Episode 76 Summary

  • What is hypnosis/hypnotherapy? Hypnosis is a type of trance state, where you are in a state of increased awareness. Your conscious mind is aware of what is happening, but takes a backseat to your subconscious mind, which becomes more open to positive suggestions.
  • Trance states are natural and normal and occur frequently in everyday life, such as when you get lost in a good book or movie, staring at a wall, or daydreaming whilst performing a menial task such as doing the dishes.
  • Debunking a hypnosis myth - hypnosis is a perfectly normal physiological phenomenon. You are in complete control throughout the entire hypnosis process. You cannot be hypnotised to do something you don't want to do. You have to consent to and agree with every single stage, else the process doesn't work.
  • What does being in a hypnotic state feel like? In a hypnotic state, you are still in control, but you have no desire to interact with your external environment. For example, you are aware of events happening in the world such as a dog barking or cars driving past your house, but you have no interest in engaging with these things. However, if your house was on fire, you could easily get up and evacuate.
  • Stage hypnotherapy vs therapeutic hypnotherapy - therapeutic hypnotherapy contains a beneficial component that occurs while you're in the trance-like state. In contrast, stage hypnotherapy has no benefit to the person who is hypnotised.
  • The benefits of using hypnotherapy - hypnotherapy harnesses the power of the subconscious to help people make meaningful changes in their lives. Examples where hypnotherapy can be utilised include smoking cessation, reducing or giving up alcohol, improving sleep, managing stress, and making more healthful, helpful food choices.
  • How we perform hypnotherapy - we get you into that beautiful, relaxed, perfectly natural trance state of hypnosis and then with our special skills, we guide you through some powerful, positive, subconscious suggestions that sink in deeply into your subconscious to empower you to make good changes. You are in control at every single point, and you have to accept and agree with every suggestion that is made in order for it to stick.


To find out more about our 31-day Hypnosis Program, Hypnosis for Real Health and Weight Loss, visit https://www.rlmedicine.com/hypnosis

Show notes:


Hypnosis vs meditation: part 1


Dr Mary Barson: Hello, my lovely listeners. I'm Dr Mary Barson.


Dr Lucy Burns: And I'm Dr Lucy Burns. Welcome to this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. Good morning, lovely listeners. It's Dr Lucy Burns here and I am here as always with my beautiful colleague, Dr Mary Barson. Good morning Mares, how are you today?


Dr Mary Barson: I'm well. I am well and I'm excited about today's topic because it covers kind of my most favourite therapeutic tool, or at least one of my most favourite therapeutic tools, hypnotherapy.


Dr Lucy Burns: Absolutely. And what we're going to talk about today lovely listeners is we're going to sort of talk a little bit about what hypnotherapy is, what hypnosis is, what meditation is, and what mindfulness is. So there's sort of four little branches to our tree. And I think again, you know we love kind of just being very clear on definitions because people use terms interchangeably sometimes, in particular in popular culture and it's not always accurate. So what we're wanting to do is give you the lowdown on what these terms are and how they can help you.


Dr Mary Barson: So I remember lovely Lucy back in 2019 when I met you, ahh it was, I remember it really well.


Dr Lucy Burns: A great day.


Dr Mary Barson: It was a great day; it was a great day. So you and a whole lot of very clever low carb doctors had put on a low carb event for doctors in Melbourne, and I was a low carb doctor so I went along, and I remember watching your fabulous talk on the hormonal theory of obesity. And just as you introduced yourself, I just was like struck by all the things that we had in common. You know, sort of common struggles with metabolic disease, common sort of career paths, and also that you were a medical hypnotherapist, and I was a medical hypnotherapist. So I, I tracked you down at lunchtime as you remember and, and got talking and you know, the rest is history. But hypnotherapy is one thing that brought us together.


Dr Lucy Burns: Absolutely. And even more in common, you and I both did the same course.


Dr Mary Barson: We did.


Dr Lucy Burns: Different times. But then I remember we did meet up again at a sort of refresher day.


Dr Mary Barson: Mmm, yep.


Dr Lucy Burns: That the same wonderful Dr Alan Fahey put on for us. Not just us, but for everybody.


