Meeting with a Remarkable Man

Personal Tales of Milton H. Erickson by Bill O'Hanlon Crown House, 2009 Review by E. James Lieberman, M.D. Dec 15th 2009 (Volume 13, Issue 51)

Hypnosis seems to be an ugly duckling in regard to training clinicians and researchers in the mental health professions. It's fascinating, and open to many theories and research approaches, but seems tainted by association with mysticism and charlatans.  It is said that ten percent of the population is highly hypnotizable, another ten percent indifferent or immune, and the great majority somewhere in between. Much of therapy--like parenting, teaching, politics, religion, sports, literature etc.--is suffused with suggestion.  Yet few are aware of how they--we--act and talk suggestively. According to Peter Brown (reference below), if you can read this, you are trained in self-hypnosis: you can convert arbitrary symbols--letters on a page--to meaningful images and ideas.

This compact disk is one of six produced by marriage and family therapist O'Hanlon, who has conducted over 2000 seminars and workshops and authored or coauthored 29 books. A good, easy-going speaker, O'Hanlon relates his experience with this "amazing man," Milton Erickson, M.D. (1902-1980). The two met in 1973 when O'Hanlon, a student at Arizona State, did some gardening for the Ericksons and then became his student.

O'Hanlon describes a few cases that characterized his mentor's style: sensitive, imaginative, bold; sometimes cryptic, often paradoxical. He calls Erickson a "wounded healer," who transcended polio as a teenager before deciding to go to medical school because he could no longer be a farmer. A great observer, Erickson trusted his unconscious and often used indirect suggestion to engage that of his patient.

This is an attractive introduction to a complex, ingenious therapist and, to many, a guru. A handful of his colleagues and students sometimes seem to compete for his mantle. Erickson's papers are collected in four volumes. There is an excellent biography, Milton H. Erickson, M.D.: An American Healer (2006) edited byBetty Erickson and Bradford Keeney.  For a broader introduction, TheHypnotic Brain by Peter Brown, M.D. (1991) has a fine example of Erickson's approach, while addressing the hypnotic phenomenon generally in its many guises.

Having studied hypnosis only in the last decade of my psychiatric career, I regret that it earns so little respect in academic circles and the health professions.  The relatively few who are trained in hypnosis have learned to pay attention to how we sound when we talk: content is important, but so is context and giving preference to positive rather than negative statements. Students of hypnosis benefit from knowing how we weaken our persuasive messages or influence more than we intend to.  Respectable researchers have made important contributions to this neglected subject in recent decades. Hypnosis is probably as well understood as most talking therapies. This CD is a good starting place for anyone interested in a psychological phenomenon that includes everything from the mundane to the mind-boggling.

Hypnosis, Guided Imagery and Fibromyalgia

According to a recent systematic review published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, hypnosis and guided imagery may not improve fibromyalgia-related quality of life. Fibromyalgia is a complex, disabling, chronic condition characterized by widespread pain, fatigue and stiffness in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. There may also be multiple tender points, which are areas of the body which experience pain upon slight pressure. Fibromyalgia may also be associated with sleep problems, depression and an inability to think clearly.

Currently, a cure for fibromyalgia is lacking. However, some treatments may be effective at reducing symptoms, such as medications, behavioral interventions, support groups, patient education and exercise. In mild cases, a reduction in stress and certain lifestyle changes may be enough to manage the disease. These changes may include counseling, regular exercise, physical therapy, healthy sleep habits, and stress reduction.

The recent meta-analysis and systematic review combined the results of six controlled trials. There was a total of 239 patients with fibromyalgia who received an average of nine hypnosis and guided imagery sessions.

Hypnosis, which is also known as hypnotherapy, is a trance-like state of altered consciousness in which the patient experiences increased focus, concentration, and openness to suggestion. Guided imagery is the process of directing a person's thoughts through suggestions that direct towards a relaxed and focused state.

The results showed that hypnosis and guided imagery did not statistically significantly reduce limitations in health-related quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia at the time of final treatment. Due to lack of available data, changes in fatigue, sleep, depressed mood, and health-related quality of life at follow-up were not calculated.

The researchers concluded that due to few available trials and trials of poor quality, future well-designed trials are necessary to adequately assess the impact of hypnosis and guided imagery on fibromyalgia.

In an evidence-based clinical review, Natural Standard found that hypnosis and guided imagery had unclear or conflicting evidence in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Further well-designed research may be necessary to realize their potential benefits. Natural Standard found, however, that both hypnosis and guided imagery have good scientific evidence for the treatment of certain types of headache and pain. In addition, hypnosis also has good scientific evidence as an adjunct to cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and for treating anxiety and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

For more information about fibromyalgia, please visit Natural Standard's database.


  1. Bernardy K, Fuber N, Klose P, et al. Efficacy of hypnosis/guided imagery in fibromyalgia syndrome - a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2011 Jun 15;12:133. View Abstract
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.

POSTGAME NOTES: Maybe that hypnotist could help elsewhere, a rare double-bogey for Vogey, Cabrera not showing himself much of an upgrade

In for Baggs on another night of offensive offense … A really good story came across the Associated Press wire today by the service’s longtime Bay Area reporter, Janie McCauley. It was about Bruce Bochy’s season-long ability to stay off canned tobacco snuff with the help of a hypnotist. Bullpen coach Billy Hayes and clubhouse manager Mike Murphy also signed up for the hypnosis therapy and have had similarly successful results getting off the dip.

So now, my twisted take: If this hypnotherapy works so well between the cheeks and gums of Bochy and Giants support staff, do you suppose it might have some positive effect between Giants’ hitters ears? At this point, anything might be worth a try. Holy popup, Batman, this is like a really baddeja vu movie, only instead of Groundhog Day, it’s more like Groundout Day.

The Giants were shackled by Pittsburgh’s Charlie Morton Monday night for eight innings. OK, Morton’s probably the Pirates’ best pitcher, but this team came into town on a worse streak than the current stock market. They’d lost 10 in a row, and they just got royally strafed by the powderpuff Padres … AT HOME. You’ve gotta beat these boys while their chins are dragging the chalk lines.

Yet the Giants mounted rallies like Boy Scouts on a rainy camping trip using 30-year-old matches. Two on, nobody out in both the second and fourth innings and both times it turned to squat. Short fly to left, force groundout, strikeout in the second. Strikeout, double play grounder in the fourth. With one out and two on in the fifth, comebacker to the mound that’s quickly turned into an easy DP. There were lesser failures we won’t even delineate. You saw them, you know the perpetrators, and you continue to be horrified by them.

Bochy is at the end of his rope, which is saying something even for a guy who’s gone four months without a big pinch of Copenhagen. He said afterward, ”We have to get our mojo back. We’ve lost it and we know it … but we need to get it back sooner than later.”

Get the mojo back? Everybody’s in favor, but at this point, it may require a hypnotist, or an exorcist, or perhaps even an arsonist. But let’s stick with the hypnosis hypothesis for now: “Look into my eyes. You are getting sleepy, sleepy, very sleepy …  OK, here we go, fellas: You will not swing from your behind when a simple well-struck ball to the right side will do. You will see a situation and maybe drop a surprise bunt, even if the manager doesn’t call for it (and he didn’t on this night when maybe he should have). You will try to think about what a pitcher is going to throw you in a certain count instead of just winging it. You will remain calm and loose instead of becoming a grimacing ball of tension and trying to win the game all by yourself by hitting one off the big Coke bottle. You will try to protect with two strikes instead of gazing dumbfoundedly at a called third. And, you Mr. Rowand, enough with the goofy gyrations, just stand up there and rake. OK, got it, guys? Now I’m going to snap my fingers and I want you snap out of it — pretty please — then go win some bleedin’ ballgames with your bats!”

Truth be told, I’m not a big believer in hyponosis. But a little levity might be the order of another bad day. If fans keep grinding on this offensive ineptitude, they may need a psychiatrist, not a hypnotist.

Victoria Secret model Miranda Kerr uses Hypnobirthing to have son naturally

Written by

Heather VanNest

Victoria Secret model Miranda Kerr used Hypnobirthing techniques to give birth to her son. She says the daily, relaxation breathing exercises and guided imagery she used while she was pregnant had a lot to do with the calm demeanor of her baby boy.

Hypnobirthing classes don't actually involve traditional hypnosis. Women use specific breathing exercises to relax enough so that they don't need epidurals or medications which are usually given to speed up labor (and can intensify contractions).

 Kerr joins actress Jessica Alba who also talked about taking these classes to have a medication-free natural birth. The specific training exercises allow for a more peaceful birthing process.

While natural, medication-free births are common in other countries, it is less likely a woman in the United States would have a natural birth.

The U.S. also has one of the highest c-section rates in the world. Florida has the highest c-section rate in the country. The reasons for the high rate include convenience, medical malpractice concerns, age/health of mother. Recovery can take longer compared to natural birth.

I interviewed many Hypnobirthing mothers who told me the techniques trained them to relax their entire bodies so they could have a peaceful birth experience.

It's another birthing option for parents to consider.

I figured I had nothing to lose so I paid for the classes to see if they would work for me.


