ALL ABOUT COUNSELING WITH KRISTIN

My goal as a therapist is to help my clients feel more empowered, balanced, and whole in their lives. Achieving this allows each client to uncover his or her unique path toward leading a fulfilled and meaningful life. I customize the tools that I use depending on the person with whom I am working. I typically use a unique combination of traditional psychotherapy and more alternative
hypnotherapy, meditation, and shamanic journeying with most of my clients.

I have found that most of my clients have spent a lot of time analyzing and talking about their stuck issue before entering my office. This means that they have used their analytical, logical brain to try to work out their issue. While our logical brain can be quite helpful in many arenas, logic often does not help when someone is stuck. To give a few examples, I have seen anxious clients try to logically talk themselves out of their fears, but without success. I have seen clients try to lose weight by following a logical diet, but they’re unable to follow through with their plan. I have seen clients who are angry at their partners try to talk themselves into feeling grateful, but they feel angry nonetheless. These clients can give me logical reasons why they should not be stuck, but their logic has not helped them.

As a therapist and as a human being, I believe that we are all wise. I do not believe, however, that our wisdom always resides in our logical brain. In fact, I think sometimes our logical brain can talk us out of our wisdom. We can talk ourselves into things and out of things by making a list of pros and cons and battling ourselves. Sometimes we are so preoccupied by our analytical gymnastics that we never once close our eyes and feel the true answer. I believe that our true wisdom is often held much more deeply inside of ourselves than our surface analytical brain can reach. I believe that our bodies feel our truth and that if we tap into our bodies we will always find the answer.

I work with my clients to help them learn how to tap into a deeper level of connection so we can get to the root of their issue as quickly as possible. Hypnosis is one of the tools that I use in order to achieve this end. While there are many misconceptions about hypnosis, I have found it to be an incredibly helpful tool. The biggest myth about hypnosis is the belief that if you are successful in using hypnosis, it means that you will disconnect from your conscious mind. Some potential clients fear that using hypnosis will mean that they will be in such a deep trance during hypnosis that they will not be in control. My intention is to debunk this myth and accurately explain how hypnosis can be helpful in therapy.

When I was in graduate school for counseling psychology, I worked at a counseling center. After working there for a year I became concerned that I was not helping my clients when I was using traditional talk therapy. Once I received training in hypnotherapy and brought hypnosis into the sessions with my clients, everything changed. My clients started to understand themselves better and I gained a deeper understanding of my clients. And, most importantly, their lives started to shift in the positive ways they had been working towards. You might think that after using hypnosis for over a decade with my clients that I would think it’s powerful. NOPE. My belief is not that hypnosis is powerful but that people are powerful. Hypnosis doesn’t “do” anything to my clients. Instead, hypnosis is a tool with which my clients access the power, knowledge, resources, and wisdom that are already inside of them. Let me explain what I mean…

I often hear my clients say things like, “I know I need to lose weight, but I find myself eating tons of snacks late at night even though I know it’s not good for me.” Or, “I really want to have a closer relationship with my partner, but every time I start to try to talk to him/her about something important I shut down and I can’t talk.” I see these as examples of a disconnect between our minds and our bodies. Our minds are telling us what we “should” do but our bodies won’t let us do it – even if it’s in our best interest. Why would our bodies do this? I believe that our bodies are reacting to an unconscious belief we hold or a decision we made long ago that contradicts what we are telling our body to do today. For the first example; for someone who is overeating may have used food as a comfort during their childhood or they may have believed that food was their only friend. When they attempt to stop eating their old comfort foods their body is confused because this contradicts the old, stored message that food is their friend. For the second example; someone who is blocked when it comes to talking to their partner may have grown up in an abusive household where talking about negative emotions led to abuse. When they attempt to talk to their partners about a hard subject, their body is alarmed because this led to danger in the past. The good news is that we are not doomed to be stuck forever in our old patterns and behaviors. All we need to do is address the disconnect and get our minds and our bodies in harmony. How do we do that?

One way to move our minds and our bodies into harmony with one another is to use hypnosis. Hypnosis is a great way of unearthing old experiences, beliefs, and decisions. Hypnosis is also an effective way of connecting with one’s inner truth and making that truth conscious. Once someone brings to consciousness an unconscious belief or decision, they are free. Before being conscious of the root of their reaction, they were enslaved to the reaction. Once they are conscious of their reaction they have a choice of whether to listen to it or not. Let’s go back to our two examples. Once the person who wants to eat more healthily unearths the memory of using food as a comfort and realizes they hold an old belief that food is their only friend, that person will realize why they are driven so strongly to eat at night. When they feel the urge to eat, they can remind themselves that they are not alone in the world and they can use other means for achieving comfort and connection in the world. They can ease their reaction to wanting food by being awake to what the urge is really about because it’s not about food. In our second example, once the person who shuts down when they try to talk to their partner unearths the realization that their reaction is linked to their past abuse, they are able to remind themselves that they are safe now and that they are no longer a victim. In both examples they are able to begin to heal old wounds through reacting differently than in the past. These are examples of positive growth assisted through the insights gained by using hypnosis in a therapeutic manner – also known as hypnotherapy.

Hypnosis can help a person who feels stuck on an issue to bring his or her body and mind into harmony so that he or she embraces the necessary shift with body, mind, and spirit. As I mentioned before, my belief is that on a deep level we can all trust the wisdom of our bodies, but we can lose that knowledge in a busy life where we are disconnected from our bodies in so many ways. Hypnosis brings us back to ourselves. That’s why my clients were able to attain such great shifts once I started using hypnosis with them – because they were able to reconnect with themselves and, therefore, with all of the power within them. Again, hypnosis is not powerful. People are powerful. People are powerful and they need to connect with that power in order to live an empowered, balanced life.