What is Hypnosis: Frequently Asked Questions

In nature, energy moves in waves.  Light moves in waves.  Sounds moves in waves.  And the brain transmits waves.  Hypnosis is a phrase used to describe a natural, yet altered, brain wave state we all go through daily.  These are the alpha to theta brain waves.  It’s a natural trance state.  (The words hypnosis and trance are used interchangeably.) These are the states we enter when our mind wanders.  When we meditate.  Pray.  Daydream.  When we are “in the zone.”  When we study.  Exercise.  Make love.  Have a massage.  Or when we are feeling strong emotion, including joy, anger, grief or fear.  Brain waves are like a shark; they have to keep moving.  Healthy brains can only stay in one brain wave state so long.  Your brain won’t let you sleep forever, unless it’s injured.  It won’t let you stay in the beta state forever either, which is our logical and rational conscious mind.  The only time the human brain doesn’t move into through all four waves daily is when it’s injured, like being in a coma..  Which brings us to a common statement made by hypnotherapy clients.

1. “I don’t know if I can be hypnotized.  I have a very dominant personality. I’m not gullible.”
That question has merit, especially if the only knowledge a person has about hypnosis has come from movies and media.  The only people that can not be hypnotized are folks with brain injury.  If you’re sitting in front of me, and not in a coma in the hospital, I know that you can be hypnotized.  Secondly, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.  A person can not be hypnotized if they don’t allow themselves to be.  Period.  The hypnotherapist is a facilitator, guiding a client into their own subconscious mind to find the answers they seek.  If you’re the sort of person that does have a dominant personality, then you are a wonderful candidate for hypnosis.  It means you have control of your mind and thoughts, and therefore, can change behavior or tap into your own resources easily.  In short, you know your own mind.  The more creative and intelligent a mind, the more often it moves into the alpha brain wave state.  Dominance or submissive personality traits have nothing to do with it.  It all comes down to one thing.  You have to understand that hypnosis is not something being “done” to you.  You’re hypnotizing yourself with the guidance of your therapist.  “Gullibility” has nothing to do with it, either.  Your hypnotherapist is not trying to “trick” you or “pull one over” on you.  You’re not being shined on, so you don’t have to be “gullible” to relax your own mind.    It is your own natural ability.  The ability to guide yourself into relaxation is hard-wired into the mind by design.  (Think about meditation, for instance, which accesses the same brain wave states.)  And without knowing it, you hypnotize yourself every day.  Every time you drive home and realize that you got there without being conscious of traffic lights and stop signs.  Any time you are on “auto-pilot.”  Any time someone calls your name, and though you hear them, you don’t answer.  When people say, “Earth to __________.  You were a million miles away.  What were you thinking of?”  You are already a natural, and hypnosis is just a natural, yet altered state of awareness.

2.  “Will I remember anything?” or  “I don’t know if I was in hypnosis because I remember everything we talked about.”  
Here again, many people think hypnosis turns you into a puppet.  Or a zombie.  I don’t have that kind of power.  No hypnotist does.   (As I often say, if I did have that kind of power, you wouldn’t be here reading this blog right now.  I wouldn’t have to work for a living where that sort of thing possible.  I could just wave my magic hypno-wand and have all the money I needed.)  You’re not going to be “unconscious” while in hypnosis, either.  Being unconscious in that way is a medical condition.  You’re going to be deeply involved with your subconscious, which is an active and imaginative place.  You will most likely remember everything you said in a session.  Some people go somnambulistic while in hypnosis. Somnambulism is a deep state of trance where you hear the hypnotist speaking, but you’re so relaxed, you don’t care to answer.  This is a powerful healing state, because your thoughts have slowed, allowing a deep relaxation of body and mind.  Sometimes people come out of hypnosis questioning whether they were in trance or not.  Your hypnotherapist is not going to ask you to cluck like a chicken or other such silly things.  They might use other techniques to show you that you’re entranced, such as raising a hand or finger.

