I’ve generally been somewhat of a melancholic and anxious person, since my early twenties but the last two years have been particularly stressful for me. Although I had seen different therapists over the years, and it did always feel good to walk out of a doctor’s office having gotten everything I was feeling off my chest, I often felt that progress was slow. I learned that with hypnotherapy depending on what you need help with, the positive effects can be seen more quickly after only the first few sessions. I have to admit that before attending my first session, I was skeptical about undergoing hypnosis because I was dead set on thinking that I would be too stubborn to be able to “fall under”, I’m happy to say that it turns out I was very wrong.
My first meeting with Alexandra Janelli of Theta Springs was great. Her office is a haven of calm and her easy going personality really makes you feel at ease. The session starts out much like a regular therapy session without the hypnosis part, which you go into later. She begins the session by asking questions about what you would like to accomplish and it’s up to you to speak with her as candidly as possible about what’s on your mind. After the mutual speaking therapy session, the best part begins. You pull back your chair and you can request a cozy blanket for the hypnosis part of the session. Alexandra’s voice was so soothing that I almost immediately fell into a state of relaxation. Before I knew it, I went into a state of deep sleep. I would compare it what people have said transcendental meditation is like, except you have help from the professional to take you into another level of consciousness. After I was brought back, I couldn’t remember much of what happened from the time I was hypnotized. So much for my “stubbornness”. I won’t go into too many details about what happened, but I can tell you that I came out feeling simultaneously revitalized and relaxed. I walked out into the loud and bustling New York City streets feeling like I was walking on a cloud. Alexandra provided me with a recording of my session, which I listened to later and used to help me fall into another relaxing state on my own.
There are many different things that can be accomplished with hypnotherapy (such as quitting smoking, which is very popular with a lot of people) and everyone will have different reasons for wanting to try this amazing form of therapy, for me, in that one session it accomplished a lot more than what I had expected.
I had the opportunity to interview Alexandra Janelli about hypnotherapy. She is very passionate and knowledgeable about her field, it’s no wonder she’s so good at what she does:
1. Why did you choose to become a hypnotherapist?
About 6 years ago I had been seeing a chiropractor at Longevity Health for helping with my TMJ that I had. I was also seeing a nutritionist there (Dr. Margolin who owns the center) and he had mentioned they had just brought onto the team a hypnotherapist that might be able to help me with an issue that I was having in my life. I decided to try it and it completely changed my life, helped me gain inertia, and overcome some fears that I was having regarding my issue. It truly inspired me that such an amazing change could happen in my life in a matter of 3 sessions.
It wasn’t until 2010 when I moved to Chicago that I decided it was time for a career change. I had been in environmental consulting for 7 years and was ready! While I toyed with the idea of going back to school to be a veterinarian, I started to question my love for helping people and the things that had inspired me in my life. Thus, I reached out to my hypnotherapist to ask about his process. Everything from timing to the school just felt right and everything fell into place from that point forward.
2. What are the differences and similarities between hypnosis and meditation?
While both modalities can lead you to an altered state of consciousness and clear mind, they are achieved in very different ways. Meditation is a quieting of the mind, while hypnosis is an over-stimulation of the mind brought on my tapping into all the sense of the mind and body. Both are wonderful at helping clients achieve similar outcomes. However, hypnotherapy is geared more specifically to creating new associations in the subconscious mind for problem and issue solving. Thereby, reframing an issue to help you unblock and move forward in your life.
3. What kind of training do you need to administer hypnosis?
I did my training at the Hypnosis Motivational Institute (HMI – hypnosis.edu) which is out of California. They have the only accredited hypnotherapy distant learning program, which is world renouned. In order to prepare for the movie Trance, Rosario Dawson visited to there to learn more about hypnotherapy. The program is a 9 volume course load with over 300 hours of accredited hours. Upon completion you earn a diploma in handwriting analysis and hypnotherapy. Certification is earned through a union of which upon finishing school you are certified as a master hypnotist. Once your 200 hours of clinic hours are completed you can apply for status as a hypnotherapist.
