Hypnosis Puts You in Charge

Featured

Do you have a stubborn problem or a barrier to progress that you’d like to deal with? Then you’ve come to the right place. I’m Robert Plamondon, a clinical hypnotherapist in Corvallis, Oregon. Hypnosis is not only fast, safe, and effective, it’s the most comfortable way of resolving your stubborn issues, because it uses all our hidden resources, from our most childlike to our wisest and most mature, to solve our problems.

Hypnosis uses your childlike imagination to bring about change

Hypnosis gets you unstuck. Most of us have goals that we need to achieve, but our instinct is to distract ourselves and avoid dealing with the issue. Sometimes we do this because it’s difficult to get past our emotions and face with the issue directly, while other times we aren’t quite sure how to get started, because we don’t know where the problem is coming from! Hypnosis deals with both issues at once.

For example, take someone who wants to stop smoking and has tried nicotine patches, but they don’t help. Clearly, the problem isn’t chemical, so what is it? I don’t know, but unconscious mind does. All the hypnotist has to do is use hypnosis to ask the question, and take our next steps accordingly. If the answer is, “I don’t know how to relax without smoking,” then we know that the smoker will stop just as soon as that skill is relearned!

Or takes someone who is so afraid of spiders that they can’t look at the word “spider” written on a piece of paper. Hypnosis is very calming and relaxing, and things that would be overwhelming in the normal waking state can be discussed and even experienced comfortably in hypnosis, and once you’ve experienced something comfortably in hypnosis, it’s hard to go back to being afraid of it.

What is hypnotherapy? I like to say that “hypnotherapy is hypnosis with all the trimmings.” There are lots of ways to think about hypnotherapy, but the simplest is perhaps to see it as a way of “increasing your inner teamwork” and “replacing unhelpful habits with helpful ones.” Hypnosis can bring about positive changes quickly and thoroughly because:

  • It communicates your conscious desires to your unconscious mind, which otherwise might not be paying much attention (as you have probably noticed!). Most of what we do is based on unconscious decisions, so once your unconscious mind is brought on board, change is much easier.
  • It engages your imagination and sense of make-believe, making it easier and more comfortable for you to think about new approaches differently, and to test-drive new things in your imagination.
  • Hypnosis is very relaxing and comfortable, while at the same time focusing your attention, making it easy to face the issue calmly and resourcefully.

14553979_s

Because the process is so fast, more people can afford it. (See my How Long Does it Take? post.)

Free stress relief/relaxation recording: And everyone can afford my free stress relief MP3, which you can listen to online or download into your favorite device.

Come See Me! I hope you find my blog interesting. And if you’re in the Corvallis area, I can help you make the positive changes you want, with real one-on-one, personalized hypnosis sessions (no recordings or blinky-light LED glasses) in a comfortable and professional setting. I’m highly trained, highly intelligent, and nationally certified, and I offer confidential service that gets results, with reasonable rates and generous discounts. Right here in Corvallis. Click here now for more information.

Hypnosis Research: It’s Real, and it Works

You’d be surprised how much scientific research has been focused on hypnosis. According to this article in Penn State News, there have been more than 12,000 scientific articles on the subject! Technology is giving researchers more and more toys to use in their studies, including brain imaging techniques that let them see how brain activity changes under hypnosis. It changes a lot!

People in a hypnotic trance tend to be very relaxed, that kind of delicious relaxation where you’d prefer to enjoy it and not talk or move much. This lethargy is misleading, because it conceals a heightened level of mental activity. With this heightened level of mental ability, more than ever, it’s easy to think, imagine, remember, face previously troublesome issues serenely, connect with all your mental, physical, and emotional resources, make decisions that are right for you, and change.

Some of the researchers even admit that their results are gloomier than they should be. Why? For one thing, research often uses whichever student volunteers can be rounded up at the moment, rather than people who are truly motivated to change. Also, for consistency, researchers often use specific, standardized techniques for a fixed number of sessions, rather than tailoring the approach to the individual and continuing until the job is done. And finally, sometimes researchers without much experience or passion for hypnotherapy will do the hypnosis, simply because they’re available.

