This is the world's only hypnosis FAQ that doesn't answer the question: "What is hypnosis?"

Instead, here you'll find answers to questions that actually ARE asked frequently.. imagine that!


Q: Does hypnosis really work?
Q: Can hypnosis help me stop ________?
Q: How can I tell if a hypnotist or hypnotherapist is legitimate/What kind of credentials do you have as a hypnotist?
Q: Will I have to listen to a self-hypnosis CD on my own?
Q: I've tried CDs and group sessions before; why would this be any different?
Q: I saw a stage hypnosis show and it looked like some kind of mind control. What's that about?
Q: I think I'm very analytical, so it'd probably be difficult to hypnotize me, right?
Q: What if I can't be hypnotized?
Q: What should I expect right after a session?
Q: I have a friend/family member who [insert negative behavior here]. Can hypnosis make them stop?
Q: How often should the sessions be done?
Q: How long is each session?
Q: I just want to perform better. How can hypnosis help me?
Q: Can this help improve my memory?
Q: Is there a guarantee?
Q: What about success rates?
Q: Are there ever cases where hypnosis just doesn't work?
Q: Gee, that's not very reassuring. Aren't you confident this could help me?
Q: How are hypnotists trained?
Q: Can you recommend any hypnosis training or courses?
Q: Can you help me forget a bad relationship?
Q: Can you help me forget a bad experience I went through?
Q: Will insurance cover my sessions?
Q: Would you do a barter/trade or sliding scale fee?
Q: Do you do phone or Skype sessions?
Q: I have multiple issues I would like to work on. Can they all be handled at the same time?
Q: Can this help children?
Q: Are these positive changes permanent?
Q: How many sessions? What are the fees?
Q: How many people have you worked with?
Q: How long have you been doing this?
Q: How did you get into the hypnotism business? What's your background?
Q: How do I contact you or setup a meeting?



Warning! This information here may not be what you want, or expect, to hear. Unfortunately, when most hypnotists attempt to inform the public ("the Truth about Hypnosis", etc.), they're usually just repeating "feel good" myths that have little or no basis in reality.

Sometimes that is done with good intentions, simply because of ignorance or lack of experience, but sometimes it's a deliberate attempt to mislead. But as we like to say: an educated consumer is the best hypnotic client.

So, before we get to the FAQ, let's start off with:


TOP 10 COMFORTING "FACTS" ABOUT HYPNOSIS

[THAT AREN'T TRUE]


  1. "Hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation, similar to 'zoning out' when you're driving on the highway" ---

    NO, IT ISN'T. Although hypnosis is an excellent method of achieving a very unusual (for most people) state of deeply restorative relaxation, you can also experience fear, anger, sadness, and just about anything else in hypnosis.

    This is why it can be useful in training your brain to change its habitual and automatic responses that involve those states, because just learning how to deeply relax, by itself, does not help your brain learn how to get "from here to there".

  2. "You won't do anything immoral, harmful, or unethical in hypnosis" ---

    THIS STATEMENT IS FALSE. Of course you can. After all, people can be led into immoral, unethical and harmful behavior without being hypnotized, right? Hypnosis does not create a magical force-field which protects you from bad influences or stupid decisions.

    Still, you cannot be "forced" into doing something you don't want to do, but you can be misled into doing it, just like you can be misled without hypnosis being involved. Use common sense: trust your gut and use your brain, and just avoid working with anyone who gives you "the creeps".

  3. "Don't worry, you remain in total control when you get hypnotized" ---

    NO, THIS IS NOT TRUE. By definition, a hypnotist can exert a high degree of control over what you pay attention to, your emotional state and your perceptions of reality, and therefore your behavior within that context. If you are in total control of your experience, you are NOT hypnotized.

  4. "You remain awake and aware while in hypnosis, and you'll remember everything that happens during the session" ---

    NO, THIS IS TOTALLY INCORRECT. You are NOT asleep, but at the same time you are not necessarily aware of everything during the experience. It is also common to forget portions of the experience, just like waking up from an intense dream and forgetting exactly what happened in that dream.

  5. "You can't be hypnotized against your will" ---

    THIS DEPENDS on what you mean by "against your will". If someone chooses to resist being hypnotized, or is simply uninterested in it, then they will not be. Hypnosis is easy to resist: simply refuse to pay attention and don't follow instructions. In that sense going into trance is a voluntary process. However, people CAN be hypnotized without their knowledge or consent. Hypnosis is about unconscious effects, so willpower is mostly irrelevant anyway.

  6. "All you need is the desire and expectation that you will be hypnotized and you will be!" ---

    NO, THIS ISN'T CORRECT. Desire and expectation are nice, but there are other factors that can be more important. It's also the case that if people try too hard to be hypnotized, desperately wanting it to work, then they may have a harder time! So this "fact", emphasizing desire and expectation, is not accurate... and in reality, being too eager or helpful can interfere with the process.

  7. "You have to 'really want to change' in order for the hypnosis to work" ---

    THIS IS NOT TRUE. The main point of doing hypnosis is to adjust automatic, unconscious processes towards a positive change. By definition, hypnosis operates at a non-voluntary level, so it has little to do with willpower or motivation.

    In fact, when a person feels a need to insist that they "really want it to work", that can be a bad sign! However, for most consistent results in the long run, it's obviously better to work with people who are self-motivated and have other factors in addition to hypnosis which are driving desired changes.

    (hint: emphasizing the client's motivation and desire to get hypnotized, is sometimes used as an easy excuse for ineffective attempts at hypnotizing them.. the old "It would've worked if they really wanted it to!" excuse)

  8. "You can depend on your hypnotist being well-trained and competent, as long as they are certified" ---

    WRONG. As a certified hypnotist myself, I can tell you that certifications are VERY unreliable indicators of competence, skill or experience. Much of the hypnosis industry revolves around selling training courses and certifications to "seminar junkies"; these certificates are generally not worth the paper they're printed on.

    There are relatively few active hypnotists who work with individual clients on a regular basis. When you see someone promoting themselves as a hypnosis trainer, it usually means they're mainly in the business of selling weekend workshops to other would-be hypnotists, because they have an unrelated day-job.

  9. "A hypnotist cannot get you to do things you would not normally do" ---

    IF THIS WERE TRUE, WHAT WOULD BE THE POINT OF GOING TO A HYPNOTIST??? After all, people want to get hypnotized in order to experience a change in an undesired or unhealthy part of their normal routine.

    But this isn't "making" someone do something they don't want to do. It's about the skillful adjustment of subconscious perceptions and focused attention that leads to desired change.

    This can be a deep and lasting change if it's in a form that is satisfying to the hypnotee. Otherwise, it's just an interesting and unusual experience during the duration of the hypnotic state.

  10. "Don’t worry, hypnosis is totally safe!" ---

    THIS STATEMENT IS FALSE. Hypnosis is neither safe nor unsafe. Consider that it's a form of intensified focus, attention and imagination, enabling a powerful form of subconscious learning. It's meaningless to claim that focus and imagination and learning are “safe”. It depends on what you focus on, and it depends on what you imagine to be true!

~~~

These myths are often repeated with good intentions by well-meaning people who just want to make you feel comfortable. I used to believe some of them too!

Either that, or they're just pulling your leg to get you in the door.

When it comes to the hypnosis field, I encourage you to be skeptical. You don't have to believe. Be like Agent Scully; we always liked her better anyway.

(note: true skepticism is not the same thing as the whiny cynical attitude displayed by those who are constantly disappointed by life because of their naive expectations)

Too often members of the public are eager to believe things they've seen on YouTube or read on the internet, believing that they understand what's involved, and thinking:

"I know that I really have to want it to work (WRONG)...
I'll remain in full control during hypnosis (WRONG)...
it's about programming my mind with positive affirmations (WRONG)...
I already know all that, I totally get it! (WRONG)"


This is an important part of the pre-screening process because we want to ensure that we only work with people who have correct expectations about the process.. having NO expectations is OK too.

And now, on to the FAQ proper:








Q:    Does hypnosis really work?

A:      No, not exactly.

The question itself does not compute. Reason: hypnosis is a form of communication and learning.

So it's like asking: "Does communication work?" or "Does learning work?"

I have no idea.


There is plenty of research showing that hypnosis appears to have positive effects for many different types of issues, but still, that doesn't mean that it "works".

Google Scholar contains links to 1000's of peer-reviewed studies related to hypnosis. You can also search the 10,000+ research papers about hypnosis, found online at the National Institutes of Health PubMed website (use search term "hypnosis").

I don't spend a lot of time trying to convince people that hypnosis is real.

If a person is in denial about the validity of research done at places like Stanford University School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, the Mayo Clinic, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, etc., then there isn't much chance that I am going to change their mind!


The answer to this "does it work" question is ambiguous because hypnosis alone does not cause positive changes in a person. It's what happens within the hypnotic interaction that matters.

When working on a personal issue, outside of research lab settings, you want to find someone who is skilled at hypnotizing people.. but even more important, you want to find someone who is capable of using hypnosis to help you. Those are two different things.

For an experienced hypnotist, the act of hypnotizing a client is so trivial that it is the easy part of the work. The challenge is to use hypnosis in the right way, to solve the right problem... solving the wrong problem is easy, too!

~~~

The truth is that the individual getting hypnotized is the most significant person in the interaction.

A good client can do well even if the hypnotist is mediocre (maybe even lousy)... but a great hypnotist cannot do anything for a client who is doing hypnosis for the wrong reasons (the wrong reasons should be made clearer throughout this FAQ).

This means that anyone who is looking to "get hypnotized" because they figure it might be an easy way to avoid personal responsibility over some part of their own life, has got entirely the wrong idea about it.

If you think that hypnosis is about "going under" and passively listening to life-changing suggestions, then this is probably not for you.

Because of misunderstandings about hypnosis, it's often promoted in a way which panders to people who rely on wishful thinking, who hope that some mysterious power or technique (or some special "secret" found in the self-help section) is going to transform their life.


"Hoping hypnosis works" is not a useful strategy for success.

IN FACT, AFTER WORKING WITH 1000s of CLIENTS, I CAN REPORT THAT THIS WAY OF THINKING, REVEALED BY LANGUAGE, IS ONE OF THE MOST RELIABLE INDICATORS FOR PREDICTING SUCCESS OR FAILURE.

It reveals an aspect of personality called "locus of control". A simple way to understand it is to imagine a person who says:

"I bought an exercise machine, I hope it works" or "I read a self-help book, I hope it works" or "I signed up for a gym membership, I hope it works"

Yes, of course, exercise machines "work", but it's the attitude revealed by such statements that often "doesn't work".

People who think or speak in those terms exhibit an external locus of control that is associated with lower goal achievement and less success in life in general. It is of vital importance to recognize and reject the weak "I hope it works" mindset (if it exists) in order to maximize chances of success.


