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Posts from the ‘Hypnosis Articles’ Category

Outsmarting Our Primitive Responses to Fear

What scares you? Terrorism? Climate change? Snakes? Germs?

Whether it makes you buy a handgun or hand sanitizer, an electric car or an electric fence, fear drives much of human behavior. And it’s not just fear of physical harm that makes us want to hide under the covers. The twin fears of intimacy and rejection, for example, shape many of our social interactions.

Scientists say fear and its companion — the fight, flight or freeze response — can save us when faced with imminent physical harm.

This served us well when we were cave dwellers, under constant threat from marauding wild animals or invading warrior tribes. But it can often get in our way in modern life.

Read more . . .

Hypnosis Is the Only Thing That’s Helped Me Lose Weight

Hypnosis Is the Only Thing That’s Helped Me Lose Weight

By Emily Farris, New York Magazine, November 1, 2016

 I could fill an entire book listing, in chronological order, my failed attempts at weight loss. Instead, I’ll just offer some highlights: Seven halfhearted rounds of Weight Watchers; two days each of every crash diet you can think of; two juice cleanses; training for and running three half-marathons; and diet pills that were basically prescription meth and made me such a raging lunatic my now-husband threatened to call off our wedding if I didn’t stop taking them.

Sure, I’d lose three pounds here and seven there — except for those diet pills; I looked damn good on those — but I always ended up where I started, or heavier. Slowly, those extra 15 pounds I’d never been able to shake turned into an extra 20, then an extra 25.

Friends, family, and even some doctors had told me to stop worrying and accept my body the way it was. And maybe I didn’t need to lose it — not everyone needs to lose weight. But my issues went beyond the scale. It was clear I had a complicated, if not clichéd, relationship with food.

After more than ten years of working in the industry, I started to wonder if I had become a food writer and stylist to camouflage, or at least lean into, a food addiction. So, at 15 pounds over my oh-shit weight, I started attending Overeaters Anonymous meetings. Based on AA, the program has helped lots of people lose impressive amounts of weight. To my surprise, I was able to get past the religious aspect, and even the hand-holding and chanting. What I couldn’t get over was the overarching theme of coming out of the program “a different person” than the one who first walked through the door.

“But I don’t want to be a different person,” I’d tell my sponsor. “I just want to be a version of me who doesn’t eat an entire jar of peanut butter in two days.”

Pregnancy was a great way for me to slip out of OA. I knew that if I tried to stick to any sort of regimented diet or eating plan while growing an entire human inside me, I’d fail and feel even worse. So I tacked on another 40 pounds throughout my pregnancy — not an insane number, but I’d hoped to gain no more than 25, the recommendation for overweight women.

And, I quickly learned I’m one of those unlucky mothers who doesn’t lose weight nursing. Eight months postpartum, and weighing 209 pounds (my heaviest non-pregnant weight ever), I was feeling down and desperate. I didn’t even want to be skinny-skinny — my happy weight still has me firmly in the “overweight” category on the BMI scale. I just wanted to fit back into my size 10 jeans without a muffin top.

Getting there, I knew, would take a major mental shift.

My brief stint in OA made me realize I’d already accepted (if not overcome) the emotional issues of my youth. I was a genuinely happy adult, doing a pretty damn good job of being alive. There was just this one area where I needed help.

I needed to be able to tell myself to put down the family-size bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles, to put the lid back on the peanut-butter jar after two tablespoons, to not eat cupcakes I’d been photographing when I don’t even like sweets. And then I needed to listen to myself. I needed to change my eating behavior, not my entire emotional state. I needed to break a 34-year-old bad habit.

I’d flirted with the idea of hypnosis before, but repeatedly dismissed it because I just didn’t believe it was legit. Wasn’t it for the same people who were convinced some guy on TV could help them talk to their dead relatives? But desperately wanting something — anything — to work, I read a few articles on mind control and started to feel hopeful. After all, it was my mind, and its penchant for nut butters, that needed controlling.

I found a hypnotist near me — with a Ph.D. in psychology! — whose website suggested I could lose 25 to 30 pounds by having six sessions over eight to ten weeks. I emailed her, sharing my skepticism and desperation, and we decided I’d schedule one session, “just to see if it’s for me.”