And even with these disadvantages, the results are generally positive!

Even authors who seem a bit reluctant to admit that hypnosis works find themselves compelled to do so, such as this Medscape article on therapeutic hypnosis. The article points out that hypnosis has been demonstrated to be effective for (among other things) phobias, weight loss, irritable bowel syndrome, and control of chronic pain. The article reports:

The pain relief from hypnosis often matched or even exceeded the relief given by morphine.

And, unlike a Schedule II narcotic like morphine, hypnosis has been demonstrated over and over again to be safe — safer than just about any of the alternatives. And more comfortable. How comfortable? People work on some pretty intense issues in my office, but one box of Kleenex lasts me a whole year.

And hypnosis is quick. Hardly anyone does a study on the effect of more than ten sessions. Some approaches take years, but not hypnosis. Think in terms of a month or two.

And if you come in with a long to-do list, you’ll find that you get better with practice, so you’ll cross items off the list faster and faster.

How well will it work for you? You never know until you try. And the sooner you start, the sooner you can start enjoying the results. Why not now?

How Long Does it Take?

Some hypnotists claim to be able to do just about anything a single session. Sometimes they’re right! But some of their clients end up seeing me when the one-session approach fails.

Let’s face it: people are different, and there aren’t any one-size-fits-all solutions. Hypnosis produces quick, lasting results, but often not that quickly.

Rather than focus on ultimate speed, I’m looking for broadly beneficial results that last forever. If someone comes to me to stop smoking, I don’t want them to be one of those non-smokers who are white-knuckling it all the time. That’s a heck of a way to spend the rest of your life! I want smoking to become like riding a child’s tricycle — something they used to do, something that used to fit, and used to be fun, but you’ve moved on now and have new ways of having fun that are even better.

So I pace things for maximum benefit, taking two sessions to work with even the simplest problems, and roughly five for the harder ones if things happen to resolve quickly, and maybe ten if they move slowly. People differ, after all.

What helps things resolve quickly? As it turns out, intensity helps, so phobias often go away completely in just a few sessions. The aftermath of a traumatic experience is much the same. Simple habits, like smoking and nail-biting, are often pretty quick. Intelligence and a good imagination are always a big plus. And learning to trust me enough to follow my lead is essential to rapid progress. I take the time, in hypnosis, to earn your trust.

What takes longer? Complex behaviors like eating habits often take a little longer. So does dealing with the aftermath of repeated traumatic experiences. People who have difficulty understanding me take longer. Problems that have benefits as well as drawbacks (working too hard, for example), can take longer. But they’re all things I deal with all the time.

What doesn’t matter? Medications don’t seem to matter much if they leave you capable of functioning. Prior experience with hypnosis doesn’t matter. Prior failures with hypnosis don’t matter, either. It doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself coldly logical or warmly spiritual (or both).

But what really, truly matters is that you contact me to make an appointment!

Whatever You Do, Don’t Do This

A man came in to see me to stop smoking, and after the first session, he reported, “It didn’t work. As soon as I left the building, I wanted to see if I could still smoke, so I lit up a cigarette.”

He would have agreed that an alcoholic client probably shouldn’t keep a hip flask on his person at all times, and a sex addict shouldn’t leave a hypnosis session escorted by a couple of hookers! That would just waste my time and the client’s money. There’s a difference between falling off the wagon and jumping off.

Fortunately, most people already know this, so a smoking cessation client isn’t surprised when asked to bring in any remaining cigarettes so we can dispose of them. Hypnosis adds the power of suggestion to your existing powers of willpower and resolution, and it can do this quickly, but not so quickly that it’s wise to douse ourselves in steak sauce and walk into the lion’s den!

Hypnosis works at different speeds for different people. About at third of clients find that hypnosis alone is like turning off a switch, and their problem vanishes like magic. Another third finds that they have to work at it for a while, and the problem puts up a bit of a struggle before fading away. And a third find that they have to roll up their sleeves and make a real effort until their problem, too, fades away, and they arrive at a new normal that feels at least as natural as the old normal ever did.

