Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Packing Things Away

(This blog was originally posted on April 27, 2016)

Photo by Rick Hustead

Now that it is officially Spring, I have no excuse to postpone my Spring cleaning. Specifically, to go through my closets and dresser drawers and separate the clothes I still wear from the ones that just take up storage space. The thing is, even the items I haven’t worn for years have a lot of sentimental value and I just don’t want to get rid of them yet. Fortunately, I had a very enlightening conversation with Linda Hammond, one of my friends (and Network Referral Group partner) about how to handle this issue.

Linda is the group’s interior-design “guru.” In addition to having fabulous taste in color pallets and furniture placement, she also has practical solutions for just about any (and every) home-decorating/organization crisis to come along. Today’s informal topic was what to do with all the things I didn’t want to be without, even though I haven’t thought about (let alone worn) one of those items in ages. Her simple solution was simple. First: organize the clothes into “must have,” “don’t want” and “can’t part with” categories. The articles I wanted to keep would obviously be re-folded/placed on a hanger and put back where I found them. The stuff I didn’t want anymore (or no longer fit into) would go into a box to donate at a nearby Goodwill or similar outlet. Finally the items I couldn’t bear to part with (yet) would be placed in another box to store just out of reach but accessible if I really, really can’t get rid of them yet—but one day. That plan sounded do-able and I thanked her profusely for the suggestions.

When I thought about our conversation later in the evening, I was struck by how practical this plan was and its similarity to some of the strategies I help my hypnotherapy clients develop to address an uncomfortable issue. 
  1. Chunk it down (divide the items into discrete categories or groups to deal with individually). This is a Neuro-Linguistic Programming technique in which the person divides a big task or concept into several smaller ones in order to better manage/handle it.
  2. Begin separating or detaching from the items you’re not quite ready to part with by storing them in an out-of-the-way place where you can get to them if necessary but will take some effort to retrieve. Whenever you think about or remember that you still have them, do a quick inventory of whether these objects still have the same sentimental value or are you ready to release this attachment so someone else can enjoy them. As Linda said, it’s okay to hold onto these items and there should never be any pressure to absolutely discard them; but the time may eventually come when it is and feels okay to say goodbye and send them on their way with love.
  3. Evaluate how much of this attachment to the garment is genuine (sentimental value) or habit. For example, I have owned (but rarely worn) an old Cricket sweater since 1989. Do I hold onto it because I still hold fond memories of the year I bought it? It is more likely that I have kept the sweater because I’m not sure what to do with it and I’m just a little bit afraid that I might miss it when it’s gone. That anxiety goes right back to Hypnosis Motivation Institute founder John Kappas, Ph.D.’s Theory of Mind: The subconscious mind is afraid of what it doesn’t know. I have actually owned that Cricket sweater more than half of my life, but the perceived pain isn’t separating from a beloved item of clothes (which I haven’t worn since I bought it). No, the anxiety and discomfort comes from the idea of not having it anymore.
I hope this information and tips are helpful to you as you embark on your own Spring-cleaning/donation rituals. It certainly helped me to write this blog: the decision is made and sweater is staying. At least until next year.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit 

© 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Double Arm-Raising to Release Jealousy

(This blog was originally posted on May 9, 2016)

Photo by Rick Hustead

According to John Kappas, Ph.D., “Emotional rejection is the worst kind of addiction you can have.”  The Hypnosis Motivation Institute founder liked to employ the double-arm raising technique to facilitate the release of extreme emotions such as jealousy because it help change the client’s receptiveness to his or her relationship crisis. 

As I explained in my previous blog titled Right Brain/Left Brain, the left part of the body is controlled by the right hemisphere (half) of the brain while the right part of the body is controlled by the left hemisphere. Furthermore, the right hemisphere associated with the emotional response and the left hemisphere is associated with logic. The goal of a double-arm-raising technique is to replace the extreme emotional (jealousy) response to the break-up with a more logical perspective about the end of the relationship. 

To demonstrate how this technique works, the hypnotherapist worked with a high-physical sexual male client who was extremely jealous of his estranged wife’s new romantic partner. As the client’s raised left arm began to lower and the right arm started to elevate, the subconscious mind received the message that extreme emotion would go down. Meanwhile the rising right arm reinforced the subconscious message that a logical, detached response to the break-up would enable him to release feelings for the partner and let go of the relationship.

