Fear of Needles

Fear of Needles - A person wearing a blue hat - Surgeon

Working in Cooperation with the Medical Field

As clinical hypnotherapists, we do not independently work with medical conditions, diagnose, treat or prescribe. We do not practice psychotherapy, we teach and train our clients how to shift limiting beliefs, reach their goals and enhance their well being using self-hypnotic techniques.

We only assist with diagnosed physical, mental and emotional symptoms with the authorization and under the supervision of medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners. Please note we do require a physician’s authorization before scheduling sessions and work only under physician guidance. Working in close cooperation with your medical team enables us to ensure your progress in an optimal manner.

Conquering Fears

I just had another fascinating demonstration of the permanent and radical effect of hypnosis to eradicate lifelong uncontrollable and debilitating behaviors.

All my life, I have had an acute phobia of needles, blood tests being the worst of it. You can control your fears, to some degree, grabbing all of your courage and facing them, repeatedly, until they no longer have an effect on you. Phobias are another matter altogether. Phobias typically place you in an uncontrollable life-or-death state of panic. You either freeze, fight or flee, and occasionally (if you are like me) all of the above. When you are combat trained, with a decade of martial arts and self-defense training under your belt, let me tell you, it’s not a pretty picture to find yourself fighting what you perceive as mortal combat in a hospital lab. I cannot tell you the number of times I have left a state of absolute chaos behind. By far, some of the most embarrassing snapshots of my journey.

Hypnosis for Irrational Fears

While I have used self-hypnosis, hypnosis and clinical hypnotherapy all my life to propel me in everything I do, I admit I had not yet taken the time to address the acute phobia of needles that has defined me always. After all, that is definitely not something I have to face every day. Quite the opposite, I’ve gone to great lengths to avoid facing it. Last year, for instance, during my annual medical visit, the doctor ordered a complete panel of blood work to get a general overview of my health. “Just take the elevators to the 2nd floor,” she indicated. “I’m sending over the lab request, they’ll be waiting for you upstairs.” I nodded, exited her room, went straight to my car and left. I didn’t even look at the elevators. A few hours later, I received a phone call from the doctor’s office asking where I was, indicating the lab was still waiting for me to come out of the elevator. I didn’t return the call. They followed up a week later. I still didn’t return the call. That was me with blood tests until last week. Not that I never had them, of course, with my lifestyle of extreme stunts of all sorts, I’ve been in and out of ER and on IV more often than I wish to remember, but it always took extreme measures to get me perforated. I’m talking about 10 hospital staff members wrestling me to the ground, shoving an oxygen mask on my face and struggling to restrain my kicks and punches kind of measures. The type that leaves everyone involved permanently traumatized.

Understanding the Root Cause

After a lifetime suffering through this, I finally had enough. I called on a colleague and made an appointment.

Phobias, like trauma and other deeply anchored, lifelong patterns, require regression to cause hypnosis. Self-hypnosis, suggestion hypnosis, NLP or other types of light conversational work are never going to permanently resolve lifelong automatic negative behaviors like phobias, depression, anxiety, addictions, whether to food, tobacco or other substances. Unless you address the actual cause of these problems, anything you do will act as a temporary bandage, possibly distracting you for some time. As long as the cause remains active, it lies under the surface and will prompt the negative behavior to return sooner or later.

Anytime we deal with lifelong negative behaviors, anchored early in life in the subconscious mind, they need to be regressed to their source or root cause, addressed and resolved in order to obtain lasting change. This is something those of us who are experienced and specialized in regression to cause with clinical hypnotherapy excel at. And this is not something that can easily be self-applied. We need to pair up and allow another to work on us, in order to be more fully receptive in the process.

Hypnosis Experiments with Fears

My colleague and I did an interesting experiment with this. In the first session, we decided not to resolve the cause and instead, experimented with switching my brain’s reaction to needles, pasting an imprint of the most exquisite experience I could remember over the phobic reaction. I made an appointment with an acupuncturist, and as I lay on his table, I allowed him to insert 2 long acupuncture needles into my body. There was progress, indeed. However, it was an exercise in will power and the nervous tension was still present, even if noticeably reduced.

