I did not grow up wanting to become a hypnotherapist. In fact, I didn't even realize that was a viable career option. To me, hypnosis was a stage act my high school paid for so we wouldn't drink and drive on prom night. It appeared to be a joke, and I quickly let the whole concept fall completely off my radar.
Many years later, I was living in the Lower East Side of NYC when a friend suggested I tried hypnotherapy to quit smoking. I was skeptical, but nothing else had worked, not the patches, not the gum, not going cold turkey, so what did I have to lose?
Despite my skepticism, the hypnosis worked—and it worked fast. I became a nonsmoker during my first hypnosis session (I now know that is atypical and that a few sessions are oftentimes required). My initial reaction was not actually one of happiness, relief, or even simple satisfaction that my investment had been worthwhile...I was angry.
What was this? Why hadn't I thought it would work when, out of everything that I tried, it was the only thing that did? Why did I believe for all of those years that hypnosis was a joke when it was actually such a calming, natural experience?
These are the questions that led me to my first hypnotherapy certification. After work, I started offering hypnotherapy sessions to friends and colleagues and watched in amazement as they lost weight, stopped biting their nails, overcame chronic anxiety, broke through fear of public speaking, and more. I was fascinated but not yet ready to throw away my career in corporate America for something most of the world still associated with clucking chickens.
Then I received the call that would change my life. At the time, my boyfriend's father was a UN peacekeeping ambassador in Syria. After an attack on his convoy, he had a stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body. A little more than two months later he was flown to the Rusk Institute in New York City; he hadn't moved the left side of his body at all during that time.
I visited him in the hospital to see if I could use my newly learned hypnotherapy skills to help improve his mood. During our first hypnotherapy session together, Alexandre broke through his paralysis and moved his left arm.
The best part of the story? Alexandre is now my father-in-law. I've been on a mission to make hypnosis mainstream ever since.
What hypnosis is
Hypnosis is a deeply relaxed, highly focused state, and everyone can be hypnotized. I consider hypnosis to be the most powerful tool for personal transformation. Forget what you've seen in the stage shows or the Hollywood movies and think about it this way: Hypnosis is simply meditation with a goal.
When we are stressed and frustrated, we enter a survival mode (fight, flight, or freeze) in which our subconscious uses all of its energy to keep us safe and alive. By contrast, we become so wonderfully relaxed during hypnotherapy sessions that our subconscious becomes open to suggestion.
It's as simple as that.
What hypnosis is not
Hypnosis is not mind control. If it were, all hypnotherapists would be billionaires. Hypnosis is not sleep. During a session, the client relaxes into a theta brainwave state just below daydreaming and just above sleep. Hypnosis is not a joke. It's a powerful tool that has been used for personal transformation since the dawn of Ancient Egypt.
A study comparing recovery rates for various modalities of therapy found that psychoanalysis had an average effective recovery rate of 38 percent, and behavioral therapy had an average recovery rate of 72 percent, while hypnotherapy had an average recovery rate of 93 percent. The efficacy of hypnotherapy can no longer be ignored.
When Alexandre broke through his paralysis, both of our lives changed forever. His hope returned, and I finally understood what I had to do: make hypnosis mainstream. That's why I've created a way for anyone, anywhere, at any time to experience hypnosis for free.