Hypnosis really can lead to rapid results and positive changes that are mysterious and puzzling in their speed and simplicity.

BUT that usually only happens with proactive people who, at a conscious level, are already taking care of things at that level, setting up good conditions to allow effective and successful subconscious work.



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Q:    Can hypnosis help me stop ________?

A:      It depends.

Quick and easy quiz: can you sense the difference between the following statements:

        "I want to stop ____. Can hypnosis help me do that?"

        vs.

        "I know I should stop ____. Can hypnosis make me?"

If you CAN understand the difference, there's probably a reasonable chance hypnosis could help.

If you CAN'T understand the difference, or your thinking is along the lines of the second statement, then chances of achieving your goal are probably lower, regardless of hypnosis or not.




Be careful: "have to" and "should" and "make me"
are warning signs of ineffective, childlike thinking.



People who are stuck in a habitual rut often say "I want to stop ____, but I don't know how." Think about that.

Imagine someone punching themselves in the head over and over again, complaining about the awful headache they feel as a result, and they say: "I want to stop punching myself in the head, but I don't know how".

Of course, the obvious answer is: "Just stop punching yourself in the head."

Amazingly, that simple hypnotic suggestion might work in many cases... as if it causes a light-bulb to turn on in the subconscious mind --- "Oh yeah, I don't have to do that anymore." There is sudden realization that a lot of time and energy was wasted on thinking that it was more complicated than that. Problem solved.

In a normal, unhypnotized state of mind, if someone hears a friend suggesting "Just stop doing that" or "Just relax, calm down and breathe", their mind tends to block and reject that kind of simple and obvious advice: "I already know that. But I can't, because [insert endless supply of excuses and rationalizations here]."

(Did you ever notice that the people who are most likely to say "I know, I know!" are very often the same people who really truly don't? The tendency to say or think "I already know that!" is an obstacle that blocks real learning and maintains ignorance)

But when people are in a hypnotic state, their mind is more responsive and capable of applying knowledge in a process of active learning.

This is why hypnotic change can happen very efficiently --- it operates on the level of learned experience, it's not about listening to someone give you advice (ie. "Did you know smoking is bad for you?" or "You deserve to be happy and healthy!").

~~~

On the other hand, some people may have acquired subconscious beliefs which cause them to believe that they deserve a punch in the head, or that they need the behavior for some reason. Perhaps it distracts them from something else that is even more uncomfortable for them to deal with.

Or, they have acquired a self-image of themselves as being a head-puncher, that is just who they are... so, unsurprisingly, head-punchers are expected to punch themselves.

In these cases, hypnosis can help people let go of beliefs and aspects of their self-image which are contributing to the unwanted behavior.

Sometimes, people find it easier to stop doing something if they learn something else to do, instead of punching themselves in the head. The key to that is figuring out what you'd rather do instead (if anything). For this purpose, hypnosis can help your mind rapidly develop the skills to do something else instead.

Also, hypnosis can help your mind learn that it doesn't have to do anything else at all... it can learn to become comfortable doing nothing for a while. This means that in a lot of cases, you don't need to put extra effort into instilling some new alternative replacement habit. It really can be as simple as that!


(DISCLAIMER: Testimonials and customer reviews are not guarantees of similar results. Individual results may vary.)



Hypnosis is particularly effective in helping people
stop unconscious habits like nail-biting. I have helped many many people with
this type of habit and even I am still surprised and puzzled
at how easily this kind of problem can be resolved.
(email image used with kind permission)



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Q:    How can I tell if a hypnotist or hypnotherapist is legitimate? What kind of credentials do you have as a hypnotist?

A:      There is no legal definition or official standard that can declare a specific hypnotist as being legitimate. However, there are clues that can help you sense whether or not a hypnotist is operating in an above-board manner, or if they're "full of it".

chasing certification One thing you cannot rely upon are hypnosis-specific certifications or titles. There is almost an inverse relationship between hypnosis credentials and experience; the more certifications and initials a person uses, the more likely it is that they are "certification junkies" who have never actively worked in the field.

This is because the vast majority of people who get certified are unsuccessful at developing their own practice, and so many decide to go into the business of selling weekend certification courses.

As a result, there's a continuing cycle where inexperienced "Certified Instructors" sell training programs that produce "Master Hypnotists" who then become "Certified Instructors" themselves, with very little experience outside of classroom/workshop settings.

I've been certified by various organizations, including the National Guild of Hypnotists, the largest and oldest hypnosis organization in the world, but the reality is that certifications are VERY UNRELIABLE indicators of competence or skill or proper training.

Hypnosis-specific credentials such as "C.H.", "C.ht.", "B.C.H.", "C.I.", or "D.C.H." and titles such as "Clinical Hypnotherapist" are basically made-up and sold by private organizations and businesses. They are not recognized by any official governing body and are essentially meaningless, except for the fact that they can be used to fool members of the public who don't know any better.

The hypnosis training industry churns out all kinds of certificates to people eager to buy them, including "board" certifications (even though there is no state licensing board for hypnotists).

Special note about the "Doctorate of Clinical Hypnotherapy" (D.C.H.): in the United States, there is no such thing as a Bachelors, Masters or Ph.D. in hypnosis or hypnotherapy from a legitimately accredited institution. This means that the "D.C.H" (Doctorate of Clinical Hypnotherapy) is nothing like a degree that you would expect a real doctor to have.


Here is a real-life example of why you need to be skeptical: let's say a hypnotist claims that they earned their Doctorate in Clinical Hypnotherapy from LaSalle University (LA).

Wow, that sounds great, doesn't it? But what that "Doctor" doesn't tell you is that "LaSalle University (LA)" isn't the one in Philadelphia --- it's in Louisiana, a state that's notorious for being the home of many diploma mills.

The real LaSalle University in Philadelphia has never offered any such degree. And the LaSalle University in Louisiana was raided by the FBI and eventually shut down. Here's a Wikipedia report about it.

So I'm not kidding when I suggest that you need to do your research!


Let's be clear: as a hypnotist, I am not a doctor or health-care provider.

Here is a resource that will help you verify whether or not someone is really a licensed professional: the PA Department of State maintains this database where you can verify a licensed healthcare professional's status if they practice in Pennsylvania: http://www.licensepa.state.pa.us/.

hypnosis doctor warning You can also lookup a professional by their state-issued professional license number (this is not the same thing as a business license number, which anyone operating as a legitimate business should have anyway).

If you look up this information, you might be surprised to discover how common it is for people to claim that they are psychotherapists or doctors, when there's no record of them as such in the official state database.

Apparently, some of these folks are unaware or unconcerned that they are committing a felony in the state of Pennsylvania! The following is an under-statement: You might want to be cautious about working with such practitioners.

You also might want to be careful about taking medical advice from someone who got their "Doctorate in Clinical Hypnotherapy" from an "institute" or "academy" or "university" whose "world headquarters" is a UPS Mailbox located in a strip mall next to a Payless Shoe Source; I'm not kidding about that either... Google Maps Street View is a wonderful thing smiley.

The content on this website is provided based on my knowledge and experience as a working hypnotist --- it should not be considered any form of professional advice regarding any disorder or specific courses of treatment. Being a hypnotist does not qualify anyone to diagnose or independently treat medical or psychological conditions, unless they are also a state-licensed healthcare professional.

A person doesn't have to be a doctor to be an effective hypnotist who helps a lot of people (and an experienced hypnotist will usually have much more specialized knowledge and experience about hypnotism), but if you're specifically looking to work with a mental health professional or medical doctor who uses hypnosis, you ought to have the right to choose that for yourself, based on accurate information.

To find a medical doctor who uses hypnosis, you can refer to the links on the front page of this site, that will help you find one in your area.

~~~

Here is a brilliant summary of the hypnotist certification industry by Barry Thain, a very experienced hypnotist who works for the National Health Service in the UK. His description of the diploma model is specific to the UK, but the basic message still applies to the US. I have reposted his original comments below, with his kind permission:

I can only speak for the situation here in the UK.

No qualifications are really worth anything.

The basic model is a three phase training where passing the certificate qualifies you to pay for the diploma, and passing the diploma qualifies you to pay for the practitioner diploma. Thus the various certificates are really only evidence of ones ability to pay the course fees. Very few people ever fail.

The sanctioning bodies are usually reincarnations of the teaching bodies. Fundamentally it works like this:

"Eric" is made redundant (translation for US readers: "laid off") and reads an advertisement telling him he can have a lucrative career and earn a shed-load of money working two days a week as a hypnotherapist. He submits himself to 'rigorous pre-acceptance scrutiny' and hands over his plastic.

A few weekends later he has a bunch of photocopied notes and a certificate as a hypnotherapist. Feeling good about himself (and wanting to do Smoking Cessation) he signs up for the diploma. A dozen weekends later he does an exam with questions like "Is nail biting a) just a habit, or b) a symptom of some underlying neurosis?"

During the 12 weekends he has had plenty of practical sessions where he has told people to close their eyes and that they are hypnotised, and they have closed their eyes. He now has a diploma in hypnotherapy. He has never, yet, hypnotised anyone but "Eric" believes he's cracked it. He gladly hands over the last of his redundancy money to do the practitioner course and starts thinking about office space.

Half a dozen weekends later he's a fully qualified practitioner with a lot of photocopied notes and three receipts; oops, I mean certificates. He still hasn't hypnotised anyone (but lots of people have closed their eyes for him).

Three months later he is nearly destitute having seen hardly any patients and those he has seen have a) all questioned whether they were really hypnotised and b) not come back.

Unable to make a living as a hypnotherapist (because he isn't) he realises he can do much better teaching hypnotherapy. He re-photocopies his training notes on his own letterhead, hires a school room for the weekend and sells 20 courses of four weekends at £250 each from The European Academy of Clinical Hypnosis (TEACH).

In order to validate his courses, he forms the World Office for Regulation of Therapeutic Hypnosis (WORTH) and, henceforth, all TEACH courses are WORTH approved.

But it's all smoke and mirrors.

"Eric" teaches the same stuff he didn't understand or couldn't do to an endless stream of other well-meaning people. Most of them fall by the wayside but one or two take their notes, re-copy them and - with the best will in the world, or not - dupe the next generation...

Best wishes
Barry Thain

http://www.mindsci-clinic.com
http://www.downloadtherapy.com


Think that might be too hard on the hypnosis profession, that it can't be that absurd? I wish that were the case.

People might think I'm disillusioned with this field and they'd be right, but in a particular way. I am a big believer in hypnosis itself, but a complete heretic when it comes to credentials. Read the Truth About Credentials section on this site to learn more about why you should be very skeptical about credentials, certifications, and titles in this field.


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Q:    Will I have to listen to a self-hypnosis CD on my own?

A:      The short answer is: it depends. As a practical matter, few "regular" people are interested in adding a self-hypnotic routine to their already busy life. It usually isn't necessary.