A week later, as I settled into her Eames-knockoff lounge chair, I explained that, for the most part, I had my shit together in all other areas of my life, but I had no power over food. I’d gotten to the point where I stopped believing I could actually lose the weight — at least without my magic meth pills.

We talked about nutrition, and metabolism, and that in the weight-loss world, there are three categories of body types: endomorph, ectomorph, and mesomorph. She explained that my particular type, endomorph, just can’t burn through carbs like other bodies can. Having someone look at my body, describe my type, and pretty much tell me that pizza is my enemy — it felt like a welcome diagnosis. After all, I’d once badgered a doctor into testing me for celiac disease hoping a positive result would force me to adopt a gluten-free lifestyle.

Together, we decided that along with portion control and not eating out of boredom (or sadness, or joy, or anxiety, or exhaustion, or stress), my hypnotherapy would center around my eating the right foods for my body — a high-protein, low-carb diet — when I’m hungry. She said we’d work to “put food in its place”; food I was styling or photographing was not food to eat. Work was work, and meals were meals.

Before “putting me under,” she explained that hypnosis is about accessing subconscious parts of the brain while the conscious mind rests. I didn’t think my conscious mind was capable of resting, but I closed my eyes, anyway, and focused on her meditative music. She counted backward from 10, and told me to imagine warm, golden massage oil running over my head, down my back, and then all over my body. It sounds like the hook for a bad R&B song, but it worked and I immediately felt my muscles start to melt into the chair. Next, she told me to picture myself writing numbers on a chalkboard, beginning with 99, then erasing it, and writing 97, then 95, then 93 …

I have vague recollections of her talking about compartments of my brain. There were stairs, and duct tape, and doors, and an affirmation that I knew exactly what I should (and should not) be eating. She took me to my happy place, a cold lake in the mountains. More than once, I lost count of my numbers. I was definitely still aware of my conscious thoughts, but they were deeply relaxed, almost as if I’d just smoked really good weed. If I’d wanted to, I could have snapped out of it at any moment, but I had no desire to. I can’t remember ever feeling so chill (and I get a lot of full-body massages).

After “waking” me, she laughed at my original skepticism. Apparently, I appeared more relaxed than any of her patients had ever been in a first session (I posited it was new-mom sleep deprivation). Still, she warned me I likely wasn’t fully hypnotized yet — it could take a few more sessions — and to not feel bad if I couldn’t follow my eating plan right away.

That night I ate chicken breast and sautéed vegetables for dinner and was perfectly content. It felt a little like the familiar mania of starting yet another new diet, but somehow also calmer. I ate the right stuff the next day, and the day after that. I could hardly believe it when I made it past the three-day mark without a Taco Bell detour. By my next session, I’d stuck to my plan for an entire week and lost three pounds.

A month and three appointments in, I was ten pounds down and felt good about my progress, so we switched to maintenance sessions. They’re a little shorter and cheaper than regular ones. But we still talk first — about how I’ve eaten, how much weight I’ve lost, what I’d like to accomplish next. She even throws in little bonus categories (this week, I asked her to encourage me to curb my online shopping). As always, she starts her counting, and I get the imaginary, not-at-all-kinky massage oil and sink into the chair.

I don’t know if continuing my sessions is doing me any good at this point — I don’t feel a burst of enthusiasm for nutrition when I leave her office or anything like that — but I do know that I now have control over food. I eat when I’m hungry, and, most of the time, I stop when I’m full. (And I haven’t bought anything online since my last session.)

Maybe it was the hypnosis, or maybe it was the newfound knowledge about my body type (I tend to think it’s a combination of the two), but after ten weeks and five sessions, I’ve lost 21 pounds. I still have nearly 30 to go, and I know my weight loss has to slow down at some point, but for the first time I can remember, I truly believe I will reach my goal. And I’m sticking to my eating plan.

Sure, I have a cheat here and there (four of my husband’s fries, one bite of his ice cream), but it’s almost always a conscious decision, and it doesn’t derail my entire diet. In fact, it doesn’t even derail my day. I’m able to get right back on track — something I’d never been able to do before.

