Hypnotherapist tries to help equestrians curb fears



Amy Bower Doucette writes about the equestrian communities for Neighborhood Post. Send mail to 2751 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, FL 33405. Call (561) 820-4763, fax (561) 837-8320.

Updated: 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Posted: 7:03 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, 2011


The crowd falls silent. Your horse trembles under you in anticipation of the course laid out before him. Your mind races. Am I good enough? Have I practiced enough? Your confidence wavers.

Even seasoned competitors can fall victim to self-doubt. But some of them have a secret weapon: hypnosis.

Laura King, a licensed hypnotherapist, works with equestrians from her office, Summit Hypnosis and Wellness, in Lake Park. King is a self-proclaimed product of hypnosis. She said that with her help, riders can access their subconscious to release hidden fears and believe in their own abilities.

"You have to figure out what is keeping you from what you really want," King said. "Olympians use hypnosis to figure out what obstacles stand in the way of winning. If you get rid of the obstacles, the brain will help you produce your desired outcome."

King suffered through a traumatic childhood and used hypnosis to recover.

"I was very depressed from things that happened to me as a child," she said. "I attempted suicide three times. After my third attempt, my mother said there had to be something else besides drugs that could help me.

"She found a hypnotherapist who worked with me and helped me. She got rid of what was going on in my subconscious mind and helped me find a way to function. She saved my life. Her name was Dorothy Gates."

King has ridden horses her whole life. When she started her own practice 11 years ago, she began with athletes and gravitated toward equestrians once she realized the same methods applied to them.

"I rode in the circuit a long time ago," she said. "When my kids got older and left home, I started a career in hypnosis. My first client was a professional golfer. I went to a hypnosis convention and took a course on hypnosis for golfers. The subjects were releasing performance anxiety, concentration, peak performance and fearlessness. I thought, 'The heck with golfers. I'm going after the equestrian market.' "

King offers in-person sessions, CDs and books.

"People love the CDs because they can listen to them when they go to bed," she said. "You can do reprogramming while you sleep. Some people like the sessions and get a CD to back them up. It depends on what kind of learner you are. They both work."

She insists there is no truth to movies and television shows that show a hypnotist snapping their fingers and controlling a person.

"I can help by desire only," she said. "If someone comes up to me and says, 'Make me stop smoking,' I tell them I won't take their money because I can't make them do anything. There isn't a hypnotherapist on this earth that can make someone do something they don't want to do."

Through hypnosis, King hopes she can help people find strength and peace within themselves.

"I'm on a passion-filled process to help as many people as I can," she said.

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