I made a second appointment with my colleague and asked him to regress the phobia to its cause. This time, after igniting and exacerbating my visceral panic for needles, as we do in our process of regressing to cause, we sent my mind back to the initial sensitizing event (ISE). The ISE is the root cause for the negative behavior targeted. Amazingly, I found myself in the womb, before being born, witnessing the unforgettable trauma of losing my twin brother. The event forever engraved itself in my consciousness in the form of what I perceived as a “spiral of death.” A notion which, until recently, had been difficult for me to fully comprehend or explain. Losing the one who was my other half to this lethal spiral that took him away, left me behind in the darkness, alone, afraid, abandoned and devastated. Talk about an imprint.

In Utero Imprints

A baby in the womb is acutely aware of what is happening around them. They feel the emotions of their mothers so intensely, they identify with them as if they were their own. When the begining of a miscarriage was suspected, my mother was placed on bed rest and began receving multiple shots and blood tests to monitor and stabilize her condition. From within, the trauma I experienced was solely focused on the devastating loss of my twin brother in what I perceived as an irreversible spiral of death that tore him away from me.

While the memories become burried as you are born and continue on with your journey, the trauma remains active in the subconscious level of the mind. This is not something that can be soothed by someone’s words ensuring you that from now on, whenever you think about needles, you’ll feel wonderful. With trauma, as with anything anchored early and deeply, the only way out is through.

Parts Negotiation Hypnosis

Once we had regressed the phobia to its root cause, we added parts negotiation to the equation. We asked my subconscious mind the reason why it responded so violently to anyone who approached me with needles. Parts dialogue at this level of the mind enables us to receive genuine responses from the parts of the mind responsible for the behavior. “To protect her from death” is the answer we received. That’s when the negotiations need to take place.

Parts negotiations require psychological understanding, patience and compassion. We explained to this part of my mind that while its goal was valuable and honorable, it had actually become counter-productive. We pointed out that in my life of today, I had become a smart, independent, adult woman, very capable of making the right choices for my safety, health and well being. And while preserving me from death was a valid goal, the needles I chose to accept no longer represented a death threat. Quite the opposite. Today, they were actually a way for me to preserve my health and well being, enabling me to receive the medical check ups necessary to maintain optimal health.

I’m a perfectionist and I like to leave no stone unturned when I work with regression to cause. I asked my colleague to give a new role and function to the part of my mind that had been working so diligently my entire life to protect my safety by fighting to the death against needle threats. You can’t easily remove a part’s sole purpose without first reaching a clear, mutual understanding and second, giving the part a new role to perform. Since the goal of this part was to ensure my survival, we asked if it would be willing to continue in its function to preverve my health, by focusing instead on ensuring I received proper rest and nutrition and remained aware of potentially endangering situations. The part agreed. We had a deal. We emerged me.

Releasing Irrational Fears with Hypnosis

Last week, I returned to my doctor’s office for a check up. Tactfully, she didn’t mention the fact I pulled an MIA (Missing In Action) for last year’s lab work.  Again, she ordered a complete blood panel to be drawn on the second floor. I didn’t say a word. No matter the number of miraculous transformations I continue to witness, day after day, in the course of my work, I still look at each and every one of them as independent miracles and never take them for granted or guaranteed. A life spent fighting needles to the death is not something you easily forget.

I left the doctor’s office and went to my car. After storing my notebooks, I locked the car and walked back toward the medical center. Once in the hallway, I took the elevator to the 2nd floor and made my way to the reception lobby. The entire time, I was wondering where and when I would turn around and leave. There was a wait at the reception desk. When the attendant finally waved me toward her, I indicated I was here for blood work. She checked me in and asked me to have a seat in the waiting room. I was still there fifteen minutes later when a nurse called my name.