10 News

The dangers of hypnotic regression

Hypnosis is a safe and effective therapeutic procedure in the hands of a trained hypnotist, but it can be dangerous in the hands of an amateur.

By: Jaime T. Licauco

12:23 am | Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

The growing acceptance of the concept of reincarnation, despite our strong Catholic orientation, has given rise to a good number of individuals performing past life hypnotic regression, even though they may not be qualified to do so.

I’ve heard, for example, some psychics, fortune tellers, mediums, exorcists and even feng shui specialists practicing it.

Hypnosis is a safe and effective therapeutic procedure in the hands of a trained hypnotist, but it can be dangerous in the hands of an amateur. We’ve all heard stories of people performing hypnotic spells on others for criminal purposes. Many store cashiers and even bank tellers have been victimized by such criminals.

One dramatic case of an ordinary housewife who was hypnotized by an amateur hypnotist to go back to a previous life had disastrous consequences. The woman was regressed to a past life several hundred years before, when she was a beautiful and accomplished person.

She identified herself so much with that glorious past life, compared to her drab and uninteresting present life, that she had difficulty accepting her present status. She wanted to remain living in the past.

This is the story contained in the book, “The Search for Bridey Murphy,” which was made into a movie in Hollywood.

Because it is very easy to place a person under hypnosis, I have always refused to perform past life hypnotic regression on TV.

That’s why I was surprised to learn that Oprah Winfrey once showed an episode where a hypnotist placed a woman in a trance and brought her back to a past life, before the camera, from beginning to end.


According to psychologists, about 70 percent of the population can be hypnotized, and the rest cannot. That’s why hypnosis should be done only by competent and highly trained hypnotists.

But Filipinos being what they are, everybody wants to jump on the bandwagon without realizing its possible dangers or negative consequences.

Several years ago, I got a frantic phone call from a teenager. What happened was, several cousins ages 17-19 gathered to perform a past life hypnotic regression on their 18-year-old female cousin by using a procedure from a book on hypnosis. They succeeded in putting her in a trance and moving her back several hundred years.

Then all of a sudden, the hypnotized subject became agitated and started crying profusely. They tried to wake her up by shaking her shoulders. It didn’t work. They even slapped her, it didn’t work either. She remained in deep trance, crying.

Fortunately, one of them remembered me and looked for my number in the phone directory. They told me what happened. I asked to talk to the person who gave the entranced subject the hypnotic induction.

I gave him instructions on what to do to wake her up and call me afterwards. After about five minutes, one of them called me up and informed me the subject had waken up. I told them never to play again with hypnosis. They learned their lesson the hard way.

I have been conducting past life hypnotic regression for more than 20 years now in the Philippines and for three years in Poland. I have never had any problem of this nature. I always advise my students to never allow anybody to hypnotize them, no matter how light it is, unless they know the background of the person doing it. It should never be done by anybody who is not properly and competently trained for it.

My next Inner Mind Development seminar will be on Aug. 13-14, 2011 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Rm. 308 Prince Plaza I, Legazpi St., Legazpi Village, Makati. For details, please call tel no. 8107245 or cell phone no. (0920) 981-8962; email Visit our website:


Hypnosis tackles problems at their roots

To tackle a problem, one must address its roots. This axiom holds true for many things, and forms the cornerstone of hypnotherapy - a form of therapy that uses hypnosis to help a person overcome habits, beliefs or emotions that have a negative impact on his life. Giselle Gianella Gabe (pictured above), a certified professional hypnosis instructor residing in Singapore, explains to AsiaOne Health that such negative beliefs, habits and emotions have their roots in the subconscious mind, which has an inbuilt protective mechanism that guards it from unnecessary changes. Unfortunately, the same protective mechanism also means that once a false belief has taken root within the subconscious mind, it is very difficult to correct or dispel it. This is where hypnosis comes in.

"For real, permanent change, you need to work on the subconscious mind in order to achieve both cognitive and emotional change," says Ms Gabe, who was born in Peru. "Hypnosis is the only known method that successfully allows the properly trained hypnotherapist to bypass the mind's protective mechanism and work directly on the sub-conscious mind, thus having an immediate effect on it."


According to Ms Gabe, who is also a Master Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), hypnotherapy can treat issues such as psychosomatic illnesses, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and phobias. It can also be used to help people achieve their goals by helping them "unlock" their potentials and talents, or by helping them overcome self-limiting beliefs and habits such as procrastination, self-sabotage and low self-esteem.

Hypnotherapy can also impact the unconscious mind, which Ms Gabe describes as the 'body's consciousness'. She describes a case in which one of her clients suffered from repeated miscarriages: "Her pregnancies generated enormous amount of fear that she was not able to cope as a mother and to be able to do a good job as a mother. Hence, her womb 's reponse was to 'expel' the baby.

"Once we got to the root cause of her fear, she was able to complete the [therapy] process. Her womb was then able to hold babies, and she gave birth to two gorgeous and healthy babies in a span of 3 years."

While hypnotherapy is safe in general, and has no risk of physical side-effects unlike many medications, it is best to seek out trained hypnotherapists. "If the hypnotherapist is not well-trained and uses age regression, there is a small chance that false memories can be implanted ," cautions Ms Gabe.

AsiaOne Health understands that unscrupulous or poorly trained therapists in the United States have been sued for implanting false memories of childhood sexual abuse in their clients - 'memories' that often ripped apart families and marriages.

That said, hypnosis is not a form of mind control. "No one can control your mind but you!" asserts Ms Gabe. "There is no way a person can give up her own will power unless she wants to."

She notes that there are some who may fall victim of people who are skilled at manipulating others. However, the distinction between manipulation and mind control must be stressed - a person may be manipulated without losing control of his mind and will.

Some people say that hypnosis/hypnotherapy is a form of mind control. What is your response to that?

Unfortunately, I say that it is both a misconception and a sad reality.

The misconception comes mainly from the misrepresentation of hypnosis in movies that show hypnosis as a tool to control people, even to the point of making a person rob a bank!

The person who receives the suggestion 'go and rob the bank' must have in his subconscious mind the belief 'It's OK to rob a bank' or have a fantasy of doing it - because the mind is very simple, it will accept external information that matches what already exists in the subconscious Mind and will immediately reject the information that doesn't match. This explains also how hypnosis and hypnotherapy are safe, as you will not accept a suggestion that you do not like.

This misconception comes also from the misunderstanding of what is hypnosis/hypnotherapy and 'Stage Hypnosis'.

The purpose of stage hypnosis is to entertain people - this is why you will never see a Stage Hypnotist 'pick' a volunteer (if you ever go to a show, be observant and you will see). The Stage Hypnotist knows that if he picks someone 'unwilling' to go on stage he will be shooting himself in the foot. Hypnosis/hypnotherapy is a dance in which the hypnotherapist leads and the client follows. If the person is not willing to go on stage, he is unlikely to follow instructions and hence be very unlikely to be hypnotised.

Anyone's mind has a protective mechanism that is working 24/7. There is no way that a person will give up her own will power unless she wants to.

Is hypnosis sleep?

Hypnosis is not sleep. If you fall asleep during your session you will miss the whole thing and your hypnotherapist will not be able to work with you at all. Hypnosis and hypnotherapy require your full, focused attention.

You may have your eyes closed, and you may look like you are asleep, and even your Hypnotist or Hypnotherapist may use the word 'sleep' - but when she uses this word it means: 'Become deeply relaxed as if you are asleep'. It doesn't mean you will sleep!

Hypnosis/ hypnotherapy is an interactive activity that you do while being fully conscious and aware. When you emerge from hypnosis you remember everything and you are aware of what you did with your hypnotist/hypnotherapist.

Is Hypnosis mind control?

No IT IS NOT. No one can control your mind but you!

How is hypnosis carried out? E.g. is it done by swinging a pendulum in front of the client, as we often see in the movies?

The pendulum usage is what you see on TV and in movies, and it is very old fashion.

In the old days the pendulum was used to help induce hypnosis.

Nowadays, I don't think you will find a properly trained Hypnotherapist using this method. First of all it is boring - your mind will get so fed up that it won't pay any attention after a while, hence you will not do hypnosis or hypnotherapy properly!

Now there are modern methods that are effective and take little time to induce hypnosis. For instance we use Rapid Induction Techniques that are fast and effective. Compared to the traditional ways of inducing hypnosis (that in some cases could take up to half an hour), we can do it in less than a minute or even in seconds.

Giselle Gianella Gabe is a Certified Professional Hypnosis Instructor and a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner.

By Carole Fawcett

"Can you teach me how to relax Carole?” was the question a client asked me not too long ago.  Yes, as a matter of fact I can (and did)  and if you’d like to give yourself the gift of relaxation, keep reading.

You can learn how to slow down and totally relax.  It’s important to do this at least once per day.   So I’m going to teach you how to do self hypnosis.

Find a quiet comfortable spot where you know you will not be disturbed for ½ hour – 45 minutes.  Turn off your cell phone.  Get nice and comfy.

Sometimes it is helpful to have meditation music playing in the background.

Close your eyes and become mindful of your feelings.  Identify any feelings of stress, anxiety or other issues. (see if they are affecting any parts of your body – sore shoulders, achy bits, tension headaches, etc.)  Visualize these feelings leaving.  See yourself waving good-bye to them.

