Both my parents are ministers. My dad is much more orthodox; my mother is unorthodox. Both Christian, two totally different perspectives on religion! My mother was the type that studied Eastern medicine, meditation, she took college classes for communication. My mother and dad have a 14-year age gap, so whereas my dad is very educated also, he was educated later. My dad’s the young one. So, she always taught us about the power of our thoughts, about healing, and I used to see her pray for people, lay hands on people… You know, the falling out, the stereotypical stuff of people falling all over the place and “You need a healing?” — that type of stuff. But you know what, I’ve seen people actually get healed in situations like that, as crazy and theatrical as it is — and looks — I realized that it’s all about the person who’s receiving and believing and that it can be any religion, as long as you have a belief system. The mind is a powerful thing. My mom introduced us to the law of attraction, so then we started studying Joseph Murphy, Napoleon Hill, Wallace D. Wattles, all these people who were teaching about the power of your mind. I loved it. I started practicing it and I got instant results. So I said, “Hmm. I love this so much. I love telling people about it, I love teaching people about the law of attraction… what if I could get paid to teach this and do this?” Then I thought, “What about hypnosis?”
I was working in a psychiatric hospital and I lost that job and that just gave me all this free time to explore. I started looking at hypnotherapy schools and I ended up going to Hypnosis Motivation Institute. It’s in Tarzana, California. The amazing thing about Hypnosis Motivation is it’s the only accredited college of hypnotherapy in the whole world, which means you can get school funding to go there. It was a year course, which I loved because a lot of courses were like a week or a weekend; this is a year course and it’s very thorough. I loved it; I met so many eclectic crazy people. I met people who practice all kinds of things, from Wiccans to gypsy-type people, people into Eastern medicine, and I learned about reiki and hypnotherapy and energy — just everything. It was interesting because when I first started going, I had such a conviction… like a religious guilt because my old religious programming was saying “This is not right.” But everything about the experience felt so aligned; I felt so in sync, I felt like I was meeting people I was supposed to meet, so I realized that programming wasn’t right. On top of that, my mother was all for it, of course, because she’s the unorthodox one, she’s the one healing people and doing crazy stuff! My father… he had a magnifying glass and he was like, “Well, what do they mean by that? And what do they mean by this?” Because I was well-versed in the Bible, I could dip into the Bible and compare philosophies and say, “It’s the same thing, it just means this.” Which, I didn’t really owe that to him, but I think I was trying to convince myself it was ok. And it was ok, you know?
A lot of people tell me it’s demonic. In the African American culture, everything’s demonic. If they can’t find it in the Bible, it doesn’t exist, and I grew up with this insanity! So I always had this conviction but, I kept going, I kept pushing myself, I kept praying. Every time I would ask for guidance, it was there for me. It was all these signs telling me that I was supposed to be there. I remember I was posting about it on Facebook, and one of my uncles said, “No Christian should ever be a hypnotherapist, that is the work of the Devil. That is witchcraft.” I’m a very rebellious type of person; I’m the type of person, I’ll rebel outwardly but then I’ll go back and think to myself, “Is he right?” In the moment, I told him that this is my livelihood and before you criticize, do me a favor and do your research. Read, see what it’s about. You’re just assuming, this is your stereotype… what are we assuming based on? Movies? I explained to him, before there was anesthesia, there was hypnosis, and that was how people had surgery back in the day. A lot of people were healed through that. I told him that, and he said, “I’m sorry if I offended you.”
I graduated school and I had a boyfriend that I started dating while I was in school and of course, he’s like, “I’ll be your subject!” There’s a type of subject, they’re called somnambulants, which means they’re natural sleep walkers and sleep talkers so they naturally go into a very deep state. Come to find out, he was that type of person, and this is pretty rare. He would go in so deep. I’m telling you, I’m straight out of school but I’m putting him so deep and I think it was because, too, he trusts me. I figured, what’s the worst that could happen? He gets really relaxed, he goes into a trance, he goes to sleep and wakes up… what’s the worst that can happen? And it worked out really really well. He had an issue with arm pain from a football injury; one session, gone. Gone! I’m talking about “I need surgery on this arm” to gone. He also lost his grandmother and had a lot of grief. If her name came up, he cried. So I did another session with him about that. The things that were coming out of him, the things that he saw when he was in hypnosis, I couldn’t believe it. When he came out, me and him just stared at each other and we were like, “Oh my god, I can’t believe that just happened.” I’m talking a full encounter with grandma. Talking, reassuring, and every time he thinks of her now, he just thinks of loving things. He can’t even get sad any more. So that was really cool because he was my first client. It really helped my confidence a lot because just imagine, this is my first time. So before I was totally out of school, I was taking clients and doing really good at it. I loved it.