Dr Mary Barson: So he runs the College of Medical Hypnosis, and he trains health professionals in this very useful, I would say in well-trained hands extremely safe intervention, that is a powerful tool to help people, empower people to enact change in their lives. But I would say that despite the efforts of many good people, that hypnosis and hypnotherapy is cloaked in this cloud of mysticism, and that even many of our colleagues would think that it is woo and that it is strange. And I've had colleagues that work in the mental health realm that you know I refer to, that I really like and respect, that have been personally shocked that I would engage in medical hypnotherapy, thinking that I was doing some sort of weird fringe thing, which I'm definitely not.


Dr Lucy Burns: Absolutely not. I mean it's, why don't we define what we're talking about when we talk about hypnosis and hypnotherapy? Because that gives some context for our listeners, and an explanation as to why this isn't woo and why it's actually really important.


Dr Mary Barson: Yes, yes. It's a wonderful evidence-based, science-backed and safe practice. So if we're gonna get super technical with definitions, I would say that hypnosis is a type of trance state, which might sound a little bit spooky but I'm going to, to debunk that. So trances, normal, absolutely normal. We go in and out of trance states all the time, all of us. You know if ever you get lost in a good book, you're in a trance state. Lost in a good movie, you're in a trance state. If you're in that state when you're driving home along a really familiar road and then all of a sudden you know, you're like almost all the way home, you're turning into your driveway and you can't really remember how you got there, trance state. If you've had an event that was quite frightening, being afraid, fear sort of puts us into trance state. Sometimes we can have at a frightful event, we actually have difficulty recalling some of the details later. That was a trance state. Daydreaming, just sitting down, staring, you know just staring at a wall or if your mind wanders while you're washing the dishes, that's a trance state. So they're natural and normal, and just something that our human brains do all the time. And hypnosis is a type of trance state where you're in a sort of a state of increased awareness, in that your conscious mind is still there, it still knows what's going on but it's sort of just put on the shelf, so to speak, and then your subconscious mind becomes more open to positive suggestions. And the thing about hypnosis is that you're in control the whole time. This is a really important part to debunk, I think. You can't actually be hypnotised to do something you don't want to do. You have to consent to every single stage; else the process doesn't work. That's just how our brains work. So it has to be something that you agree with and that you consent to. And interestingly there are just, there are different brainwave patterns that occur when we get into this trance state that we can measure, you know on EEGs, and it's a perfectly normal physiological phenomenon.


Dr Lucy Burns: I often explain to people cause they might be a bit scared or reticent: “What's it gonna feel like”? And then the great question, you probably get this all the time, is you know, “Are you going to make me quack like a duck”? And the answer is always, “No. No, of course I'm not gonna make you do that, that would be ridiculous”. But the feeling that I describe it for, it's a really beautiful feeling. It is very relaxing.


Dr Mary Barson: So relaxing.


Dr Lucy Burns: And it's, if you've ever had the opportunity to perhaps have a nap on the couch, while the busy world is going on around you; maybe you're at home and there's you know, you can hear some clattering in the kitchen and you can you know, you're aware of perhaps you know a dog barking or something like that, but you, you have no interest in engaging in it. You're sort of just half, you know people call it half asleep. That's actually a hypnotic state. If the house was on fire, you could easily get up and evacuate. So you are still in control, but you have no desire to interact with your external environment while you're in a hypnotic state.


Dr Mary Barson: It is. I think another way to explain it is a lot of people have done like a yoga class or they've done meditation. You know at the end of yoga how you, you'll lie down and do some relaxation and you might feel this lovely sense of calm wellbeing when you're in that relaxed state or, or people who meditate will know what I'm talking about, that lovely calm, relaxed state. That's the relaxed trance state and it's beautiful and perfectly natural. And coming back to “clucking like a chicken”, I think we should address this. So stage hypnotists -


Dr Lucy Burns: It was actually “quack like a duck”, but never mind.