In some cases, it doesn't make sense to tell people that they must start a new ritualistic habit of doing self-hypnosis or listening to an audio program every day. When a person stops an unhealthy way of thinking or behaving, it doesn't make sense to insist that they keep reminding themselves that they're not thinking or doing that unhealthy thing.

And don't believe nonsense such as "it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so you should listen to this CD for 21 days". That's just made-up advice that's been misinterpreted and distorted from an observation made by Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a famous plastic surgeon in the 1950's.

But, in many cases, practicing some form of regular self-relaxation, along with self-directed reinforcement, with or without the assistance of a CD, can be very useful. This is especially true if an unhealthy habit was driven by ongoing stress in a person's life. It really depends on the individual's situation and specific goal.



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Q:    I've tried CDs and group sessions before; why would this be any different?

A:      Many people have tried things like CDs, "visualizing success", group sessions, etc. Those can be helpful for some people, but individual, personalized hypnotism tends to be more effective. This is because hypnotic suggestions will only "work", if any reasons that they "wouldn't work" are removed or neutralized first.

The real power of hypnotism is in subtraction.

In other words, in order to program your mind with positive desired behaviors, it's essential to first use hypnotism to de-program you from unhealthy conditioning. This is of course much easier to do with individual interactive work, rather than a generic "feel good" scripted process.

Although there are some good audio products and group programs around, pretty much anybody with a microphone can read a hypnosis script and sell it online, so there is an enormous amount of junk out there... and too many group sessions are really just opportunities to up-sell attendees on signing up for individual sessions, or they're about promoting back-of-room products (kind of like those real estate seminars where people pay a fee to attend a sales pitch for a more expensive program).

This doesn't mean that all audio programs or group sessions are useless, however. In fact, those passive approaches may be more suitable for some people; it depends on the individual and what suits them.



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Q:    I saw a stage hypnosis show and it looked like some kind of mind control. What's that about?

A:      Good stage hypnotists are skilled at creating the illusion that people are under control, because creating drama and mystery is the whole point of the show.

You may have seen magicians on TV creating illusions where they make something like the Statue of Liberty appear to vanish --- but you don't really believe that it's disappeared... do you? (I hope not)

But this is not to suggest that the people in hypnosis shows are "faking it", or that hypnosis is an illusion. Although a few probably are, a skilled stage hypnotist is able to selectively pick out the audience members who are most able to rapidly and obviously exhibit hypnotic phenomena, while at the same time weeding out the people who are faking.

Hypnosis does involve a certain type of mind control. True hypnotists can, within certain limits, alter a person's perception of reality and their responses to that altered reality.

Many people in this field are either hesitant to admit that hypnosis does involve manipulation and control, or they actually fool themselves into believing that it is just a state of feel-good mental relaxation.


What the stage hypnotist is really doing is creating a setting where the hypnotized person experiences suspension of normal disbelief.

For example, a couple of clients have mentioned seeing stage shows where a small-framed person is hypnotized and then asked to lie down between two chairs, acting as if they were stiff as a wooden plank. Then a large person stands on top of that subject who supports the weight.

This looks amazing, but it is in fact nothing except that the hypnotized person, who normally would think: "I can't possibly do this", has been hypnotized into believing that they now have some un-natural physical capacity to support the weight. So in that sense, they are able to do things they normally "couldn't" do.

The problem with this particular example is that it is very dangerous, because there are real physical limitations in the load-bearing capacity of someone's spine! Thankfully there are more productive and less risky uses for hypnosis.

The same principle of helping people lose the delusion that "they can't" do something, can be applied to understanding how hypnosis can help people overcome fears, bad habits and other artificial negative illusions.


For an interesting first-hand account of a hypnotic experience, do a Google Books search of "Richard Feynman hypnosis" and you should be able to find a hypnotic account written by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, from his book "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!"

At Princeton, Feynman volunteered to take part in a hypnosis demonstration on stage. He turned out to be a good hypnotee! Feynman's account reveals some curious things about the state:

* His subjective experience was not of being "mindless" or asleep. He was conscious and was able to think about the process as it was happening.

* During his first experience, he was even thinking to himself: "this is silly, this isn't going to work"... and then later found himself carrying out the hypnotic instruction!

* With repeated hypnotic experience, the effect seems to get stronger. He writes "I guess I had learned how to become hypnotized."

* As Feynman reports, getting hypnotized creates a condition where people are able to do things they think they can't, and also where people are unable to do things they know they could. Either can be useful for helping to create positive change.

Feynman is considered one of the greatest scientific minds of the 20th Century; he played key roles in the Manhattan Project and later in life the investigation of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.

He was also a notorious free-thinking iconoclast, an expert safe-cracker who practiced by defeating high-security combination locks at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and avid bongo-player.

His story is one of the reasons that when people imply that "my mind might be too strong" to be hypnotized, I kind of have to suppress my laughter.


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Q:    I think I'm very analytical, so it'd probably be difficult to hypnotize me, right?

A:      Depends on what you mean by "analytical", but based on my experiences with other clients, probably not. A large percentage of my client base consists of professionals and academics who think for a living, and who have been trained to think critically and analytically. It's not a problem.

Some people think that "thinking a lot" is the same thing as being "analytical", but that's like people constantly chattering or texting on their cell phone, and thinking that means they have a lot to say.

Similarly, the common type of "thinking a lot" represented by worrying about the future, or rumination about the past, is not the same as being analytical --- it's a habitual form of phony problem-solving and mindless mental chatter.

I use hypnotism to help many people get out of that habit so they can actually think more critically and analytically in an intelligent manner.

However, there is another kind of "analytical" which is also not really about intellectual activity or critical thinking skills, but is more about an inability or unwillingness to pay attention, combined with a tendency to make assumptions about intent --- this is about lack of coachability.

Of course, everyone would rather think of themselves as "analytical" (it sounds smarter, doesn't it?) rather than inattentive, self-absorbed, or uncoachable. Here is an example:


Hypnotist: "Let's do some warm-up exercises. Please look at your hand."

Hypnotee: [Looks at hand for a few seconds, then looks up and says:] "It's not working. Nothing's happening."

Hypnotist: "Why did you assume something was supposed to happen when you looked at your hand?"

Hypnotee: "When you told me to look at my hand, I was supposed to go into a deep trance, like relaxing into a deep sleep."

Hypnotist: "Not really. I was just asking you to look at your hand. And remember what we talked about, hypnosis isn't sleep, it's not about relaxation, and you're supposed to be able to hear what I'm saying."

Hypnotee: "Yes, yes, I know that already."

Hypnotist: "Great, so now please close your eyes. [Hypnotee closes eyes] Then take a deep breath."

Hypnotee: [Opens eyes] "It's not working, I can hear what you're saying. I don't feel sleepy or relaxed. I guess I'm too analytical to be hypnotized. My mind is too strong!"

Hypnotist: "..."


This is an extreme example, and fortunately this kind of interaction is rare in an office setting because such people will rarely consider doing this kind of work in the first place. People who have inflexible, already-know-it-all mindsets as a fundamental trait, and who "analyze" everything in terms of fixed frames of reference, are not likely to even think about doing hypnosis.

On the flip side of it, I think people who are attracted to helping people with hypnotism, because they often have the typical "healer" personality, can get intimidated by the idea of trying to hypnotize a client who has an MBA or scientific/technical background, as if that matters.

So they mentally label the other person as "analytical" (or even worse: "resistant"), sometimes even telling the client "you are too analytical to be hypnotized".

I know this because I've worked successfully with many people who have been told that before (such as scientists, medical/legal professionals, etc.) --- essentially they were unfairly given a negative suggestion about their hypnotic ability, just because a hypnotist couldn't get them hypnotized with their usual generic "Now drift into your serene place" scripts!

So, there are a lot of unnecessary beliefs in the field about how analytical people are difficult or require special techniques, but based on experience I have not found that to be the case at all.

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Q:    What if I can't be hypnotized?

A:      Theoretically, there is really no such thing as someone who "can't be hypnotized". But, does that mean everyone is equally hypnotizable, or that I can hypnotize everyone?

No. Everyone has a baseline aptitude that they come in with. Some people have a natural aptitude to be able to generate intense hypnosis experiences, but others are less inclined. But with sufficient time and mental training, even those people can get better.

Of course, there are practical limitations on how much time and resources a person is able to devote to hypnotic skill development, so in a practical sense there is a small percentage of people where hypnosis may not be suitable. If this is the case, it is usually clear early on in the hypnotist/hypnotee interaction.

Anyway, people who would be difficult to hypnotize would typically not even consider it in the first place.

Note: there is a set of people who are hypnotizable but who insist on believing that it involves being unconscious, or being in a sleep-like state, or being controlled like a robot --- just like in the movies.

When such people experience hypnosis and find that they can hear instructions, and are not asleep, and have not become mindless robots, some of them believe that this means they were not hypnotized, because it wasn't like they expected.

This is similar to someone believing that being an archaeologist is like an Indiana Jones adventure, or that being a police officer is like a dramatic episode of CSI:Miami.

Fortunately, most of the clients I attract do not have such a mentality!


When we work together, you are allowing yourself to be coached and guided into that state on purpose, so that you can get some benefit. Entering the state of hypnosis is not a passive activity, it requires being able and willing to actively follow the simple instructions being offered.

Clients generally have little difficulty with the induction process, because it is a lot simpler than most people might think!

It is perfectly OK (even normal, I think) to be unsure or doubtful that hypnosis will "work". In fact, some of the most profound changes with clients have been with those who were not sure that it was going to help, but who were willing to go into it with an open mind.

Working with this kind of client is very rewarding because they are the most surprised by the changes they experience. Many of the testimonials on this site are from people who were pretty skeptical at first!

The important thing is NOT how hypnotizable you are. Almost everyone is "hypnotizable enough" to run certain hypnotic mental processes in order to solve problems.

When we use hypnosis to help people solve personal problems, the most important factor for success is not hypnotizability, but rather coachability.


If a person goes into a session determined to prove that they cannot be hypnotized, or they have convinced themselves that hypnosis is not "real" (despite what thousands of scientific and medical research studies have shown), they will experience exactly what they set out to achieve: nothing.

Sometimes, a person wants to try hypnosis in order to prove that they cannot be hypnotized. This is rare in an office setting, but can be more common in impromptu demonstrations. This type of agenda is based on the mistaken belief that hypnosis has something to do with willpower.

But it is important to understand the following: being hypnotizable has nothing to do with being weak-willed or strong-willed or naive.

Resistance to being coached into hypnosis simply indicates lack of trust between hypnotist and hypnotee, or inherent lack of coachability, which is often related to emotional immaturity, not a strong will.


What do I mean by "lack of coachability"?

You've probably known people in your life with the following characteristic: when you tell them something, they will nod in agreement and say something like "Yes, yes, I know that already"... but they will then say or do something that makes it clear that information or instruction just "went in one ear and out the other".