Read article here . . .



Treating Depression with Botox?

Don’t Worry, Get Botox

Sunday Review: March 21, 2014 – Gray Matter by Richard A. Friedman

FEELING down? Smile. Cheer up. Put on a happy face. No doubt you’ve dismissed these bromides from friends and loved ones because everyone knows that you can’t feel better just by aping a happy look.

Or perhaps you can. New research suggests that it is possible to treat depression by paralyzing key facial muscles with Botox, which prevents patients from frowning and having unhappy-looking faces.

In a study forthcoming in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, Eric Finzi, a cosmetic dermatologist, and Norman Rosenthal, a professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School, randomly assigned a group of 74 patients with major depression to receive either Botox or saline injections in the forehead muscles whose contraction makes it possible to frown. Six weeks after the injection, 52 percent of the subjects who got Botox showed relief from depression, compared with only 15 percent of those who received the saline placebo.

Read on . . .

Using Hypnosis to Gain More Control over Your Illness

Great article by Lesley Alderman in NY Times Health section April 15, 2011:

Using Hypnosis to Gain More Control Over Your Illness

KIRSTEN RITCHIE, 44, is no stranger to surgery — nearly 20 years ago, doctors removed four tumors from her brain. She remembers the operation and its aftermath as “horrific . . .”

Medical Hypnosis: You are Getting Very Healthy

Check out this article I just found:

Melinda Beck’s “Medical Hypnosis: You are Getting Very healthy” in the April 9, 2012 Health section of the Wall Street Journal:

The Morality of Meditation

Check out this very interesting article in the New York Times Sunday Review by David DeSteno on July 5, 2013:


In Sight – by Charles Wesley

In Sight – by Charles Wesley

Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?  Everyone is going to believe their own senses before anything I tell them.  Unfortunately our senses are deceiving us almost from the first moment of experience.  While painting this new painting, I found myself considering our sense of sight and some of its deceptions.

If you want to measure something, you hold a ruler or some other measuring device right up to it to take your reading.  In the same way, if you hold your little finger as close to your eyeball as you dare, you can see that your visual field is at most three or four finger widths.  Normally what we would think when doing this is that our little finger is blocking our whole, vast visual field.  But actually you will realize it’s true that, if you want to put an actual measurement on the visual field of one eye, it’s about an inch or inch and a half.  (Think about why we never think this way if you want a deeper impression about the way our sight deceives us and why.)  So all the complex and large things we see, elephants, complex patterns, trucks, subtle details, lakes, are all squeezed onto a screen that is an inch or so big, and the greater size that we attribute to it (and don’t even know we are doing so) is part of a narrative coming strictly from our mind and which we apply to the sensation.  It is not in the sensations themselves.

All our seeing and all our senses are relative not absolute or ultimate.  We only know the size of something in relation to the size of something else, even if sometimes it is a “standardized” measure.  We might be willing to admit that we don’t really comprehend the extreme measures, like the size of stars, or galaxies, which have several billion stars, or the measurable universe, which has several billion galaxies.  And similarly we might admit difficulties with smaller dimensions like atoms.  But we think we have a handle on the earthly dimension.  But in fact, except as a vague, indefinite idea, we don’t really understand what any kind of extension in space is.  And our seeing is always partial, seeing one side of something at a time.  Real seeing is more like what we might attribute to a god, for whom nothing is ever hidden, one object cannot block another, and who sees an object from all sides and who is not foiled by distances.  But oddly, though we don’t have this type of seeing, what we somehow arrive at conceptually is as though we did see like this.  We think we grasp objects in our world from all sides and completely.

To include my painting in this explanation, even briefly, at the place when interpretation shifts between seeing a giant red amoebic monster swallowing a living room and just an ordinary flower, at this place there is a door that leads from the relative world we ordinarily inhabit to the ultimate world.  Is there a reason to take the trouble in the raging and blinding tumult and excitement of relative reality for us to search for this speck-sized door?

-Charles Wesley

The Power of Concentration

Ah, this is why we feel so good when we concentrate . . .