Identify the tension in your body.  Starting with your head, concentrate on relaxing your skull, your forehead, all the little muscles around your eyes, your cheeks, your mouth, your nose, jaw and work all the way down your body, finishing with the feet.  Visualize each part of your body as you do this and consciously relax to the point you feel like you may be floating.  Try to become as relaxed as a rag-doll.

Take nice deep breaths in and out.  Breathe in calmness and peace and breathe out tension and negative emotion.

Once you have completely relaxed your body, imagine yourself stepping into an elevator that has 10 floors that go down.  See the elevator and notice that the inside of the elevator is surrounded by a beautiful aquarium.  In your minds eye, push the DOWN button.  Visualize the word “DOWN”.  As you are going down – 10 – nine – eight – feel yourself becoming lighter and more relaxed.  Do this slowly and really ‘see’ the numbers.  When you finally arrive at floor number one, imagine the elevator doors opening and see yourself stepping out into a beautiful garden, filled with your favourite flowers, or shrubbery or animals (you can imagine anything you like at this point – if you’d prefer a beach, or a lake, you can use that as a visual instead of a garden).

In your minds eye, visualize five steps that go down into your special place (garden, beach, lake, etc.), so counting the steps down to the scene, becoming aware that when you get to the bottom, you will feel the surface that you are stepping onto (grass, sand, etc.)  Concentrate on this feeling and allow peace and calmness to wash over you.  Really feel it.

As you become aware of the grass/sand, you will know that you are very relaxed.  This is a good time to give yourself some positive messages (i.e.  I am very relaxed and calm; I am confident; I am healthy; I am happy and content). When you feel nice and relaxed, you can begin to return slowly to the room.  Step onto the elevator and push the button that says “UP”………….and slowly counting from one to 10, start to come up.

Once you get off the elevator on floor 10, become more aware of being in the chair or couch you are seated in and begin to bring yourself back into awareness.

Once you have opened your eyes and are back in the room, say, out loud, “I am now awake,” and this will bring your mind back to the conscious state (or if you are doing this at night – just drift off to sleep if you haven’t already done so).

This is an excellent exercise to do at night if you have sleep issues, or after a stressful day at work.  It helps to slow down your brain waves and is mentally and physically very beneficial.

But like anything that is good for our body and minds, only doing it once will not make a huge difference.  It is something you need to incorporate into your life.

If you have chronic pain issues, self hypnosis can help to ease the pain, because pain causes tension in the body. Self hypnosis can help to ease the cycle of pain.

It will take some practice to become deeply relaxed, but don’t give up.  And don’t worry if you don’t remember all the steps – make up your own steps.

The more you practice encouraging your mind to quiet and slow down, the happier your body will be.


Carole Fawcett is a clinical hypnotherapist, registered professional counsellor and freelance writer.



Hypnotize Yourself To Good Sleep

Marc Schoen, Ph.D.

Assistant Clinical Professor, UCLA's School of Medicine

Hypnotherapy for sleep disturbance is commonly believed to be driven by the power of suggestion -- where suggestions are given to the client to feel tired or sleepy at bedtime. Yet, hypnotherapy can be substantially more than direct suggestions for sleepiness. In its greatest form, hypnosis has the ability to recondition the entire sleep process. It can be used to retrain the client's reactions to negative or intrusive thoughts, early awakenings, stress and even the tendency to resist sleep.

Common concerns expressed by clients seeking hypnosis for insomnia is that they might be resistant to hypnosis and will dislike relinquishing control, or that they will not be able to sit still or quiet their mind enough to benefit. The apprehensions they hold about hypnosis are commonly the very same dynamics that are operative in impeding their sleep process. But this is where hypnosis particularly shines, for the process of embracing the trance state is parallel to the welcoming in of the sleep state. Rather than being obstructive to the hypnosis treatment, these sleep and hypnosis resistances now become part of the treatment -- rather than remaining outside of it. The goal is not to extinguish these unconscious oppositions, but instead to alter the client's reaction to them. In this way, these resistances become sleep enhancing rather than sleep disruptive.

With our culture's growing sense of having to be "on" 24 hours a day, the pressures of remaining alert, attentive and awake can be suffocating. There is often a pressure to delay or resist fatigue and sleepiness in order to complete our work demands. The unintended consequence is that we are teaching the mind and body to resist its natural rhythms. When it is time to go to bed and switch gears, the mind and body have been trained to resist letting go to the sleepy feeling, a process that I call sleep resistance. Over time, the process of going to sleep becomes a signal to wake up, and increasingly, associated with significant frustration and anticipatory anxiety.

In addition to developing a healthy sleep hygiene routine, hypnosis can be used to restore the client's ability to switch gears from a cerebrally active mind that resists sleep to one that is receptive to the sleep process. In this case hypnosis is used to influence both the physical and mental experience of going to sleep. By using hypnosis to modify the wind-up associated with the pre-sleep ritual, the routine is now conditioned to elicit a state of relaxation.

The pre-sleep rituals -- such as a nightly shower, brushing teeth, television or climbing into bed -- are now altered to facilitate a gradual shifting from an alert to a relaxed or sleepy state. Additionally, hypnosis can be helpful in restructuring negative or distracting thoughts; thoughts that are sleep obstructive can be transformed and conditioned to be sleep facilitative. Since it is difficult to quell negative or distracting thoughts, it is possible to imbue them with either a neutral or a soporific effect whenever the client thinks about them.

Pertinent to the issue of intrusive bedtime thoughts is the common misperception that it is imperative to silence conscious thoughts in order for the sleep process to unfold. In actuality, the sleep process unfolds even in the presence of conscious activity. By giving the client practice going in and out of the hypnotic trance while entertaining intrusive thoughts, the client learns to experience consciousness as part of the sleep process rather than outside of it.

The fact that the hypnotic process can mimic the sleep process has particular value in dealing with the early awakening form of insomnia; the condition in which individuals find it difficult to return to sleep after awakening in the middle of the night. To address this condition, hypnosis is used to induce a sleepy relaxed state in the client. While in this relaxed zone, the client is repeatedly awakened from the sleep like trance, a process which duplicates the early awakenings at night time. Next, by following these interruptions with a subsequent induction into the hypnotic sleep state, the wake-ups now become a stimulus for returning to sleep. Thus, rather than the wake-ups being associated with protracted periods of non-sleep and frustration, they are now associated with another opportunity to return to sleep.

I also find it helpful to record a hypnosis CD for clients to listen to at bedtime. This CD is comprised of those suggestions that have been facilitative in inducing a hypnotic sleep state in my meetings with the client. This CD has several goals. First, it helps the client disengage from an active cerebral mind and physical state to a frequency that is more conducive to sleep. Second, the CD serves as a transitional object, extending the hypnosis interventions to the client's sleep process outside of our sessions. Third, as the CD is continually paired with falling asleep, the hypnotic CD over time becomes a stimulus for precipitatingsleep.

Since a number of clients begin treatment with a heavy reliance on sleep medications, hypnosis can be a valuable tool in altering their physical and psychological dependence on these medications. Therapy sessions can be used to give clients experience in becoming relaxed and sleeping without medications. This can boost their confidence in their own inner resources while lessening their psychological reliance on external solutions.

Further, hypnosis can influence the client's physical dependency on sleep medications. Hypnotic suggestions can be aimed at affecting how the client reacts to the sleep medications. In this scenario, suggestions are given so that the act of taking less of a medication is now experienced as taking more of the medication. Gradually, this procedure can be utilized to reduce the amount of the medication required by the client. Finally, the power of the sleep medications can be conditioned and transferred to the sleep CD, which allows the sleep CD to exert more power over the sleep process.

For most individuals, reconditioning the sleep pattern can happen in as little as three meetings, while five to seven meetings are more typical. In those cases where there is a previous trauma related to sleep or a heavy dependency on multiple sleep medications, more extensive treatment may be necessary. Additionally, hypnotic interventions tend to work better for more acute insomnia episodes as opposed to chronic insomnia that emanates from childhood or early adulthood.

In summary, since so few visits are necessary to determine whether hypnotic interventions can be a productive intervention for insomnia, hypnosis is worth considering where more traditional forms of intervention have not been successful. For cases in which it is evident that the insomnia is a function of negative conditioning, hypnotic interventions may be of particular value due to their powerful reconditioning properties.

UCSD Professor Teaches Subliminal Therapy at Athens Conference

A treatment originally developed by Dr. Edwin K. Yager is to be the subject of a textbook out this fall.

  • By Sandra Fong Young
  • Email the author
  • July 26, 2011
  • There are no swirling black and white spirals or pocket watches swinging back and forth in UCClinical Professor Dr. Edwin K. Yager’s Subliminal Therapy practice. In fact, patients may not even enter a hypnotic trance. Instead, subliminal therapy, a treatment developed by Yager, helps patients access and use unconscious abilities to treat problems caused by negative life experiences.

    This past May, Yager was invited to share his findings in Athens before a global audience at the 16th International Conference of the Association of Psychology and Psychiatry for Adults and Children. During the two-part workshop titled “Subliminal Therapy: Effective, Evidence-Based Psychotherapy of Psychogenic Medical Problems,” Yager explained how this specific psychotherapy can treat problems including headaches, asthma, addictive disorders, anxiety, depression, pain issues and weight control.