For an example of this, see the previous item in this FAQ "It would probably be difficult to hypnotize me, right?".


Since "hypnotizability" is a skill, people can learn to develop that skill. People who already have experience with mental training such as yoga, meditation, or any type of athletic or performance training, often have a head start and a smoother time, but everyone can learn and get better.

If you are still concerned about not being hypnotizable, you can at least be assured by my guarantee: if it's obvious to me that this isn't a suitable approach for you, then we will not proceed and there will be no cost to you.

(hint: this is one of the reasons I do my best to pre-screen clients by the information on this website --- it is in my interest to filter out potentially unsuitable clients as early as possible, before they setup a meeting!)

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Q:    What should I expect right after a session?

A:      It depends. Some people seem to experience immediate and obvious positive change. But most people just feel very relaxed and calm, and curious about what will happen.

Sometimes, clients will emerge and say things like "Well, that was an interesting experience, but I'm not sure what's going to happen." Then these same clients will go through their normal routine for a few days, and in the next session report how strange it's been, because things have been going differently.

On the other hand, sometimes when people act as if they are 100% confident and certain ("I just know this will work!!!")... those are the clients I worry about! Experience has taught me that kind of "enthusiasm" can be a sign that the individual has a problematic tendency towards ineffective thinking styles.

I'm careful not to set specific expectations, because it's impossible to predict how an individual will think or feel in the future. Any differences between what you experience and what you were told to expect could cause you to ignore obvious signs of progress. Imaginary expectations can cause problems, not only in terms of what will happen "after" a session, but also in terms of how smoothly the initial hypnotic induction process goes.

The great majority of clients have no difficulty with the process --- however, if people go into the experience thinking that it is supposed to go a certain way, it almost certainly will not.

Clinging to pre-set expectations, which fortunately is rare, is usually because the individual would rather believe what they have seen in movies or stage shows or heard from others, despite efforts to inform and educate them about the true nature of hypnosis.

Even expectations set by well-meaning friends or family members can be problematic when combined with the erroneous belief that all hypnosis experiences are supposed to be "that way".

In other words, you should expect to succeed, but please leave any other assumptions about "how hypnosis is supposed to work" at home; that can only cause interference with the direct experience.

Please check out some of the video FAQ items on this page with more information about this topic, especially the importance of response attentiveness.

Response attentiveness is just a fancy way of describing your ability to be absorbed by what another person is explaining or expressing, without adding a lot of your own assumptions about meaning and intent.


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Q:    I have a friend/family member who [insert negative behavior here]. Can hypnosis make them stop?

A:      No. If you are asking this question on behalf of someone else, that is not a good sign.

It's too easy to fool yourself into feeling "I know they want to change, maybe I can help them by finding a hypnotist who will make them get better." Please don't fool yourself.


People who are pressured into "changing" are very unlikely to succeed. If someone needs to be convinced about changing their lifestyle or habit or attitude, that's a situation where hypnotism cannot really help (and probably nothing can).

In fact, the influence of well-meaning but pressuring parties often makes the unwanted problems worse and more difficult to eliminate, particularly if they have an emotional and personal stake in the matter.

SO, IF YOU ARE IN THE HABIT OF TELLING A LOVED ONE THAT THEY "NEED TO STOP _____" (whether it's nail biting, eating junk food, smoking cigarettes, etc.), I WOULD RECOMMEND THAT YOU STOP DOING THAT. YOU ARE PROBABLY MAKING THE PROBLEM MORE PERSISTENT.

Anyway, it's usually obvious when people are just making a half-hearted attempt, when their true intention is just to get the nagging to stop ("See, I even tried hypnosis... now get off my back!").

In such cases we will not even proceed with a consultation, so they won't even be able to use that as an excuse!


My policy is that I will not work with anyone who has not initiated this process on their own. This means that you must not setup an appointment or consultation for someone else.

Although hypnotists can cause people to behave in ways that are out of character, and in that sense control another person's behavior, those changes will not last if they are not desirable and satisfying to that person.

This question is usually posed by well-meaning relatives or friends of someone who engages in unhealthy or negative behavior. It is great that they care enough about someone to try to seek help for them.

However, it is essential that the potential client wants to make the change themselves. And hypnosis cannot force someone to be honest or to tell the truth, so it should not be expected that hypnosis will cause someone to be a better person or act in a more mature manner, if they don't want to.

Sorry, I know that many people do not want to hear that, especially when they are hoping that hypnosis will "fix" a friend or relative or spouse.

A person who is pressured or "convinced" to do this work, in the hopes that it will "get them" to change in some way, will most likely not have the motivation to actively participate. Such a person enters the process with a passive attitude and expectation that hypnotic change is something that will be imposed upon them from the outside, which is not correct.

So, if you have someone in your life who you think might benefit from this work, then let them know about this option, but let them make their own choice.

This means that, unless they are a minor child under your care, they should be able to make an appointment themselves; please do not setup an appointment for them.

Although it may be difficult to watch someone you care about engaging in unhealthy behavior (in your opinion), I do not believe it is my role as a hypnotist to convince anyone of their need to change.

Philosophically, I believe that individuals should engage in whatever habits or behaviors they choose, and they live and/or suffer with the consequences, along with the people close to them. That is just the natural order of things.

In any case, hypnotic work cannot force anyone into maturity.

So, if you're concerned about someone you care about, and are thinking that hypnotism might help them, feel free to forward them this website, so that they can make up their own mind.

But please DO NOT setup an appointment on their behalf, and DO NOT try to talk them into "trying this". That is called setting them up for failure.

This is such a key point that I will repeat it in big red letters:

DO NOT SETUP AN APPOINTMENT ON BEHALF OF SOMEONE ELSE.

I only work with adults, and as such, I will only discuss potential client issues and concerns with those individuals, but I will not discuss such material with well-meaning family members or friends who are "looking into this" on their behalf.

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Q:    How often should the sessions be done?

A:      Followup sessions should generally be done at least 3-10 days apart, so that you can go through a variety of daily experiences in order to gather feedback, while maintaining momentum.

Before starting, it is best to commit in your own mind to following through to completion. The work we do together is not meant to be done half-heartedly. It is not recommended that you try a session just to see if it "works". That attitude would be like going skydiving, but only jumping half-way out of the airplane door.

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Q:    How long is each session?

A:      It depends. The free initial consultation takes around 30 minutes. Sessions usually average around 60 minutes, sometimes closer to 90 minutes depending on what unfolds during the session.

The goal is to target a specific aspect of the problem in each session and work to change the pattern as efficiently but as thoroughly as possible, without overloading you.

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Q:    I just want to perform better. How can hypnosis help me?

A:      Any kind of performance that depends upon proper mindset, or involves what is commonly known as "getting in the zone", can be enhanced by:



The good thing is that the hypnotist doesn't need to be an expert about your particular field of activity. For example, I have successfully helped college and professional athletes, singers, ballroom dancers (among others)... even though I personally know nothing about most sports, and have little or no "music in me".

For instance, here is a comment from a vocalist who wanted some help overcoming anxiety during auditions:

"I thank you so much for helping me overcome my fear of performing. My audition went very well and I have been offered work in 6 shows so far for this coming season."
--- Walt N.

(DISCLAIMER: Testimonials and customer reviews are not guarantees of similar results. Individual results may vary.)

Activities like singing, dancing or sports, which require practice and control of fine motor skills, are very sensitive to interference from anxiety or "over-thinking". Hypnotism is ideal for addressing this type of problem because hypnotism itself is fundamentally about learning to direct focus and attention in desired directions.

Another example: even though I knew nothing about his sport, a professional athlete I worked with reported that his performance afterwards was "beyond phenomenal".

That was great to hear, but considering that he was at the All-Star level in his field, I have to assume that his years of dedication, training and practice were much more of a factor than our hypnotic work, although it was an honor to help enhance his performance even further.

(This client will go unnamed because elite performers with name recognition, whether in business, government, or sports, have often been "burned" by name-droppers who break confidentiality, not respecting their privacy as clients, and ignoring the problems this can cause in terms of endorsement deals and contractual obligations, so I never reveal individual clients unless they volunteer testimonials, etc.. no matter whether they're a "regular Joe/Jane", or someone people would ask for a signature on the street.)

In other words, Yes, hypnosis can not only be used to stop bad habits and eliminate fears, but it can also help people who are already good (or great) at something get even better.



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Q:    Can this help improve my memory?

A:      It depends, but probably not in the way you might assume.

There is a common misconception that the human mind has amazing, near-infinite capacity to record and perfectly store all information that it is exposed to, and that all a person needs to do is somehow find a way to bring that memorized information up to the surface to use it. This is not correct.

In general, things are reliably stored in memory only if they are paid close attention to, and if a person can relate some personal meaning or emotional reason for remembering it, and if the exposure is repetitive.

A related myth is that people only use 10% of their brain power. This is not true either, it is just one of the many "facts" that are repeated mindlessly, especially in the self-help field.

In reality, using your brain is the most energy-intensive function in your body, and the available resources are scarce. This is why optimization of thinking processes is very important if you want to use your scarce brain resources in the most effective way.

Hypnosis can also help improve memory by improving a person's learning habits. Many times people think that they have trouble learning information, when really they just have poor learning habits such as trying to study while distracted, or not connecting with WHY they are motivated to learn the material.



Your mind really can do amazing things, if it's well-trained!


Hopefully that explains how hypnosis can enhance effective input of information. Of course, many people also want to improve the ability to use and recall that information, a common scenario being a test or exam.

I have used hypnosis to help many many people overcome test anxiety... there are several video/audio clips and letters on this site from people who have done well with things like medical boards, standardized tests, etc.

For example, recently one of my clients was able to achieve first-place top score in a very competitive statewide examination that will move him to the next level in his career path.


It's kind of unfair, but it's common that the most hard-working, serious and motivated students and test-takers are often the ones who experience the most trouble with exams, regardless of intelligence or knowledge.

The problem is: these are exactly the people who care the most about doing well --- BUT too much "caring" can interfere with clear thinking and concentration when it comes to "crunch time".

On the opposite end of things, I'm one of those terrible people who does well with standardized tests (SAT scores somewhere around 99.8th percentile) because I possess:

* a contempt for formal education and academic rituals (yes, this is a character flaw, almost led to me flunking out of high school)
* a weird ability to guess the right answer most of the time

Similarly, using hypnosis, I can help people do better on exams by reducing emotional distractions related to caring too much about results, ie. worrying about "My future is ruined if I don't pass this test!" and "I'm going to be so embarrassed and let everyone down if I fail!"

This can also help test-takers to trust their intuition, not wasting mental energy second-guessing themselves, agonizing "did I get that right?"

NOTE: this is not to suggest that studying and preparation are unnecessary, or that you will become complacent!