3. “Can I get stuck in hypnosis?” or “I don’t know if I should do my hypnosis session today, because I have an event later.”  
No, you can not get “stuck” in hypnosis.  Your brain will only you to be in the alpha brain wave state about two hours, then it’s back to your regularly scheduled mental program.  Remember, the brain waves have to keep moving.  You can’t stay asleep forever; your brain wakes you up.  You can’t daydream forever; your brain wakes you up.  Hypnotherapists are trained to make sure you are out of hypnosis before you leave their office.  There is no problem with going to your hypnosis session, and then doing something else after.  In fact, it will just serve to enhance the rest of your day.  It will feel as if you’ve had a two-hour nap and a massage.  You’ll be relaxed, clear-headed, and feel great.

4.  “I’m afraid of what will come out of my mind.  What if something bad has happened to me that I don’t remember?”
Many people feel they will reveal their deepest secrets to their hypnotherapist.  That is not so.  You are in control of your session.  You only do what you want.  The mind only does what the mind wants to do.  Period.  You can lie.  Hypnosis is not a truth serum.  You can also merely say, “I don’t want to talk about that”.  As for remembering something negative, most people have the opposite experience.  They often remember GOOD and POSITIVE things that they had “forgotten.”  If the work you’re doing on yourself requires you to remember something for the sake of healing, you will.  If it comes up, it comes up for a reason.  When you seek hypnotherapy, you are saying, “I want to improve myself.”  Improving yourself means knowing yourself.  It also means being responsible for what emerges, and taking action on what you learn.  You are much stronger KNOWING what is stored in your mind, and acting on it.  And healing from it, if that’s the case.  There is no safer or better time for something to “come up” then during any type of therapy session with a trained professional.

If you have any more questions about hypnosis or hypnotherapy, feel free to contact me at:  sheilahypno@gmail.com  Or phone me at:  512.755.9158

Warm regards,
Sheila Dudley
Certified Medical Support Clinical Hypnotherapist and Neuro-Linguistic Programmer

How I conquered years of chronic pain with Hypnosis

In 1998, I was working as a hairstylist at Toni and Guy in Colorado Springs, CO.  I was only a few months into my new career as a Rock Star hairstylist.  One January morning, I was struck down with severe abdominal pain.  I could barely walk. I went to the Doctor and they could find nothing wrong with me.  I just dealt with it the best I could.  A few months later, I transferred back to Austin, TX with my company, so I could be closer to my family.

As the next year and a half went by, the pain grew worse.  I went to doctor after doctor.  I did my best to hide it from the world, because doctors kept telling me nothing was wrong with me.  My body told me otherwise.  I went on what I call my “Medical Jihad.”  I used Acupuncture, Ayurveda, and massage to manage the pain.  I changed my diet.  I did yoga. I strengthened my meditation practice. I read every book I could find on healing.  While doing this, I kept going through doctors.  I went through 10 specialists in a year until one finally said, “I think you have endometriosis.”  He performed laparoscopic surgery on me.  He was right.  I did have it, and a nasty case it was.  The disease had eaten holes of tissue out of abdomen.  I was full of bleeding scar tissue.  I had a hard time healing after that first surgery.  But I seemed to do better for a few months.  The pain was greatly decreased.  For awhile.  Three months later, it started again.  Worse than before.  Standing up behind my haircutting chair required every bit of strength I possessed.

I went through two more surgeons, and three more surgeries.  The last of which was a total hysterectomy.  I was better for a few months, but then it started again.  My career was inclining, and my health was declining.  I was promoted to Master Stylist where I worked, which was the hottest salon in town.  I was on the Artistic team, and did hair and make-up for photo shoots and fashion shows.  I was on the On-Site Bridal Team.  I loved my career above all things.  Even after the hysterectomy, I had to have two more scar tissue clean-outs of my abdomen.  My career kept starting and stopping.  I would build up a great clientele, then have to be out for several weeks for surgery.  Then I would go back to work, and a few months later, have another surgery.

During this time, I had postulated that maybe the pain remained after the disease was gone due to emotional reasons.  Or mental reasons. So I continued my Jihad, but this time looking for psychological, emotional, and spiritual succor.  I went on spiritual healing retreats to New Mexico and Peru.

Then out of nowhere, Hypnotherapy started coming up over and over.  I had three clients in a week tell me I should think about Hypnotherapy as a career, as I had such a soothing voice.  Then I got a phone call from a relative.  She said, “Did you know that you can use Hypnotherapy for pain control and accelerated healing?  Did you know my daughter healed herself from Fibromyalgia by getting her Hypnotherapy education?”  I guess I did know that, but I hadn’t thought about it much.  I was familiar with hypnosis, and was taught it as a kid via my best friend’s Psychotherapist mother.  She had loaned me a tape to help me get over insomnia, and it worked.  And I remembered how to hypnotize myself.