These are all fine outcomes. No one really knows why some people achieve their goals faster than others, and for most of the issues people see me for, the benefits are so much greater than the costs that a few sessions more or less still mean that it’s a terrific investment.

But it’s best to remember that the point of hypnosis isn’t to be mysterious and magical, it’s to get you moving in the right direction. Your conscious mind and deliberate actions are important! Taking action to stack the odds in your favor is useful in more than one way.

Take two men who want to stop their midnight snacking habit. One has ice cream in the freezer, and the other has nothing but a frozen chicken. Which one is more likely to have that midnight snack?

Yes, you might be one of the ones for whom hypnosis works so well that the Devil himself couldn’t tempt you with that old problem. Or not. But that’s not important. What’s important is not that you succeed entirely through hypnosis, but that you succeed. Hypnosis is a great way of stacking the odds in your favor, and the more additional things you do to stack them even higher, the better.

 

 

Stressed Out? Listen to This Free Relaxation Session

I’ve created a 30-minute relaxation and stress relief audio session that you can listen to free. (It’s in mp3 format)

Relay deeply to my free hypnosis recording

This is a simple, relaxing self-hypnosis recording where I walk you through a progressive relaxation of your body and tell you a few things about hypnosis, and soothing yet unobtrusive background music helps you relax even more. It’s suitable either for daytime relaxation or at bedtime. For best results listen to it every day for about a week; the effectiveness tends to build over time.

As with all self-hypnosis sessions, don’t listen to this while driving, juggling chainsaws, or doing anything else that requires concentration.

Give it a listen and let me know how it works for you!

Choose a Local Hypnotist

Your time is valuable, and you can already tell that you can save a lot of time by seeing a local hypnotist rather than a distant one, but how do you know that you’ll also get those positive changes you’re paying for, and that you’ll have a positive experience from start to finish?

As a local hypnotist with a local reputation to protect, I can’t use high-pressure sales tactics and I can’t delegate the most important work to assistants or recordings. When you come in to see me, it’s always me you see, for one-on-one hypnosis, customized for you, and you alone. That’s how you make the fastest, most comfortable, most confidential progress.

And I don’t want a lot of money up front. While I offer substantial discounts if you buy a package of five or ten sessions, I ask you not to commit to a package until after your first session, after you’ve enjoyed a pleasant hypnotic trance that gives you a first, positive taste of the changes you’re looking for, and you’re committed to the full process.

Hypnotherapy gives you positive changes with just about any problem that seems out of control or that you tend to avoid thinking about, including:

  • Habits like smoking, nail biting, procrastination, or bad study habits.
  • Emotional issues with motivation, anger, anxiety, fear, guilt, low self-esteem, trauma, or panic.
  • Health issues like weight control, pain control, and a positive attitude towards healing.

I’m not claiming that you’ll find hypnotherapy completely easy and pleasant, because people are different. Some people find the process very smooth, and some hit some bumps, but  there’s nothing like a hypnotic trance to cushion any rough spots!

So give me a call. My office is in downtown Corvallis, and I make things easy for you by offering evening sessions and accepting debit and credit cards in addition to cash and checks. Why not take the next step and contact me right now? If you’re like me, if you’re looking, you’re ready to get started. And I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Time to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution?

What separates the people who keep their New Year’s resolutions from the ones who don’t? How do you stack the odds in your favor, so that, instead of starting the new year with a disappointment, you hit the bullseye and get just what you said you would?

I don’t often quote Shakespeare here, but I’m reminded of the scene in Henry IV, Part 1, when Glendower bragged, “I can call the spirits from the vasty deep.” To this Hotspur scoffed, “Why, so can I, or so can any man! But do they come, when you do call for them?”