Instead, the goal is to enable the focused-yet-relaxed attitude at the appropriate time and place, with the optimal amount of pressure.

This can be represented by the famous Yerkes-Dodson law which relates to what's commonly known as "flow state" or "being in the zone":


(diagram by: Yerkes and Dodson 1908 [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons)


~~~

This memory-related FAQ item is not the same as the topic of whether or not hypnosis can help you remember details about forgotten events.

Here are two especially important points about using hypnosis for the purpose of trying to remember details about events:


Those two points are important to understand, so that people do not mistakenly believe that vivid fantasies in hypnosis have anything to do with "reality".

Still, they may be true reflections of a person's subconscious emotions and learned behaviors, which is generally why people have problems anyway. For such purposes, the accuracy of details does not matter.

In other words, hypnotism is not a truth serum, except in the sense of getting clearer with how your subconscious operates according to its subjective truth.

So if people ask: "Can hypnosis help me remember something I think may have happened?", I do not recommend using hypnosis with this specific agenda in mind.

The problem is that if someone gets hypnotized with the intent of remembering something, they are likely to remember that something happening even if it didn't (this can also occur without hypnosis being involved).

For example, if someone wants to find out if secret government agents abducted them and implanted tracking devices inside their body, and then erased their memory of that abduction... guess what? They are likely to find exactly what they were curious about finding, especially if they go to see a hypnotist who is interested in that kind of topic, whether or not it's based in reality.

In any case, each time a memory is recalled, it is altered, with or without hypnosis. So using hypnosis for that purpose will likely further confuse the issue, like having a dream about whether or not something happened the way it did, or didn't.



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Q:    Is there a guarantee?

A:      I offer a 100% No-Hassle Guarantee: if you're unsatisfied with your experience at the end of the first session, there will be no cost to you. In that case, we shake hands and part ways, no hard feelings. This is a straightforward, no-hassle guarantee.

In practice, what this really means is that people never have to declare "I'm unsatisfied!"... both you and I know that people (in general) are too nice to say that.

Instead, it's usually just obvious to both of us in the first session, or during the consultation, IF we have little chance of getting anywhere working together.

In that case, I will just tell you that this might not be right for you, and send you on your way. The sooner we find that out, the better for everyone.

Please note: this is NOT the same thing as guaranteeing or promising specific results. This is NOT the same thing as the hypnotist taking responsibility for your choices and behavior.

If someone expects that specific results can be guaranteed, or wants to hear promises that they will be successful, that's a RED FLAG that makes me concerned about their chances of success.


control Any adult who expects someone else to guarantee a change in their own personal behavior is looking for someone else to take responsibility.

Since responsibility = control, this means they're hoping to hand off control over some aspect of their daily life to another person. That's an immature misunderstanding of the nature of this type of work.

(It is possible for adults to surrender responsibility/control over their lives to others, but that's done through methods such as signing Power of Attorney documents, giving someone else authority over your finances, declaring oneself as incapacitated, structured living within institutions where your daily routine and social contacts are monitored and restricted, joining a cult, etc... I doubt that most clients would be willing to hand over such control!)

Be careful of guarantees that promise specific results. Here are some "gotcha" details to watch out for:


I think those kinds of tricks are unnecessary and unfair, and exploit the ignorance of people who are sometimes desperate for help, and thus most vulnerable to wanting to believe promises.

Common sense tells you that no one --- not even a hypnotist --- can predict or control another human's behavior in the future, so I will not insult your intelligence by promising specific outcomes or results.

I don't want to spend my time playing those sorts of games (and I'm sure you don't), so my No-Hassle Guarantee is straightforward: if you aren't satisfied with your experience at the end of your first session, there's no cost or further obligation.


I hear from many people who tell me stories about how they tried seeing a hypnotist before, but felt totally misled and "taken for a ride" by the experience.

Of course, I also hear from many people who have had good experiences with other hypnotists too... but in almost every case where a person reports an earlier negative experience, they describe how the hypnotist promised or guaranteed that they would be successful, for sure.

The funny/sad part: after telling me their tale of woe, they will usually ask, "So, can you promise me that this will work for me?"

When I respond along the lines of: "It'd be ridiculous to make that kind of promise. Who knows how it'll go? Why would you believe that anyway?", they often express disappointment, sometimes anger, in reaction to that answer. I guess some people just never learn!

People need to take responsibility for educating themselves in order to protect their interests. Don't be like those sorry people who always seem to get taken advantage of, and who refuse to recognize their own role in that dynamic.

Of course, it's also the case that when people go around thinking that others are always out to rip them off, they experience more of exactly that, because most normal people are repelled by that attitude and tend to avoid carriers of such drama, leaving a vacuum that gets filled by the predators who are attracted to that kind of "victim" mentality like blood in the water.


Think about it: what would you think of a doctor who promised that she could heal you, or an investment advisor who guaranteed that he could make you rich, or any other professional who made this kind of promise? Use your brain.

There is good reason why most legitimate professions prohibit professionals from making such unethical guarantees.

The simple truth is: "Past successes cannot guarantee future results"!


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Q:    What about success rates?

A:      Who knows? Clients are not a controlled population and this practice is not being operated as a research study. Making statements about success rates without properly constructed statistical studies is a bad habit found among those who either wish to fool others or fool themselves.

Like many others, we could just make up a number that sounds impressive (for some reason, "95%" seems to a popular figure that is thrown around). But that would be B.S. --- please excuse the language. Anyway, how would you verify that?

There are many academic and clinical studies which indicate that hypnosis can have a significant positive effect in many different applications, and you can find those studies through the National Institutes of Health link on this site and in the blog.

However, that still doesn't mean much. Reason: even if a success rate claim is based on legitimate research done at a medical center or university, it is probably not very relevant, since any hypnotist quoting that research almost certainly had nothing to do with that study in the first place!

Here's why you should be very skeptical about the significance of claimed success rates:


If someone claims a specific success rate, being a curious person I would ask the following basic questions (which would likely reveal that it's a made-up number or wild guess):


Chances are, if you ask those questions you will hear the lame excuse "I can't reveal that because it's confidential."


True story:

A hypnotist claims "97%" of their clients are non-smokers by the time they leave the office. So a skeptical colleague asks them "How do you come up with that number?"

Answer: "At the end of the session, I ask them: 'Are you a non-smoker now?' And 97% of them say 'Yes, I am a non-smoker.'"

Skeptical colleague asks: "OK. But how do you know that they didn't smoke as soon as they got home?"

Answer: "That's up to them."

Skeptical colleague: "But you know, most people would just tell you what you want to hear, just to be nice. And you have a non-smoking office right? So technically, 100% of your clients must be non-smokers when they leave your office... since I doubt that people would light up in the chair right in front of you."

Answer: "Well, yeah, but if I said I got 100% success, no one would believe me."


Are you kidding me?

Even controlled scientific studies of hypnosis vary widely in terms of results, because there is no "one way" to do hypnosis. Also there are the variables of how individual practitioners and clients work together on specific issues and goals.

All I can assure you is that I try to do my best with each client, and as far as I can tell, most of them seem to think the work is worthwhile and beneficial, to varying degrees.

I also assure you that, based on the initial consultation, if I determine that my approach doesn't have at least a reasonable chance of helping you, or that you might have better options elsewhere, then we will not proceed.

(Please don't take it personally if I recommend that we do not go ahead --- it's nothing personal --- it usually just means that I sense that I personally lack the necessary skillset and/or experience for your particular situation, even if hypnotism in general might help you).


***

Still, there are some indicators which give me a good level of confidence that this work is helpful to my clients. For example, in a 2-session version of my stop smoking program, I offer a free follow-up session to anyone who feels that they need it. Very few clients have ever taken me up on that free follow-up offer.

But let's be real: I do not know what that really means. Some people may have moved out of the area, some people maybe just felt too embarrassed to come back, etc.

There's no way for me to know for sure. However, I think it's reasonable to assume that most people would take advantage of the free follow-up session, if they needed it.

Anyway, that example specific to smoking cessation can't be used as a gauge of how successful an individual would be with overcoming fears or increasing confidence, etc. If you think about it, other issues that are not "on/off" like a smoking habit, are even more difficult to define in terms of "success rate", so I'm not going to bother to make up a number that doesn't mean anything.

If you need to hear make-believe promises before acting, that doesn't indicate a high level of commitment to change, or a willingness to face reality --- and I don't want to waste my time or yours if I think it'd be a frustrating and fruitless exercise.

Another indicator that gives me confidence that this is helping people is that I always recommend at least one follow-up session. If a client leaves the first session happy and feeling good, that's nice... but what really matters is what they report on their follow-up visit!

If the majority of clients consistently reported negative results, that'd be a total bummer (as the kids used to say) and a terribly depressing way to spend one's working life.


A strong desire to hear some reassuring success rate indicates a kind of naive, passive attitude about this process ("I hope it works").

Needing to hear some comfortably high yet believable number that cannot be verified, is the tendency of someone who is suspicious and yet at the same time just wants to believe in something because of low tolerance for uncertainty.

This type of mindset is less likely to succeed in the first place, regardless of hypnosis or not.


(DISCLAIMER: Testimonials and customer reviews are not guarantees of similar results. Individual results may vary.)

Now, here is final reason why you should be skeptical about success rates:

It is a common trick to only count people who have followed the hypnotist's suggestions. This is stated as: "95% of my clients are successful... if they follow my suggestions for changing their lifestyle."

The other people, who do not achieve the desired results, are explained away by saying "They just weren't ready" or "They are 'resistant' clients".

In other words, the only people who are counted in the calculation of success rates are the people who are successful. The clients who are not successful are not counted, because they are blamed for their poor results ("If they really wanted to change, they would have").

Note: it is true that a small percentage of any given population is just not going to be successful, no matter what, because of lack of coachability, hidden agendas, passivity or unwillingness to change.

But it's my responsibility to do what I can to ensure that such people do not waste their time or mine trying something that probably won't help them. Once I accept someone as a client, I have to take at least partial responsibility for the outcome.

Sometimes people are just not successful because of a mismatch between the hypnotist and hypnotee, or maybe the hypnotist was just not on top of their game --- so I think the approach of automatically blaming clients for poor results is nonsense.

Many practitioners who use such excuses, and who parrot made-up success rates, are well-meaning and simply self-deluded --- they are not necessarily out to scam people.

They may lack experience in real world practice, and get easily excited by what they've seen promoted in workshops and seminars ("This super-duper new technique is guaranteed 100% to change your client's life forever!").

They often assume that making ridiculous claims will get people in the door... which might work, but you can imagine the type of customer/client that attracts. Maybe I'm a terribly selfish person, but I seek to minimize the amount of time I spend dealing with suckers... life is too short for that.

It is up to the consumer to use their brain, apply some common sense, and understand the role of both the hypnotee and the hypnotist in creating genuine success!


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Q:    Are there ever cases where hypnosis just doesn't work?

A:      Of course there are.

Keeping in mind the previous answer (which explains that hypnosis does not "work" in the common meaning of the term), consider these possibilities:



You'd have to be pretty silly to believe that only one of those possibilities is possible.

Anyway, even if someone DOES get hypnotized and DOES experience desired benefits, we can never be sure if it is BECAUSE of "the hypnosis" or not. Who knows --- and in that case, who cares?

People seem surprised by this answer. It's similar to the reaction that people have when they ask me, "Will hypnosis work for me?" and I answer: "Who knows?"

I know that the socially acceptable idea is "There is no such thing as a stupid question." Well, maybe, and maybe not.

But there are definitely questions that don't make a whole lot of sense to ask, because all definitive answers are false.

Consider that question: "Will this work for me?"

If the answer were "YES", why would anyone believe that?

phoney baloney A definitive response like "OH YES, ABSOLUTELY, I AM TOTALLY CONFIDENT IT WILL WORK" should immediately set off your B.S. detector.

I understand some people want to hear a firm "YES" answer, because they think it's a sign of confidence. But such people tend to be vulnerable to con artists (there's a reason the "con" in "con men" is derived from the word "confidence").

It would be better to work on addressing their low tolerance for uncertainty, not comforted with phony answers that are designed to exploit that weakness.

In any case, it is simply unethical to promise vulnerable people specific results. If a practitioner claims "this works for everyone!" (with good intentions, or not), and a particular individual does not benefit, it can lead to that individual concluding "I guess everyone else can get better except me. There must really be something wrong with me, I guess I'm hopeless..."

That's just wrong, no matter what lame excuses the practitioner comes up with ("Well, it would work if they really wanted it to").


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Q:    Gee, that's not very reassuring. Aren't you confident this could help me?

A:      I know hypnosis can help people. And I know I help many people by using hypnosis.

But I don't know your capabilities, hypnotic or otherwise. I do not know whether or not you have what it takes to achieve your stated goals. Even if you have what it takes, I don't know how things will go during the hypnotic interaction between me and you.

People ask questions either because:

     a) they want to gain understanding, or

     b) they want validation or comfort.

People who are in need of validation often act as if they're skeptical and tough-minded, yet will ask questions hoping to hear a specific answer. Sometimes they get upset if the answer is not what they wanted or expected to hear.

However, that's not the mark of genuine, healthy skepticism. It's the sign of someone who is too eager to be fooled, as long as they are comforted and reassured by an answer that sounds nice, then they don't need to use their brain to think for themselves.

I CAN assure you of the following: during the initial consultation, based on my experience and observations, if I am not confident that you could benefit from this approach, or if I am confident that you would not benefit from this approach, THEN, either way, I will tell you.

But even then, I could be wrong!


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Q:    How are hypnotists trained?

A:      As mentioned in the FAQ item about credentials and certifications, in this field there are more trainers, students and wanna-be "gurus" running around, than actual working hypnotists... so take all of that with a big grain of salt.

I've taken many different courses; some excellent, most mediocre, and some worse-than-useless. The hypno-certifications I've acquired along the way are universally meaningless, due to extremely low standards that allow anyone with a checkbook and a pulse to acquire the same. You can learn more about hypnosis training that I recommend in the next FAQ item.

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Q:    Can you recommend any hypnosis training or courses?

A:      Yes, but be careful. This field is full of pretenders who have never been successful in developing a practice, and yet have turned to selling hypnosis certifications and seminars to others with the promise that it will be the start of a wonderful new "career" after a few weekends of classes.

Unfortunately, much of the training material in this field is pseudo-scientific filler presented by seminar junkies to other seminar junkies.

So there is a serious lack of self-confidence among people who have been through average training. I've spoken with more than one person who has gone through a certification course, yet ended up doubting that hypnosis is useful or even that it exists!


As a result of this self-doubt and fear of failure, many "certified hypnotists" never actually do hypnosis, but instead just call themselves by that name, practicing techniques that may be nice and relaxing ("close your eyes, and imagine you're on a warm sunny beach", or "tap these energy points on your body while repeating your affirmation"), but have nothing to do with hypnotizing anyone.


Good training can help you avoid this very common trap. You can find my recommendations about worthwhile hypnosis training (including specific books to study) on the Training and Resources page.


Click this image or follow this link to learn about a training program I recommend;
it's from the people who run HypnosisDownloads.com (this is an affiliate link):



If you want to learn hypnosis, be careful out there! Because so many trainers cannot speak from direct experience, their courses are often filled with such filler, including typical made-up self-help myths like "You only use 10% of your brain" or "During hypnosis, your brainwaves are in Alpha state" or meaningless jargon such as "Build rapport by calibrating the submodalities of the client's VAK representational system within the quantum linguistic non-Cartesian meta-model!". It's just nonsense.

NOTE: we should make the distinction between the use of pseudo-technical mumbo-jumbo to promote training programs, and the actual usefulness of some of the techniques and methods used in those programs. The techniques and methods themselves can be very helpful to real people in practical usage.

However, it's important that practitioners not be fooled into thinking that there is any real substance behind the half-baked jargon and models used to promote such programs. Those are just there for the purpose of easy packaging and marketing for training courses, because they are appealing to those who think they can gain some sort of special knowledge about things that are beyond understanding.

Do not believe any school of thought, especially any that purports to provide a complete model of human consciousness or behavior, as that way of thinking causes blindness to the reality of individual experiences right in front of you.

