Transcript | PPP0095: Exploring How Hypnosis Can Unlock the Power of the Mind with Erika Flint

Ellen 0:00:02 - 0:02:00
Hello and welcome to the Potential Psychology Podcast. I'm your host, Ellen Jackson. And it's my mission to share the science of human behaviour in a practical, fun and inspiring way. In each podcast episode, I interview an expert from the fields of Psychology, wellbeing, leadership, parenting or high performance. I pick their brain to uncover what they know about living well, what tips do they have for you and I and I quizzed them about how they apply their expertise in their own life. Join me as we discover simple, science backed ways to live, learn, flourish and fulfil your potential.

Hello and welcome. We have just passed a milestone here at the Potential Psychology Podcast. Our third birthday. Our very first episode of the show went live on the 16th of March 2018 and it feels like a lifetime ago. And as I reflect, I realised that starting the podcast was a little like starting Potential Psychology itself almost 19 years ago. On both occasions, I had no plan, no strategy, no business case. In fact, on paper, neither enterprise stepped up as a good idea but both ideas, once I'd arrived at them just wouldn't let go and on both occasions, my thinking was I'll just have a crack at this and see what happens. And three years later and 19 years later for Potential Psychology, the business were still tracking along and I'm still having fun. And if I'm really honest, it's still the case that neither the business nor the podcast makes a lot of sense if we measure these things by traditional metrics of success, things like in common audience reach and business growth, etcetera. This is still a little indeed podcast with a small but wonderfully smart and loyal audience. And Potential Psychology, the business continues to serve a client base of really forward thinking organisations came to support their people to thrive and individuals who value investing in themselves and their personal and professional growth. But for the most part, the business hasn't changed much over time. I've changed. I've learned an incredible amount. I've developed my skills and knowledge and confidence, and I've been able to overtime let go mostly of those traditional metrics of success. I've stopped mostly feeling the need to justify what I do and how I do it, and instead value the fact that it's fun and challenging and I learn something new every day, and I get to talk to wonderfully smart and engaged in interesting people. And I get to witness the growth of my coaching clients and I guess all in all for me at least, these are far better metrics by which to measure success. So as I reflect on my three things for this episode, that is what I've learned as we celebrate the podcasts third birthday, that there are many ways to measure and mark success, and what's important is doing so by your own metrics what's really important to you. So, that's the first of my three things. If you remember, we talked about, we are talking about three things, or I am talking about three things and you are sharing these with me and sharing your own three things, which is just delightful, something we have either read or perhaps listened to, something we have learned and something we are doing to fulfil our potential. So I've talked about what I've learned. What am I reading right now? Well, I'm actually reading an incredible book called Educated by Tara Westover and is not, in fact what I'm going to talk about today, but I did see it described by someone recently as difficult to read, impossible to put down. And that is exactly how I feel about it.

Ellen 0:04:01 - 0:05:41
It's a very unsettling story, but completely compelling, and it is a memoir, so it is a true story. So, if you're interested in a difficult to read but impossible to put down, very thought provoking book check out educated by Tara Westover. But what I do want to talk about is actually what I'm listening to right now, and I'm combining that with the thing I'm doing to fulfil my potential. So this is thing two and thing three of my three things of this episode and what I've been listening to is Adam Grant podcast, Work life. And recently, while he was taking a break from his regular programming, he added a few longer form interviews under the banner of Taken for Granted. And this particular episode was a conversation with Brene Brown, who will need no introduction to this audience and granted brand. We're talking about something that really struck me. It was the notion of performance as a form of armour against vulnerability. So if you've read any of Rene Brown's work on leadership. She talks about armoured leadership versus vulnerable leadership and armoured leadership is the walls we put up to protect ourselves emotionally, psychologically, and this doesn't just apply to the leadership. It does, of course, empire to just being human. And in this conversation, she mentioned that performance or always striving for achievement can be a form of armour. A mind set that says, as long as I'm always on top of my game, proving what I can do, achieving the next thing and the next and the next, then I'm okay. I'm acceptable to myself and to others.