So I started checking into it more.  I found a school that specialized in Medical hypnosis.  It happened to be a block away from my brother’s house in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I had lived in the past.  I communicated with the school, and even went and visited.  After ONE SESSION with a Professor, Mitch Friedman, I had no pain.  He taught me how to hypnotize myself for pain control.  After that, when I did experience pain, it was 70% less than I had experienced in the past.  He taught me how stress influences pain.  I had never thought I had stressful life.  I began looking closer at that.  I knew I wanted to go to that school and get that education.  Just for myself, and just to help me heal.  Shortly after that, job change required we move to Vancouver, British Columbia.  They had schools there, but I wanted to go to the Hypnotherapy Academy of America in Santa Fe due to their specialization.  It was the only school I found that had Medical professionals on staff.  And it was in a town where I could live with family while attending.

Two years later, in early January 2008, I started dreaming about Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy.  I was dreaming that I was a Hypnotherapist.  I was dreaming that I helped people learn to manage chronic pain.  I dreamt that I was healed, and free of pain.  I dreamt about it every night for 8 days straight.  Then, out of the blue, I got an e-mail from the Hypnotherapy Academy.  The subject line read, “If not now, WHEN?”  I was astounded.  This couldn’t be a coincidence!  I applied to the school and was accepted.  I flew down to visit the staff and tour the school.  I made a decision.  I would go and get this education.  If I was healed during it, I would make it my career.  If I wasn’t, I would just pursue it as a hobby, and continue my career with hairdressing.

As I was packing to prepare to go to Hypnotherapy school that May, my husband found out that he had a job interview in Austin, TX, where we had moved to Vancouver FROM.  As I was at the airport on my way to Santa Fe, I got a call from my husband.  He got the job; we were moving back to the States.

I spent the following months enraptured and passionate about what I was learning.  The education and schedule was INTENSE.  It was an accelerated learning environment.  Meaning you learn one to two years of information in a few months.  Through hypnosis and saturation, we were inundated with information that included history, philosophy, ethics, morals, psychology, anatomy, medical training, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, meditation, healthy living, positive thinking, shamanism, and spirituality.  I had never read or wrote so much in my life!  I did three sessions with Professors on the chronic pain issue. (Which I was still in during this education.)  The first was with Patrick Singleton, Hypnotherapist and Master NLP Practitioner.  The pain diminished even more after this session.  Then one day, it got intense again, and James Serendip, Medical Hypnotherapist, pulled me aside and ran a session on me.  I was in zero pain after that.  But it returned a few days later, lightly.  Then the last session I did was with Brandelyn Jokiel, Medical Hypnotherapist.  After that session, the pain has never returned.  I was about two months into the education when all chronic pain was GONE!

So I graduated.  I flew back to Texas.  And I started practicing Hypnotherapy immediately.  This is why I believe in hypnosis, and why I am a Hypnotherapist.  This is why I specialize in Pain Control and Accelerated Healing.

I have now seen hundreds of clients for Pain Control.  I have seen people limp into my practice in serious pain.  And an hour later, they walk out with no pain at all.  It’s astounding.  Hypnosis helps you decrease UNNECESSARY pain.  The reason it is so helpful for chronic pain is that normally, a person has been diagnosed and treated, and is now left to manage the remaining pain in whatever ways they can manage. One would never employ this technique if they haven’t seen a medical professional.  To help remove pain effectively, the mind needs to know that there is no emergency.  Pain is a message to the mind that something is out of balance with the body.  But once you know the source, and the mind knows you’re not in immediate threat or danger, you can “dim” the pain down with simple relaxation and visualization techinques.  Hypnotherapy is a complementary modality rather an alternative one.  We work in adjunct to doctors, health professionals, acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and Ayurveda Practitioners.

For more information on how Hypnotherapy can help you manage chronic pain, contact me at:  sheilahypno@gmail.com

Or give me a call at:  512.755.9158  

May you feel good today, and your body be comfortable!

Sheila Dudley,
Certified Medical Support Clinical Hypnotherapist and Neuro-Lingustic Programming Practitioner
(Wow… that’s a mouthful of words!)