Last time I was at ER, which was earlier this year, a male nurse approached me to take my blood. All I could say was: “I have bad news for you…” He understood right away. This time, looking at the nurse in front of me, I tried to be more subtle: “You should know, I have a severe, uncontrollable phobia of needles. I tend to kick and punch. It typically doesn’t go over very well.” She looked at me with a concerned look. “I promise I’ll try to cooperate as best as I can,” I added. “This is not something I control too well.”

I took my iPod, turned the music on, laid down on the table and extended my arm. This alone was a miracle in itself. My arm usually curls up in an iron-clad fold that no one and nothing can unfold. More often than not, they end up taking blood from the back of my hand. As I laid there listening to my music, the nurse took two vials of blood and gently tapped me on the shoulder to let me know it was finished. I looked at her startled. “You did very well!” she said with a smile of relief. I walked out of the medical building, stunned. Little did she know the extent of the traumatic chaos she had just avoided.

Working in Cooperation with the Medical Field

As clinical hypnotherapists, we do not independently work with medical conditions, diagnose, treat or prescribe. We do not practice psychotherapy. We teach and train our clients to shift limiting beliefs, reach their goals and enhance their well being using hypnotic techniques. We only address diagnosed physical, mental and emotional symptoms with the authorization and collaboration of medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners and social workers.

We require a physician’s authorization before initiating work to support your medical team with your overall wellness and work only under your physician’s guidance. Working in close cooperation with your medical team enables us to ensure your progress in an optimal manner.

Maximizing Brain Health

Pain Management - A man and a woman in a white shirt - Medicine

Keeping our brain healthy plays a critical part in every aspect of our life. It affects our ability to think, plan, feel, remember, work, play and has a profound impact on the quality of our sleep itself. Scientific studies show we can control the health of our brain and that doing so considerably decreases our risk for mental health problems, including Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Physical and Mental Activity

Our brain contains around 100 billion neurons. Each linking to others in a network encompassing trillions of connections. This makes the human brain the most complicated entity in the universe. Like the rest of our body, our brain, if neglected, will gradually lose agility, flexibility and begin deteriorating. In order to remain sharp and well functioning, both the body and the brain need regular exercise. Physical activity ensures better blood flow to our vital organs, including the brain. It encourages the production of new brain cells, lowers stress and reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. Mentally stimulating activities, such as studying, learning new skills or languages, playing an instrument and other forms of intellectual stimulation also strengthen brain cells, reinforcing the electrical activity between existing cells and prompting the production of new cells. The repetition of learned tasks is what enables specific neural connections to become active and operational. In other words, the more we continue learning, the smarter we continue being.

Cigarettes, Drugs & Alcohol

The casual use of cigarettes, drugs and alcohol in itself has physical implications that severely damage every single organ in the body. We all know smoking causes permanent lung damage and drinking irreversible liver damage. What is less understood is that regular alcohol and drug use prompts irreversible brain damage. The chronic and potentially life-threatening deterioration of the brain and body due to alcohol and drug intake can start with symptoms as simple as changes in sleep patterns, loss of quality or quantity of sleep, shortened attention span or decrease in coordination. Symptoms can gradually worsen and lead to severe cognitive disruptions and serious mental health conditions. Chemical substances alter the chemistry of the brain responsible for coordinating our motor skills, motivation and emotions. Prolonged use causes permanent damage to the areas of the brain responsible for our psychological and emotional well being.

Nutrition

Nutrition plays an essential part in the health of our brain. A healthy diet rich in dark vegetables, fruits and antioxidants enhances the functioning the brain. High intake of saturated fat and cholesterol is known to clog arteries and contribute to stroke and brain cell damage. Studies show people who are overweight are twice as likely to develop dementia later in life. Those suffering from high cholesterol and high blood pressure are six times more likely to experience brain function degeneration.

Maximizing Brain Health

To sum up, a healthy nutrition combined with physical and mental activity, social interaction and overall fitness is the best way to keep our brain healthy and our neurons sharp.

