump” into our mind.  This is where our imagination lies and is the seat of our creativity.  It registers all the information we receive more quickly and completely than the conscious mind, but without a sense of time, logic, or reasoning.  In it are established all our central beliefs, conditioning, and every kind of habit from behavioral to emotional.  Its processes are closely tied to the brain itself, which is why we sometimes call hypnosis “retraining the brain.”  Unlike our conscious mind, the subconscious “thinks” in images.

When the client is in hypnosis, they are in a semi-awake state – a form of trance — where there is direct access to the subconscious, better known as suggestibility.  The hypnotherapist phrases his or her suggestions using the images and words he or she has discovered that are most meaningful to the client.  These go directly to the subconscious mind which, as long as it doesn’t violate the client’s core moral belief system and reinforces what the conscious mind wants to believe, is seen as true and accepted.   This then changes how the brain actually thinks so that it changes associations such as when cigarettes no longer seem pleasurable or comfortable, but make you feel sick.  Or instead of triggering a panic attack, a once fearful object creates feelings of calm and comfort.

What if things come up in hypnosis that I don’t want to know about or I’m not ready to deal with?

Question:

I had a really bad childhood and I don’t remember it all. What if stuff comes up during hypnotherapy that I don’t want to know about or I’m not ready to deal with?

Answer:

One of the advantages of hypnotherapy is that you and your hypnotherapist are always in control of the situation.  A difficult or painful memory will not come up until you are absolutely ready to — and want to — work with it.

Hypnotherapy’s object is to change behavior.  To do that we are changing habits by “retraining the brain.”  It doesn’t matter what caused the habit to change it.  Events like panic attacks can be removed without ever bringing up what caused them.  In any case, we always ask the subconscious first if it is ready to handle any memories and scary memories will never surface until you are ready for them.  When you are, we’ll examine the memory while keeping you completely blocked from the emotions.  You’ll know what you felt, but without feeling scared, pained, fearful, or any sort of negative emotion.  Then the emotions themselves are removed.  The memories remain, but not the emotions that used to be connected to them.

Can Hypnotherapy Help With Smoking?

Hypnosis is all about changing habits, getting your subconscious to stop associating something with a behavior that you don’t like — like smoking.

Question:

I cannot stop smoking and would like to know if hypnotherapy can work for me.     Sam

Answer:

In nearly every case, yes.  The techniques I use have about a 90% success rate and usually take from 2-8 sessions, depending on the situation.  Obviously, someone who has been smoking since they were ten takes longer than a 28 year-old who started in college.  Ultimately, however, the only deciding factor is if you are really ready to quit now.

First ask yourself “WHY DO I WANT TO QUIT?”  If the answer is that my doctor told me to or my wife did, it’s going to take longer because we’re going to be spending a few sessions getting you to want to quit for your own sake.

No matter what, smoking cessation will require you to do some work.  I’ll have you cutting down regularly, smoking in unfamiliar and uncomfortable places all while we replace the habit with something positive.   If you smoke for social reasons, I’ll teach you to be comfortable without anything in your hands.  Breakfast is coffee and a cigarette?  You need a better start in the morning to begin with and this is a great time to take control of your health in every way.  If your cigarette is your best friend, well, there are a lot healthier ones out there and we’ll find one you like even more.

We’ll need a check-in session three months after we’re done and three months but the six month can easily be done by phone.