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!)

Love the One You’re IN

When you break emotions down, there are really only two.   One is love; the other is fear. We are either acting in love, or out of a place of fear.  All other emotions derive from one of those two branches.

We often think that love is something we just feel for others.  For most folks, It feels natural to love others. For some of us, it’s unavoidable.  It happens organically.  We give and share our love for others easily.  We reserve our love for others.  We say I love you to many people in a lifetime or maybe in a day.  But have you ever, just once, thought or said it to yourself?

Often we hear the phrase, “You have to love yourself before others can love you”  Or, “you have to love yourself.”  Unfortunately, that’s a subject they didn’t cover in school.  Most of us weren’t raised with the tools to know how to actually do that.   Or why.  The reason to grow love for yourself is simple:  how you feel about yourself has a direct impact on your health and well being.  Self-loathing, doubt, and insecurities can lead to negative experiences, strained social relationships, depression, addiction and even illness. At the very least, these emotions and self-thoughts paint a dim view of life and all it has to offer. Besides, it doesn’t DO any good.  It doesn’t serve anyone to hate themselves.  What point or purpose does it have?

Self-love and happiness tend to hang out together.  If a person doesn’t hold themselves in high regard, they may  have no clear boundaries with others and say “yes” when they don’t want to.  They might also find themselves in a situation where they treat everyone else better than themselves. Our negative emotions DO influence other people around us.  Let’s be honest. Few people want to spend their time with an emo Eeyores with low self-esteem.  It’s exhausting to be around people who are constantly self-deprecating. Self-love is an important aspect of a happy and balanced life.  Loving yourself also determines how others interact with you, and what value you place on yourself.  But what does loving oneself entail?

It includes self-acceptance.  You accept yourself completely and totally as you are and care about yourself despite whatever faults you may think you have.  Despite what other people think about you.  Regardless what other people have said about you or done TO you in the past.  Despite your past mistakes and perceived failures and known quirks.  Besides whatever horrible childhood or life trauma you have had in the past.  Even outside of the negative thoughts you have about yourself from time to time.

Awaken to your wonderful qualities.  You may begin by thinking about compliments others have given you.  Start being confident about the things you do well, and the traits you admire about yourself.  A good cue is to notice the traits you are attracted to in others.  They are your mirrors.  If you like something about someone, it may mean that you have that same quality yourself or would like to cultivate it.  This self-acceptance also means that you begin to entertain the idea that you are perfect just as you are in this moment.  If not perfect, that you are OKAY where you are, knowing you are growing and improving at your own rate.  Or at the very least, acceptable and worthy of a little patience.  This is where you are on your path. Know that you are worthy and deserving of every good thing out there.  Just by virtue of being a living creature in a complex Universe, you have the right to pursue love, success, abundance, good health and happiness.  We don’t withhold love from one of our children because they’re not perfect all the time.  We are all works in progress.  None of us are walking on water yet.  It would be inappropriate and unhealthy to only share love with those that met every (sometimes unrealistic) high expectation we have of ourselves.  So why would we ever refrain from giving love to ourselves?

Loving yourself also means forgiving yourself.  Constantly forgiving yourself for mistakes from the past, real and imaginary.  Because the truth is, you may be the only one who remembers you even made a mistake.  Honestly, people’s favorite topic is almost always themselves.  They are too busy doing the addition on their perceived mistakes and failures  to remember all of yours, too.  Things that happened in the past are just memory and no longer actually exist.  Why are you going to let them rent so much space in your head?  We require mistakes to learn.  We need them to grow.  If we did everything right the first time, why even bother to learn anything?  Then we’d be gods.  A great affirmation for this is:  “I now forgive myself for all mistakes from the past, real or imagined.”

With self-forgiveness comes compassion. Treat yourself and your mind with the gentleness one would treat an 11-year-old child.  And with the respect one would give a Guru.  You ARE your own expert and greatest teacher.  Only you know the wisdom that exists within you based on your experiences.  Only you can act upon it.  You are completely individual.  There is no one else like you in the whole Universe.  You are the only living representation of yourself.  So in a way, you are the Ambassador of One, from the Country of You.  From the Planet of Self.  Your wisdom and skills are unique and needed by the world.  Bring it.

Being compassionate with yourself means simply this:  soften up inside.  Be gentle with yourself.  Rather then wasting time calculating your failures and shortcomings, spend that same time making mental inventories of all of the qualities about yourself that you DO like.  Then appreciate them.  All of those things about yourself that you know are good, great and potentially stellar.  Having compassion with yourself gives you the chance to say, “I learned from this.”  This was an opportunity for growth. An O.F.G.  Now you know how you want to do it differently next time.  Send yourself a little appreciation for making the effort.  Then let that shit go.  Have as much compassion and patience for yourself as you do others.  Or you plan to cultivate for others.

A lot of folks think that loving yourself and expressing it is egotistical or arrogant.  I’m not talking about some jumped up, over-the-top expression of false self-esteem.  I’m talking about a relationship you cultivate with yourself that may be so private, others can only sense it about you as a kind of glowing inner health.  Some people deflect when you give them a sincere compliment because of this fear of egotism. Egotistical and arrogant people are just wearing a mask to cover insecurity.  It’s the opposite of loving yourself.  Egotism is fear based.  Confidence is love based.  If you stay on the journey of self-love, you are expressing confidence rather than arrogance.  Confidence is a powerful tool that magnetizes people, places and events to us so we can get more or what we require and desire.  Essentially, self-confidence is the tractor beam by which we attract all the good things in our life.  Without it, we often find ourselves hiding.  Not being seen.  Not getting out there.  Not challenging ourselves. Playing it small, and making sure we don’t draw too much attention to ourselves for fear of judgment. That’s not really fair considering you share a planet with billions of people that require your participation in our global experience.  You are a part of this world.  You are a light in it.  Turn the light ON.  Be a beacon.  We want to see you.  It is up to us to inspire and motivate one another with our positive thoughts and energy that perpetually make the world a better place.  To help others move out of fear so they can become who they truly want to be and shine like a diamond.  We do this by first moving out of our own fears and lack of confidence and showing up.

To begin the journey down the path of self-love, woo yourself gently. Fall in love with how awesome you already are and with the potential of everything you are becoming. A simple daily task you can begin on this journey of self-love is the following.  Every time you go to the washroom look in the mirror and put your writing hand over your heart.  And think or say, “I send love and appreciation to myself.  Because I’m awesome.”  You’ll immediately notice the feeling that you get when you say or think this to yourself.  If that statement feels like too much of a stretch, think this one:  “More and more now, I love and appreciate myself.”  Or, “Every day and in every way, I become more confident now.”  After all, you live within your own mind and body.  It’s the shell you will inhabit all of your days.  The marriage you have with yourself lasts a lifetime.  So you may as well love the one you’re IN.