When you’re driving down the freeway and you start to forget time and you pass your exit because you’re in such a trance state, that’s hypnosis. Even athletes, when they get in these zones and they hit 15 jump shots in a row, you’re in a trance state. Hypnosis isn’t this weird deep thing, it’s very natural. It’s where our brain goes when we get overloaded with things. It’s a state we go to reset ourselves and I think that it’s just a God-given state. The only thing I do is know how to trigger it for you. But you could trigger it for yourself, whether it’s looking into a crackling fire, or it could be anything. Sounds could make you go into hypnosis, like the ticking of a clock. That’s it, it’s no big thing. You’re not unconscious, you can hear everything, you know what you’re doing, you can get up at any moment. A lot of people think they’re going to lose their whole soul.
Before a hypnotherapy session, there’s lots of preparation, lots of prayer for me, even though I don’t like to bring religion into my sessions unless that person is religious. If that person is religious, that is a huge factor in how they process everything. I see hypnotherapy as a ministry in a sense. People are coming to me, they’re opening up to me, and I take that very seriously and I want to do good with that time and I want to be a good stewardess over those people’s vulnerability, over the parts of their lives that they’re sharing with me. So I have a whole ritual of prayer and meditation before I start my sessions. I cleanse the room before they come in.
I talk to a client and see what it is they want to work on, whether it’s confidence or self-esteem, anxiety… you start trying to figure out what the triggers are or what the barriers are, where did it start. Then I start to compute visualizations that can counteract that trigger. What we’re doing is getting them really relaxed because when the body’s relaxed then the mind is really really open. I get them relaxed, via my voice, the mind is relaxed, your body’s relaxed, get them in a chair, recline them back and do several visualization techniques to get the body really really relaxed. Then I take them into a visualization where we take the old pattern of thinking or the old behavior pattern and we have a visualization that trumps the old patterns. We replace it, basically. You have to have a replacement, that’s the thing. You always have to replace. It takes a bit of wit, it takes a bit of you being able to go into the client’s world with them because if I say something that makes sense to me, it’s not going to work for you. I have to literally get into your world, see how you process, and build your affirmations or suggestions based on the way you process. I love it because it really pushes me to be a chameleon. It pushes me to come outside of myself and my belief system and put myself in someone else’s shoes. I really like leaving myself for a while and having an out-of-body experience.
Usually people who come to me are already reading the law of attraction, or certain books like that. Rarely I get clients who are like “I’m coming and I don’t believe it works.” For the most part, people are already very open, people are already into yoga or reiki or massage therapy, they’re already into a holistic art. The belief system is already there, that this is going to work. Now, for the ones who don’t think it’s going to work, it literally always works and they usually go the deepest. That’s the interesting part. And I haven’t really figured out why but it’s pretty interesting! Maybe it’s my ability to build rapport because I’m really good at building rapport. I worked in psychiatry, mental health, addiction counseling, so I’m really good at getting in people’s shoes and building rapport.
I’ve worked with anesthesiologists, psychologists, figure skaters, professional athletes, semi-professional athletes, all kind of people, all walks of life. I worked with a psychologist who said that she was in therapy for her whole life and one session with me and she was like, “I can’t believe I got more out of this one session than I have my whole life in therapy.”
Anybody can use it; you can use it for anything. One of the main things I get called about is anxiety. It works really good for anxiety. I also get calls from both men and women who call me and say “I’m going through a breakup, I want to just forget this person ever existed. Can you erase my brain?” I’m like, “That’s actually not possible and I’m not going to help you repress memories! But what I can do is help you reframe the way you look at the situation and take your power back.”
My clients are me! That’s the crazy part. I could be working all week on my issues with my mother. A client will come in and say, “I’ve had lifelong issues with my mother,” and I’m like “Oh my god! Are you serious?” It’s very interesting because the healing that you can’t necessarily find for yourself… you can help others and it naturally helps yourself, which I think is the universe trying to help you find healing. That’s like karma and the law of attraction, that you’re attracting back yourself so you can make changes. If you ask another hypnotherapist, they’ll probably have totally different clients. I will say a lot of times my client is me, and deals with such issues as perfectionism, overachieving, self-care. It’s very natural for me because it’s things that I’ve overcome or that I’m still working on. A lot of anxiety, a lot of confidence building, of course a lot of people from broken relationships. Apart from the anxiety, everything else I can totally relate to. And then the client is like, “I can’t believe you can relate so much.” Well… I was just dealing with this this morning, so…! If I’m going through a breakup, then I might get a bunch of breakups; it’s weird! I literally attract back myself a lot. It’s a gift because I see perspectives that I wasn’t open to.