    However, with subliminal therapy, the clinician may never know the specific experiences or issues faced by the patient. By guiding patients’ “extra-conscious” domain that Yager has named “centrum,” the clinician can aid patients in determining the root of their problem and help educate the conscious mind of these issues. Yager stresses that the clinician is merely a facilitator in this process, as the patient is in control of both conscious and unconscious activities. The clinician can only interact with “centrum” by responses reported by the patient through an imaginary chalkboard or whiteboard.

    Yager acknowledges that there are skeptics of the treatment, both within the general public and professionals, but he is confident in the results of his research over the past three decades.

    Researched success rates vary but are generally high, including a survey Yager began in 2009 where the most common problem treated was general anxiety, with a success rate of 92 percent. Other success rates include 70 percent improvement in pain disorders, 66 percent for compulsive behavior, and 90 percent for phobias.

    Subliminal therapy is also considered an extremely time-efficient form of treatment compared to traditional therapy. Yager asserts that most individual problems go away after three to seven sessions and explains that it works to resolve issues by identifying and recognizing their causes (life experiences), instead of focusing on the symptoms.

    “We learn to be afraid or to react in a physical way when things happen, and we sometimes continue to react in the same way long after the event,” said Yager. He has observed that if a problem is periodic, it may have been learned, compared to other ailments, such as a headache caused by a brain tumor, that would result in constant pain.

    Conference participant Dr. Edith Samuel, an associate professor and coordinator for the Department of Psychology at Crandall University in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, was not familiar with subliminal therapy before the workshop and from her initial understanding considered it “pretty Freudian in approach.”

    After Yager conducted the therapy on a couple of attendees, Samuel said that she considered the treatment very effective and “more practical than other therapies that I know of.” Yager said such reaction post-demonstration is common and commented, “It was encouraging for me to see the same enthusiastic responses from persons from other countries as I have found here.”

    Yager first began conceptualizing subliminal therapy in 1973, copyrighting it with his first paper in 1976 and claims he has demonstrated its efficacy on thousands of patients since then, including William Campbell, a retired airline captain residing in Tierrasanta. Campbell came to Yager with chronic pain in his lower back. After approximately six sessions, he was able to resolve his pain and also found that the therapy helped him fall asleep quicker. Patients’ experience with subliminal therapy varies, but Campbell described, “When coming out of the trance state I tingle all over.”

    In another case, Fletcher Hills resident Barbara Tierney sought subliminal therapy in order to lose weight and as a result, was able to resolve an abuse issue experienced earlier in her life. She noted that she had completed many years of therapy but believed the best she could do was “manage varying degrees of shame, fear, dread, panic.”

    “I felt as though Dr. Yager and I were watching the event back in the time and place that it occurred,” said Tierney, who had treatment for a year. Tierney was able to recondition the unconscious parts of her mind causing the problems and successfully remove her lingering feelings. The treatment has also led to larger life changes, as she has since returned to graduate school to become a psychologist and practice subliminal therapy herself.

    In addition to his roles as psychologist and practitioner, Yager is the founder of the nonprofit Subliminal Therapy Institute Inc., which conducts formal research including identifying other illnesses that can be treated with the therapy, trains clinicians and educates the public and other clinicians.

    Yager, a La Jolla area resident, has been with UC San Diego since 1975, when he began in the department of pediatrics. He then held clinical appointments in the department of psychiatry, leading to his appointment as a clinical professor of psychiatry in 2005.

    To assist people looking to practice this psychotherapy, Yager has written a textbook that provides examples and transcripts for completed cases. Launching this fall, the book is titled, Subliminal Therapy: Using the Mind to Heal. He is also the author of Foundations of Clinical Hypnosis: From Theory to Practice.

    Continuing to teach workshops and speak at conferences around the world, Yager will be presenting a one-hour workshop next month for the 2011 Congress of the European Society of Hypnosis in Istanbul, Turkey.


Acting up: is hysteria all in the mind?

Celebrity hysterics' drew crowds in the 19th-century – but what can they teach us today?

Laura Barnett

  • Monday 25 July 2011 20.59 BST

Jean-Martin Charcot inducing hypnosis using a magic lantern. Getty Images

In the winter of 1876, 15-year-old Louise Augustine Gleizes, a patient at the sprawling Salpêtrière women's hospital in Paris, had 154 hysterical fits in one day. She heard voices; she saw swarms of black, demonic rats; she felt an intense pain in her right ovary; and then she lost consciousness, her body convulsing in a series of violent seizures.


  • Yet this was not just a private problem. Each of Augustine's attacks were carefully monitored by her doctor, Jean-Martin Charcot, eanand his team. She was wheeled out to demonstrate her symptoms to a class of students, and along with other women patients, was photographed and hypnotised to exhibit the various stages of hysteria to packed-out public lectures – becoming, in the process, a celebrity in France and beyond.

Now the teenager's hysteria – along with fellow Salpêtrière patients Blanche Wittman and Geneviève Legrand – is the subject of Medical Muses: Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century Paris, a fascinating and beautifully written book by Asti Hustvedt. Originally the term "hysteria", widely attributed to Hippocrates, was used to describe a female disorder caused by a "wandering womb"– something now disdained as a misogynistic anachronism. Yet Hustvedt controversially argues that certain aspects of hysteria are still with us today.

Hustvedt, a French scholar, and sister of novelist Siri Hustvedt, has long been fascinated by hysteria and the Salpêtrière. "It was haunting me; I kept thinking, what does [hysteria] mean?" Yet Hustvedt's own preconceptions about the illness, and Charcot's treatment of his patients, also changed. She started out suspicious of his theatrical lectures in which the hypnotised hysterics were compelled to perform various degrading tasks, from stamping on imaginary snakes to kissing the hospital chaplain.

"There's a lot that we can, and we should, criticise Charcot for. These women were undoubtedly turned into medical specimens to serve his needs," she points out. "But at the same time, he did take hysteria seriously. He insisted that it was real, not imaginary or faked."

This serious analysis of symptoms whose origins can't be medically determined is not, she points out, always the approach taken by doctors and patients today. "If you are diagnosed with something whose origin remains murky – a syndrome – people experience it as something pejorative, or that they don't have a legitimate disease."

She also believes that Charcot's definition of hysteria as an almost exclusively female complaint – one produced by the strange, unknowable female body – continues to dog today's medicine. "In many ways we live in a culture that's far less sexist than Charcot's was," says Hustvedt, "but when it comes to the idea that the female body is, say, more vulnerable to hormones than the male body – that absolutely continues. As does the idea that anything connected to the entirely natural, biological female reproductive system – pregnancy, childbirth, menstruation, menopause ‑ is a medical issue."

Crucially, Hustvedt argues that it's no use asking retrospectively, now that the diagnosis of hysteria has disappeared, which contemporary disease Charcot's patients might have had. Hysteria, even if its causes remained mysterious, was, for Charcot and his patients, a real and recognised medical condition, some of whose frequently reported symptoms – such as sporadic limb paralysis – occur rarely today, if at all.

"All illness," she says, "is experienced in a specific time and place, and it is classified differently depending on what culture you're from. Significantly, they [the hysterical women] would probably not exhibit the same symptoms today."

But some of the facets of what was once termed hysteria, do, she says, still exist: in the many neurological complaints that still go undiagnosed; in eating disorders (some of Charcot's hysterics refused food); in the increasingly widespread diagnosis of depression (Augustine, Blanche and Geneviève all led extremely troubled and traumatic lives: towards the end of his life, Charcot was approaching a psychosomatic explanation for their symptoms); in self-mutilation, multiple personality disorder and chronic fatigue syndrome; and even in the sudden outbreak of rashes reported by schoolgirls across America in the wake of 9/11.

"There's been a lot of talk about how hysteria has disappeared," Hustvedt says. "In some ways that's accurate – it's no longer considered a medical entity or diagnosis. And at the same time, of course, it hasn't disappeared. People continue to write about it, people continue to talk about it; it's been broken up and reclassified into other, separate disorders. It's just that the names have shifted."

Betty And Barney Hill UFO Abduction Story Commemorated On Official N.H. Highway Plaque

New Hampshire -- the "Live Free or Die" state -- has done something that may surprise UFO believers as well as skeptics. It has just erected a historical marker commemorating the 50th anniversary close encounter of Betty and Barney Hill. The Hills' story is undoubtedly the most famous of all UFO experiences because (as the official plaque reads) it was "the first widely-reported UFO abduction report in the United States."

It was also the first time that anyone in this country had reported undergoing invasive physical examinations at the hands of short, "grey" aliens.

"To tell you the truth, we were very excited about the prospect," said Elizabeth Muzzey, director of the N.H. Division of Historical Resources, which created the new historic plaque.

"We have more than 200 markers across the state and to have a 20th Century marker topic like this, we thought, was terrific and it's certainly a great historical challenge," Muzzey told The Huffington Post.

Historical challenge, indeed, considering the ongoing debate over whether or not the Hills -- both deceased -- actually were kidnapped onto an alien spacecraft 50 years ago.

