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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Islanders queueing up to fight fears

Helen Jardine

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Mind over matter: Hypnotherapist Monica Dobbie helps you achieve a relaxed state then talks to your subconscious mind to help you break bad habits. Photo by Kageaki Smith.
Have you got a fear, habit or negative behaviour you want change?

Hypnotist Monica Dobbie believes she can help.

She claims hypnotherapy can solve almost any problem - from a fear of needles to controlling your weight or helping you sleep.

She said: "Not only do I help people to eliminate negative habits and fears with hypnotherapy, I also use it to assist people in positive ways.

"For example, to increase confidence, improve sports performance, enhance memory or pass exams, become more creative and better in almost any endeavour.

"So if someone wants to improve their lives, this is a great way to do it."

Ms Dobbie worked part-time as a hypnotist from 1999 until 2007, when she made it a full-time career.

She claims her service has become increasingly popular in Bermuda, especially among people trying to quit smoking.

She said: "I'm told it is the easiest and most pleasant way to stop.

"When a person leaves my office they believe they are a non-smoker, which means they don't smoke. It's as simple as that.

"No anxiety, no withdrawal symptoms - just a feeling of being able to breathe better and feel healthier.

"Most of my clients are word-of-mouth referrals, so it really does work."

Ms Dobbie has personal experience of the benefits of hypnosis. She underwent hypnotherapy 20 years ago while working in the reinsurance industry.

She said: "I used to get very panicky when I had to give presentations to high-powered executives and after a couple of sessions with a hypnotherapist, I overcame my fear."

She took hypnotherapy training and qualified as an advanced hypnotherapist with the U.S. National Guild of Hypnotists 10 years ago.

Today she practices self-hypnosis on a regular basis.

She claims hypnotherapy is a popular phobia treatment and you can be cured after just one session.

She said: "Change often occurs after just one session. However, I strongly recommend a follow-up session as this reinforces the effect and seems to have better long-term results.

"Unlike other therapies requiring weekly visits, motivated clients achieve success in two to four sessions maximum."

Hypnotherapy works by bypassing the conscious mind and talking directly to the subconscious mind.

It is a state of focused concentration when you are neither fully awake nor fully asleep - a sensation similar to daydreaming.

When a person is in a relaxed state of body and mind, the conscious mind can be bypassed to make suggestions directly to the subconscious.

The subconscious mind then accepts these suggestions and creates the behaviour or body changes to align with the given suggestions.

Ms Dobbie said: "If we do something often enough, such as smoking with a cup of coffee, the subconscious mind begins to believe this behaviour pattern is what we want and makes it part of our normal behaviour - it becomes a habit.

"Then, no matter how much we try to consciously change that behaviour pattern, our subconscious mind wins the mental tug-of-war and we return to the stored habit.

The only way to effectively and permanently make a true change in our behaviour pattern is to override the remembered programme in the subconscious mind, and a very effective way of doing that is with hypnosis."

Ms Dobbie says "the key" to hypnosis is a person's willingness and active participation.

She added: "Hypnotherapy is completely safe.

"You are aware and in control at all times and you can end the session if you want at any time.

"You are not asleep nor can you get stuck in hypnosis - and you can't be made to do anything against your will."

The biggest misconception people have is they think that they will be "out of it" during the sessions.

Ms Dobbie said: "In hypnosis one is not asleep or unconscious.

"When I guide people into hypnotherapy, they relax so profoundly that their body appears to be asleep but the mind is still very much aware and hears everything that is said."

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