Treatment philosophy as important as treatment methods!

To over-simplify philosophical approaches to treatment, some treatment models have an underlying supposition that the person is broken and needs to be fixed.  These models look at behaviors, thoughts, and emotions as either functional or dysfunctional, which is another way of saying that the person’s life is working or it is broken, and needs to be fixed.  The repairman (or woman) is, of course, the therapist.

Another perspective, which happens to be the one that I use, is that every behavior, thought, and emotion came into being in order to serve a positive purpose or intention.  There is nothing broken, and no one needs to be “fixed”. What might need to happen is a realignment between the positive intention and the way that this intention is being met today.

As an example, we can look at the act of smoking.  People who smoke (or over eat, or experience anxiety, etc.) did so with a positive intention.  The original act may have provided social interaction, or feelings of independence, or served as a way of replacing one emotional state (let’s say “stress” for another one, perhaps rewarding or distracting yourself).  What happens is that the person later realizes that the behavior has gotten separated from the original intention, so that now the person who smokes (or over eats, or feels stress) no longer benefits from the behavior, and instead wishes they could change the behavior.  So why can’t the change be quick and easy?

The main reason is that the positive intention is usually known only to the unconscious mind, which runs the show. The conscious mind wants to make a change, while the unconscious mind faithfully continues the behavior in order to satisfy the original positive intention.  The unconscious mind must be addressed in such a way that it is willing to swap out the behavior that it is still doing for another behavior that satisfies the positive intention.

I was working with a 45 year old woman who came to me with weight issues.  She was 5’2″ and over 160 lbs.  She had been on diets most of her life, and when she lost weight, she would quickly gain it back, and then some.  While in trance, her unconscious mind informed us (both me and the woman) that she ate to protect herself, which is a valid positive intention.  She had been doing this since she was 14 years old.  I suggested (to her unconscious) that she might actually be better protected by paying attention to her surroundings, trusting her gut, and exercising good judgment.  Her unconscious agreed that this might be better, and that these new behaviors would be tried out for a month.  If after a month, her unconscious was unhappy with the switch, it could go back to over-eating.  The switch was made and the over-eating disappeared.  I need to add a little to the story.  When out of trance, I asked the woman what happened when she was 14 years old.  She looked shocked, and slowly told me that she had been molested when she was 14.  It makes sense that a 14 year old girl would “protect” herself from molestation the best way that she could…. by over-eating and making herself less attractive to men.  Her conscious mind had no idea why she was over-eating more than 30 years later, and she could not understand the difficulty in changing this behavior. Yet when her unconscious mind was given the opportunity to stay true to the positive intention, it willingly accepted change.

As a treatment philosophy, here are a few beliefs that I adhere to:

1. People are not broken.  They work perfectly.  Behind every behavior and emotion, there is a positive intent.

2. Change happens quickly and easily.  The decision to change often takes time.  The methodology to make the change may be either effective or less effective.  When the methodology is effective, change will happen.

3. The unconscious mind is in charge.  Whenever a change requires effort, willpower, or constant attention, there is a conflict between the unconscious mind and the conscious mind.  In the long run, the unconscious mind always wins.

4. The unconscious mind is flexible and willing to change.  You just need to ask in such a way that it understands and agrees to the change.  This requires making sure that any positive intention is met by the new behavior.

Hopefully, this adds some dimension to how and why hypnosis and NLP become useful tools in helping people make the changes they want and need.

Please feel free to comment, ask questions, or to share your own story.


You are in charge of your journey, and you are equipped to make all the changes you want. Believe me?

If you are looking to make changes in your life, it would be a great idea if you knew the philosophy and strategy of anyone that you have chosen to help you on your journey.  To greatly oversimplify the philosophical aspects of your relationship with your therapists, there are those that believe that people are broken in some way, and therefore the therapists role is to help that person by “fixing” them.  Other schools of thought believe that people are working in a manner that serves a purpose, or once served a purpose in the past, and here the therapists role is to help the person realign their behaviors, feelings, and intentions.  This therapist believes that all behaviors originate with a positive intention, and the behavior may still exist even though the positive intention is no longer being served.

By way of example, imagine a child that was told in some form “if you’re good, you can have dessert”.  This child will learn that being good and eating sweets are tightly linked, and perhaps later in life, this child will self-medicate with food.  There are many adults that are unconsciously programmed to seek out sweets when they feel bad, stresses, or anxious, and thus “feeling good” and “being healthy” are now in conflict with each other.  The “feel good” program is run by the unconscious, while the “eat healthy” program is under conscious control and thus requires will-power and constant effort.  My observations are that unconscious programs tend to win over time, and with some people, it does not take much time. Look at New Year’s resolutions as another example of conscious effort vs. unconscious (sometime habitual) programs.

As a practitioner, I believe that people are whole, that they are doing the best they can at any moment, and that changes can be defined consciously (but not implemented) simply by asking, “What would I like to be doing/thinking/feeling instead of how I am doing it now?”. If there are any unconscious influences on behaviors that want to be changed, these changes will occur more quickly and easily if the unconscious mind is enlisted in making these changes rather than ignored or over-ridden.

Ready to make some real and lasting changes?  Call or write.

What is hypnosis, how does it work, and why?

There are many different definitions of hypnosis.  Wikipedia offers this one– “Hypnosis is a state of consciousness involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness characterized by an enhanced capacity for response to suggestion.”  Stated another way, hypnosis is the naturally occurring state in which a person’s attention is focused inward, while at the same time, they become less aware of their immediate surroundings.