Late at night on Sept. 19, 1961, they were driving through the White Mountains of New Hampshire, returning from a Canadian vacation to their home in Portsmouth when they spotted an object in the sky with lights, which at first seemed like an airplane. But when the "airplane" began to rapidly descend in their direction, they quickly continued driving south along Route 3.

Just south of the Indian Head resort, the Hills stopped in the middle of the road and said the silent, cigar-shaped craft hovered above their car. Through binoculars, Barney claimed to see several "strangely not human" figures at the object's windows. Fearing they were about to be captured, Barney quickly drove away.

The next thing the Hills remembered was that they were 35 miles farther along on their journey and approximately two hours had passed which they couldn't account for. This amnesia continued to bother them, leading to physical and mental disorders until finally, three years after the experience, time-regression hypnosis was used to extract the lost information. Under separate hypnotic sessions, the Hills produced details of a reported kidnapping by aliens on board a spacecraft.

Among the various odd things about this case that were verified: both the Hills' watches mysteriously stopped running on the night of their experience; the tops of Barney's shoes somehow got severely scraped; Betty's dress had a 2-inch tear at the top of the zipper, was also torn from the waist to the hemline and the hem was torn down on one side; and they found shiny circles on the trunk of their car which caused the needle of a compass to spin rapidly when it was brought close to the trunk.

The Hills' encounter became the subject of many books and a 1975 TV movie, The UFO Incident, starring James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons.

In 2008, Kathleen Marden, the Hills' niece, became part of a campaign trying to get New Hampshire to create a historic landmark about her aunt and uncle's experience. She contacted the department of cultural resources at the N.H. Division of Historical Resources in Concord.

"I was told that everything I submitted had to be backed up with a bibliography, and all of the text [for the marker] had to be footnoted," Marden told The Huffington Post. "It was a very long process to compile everything and I sent them a lot of material. The state asked me to prove every statement that I made -- I had to back up everything with source materials to indicate that I was being accurate."

Marden, co-author of Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience with nuclear physicist Stanton T. Friedman, says she finally received a long-awaited response this spring from the N.H. Historical Resources office.

"I had given up hope, thinking that the funding wouldn't be allocated or that the state of New Hampshire had decided not to do this, but they told me the funding had been granted for this plaque to be erected, and they wanted some information about where I thought I would like for it to be."

It was decided to put the historic marker at the Indian Head resort because that location had been an important part of the Hills' original 1961 experience.

The commemorative sign, displaying the official New Hampshire state seal, and titled "Betty and Barney Hill Incident," was unveiled on July 20 and reads:

On the night of September 19-20, 1961, Portsmouth, N.H., couple Betty and Barney Hill experienced a close encounter with an unidentified flying object and two hours of "lost" time while driving south on Rte 3 near Lincoln. They filed an official Air Force Project Blue Book report of a brightly-lit cigar-shaped craft the next day, but were not public with their story until it was leaked in the Boston Traveler in 1965. This was the first widely-reported UFO abduction report in the United States.

At the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, Muzzey described how they decided on the exact text to use for the UFO marker.

"We thought about the 1950s and '60s in our country when there was such widespread interest in things such as space travel and space exploration. And in all the years since, there have been a great number of people who have asked whether other forms of life may exist out there in the solar system and beyond," she said.

"Certainly, the experience of the Hills falls right at the center of that cultural and scientific experience," Muzzey added. "So that's what we are presenting in the marker -- that this was the first widely reported UFO abduction report in the U.S., and a ton have since followed."

Whether one believes or doubts that the Hills were kidnapped by aliens, what stands out about them is that they were highly credible, reliable people. Betty was a social worker and Barney had been appointed by the governor of New Hampshire to serve on the state advisory committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. After campaigning for Lyndon Johnson's successful 1964 presidential run, the Hills and Marden were invited to Johnson's 1965 inauguration.

While the Hills' historical highway marker is now up and available for all to see, a special 50th anniversary celebration of their UFO experience will take place at the Indian Head resort on Sept. 23-25.


Review - Mastering the Power of Self-hypnosis

A Practical Guide to Self Empowermentby C. Roy Hunter Crown House Publishing, 2010 Review by Samin Khan Aug 16th 2011 (Volume 15, Issue 33)

What does getting hypnotized mean? For a non-scientific mind it is nothing short of black-magic, getting into a surreal trance, doing unbelievable things, utmost human power and control over another person; in simpler words making a robot out of others or himself in this case as the book is about self-hypnosis and autosuggestions in the tradition of Hypnotherapist Cuoe.

For Roy Hunter this is only a mythical popular concept of hypnosis; to get hypnotized is to get into a little different sort of mental state and interaction with another person. It is like strongly agreeing in a communicative atmosphere where suggestions are readily accepted without friction or criticism, a sort of emotional deeper communication level where the objective is not to convince oneself logically but to persuade and motivate emotionally without elaborate justifications. For the author, getting hypnotized is to respond emotionally even when we know that at another conscious level it may sound totally unreal. When watching a movie we respond to all its laughter and cries instantly but deep down we are aware that it is just a movie and nothing more. So does the hypnotized person know it is just a passing movement of intense emotional communication which will alter in no time, without a trace or memory in future? Similar to the trance created by music and poetry, no wonder Plato thought music has the power to possess people like they people who need exorcism.

From a scientific viewpoint, we know that our brains works by discharging waves and these waves can be measured by EEG (Electroencephalograph) in terms of it frequency; waves discharge like ECG of a heart where we measure functions. Brain waves of 13 and above per second mean we are in normal mode waking, usually in high gear, reasoning, talking and calculating called the Beta state. But at frequency between 8-13 EEG we are in Alpha state, where we are usually lost in imagination, inactive and relax, in a sort of daydreaming mode just like when we are in the middle of a long flight with nothing to do. Below 8 EEG we sleep in theDelta state and further down in Theta state of deep sleep where all conscious functions stop except heart, breathing and other vital processes. All this may sound medical-mysticism initially but is logical and in accordance with common place observations.

Part of the book discusses the historical progression of the concept of hypnotism and its use for public amusement on the stage; famous names like Franz Mesmer are quoted by the author who happens to be the ancestor in the family tree. For those who wish to read history, this part has useful information. In an impressive chapter author focuses on how people can get out of negative subconscious programming in addiction healing, common challenges of quitting alcohol and smoking etc are discussed in detail. The subconscious slipping down into the old state of affairs is usually the greatest danger for an addict. We have triggers and anchors and we must undo them at the subconscious level first before we change irreversibly. We can change at the surface and then fall back easily into old addictions cycle.

The last part of the book is about positive self-communication and the use of affirmative language in autosuggestions. It is always nice to use active verbs with positive emotional connotations according to the author. Words always rebound back and make things happen around us. Advice of the author is to “remain careful in what we say”, I can’t agree with him more on this. I recommend the book for everyone who has interest in positive psychology.

© 2011 Samin Khan

Hypnosis Helps Giants Manager Bruce Bochy Quit Chewing Tobacco

By Mark Berman Opposing Views on Aug 14, 2011

Chewing tobacco is as much a tradition in baseball as digging into the batter's box or scratching your crotch. But at least one longtime chewer has kicked the habit thanks to hypnosis.

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy has been chewing tobacco for forty years, dating back to his playing days. But the Associated Press reports that after a couple of his staff members said a hypnotist help them quit the nasty habit, he decided to give it a shot.

On April 15 he spent three and a half hours in the Arizona office of hypnotherapist AlVera Paxson. In a near-sleep state, Paxson gave him instructions about quitting. Bochy then headed off to the game.

Now, Bochy usually takes a chew before the game, then during the first, fifth and eighth innings, then after the game. But the funniest thing happened -- he had no craving to chew.

The craving came back the next game, though.

"It was really strange," Bochy said. "There are so many triggers that you have that make you want to put a dip in. The following day, I did have an urge, not a real strong one. I said, 'OK, I've had my day off, now it's time to put one in.'"

But he fought the craving.

"The next game I did have an urge. The next two to three days I still had an urge, but it just wasn't as strong as other times I've tried to quit," he said. "When I got past the fourth or fifth day, I was over it. I didn't crave it. I didn't want it. I was fine."

And that was it. Bochy hasn't chewed since. He said it was the best $300 he's even spent.

Now to solve the scratching problem...

Hypnotherapist Jake Shannon By Rachel Piper

Jake Shannon is a hypnotherapist, stage hypnotist, radio host, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Utah and an author. He also teaches mental self-defense and has a long background in wrestling—his most recent book, Say Uncle, has been one of’s best-selling mixed-martial-arts books.

Do you need a spinny disk to hypnotize someone? It is just having people focus on the operator, the hypnotist’s voice. Every single person that talks is essentially a hypnotist—they just differ in their ability to get compliance. It’s important to see how powerful language is in changing our perceptions. Language is incredibly powerful. It’s just like the gun—it has to do with the intent of the awareness. A gun is just a hunk of metal. As a hypnotist, all I have is language. I don’t have pills or potions. There are lots of ways we can be nudged to do things simply by words alone. It’s pretty powerful. Hypnotism is studied a lot in psychology departments. But I think it would be better served as an interdisciplinary study between psychology and graduate-level rhetoric—the study of persuasive speech.

