I didn’t know what to expect. A friend arranged for me to see a hypnotherapist to help me with pain management and general stress reduction. My friend went online and found the Hypnosis Motivation Institute. He then contacted the director who referred me to one of the Institute’s most experienced hypnotherapist/teachers, named Marc Gravelle.
Mr. Gravelle first explained how it works, that it is a practical, four-step process. First he said he would bring into conscious awareness what was motivating my behavior from a subconscious level. That once we understand consciously what really motivates us we have a much better chance of creating real, lasting change.
The second step is the creation of a strategy or plan for the change to actually occur. He explained that I have to play an active role in creating this improvement.
The third step is to use what he called “the tool of hypnosis” to get me to be very receptive, or suggestible, to the strategy, so that I would be more likely to act it out in my every day behavior. That would be real change or improvement.
I was informed that the state of mind that is hypnosis is a very natural state that we all experience before unconscious sleep. That we have to actually enter that state in order to get to unconscious sleep (a surprise to me!) That in hypnosis I’ll have thoughts and that my mind could wander. I was a little relieved to hear that “hypnosis is NOT some zombie-like state in which one is under the control of the hypnotherapist.
Let’s back up. As to the unconscious motivators of my behavior: I was informed that since up to 75% of our perception of pain is subjective, we have a lot of room to alter my perception of my own pain. That while in hypnosis we can actually alter my perception (feeling) of my own pain. Wow!
I was asked (in the conscious state) what my perception of pain was on a scale of 1-10. I think it was a 5 or 6. He then told me that merely going into hypnosis usually lowers the person’s feeling of pain. Guess what? After I was in hypnosis it did! It went down to a 3 or 4.
Back to those pesky subconscious motivators. As for dealing with my stress and anxiety, Mr. Gravelle asked me to describe my daily eating habits. I did and then he did something I never expected. He compared the length of my index and ring fingers of my left hand. My index finger was longer. He said that was a genetic indicator that I am a person who is likely to experience blood-sugar level drops. And those drops can trigger feelings of anxiety, mood swings, irritability, even headaches.
I had no idea that experiencing this kind of anxiety can cause a person to enter an anxiety/depression cycle, as well as putting a person into a kind of walking around in hypnosis frame of mind. No wonder I’d been having trouble concentrating!
He proposed a simple solution to my blood sugar problem, giving me a food guide that suggested eating three small meals with some protein, and three protein snacks. He also assured me I wouldn’t gain any weight. It would stabilize my blood sugar, and I would feel more energy, less anxiety, and spend less time in hypnosis (thus improving concentration).
How did he hypnotize me? Again, another surprise. He told me he would guide me into the state. First he did what he called test my suggestibility, which I was told will help him understand how I respond to verbal communication, so he would know how to better form his suggestions.
Next came something else I didn’t know. He helped me identify three body changes that occur as a person enters hypnosis. The breathing grows deeper, dryness forms in the mouth and throat, and the eyes (now closed) move under the eyelids (and or, the eyelids flutter a little). I was told “I was doing very well.”
I then settled into a recliner and Mr. Gravelle guided me through what he called a progressive relaxation. He had me tense then release the tension in the muscles of various parts of my body and I have to admit that I really became more relaxed than I’d felt in quite some time. I was told that when my body is so relaxed, and my mind is still alert, I become more receptive, or suggestible to the strategies we had discussed.
One of the suggestions was that it was time to make myself a real priority by taking better care of myself. That means to pay attention to how I eat - that I eat in order to maintain my blood sugar. Another suggestion was that I would start telling the negative voice in my own head “to be quiet, I’m not listening to you any more.” (In discussing my new strategy, I was informed that the thing that prevents people from real positive change is when they listen to the negative voice in their own head.)
Did I mention the fourth step? Evaluate the change that has occurred in a subsequent session. I did go back and I must report that the blood sugar concept was accurate. I have experienced less anxiety in general, and my overall coping skills have improved.
HMI, is a non-profit nationally accredited college and clinic of hypnotherapy that has been serving the Southern California area for more than 40 years.
HMI was founded in 1968 by Dr. John Kappas. Dr. Kappas literally defined the profession of hypnotherapy in 1973, when he wrote and defined the profession of a "Hypnotherapist" in the Federal Dictionary of Occupational Titles (079.157-010). That definition of a Hypnotherapist remains in force and unchanged today.
Hypnosis Motivation Institute
18607 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 310
Tarzana, California 91356-4158 USA
1-818-758-2747 · Toll Free: 1-800-479-9464