~~~

A related frequently asked question is: "Can you give me advice on becoming a hypnotist?"

In the past, I used to spend significant time and energy engaging with the hypnosis community; I co-founded a local chapter of hypnotists and was a regular writer for the popular Hypnosis.org quarterly e-zine. You can take a look at my archived articles from the Hypnosis.org e-zine, click here or on the PDF icon.

I also used to interact quite a bit on hypnosis-related internet forums (I'm "The Grumpy Hypnotist"). I've eliminated that activity, however, because the quality of discussions was pretty depressing.

Most of the activity on such forums tends to be driven by the type of people who like to argue on internet message boards, or those who are there to promote their latest training courses. People who are actively working with clients (or working in general) aren't going to be found spending all day talking about hypnosis on the internet.

These special interest groups of "like-minded people" also tend towards Mutual Admiration Societies, ie. "I am so proud to be part of this group, we are so kind, caring and wonderful, aren't we?", "Yes, we are, and you are wonderful and caring too!", "Oh my gosh, thank you!" --- yecch! as they used to say in Mad Magazine.

So my #1 advice to would-be hypnotists has usually been: avoid taking advice from the hypnosis community.

If you're serious about doing this work, just learn basic hypnosis and go out there and help people with basic stuff. Get paid professional rates if you're doing it professionally; do it for free if you're just doing it for personal satisfaction. Avoid the half-way "I will hypnotize you if you buy me lunch!" or "I will give you a hypnosis certificate in exchange for setting up my website!"

In other words:


image from Seth Godin's blog


Generally, I've found that chatting with would-be hypnotists is an exercise in futility, as it turns out the great majority of people who are "thinking about doing hypnosis" are just that: people who are always "thinking about doing something"... watching YouTube videos and reading stuff on the internet and dreaming about becoming a hypnotist, first as a part-time gig then maybe someday doing it "for real", if they're successful doing it part-time.

To me, that's like someone talking about their big dreams of becoming a medical or legal or financial professional, or building a successful business of any type, yet thinking that they can just "try it out a little at first, to see if it works out". I don't think any professional practices or successful businesses are ever built on the foundation of such flimsy half-commitments.

After a while I realized it's just a waste of time to give free advice when 9 out of 10 would-be hypnotists end up doing absolutely nothing to act upon it.

I don't waste my time or energy with potential paying clients who are half-heartedly "trying hypnosis out"... so why would I waste time and energy with would-be hypnotists who are half-heartedly "thinking about doing hypnosis" (and who aren't even paying me for my time or energy)?

Fortunately, there are many good training resources (who have a greater tolerance for dabblers and "talkers" than I do), available to help those who are interested in doing this work; you can find the ones I recommend on that Training and Resources page.

A diligent person who carefully studies a few essential hypnosis books will probably have a better understanding of hypnosis than most inexperienced instructors / certificate-peddlers, who simply repeat outdated or inaccurate information about the subject.


Before learning hypnosis, I would caution people to think carefully about WHY they want to learn hypnosis.

Just as many potential clients think about using hypnosis for the WRONG REASONS, many would-be hypnotists also seem to be interested in hypnosis for the WRONG REASONS.

This isn't a judgment of motivation, right/wrong in the moral sense... it's more that some mental attitudes to hypnotism are just fundamentally ineffective and non-starters.

*     Do you think that hypnosis will give you power and control over other people? Sorry, but you're going to be disappointed. Reason: think of the type of person who would be attracted to buying a book like "How to be an Alpha Male and Dominate!" (that is a made-up title) --- the people who would subscribe to such things have little personal power to begin with, demonstrated by the need to seek some external source of Power, available at your local Barnes and Noble.

*     Do you think that hypnosis will give you the chance to dig into people's minds and explore their deepest secrets? Sorry, but most people are capable to detecting creepy intentions, subconsciously protecting themselves from getting hypnotized by people who get their thrills from emotional voyeurism.

*     Are you looking for some magical inductions, words and phrases that will put people "under"? Sorry, but inductions are possibly the most insignificant part of any working hypnotist's routine. In the right context, people can be hypnotized by being told to stare at a light fixture, and then suggesting that they close their eyes. Whoopeee. If inductions are the focal point of interest, that is missing the whole point.

The job of the hypnotist is to setup the right context, otherwise all the magical words and hand-drops and secret handshakes in the world don't matter one bit.


The fact is, it is extremely easy to learn how to hypnotize people --- if you approach it with the right attitude. There is nothing complex about doing it. Whether or not you're good at being a hypnotist is a different matter --- I think there are certain things about being a good hypnotist that cannot be taught, although maybe they can be developed over time with practice.

Helping people by using hypnotism is also a different matter, but even that can be pretty simple, as long as you have the right attitude and intention, and as long as you are working within your capabilities ("a hypnotist has got to know their limitations", as a famous police detective once said).


Click this image or follow this link to learn about a training program I recommend;
it's from the people who run HypnosisDownloads.com (this is an affiliate link):




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Q:    Can you help me forget a bad relationship?

A:      Yes. I've helped many clients with this goal.

Clients have been able to walk past the "other person" in the hallway, seeing them at the gym, office, or classroom, and just politely saying hello, with no bad feelings. One client ran into a former "ex" at a social gathering, and was able to have a calm, mature conversation about how things ended between them, without avoiding or running away from the interaction.