So when it’s time for you to call something from the vasty deep, just calling might not be enough. You might want, say, a hook with the right kind of bait on it, and a line from the hook to a fishing rod, and a good place on shore or in a boat to hang out until you get a bite. And a resolution that that’s more than a wish, but a commitment to spend the time, money and effort that’s needed to bring your catch to shore. Maybe it’ll be quick and easy and maybe it’ll be a long haul, but it’s the people who show up day after day who catch the fish.

So a resolution is more than a wish, but should it be an actual, worked-out plan? I don’t think so. After all, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, and the biggest obstacle isn’t the details of the journey, but just in making it out the front door. You want more of a plan than the unfocused gung-ho of the WWI cavalrymen of 99 years go, whose motto was, “We’ll do it! … What is it?” But that gung-ho is important!

Here are some hypno-tips for keeping your New Year’s Resolution.

  • Imagine wild success. What will it look like, feel like, sound like, when you achieve your goal? Put yourself in the scene, happy and proud. Are other people happy and proud, too? Put them in the picture, too.
  • Now think about the obstacles that might get in your way, perhaps imagining them as potholes on the road to success, the road with that happy picture of success at the end of it. The road to success is something of an obstacle course, but that’s okay. Imagine yourself approaching each obstacle, keeping the happy ending in mind, and dodging or overcoming each obstacle in turn, until you reach your goal.
  • Plan to make mistakes, and mentally rehearse returning to normal. If you’re on a diet, you need to know in your bones that if you pig out on a bag of Chips Ahoy today,  that’s a lapse, but it’s not a relapse. You’re still in the game. Pigging out today gives you exactly zero permission to wallow in either guilt or more cookies tomorrow. Just climb back up on that horse that threw you. You’ll be amazed at how good that feels.
  • Hypnosis is helpful, both for finding motivation and for changing habits more automatically. A lot of recent research has shown (not to anyone’s surprise) that we all have limited reserves of willpower, but the actions we perform habitually don’t require much willpower, so the better our habits suit our needs, the less we have to force ourselves to do the right thing, day in and day out. It becomes automatic.
  • As long as you keep plugging away, and especially if you’re willing to try different things until you find one that works, you’re still in the game. You get a lot more than three strikes before you’re out in the game of life.

Happy New Year!

Past-Life Regression: Deja Vu All Over Again?

Whether it’s for finding a lost object or taking one last look at the events that caused ongoing emotional discomfort, age regression is one of the most useful techniques in hypnotherapy. We remember distant events far more easily in hypnosis than in a waking state, and our enhanced memory even has a fancy name: hypermnesia.

Usually what we do is assume that the unconscious mind can remember just about anything that ever happened, and so we ask the client to be taken back to the most appropriate event. If you’ve lost an object, the starting point would be “the most recent time where you knew where it was,” while with emotions or behaviors that are giving you trouble, you key on the feeling that’s associated with the problem and find “the very first time you felt these feelings.”

With lost objects, this will get you into the ballpark of of when the item was lost, and you move forward in time until you get a clue about where it went astray, which works much better than usual when you’re in a hypnotic trance. With emotions or behaviors, it gets you to the event that set you up for future repetitions of the problem. In the majority of cases, this turns out to be before the age of ten, and often before the age of five. Every once in a while, people will overshoot this life entirely and end up, completely unprompted and unexpectedly, in a past-life experience.

What does this mean? As a hypnotist, you get really good at saying, “I don’t know.” I’ve had past-life experiences myself, and I still can’t tell you what they mean. What I can tell you is that clients get the same kind of relief and progress from working through a past-life experience as with a more recent one. Some people will claim that this is because the past-life experience is literally true and that (unlike today’s airline passengers), souls can carry a lot of emotional baggage with them on their journey, as a kind of karmic burden to be set down when the time is right. Others will claim that the past-life experience is a metaphorical representation of a problem from this life, one where the unconscious mind has filed off the serial numbers to allow the problem to be re-experienced in a different setting and with a different cast of characters, allowing the issue to be laid to rest sooner and more smoothly than if it were tackled head-on.

