So often we think of hypnosis as a magic trick or simply good for a laugh. My first experience with hypnosis was during my G.P. Vanier graduation talent show in the winter of 2005. Some kooky looking man, dressed as a magician, pulled the bravest students on stage for some slight embarrassment for the purpose of audience enjoyment. I chose not to raise my hand, to go unscathed and reinforce my scepticism of accessing the hidden parts of the human mind.
Fast-forward a couple of years to my post graduation, pre-University, summer job at a local pub where I worked with the lovely Carly Panzenboeck. Carly is kind, compassionate, welcoming, and not afraid to speak her truth. It is through her that I continue to learn about the power hypnotherapy can have on the subconscious mind, allowing us to heal from what ails us. Since that summer job, she has trained to become a hypnotherapist and does not need to play dress up to assume her role. If you are interested in hypnotherapy and what it’s all about, but are unsure about taking the plunge, my conversation with Carly should clear up some of the myths around hypnotherapy and give you the push you need to take the leap. I promise that it comes without an audience.
Soooo, if hypnosis is not a quirky dude in a cape making you make animal noises on stage for a laugh then what is it? Simply put, hypnosis is the ability to bypass the critical mind in order to access your subconscious. The subconscious is like a storehouse for all the experiences from birth to the present. It all sounded quite Freudian to me and I began to wonder how hypnosis ties into therapy. Carly explained that “Hypnosis, as a therapy, is used to access the parts of yourself that are limiting you, causing you painful beliefs about yourself and your life that are preventing you from living healthily, happily, and joyfully. Hypnosis is used to create new ways of thinking, feeling, and experiencing the world by re-training and re-wiring your brain.”
This sounds like something I want to try, because who doesn’t want to live more healthily, happily, and joyfully? I wondered what sets Carly apart from other hypnotherapists. She kindly explained the depth of her practice is working directly with the mind, emotions, and bodily sensations. According to her, our emotions are the gateway to our subconscious mind, which is 90% in control. WHOA! 90%!? I’d better reign this baby in. She’ll direct you toward what causes your pain, rather than bypassing your emotion. As she explains, “When we experience our emotions and feelings completely, we can find resolution and move into a ‘better feeling state’ to create new, more positive experiences and ultimately a more joyful, peaceful life.”
Sounds great. Sign me up! Wait, am I a good candidate for hypnotherapy? Carly explains that this type of therapy can benefit anyone, children and adults alike. If you can ‘think’ and ‘feel’ your issue or problem, then there is something to work with. Some of the most common issues people want to address are: stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, addiction, and PTSD.
Armed with a better understanding of hypnotherapy and Carly’s important work, I decided to ask her what makes her feel so positive about hypnotherapy and her answer resonated with me. She explained that getting in touch with your emotions and investigating them, being with them and fully experiencing them, regardless of whether they feel positive or negative, is not prevalent in our society. Feeling positive emotions is what most of us really want and we strive for this emotional state on a daily basis. We tell ourselves why we should feel better or happy or grateful. We tell ourselves why we shouldn’t feel negative. We are in a constant tug-of-war related to our positive and negative emotions. We even feel shame for how we feel. We have all learned how to abandon ourselves time and time again. Anytime you ignore your own emotions and quickly try to move into a more positive mindset before addressing what is calling you to pay attention, you are abandoning yourself. It is like saying, “I only accept the good or positive aspects of myself.”
The reality is that we are a mix of both positive and negative. Her hope for all people is to get to the place where we start being with ourselves, no matter what, for all our good and bad. It is her belief and experience that once we stop resisting those parts of ourselves and embrace the ugly parts, we move into a more peaceful, happy, and loving state.
It truly is when we embrace our dark that we find the light.