These 4 Women Say Hypnosis Changed Their Lives

Could it work for you?

July 11, 2017
Suspend your disbelief about hypnosis, and while you’re at it, forget about swinging watches and the phrase “You’re getting sleepy.” Despite the fact that people have been using hypnotherapy for decades to help them ditch behaviors like overeating and smoking—and that major medical organizations recognize it as valid therapy for a range of health issues—it’s still viewed as mental sleight of hand, a tool of stage performers, not doctors. But thanks to a spate of recent research—most notably a study that showed, via MRI imaging, how the brain actually changes during hypnosis—the practice has gained more legitimacy and is often combined with talk therapy or meds. Now, “people are signing up for it at the recommendation of their physician,” says health psychologist Laurie Keefer, Ph.D., director of psychobehavioral research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
During a session, a therapist will ease you into a hyper-focused relaxed state (by having you concentrate on, say, soothing words), then give you suggestions to help you conquer your health problem. You’ll be physically alert but mentally calm, similar to what happens when you are driving and reach your destination but don’t remember how you got there. Here, why over a half a million people couch-surf away what ails them each year, and what you can expect.


New York City writer Patricia Morrisroe could fall asleep easily. But four hours later, she’d be up again, her mind reeling. The problem started in childhood and gradually worsened. Patricia tried cognitive behavioral therapy and meds; when they didn’t help, she decided to visit a hypnotherapist. Patricia was hypnotized once, then given a recording to listen to nightly. Immediately, the then 50-year-old had what she describes as “the best sleep of my life.” The results wore off after 10 days (Patricia’s hypnotherapist suspects this is because she was only partly susceptible to hypnosis; about a third of the population can’t be hypnotized at all), but many people see results as long as they listen to the recording.

People with stress-linked sleep disturbances are great candidates for hypnotherapy, says psychotherapist Marty Lerman, Ph.D., author of Mindshift. That’s because hypnosis can teach you how to acknowledge and release spinning thoughts. The payoff: A study found women who listened to hypnotic suggestions for sleep (such as a fish swimming deeper into water) at night experienced up to 80 percent more restorative slow-wave sleep compared with when they heard a nonhypnotic text.

That stress connection is why you’ll see the best results if you have a session or two with a therapist who can tailor a recording to your specific stressors. For example, if a jam-packed schedule is stealing your Zs, she might include a statement like “You have time to complete all your daily tasks.” Nonpersonalized sleep hypnosis apps are okay, say experts, as long as you choose one that’s been created or vetted by a certified hypnotherapist (check the description in the app store). Try Sleep Well Hypnosis (free), a 25-minute session you listen to nightly; it promises consistent, deep sleep in one to three weeks.


When she was 25, Amber Ponticelli started getting sharp abdominal pains every time she ate. ER and gastro docs thought she had IBS, but their suggested dietary tweaks (like eating six small meals a day instead of three large ones) didn’t ease her symptoms. Finally, an M.D. diagnosed the culprit: rapid gastric emptying, a condition that causes the body to force undigested food through the gut. She was referred to a doctor who was using hypnotherapy to treat GI patients. Amber didn’t have great expectations, but the now 35-year-old Chicago Pilates instructor was desperate.

People with gut problems often find relief with hypnotherapy—on average, 75 percent of women get significant relief after treatment and more than 80 percent continue to feel better for up to six years later—because of the close link between mind and gut, says Olafur Palsson, Psy.D., a professor of medicine at The University of North Carolina’s Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders in Chapel Hill. The brain sends signals to the gut to influence how much it should contract or relax to move food through your intestines. But sometimes that message can come across too intensely (which can lead to diarrhea) or not firmly enough (resulting in constipation). Hypnotherapy can help iron out these mind-gut missives so your intestines contract properly, says Palsson.

Each session, Amber would stare at a penny glued to the ceiling to help her relax. Then her doctor would describe a soothing location and say how Amber should tap into it to ease her symptoms (think: being on a beach and feeling the warm sun moving through and healing her intestines, and her stomach acting like the waves, breaking down food).

Amber saw her symptoms ease up immediately; the majority of people find relief after six sessions (most women have one every other week over the course of about three months). People who begin to experience pain again (to date, Amber hasn’t) can go back for “tune up” visits or listen to a taped session provided by their doctor or therapist.