Dr Mary Barson: Oh, I'm sorry, “quack like a duck”. You know eat an onion and tell everyone it's a delicious apple. Things that stage hypnotists do. I've seen a few stage hypnotists, I think they're incredibly clever people. And what they are extremely good at, like this is their genius, stage hypnotists are extremely good at picking the people that want to make a silly goose of themselves. This is what they do. I have been to a few stage hypnotist shows. I really don't want to go up there and eat an onion and tell everyone it's a delicious donut and make a fool of myself. I have no desire to do that, and they would never pick me. Not in a pink fit would a stage hypnotist, because they can tell. So they self-select that the people in the audience who really want to do it, and not everybody who puts their hands up and says, “Pick me, pick me”, is going to want to be hypnotised on stage. So that is their genius. You know, they're also skilled at their craft, and they are picking people who are absolutely consenting to the process and want it to happen. And then that's what they do, they put them in a trance state, and they give them suggestions to their subconscious mind to quack like a duck, or do whatever it is and it's you know, it's completely hysterical, almost always totally harmless and good fun for everybody. But it does for the people like me, who like, that would be mortifying if I was on stage doing that, it can set this, this kind of fear that, that hypnotists or hypnotherapists have some kind of unruly power to make you do something that you would not do, that you would never do, and that is not the case. It's called a rapport status. So you have to trust the person who does the hypnotherapy, or in the case of at least with the hypnotist, you submit to the authority because you want to, because you want to be the silly goose on stage. And the stage hypnotist can tell that you want to be a silly goose so they, they just enable you to make a silly goose of yourself.


Dr Lucy Burns: And the interesting thing about that is at, at a conscious level you may say, “Oh, no, no, I don't want to make a silly goose of myself”. Because not many people do, would say that they want to do that, but at a subconscious level you really, you really want. You're interested, you want to know what's gonna happen, you want to know how it's gonna feel and your body language, which is what they are the experts in, depicts that. So they can go around, and they'll be able to pick the half a dozen people who are going to, as Mary said, consent and basically be suggestible.


Dr Mary Barson: Yeah, yep and it's great fun, I've thoroughly enjoyed. I think I've been to about three in my life and, and two of those was out of curiosity because I was learning hypnotherapy and I just wanted to see it and yeah, it was great fun, They're clever people, they really are and indeed, there is often quite a lot of crossover between people who were stage hypnotists and also therapeutic hypnotherapists. So people often do both and they use their skills to both entertain and to engage in therapeutic hypnotherapy. You and I are not stage hypnotists.


Dr Lucy Burns: No.


Dr Mary Barson: Emphatically not.


Dr Lucy Burns: Absolutely not and this is the, so the hypnotherapy component of it is a therapeutic, so therapeutic therapy means you know, some benefit. So there is a beneficial component that occurs while you're in the trance like-state. So while you're hypnotised, then there is some benefit that occurs to you that is not clucking or quacking.


Dr Mary Barson: That's right, because that's kind of for the benefit of the audience. So I mean I could talk about what happens you know, in my rooms. I do quite a lot of hypnotherapy for people, where we harness the power of their subconscious to make changes in their lives, whatever changes people want to make. You know, smoking cessation, it's a really good one. To drink less alcohol or no alcohol, to improve sleep, manage stress, to make better food choices or more healthful, helpful food choices. These are the things that I love to use hypnotherapy for.


Dr Lucy Burns: Absolutely and I mean, I can think of one, a recent one that we did which we called “The Fuel Gauge”, which was really about helping people stop when they're full. And there's lots of reasons why at a subconscious level, we don't stop when we're full. And again, being subconscious means you're not necessarily aware of them. But for lots of people as an example, they were told they had to eat everything on their plate. That it was wasteful to, you know throw food out, or that they wouldn't get dessert if they didn't eat everything on their plate, and so they're constantly eating everything on their plate. And even though their conscious brain goes, “I don't want to eat that much. I'm full”, they still eat it. So you can use hypnotherapy as a way to kind of sneak in the back door of the subconscious brain and rewrite some of those stories.


Dr Mary Barson: And it's powerful, I love it. Yeah, it's rewriting the stories in your head to be more helpful. How the hypnotherapy process works either in person, in our consultation rooms, or via our guided hypnotherapy recordings that we do in our 12 week program, in our membership program, and also as a, we've got a standalone medical hypnotherapy course, is that we get you into that beautiful, relaxed, perfectly natural trance state of hypnosis. And then with our special skills, we then guide you through some subconscious suggestions and powerful, positive, subconscious suggestions that really sink in deeply into your subconscious to empower you to make good changes.


