We tend to think of hypnotherapy happening in a clinical setting. But this alternative treatment has been a trending stress management tool in the wellness scene, too. To find out what really happens when one is hypnotized, we caught up with Robert Prokop, acupuncturist and hypnotist at Federal Hill’s Wind Gate Wellness.
What is hypnotherapy?
For me, it’s a tool that helps people choose their responses to particular scenarios. I use hypnosis differently than most because I also do acupuncture. So I let Chinese medicine influence where we go. I have a background in Buddhist psychology, so I view it more as a guided meditation that uses more concentration on what you want to achieve.
How does hypnotherapy work?
If a situation arises that triggers anxiety, the conscious mind is going to pull that anxiety right up. Hypnosis bypasses the conscious mind and goes to the subconscious, where all of our patterns, or defense mechanisms, are stored. We then address different scenarios in a state of pure observation and develop solutions to what we discover. Typically, the subconscious will hear, “Oh, I can be relaxed in that situation,” and it’ll latch onto that. That’ll benefit the body, because if all these emotions and stressors get stuck, that’ll create discord that can become shoulder pain, asthma, or irritable bowel syndrome.
How is treatment in a wellness setting different than in a clinical setting?
Therapists and counselors have a lot to offer. I use it as a secondary tool to what I already do in the wellness capacity to help with different patterns and emotions, mostly with patients who have anxiety or chronic pain.
What can someone expect to experience?
I start with a brief intake asking the history of the condition, and then I'll do a quick Chinese medical diagnosis. Hypnosis starts with a body scan and meditation to address any areas of tension. We then move into a deeper state of meditation by using visual cues, deep breathing, and counting down from 10. The patient is led in creating a space of tranquility and safety that individually speaks to them. Addressing blocks can look like different things. Most of the techniques we use re-story the narrative a patient has about themselves, the environment, or other people. Once we confront the issue, I count back from 10, with each number bringing awareness to the body. By one, the patient's eyes are open.
How long does it take to notice results?
It depends on the severity of the emotional blocks. Some people just need one session, others maybe more. But I haven’t seen patients beyond three sessions, as it typically gets resolved. I allot an hour for a session, which is usually $80-100.
WHAT YOU NEED:
RELAX: Similar to meditation, you’re guided into a deep rest before addressing concerns.
PREPARE: Some sessions can get emotional, so be sure to give yourself the time and space to regroup afterward.
MIND-BODY CONNECTION: Wellness centers use hypnosis as a complementary treatment to relieve physical ailments.