Susan Lee Bady, LCSW, BCD


Park Slope, Brooklyn • (718) 638-8113

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Self Hypnosis

By Susan Lee Bady, LCSW, BCD

 

Many people don't realize it, but one of the most interesting things about hypnosis is the fact that you can learn to hypnotize yourself! In fact, self-hypnosis is one of the most important tools I teach my clients. You can use it for almost everything - anxiety, depression, pain management, assertiveness, stage fright, sports performance, smoking cessation, etc. I myself do it almost daily ever since I learned hypnosis fifteen years ago. It is true that when someone else is the hypnotist you tend to experience a deeper sense of trance. However, you can still create for yourself a very deep sense of relaxation and a powerful impetus for change through your own efforts.

There are several ways to do self-hypnosis. One is to listen to a tape that your hypnotist has made for you. (You can also buy a tape in a store. However, I usually find that a tape made for you in person by someone you trust is more powerful. If for some reason you cannot get to a hypnotist, by all means buy a tape.)

The other way is to have a couple of sessions with a hypnotist. He/she will first help you enter a trance state and give you a series of suggestions, either verbally or with the help of visual images. Then your hypnotherapist will teach you to enter the trance state on your own and give yourself your own suggestions. It may sound mysterious, but in truth it is easy to do! That is because the trance state is actually a very common state of consciousness, like a daydream or absorption in a book or movie that many people enter very frequently. Often people come into my office without realizing they are already doing self-hypnosis and then my job is to encourage them to continue and to teach them a few more techniques.

Self-hypnosis is very different from taking a pill. You must be willing to set aside the time to do the work, sometimes on a daily basis, and that involves a certain amount of faith and discipline. Therefore, at first the beginner may need the guidance of a hypnotherapist and then can take off on his/her own. Though self-hypnosis is usually highly effective, the person may sometimes experience blocks. If, for example, you are very tense or anxious and the problem is very strong you may also need the help of therapy and medication along with the practice of self-hypnosis. Overall, however, self-hypnosis is a very wonderful tool to use either by itself or along with a therapy session. You are taking the power to change into your own hands and enhancing your life in a wonderful and freeing way.

Park Slope Shopper, 1987