Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hypnotherapy – Part I

There’s a great explanation about Hypnosis on the University of Maryland Medical Center’s website – essentially it explains the Greek origin of the word hypnosis (Hypnos - meaning sleep) and some of the initial things that anyone considering hypnosis and / or hypnotherapy should be aware of.

While in a hypnotic state, the body relaxes deeply, and thoughts become much more focussed. Physically, blood pressure and heart rates change and certain types of brain waves can also change. What is really cool is that you are completely aware of everything going on around you and feel totally at ease. In this state many human beings are highly responsive to suggestion.

I’m seeing my hypnotherapist to get assistance with weight loss. My hope is that she will be able to assist me in “re-programming” myself for a couple of things: what I am eating and why.

What I am eating - I LOVE sugars and starches. I crave them. I see them and I eat them with gusto. I don’t crave vegetables – unless they happen to be in potato (or corn) chip format. So first of all, I would like to be able to not be so phased by sweet and salty things. I would like, very much, to be able to look at a cookie bar or cake that someone has brought into the office and not NEED to try some. I’d like, very much, to crave raw veggies (without a fatty thing to dip them into) for a snack – carrot sticks, broccoli and the like.

The “why” of my eating is a little harder for me to define. I mentioned before that I am a comfort eater. I naturally reach for the comfort of something sweet when I’m feeling a little low. I think there’s a lot to be said for chocolate cake when I’m blue. Or Wearing blue. OK – so maybe my self control isn’t so hot either! In any case, I will eat for any and all reasons out there and for no particular reason at all. My goal with this one is to eat when I am hungry – and not for any other reason.

On Wednesday night of this past week I had my first session – it was an hour and a half and did include some hypnosis.

The session was low key and very much an opportunity for introduction and discussion. We talked about her credentials a little (I always ask when I’m seeing a new practitioner of any kind) and her practice. We then went on to discuss my reasons for choosing hypnotherapy, what my expectations were (and are,) what I know and understand of hypnotherapy and then we covered a few basics. Some of the questions I was asked include things like my favourite colour, favourite place, favourite flower / scent, and my dog’s name. I assume that she will use these things when I am in a hypnotic state to help anchor thoughts and goals.

We then discussed my preferences surrounding the use of positive reinforcement versus negative imagery to help me assimilate the goals. I prefer to use positive reinforcement as opposed to negative imagery – it is my understanding that positive reinforcement works better in the human brain than negative, and to be perfectly honest, I would prefer to work with the positive rather than avoid the negative.

When all of this was done, she took me into a hypnotic state and started the process for me. I can remember the whole session and what was worked on. There was a lot of positive imagery – images planted leaving me with a feeling of strength and empowerment.

So have I noticed anything at all? Surprisingly, yes, I have. That night, though late, when I got home, I was actually craving (of all things) steamed broccoli! I had an image of it in my mind – that deep gorgeous green that it turns when it’s steamed. I didn’t steam any up that night – like I said, it was late. But the next night for dinner I did steam some up and was very happy with the meal.

On Thursday (or maybe it was Friday?) one of my colleagues brought in a plate of the most gorgeous looking cookie bars I have seen in some time. Coconut with two different types of chocolate chips and some other stuff – just the smell of them was enough to put me into sugar-crave mode. I had one. It was AWESOME. I immediately had a second one and actually regretted it – the second one didn’t taste anywhere near as good and really, in retrospect, it wasn’t worth it.

Exercise – I’ve been craving it. Thursday I took Jasmine out for an 8 KM walk. Friday was a 9 to 5 work day and so I didn’t have enough daylight to get her out for a long walk, but we did 2 short 1 KM walks. Saturday, as soon as I could get out of the office, (at 3:30 PM) I took her up to the park for a 5 KM walk and today I had her out for another 8 KM walk. Granted, the weather has been cooperating beautifully, but I am getting excited about getting to go for a long walk and then while out on the walk, I am enjoying the movement and feeling.

I’m excited that daylight savings starts next Sunday – that means that, even on work days that end at 5:00 and 5:30 PM I’ll be able to hustle home, get Jasmine into the car and get out for that hour-long walk!

My next session is this coming Wednesday night – I’m looking forward to seeing if I notice more changes…

With love across the waters,

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