Others have described finally being able to go out to familiar places without the awful feelings associated with those being "places we used to go together".


can hypnosis help me forget someone valentines heart
photo by http://www.flickr.com/people/calliope/
used under creative commons license

BUT, this is not like we "erase" memories of another person by hypnosis. That is a silly over-dramatic Hollywood concept of hypnotism. Hypnotic phenomena does include a form of amnesia --- however, it's a very bad idea to attempt to cause amnesia for this type of purpose (see the next FAQ item for details explaining why). It is smarter to use hypnotic processes to reduce emotional attachment to a person, which leads naturally to "forgetting" about them.

For some reason this is a common request and most of the clients I work with for this purpose have quite a lot of success with moving on.

Here is an example of a client who was able to let go of a tremendous amount of negative emotions she'd been harboring over a past relationship (this client is not a native English speaker, and her voice has been modified to protect her identity):



"I was an angry person, desperately angry... and now I don't feel that person there anymore... I wake up and jump up and I feel light... I'm a totally different person... I smile more like I've never done before!... I tried medication, I tried reading books... trying [hypnosis] was the last straw... and I don't regret it a minute!"

Here is link to full transcript in PDF

(DISCLAIMER: Testimonials and customer reviews are not guarantees of similar results. Individual results may vary.)


Please note --- this will only really help you get past that relationship if you have already firmly made the decision to end it. It will not help that much if you are "on the fence" and would choose to go back to that person if they started treating you better (promising to change, etc.) or if they wanted to get together again.

Summary: if there is past relationship that has been bothering you, trying to forget is ineffective and not a good plan, with or without hypnosis. You've probably already "tried to forget" and noticed that it doesn't work.

Instead, with hypnosis we can help you change how you feel about something, usually so that you become neutral and indifferent, and then you naturally lose interest in it and "forget about it".


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Q:    Can you help me forget a bad experience I went through?

A:      Yes. But probably not in the way that you think.

You should never try to directly "erase" memories of a troubling experience. Purposely trying to induce amnesia about a specific event would only cause you to imagine that you've forgotten the event, but this is a very bad idea.

The reason this would be a bad idea is because there are basically two types of memory systems in your brain. One system keeps track of the factual details about an experience, and the other system keeps track of the emotional responses that are felt during that experience, especially during events with high emotional intensity.

Normally, events that we experience are filed away into "the past". But high intensity events can disrupt the regular filing-away process, causing people to feel like they are stuck in the past. Using hypnosis in an attempt to induce artificial amnesia would cause further disruption to this natural process.

Think of it this way: you know how some people drink heavily in order to forget bad experiences? You know that never helps, and in fact people who drink for that reason seem to stay stuck in their misery for far longer than necessary, precisely because alcohol abuse impairs normal memory function. Same concept.

So, it is possible for hypnosis to cause apparent amnesia but it is an extremely bad idea to intentionally try to cause amnesia for this purpose, because the emotional memory (the fear, terror and other high intensity negative feelings such as guilt/shame) would still be there, but the reason for those feelings would not be consciously apparent. This can cause even worse problems, and make it more difficult to resolve those upsetting feelings in the end.

In other words, you might forget about the experiences that caused the bad feelings, but you'd still feel bad and wonder why. You might even start to think that's just the way you are, and the way life is meant to be --- that would not be a good outcome!

It is far better to use hypnosis to help your brain process experiences in a more integrated manner. Then the incident is naturally put behind you, so that it is not interfering with your day-to-day life.

Summary: if there is some situation or event that has been bothering you, trying to forget is ineffective and not a good plan, with or without hypnosis.

Instead, with hypnosis we can use various techniques to help you change how you feel about something, and then you naturally lose interest in it and "forget about it".


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Q:    Will insurance cover my sessions?

A:      My payment policy is fee-for-service only. I do not accept insurance. I suggest you think of my services as something that you will pay for personally. That will both protect your privacy and help you value the work you are doing more. In general, insurance companies do not cover hypnotic services, and I caution you not to expect them to do so.

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Q:    Would you do a barter/trade or sliding scale fee?

A:      No.

PS. If you send me an email insisting that you deserve a discount because of your financial situation, and your email signature says "Sent from my iPad", that's a double-NO.

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Q:    Do you do phone or Skype sessions?

A:      I do not do hypnosis over the phone or via Skype, however I do offer coaching and consultations by phone for a fee.

Go to this page to find out how I can help you, even if you aren't able to make it to my office in Philadelphia PA.

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Q:    I have multiple issues I would like to work on. Can they all be handled at the same time?

A:      It depends on how much overlap there is between the various issues. For example, if someone wants to overcome a fear of driving, but also wants to stop eating junk food, these probably don't have too much in common.

It is recommended that we focus on one issue at a time, this is more effective than doing generic work. Even a single issue may have multiple factors involved that are contributing to the problem, so it is naive to expect that different problems will be resolved simply by hearing a series of suggestions like "You will stop smoking, you will lose weight, you will find true love, and you will no longer be scared of balloons".

But sometimes different problems have the same root cause, and resolving that may have a larger overall benefit. Everyone and every situation is different.


An analogy: imagine if you needed to learn how to speak French, so you take a class. If some of that class time were spent on learning French history, that might help you learn the language.

But if half of that class time were spent on an unrelated subject like auto repair, you would not learn twice as much, but rather less than half because you'd be trying to study two subjects that were not related.

There is an exception to this principle, in the practice of interleaved learning, but that's in a domain that is different than the personal changes that most people are interested in.


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Q:    Can this help children?

A:      It depends. I have successfully used hypnosis to help kids as young as 7-years-old. However, I choose not to work with children, for a couple of reasons:

a) I'm not really a big fan of children or childhood (apologies to those who find this opinion to be socially offensive)

and

b) the most beneficial approach for helping kids would have to involve getting the parents involved, because they exert so much control over the child's environment. That is beyond what I do as a hypnotist who serves individual clients.

If you are interested in exploring hypnosis as an option for a child, feel free to contact me, and I will refer you to a very competent and trustworthy hypnotist who I know specializes in working with children.


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Q:    Are these positive changes permanent?

A:      This question cannot be answered accurately. Predicting permanence of an organic system's future state is delusional.

It's like keeping a garden. When a weed-filled garden is cleaned up, with the help of a temporary crew if needed, then those weeds are dealt with.

But it is not smart to expect that a cleaned-up garden can be neglected and that it will stay in top shape, especially if your neighbors' gardens are choked with weeds.

And life happens --- at some point a big storm or natural disaster may pass through and leave the garden in disarray again.

However, this does NOT mean that you need to become dependent on the services of a professional landscaper or gardener.


With the work that is done within sessions, in addition to helping put things in order, we can make the garden more resistant to future weeds, and to provide tools to the owners to help them maintain things on their own.

So, when we work to resolve a specific issue, the goal is for that resolution to be maintained "permanently", either automatically, or through self-maintenance (depending on the situation).

Promises about "permanent positive change" are more of the usual mindless marketing of meaningless self-help hokum. But it's just wrong to lead people into expecting that once they change, they will be forever free of some anxiety, fear or bad habit for the rest of their natural lives.

That kind of promise, although encouraged in internet marketing circles, can be harmful to actual human clients as it fails to encourage active effort towards development of resilience. The mind that is led to expect permanent positive change is left in a state that is fragile. It is better to help prepare people to handle unexpected events; hypnosis does not repeal the occurrence of major (or even minor) "life events".

Anyway, most people with any degree of life experience can recognize that overconfidence has often led to personal setbacks.

If you really think about it, there is something odd about the concept of "permanent change". But, without opening a philosophical can of worms, we can say that we do not approach this with the intention of doing temporary feel-good work.


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Q:    How many sessions? What are the fees?

A:      This approach is designed as a focused, brief working relationship. This is not intended as a substitute for individuals and cases which would best be served with longer-term therapy/counseling... although it can greatly enhance and help internalize the benefits of therapy and counseling.


"I felt like what we accomplished in two sessions would be the same as two years of therapy. I was very pleased with the outcome so far."
--- Deborah Hurwitz

Of course, client comments are not guarantees of similar results. Individual experiences may vary.

(PS. If you're wondering what's up with all these disclaimers, they are just required to be in full compliance with Google policies regarding site quality)



RECOMMENDED # OF SESSIONS

In general, most issues can be dealt with comprehensively within 2 to 4 sessions, depending on the complexity of the problem.

But even with complex issues, experience has taught me that if a particular hypnotist/client relationship is going to be fruitful at all, there should be at least SOME signs of progress after the 1st or 2nd meeting.

It's uncommon to work with people beyond the number of sessions described above. Some clients do like to meet on an ongoing basis, simply because they choose to enjoy "refresher" visits, but generally the philosophy is to help people with a "minimum effective dose".

Again, those who require longer-term counseling and therapy are encouraged to work with professionals who can provide that kind of support (there are links on this site that point to such resources).



FEES

The initial half-hour consultation is always free and no-obligation.

We need to use that time to figure out if this is even a worthwhile option in your case, before doing any hypnotic work. If we go ahead, then:

Two easy payment options:

  1. Set of TWO: $280
    • $120 for any additional

  2. Set of FOUR: $420
    • $120 for any additional
    • (you save $100 compared to equivalent # of sessions in option A)

(there is a special offer available for SMOKING CESSATION clients, described on the Services page of this site)

I no longer offer single-session approaches because experience teaches that it's important to minimize the "just want to try it once to see if it works" mindset.

I'm upfront with pricing because I believe you should have the opportunity to think through your decision, instead of being strung along, being told that the cost can't be revealed until you first sit through a high-pressure sales pitch "free screening".


Yes, I accept credit cards.

hypnotist philadelphia

Fee structure subject to change.
Please note: I cannot process transactions from Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).




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Q:    How many people have you worked with?

A:    I stopped counting several years ago after this number climbed to somewhere over a thousand, so my best guess at this point would be at least a couple thousand.

I am only counting individual, paying clients in that figure --- clients with "skin in the game" are the only people who matter in my estimation.


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Q:    How long have you been doing this?

A:    I started Center City Hypnosis in September 2006. Here is a link to the Pennsylvania corporations database, so you can lookup "Center City Hypnosis" and see the registration information.

I provide links to official resources so you can verify claims --- it is very easy and very common for hypnotists to pretend that they've been doing this work for far longer than they actually have (see below). What a surprise: people make stuff up on the internet! smiley

As a consumer you should beware of claims such as "I am a world-renowned Master hypnotist, with decades of experience". Here's why:


CONSUMER ALERT!
COMMON HYPNO-MARKETING TRICKS TO BEWARE OF:


* In response to the reasonable question: "How long have you been doing this?", many hypnotists have been trained to respond with the non-answer: "Oh, I've been interested in hypnosis for decades..." Translation: they may have seen a TV show about hypnosis when they were a kid.

* "I'm a certified hypnotist, with 20 years of experience working for Fortune 500 companies". Wow, that sounds impressive, right? But while the statement is technically true, what they do not reveal is that the "experience" refers to a career which has nothing to do with hypnosis.