Twenty-five-year old Megan McGovern has relied on hypnotherapy to help manage her anxiety for nearly a decade. She first tried it when a therapist suggested it as an alternative to medication. It was good advice: Research shows adding in hypnotherapy can make regular therapy sessions for depression or anxiety significantly more effective.

“My first time, I was worried I would be out of control of my body or say something embarrassing,” says the Denver resident. But that wasn’t the case. Once Megan was put into a relaxed state, her hypnotherapist talked her through ways to release negative thoughts. When Megan was anxious about an upcoming trip, her therapist helped her envision going through the process—packing her bags, driving to the airport, getting through security, boarding the plane, the actual flight—without anxiety. It worked; she was far less tense than usual during her trip.

Hypnosis is similarly successful for depressed individuals, who often receive messaging geared toward identifying and releasing uncomfortable emotions (“As sad feelings surface, you can let them go”). When hypnosis is incorporated into cognitive behavioral therapy sessions, it usually reduces the number of sessions needed by at least half, compared with using behavioral therapy alone.

Today, Megan’s anxiety is managed with self-hypnosis, a technique she learned during her sessions. She relaxes her mind, then repeats some of her therapist’s frequently used phrases in order to guide herself through whatever upcoming stressful situation (like going to the dentist) she’s facing.

PAIN pain

Rumor has it Gisele Bundchen and Kate Middleton used hypnotherapy to ease labor contractions sans epidural. The Gisele anecdote, together with the documentary The Business of Being Born, helped convince Lauren Fong Barlow, the CEO of a Los Angeles digital production company, to enroll in a hypnobirthing class when she was five months pregnant.

For the next four months—and during the 36-hour unmedicated birth of her daughter—she listened to recordings and birthing affirmations (e.g., “My muscles are working in harmony to make birthing easier”) recommended by her teacher. During delivery she had periods of discomfort, “but I was never in pain or screaming,” says Lauren, now 37 years old.

Experts aren’t positive how hypnosis helps with labor pain, but Palsson suspects it may lessen the so-called fight-or-flight response, which can cause muscle tension that makes it harder for the baby to move through the birth canal.

Baby-delivering pains aren’t the only ouch hypnosis can heal, though. Studies show it can lessen the chronic pain that comes from conditions such as fibromyalgia or even a years-old injury (to, say, your back or ankle). Here’s how: Typically, when you’re hurt, the nervous system sends pain cues to the brain until the problem heals. But with chronic pain, the neurons misfire, making the signals—and the agony—continue. Hypnotherapy can help tamp down these signals,” says David Patterson, Ph.D., a professor of psychology in the departments of rehabilitation medicine, surgery, and psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle.

So if you see a hypnotherapist for that bad back, her suggestions might be about ways to ease or completely get rid of the discomfort. (One example: Telling you to imagine you’re putting your spinal pain into a series of progressively larger boxes, locking each one shut, then putting the last box on a train to take it away for good.) Most patients with chronic pain report feeling less achy after a single appointment and significantly better after about four sessions.

Ready to coax your brain to better health? If you suffer from a condition that hypnotherapy can help with, doing your research is key because most states don’t require hypnotherapists to be licensed. Ask your primary-care doc for a referral, or contact the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. The latter requires therapists to be health-care professionals who are licensed in their state to provide medical, dental, or psychotherapeutic services, and to have completed at least 20 hours of hypnotherapy training, learning the process of hypnosis for a variety of conditions. Expect your initial appointment to last about an hour and to include more background-gathering than actual hypnosis so that your mental state and the root of your issue can be determined. Sessions (you’ll probably need five to seven) cost about $100 to $150 a pop—though they may be covered by insurance if the therapist codes them as regular psychotherapy sessions.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Women’s Health.



How One Session of Hypnotherapy Finally Ended This Woman’s Debilitating Fear of Spiders

Before she discovered the practice, she nearly suffered a heart attack every time she spotted a spider.

