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:

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!)

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ashley Steinmetz
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 23:10:53

    Sheila, this post I know was such an inspiration for people out there in pain…the ones that are continuously being told nothing is wrong and who are living a life of frustration and unbalance. Since I know you and your accomplishments, I can tell others that you are who you say you are and anyone suffering from chronic pain should reach out to you. Keep up the great blogging!


  2. Sheila Dudley, CHt, NLP, RYT
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 23:13:11

    Thank you, Ashley! I always joke that “Not only do I play a Hypnotherapist on t.v., I AM one in real life!”


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