Dr Lucy Burns: Absolutely. And here's an interesting thing that I find happens. So sometimes people when, particularly if I've done that in my rooms, they'll hop out of the chair - I have a special chair just to help with relaxation, and then they'll want to talk about it. And I go, “No, no, we're not talking about this because I want it in your subconscious brain. I don't want it in your conscious brain. Want it in your subconscious brain so we don't need to talk about it, or discuss it, or bring it into the frontal cortex”. And the way I think about it is that it's a little bit like a dream. Like when you wake up from a dream in the morning, you can almost remember it crystal clear word for word and then as the day goes on, it sort of goes away. You can't, it's like trying to gather you know, little bits of just gossamer, they just sort of float away. You just can't quite get it anymore and by the end of the day you've completely forgotten it. And that's often how people experience hypnotherapy. They'll wake up, they'll come and they go, “Yeah, I remember everything”, and they'll wanna talk. “No, no, shhh, no talking”. And then as the day goes on they've, they can't quite remember it anyway.


Dr Mary Barson: Yes. And they are in control at every single point and if there was a situation where someone got a suggestion via the hypnotherapy that they didn't agree with, that they didn't like, it wouldn't stick. So you have to accept and agree with every suggestion that is made.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah. Otherwise you know, you'd have charlatans out there, you know wanting you to hand over all their money. We just can't do that, it's not magic.


Dr Mary Barson: We wouldn't do it, and also we couldn't.


Dr Lucy Burns: No.


Dr Mary Barson: We also wouldn't.


Dr Lucy Burns: But interestingly, what are your thoughts on this Mares? So sometimes people will do some hypnotherapy and have a really good result. Let's say they want to stop drinking. They'll do a couple of sessions. Great result. And then after six months, it wears off. Why do you think this happens?


Dr Mary Barson: Yeah, I think it can happen for, for a few reasons and it comes back down largely though to the stories in our head. So hypnotherapy is a powerful way to change unhelpful stories in our head to more helpful stories. But over time, sometimes you know, old behaviours, old patterns, can seep back in, and it can start to change those subconscious stories again. So sometimes people need to top up and you know, this is how it is with life. You know, behaviour change, healthy change, is a continual process.


Dr Lucy Burns: Nothing we do is “set and forget”. You are always having to cultivate if you like, and I think for a lot of things to be, for people to be mindful of, there is subliminal messaging that goes on throughout our lives every single day, and I know you hear us talking about marketing companies, but they are the kings of it. That, that subliminal messaging, we have to find ways often to counter that. So that's when again, that is why we when we give, we do our hypnotherapy course, the 31-day course, you don't just get it for you know two weeks, or 10 weeks, or three months. You get it forever because you may well need to go back and revisit it. And it is available therefore to do it in any stage, because other people are coming in trying to influence your subconscious and this is your opportunity to counter that.


Dr Mary Barson: And in our programs, our inner circle membership program and in our 12 week mind body rebalance program, we include lots of different pre-recorded guided hypnotherapies and we also do live hypnotherapy with our people once a month, once a fortnight and to allow that continual cultivation of healthy stories, helpful stories, and good mind management.


Dr Lucy Burns: Absolutely. Lovely listeners, we were going to be talking about meditation and mindfulness, but I think we've run out of time. So we will talk about that next week. So it'll be part two, and we look forward to then contrasting this episode with next week's episode, which will be on mindfulness and meditation and the things that it can help you with.


Dr Mary Barson: And how it's different to hypnotherapy.


Dr Lucy Burns: Absolutely. Lovely listeners, if you are interested in medical hypnosis as an added tool for your real health and weight loss, you can find our 30-day program on our website at https://www.rlmedicine.com and we will have a link for you below in the show notes. Have a wonderful, wonderful week, and we'll see you next week.


Dr Mary Barson: Bye bye, beautiful people.


Dr Lucy Burns: So my lovely listeners, that ends this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. I'm Dr Lucy Burns.


Dr Mary Barson: And I'm Dr Mary Barson. We're from Real Life Medicine. To contact us please visit https://www.rlmedicine.com


Dr Lucy Burns: And until next time, thanks for listening. The information shared on the real health and weight loss podcast, including show notes and links provides general information only. It is not a substitute, nor is it intended to provide individualised medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, nor can it be construed as such. Please consult your doctor for any medical concerns.

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