8700 Manchaca Road, Suite 306, Austin, TX 78748


Hypnotherapy-Austin-TexasHypnosis: A Brief History

History documents many ancient rituals of Hindu, Indian, Chinese, African and Egyptian practices that appear to have a great deal in common hypnosis. Shamans, healers, priests, yogis and others used incantations, chants and other methods to produce altered states where people appeared to be asleep. Today we would likely say these practitioners were in trance. Within these sleep-like states, people were said to experience catalepsy, anesthesia and hallucinations.

As time progressed, it was Franz Anton Mesmer’s work that prompted the most interest in hypnosis. It is from Mesmer that we get the word “mesmerize,” which we often think of in a mystical sense; however the word’s definition is to compel by fascination, to spellbind or to hypnotize. Mesmer often utilized physical touch and stroking of arms, hands and fingers or other parts of the body where sickness or pain was experienced. Experts at the time believed results Mesmer achieved with his patients were due to imagination and suggestion, something we now know to be very powerful in healing symptoms.

Hypnosis was used more in the 20th century, but probably no one had more impact on the study of hypnosis and its research than Milton H. Erickson, MD. Dr. Erickson taught hypnosis, lectured, provided demonstrations to doctors and other professionals and utilized hypnosis in his own counseling practice to help those struggling from a variety of issues.

What Is Hypnosis?

In the most basic sense, hypnosis can be described as a state of focused attention. You probably go in and out of a “state” of light to medium trance several times a day. You have likely had the experience of driving down the road with your mind so focused on something else that when you thought about driving again you had no memory of what you were doing for several moments or even minutes. You may have even experienced being so absorbed in thought about a problem or thinking about a pleasant experience that you just sat staring, unaware of things going on around you.

Your focus can become so strong that you often lose your sense of time, don’t hear what is going on around you and may not even be aware of physical sensations. Most of my clients say they find the experience of hypnosis to be very relaxing.

Misconceptions About Hypnosis

Most misconceptions about hypnosis come from seeing someone in a television show or movie being hypnotized. You may have seen a show where someone was made to embarrass himself by acting like an animal, or a person was made to do something they would now do normally.

However, Hollywood’s depiction of hypnosis is an exaggeration that has little to do with the real world. In reality, only a small percentage of people will go so deeply into trance that they have no memory of it at all. All of my clients, report that they remember what happens in hypnosis. Some clients have told me that they were so focused on their own experience in hypnosis that they lost some focus or attention to what I, the therapist, was saying. Also, the therapist does not have some kind of mystical control over you. Rather, the therapist helps to guide your attention and focus so that you are able to experience trance. My use of hypnosis is about teaching you the skill of self-hypnosis that you can begin using as you need it.

What Is A Hypnosis Session Like?

There are many different types of inductions that a therapist, doctor or nurse might use to help guide a person into a hypnotic trance. Some are very direct, fast and involve utilizing touch. These can be helpful if a person is in a state of crisis in my office. A doctor or nurse helping a patient in an emergency room or trauma center might utilize one of these methods as well. Typically I use a conversational, progressive relaxation process; one that is more in line with a naturalistic approach.

In this approach I will ask you to focus on a point on an object, a physical sensation like the feeling of your feet on the ground, a touch you may not be aware of like a ring on your finger or the feel of the hair on your forehead or neck. I might also invite you to notice slight movements that your body is making. As you become more focused on these and other present experiences, you can begin to move slightly into a trance state. My further suggestions and invitations then lead you into a deeper trance experience. During the session you might experience something else related to hypnosis: your hand seeming to rise on its own, becoming unaware of parts of your surroundings, the anesthesia of your hand or a part of the body where there is pain. Finally, most people tell me they find the experience to be both relaxing and interesting.

So How Can Hypnosis Help Me?

Hypnosis has helped people all over the world with many types of symptoms and difficulties. Most often I have utilized hypnosis for enhancing relaxation, helping symptoms related to anxiety and depression, enhancing athletic performance, managing pain and improving self-esteem and confidence. Hypnosis can also be used to symptoms related to phobia, stress, habit control and even women’s experience of hot flashes in menopause. Hypnosis has also been helpful for copping with past, painful experiences, preparing for surgery or other medical procedures and even boosting the immune system.

Is Hypnosis for Me?

If you have taken the time to read this page you are likely considering hypnosis and wondering if I can help you with a difficulty that is bothersome. I believe that much of the therapist’s ability to help a client lies in the counseling relationship. Your trust me and feeling comfortable talking with me will be a big part in determining your experience of counseling and hypnosis. Call me at (512) 468-2365 for a free consultation. You can ask questions about your symptoms, how our work together might proceed, hear my voice and responses to your questions and have a better idea of whether you can feel comfortable working with me. Or, if you prefer to send a question, you can email me here. I will take my time to answer thoroughly and provide you with information that will help you feel at ease as you make the decision to set an appointment. Finally you can use the link on this website to schedule an appointment on my calendar. I look forward to hearing from and working with you.


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8700 Manchaca Road, Suite 306, Austin  78748


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