* This field is full of internationally-known and world-famous hypnotists who no one has ever heard of. Some try to justify this kind of claim by saying that because they have a website on the "World Wide Web", well, that means they have an international audience. I'm not kidding.

These kinds of marketing tactics are often encouraged in hypnosis training seminars and courses.

* Also, if you see someone claiming to be a "board-certified hypnotist", you should be aware that there is no state licensing board for hypnotists. These "board certifications" are just sold by various training organizations for an additional fee to practitioners who want to appear impressive to people who don't know any better.


This kind of nonsense is too common in this field, and it would be laughable if it wasn't so unfair to the consumers who are unaware. You know what they say: trust, but verify - especially claims that are made on the internet.


research hypnosis
A little bit of research can make a lot of difference!

This isn't meant to discourage people from working with beginner/hobby hypnotists. In fact, they can be very enthusiastic and do great work out of sheer passion for helping people.

You may be surprised to discover that, as long as they're well-trained and handling basic issues that are within their area of competence, a "newbie" or hobby hypnotist may be just as effective (or even more so) than someone who claims that they've been hypnotizing people since Herbert Hoover was president.


So the problem isn't that most hypnotists do this work part-time. There are excellent hobbyists who might be a perfect fit for your needs (you can search for them using some of the resource links elsewhere on this site). That's not the issue.

The problem is the rampant use of deceptive marketing tactics, especially by those who aren't treating this as a business, but just to earn a little extra cash on the side.

Hobbyists also tend to approach the process based on their own personal interests. For example, if the hypnotist is interested in exploring past-lives, alien abductions, "repressed" memories of abuse, etc., it's not surprising that their sessions tend to be steered in those directions, regardless of how relevant those subjects may or may not be.

Also, on hypno-community forums, it is disturbingly far too common to observe novice/hobby practitioners asking for "tips" about how to "treat" individuals who are clearly suffering from serious psychological disorders or possible medical conditions.

I still cringe when I recall seeing a hypnotist on a public message board asking for tips on how to help her boss's husband overcome his sexual dysfunctions.

Let's not even get into why that is a completely inappropriate crossing of professional boundaries in the first place.

It seems many certified hypnotists don't see the problem with doing such work with friends, family, and personal acquaintances, since that's who they have to "practice" on.

Apparently this practitioner was unconcerned about revealing such information on a public forum, and did not think, or did not care, that anyone who Googled her name, or who was connected to her on social networks, could now discover "interesting" information about her co-workers' private family matters.

Of course in the meantime these clients have no clue that their "Master Clinical Hypnotherapist" is asking for advice from People on the Internet, who are often just as clueless and inexperienced, and who somehow seem to think that enthusiasm, good intentions, and knowledge gleaned from sources like "TED Talks" are sufficient! Egads...

The solution is for you, the consumer, to take responsibility for educating yourself. Don't end up like so many of the people I've heard from, who tell me stories about how they went to see a hypnotist before, but felt completely misled by bogus claims and false expectations that were raised.

Read the Truth About Credentials section to learn more about how to protect yourself and your right to make an informed choice.


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Q:    How did you get into the hypnotism business? What's your background?


Philadelphia Hypnotist Just the facts:
Identity: Steve Roh, Chief Hypnosis Officer
Age: 45
Born: Seoul, South Korea
Marital Status: Married, with a cat
Offspring: None
Religion: None
Alignment: Left-handed, Chaotic
Number of Hypnosis Clients Served: 2000+


My background:
Before I started Center City Hypnosis, I made a nice living in software development. My previous work included:



It was comfortable work, which is not a good thing. Staying comfortable often leads to mental and physical decline.

There is a quote from that famous science-fiction book Dune: "Fear is the mind-killer". But I think boredom and comfort are the real mind-killers.

I'm a dedicated, hardcore introvert by nature, not a warm-and-fuzzy people-person. But I sensed that large parts of my brain, the parts that didn't involve systems and computers and data, were not being stimulated.


muad dib

"Without change, something sleeps inside us and seldom awakens.
The sleeper must awaken."
- Frank Herbert, Dune

So, one day I was thinking about what kind of different businesses I could start up, that would be more interesting and challenging. I thought about how "Center City _____" was a pretty decent name for any kind of business in the Philadelphia area.

I started doing searches for available internet domain names that started like CenterCity_____.com, and just filled in the blank with random words... "trusting the subconscious", as hypno-folks like to say they do.

The internet domain name CenterCityHypnosis.com was available, so I snapped it up for $9 from GoDaddy.

Then, after some market research and analysis (I'm not a total idiot!), I realized it could really work as a business and fill a need in the local area. Plus I had confidence that this kind of mental training could help people, because of personal experience with it.

In a strange loop, you could say I used hypnotic techniques to get my mind to the point where I could "just do it"... "it" being: taking the steps to become a hypnotist.

After that it was just a matter of learning hypnosis for working with clients, and that was that.


I know that my answer to this question "How did you get into this field?" bothers some people. A few folks have even gotten upset and angry upon hearing my response. Oh well.

Some people would rather hear the typical answer that you get in the self-help field --- you know, the story that goes: "Healing others and sharing my deep inner wisdom with the world is my life-long passion!" (curiously, you'll often hear that kind of story from those dabblers who treat this as a part-time hobby).

Sorry, but that's not how it happened, at least for me.

By that seemingly random fill-in-the-blank exercise, I was just making use of my subconscious / superconscious mind (gee, what a concept for a hypnotist to do that!)... then executed a plan after observing a need in the marketplace, considering the business model, and concluding that I could fulfill that need.

I guess some folks are thrown off by this response because they expect to hear proclamations about how passionate I am about helping people. Not really.

If I take on a client, I am fully committed to doing my part to the best of my ability, because that is what a professional does.

And because I have a mild form of OCD, continually seeking to optimize the process and improve outcomes is kind of a productive obsession; it is pretty much all I think about 24/7.

But I'm not doing this to indulge myself by "following my passion" (whatever that means).


Sometimes people get the wrong idea from this story, they think it might mean "oh, it's just about the money", as if one needs to feel passionate about doing a job in service of a client or customer or patient, or else it's just about greedy money-grubbing.

That interpretation can indicate an ineffective "black-and-white" thinking style that might benefit from psychotherapy. Anyway, passion is an egocentric, self-centered approach to serving a market.

The fact is: my previous work as a consultant (often done while working remotely from home in my underwear... don't tell anyone) was billable at rates that far exceed what hypnotists can expect to earn*.

Also, hypnotism as a business has serious structural limitations; it isn't scalable, can't be mass-produced or automated, and the idea of trying to generate a "repeat customer" is out of the question.

But even though I knew the hypnosis field would probably be less profitable financially, I decided that it'd be worth it. Humans are interesting and strange enough that this work never gets boring.

* I'm not exaggerating about that. A recent survey of over 1000 hypnotists revealed that the average annual income of a hypnotist is somewhere between $0 and $15,000 (Yikes!!!). And from my experience in being familar with the hypnotist community, I am pretty sure the true average is in the lower end of that range.

~~~

My background and natural traits can lead to better results because I remain focused on each client's goal. While I have a high degree of cognitive empathy, I'm not interested in getting caught up in the emotional drama of a client's problems, wallowing in sympathy, or finding new friends through doing this work.

I look at it as being temporarily hired to help you with an important personal project of yours. Whatever success you achieve is your own; the hypnotist is just making use of a peculiar skillset to facilitate a change YOU had the potential to make happen all along.

Anyway, if you're really interested in my background, here is my LinkedIn profile:

View Steve  Roh's profile on LinkedIn

Note: I ignore "friend" requests from people who are mindlessly adding numbers to their connections... using social networks as another way of spamming people. Otherwise, I'm happy to connect.

If you send me a connection invite on LinkedIn, be sure to include a personal note so I know it's not one of those automated invites where LinkedIn gets into your email contact list and spams your contacts without your consent. I’m cautious about inadvertent social networking due to concerns about the privacy and confidentiality of my clients.

It's not appropriate to actively pursue connections to clients on social networking sites. It would be kind of creepy if I did that!

But, I am happy to accept connection invitations extended by others. You can connect with me at the following:

~~~

Somehow I was able to get the City of Philadelphia to declare January 4th as World Hypnotism Day!

Here is a photo of me accepting the Mayoral Proclamation from the city's Manager of Commercial Development and Attraction.

(This isn't a personal recognition or "best hypnotist" award or that sort of nonsense. It's more about recognizing the positive difference hypnotism in general has made towards helping local citizens become healthier and more productive.)

Visit the blog to check out my shameless media appearances, including demonstrations on WMMR 93.3 FM, 6ABC, and more.

Here is a photo of me with the gang from WMMR. I have no idea why we were holding a cardboard cutout of weatherman John Bolaris.

They invited me to the show to demonstrate how hypnosis can be used to stop unconscious habits. I think they were surprised that it actually worked!


Sometimes people ask if I use hypnosis myself. Hopefully the answer has already been made clear in this section, but of course, yes.

If you think about it, it's possible that hypnosis was the catalyst that enabled the transformation from being an introverted "computer guy", to someone who is out hypnotizing people on TV and radio and schmoozing with city officials.

I'm still an introverted computer guy who prefers cats to humans (I do not think it's possible to significantly alter core personality traits), but that self-image does not restrict or limit me anymore.

Note: This didn't have much to do with the common cliches of "changing core beliefs" or "gaining self-confidence"... I believe such concepts are meaningless, even though people are always chasing after those self-help ideas.

If anything, hypnosis helps by making such pursuits irrelevant, in favor of "just doing it", or "just stop doing it", as the case may be.


It's an example of how hypnosis can open up strange possibilities in life; maybe it can do the same for you.



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Q:    How do I contact you or setup a meeting?


Almost all frequently asked questions are already answered on this page.

I place a very low priority on responding to questions which have already been answered.

However, I am happy to respond to any other questions, so don't hesitate to ask if you're looking for information that isn't already addressed on this site.


Reason: if someone is either...

     a) unable, or unwilling, to pay attention and follow basic instructions, or
     b) can't be bothered to lookup information that is right here on this page,

...it should be obvious that those are big red flags.

What would you think about their chances of being "helpable" in the first place? Not good at all, with or without hypnosis.

This may seem harsh, but if you think about it, it's fairer for everyone in the long run. I've setup this filtering mechanism to better focus on serving ideal clients who have a good chance of success. Thanks for your understanding!


  Click here to setup a meeting
using the secure online calendar

....it's easy!

or

Use this link to email me if you have any questions
that aren't already answered on this website:
info@centercityhypnosis.com


Please note: I do not offer free consultations over the phone



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*DISCLAIMER: Testimonials and customer reviews are not guarantees of similar results. Individual results may vary.