By Rhonda Davis
I woke up this morning thinking about the stigma attached to hypnosis as I recently had a conversation with a potential client who told me she really wanted to come in for sessions, but she didn’t want her husband to know she was thinking about doing hypnosis for weight loss.
“Not because he would really care,” she mentioned, “He didn’t even mind when I did the HCG injections, but with hypnosis, he might think I had gone off the deep end!”
Now, I don’t want to get into the whole HCG debate here, but for the purposes of this discussion, and for those who are not familiar with the HCG injection process, I’d like to describe it briefly.
The HCG protocol requires an individual to inject (yes, with a needle) the HCG solution into their abdomen every morning for a few weeks, which in turn reduces their appetite so that they can more easily eat a restricted 500 calorie per day diet and lose weight quickly. If the client continues to eat according to the outlined phase after the injection period is over, they stand a pretty good chance of keeping the weight off.
The problem is, it’s very hard to follow this phase of the diet when the HCG is no longer in their system to curb their appetite, and many people simply fail because the emotional component involved in weight loss is still not being addressed.
I know all about this because I did several rounds of HCG once, and spent over $500 per round trying to lose weight. There were mornings when I had no problem sticking a needle in my own skin and then there were days it took me more effort. Even though I don’t have a needle phobia I still experienced some anxiety over having to go through the procedure.
Now, back my potential client being concerned that her husband might think she had gone off the deep end if she used hypnosis for weight loss vs. sticking a needle in her abdomen…
Think about that for a moment and tell me if you can begin to see why this got me thinking about the stigma associated with hypnosis. If this was a one-off situation, I’m sure it would not have weighed so heavily on my mind, but because I often hear similar comments regarding hypnosis in general, it got me to thinking.
Admittedly, as a hypnotherapist, I obviously have some bias regarding the benefits of hypnotherapy. Still, I find it hard to believe that in this day and age of massage, naturopathic medicine, herbology, Chinese medicine, etc., not to mention all the scientific evidence supporting the benefits of hypnotherapy, that a conversation like this still takes place, but it does.
If you read “My Story” on the About Rhonda page, you know that I attended massage therapy school back in the mid-80’s. I bring this up because as I reflect on that time, I’m reminded that the stigma associated with hypnosis is very similar to the stigma that was associated with that of massage at one time.
During the ethics portion of the massage therapy class, we discussed at length the usage of the term masseuse vs. massage therapist because of the sexual connotations associated with a ‘masseuse’ and the effort being put forth to differentiate the uses of massage for sexual gratification as opposed to the use of massage for health benefits.
Much like massage, hypnosis can be used for reasons other than achieving goals, losing weight, pain management, and optimal health. And like anything else, the uses are determined by the motives of an individual. In my opinion, the overall use of hypnosis/hypnotherapy by an individual for positive change far outweighs any of the other uses, as I see this on a daily basis.
As a professional hypnotherapist, I have to take into account that not everyone knows the benefits of hypnotherapy yet.
I, like many other hypnotherapists, consider it part of my responsibility to educate the general public, and move the culture of hypnotherapy forward. In order to do so, we must differentiate the uses hypnotherapy, as a viable resource used to help people transform their lives easily and find happiness, from its counterpart as it is portrayed in Hollywood movies for pure entertainment purposes.
It is necessary to ascertain the difference between the two uses, so that one day, like massage therapy, we can reduce the taboo attitude towards hypnosis, allowing more individuals the opportunity to experience these benefits and live happier healthier lives.
One way to achieve this is to begin by dispelling the Myths & Misconceptions about hypnosis.
Another will happen organically as more and more people become aware the power of hypnotherapy and other methods often used with hypnosis, such as neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), and begin to experience first-hand the long-lasting changes these modalities can make in their lives.