How do you change someone from a smoker to a nonsmoker? Part of that is getting to that identity, and then shifting that identity. Smokers are having this conversation—“I’m stressed out, I deserve one; I’ll just have one.” Coming to me, I change it; I have them disassociate from that and have them associate with the parts of their lives that are really into health and really want them to quit. Self-conversation is largely the way that we think, and as such, you need to take charge of your self-conversation. A lot of the time we go on cruise control. The questions that we ask ourselves are crucial because we answer them—and those answers will lead us in different directions.

Can you unlock repressed memories? Memory is a massive problem because it’s completely unreliable. There’s a huge field of forensic hypnosis, using it for purposes of law enforcement. Forensic hypnosis largely has been focused on helping people remember—you know, witness testimony and whatnot. Back in the early ’90s, there was this big rash of people remembering that their parents were abusing them; they were having these repressed memories. What they came to find out was that those memories weren’t real. Later, most of these people were cleared through DNA. What they came to find out was that these people were hypnotized, and the intent of the hypnotist was to find these memories, and so they found them—they actually created them. It destroyed lives. One of the new branches that’s being pursued in Europe in forensic hypnosis is trying to verify how suggestible people are and how bad their memories are. Witness testimony does enter in as evidence, but people are wrong all the time.

Can hypnotherapy be used for evil? Anti-social hypnotherapy is using hypnotherapy not to help somebody, and also while they’re unaware of it. You have entire fields—NLP, neuro-linguistic programming—I take it to the woodshed in my book. This stuff is huge in sales. One of the other big applications is in the pick-up-artist community. Men and women are using it to get laid. [With mental self defense], you’re aware and you can make a better decision. If you’re in the car lot and this guy is using certain ideas and language to nudge you to make a decision, you can say, “He’s doing that right now,” and that frees you. It is important for people to know, just as it is important for men and women to know basic self-defense. The real challenge is, in the moment, are you going to remember it?

Smoker question. Consciousness is largely a bunch of different self-conversations going on in our head. What most people don’t realize is that we have the ability to pay attention to which conversations we’re going to have. That’s why you have people who neurosises or are particularly over-worried about things. They’re listening to the nebbish voice taking them down that path. That’s why you find people who have dissaccociative identity disorder, or schizophrenia, or depression. They’re not aware of the power they have to take charge of that voice, or they’re not disciplined enough to keep fighting until the other voices shut the heck up.

Renegade Coach Employs 'Brainwashing' in New Triathlon Training Program

New alternative sports psychology program is geared specifically to the demands of triathletes. This cutting-edge sytem includes Hypnosis, Neuro-lingustic Programing and Energy Mechanics to empower triathletes to reach peak performance mental states for racing.

Columbus, OH (PRWEB) July 27, 2011

The success of many of today’s triathletes is no longer built solely on conventional training methods and techniques. The Renegade Triathlete Psychology System™ (RTPS) offers a unique approach to handling stress and anxiety before the race, building confidence in the athlete’s training and abilities, and clever ways to overcome the extreme mental and physical demands of this popular sport.

RTPS was developed by Performance Coach Stephen Ladd, and is founded on the alternative psychology disciplines of Hypnosis, Neuro-Linguistic Programing (NLP) and Energy Mechanics™. The combination of these three techniques is used to empower triathletes to control their mental/emotional states, and program their subconscious for peak performance in training and racing.

“The mental training is the next evolution for both beginners and top tier triathletes,” contends Ladd. Dave Scott, six times Iron Man World Champion, agrees “There’s no question, the component of triathlon training that is lagging behind is the mental component. We haven’t done a very good job of integrating psychology into training programs”.

While these methods are currently considered unconventional by most in the triathlete world, the results are well documented in many other sports and disciplines. Hypnosis has been used for decades by many of the world’s top athletes in dozens of sports. NLP is a popular “self-improvement and productivity tool” for top executives and artists. Energy Mechanics™ is a sports-specific version of Emotional Freedom Technique, a form of meridian stimulation based on the ancient art of acupuncture.

Among the triathletes that are willing to test out these “road-less-traveled” techniques is Matt Nawrocki of Columbus, Ohio. “I use the hypnosis programs and I feel calm and confident before and throughout the race. It’s like I’m brainwashed, but in a good way.”

According to Ladd, “Triathletes train longer and harder than any other athletes, at least in the physical sense. The missing link has always been a triathlete-specific program to ‘train the brain’. My new system explains in detail how to connect the mind and body for peak performance with a manual and audio hypnosis sessions”.

Stephen Ladd of is a Triathlon Performance Coach based in Columbus Ohio, USA. The Renegade Triathlete Psychology System™ is being released to the triathlon public for the first time based on the innovative and results-proven alternative psychology disciplines of Hypnosis, NLP and Ene


Hypnosis: The new anesthetic?

Can you imagine going through major surgery without general anesthesia? That's what Christel Place (left) did when she had her thyroid removed - and she's one of a growing number of patients who opt out of general anesthesia and get hypnotized instead. Hypnosis plus a local anesthetic leaves patients sedated but aware, reports the Associated Press, and doctors say their recovery time is faster and their need for painkillers reduced. This method is feasible for only certain operations, of course - not those involving the heart or internal organs.


Read more:

Hypnosis Eases Pain During, After Surgery

Hypnosis has been offered for certain types of surgery at the Belgian hospital, Cliniques Universitaires St. Luc in Brussels, since 2003. Hundreds of patients have chosen it over general anesthesia.

According to the AP, more than 8,000 surgeries have been performed at another Belgian hospital with hypnosis. The technique has become popular in France and Belgium in recent years and some plastic and facial surgeons in Germany also use hypnosis, as well as some British dental surgeons.

During surgery, patients are sedated but aware and doctors say recovery time is faster and the need for painkillers is reduced.

The AP reports that doctors say nearly any surgery usually done with a local anesthetic could work with hypnosis and less pain medicine. There are plenty of believers in hypnosis who say it dulls a patients' sense of pain and cuts down on the need for anesthetic.

In the end, it leads to faster recoveries and monetary savings on the part of hospitals. However, hypnosis may require doctors to spend more time with patients beforehand to do the hypnosis and they may need more careful monitoring during surgery.

With its growing popularity, the French Society of Anesthesiologists created a special hypnosis branch in their organization last year.

Still, there are no statistics on how widely used hypnosis is across Europe.

Claude Virot, a psychiatrist and director of the Institute of Research and Training in Therapeutic Communication, told the AP in several of the nearly dozen French hospitals in Rennes, a northwest city of about 200,000 people, it's used in about half of all operations.

Meanwhile, Dr. Fabienne Roelants, an anesthetist at Cliniques Universitaires St. Luc, said, “The patient's mind goes to a pleasant place, but the body stays in the operating room.”

Roelants estimated at her hospital, one-third of all surgeries to remove thyroids and one-quarter of all breast cancer surgeries, including biopsies and mastectomies, use hypnosis and local anesthetic and she hopes to expand the technique to hernias, knee arthroscopies and plastic surgeries.

Roelants did emphasize to the AP that should a patient feel any pain during a procedure using hypnosis, they would immediately be given a painkiller shot.

Psychologist praises power and effectiveness of subliminal therapy

By Arthur LightbournContributor These days, at 85, soon to be 86, local psychologist Edwin Yager, is making it his personal mission to spread the word about the effectiveness of what he considers to be “the treatment of the future” — subliminal therapy.

Subliminal therapy, Yager posits, is a technique that permits the patient guided by a therapist to tap into mental abilities that the patient probably doesn’t even know that he or she has [the ‘unconscious’ or ‘higher self’] and then use those abilities to halt the problems that the patient is experiencing as symptoms.

“You can get down to the root cause of the problem so you can actually resolve the problem,” he said, “not just wrestle with the symptoms.”

Not everyone agrees.

Although the theory of the unconscious mind as a repository of forgotten memories has been around for centuries, some professionals still question its scientific validity and even whether the unconscious mind exits at all.

Yager, however, says he has employed subliminal therapy in his private practice successfully for the past three decades to treat a wide range of disorders, some strictly mental, such as phobias and compulsions; and others psychogenic, with physical symptoms, such as migraine headaches, insomnia, pain, gastro-intestinal and sexual problems, even asthma.

“These often seem to be the consequences of earlier life experiences,” he said. “When you can uncover those experiences and ‘re-frame them’ and understand them in a different way, the effect changes and the symptom ceases to be there.

“The key, the focus element that’s involved here, is teaching people to use abilities they don’t know they have,” he said.

In addition to his private practice, Yager, a former engineer-turned-psychologist, is a clinical professor at UCSD School of Medicine, where, since 1975, he has taught an elective course in clinical hypnosis. He holds a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the Professional School for Psychological Studies, San Diego

We interviewed Yager in his office off Balboa Avenue in San Diego’s Mission Bay area.

Yager is a tall Texan, who attributes his good health and longevity to three things: “The woman I married, stopping smoking and going to the gym.”

Yager was “born in a little town called El Paso, Texas.” His father was a welder. “But I never knew him very well, he died when I was a little kid.” He was raised by his widowed mom, a school teacher. “That was during the Depression, a time when a lot of people were doing a lot of hurting,” he said. Growing up, Yager discovered he had knack for things technical and mechanical. When he was 12, he landed a job repairing radios.