Sometimes I’ll go to people, and sometimes I do Skype sessions. So a lot of Yelp and word of mouth. I haven’t really opened up myself to take clients on a broader scale only because I’m still fine tuning how to do it without it taking so much from me. I couldn’t imagine taking five clients in a day because I’m totally depleted after one client because I give so much. Now, there’s a lot of different techniques that you can do to try to guard your energy and things like that, but I think that because I immerse myself in their experience for a bit, it takes a bit more effort to do. But I’m at the point now where I think I’d like to open myself up to more clients. I’m drained, but I’m usually very happy… I don’t know if this is the selfish part of it, but because I’m able to come into their experience in a sense I’m kind of healing myself, too. I think that’s why a lot of us get into the field, because we’re trying to understand ourselves. I think the more you understand yourself, the more you can open up to understand others, to have that capacity.
I’m not the best at wrapping up sessions and I think it’s because I’m projecting my own stuff: I don’t like to cut people off. So when a person is really getting into it, I kind of just let them go. Which honestly is against my teaching because we’re taught to kind of cut it short because you want to put them in hypnosis and let them have that release there. But I still achieve the same thing… my technique is just different. Usually the first session is about an hour and a half because you’re still learning the client, it’s an introductory session. Then after that it’s usually an hour. My sessions have been two and three hours — I’m learning to wrap them up. It’s not because I’m dragging them out, it’s the client that’s like, “And then this and that” and I just want them to get it out.
I started a group on Facebook called Hypnotherapists Unite which I wanted to be a forum for hypnotherapists and different healing professionals to be able to say, “Look, I’m having this issue, help me out.” That’s something that we had at Hypnosis Motivation, we could come nightly and do case studies and talk to the instructors and they’d give us advice on how to deal with certain cases. I get straight to it — the thing about that is it’s not always good on a business level; the hypnosis school taught us that you get bite sizes because then people are coming back, you want them to come back for a couple weeks. Well... that’s not my personality. My personality is let’s get to the root of the issue and let’s dead it. So I do a lot of things in a session but I do have clients who come back, lots of clients who come back over the years. I’d rather have clients come back for a tune up session every now and then, than being reliant or dependent on me. I’d rather teach you how to help yourself.
We did classes in past life regression, smoking cessation, deepening techniques, lots of practice work, lots of history, learning how different hypnotherapists did it in the past. Some people are technical hypnotherapists, they just want words that are going to trigger this for you and get you to stop this behavior. Me, I want to change your thinking, I want to get to the root of it, and I want to dead it. I really would like to go back to school for a masters or maybe a PhD in psychology, that way I don’t have a scope a practice. Right now, I’m governed under a scope of practice; you can only go so far. Which sucks because I would like to go further, but I don’t have the degree so I have to be very careful about how I deal with a client. If a client is in therapy, we’re supposed to ask for a release from the therapist so they know that we’re working. I could have went ahead and got my masters in marriage and family or social work or psychology and counselling, but I said, “Let me try something different.” And the type of money that you can make as a hypnotherapist per hour, it is comparable to what they’re making.
I remember one of our classes, which I really really liked, is inner child work. I loved it because it’s that philosophy that you’re living all your different selves at once, so it’s kind of a domino effect: you heal the inner child, you heal the adult. I do a lot of inner child work with clients, and I’m talking about big old burly men breaking all the way down, in a good way. Getting good results. Going in to the inner child work, me taking the role of the parent and telling the client what to say to their younger self or the client just taking the lead and saying things to their younger self… that will break you down. I’m talking like, “You don’t deserve that, you’re understood, I love you, you’re not alone, this won’t last always, you’re going to grow up, you’ll understand one day.” All that stuff really hits home for me so when I’m walking them through, I’m sobbing, trying for my voice not to crack or change, and then the client comes up and they’re crying and feeling 50 pounds lighter. I could do little simple stuff and just call it a day, but that’s not my personality. I like to get into it.