So which is right? I don’t know! With lost objects, the goal is objective and verifiable: you either find the object or you don’t. So when it works, it’s pretty impressive! Sadly, few past-life experiences lead to GPS coordinates for buried treasure or verifiable information like that.

It’s also true that metaphor is very powerful in hypnosis, just as it is in dreams. Experiences that resonate with you, even though they’re about someone else, can be just as healing and instructive as ones that are unquestionably about you, personally.

Sometimes clients seek out a hypnotist for a past-life regression more or less as a form of entertainment, but in my experience they usually have an inkling that such an experience will help them with an issue in the here and now, and so far they’re generally quite correct!

So while I don’t have a lot of answers about the objective truth of this kind of experience, my clients are finding what they’re looking for, so I’m always glad to see someone who’s interested in revisiting past-life experiences under hypnosis.

Why Some Bad Memories Keep Hurting While Others Fade Away

Why do some bad memories stay with us while others fade away? I remember that, when I had my wisdom teeth out, it was a deeply painful and unpleasant experience, one that made me wince whenever I thought about it. But as time passed, the wince-worthy feelings faded. I still remember that day clearly enough, but now it’s almost as if it happened to someone else. The remembered pain has faded away, leaving the memories of the sights and sounds and smells and thoughts intact. Where did my pain go?

Perhaps it’s one of the responsibilities of the unconscious mind to let painful memories go, after first absorbing the meaning of the painful event and learning from it, preserving the learnings and then letting the pain go,  its task complete?

Pain, like unpleasant feelings, has its uses. It gets your attention and encourages you to stop! And vividly remembered pain can remind you not to do it again. But how unpleasant it would be if every painful experience were remembered as if it were happening again! So — usually — we learn from the experience and then let the pain go. Usually. Not always.

There’s a catch, though. What if the experience is too overwhelming or confusing for you to process? As far as I can tell, the unconscious mind has three choices in such a case:

  1. Keep the feelings vivid until you’re ready to complete the task of learning and letting them go.
  2. Forget the incident.
  3. Both.

In the first case, the vivid feelings are likely to sneak up on you when something reminds you of the original incident. Phobias are like this, anxiety is like this, PTSD is like this. It’s hard to describe how unpleasant it is for an event that was overwhelming the first time around to repeat itself like this.

By comparison, forgetting the incident sounds merciful, and I suspect it is when it works as desired, with the event forgotten, the feelings forgotten, and the learnings that were never learned not really needed, as perhaps they might be in the aftermath of some kind of shock that will never be repeated. Many people in are in serious accidents don’t remember the moment in which they were injured, and perhaps it’s just as well. But when the lessons to be learned are important, amnesia sets you up for a fall.

The third case can combine the worst of both worlds, leaving you with repeated painful feelings but no memory of the event that precipitated them. This is surprisingly common, leaving people feeling really bad without knowing why.

What we need is to get back on track, to let our normal, unconscious learning process complete. But how?

In some cases this can happen naturally. Every day, every hour, every minute brings us new perspective, and an episode that was too much to handle just a little while ago soon becomes manageable, and the issue takes care of itself.

If the event has been forgotten, it needs to be remembered. Actually, the unconscious mind never really forgets anything, it just misfiles it. Hypnosis is the method of choice for recovering lost information, especially for issues that had their beginning in the preschool years, which most people remember poorly except in hypnosis.

When the material is still overwhelming, hypnosis provides several options for making progress. A hypnotic trance is a much more comfortable way of looking at difficult material than the waking state. In addition, the process we’re facilitating is an unconscious process, and it’s not really necessary to bring the material into consciousness. Instead, the unconscious mind can be guided through the process of assimilating it off-stage, as it were.

The basic process is simply to review the material in trance, using any method that allows this to happen in such a way that the event is acknowledged and the useful learnings are gathered up and preserved, at which point the unpleasant emotions have served their purpose and can dissipate. There are any number of basic approaches to this, some direct and straightforward, and some indirect and roundabout, but they all aim for the same things.