By Kim Fredericks   medium-logo.png
Like many phobias, Clearwater, Florida-based general surgeon Jamie Daniel’s fear of spiders began after a traumatic event. While she was sleeping, a Jumping Spider had made a nest in a fold of the sheer curtains in her bedroom. “When I woke up there were what seemed to be a billion baby spiders crawling all over me!” she says. While the event happened when she was just 11 years old, she developed a paralyzing fear of spiders that affected her for more than 30 years of her life. Some people may scoff at this kind of fear, but phobias are very real and come in all types. “Anytime I saw a spider in the house I’d shriek and jump up on the furniture. I’d spray them with Aqua Net hair spray, and if that didn’t work, I’d use hair spray and a lighter like a flame torch.” But as with many phobias, fears, or bad habits like nail-biting, hypnotherapy ended up offering a solution.
Daniel’s way of killing a spider may have been on the extreme side, but her fear was real. Seeing a spider would send her into a panic, making her palms sweat, raising her heart rate, and causing her to flee the room. “I couldn’t sleep if I knew there was a spider in the house,” she says. If she saw a spider crawling along the interior of her car or on the windshield, she would have to pull over. “My fear was so bad that I almost wrecked my car more than once.”
Her fear was irrational, Daniel freely admits, and she lived her life trying to bury or overcome her fear of spiders on her own—with no success. In May 2016, Daniel took action by volunteering to be hypnotized on WFLA’s Daytime news show by hypnotist Richard Barker. “I had always been skeptical of hypnosis and was not sure that I would be able to be hypnotized,” says Daniel, “But I have always been arachnophobic and it was causing a lot of anxiety, so I thought ‘what the heck,’ I’ll step out of my comfort zone.”
Since the session, spiders no longer paralyze me—I see spiders at my house and I no longer get tachycardia or freak out,” says Daniel. “I don’t love them, but I can tolerate them.” As for hypnosis, it took just the one session to learn how to deal with her fear of spiders and she now considers herself a believer of the practice of hypnosis. “I learned that the brain is a powerful thing.”

For Tummy Troubles, Hypnosis Might Be the Answer


Sixty million Americans deal with this uncomfortable sensation at least once a month —  heartburn. It’s not only painful, but can be life-altering, or even deadly if ignored. No wonder that heartburn and other gastrointestinal medications are among the most popular drugs on the market. But these “miracle drugs” are far from perfect; some patients report mixed results and long-term side effects.

For patients who don’t get relief from medication, their gastroenterologists are turning to psychologists for help. Hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for heartburn and other stomach conditions. It’s a powerful alternative treatment, backed with plenty of scientific evidence, that is increasingly being offered at the nation’s leading medical centers. stomach

“There’s a robust amount of literature behind hypnotherapy beginning in the 1980s,” said Laurie Keefer, Ph.D, director of psychosocial research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “We’ve really taken to calling it brain-gut therapy.”

Hypnosis, which exploits the relationship between the mind and digestive system, can also help with conditions like GERD and the inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Untreated GERD has been linked to esophageal cancer.
Amber Ponticelli, 35, started having digestive problems in 2007. Initially, she only felt dizzy and weak in the morning, but soon developed severe abdominal pain. Unable to eat or drink for months, she lost 20 pounds and was ultimately left bedridden. After seeing multiple gastroenterologists at leading medical institutions, she was eventually diagnosed with a genetic condition that is associated with many GI symptoms.
“I thought I was dying. I had to quit my job and ended up moving to the city with my boyfriend just to be closer to the doctors I was seeing in the city,” Ponticelli told NBC News.


Studies show more than three quarters of patients experience at least a 50 percent reduction in symptoms. Many are able to stop medication, including popular acid reducing drugs.

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So, what do you do?

Something doesn’t add up. Law and hypnotherapy seem, on the face of it, to be such divergent occupations. But occasionally someone will see the common thread.

As members of the legal profession, clarity is one of the tools of our trade, along with precision, foresight and persuasion. I see a clear continuity in the skills I apply to both being a commercial lawyer and being a hypnotherapist. I help clients gain clarity around their situation and I offer guidance and direction on how they can move forward to be more relaxed, more centred and, of course, happier.

As lawyers, we’re good at definitions. Let’s start with a couple of definitions. Hypnotherapy is the therapeutic use of hypnosis. Hypnosis is a relaxed, pleasant, focused state that induces enhanced receptivity to suggestion.

So how did I go from law to hypnotherapy? I was always interested in wellbeing. As an idealistic teenager, it was human rights that drew me to the law in the first place. In my 30s I went back to uni while working as a commercial lawyer and did a Graduate Diploma in Psychology. It was dry, rigorous study that gave me flashbacks of studying law. I gained a thorough grounding in dysfunction and stats and then decided to explore alternative avenues to mental and overall wellbeing. That’s how I encountered hypnotherapy, first as a client and then as a practitioner.


