Although the term “hypnosis” is only a couple of hundred years old, records of hypnosis-like treatment date back thousands of years ago. So what exactly is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a natural state of selective, focused attention and has been used in the treatment of pain, depression, anxiety, stress, habit disorders and many other psychological and medical problems.
The portrayal of hypnosis in the entertainment industry has contributed to a wide misunderstanding of the true nature of hypnosis. You cannot be hypnotized to do things against your will. While hypnotized, you are neither asleep nor unconscious and can think, talk and even move around, if necessary. You won’t cluck like a chicken when the doorbell rings and you will remain in complete control of yourself.
Melanie Bell is a certified hypnotherapist who graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, the country’s first Nationally Accredited College of Hypnotherapy. She also holds more than 20 advanced certifications, including Therapeutic Imagery Master, NLP Practitioner, Advanced Handwriting Analyst, Advanced EFT, ADD-ADHD, Caregivers, Childbirth, Immune Disorders, Inner Child, Pain Management, Past Life Regression Therapist, Pre- and Post-Surgical Hypnosis, PTSD, Seniors, Smoking Cessation, Sports Performance, Tinnitus, Trauma Recovery, and Weight Loss.
Melanie quit smoking more than 25 years ago with a hypnotist, and the results were so positive and profound that she has studied and practiced self hypnosis in a variety of forms ever since.
“I tried it and I didn’t think I was hypnotized. I didn’t think it had worked, until after the session and I went out and I couldn’t remember how to drive the stick shift in my car because he had erased, wiped out and eliminated all of my association with smoking,” she said.
She went on with her life and was hit by a drunk driver a couple of years later, which left her with permanent injuries and chronic pain. She contacted the same hypnotist who had helped her to quit smoking, bought some exercise motivation tapes and pain control tapes and, not long after, got off all of the pain medication and never had a problem with chronic pain again.
“So that’s when I adopted hypnosis, or that’s what really gave me a passion for hypnosis,” Bell said.
Bell put herself through the Distance Education Program at the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in California, which took about a year and is done completely by phone and online.
“It’s one of the reasons why, now, I do so much by phone — I do a lot of hypnosis by phone because I got really good at it,” Bell added. “It’s harder to train distance because you’re working with people and so you have to learn how to hypnotize them with just your voice, whereas, in person, I can use eye fascination, I can use a bunch of different things.
But, over the phone, all you’ve got is your voice and I, fortunately, have the voice for it so that worked out.”
A hypnosis is a very relaxed state, physically. Mentally, you’re aware of everything going on around you. If you’ve never been hypnotized, I can promise you it’s not what you’re expecting it to be like. – Melanie Bell
Though she can do most everything by phone, Bell said working with autistic children is one thing she does that she prefers to do face-to-face.
“Autistic children tend to get up and move around when they’re hypnotized, so I would never do somebody like that over the phone. In general I work with small children in person because they do tend to do things like get up and move around and they’ll act things out and I want to have eyes on them for safety reasons.”
“A hypnosis is a very relaxed state, physically. Mentally, you’re aware of everything going on around you. If you’ve never been hypnotized, I can promise you it’s not what you’re expecting it to be like,” Bell said.
Bell said that 80-90 percent of our mind power is actually subconscious. We operate in the top 10 percent of our mind power, which is where our logic, reasoning, decision-making and willpower are, and most of what’s in our subconscious was put there before we were 8-9 years old.
“The other things that get down there are things that are so routine that they’re automatic, and those are a lot of the behaviors that people try and break themselves of — biting their nails, smoking cigarettes, overeating, binge drinking, things like that. You’ve done it over and over and over, repetitiously, until it becomes an automatic behavior. All automatic behavior is a function of your subconscious mind,” she added.
“We all have things like that, down in our subconscious. Some people think they’re not pretty, some people think they’re not smart, and so the most common self-limiting beliefs are, ‘If I try, I’ll fail, no one will want me anyway,’ so when you get past those sorts of things, it’s amazing what people can actually do.”
As a hypnotherapist, Bell helps people to “conceptualize where they want to be,” and see that their goals are achieved.
“You can’t hit a target that you can’t see, and so I help them, through hypnosis, to reprogram their subconscious mind to then see that as the goal, and your subconscious becomes a goal-achieving machine, it predicts the future based on the present and the past. We put things down there in the present that it then recognizes, ‘Oh, that’s a different option for my future,’ and it starts moving people forward in that direction.
“I get them very relaxed, I open up that filter. It’s a reflex that everybody can do; it’s just like a doctor hitting your knee and your knee jerks out. A very well-trained hypnotist can hit that reflex and you go right into hypnosis and then you can start letting go of things that you want to let go of anyway,” Bell said.
She said that no human being can be hypnotized to do something that violates their personality structure or their core beliefs, adding, “the more you want it consciously, the easier it is for us to then put it in your subconscious. And when you have congruity between what you consciously want and what’s in your subconscious, it becomes very easy for you to achieve your goal.”
To those who are still on the fence about hypnotherapy, Bell simply says, “give it a try, what do you have to lose?”
Bell now offers Group Hypnotherapy Sessions and Seminars at Maxwell Blade’s Theatre of Magic. Call Bell directly at 229-848-2211 or Maxwell Blade’s Theater at 623- 6200.