During World War II, when he turned 18, he joined the Navy (1943-45), and served as an electronics technician aboard the light cruiser USS Detroit.

“The Navy never sent me to school,” he said. “I learned mostly by osmosis, from other people and just by doing it.”

After the war, he studied electrical engineering at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, began working as an engineer, earned a bachelor’s degree in current technology at Texas State Technical Institute, subsequently moved to San Diego where he worked as a group engineer with Convair for 20 years, retiring in 1973.

A pastor at a church that Yager attended in Pacific Beach learned of Yager’s interest in clinical hypnosis and asked him if he would serve as a pastoral counselor to some of the church members — which he did and discovered “This is for me. This is what I wanted to do.”

In preparation for his retirement and transitioning eventually to a second career as a psychologist, he earned a master’s degree in counseling in 1972 from United States International University, and another master’s in technical education in 1973 from National University.

In 1975, he began teaching an elective course in the clinical applications of hypnosis at the UCSD School of Medicine, initially as an instructor, then as a clinical assistant professor, and, since 2005, as a clinical professor.

His work as a clinical hypnotist subsequently led him to become a leading practitioner of subliminal therapy.

In 1982, he earned his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the Professional School for Psychological Studies, San Diego.

His mission these days, he said, is to teach therapists from around the globe the subliminal therapy technique.

He recently conducted a two-day workshop on “Transcending Traditional Therapy” at the 16th International Conference for the Association of Psychology and Psychiatry in Athens, Greece; and is scheduled to conduct workshops in New Orleans, Phoenix and Canada.

“Subliminal therapy is clearly and distinctly different in many ways from hypnosis. The classical understanding of hypnosis doesn’t apply. Hypnosis is an element of subliminal therapy, but only an element.

“It’s a technique that makes it possible — and this is why it’s so effective and so efficient time wise — to identify the cause of problems and resolve the problem at that level. Then the symptom, which is the presenting problem, ceases to exist.

“The patient has to be intelligent enough to understand these concepts, intelligent enough to recognize that he or she has a problem and has to be open to new ways of thinking about things maybe.

“I give credit to my engineering training, my engineering way of thinking, to the totally rational, logical, step-by-step process that subliminal therapy is. Every step is determined by the outcome of the previous step.”

How long does a therapy generally take?

“It’s the briefest of brief therapies that I know of,” he said. “A patient typically comes in with multiple problems.

To solve any one of those problems, is probably not going to take more than an hour maybe two after an hour of introduction and training.”

However, some disorders take longer.

He has one patient with multiple personalities — dissociative identity disorder — whom he has been treating for 27 years. With treatment, the patient has led a relatively normal life and has maintained employment.

“The dissociative disorders are classically long term in resolution,” he conceded.

He has had a high success rate, he said, in treating addictive and sexual disorders.

Of all the disorders, he said, the toughest to treat successfully is obesity.

Asked if he has used some of these techniques, including self-hypnosis, to overcome any of his personal issues, he said: “Absolutely.”

Such as?

“I had hay fever, to a devastating degree, as a child. No longer a problem” Also sea sickness, smoking and nail-biting, no longer problems.

Any others?

“Public speaking. That was a biggie. I didn’t solve that until I was in my 40s.”

Asked if it’s necessary for a subliminal therapy patient to undergo hypnosis, Yager said: “No. There is no formal trance induction or anything of that nature implied, but, it is also true that during the course of employing subliminal therapy very commonly a patient will slip into what I identify as hypnotic trance, but it’s spontaneous.”

Asked what has surprised him most in his years as a psychologist, he replied: “The key thing, if I wanted to isolate one thing, would be the malleability of the human psyche…We learn limitations, we learn values. We are conditioned creatures…and most of that conditioning comes from life experiences.

“That’s the way problems come in; that’s the way all the good things that we enjoy come in; and even though we may have problems now, we are still malleable and knowing how to do some reconditioning, we can change.

We can eliminate that limitation. We can alter almost any aspect of our experience.”

Demonstrating how he would work with a patient, he said he would be using the word “Centrum” to speak directly to the patient’s unconscious. (He thought up that name Centrum before it was adopted by a brand of multivitamins.)

Speaking in a slow monotone, he said, “I’m going to pretend for the moment that you’re my patient. Okay?”


“And I’m teaching you the skill and I’m going to guide you to use the skill to make the changes you want to make. My role in subliminal therapy is strictly as a guide. A source of information sometimes, but I don’t have to be involved in the content of the problems that you address. I can even do this work, a therapist can, not just ‘I’, any clinician trained in this, can even do this work without even knowing what the patient’s problem is.

“So, you’re my patient and you came in with some problem…. And I have to be able to communicate with your ‘centrum.’”

He asks the patients to create in his conscious mind’s eye, the image of a chalkboard or computer screen, upon which Centrum can write. “So I ask that you create that imaginary chalkboard right now. Got it?”


“I ask your Centrum to indicate willingness to communicate this way by writing the word “Yes” on the chalkboard.

“Tell me when the word “Yes” is there.”

It’s there.

“Now you might reasonably at this point ask, how do I know that came from Centrum? A reasonable question.

And at least part of the answer to that question is that if, in fact, Centrum writes on the chalkboard, in all probability, you will not be able to erase it consciously.”

“Is the word ‘Yes’ still on?”


“I invite you to try to erase it. Still there?”


“Centrum, please erase the word ‘yes’ and replace it with a different word. I ask, Centrum, that you select a word and write it on the chalkboard. Write a word, Centrum, that will surprise you, consciously…Centrum, please write the surprise word now on that chalkboard. Got a word?”

Not yet.

“Okay. Be patient. Got it?”


“Are you consciously satisfied that you didn’t think that word up and put it there?” I don’t know.

“You question that you did. Okay. Centrum, erase that word and please reach out somewhere and select a different word that truly will be unexpected and truly will surprise you consciously. Got that word?


“Are you satisfied consciously that you didn’t think that word up and put it there?”


“At this point, if you were my patient, I would start interacting with Centrum….You’re job now, as we work together, would be to tell me what Centrum writes on the chalkboard….The moment you tell me your conscious opinion in lieu of what Centrum writes, at that moment, we start spinning wheels. So here’s a little guiding rule, anytime I preface a question with the name ‘Centrum’, the next words I hear from you, I hope, will be the words on the chalkboard.

“You may get answers that don’t make sense. And you may get answers you don’t agree with. You may strongly disagree. And that’s all okay as long as you’ll tell me what those answers are as opposed to what you think they should be…. No other psychotherapy I know approaches it this way.”

We just went through a little hypnosis, didn’t we?

“You did,” he said. “It was not a deliberate induction on my part. Not everybody goes into trance, but most people do.” Quick Facts

Name: Edwin K. Yager, Ph.D.

Distinction: UCSD School of Medicine clinical professor Edwin Yager is a leading practitioner in the use of clinical hypnosis and subliminal therapy to treat a wide range of disorders, addictions and illnesses.

Born: El Paso, Texas, 85 years ago

Education: Ph.D. in counseling psychology, Professional School of Psychological Studies, San Diego, 1982; M.T.E. (Masters in Technical Education), National University, San Diego, 1973; M.A. in counseling, United States International University, San Diego, 1972; B.T. (Bachelor of Technology), Texas State Technical Institute, Waco, Texas, 1969; studied electrical engineering, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, 1946-49.

Family: He and his wife, Gwen, have been married 35 years. “I had one practice marriage before this one and raised seven children, including four stepchildren, between the two marriages.”

Military service: U.S. Navy, electronics technician, 1943-45.

Interests: Family, woodworking, river cruises

Writing: He is the author of “Foundations of Clinical Hypnosis: From Theory to Practice,” considered a “must read” by fellow psychologists. He is currently working on a book on subliminal therapy.

Recent reading: “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America,” by Robert Whitaker

Favorite TV: Every summer, he and his wife, re-watch all the episodes of their favorite TV series, “The West Wing.”

Favorite film: “The American President,” 1995 comedy, starring Michael Douglas and Annette Bening.

Philosophy: “People. I’m not tired at the end of the day. I’m energized by the people I work with.”

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New age or new edge

BY RYAN E. SMITH You’re getting sleeeeepy. Verrry sleeeepy.

Then — bam! — it’s all over, and you’ve delivered a baby.

OK, it’s not nearly as easy as that, but you might be surprised by how hypnosis is being used these days. It’s not just about getting people to stop smoking or lose weight anymore.

Hypnosis is quietly helping athletes increase their performance and surgical patients manage their pain. And yes, it’s even gained the notice of prospective mothers.

“When the mind is relaxed or the woman is not in fear, she’s able to relax her body. When the body is relaxed, when all the muscles are relaxed, normal, natural functions [such as childbirth] don’t need to hurt,” said Hayuta Cohen, an Israeli-born hypnotherapist in Encino who has led several classes in HypnoBirthing.

This is simply one way that treatments once considered alternative are evolving to become more widespread. In addition, many of these therapies are being integrated with traditional medicine. For proof, look no further than the existence of the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, founded in 1993.