So how can hypnosis benefit the legal profession? We’re all familiar with the high levels of stress and pressure that are part and parcel of legal work. Just search for stress in the online Lawyers Weekly and you’ll find articles galore on how the industry is rife with stress, anxiety and depression, and how lawyers can minimise, manage and damage-control the effects on their personal and professional lives.

Underlying most modern biopsychosocial issues is stress. This reality is one of the reasons I have been drawn to hypnotherapy as a healing modality, because it induces deep relaxation that has a pervasive and continuing impact. When we’re relaxed we’re better at decision-making, problem solving and simply just getting through higher workloads if that’s what we need to do. Relaxed, in this sense, doesn’t mean sleepy or unmotivated; it means centred, focused and in flow.

On the other hand, when we’re stressed and anxious, our attention is scattered. It’s hard to concentrate and our productivity is severely compromised. We then have the flow on effects of unhealthy eating, minimal exercise and disrupted sleep patterns that can then become a vicious circle that is hard to break.

Many people immediately think of hypnosis to quit smoking, which has very high success rates. But they’re not usually aware that hypnosis can be used to interrupt any dysfunctional pattern, behaviour or habit that is impacting on your wellbeing. I personally believe that there is no price for peace of mind. It is the foundation of a happy life and when we have it, then we really hold the key to opening any door in life.

I chose to practise hypnotherapy rather than psychology because it’s a form of brief therapy, limited to three to six sessions. I personally get bored rehashing the same old stuff time and time again. I’m not one for endless talk therapy, although it does have its place and is beneficial to some. I would much rather be a sounding board, a jump-start and a partner in the client’s journey to a better frame of mind. That doesn’t mean compassion and understanding fly out the window. It’s a balance of strategy and understanding, which I’m sure many in the legal profession will intuitively understand.

To have a successful therapeutic relationship, mutual respect between client and therapist is essential. Coming from the same level of understanding is also crucial in building rapport. I consider it a privilege to be trusted with someone’s inner thoughts and emotions, their vulnerability and their humanness.

When I first transitioned from law to hypnotherapy, I thought it would be clean break. Many of us think in this light when we look at our careers and ask the questions, ‘What am I meant to be doing? What is my purpose?’ As I discovered, transition can be non-linear, and being flexible, open-minded and pragmatic can be a winning combination when it comes to job and life satisfaction.

I love the variety and challenge of my work, which is why I keep a foot in both professions so they can inform and enrich each other.

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Hypnosis, medicine and Freud

medical-xpressThere has always been a fascination with hypnotism throughout the centuries. The latest special issue of Notes and Records examines the history of hypnotism in Europe and we asked one of the Guest Editors, Andreas-Holger Maehle, some questions about his research.

How did you become interested in hypnotism?

I had been researching the medical ethics of the Berlin physician and sexologist Albert Moll (1862–1939), who was one of the main propagators of hypnotic therapy in Germany. This led me to studying Moll’s contributions on hypnotism, when I learnt that Kaat Wils of KU Leuven was bringing together a group of scholars for a panel on hypnotism at the conference of the European Society for the History of Science 2014 in Lisbon. I joined that group, and in Lisbon we developed the idea of a special issue of Notes and Records on the history of hypnotism in Europe. I was happy to take on the role as guest editor, together with Heather Wolffram, and we managed to include contributions on Spain, Italy, France, Belgium and Germany.

Can you explain briefly the views of the school of Nancy and Salpêtrière?

Jean-Martin Charcot’s school at the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris held that hypnosis was an induced pathological state of the nervous system and that only people with a certain nervous or hysterical disposition could be hypnotized. The school of Hippolyte Bernheim in Nancy, by contrast, interpreted hypnosis as a common psychological phenomenon resulting from suggestion. It emphasized the therapeutic potential of suggesting to patients in the hypnotic state that their symptoms vanished or at least improved.

Hypnosis, medicine and Freud
Abdón Sánchez Herrero testing a hypnotic device invented by himself and based on visual fixation. (From A. Sánchez Herrero, El hipnotismo y la sugestión, lámina 1 (Tip. H. de J. Pastor, Valladolid, 1891; first published 1887), p. 84.). Credit: The Royal Society

How did Freud influence hypnotism?

