Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wellness Month: Meet The Experts- A Hypnotherapist

Hypnotherapy: The term "hypnosis" comes from the Greek word hypnos, meaning "sleep." Hypnotherapists use exercises that bring about deep relaxation and an altered state of consciousness, also known as a trance. A person in a deeply focused state is unusually responsive to an idea or image, but this does not mean that a hypnotist can control the person's mind and free will. On the contrary, hypnosis can actually teach people how to master their own states of awareness. By doing so they can affect their own bodily functions and psychological responses. [Source: University of Maryland Medical Center ]

Have you ever wondered why the hell you just ate that second bowl of ice cream when you know you shouldn't have or why you chew your nails, bite your lip? Maybe you hate to exercise even after being told by the doctor, "You better or else!" Yet, you just can't seem to get motivated. Me too! However, my bad habits tend to revolve around eating sweets, eating sweets and well have I said this before, eating sweets. Oh, well let's throw in procrastinating too. All to often after eating sweets I not only feel quilty, but experience the emotional roller coaster of sugar highs and lows. Add the procratinating and subsequently stressing out, you get a recipe for disaster- uncomfortable physical manifestations such as tension headaches, sore upper back and neck muscles as well as indigestion and mood swings.

In my journey to become more aware, open and attune to my emotional triggers and responses and finding ways to help me kick my unhealthy habits, I have become fascinated by the prospect of being able to affect one's bodily functions and psychological responses through avenues that have one tap into the subconscious in order to better understand consicous choices, actions, reactions and such. That is why I was so excited when I found out a former client and friend, Katarina Oberg, began a hypnosis service for women called Spirtual Spring, LLC.  I wanted to learn more, so I asked her a few questions about her practice and thought I'd share them as part of the Wellness Month: Meet The Experts series on nurturing your whole self for optimal well-being.
Katarina Oberg, MSW, CH
DC based Hypnotherapist
How and why did you become a hypnotherapist? In other words, what is your story? Why did you start using hypnosis in your practice?  I decided to become a hypnotherapist when I was ready to go back to work after staying home with my daughter for a few years.  My background is as a social worker working with families and I wanted to stay in the helping field.  When I learned about hypnosis, I felt I had found the perfect fit for me to help people overcome difficulties in their lives.  Hypnotherapy provides goal oriented solutions to common problems, such as weight issues and stress.  I feel I have really expanded my toolkit for how to help people reach their goals with my hypnotherapy training in addition to my background in social work. 

What is hypnotherapy, hypnosis? What's the purpose and how does it work? For example, someone comes to you who wants to lose weight, stop smoking...? Please explain.  Hypnosis might sound a bit mysterious, but it is really a natural state of waking consciousness.  When you are hypnotized, you slow down the conscious mind, which is the busy, critical, and logical part of your mind.  Instead, you become more aware of your subconscious mind. This is the part of your mind that remembers everything, generates your emotions, and is very creative.  And most importantly, it also controls habits. 

So while you might be in full agreement with your everyday logical mind about the need to change a habit, this logical approach does not typically address or reach your subconscious beliefs so it is often unsuccessful despite your best intentions.  For example, you might be determined to lose weight, but somehow you continue with your old habits, despite the objections of your logical mind!  

With the help of hypnosis, you gain direct access to your subconscious mind and you and your hypnotherapist can create new and more productive ways of dealing with any problems in your life. In other words, when you come to agreement with all parts of yourself, then true and lasting change comes into your life. 

How could hypnosis fit in to a person's overall fitness and/or wellness? You hear these terms health, fitness and wellness a lot - explain.   Specifically, hypnosis and related techniques can help you give up cravings for specific unhealthy foods or anything else you want to quit doing.  It can also help you release negative feelings about exercise and improve body image.  Hypnosis can also help you let go of stress and set new priorities in your life, freeing you up to do more of what you really want to accomplish.  

Anything else you'd like to tell our readers.
While hypnosis is not magic, it really can be effective for anyone who is looking to change their habits and health for the better.  You will not lose weight or become healthier with hypnosis alone, but with the help of hypnosis, you can let go of anything this is mentally or emotionally holding you back from being healthy and fit.  In my case, I was overweight and really did not like even the thought of exercising or limiting my favorite unhealthy foods.  But with the help of hypnosis to overcome my resistance to change, I have easily lost 40 lbs. in about five months’ time and I now enjoy exercising two to three days a week.

Thanks Katarina for enlightening us to the affects hypnosis may have in helping people overcome unhealthy habits. Next up, we'll learn from a fitness professional about how a consistent exercise regimen can help you be healthier and happier. Guess who that may be...

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