Virtual hypnosis: Getting rid of bad habits a mouse click away?

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — There’s no couch, no swinging watch, or spinning wheel, and you definitely won’t be forced to cluck like a chicken. The newest form of hypnosis involves only a Zoom call and the potential to change your life.

It’s called Virtual Hypnosis and has been growing in popularity during the pandemic due to high-stress levels and the inability to leave home.

“Not only is it a lot of time just as effective, but might even be more effective,” says Joshua Singer, C.H, Clinical Director of the Cleveland Hypnosis Center.

There are now hypnosis Apps, MP3 programs, videos and podcasts.

“Those things are okay, but they’re not really taking care of the real issue because those things are one-sided suggestions,” said Singer. “What I do is a very interactive process that takes care of underlying emotional blockages.”

Virtual Hypnosis works just like regular hypnotherapy and is nothing like what is portrayed on television or comedy acts.

“There are so many misconceptions,” said Singer, who became interested in hypnotherapy while attending The Juilliard School in New York City. “I was basically a classical musician and looking for ways to help with stage fright.”

Now he specializes in hypnotherapies that help people quit smoking, quit many bad habits, manage anxiety, manage chronic pain and lose weight.

Janie Goyette was skeptical and admits she only tried it because a good friend had quit smoking after seeing Singer.

“I tried everything from pills to drinks and every diet,” said Goyette.

After the first week she says, she lost 12 pounds and ten months later she’s lost a total of 83 pounds.

“Even after the first session I felt like a million bucks,” said Goyette. “He’s like ‘we’re gonna recall these things,’ and I’m thinking ‘I’m 50-some years old. I would’ve already dealt with them.’ He puts you under and literally they come out — like things came back from 2nd grade — who does that?!”    

Hypnotherapy is no longer seen as a sideshow act in the medical community and is actually based on cognitive and clinical neuroscience research, says Singer.

“Hypnosis is the bypass of what’s called the critical factor, between those two parts of the brain, the conscious mind, and subconscious mind,” he explained.

Critical thinking happens in the conscious mind, but beliefs, values, emotions habits and addictions are believed to be buried in the subconscious.

People can change by tapping into the subconscious and releasing the emotions tied to the behavior.

Throughout the process, people are fully aware, as they enter a daydream-like state, but with a level of intense focus.

Singer calls it a “natural state” and likens it to driving down the road and suddenly missing you exit and wondering where the miles went.

“It sounds super simple, it’s not those sessions are very intense, but it worked,” said Goyette.

Doing the sessions virtually is actually producing even more incredible results, according to Singer, because the treatment is occurring in the person’s own environment.

“You’re not eating in my office. You’re not smoking two packs a day in my office or having a panic attack in my office,” said Singer. “For instance, I had a client I helped with public speaking and we did the session in his board room where he was giving presentations.”

But, it’s not for everyone. Some studies from universities, including Stanford, estimate about a quarter of the population is unable to by hypnotized and reach that trance-like state.

Creative people with a good imagination are said to make good candidates for the therapy although Singer says anyone with an IQ over 40 who can follow directions can see benefits from the therapy.

“This is very focused on solutions,” said Singer. “It’s very, very fulfilling to see so many amazing changes in clients, people who’ve been stuck for years.”

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