Published: Thursday, November 01, 2012
by Judy Cohen Minches
for The Central Record
MARLTON—Close your eyes and you will see anything is possible, even weight loss.
So says hypnotherapist Judith Friedman, whose clients have been pleased with the results of virtual gastric band surgeries he performs on them.
Virtual surgery is, simply put, weight loss surgery that takes place via hypnosis on the sofa in Friedman’s office.
Over a span of approximately four visits, Friedman tackles the complex process of understanding her client’s goals and helps remove the obstacles preventing progress.
She then assists the client in changing the patterns necessary to move forward. The feelings of frustration and, at times, failure, she said, are replaced with hope, confidence and empowerment due to slow and steady weight loss, combined with a new and improved focus on healthy living.
“One has to have an open mind” for this approach to work, said client Michelle Santos, whose name has been changed to protect her privacy.
After Santos revealed a longtime battle with food, Friedman began hypnotherapy with “guided visualization,” using her calm, soothing voice to aid Santos in relaxing her mind and body.
The two then went to the hospital to meet the surgeons and anesthesiologists, with Friedman “incorporating the actual sensation of having a gastric band placed around your [Santos’] stomach to create a golf-sized pouch” to encourage eating smaller meals.
Friedman, a licensed clinical social worker and registered nurse who was trained by Sheila Granger as a virtual gastric band hypnotherapist, utilizes the method of entrancement not only in her office but also in one’s home via a CD she created to continue the momentum.
After the first session, she focuses on the recovery of the surgery and capitalizes on the client’s mindfulness of the new pouch now resting in his or her stomach. She provides nutritional counseling and guidance for a healthy lifestyle and helps create a relationship with food for the client.
She said she covers a variety of typical problem spots that require a sharp turnaround in what could be lifelong habits with regard to snacking, mealtime portion control, choosing foods wisely and integrating exercise into one’s everyday life.
Hypnotherapy has also been used successfully for clients with claustrophobia, airline travel fears and much more, said Friedman, whose entry into the realm of weight loss has proved popular and successful. While losing weight is slower with the virtual surgery as compared with the actual surgery and slower than with some diets she has tried over the years, Santos said that she feels “no deprivation or sacrifice, no hunger between meals, no interest in snacking or junk foods, no counting down until the next meal and no interest in what someone else is eating or drinking.”
She said if she were on a “regular diet,” she would spend her time measuring food while remaining hungry throughout the day, counting calories and being frustrated by the cost of specific foods that she had to buy.
She said she would have “to work really hard to make the diet work,” at best a temporary fix until she went back to her old habits.
Hypnosis, by contrast, is “effortless,” said Santos.
“What I am loving is that I don’t want to snack at night or at work,” she said. “What would have made me feel deprived, I don’t even want! There is no diet I am following,” she said.
“My mind was open to hearing and acting on what was said in the sessions, which was healthy eating and exercise. I don’t even have to think about what I am purchasing because I want fresh fruits and veggies,” she added
As for exercise, Santos said while she is still not excited about it, she walks the dogs instead of just opening her door to the yard and goes to the gym at times with her granddaughter, “which is a huge improvement over not exercising at all.”