Freud initially propagated the work of both schools, by translating Charcot’s lectures on the nervous system and hysteria as well as Bernheim’s book on the therapeutic effect of suggestion into German. He also served on the editorial board of the Zeitschrift für Hypnotismus, the main German-language journal for research on hypnotism and hypnotic treatments. As is well known, Freud used initially hypnosis on his patients, but later replaced it by his method of ‘free association’, in which the patient is encouraged to express whatever comes to their mind. Psychoanalysis, and other non-hypnotic approaches of psychotherapy, in the early 20th century eventually began to overshadow hypnotherapy in the tradition of Bernheim.

Do you feel hypnotism is trusted for use in medical practices?

I have no expertise in present medical uses of hypnosis, but it seems to me that its application is recognized in some areas such as treatment of nicotine addiction, pain relief, and therapy of anxiety and phobias. However, in many countries hypnosis still isn’t part of the basic medical curriculum. On the other hand, there are some professional and academic societies, such as the European Society of Hypnosis in Psychotherapy and Medicine, that strongly support the therapeutic application of hypnosis and critical research in this area.

How do you feel hypnotism is viewed nowadays compared to the early 20th century?

There seem to be some interesting parallels between attitudes towards hypnotism then and now. The debates on hypnosis in the late 19th and early 20th centuries highlighted the therapeutic potential but also problematic side-effects and the risk of abuse of the method for immoral purposes. Relatively few doctors were fully committed to hypnotherapy, many thought that suggestions while the patient was awake were sufficient. Today, hypnosis still seems to encounter skepticism in the wider medical profession, and the indications for using the method are probably narrower now than they were a hundred years ago. As in the past, when famous stage hypnotists such as Donato and Hansen attracted large audiences in many European countries, there is still much interest from the general public in the phenomenon of hypnosis. Stage shows and TV programs involving are popular internationally.

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Hypnotherapy for Pediatric IBS: Comparing Self-Administered, in-Office Therapy

pendulumts126995559cropped_1048948The efficiency of self-administered hypnotherapy is equivalent to that of in-office hypnotherapy in relieving pediatric irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or functional abdominal pain (FAP), according to results of a randomized clinical trial recently published in JAMA Pediatrics.1

IBS or FAP are diagnosed in 13.5% of children.2 Pharmacotherapy is largely ineffective for abdominal pain-related functional gastrointestinal disorders, but data suggest some patients may benefit from psychological interventions like hypnotherapy.3 Access to hypnotherapy for children is often hampered by inadequate insurance coverage and a lack of qualified experts. In an effort to facilitate access to hypnotherapy, researchers at Emma Children’s Hospital in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, recorded a hypnotherapy program on CD, designed for at-home use.

A total of 250 children (mean age, 13; n = 126 with IBS; n = 124 with FAP), were recruited between July 2011 and June 2013 for this multi-center randomized controlled trial. Baseline characteristics were similar in the hypnotherapy CD group (n=126) and the in-office hypnotherapy group (n=124).

Children randomly assigned to in-office hypnotherapy attended 6 sessions with a qualified hypnotherapist over 3 months. Each session lasted between 50 and 60 minutes. The hypnotherapy exercises consisted primarily of “gut-directed” visualization exercises that emphasized relaxation, controlling abdominal pain and gut function, and ego strengthening.4 The children were advised to practice the exercises regularly at home. To reduce the possibility of any one hypnotherapist biasing results, the study employed 11 hypnotherapists.

