Frequently Asked Questions

What will my first hypnosis session be like?

Sessions are offered for 1 hour, 90 minutes, and two hours. The first session includes an intake interview where we talk about your issue(s) and I address any questions or concerns you may have. Next, you will have a chance to experience for yourself how pleasant and relaxing hypnosis can be. You sit in a comfortable armchair or lie on a couch if you prefer, close your eyes, and listen to me talk. That's it! After the hypnosis, I will assign your "homework" - a brief self-hypnosis exercise which takes only a couple of minutes each day - and will talk about your next session. I also give all my clients self-hypnosis mp3 recordings to download and use at home.

Can anyone be hypnotized?

About twenty percent of the population can go into a state of hypnosis that is so deep they can undergo surgery without anesthesia. A further 60% can attain a medium state of hypnosis, and most people have experienced at least a light hypnotic state (like daydreaming).

Is hypnosis mind control?

Definitely not. You will be aware of what is happening during a session of hypnosis and can choose at any time to open your eyes. Many people hold misconceptions about hypnosis from watching stage hypnotists on TV who appear to control their subjects and have them act foolishly. Remember that these people have volunteered to go up on stage and the hypnotist has selected the most highly hypnotizable subjects from the volunteers. Hypnosis in an office setting is not like that at all. You are in control and will not do or say anything that you would not ordinarily do in an alert, wakeful state.

Will I be asleep or unconscious during hypnosis?

While some clients find hypnosis so relaxing that they will actually fall asleep, a state of hypnosis is a state of focused concentration and physical relaxation. You will not be asleep or unconscious. Hypnosis feels a little like daydreaming or deeply absorbed state and you may even notice rapid eye movement (REM) going on while you are in trance. Our minds often wander during the day when we are doing routine activities: driving, sitting in meetings, listening to lectures or taking a walk. During these times we experience a light state of hypnosis and in fact may often get creative flashes of insight.

Is hypnosis dangerous?

Hypnosis is not dangerous. However, it could be misused in the hands of an untrained or unscrupulous practitioner. It is therefore important to check the credentials of a practitioner before you become their client.
In the state of North Carolina, only medically-trained personnel, social workers, and clinical psychologists may practice as "hypnotherapists". Certified hypnotists like myself may only offer "non-therapeutic" services.

Do insurance companies cover hypnosis?

Generally not. I suggest that you think of hypnosis as a service that you will pay for yourself. This will also mean that when you sign up for a course of hypnosis you are highly committed and value the services you will receive.

Can children be hypnotized?

Children respond very well to hypnotic techniques and are less likely to have pre-conceived ideas about hypnosis. In children, hypnosis is very good for habit disorders such as nail-biting or bed-wetting. I have a lot of experience working with children who have functional bowel disorders like IBS. I also work with children and adolescents on school-related issues such as test-taking anxiety, time management, sleep issues, procrastination, and transitions to middle school, high school or college.

I am interested in quitting smoking with hypnosis. What can you tell me about that?

Smokers seek help at varying stages in the process of quitting smoking. Many smokers do NOT want to quit so congratulations if you are even reading this! Perhaps you are just starting to think about quitting, or you may even be ready to quit right now.

This program must be paid in full, in advance, because it is part of the commitment you are making to yourself when you decide to quit using tobacco. If you are a pack a day smoker, the cost of the program is about what you would spend on cigarettes over a three-month period. For more information about smoking costs see this article The Surprising Cost of a Pack a Day.

If you are ready or almost ready to quit now, you will have one or two pre-quit appointments and 3-4 subsequent appointments, which will be scheduled according to how much support you feel you need. These can be spread out over days, weeks or months. During the first (pre-quit) session we will talk about your habit, attitudes, motivation, and current life situation to see if you are truly ready to quit. If you are, then we will set a quit date and your next appointment will be 24 hours after you have quit. You will have various materials to support you, including mp3 tracks and reading materials that have been proven to help.

If you are just contemplating quitting but not ready to do it yet, hypnosis can help move you in the right direction. We will look at the benefits of quitting as well as explore reasons for any resistance to quitting. Includes mp3 recordings to download. Don't come and see me because your spouse or doctor wants you to quit as that won't work! You have to do it because you want to quit and are fed up of the control that tobacco has over you!

Older smokers can benefit considerably from quitting smoking. Having smoked for a long time and having survived so far, you might see yourself as being less vulnerable to the harm of smoking, be less concerned about the health effects of smoking, be less confident about being able to quit successfully, or not perceive any health benefits from quitting. Hypnosis can help you get motivated to quit forever!

Dipping. People who dip rather than smoke tend to have a more difficult time quitting than smokers. While I will support you with hypnosis, I recommend that you also enroll in, a federally-funded research project to help dippers quit.

I am interested in losing weight with hypnosis. How does it work?

Congratulations! You probably asked that question for some combination of the following reasons: you want to take back control of your life, become healthy, manage your weight, work on your self esteem, change your behaviors and attitudes towards food and eating, learn to accept and even love your body, stop beating yourself up, stop sabotaging yourself, or perhaps all of the above.

Those people who lose weight and successfully keep it off do so because they have made permanent lifestyle changes - not just in behavior but in attitude. So, while this program is NOT advocating that you "go on a diet" it does encourage you to make a number of incremental changes over a period of weeks that will help you become more healthy, self-aware, confident, mindful, and accepting of yourself. Along the way you will reconstitute your body, the foods that you like and even crave will change significantly, and you will feel much, much better than you feel today on Day One of the program.

The Weight Management program includes five in-office sessions, mp3 recordings, worksheets, and online materials to read and practice. Weight management is not just about food. Environmental cues and triggers, core beliefs about yourself, the attitudes of loved ones, and emotional associations with food are all very important. I take a holistic approach to weight management and address it on a number of different levels. My clients may or may not be overweight, but all are struggling with their relationship to food in some way. Please note, if you have a diagnosed eating disorder please provide a medical referral for hypnosis. I am happy to work with you as long as you are simultaneously under the care of a licensed health professional e.g. clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, physician, or social worker.

Does hypnosis really work?

Yes! And there is a growing body of scientific research that provides evidence for its effectiveness. Hypnosis can help reduce or eliminate how pain is experienced, lessen the stress response, improve how your immune system functions, help to overcome compulsive or repetitive behaviors, and is a useful adjunct to treatments for many medical and psychological disorders and conditions.

In 1892 the British Medical Association (BMA) published a report in the British Medical Journal, stating that they “satisfied themselves of the genuineness of the hypnotic state” and recognized that hypnotism is “frequently effective in relieving pain, procuring sleep, and alleviating many functional ailments.” In 1955 the British Medical Journal endorsed the 1892 report, stating that hypnosis is a effective in treating psychosomatic disorders, revealing unrecognized motives and conflicts, removing symptoms, changing morbid thoughts and behaviors, and alleviating pain. The report also recommended that medical students be introduced to hypnosis as part of standard psychiatric training, and that specialists in psychology should receive instruction in hypnotism.

In 1958 the American Medical Association (AMA) approved a study by its Council on Mental Health, which recognized hypnotherapy as an orthodox medical treatment (as opposed to an “alternative” or “complementary” treatment). The AMA committee stated their agreement with the report of the BMA, and it recommended that instruction in hypnosis be included in the curricula of medical schools and postgraduate training centers. However, in 1987 the AMA rescinded almost all policies from 1881–1958 and as a result the AMA currently does not have an official position on the use of hypnosis.