The hypnotic state is relatively easy for a skilled practitioner to achieve with anyone.  The “magic” of hypnotherapy occurs in the quality of interaction between the client and the hypnotherapist. A skilled hypnotherapist will use the trance state to help the client make changes at the unconscious level that govern feelings and behaviors that are not serving the client now.  The effectiveness of a hypnosis treatment session will be determined by the choices the practitioner makes during the session, combined with the client’s ability to accept the suggestions and to integrate them into their conscious behaviors.  The practitioner has a big responsibility in choosing the precise suggestions that they believe will make a difference to the client, and then in delivering those suggestions in a way that they will be accepted.

Let me demonstrate the degree of precision with which the unconscious functions.  I was working with a client many years ago, in this case my niece who was staying with us for a few months.  She wanted to stop drinking Diet Coke, for all the right reasons.  While in trance, I gave her the suggestion (in keeping with her stated goals of living a more healthy life style) that she would no longer like the taste of Diet Coke, and that she would enjoy taking walks in the nearby park. She took her 1st long walk shortly after our session.  The following day, she went food shopping with my wife, and returned without Diet Coke.  She did buy regular Coke, completely unaware of why she made her new choice.  I hypnotized her again, this time giving her the suggestion that she would not like any colored carbonated beverage, as I wanted to allow her the full choice of any juices.  Upon returning from her next trip to the supermarket, she came back with Diet Sprite.  Once again, in a trance, I gave her the suggestion of not drinking any flavored carbonated beverage.  Third time was the charm.

To the point– the practitioner must be highly skilled and very precise in offering the most beneficial suggestions that align with the client’s stated goals.  The unconscious mind is completely literal, and so the suggestions must be made in such a way as to prevent anything except the intended change to take place.  Here is where the skill and experience of the practitioner are key.

Please call, comment, or write if you have anything to say or questions.

Anxiety, stress, discomfort, depression– What do they have in common, and how are they treated?

Anxiety, stress, discomfort, depression, and many more words are used to describe unpleasant feelings that are generated by specific and often repetitive thoughts.  For many people these feelings are overwhelming, and for others, not so much.  Why is it that some people seem to deal with these feelings in a deliberate and effective way, while other people get derailed?

Here is one theory.  As children, we all enter situations that seem challenging because of our level of developmental maturity at any specific time.  If we navigate though this situation effectively, we move on to other and new challenges.  When we, as children, are overwhelmed by a situation, we may generate a response that is appropriate for that age and time, even though the response is not really effective or desired.  For example, a recent client, age 12, had the response of stuttering whenever she felt anxious.  In working with her under a light hypnotic trance, she revealed that she first began to stutter at age 6, when a teacher called on her for homework that she did not do.  She felt embarrassed and stressed, and that was the 1st time she remembered stuttering.  Her stuttering was eliminated in a single session by having her go back to that 1st instance, and to experience it through the resources that she has available to her now at age 12.  While still in trace, her 12 year-old-self was instructed to go back in time and to give her 6 year-old-self the resources and perspective to change her response to any embarrassing or stressful situations.

For any situation we find ourselves in today, we are either dealing with it with the emotional resources of our current age, or we are processing it thought the limited resources available to us at the age when we first experienced the situation.

NLP and hypnosis are particularly effective in treating these types of issues that tie unconscious behaviors and feelings that were learned as children that show up as the response we use today.

Feel free to write, call, comment, or share your thoughts and experiences.


What changes do you want to make? Can Hypnosis, NLP, EFT, or EMDR help?

If you are like most people, there are certain things you’d like to change in your life, and maybe you’ve tried already. People may want to lose weight, stop smoking, sleep better and easily, get rid of body aches, become less anxious, get rid of phobias, or to relieve a condition that might be thought of as medical (including migraines, IBS, allergies, physical pain, shingles, and more).  The good news is that you have not given up, and there is a high possibility of success trying something new or working with someone new.

As I watch TV, I can’t help but notice all the highly promoted ailments that drug companies want you to know they have a drug for.  I am amused at the long list of side effects that the FDA requires be part of every advertisement for the drug.  In most cases, the side effects seem more debilitating than the ailment that it might improve.  I will risk slightly mis-quoting Deepak Chopra who said the body functions as the perfect pharmacy,  dispensing exactly the right drug in exactly the right amount at exactly the right time to exactly the right place.  He also noted that drug companies try to synthesize compounds already found in the body, though their efforts largely fall short.  Why is the body sometimes (these are the times we notice) less effective or slow in initiating the healing process?

Today, medical science believes that if the immune system and the nervous system are not actually the same, then they are so closely linked that one cannot be spoken about without the other.  This would explain why people get “sick” when their emotional state falls below a certain threshold.  Could it be possible to influence (including complete healing and not just the elimination of symptoms) the healing of the body by improving the state of the nervous/immune system?  Research indicates that this is the case.

Some new and some not-so-new treatments have been gathering fans within the medical community and outside it as well.  Hypnosis, NLP, EFT, EMDR, and other brief treatments have numerous instances of anecdotal success as well as research based studies proving their efficacy.  Unfortunately, these treatments do not get widely promoted as their is no payoff for the drug companies.  Insurance companies also are hesitant to reimburse for these treatments, making them unavailable to many people.  So if you are reading this, it is likely that whatever traditional treatments you have tried did not give you the results you wanted.

If you’d like to see if there is any evidence-based-research on your specific issue, you can simply GOOGLE (Yes, I am using Google as a verb): the name-of-the-issue and alternative treatments, or the name-of-the-issue and the specific treatment you are interested in (which could be hypnosis, EFT, NLP, EMDR, or anything else.  Or, you can just contact me and I’ll share with you what I know.