The 5 pre-recorded exercises on the hypnotherapy CD were identical to the exercises used in the in-office sessions. For the first hypnotherapy exercise, a research nurse visited each child in the hypnotherapy CD group to provide instructions. The nurse verified that the children understood the exercise and instructed them to listen to the CD at least 5 times per week over the next 3 months. To encourage adherence, the nurse followed-up the visit with phone calls 4 and 8 weeks later. Adherence was high, with children listening to the CD a mean of 5.7 times per week (standard deviation, 1.4).
The primary endpoint was treatment success, which was considered a reduction of at least 50% in baseline scores for pain frequency and intensity. Outcomes were measured at 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months after the start of the intervention.
After 3 months, 46 children (37%) in the hypnotherapy CD group were considered to have been treated successfully compared with 62 children (50%) in the in-office hypnotherapy  group. Success rates improved over time: at 6 months, 64 children (51%) in the hypnotherapy CD group and 81 children (65%) in the in-office hypnotherapy group met the criteria for treatment success. At 12 months, 78 children (62%) in the hypnotherapy CD group achieved treatment success vs 88 (71%) in the in-office hypnotherapy group. Directly after treatment, 83% of children in the in-office hypnotherapy  group described their relief as adequate compared with 70% in the hypnotherapy CD group. At 1 year, the percentages of satisfied children increased to 87% in the in-office group and 76% in the CD group. No correlation between probability of treatment success and age, diagnosis, expectations of the child or parents, or hypnotic susceptibility in either cohort was found. Depression and anxiety at baseline had no effect on hypnotherapy success.

I Tried Hypnosis to Beat My Sugar Addiction—and This Is What Happened

medium-logo.pngAfter a regrettable candy binge, I was ready to try anything to get my sweet tooth under control.

All my life, I’ve been a sugar fiend. I went through Butterfinger Blizzard phase in high school, and an everything-sweet phase in college. I was a Jelly Belly addict in my 20s (toasted marshmallow, graham cracker and coffee together is still the bomb), and fresh chocolate chip cookies always make me lose my mind. I would still drive miles out of my way for a Slurpee.

Through the years, I’ve more or less been able to get my sugar cravings under control. When I look at a piece of cake, I think how sick I’ll feel a few minutes after eating that sugary frosting, I remind myself that I like the way my jeans feel when they aren’t straining at the waist, and I try hard to eat only when I’m hungry. But most of all, it helps that, after moving to the suburbs from the city, I no longer live within walking distance from candy stores or bakeries and have the wherewithal not to bring treats into my home on a regular basis.


“Regular” is the key word, however, because with two young kids there are a few times a year where it’s virtually impossible not to have candy and treats in the house—most recently it was Easter. Even though the Easter Bunny (aka me) filled their baskets with books and stuffed animals and just a few chocolate bunnies and ducks, well-meaning friends and family gave them baskets that were overflowing with the good stuff.

Given that it was a holiday, I indulged a little. It started with a Cadbury Egg here, a Starburst there. But it wasn’t enough. There are studies that show sugar is more addictive than cocaine, so it’s not surprising that I couldn’t stop. I introduced my young son to his first Peep and wound up eating more than he did; I bought a bag of half-off Cadbury mini eggs after the holiday, reasoning that it was my last chance until next year; at a friend’s BBQ I helped myself to more than one handful of M&Ms.

Then one night, about a week after Easter, I snuck into the kids’ candy stash and ate a green apple Blow-Pop. It was stale, the gum in the middle was overly sugary, and I didn’t even enjoy it. I stopped and consciously considered why I was eating it. Was I hungry? Thirsty? Bored? Upset about something? I couldn’t come up with a good answer. Still, I wound up eating a second one. It was not a proud moment.

It was around this time that hypnotherapy came into my life. I had been interested in it since reading The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarity last fall. The protagonist, as the title suggests, is a hypnotherapist. She uses hypnotherapy on herself and her clients to help them gain self-control, give up bad habits, fall asleep easily, and gain perspective on their lives. Early in the book, the narrator uses hypnotherapy to quickly gain her composure by envisioning a golden light pulsing through her body, and she helps a client fall asleep by visualizing dripping honey into a hot cup of tea. It was all so calming, appealing and powerful. I had wanted to try it ever since.


Once I was hypnotized, he told me I would not eat sugar, candy, or treats on a regular basis. That when I had those cravings, I would opt for something healthier like an apple or a glass of water, and that I would do this because I valued my health and wanted to live a long healthy life. He also said this suggestion would work, because I wanted it to work. (A key part of hypnosis is that you have to be open to the suggestion.)

When the session ended, I felt super-refreshed and was in a happy energetic mood the rest of the day.

As for the sugar cravings… the first day I still had them, but the difference was that I didn’t indulge them. After lunch, I passed on the bowl of Hershey’s Kisses a co-worker kept on her desk and instead made a cup of tea. It was as if a switch had been flipped and I simply wasn’t going to eat candy anymore.

