Hypnosis now popular


Therapy can help with


POSTED: January 14, 2008

PARKERSBURG — Dropping into a trance-like state may help people stop smoking, lose weight, ease fears or shorten recovery time after surgery or improve performance on a test or in sports.

Hypnosis is becoming more popular and is being used to help a variety of behavior changes, said Sue Hall, who has a Ph.D. in philosophy in behavioral sciences with a major in clinical hypnotherapy. She works out of her home in Marietta.

“There is no limit to how useful hypnotherapy is,” she said. “It’s helpful in all areas of one’s life.”

Hall said she has used hypnotherapy to help clients lose weight, stop smoking, lessen fear and pre- and post-operation.

“I’m not going to snap my fingers and make you quack like a duck... That is the overall perception,” she said.

Hall said some people can be hypnotized easier than other people, depending on their trust in her and their comfort level.

“It’s very important to build trust with people,” she said. “That part of your mind (becomes) relaxed enough to accept new ideas.”

Hall said she usually speaks with a client for about an hour before the first session. The interview allows her and the client find out why the client has the fear or habit they want to stop.

“You have to go through life changes... go back and see where the problem began,” Hall said.

A client may be a habitual liar, a habit that started as a child when he or she wanted to please everyone, she said.

“People are going through surgery much easier. They’re more relaxed, safer,” she said.

Hall said before taking a test, students may ask for her to help ease their anxiety. Athletes may use hypnosis to improve their confidence.

“Hypnosis changes thoughts and actions... gives your subconscious the words,” she said.

Rhonda K. Newhart, a registered nurse, has been a hypnotherapist for about 18 years, much of the time also working as a nurse in the psychiatric field.

“I do hypnosis for therapeutic reasons,” she said. “Anything you want to change in your life, it makes it a lot easier.”

She said people come to her for help doing a variety of things, most commonly to quit smoking or for help lessening a fear or phobia. If people ask for help with a medical issue, Newhart encourages them to also seek medical advice.

“If it’s stress, I can take care of it. If it’s something else, they need” medical attention, she said. “I always encourage them to see a medical doctor.”

Hall agreed that hypnosis and medical help may both be needed to relieve an issue.

“Going under is that spot right before you go to sleep,” Newhart said of hypnosis. “Everyone does it. It’s a natural state.”

Newhart said she does not use the traditional swinging pocket watch, but some people do use it with hypnosis.

“It can be. It’s an excellent focus,” Newhart said.

During the interview prior to hypnosis, Newhart and Hall ask questions and write down answers about what the client wants to accomplish. They said they use music and their voice to help relax people, making suggestions to the client.

“Hypnosis slows your thoughts down enough that you can see them,” Newhart said.

She tapes the session and gives the tape to the client to listen to at home.

“If they don’t really want to stop (smoking), it won’t work,” Hall said.

Clients want to change their habits and think that habits can be changed with hypnosis.

“I come up with healthy alternatives (for bad habits and) what to do with hands” used to smoking a cigarette, Newhart said.

She discusses different alternatives with the client and may tell them they want to take a drink of water instead of smoke. She has noticed more people participating in hypnosis in the time she has been doing it.

“People are becoming more accepting of holistic medicine in general,” she said.

Hall and Newhart said it may take several sessions for the hypnosis to be effective.

Contact Rachel Lane at