K9 Hypnosis

K9 Hypnosis - A dog wearing a costume - Schnoodle

I had the opportunity, some time ago, to demonstrate a rapid induction on a canine subject in a state of acute panic. The demonstration was so compelling and effective, the vet handling the animal stared at me stunned and offered me a job on the spot.

It was a quick, radical induction. In less than three seconds, the subject went from an uncontrolled state of panic, with two people struggling to restrain him, to a complete state of somnambulism, where he remained for fifteen minutes solid, until I brought him out. This enabled both the medical team to proceed with their intervention quickly and effortlessly, and the canine subject to receive medical attention peacefully and painlessly.

While he was checked, probed and administered shots, his tissues did not flinch or react in any way, confirming he was in a state of complete hypnotic anesthesia.

Two things enabled me to do this. The first one is my lifelong experience training and interacting with animals and wildlife, which makes it easy for me to establish rapid rapport. The second one, obviously has to do with my professional practice of hypnotherapy. When you work in clinical hypnotherapy, you go in and out of hypnosis all day long, as you teach others how to access the subconscious level of the mind. The more you journey back and forth between the conscious and subconscious levels of the mind, the shorter the bridge between them becomes. This means professional hypnotherapists enter deep levels of hypnotic trance in the blink of an eye, anytime and anywhere they need to.

In this case, all I had to do was place both of my hands around the dog’s cranium. Positioning my thumbs between his eyes, I moved in close, stared deep into his eyes, and applying gentle pressure with my thumbs, I dived into a deep level of hypnotic trance. Holding his gaze, I brought him to depth with me instantly and without a single word.

As a Wilderness Emergency Medicine First Responder, I am trained to respond to critical, life-threatening situations with authority, calm and confidence in my training, knowledge, skills and experience. Similar principles apply to Emergency Hypnosis. Subjects in a state of shock, fear, panic and pain are experiencing heightened emotions and already have intense focus and concentration: the prerequisites enabling access to the subconscious level of the mind. They are acutely receptive and desperately seeking guidance. The state of fear in itself creates a strong desire for help. Stepping forward in these cases, with calm, controlled, stable and confident leadership skills, positions you as the rescuer the subject in fear is hoping for. All you have to do is calmly escort them to safety.

Once the medical procedure was completed, the vet turned toward me startled: “How did you do this?” she asked. “I saw you applying pressure to a specific part of the dog’s head. Was it how you were able to immobilize him?”

“I used a pressure point, between the eyes,” I responded, “applying gentle but firm pressure.” I had to clarify: “I’m a clinical hypnotherapist. I do this for a living.””I used a pressure point, between the eyes,” I responded, “applying gentle but firm pressure.” I had to clarify: “I’m a clinical hypnotherapist. I do this for a living.”

“Do you need a job?” she asked. “Can we hire you?”

I looked at the doctor and smiled, thinking: “Boy, would I be in trouble if I placed a closed sign on my door and left my clients.”

The Scope and Boundaries of Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis Conference – Portland, Oregon - A large body of water - Ocean

Clinical hypnotherapy is not a licensed medical profession. As such, hypnotherapists do not independently work with medical conditions, diagnose, treat or prescribe. By law, only licensed medical practitioners are authorized to diagnose, treat or prescribe for medical conditions. As clinical hypnotherapists, we address diagnosed conditions only with the referral and collaboration of licensed health care professionals. We do not practice psychotherapy, we teach and train our clients how to access more of the potential of their minds, shift limiting beliefs, reach their goals and enhance their well being using self-hypnotic techniques. When we address diagnosed physical, mental and emotional conditions, it is under the supervision and guidance of medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners and social workers. Working in close cooperation with your medical team enables us to ensure your progress in an optimal manner.

Physician’s Authorization and Supervision

Please note a physician’s written authorization is required prior to initiating work on diagnosed conditions. If you are currently taking prescription medications, do not stop or reduce your dosage without your doctor’s approval. We work in cooperation with your medical team. Your continued progress is monitored by your doctor. This enables us to provide you optimal results.