It has now been a month since our session. And I have to say that by and large the hypnotherapy has worked. I made it through Mother’s Day brunch and only sampled one well-chosen dessert at the all-you-can-eat buffet. (In the past I would have had tried at least three.) For my birthday, I insisted on celebrating with pineapple gelato instead of the red velvet cake my husband has traditionally bought. And I stuffed all the favor bags for my son’s birthday party with Starburst and Tootsie Rolls and didn’t eat a single one.

It’s too early to say if I’m cured for good, and, after all, I did only have one session. But for now, I feel like it has put me back on the right track for better health and overall happiness. What more can I ask?

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Be the Best You Jenny Slate swears by hypnotherapy for powering through her stage fright after she left “Saturday Night Live”

jenny-slate-swears-by-hypnotherapist-for-low-self-worth-after-snl-stint-it-worked-Brittany Malooly / June 19, 2017 5:06 pm

Jenny Slate is someone we admire for her confidence and honesty. We respect her ability to open up about her difficult times — remember how real she got after her break-up with Chris Evans? — because she’s incredibly smart, self-aware, and transparent. (Can we be BFFs?). Recently, the Landline actress decided to open up about something we haven’t heard her talk very much about: being fired from Saturday Night Live.

Naturally, Slate struggled after this experience. Her self-worth took such a dive that she developed crippling stage fright. What did she do to get back to her old self? Interestingly enough, Slate says that she turned to a hypnotherapist. Hmm.

During a recent interview with The Guardian, she explains:

Jenny Slate SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE Abby Elliot slice

“Performing was always an innocent, energetic joy for me but once I was fired, I got a specific type of stage fright — a narrative inside of me: ‘These people don’t like you and they don’t want you to be here. And whatever that magic is that clicks in when you’re on stage, it’s not going to happen tonight.’ My entire self-worth was challenged. I didn’t want to quit standup just because I got fired from one job, so I fought against it. I went to a hypnotherapist – it sounds crazy, but it worked.”

Slate says that, since seeing a hypnotherapist, she has been able to move on from the experience:

“It was embarrassing, devastating, humiliating, a bummer of a mistake. But since I made that tiny mistake, so much has happened. It feels like, if I were a guy, I’d have to talk about it a little bit, but, because I’m a woman, I have to talk about it for ever. I want to honor all the good things I’ve done on purpose, instead of the stupid thing I did by mistake 10 years ago.”


We have to admit that we don’t know all that much about hypnosis other than the stereotype involving a chaise lounge and a swinging pocket watch. The American Psychological Association says that while hypnosis was once quite controversial, “most clinicians now agree it can be a powerful, effective therapeutic technique for a wide range of conditions, including pain, anxiety and mood disorders. Hypnosis can also help people change their habits, such as quitting smoking.” Fascinating.

We’re glad that you’ve been able to overcome your stage fright and return to performing and doing what you love, Jenny! Whatever works!

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Important announcement from Dr. John Butler – Legislation pending in Oregon


Dear Friends,

We have become aware of the proposed introduction of legislation in Oregon that could have the effect of dramatically restricting the right of a hypnotist/ hypnotherapist/ coach to practice in that state unless he or she is a licensed health professional.

The proposed legislation takes the form of an amendment (A3)  to House Bill 2303   currently moving through the Oregon Legislature.  The original bill related to relatively routine measures in healthcare administration in the state, however the amendment, which appears to have been proposed only on May 16, by Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, proposes that a state-controlled register be set up to register all practitioners in the state who are “Alternative Health Practitioners”, who are listed as including a) Hypnotherapist b) Sexologist c) Somatic Therapist d) Life coach e) Parenting Coach f) Wellness Coach.

The proposed amendment requires not only that such practitioners do not hold themselves out as licensed (with which we agree in the spirit of truthful advertising, and which is covered by our Code of Ethics in any case) but also must be registered by a state agency, whose expenses are to be covered by the registration fees charged to practitioners, and who will have authority to lay down conditions of practice.  This could leave hypnotherapists “at the mercy” of a regulatory system principally under the control of state-appointed “experts” drawn from the licensed healthcare professions in which hypnotherapists and coaches have little power.  Any assurances to the contrary from regulators, even if well-intentioned, could be worth very little as the system “evolved”, even in a short period of time.

