Hypnotherapy is therapy that uses hypnosis for suggestive purposes. Hypnotized patients can have suggestions made to them while they are hypnotized in order to cure bad habits or ailments. Deborah and Michael Lindemann are clinical hypnotherapists who live and practice in Fort Collins.
How long have you been practicing hypnotherapy?
Deborah: I've been a hypnotherapist since 1989.
Michael: I have been a hypnotheraptist for about a year now. Hypnotherapy was a good way for us to join forces and work together.
What is the process you go through when new patients come to you?
D: When people come to us to stop smoking, for example, we like to make sure they are ready to quit. When you try to quit on your own you aren't capable to get through to the unconscious mind. What's amazing is people can access the unconscious part of their mind that is connected to the habit. We go through a talking process about how the hypnosis is going to work for them.
What is the success rate for your patients who come in to quit smoking?
D: Ninety percent of our patients, after less than an hour of treatment can walk out smoke free. This percentage is only effective if the patients truly want to quit.
M: Which is why we screen for whether the client wants to quit for themselves, not anyone else or for any other reason. They need to bring with them a strong desire to quit.
What other services do you offer?
D: We offer sessions dealing with weight loss, stress, pain and anxiety relief, relationship building, self-confidence building, overcoming sleeplessness, and past-life regression.
What do you think of hypnotism as an alternative to medicine?
D: Hypnosis is a very holistic approach for helping people deal with their problems whether it is smoking or something else, because unfortunately medicine does not address the pschycological issues with habits people have difficulty letting go of.
What's really interesting to me is finally medicine is coming around to the point where they realize the role that emotions like anger and stress play in causing disease. I find myself working with doctors who are open-minded to how the mind's role is involved in helping people get well and break habits; it goes way beyond the "band-aid" approach medicine often takes.
Do you have any advice for people who may be apprehensive toward hypnotherapy?
D: Truthfully, hypnosis is a natural state. People go through waking hypnosis in their everyday life. From that standpoint they already know how to do hypnosis, but they just don't know it. In a lot of cases we will send out a CD so they can listen to a sample of what it's like to be in hypnosis before they come in. We also send out brochures and literature.
M: One thing that surprises people is how simple hypnosis really is. They expect it to feel like something really extraordinary, but basically it just feels like being really relaxed. Our sample CD has a 25-minute relaxation session of what the hypnosis will be like. We find that it helps our patients a great deal because it dispels their misconceptions by giving them a real experience. When they come in they are that much more ready.
D: Most people's access to hypnosis has been what they have seen on TV, like "are you going to make me cluck like a chicken," but truthfully every client is in total control.
What is waking hypnosis?
D: One example is very common. Someone may be driving home, and when they get to their driveway they realize they can't consciously remember driving the last couple of blocks. You see, the unconscious mind tends to store a lot of things that are habit as a protective mechanism. So when the person is driving home and the conscious mind is off daydreaming or whatever, the unconscious mind is actually in charge of driving them home out of habit. Waking hypnosis is simply an altered, relaxed state of mind. Another example is you are sitting at a stoplight and your mind kind of drifts off and you forget where you are for a moment and all of a sudden a horn honks from behind you and you look up and realize the light has turned green. You were kind of spaced out for a moment but your unconscious mind is wide open and very susceptible to suggestion.
So with hypnotherapy you say things at certain times when you know the unconscious mind is open enough to hear them?
D: Exactly. But keep in mind that the unconscious mind is very protective. There are a lot of beliefs that we can make someone do something against their will, or out of character. But that just isn't true. That person's unconscious mind will reject anything that isn't appropriate for that person.
What kind of setting is there for the actual hypnotherapy?
M: We don't need dark lights or anything like that; just whatever setting will make the patient more relaxed. The recliner we use is good because people can sit up or lay back if they want to. The actual relaxation process is called progressive induction. I sit them down and walk them through the relaxing process. I start by telling them to relax their feet, then their legs and etc. By the time we are done they are completely relaxed and they are already hypnotized.
Are there any dangers to hypnotherapy?
D: None. There are only positive side affects to hypnotherapy. You can't get stuck in hypnosis; you are always in control. It's like thinking that there is any danger in sitting, relaxing and listening to music.
The Lindemann's welcome anyone who has any more questions about hypnotherapy or any of the services they offer to contact them via phone or e-mail. Their phone number is 416-8700 and their e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.