Wednesday, July 5, 2017

And the Wisdom to Know the Difference

(This blog was originally posted on April 4, 2014)

Photo by Rick Hustead

Sometimes, it seems like one of the most powerful human desires is the one for control. We want to control some aspect(s) of our social or physical environment. We want to control our behavior. (Hey, that’s what hypnotherapy is good for, right?) Or, we want to control (change) someone else’s behavior. Can hypnotherapy help you achieve each of these goals? 

My scope of expertise as a hypnotherapist is to help my clients achieve vocational and avocational self-improvement goals. There is really no way to control or change specific aspects of a physical environment—such as the weather or climate where we live—unless we physically move out of the area. Most of us can’t even rearrange the furniture or d├ęcor in the lobby at work without having to get permission from the employer and/or the building’s landlord. Similarly, none of us has the ability to control someone else’s behaviors or beliefs if that individual doesn’t want to make this change. However, we can use hypnotherapy and guided imagery techniques to help us replace our own unwanted habits or belief systems with behaviors that are more effective for us. The skills you practice and learn in hypnosis can also help you adapt to, cope with and even flourish in a challenging personal, social or work situation over which you have no control. Your ability to remain relaxed, focused and calm in this context will significantly reduce or even eliminate any personal effects that the tension in this situation may cause you. You may even find that this ability to control your emotions in this way indirectly influences (changes) the way other people around you behave. 

Before the next scheduled interaction with the person or exposure to that environment, work with me in hypnotherapy to help you desensitize to the negative stimuli associated with that encounter. Give yourself permission to let go of any grudges, bitterness or other negative associations you have with this situation. Give the other person(s) permission to own their critical, negative, etc., nature or beliefs that they have previously expressed to you. Then, visualize, imagine, picture or pretend that you are as relaxed, calm and focused when you have that encounter as you are while you are in hypnosis. Anchor that image of yourself responding in a positive, confident and controlled way with the relaxed and comfortable sensation you are enjoying in hypnosis so you can access your new calm and “in control” demeanor when you need to. Even if the other person’s behavior or attitude does not significantly change at that time, you will be better equipped to deal with that challenge.

I liken this attitude and technique to the Serenity Prayer. Most of the time, each of us can change our behavior and, in so doing, truly change a negative or challenging situation into a positive or mutually rewarding experience. Sometimes, we can do absolutely nothing about the circumstance except to just get through it by changing the way we perceive and respond to it. The key to a successful outcome in either circumstance is having the wisdom to know what kind of attitude adjustment we can make at that moment. 

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