Its important to note the difference between a hypnotist and hypnotherapist when picking your practitioner. Below is information on that:
There is a big difference between a Hypnotist (including Consulting Hypnotist, Certified Hypnotist, Stage Hypnotist, etc) and a Clinical Hypnotherapist in terms of competency and effectiveness for subconscious healing of clients. A Hypnotist is typically someone who has learned (from books, on-line, week-end courses and/or 50-60 hour courses) how to induce the hypnotic state in a willing person. Unless they have taken further appropriate training they would not be considered qualified to assist a person with emotional and physical hypnotherapy issues. The basic/introductory courses in hypnosis allow the hypnotists to choose a field or fields of interest among the wide variety of applications possible with hypnosis, hypnotherapy being only one.
A Hypnotherapist is a Master Hypnotist who has many more hours specialized training in self- identification, regression, root-cause, release and re-learning techniques, just to name a few. The confusion tends to be rooted in the titles used by the various certifying organizations. But one thing seems clear, without additional and proper training, a hypnotist, regardless the title he/she chooses to use, is not qualified to work in the medical and dental applications of hypnosis. Never presume that because a person is a Consulting Hypnotist, a Hypnotist, a Certified Hypnotist, hypnotherapist or many of the other titles one sees, that they are automatically competent to help you resolve your issue. Further equiry in all areas of health and wellness are always advised.
4. What are some of the most impressive results you’ve seen come out of some of your clients?
I have had clients lose 40+ pounds, stop smoking after lifetimes of smoking, overcoming fear of flying after 10 years of not being on a plane, a girl eating fruit for the first time at the age of 23, letting go of past traumas that have plagued and inhibited peoples lives, overcoming terrible breakups, self love and acceptance of transgender clients, overcoming fear of highway driving, stopping nail biting, plus many many more.
5. After a session, are there things that a client can do at home to reinforce the hypnosis session?
During the session I will help clients create tools and mantras that can be used to help trigger up some subconscious associations. Just as a dog can be a trigger for a fearful reaction in a person who has a fear of dogs, you can also provide consciuous queues that can trigger up good associations too. Clients can also learn self-hypnosis techniques that can help with reinforcing the work done in session. In addition, I offer to record the session for clients so they can listen to the session again and again from home. Guiding yourself through meditation and visualizations on your own is also a wonderful way to reinforce the work.
6. I’ve heard many success stories from people who have quit smoking cigarettes through hypnosis, how does this change take place? How do the sessions alleviate nicotine addiction?
Hypnotherapy looks to understand the associations you have created about smoking from the time that you started to the present. For many people they started smoking because their parents did, it was cool, or it was social. However, over the years smoking associations changed from something that you just did to become a habit that is routine and hard to break. People will smoke, not necessarily because they enjoy it completely, but it offers a break from work, a moment to not think, to even a coping mechanism in dealing with stress, anxiety, or other emotions.
When clients come to quit smoking, I always state that it can be a 1-3+ session process. It is not magic button like you see in stage hypnosis shows, and its success is truly based off the clients true motivations to quit. If you are looking to quit for someone or something other than yourself, the success rate is altered significantly.
Hypnosis hopes to tap into your empowerment over cigarettes. You learn new coping mechanisms to dealing with stress, that emotions that may trigger the “urge” to smoke are much better dealt with on a conscious level then with a disgusting cancer causing piece of paper and tobacco.
But the truth is that cigarettes ARE calming. However, there is nothing IN a cigarette that is calming. It’s the deep breath that you take deep into the diaphragm that actually causes a relaxing message to the body. It’s the time away from people, work, and stress that helps relax you! Its not the cigarette at all.
Hypnosis for smoking helps to tap into and overcome the fear of what life will be like without smoking. That even an urge can easily be overcome. In fact you do it when you fly on a plane or go somewhere you cant smoke. You are much stronger than a nicotine craving. Smoking only feeds the cycle and you are better and stronger than that. Once you break the cycle you can change the way you think and change the way you feel. We just tie in the conscious wants to subconscious motivation to have 100% of the mind working for you and not against you. Quitting is easier than you think, and you are stronger then you give yourself credit for.