“There’s definitely a move toward integration or bringing the best of multiple traditions,” said Malcolm Taw, assistant clinical professor at the center.

More than one-third of American adults used some sort of complementary medicine in 2007, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. Taw said the reasons are simple.

“Overall, the patients want this,” he said. “They want to avoid potential medications or other interventions, whether surgery or injections, and they want to try other treatments that have less of a side-effect profile.”

Some have tried Western medicine without success. Others are looking for a less expensive choice or one that is natural and uses the body’s inherent abilities to heal itself. Many of these therapies, often termed complementary and alternative medicine, have roots that go back decades, if not centuries, in other parts of the world. The way practitioners are tinkering with them and using them in conjunction with Western medicine, however, is modern and ever-changing.

Just ask Uri Kenig.

The psychotherapist from Israel set up shop in Encino 23 years ago, and at first glance his office looks like any other. There’s a large window letting in plenty of natural light, a comfortable couch for the patient — of course — and soothing music available at the touch of a button.

But there is something unusual in the corner of the office: a high chair, the kind you might find at a patio bar, and in front of it, a short stool. This is where Part Two of Kenig’s unique form of treatment takes place — the part that comes after you’ve told him your life story. It’s this part that has attracted the attention of approximately 1,000 of his colleagues in Israel.

“Something was always missing for me about the incomplete process of talk therapy,” Kenig said. “I found myself hearing, time and time again, clients saying to me: ‘I understand my problem. What should I do about it?’ ”

The conundrum led the 60-year-old to look at the mind-body connection and how chronic emotional problems may lead to chronic physical conditions. Kenig’s investigation took him beyond traditional talk therapy, and into the world of energy healing and touch therapy. That’s where the chair in the corner comes into play.

As part of a system he developed called IPEC (Integrated Physical Emotional Clearing), Kenig sits on the low stool and asks clients to hold out both arms. He pushes down to check muscle resistance and either touches the hand to different parts of the body or asks questions.

“I’ve devised, in a very accurate and planned way, by questions, to get slowly a feedback from the body, from the unconscious mind,” Kenig said. “On specific words, the muscle will go weak. On specific other words, it will be strong. … There is a psychological story. The client is completely unaware.”

He then cross-checks what he says the body tells him against numerous charts and two large, colorful, home-made matrixes filled with hundreds of words that lead him to an assessment. Kenig, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology from the California Graduate Institute, said he has used IPEC to trace one patient’s migraines to problems at work and another patient’s breathing problems to an issue dating back to the client’s birth.

Kenig then uses LED light therapy or vibrating massage directed toward certain organs or body parts considered to be the source of the problem. He also uses music and meditation. The underlying theory behind the method is that the universe is made of energy and every individual has his or her own energy fields. In order for change to break through that field and restore a normal balance, it needs a little push — in this case, aided through things like light or vibrations.

The most recent statistics show that more than 1.2 million Americans sought some sort of energy healing therapy in 2007. That’s minuscule compared to the nearly 39 million people who used nonvitamin, nonmineral natural products, such as fish oil and ginkgo biloba — the largest category measured — and a much smaller segment than even the 3 million-plus who turned to acupuncture for relief.

Despite the increasing numbers, it’s still a field that has a lot to prove, believes Dr. Larry Bergstrom, director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“I haven’t found these types of therapies to be helpful,” he said. “They distract from addressing important aspects of each person’s illness.”

He further explained, “The people who invent and use these techniques fill a niche for a patient for whom conventional medicine has failed. I don’t think the [technique] is the issue; it is listening to the patients, believing them and creating a scenario where the patients can help themselves become better.”

Over the years, Kenig has trained 1,000 IPEC practitioners in Israel. He also recently started instruction seminars in Encino.

“The therapy is producing very fast results,” he said.

That’s what attracted one patient from Encino, who has seen him for a number of problems, including chronic fatigue.

“One session with him is the equivalent of 50 with another therapist,” said the woman, who asked that only her first name, Ada, be used to identify her. “He, with his technique, is like a laser that cuts through all the nonsense that we keep telling ourselves as people to justify our behavior. … Then he energetically clears the need to continue with the behavior.”

Another Jewish patient, a 36-year-old from Tarzana who asked to be identified only by his initials, E.M., said he sought help from Kenig for a persistent, itchy rash on his hands and feet.

Other doctors gave him cortisone, but his condition didn’t improve. After a few meetings with Kenig, E.M. said he was cured. The apparent source? Anxiety over whether to continue his education after college or enter the workforce.

“At first, I was a bit apprehensive about it because I never really was a fan of head doctors of any sort, or homeopathic. I didn’t know anything about it,” E.M. said. Now his attitude has turned 180 degrees: “You’ve definitely got to give it a try.”

Still, many unanswered questions linger, and scientific studies have a long way to go as they investigate the effectiveness of many alternative approaches. Kenig said he is not aware of any studies being conducted concerning IPEC.

Some research is under way in other areas, however, such as the field of hypnosis,  once considered the realm of stage performers who made audience members cluck like chickens. Serious science is aimed at overcoming this caricature, however.

One current study at Baylor University is examining the effectiveness of hypnosis in reducing the severity and frequency of hot flashes in menopausal women and breast cancer survivors; another by Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York is implementing a training program in presurgery hypnosis for nurse anesthetists.

Hypnosis, which is defined as an altered state of consciousness characterized by increased responsiveness to suggestion, is used to relax the body and then shift attention to a narrow range of objects or ideas. You can even hypnotize yourself.

“All hypnosis is self-hypnosis,” said Cohen, who is certified in the practice by the National Guild of Hypnotists and is also a registered nurse. “They used to believe that the hypnotist had magical powers, but we don’t.”

Not everyone believes that last part. Cohen said her fellow Israelis tend to be particularly suspicious of hypnotherapy in general.

“Israelis are the only group that generally asks, ‘What if I don’t wake up? I worry about losing control,’ ” she said.

Experts say those under hypnosis cannot be coerced into doing anything against their will, but events earlier this year have raised concerns over how the practice is used and by whom. A Florida school principal with a history of using hypnosis to help athletes perform better and students relax before big tests brought the issue to the forefront in April after one of his pupils was found dead of an apparent suicide a day after being hypnotized.

The educator is now on paid leave, and while newspaper reports indicate there appears to be no connection between the hypnosis and the suicide, he is being investigated for possibly violating a law prohibiting the performance of therapeutic hypnosis without the presence of a medical professional.

Still, with 500,000 people using hypnosis in some form as of 2007, the therapy is not going away. If anything, it’s only being adapted to more uses, which include treating chronic pain, respiratory ailments, stress, anxiety and headaches.

And then there’s HypnoBirthing, a copyrighted educational course in which women and their birth companions take classes in self-hypnosis as an alternative to traditional birthing preparation methods such as Lamaze. Only 23 percent of participants — which have included celebrities Jessica Alba and Pamela Anderson — end up using epidurals, compared to the national average of 71 percent, according to the HypnoBirthing Institute, which has offices in New Hampshire and Arizona.

Cohen said she thinks the field of hypnosis will continue to shed its old image and move in the direction of becoming mainstream and integrated with traditional medicine.

“Kind of like what chiropractics went through years ago,” she said. “It’s considered less and less alternative and more a complementary part of treatment.”

Fern Saitowitz of West Hills is a cancer patient who looked to Cohen and hypnosis to help her sleep.

“I don’t like sleeping tablets, and I’d rather use hypnotherapy to go to sleep than take a sleeping tablet,” she said.

She described the sessions as exercises in relaxation and guided imagery. For Saitowitz, a former scuba diving instructor, that meant imagining herself on the beach and then underwater.

“It touched my heart,” she said, adding that she hasn’t had any sleeping problems since her first session. “Whatever she did, it worked really well.”

For skeptics still worried about the power of suggestion, Saitowitz said to, well, relax.

“People do think that it’s mind control, and it’s not like that at all,” she said. “She helps you go into a place in your mind where you can relax and you can make your mind work for you.”

Alternative and complementary medicines, led by dietary supplements, are only going to get bigger, said Dr. Steven Rosenblatt, a physician and complementary medicine practitioner based in West Los Angeles who was one of the earliest adopters of acupuncture in the United States.

“What we’re realizing is that in order to truly treat the complete person, we need more than one tool, and complementary medicine gives more tools for treatment,” he said.

Which means there could be an increasing number of people like Dafna Tene.

When her father was terminally ill with cancer nearly 10 years ago, she started seeing Feline Kondula, a nutritional consultant at Nutrikon Wellness Group in Toluca Lake, in hopes that she could help him. It turned out to be too late for that, but the facility that houses practitioners of acupuncture, Pilates and other therapies all under one roof attracted Tene to stay for her own health.

Tene, 43, a real estate broker and mother of three from Calabasas, now eats organic food, has given up red meat, and downs about 18 pills containing vitamins and other supplements each day. Whenever she gets sick, she turns to Nutrikon.

“We laugh in our family. We call [Kondula] God. … She cures everything,” she said.

Well, almost everything. For Tene’s fear of flying, she sought out help from Kenig and his IPEC method. So far, she’s a believer.

“A lot of people who follow Western medicine look at me like I’m crazy. But you know what?” she said. “It works. It 100 percent works.”