Q. What is hypnosis?
A. Hypnosis is a defined as a process involving a hypnotist and a subject who agrees to be hypnotized. Being hypnotized is usually characterized by intense concentration, extreme relaxation, and high suggestibility. I look at hypnosis as a tool, a way to relax, a way to communicate with another person or with one's self, as a means to an end. Over my 25-year career, I've helped thousands of people to cure a phobia, heal from surgery, and break a habit like smoking, hair pulling, nail biting, or overeating.
Q. Will I remember everything that happened?
A. Yes, you will. Hypnosis is a relaxed state of mind. Once you're fully relaxed and open to the idea that you can be helped through hypnosis, I can talk or tap into your subconscious. You will hear everything I say and you will be able to envision what I ask -- from lying in a boat floating down a cool river in the warm sun to standing at the top of Mt. Everest in a chilling wind to kneeling underwater at the bottom of a shallow reef.
Q. Will I wake up and do the "Funky Chicken"?
A. Absolutely not. Despite what you've seen on TV or in movies with stage hypnotists bringing people on stage to bark like a dog or dance like a chicken, I don't -- and can't -- make people do something against their moral principles. Besides, through my training as a psychotherapist license by the State of California to use hypnosis, I've helped people overcome their phobias and problems, so I take the power of hypnosis very seriously.
Q. How many sessions does it take for hypnosis to begin helping me?
A. The majority of my patients are successfully hypnotized during their first session. Some take a second or third session to fully trust themselves with my hypnosis techniques. In fact, most researchers say if you use a hypnosis tape or the same ritual in your mind 15 times, you have it embedded within. This is why repetition is especially helpful for people who are fearful of public speaking. If they listen to a tape every day and practice self-hypnosis, they will develop a tool that will help them speak comfortably to an audience.
Q. How did you start using hypnosis to help others?
A. Over 20 years ago, my son Ron was severely burned in a propane flash fire. He was experiencing pain far beyond what even Demerol injections could relieve. Searching for a way to lessen his pain, I had just been trained in hypnotic techniques, so I experimented. Fortunately, it worked so well, Ron was able to rest without pain and had a full recovery. This simple yet emotional act for a family member gave me the foundation for launching a successful hypnotherapy practice.
Q. What happens if I remain hypnotized or can't wake up from the trance?
A. Don't worry, you will not remain hypnotized. You will wake up immediately out of your so-called trance, or relaxed state, and feel refreshed. Again, this is an Urban Legend propelled by Hollywood and TV programs.
Q. I'm a controlling person. Can I release control and be hypnotized?
A. about 95% of the population can be hypnotized. The remaining five percent are so skeptical because of what they've seen or heard in the media that they prevent themselves from believing. But the majority of people who are open-minded and willing to cooperate can have great success. Surprisingly, children respond well to hypnotic suggestions to overcome phobias and other barriers.