“You made your decision to release the pain and jealousy and deal with it logically and effectively,” Dr. Kappas suggested. “The hurt dissipates and you logically see the [relationship] as it is.” The hypnotherapist followed up this technique with staircase visualization to reinforce the transference suggestion in the client’s subconscious mind. “There isn’t anything negative in the past, just situations and circumstances. You’ve learned from those conditions and you’ll carry them forward.”

He advised that future hypnotherapy sessions with this client would include increasing his self-confidence and working to further reduce jealousy and anger.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit
© 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

Mysteries and the Detectives Who Solve Them

(This blog was originally posted on April 7, 2016)

Photo by Rick Hustead

If I was given a choice about the genre of books I could read and movies and television shows I could watch, and I was limited to just one genre, mysteries/thrillers would be my choice, hands down. For me, nothing is as interesting or thrilling as a complicated puzzle to solve. When that puzzle surrounds human behavior, emotions and motivations, to quote a famous (fictional) 19th-Century investigator, “The game is afoot!”

I don’t know precisely what fascinates me about these stories. A complicated plot with multi-dimensional characters certainly makes for entertaining study. Is the puzzle or crime realistic? Is the “bad guy” as likely to be a sympathetic character as the “hero” is to be potentially flawed or even irritating? The straight-up plot of detestable criminal going toe-to-toe with an all-around saintly investigator does not interest me, nor is it very realistic. People and their motives and emotions are complicated, and I think this should also be true in a fictional tale. 

Referring back to Hypnosis Motivation Institute founder John Kappas, Ph.D.’s Theory of Mind, our behavior is built and based on a series of experiences and beliefs that create the Subconscious Mental Script. It is ultimately difficult or even impossible to imagine an existence that is different from our own or to behave in a way that is out of our realm of experience—until we learn how, that is. I think it was William Shakespeare who once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” (A similar version of this philosophy is also in Ecclesiastes 1:9). Fantastic stories about vigilante heroes who wear long capes or modern-day armor and can soar through the air, solving essentially familiar crimes that center on jealousy and vengeance, are still too “unknown” to me.

If it’s between Marvel Comic’s Batman versus Colin Dexter’s curmudgeonly yet brilliant Chief Inspector Morse or Chelsea Cain’s emotionally damaged Detective Archie Sheridan, I’ll take the detective mysteries, thank you very much. I can wrap my mind around inexplicable deaths in bucolic Oxford, England and the complicated relationship between a Portland, Oregon detective and his quarry, a beautiful serial killer. I have visited these cities and the crimes depicted, while often horrible and grotesque, are still believable. Indeed, when I was working on my post-graduate degree in London, I heard a news report that a corpse had been found buried under floorboards in a home. I had recently started watching the Inspector Morse series on television, and an episode that aired around the same time featured a similar macabre discovery. I remember wondering if art was imitating reality, or was it the other way around.

I also find that mysteries involve a bit of reader-participation, which I really enjoy. Sure, it’s easy to get swept away with the action depicted in a romance or historical novel. But when there is a question to answer or a puzzle to solve, all of my senses become heightened. I understand best through inference and metaphor, so whenever a character does or says virtually anything, I can’t help but wonder about the potentially hidden meaning behind that action. Was that a clue? What does that gesture or throwaway reference suggest? If the prime suspect’s brother created that object, why does he (the suspect) have it in his own home? Maybe that character isn’t really who we think he (or she) is.

Whether I am watching the story unfold on-screen or poring over the descriptions in a book, I can’t help myself from looking for clues about the crime depicted in the plot. I study the descriptions of behavior and I draw on my background in psychology and hypnotherapy training to figure out the motivations of the characters. It is always fun for me to be able to solve part or all of the mystery along with the fictitious investigators, but I actually prefer the ones that I can’t figure out without the protagonist’s detailed explanation.

I believe that in some way, vicariously solving those puzzles helps keep me in shape for my work as a certified hypnotherapist. These stories enable me to use the creative, imaginative part of my mind to identify and apply some of the theories and behavior models I have studied. According to Neuro-Linguistic Programming models I use in my hypnotherapy practice, inflection of the voice or flushing of the skin is a clue to a person’s emotions and behaviors. So when I come across a description of this kind of physiological change in a character’s body, my own behavioral-detection radar goes up. Of course, obviously my work is very different from that of a licensed investigator or police detective. I may only work with individuals to help them achieve vocational and avocational self-improvement goals. If you want help to overcome writer’s block to complete a John Creasey Silver Dagger-award winning mystery a là the Chief Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny, give me a call. However, I’m not the one to call to help you solve the actual crime upon which your best-selling book is based.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit
© 2017