There’s no reason why old painful memories can’t fade away, leaving you wiser but not sadder. Modern hypnotherapy is highly effective at facilitating this natural process.

 

Habits Are Made to be Broken … Today

In our formative, impressionable years, people try to teach us to be good children, and even if they do a good job, guess what? Being a good child is the wrong answer, once we’ve grown up! How many of those “good” habits we picked up, way back when, are holding us back today? It can be hard to take charge when you were taught to wait your turn, to hold your tongue, or to do what the people around you do, instead of finding opportunities.

Bad habits hold you back, and good habits propel you forward, don’t they? Who doesn’t want fewer bad habits and more good habits? But few things are harder than adjusting your habits consciously. You only have so much attention to spend, and it’s mostly called for already.

That’s where hypnosis comes in. Hypnosis bypasses most of the need willpower and constant vigilance when adjusting your habits, because it communicates with your unconscious mind directly, in terms it understands, so you start acting on your desires quickly and easily, in just a few short sessions.

Does it work like magic? No, because magic doesn’t work! But because it’s the right tool for the job, it’s that much smoother and easier than what you’ve tried before. That’s why so many people turn to hypnosis for difficult habits like stopping smoking, losing weight, and any other habit, good or bad, that they need adjust for the better.

Are you held back because you’re not doing things you already know how to do, such as making the big decisions, or picking up the phone and calling strangers, or just putting in the hours? Take a moment and imagine what would happen if you habitually, automatically, and cheerfully did the things that were so hard before. Even if you don’t actually do them any better, when you do them sooner and more easily, how much will your life improve? So make the decision, pick up the phone, and put in a few short hours to improve your life.

 

Don’t Want to Talk About It? Try “Secret Therapy!”

People in hypnosis don’t talk much, and that means that the less you want to talk about your issue, the more appropriate it is.

When I was being trained in hypnotherapy, one of the things we’d do is pair off to practice our new skills, and it didn’t matter very much whether we told our partner, “I don’t like flossing, and I want to floss every day,” or “I don’t like to do X, but it’s important, so I want to do X every day.” Both are perfectly adequate.

That’s because hypnosis is all about guiding the client through an imaginative process, using combinations of stories, metaphors, and step-by-step instructions to help the unconscious mind to re-evaluate the old decision that gets in the way of progress.

Because your unconscious mind is very responsive to fables, fairy tales, metaphors, and stories of all kinds, it doesn’t matter if I use your real information or tell a story about a different situation that happens to have some similar elements. That’s all the unconscious needs.

For example, if you have a behavior you don’t like, and tell me, “I want to stop doing X,” you might want to stop smoking, or yelling at your kids, or procrastinating, or being afraid of bees, or spending all your time thinking about things that make you feel bad, spending all your money on clothing that you’ll never wear. If you tell me, “I want to start doing Y,” you might want to get out and meet people, or get going on a projects, or fall asleep easily at night, or enjoy sex more, or any of a million other possibilities.

Normally, when people see me, they tell me their issues and I get a few details, but if you don’t want to do that when you come in, I’ll ask a few questions about how the parameters of the problem. If you wanted to “stop doing X,” you’ll tell me whether you want to stop doing X all of the time, or whether it’s okay some of the time, and the kinds of emotions that are associated with doing X when you don’t want to, and the good things (let’s call them Y) that happened when you stopped X. I’d point out that humans aren’t very good at stopping things, they’re good at doing something else instead. So you need alternatives, which we might call Z.

Because your unconscious mind probably already knows what Y and Z are, I don’t need to.know what Y and Z are, and neither do you! Not consciously. In fact, it often works best when the unconscious mind makes these decisions for itself, after being guided through a decision-making process that’s designed to give good results. And if you don’t need to know consciously, neither do I.

When is this appropriate? When you aren’t happy enough about revealing your issue to seek help any other way.

As you can imagine, secret therapy is a little less focused than regular hypnotherapy, so it can take longer, but the main thing is that it gives you a way to get where you want to go now.