We consider that this proposal is an unnecessary and burdensome expense and bureaucracy, and that self-regulation of standards and practice is working well for clients and practitioners and has been doing so for a long time.  We are not aware of any incident or complaint that may have sparked such a proposal and we believe that consultation with the professional associations working in the field is the best way to proceed, rather than the imposition of an authority.   We are currently working with ACHE members and hypnotists and coaches from other organizations in the state in strongly opposing the introduction of this legislation.

There was a meeting today of the Senate Committee on Health Care on Tuesday May 30.  If you are a resident, or know any residents, in Oregon, please contact, or ask them to contact, the office of

Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson (a former nurse and health educator)

Chairperson, Senate Committee on Health Care

Tel: 503-986-1725

and/or the other members of the committee

Vice chairman: Senator Jeff Kruse
Email address:
Office phone number 503 – 986 – 1701 direct phone number 541–580–3276

Member: Senator Lee Beyer
Email address:
Office phone number: 503–986–1706

Member: Senator Tim Knopp
Email address:
Office phone number: 503–986–1727

Member: Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (the proposer of this amendment, she is a family physician who has stated she suffers from multiple sclerosis and major depression  – her personal statement says “I am committed to protecting Oregon families, creating jobs, supporting our schools, and taking care of our most vulnerable.”)
Email address:
Office phone number 503–986–1717 direct phone number: 503–547–3543

When contacting any member of the Senate, please be courteous and remember they no doubt believe/propose that their views are correct and in the public interest.  In particular, the proposer of the amendment, Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, seems a person of strong ideals and convictions and being in a highly regulated profession herself (medicine), may not have experience of the self-regulated field and is likely to believe that regulation solves many problems.  She may also, as a sufferer from a degenerative condition, have encountered “cult-like” therapies and proponents of “cures” who charge high prices, make unjustified claims and even advocate hazardous practices.  We believe that existing consumer and criminal legislation, properly used, offers a reasonable level of protection of the public from these sorts of practices, and there is no need to burden reputable practitioners because of the unscrupulous behavior of others.

Our intention in contacting the members of the Committee is to provide information on the other side of the argument and to enable them to realize that there is another vital side of the argument that must not be ignored.  Please state succinctly, for instance, if it is the case, that you personally or those close to you have benefited from the services of hypnotherapy practitioners, that their charges were reasonable, their interactions professional, and you don’t feel the proposed legislation is either necessary or desirable.

We are making a submission to the Committee, and will keep you updated on this matter.

With my best wishes to you all,

Dr. John Butler

President, American Council of Hypnotist Examiners

Hypnotherapy is a help for winning

1278249_10153238647075462_668502933_n5.jpgEveryone who has ever smoked knows two things. One is that smoking eventually will kill you and the other is quitting smoking is extremely difficult. But when you are at the top of your profession you do not want to die, you want to rid yourself of the ugly habit. So Matt Damon, Drew Barrymore, Ellen DeGeneres, Ashton Kutcher and Charlize Theron all met the smoking challenge with hypnotherapy.

But hypnotherapy is certainly not limited to quitting smoking. Kevin Costner used hypnotherapy to conquer seasickness and Reese Witherspoon used hypnotherapy to overcome devastating insecurities.


While hypnotherapy is certainly not limited to the rich and famous the rich and famous have often turned to hypnotherapy to overcome significant life challenges and so can anyone. But it is often within the acting community that hypnotherapy can have the most profound results because it is one profession that by design places people very much in the public eye and it is the one profession where people must essentially engage in a job interview frequently — they call that auditioning and the stress can be overwhelming.


For Reese Witherspoon (for example) it was the existence of subconscious anxieties about her size and weight that was bringing unexplained but damaging stress to her conscious self. Through hypnotherapy Reese vanquished that anxiety.

Similar subconscious anxieties can and often do have a severe negative impact on many of the young and upcoming actors. An actor prepares his lines and works hard. He or she works with a good acting coach to deliver the best performance possible only to go to the audition and blow it. Why? Almost always the answer can be found within their subconscious. With professional hypnotherapy it can be resolved allowing that actor to finally and fully succeed.

Unlike drugs hypnotherapy has no bad side effects and you cannot overdose. So whatever you consider your most pressing needs to resolve, be it weight loss, building self-confidence, stopping bad habits, you should seriously consider hypnotherapy as a valuable tool to get you where you want to be.

Full article and sources available at:

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