Ellen 0:05:42 - 0:07:46
And that was one of those Oh, that's me moments as I was listening in, because the problem with that form of striving that tendency to rely on the need to always be performing or achieving an outcome as a way of protecting ourselves from vulnerability is that it can tip over into burn out pretty easily because it's just not driven by a healthy mind set. So, after reflecting on this for a while, actually did a bit more digging. And I discovered another interview with Brene Brown on The Tim Ferriss show and in its Ferris, who says that he's also in a bit of an achievement junkie, has reframed the problem for himself to ask, how can I make room for both striving and self acceptance? And that felt kind of meaningful to me. It's not that you have to let go of your striving or achievement orientation, because that obviously works in many ways and up to a point. But how do you make space for greater self acceptance and self compassion to? And that's been something I've been working on for the past few months, as I've taken on more responsibility and stepped further outside of my comfort zone. It's not easy at all, and it takes a lot of ongoing work but having the simple re frame of not one or the other, but both so not striving or self compassion but finding the space for both striving and self compassion really does help. So that felt like it went very deep, very quickly. That's probably something to do with my realisations about armour and performance and vulnerability and the need to be able to do both, but I think that's enough about me. Let me know what you are reading, learning and doing to fulfil your potential, either on the socials via message or email, or perhaps in podcast review. I really love to know. Do you have any recommendations for us, for reading, listening or learning?

Ellen 0:07:46 - 0:08:54
Or maybe there's something that you have reframed recently that helped you to take a further step towards being your best self. But it's time to talk about our guest. And while we're exploring new things and new concepts and new ways of growing. This guest and her wonderful participation in this show came about because I was intrigued by her field of expertise, which is hypnosis. It's something that I knew very little about prior to this conversation but was very curious about. So, let's listen in and find out more.

With me today is speaking to us from Washington state in the U. S. Is Erica Flint. Erica is a certified, a hypnotist and accredited hypnosis teacher whose goal is to bring hypnosis into mainstream healing and thinking. Erica has been the recipient of many awards and accolades for her work in and contribution to the hypnotherapy profession. She is the author of several books and makes frequent appearances on TV and radio. Erica's here to answer all of our questions about hypnosis and hypnotherapy in everyday life. Welcome, Erica.

Erika 0:08:55 - 0:08:59
Ellen, thank you so much for having me. It's great to be here and share more about what hypnosis really is.

Ellen 0:08:59 - 0:09:33
Yeah, look, I'm excited to ask all of, and I've just said off air, all of them, probably the basic questions from your point of view but as somebody who has not been involved with hypnosis or hypnotherapy from either side, I have very little understanding of what it is, how it works. But I'm very aware that particularly now in the clinical space, it's becoming quite a commonly used tool to help people with goal attainment, performance and well being. Attainment. Achievement, I guess, is the word I'm looking for.

Ellen 0:09:34 - 0:09:44
So to get the obvious question out of the way, what is the difference between what we might call stage hypnotism and clinical hypnotism?

Erika 0:09:45 - 0:11:06
Well, stage hypnotism, they really are most stage hypnotist, most I would say, I guess legitimate stage hypnotists who are doing it professionally are really doing hypnosis. So they really are doing hypnosis up on the stage. What they're doing is they're asking usually for volunteers who are interested. So, there's an entertainment quality. And most people who are willing or wanting to do that type of thing are the folks who you know might be more dynamic and are wanting, or maybe desiring the spotlight and our first to raise their hand in any case, right? The difference, I would say, between that style of hypnosis and what we do in the office is we're actually helping people with things that they want to do, right? So on the stage you might have the stage hypnotist having the folks do silly things, like forgetting their name or acting out in a particular way. And, you know, we don't do any of that in the hypnosis office. In the hypnosis office, people are coming to us to lose weight, stop drinking, achieve better results, sleep better, get rid of anxiety and all those types of things. So I think the benefit of stage hypnosis is that the audience and the members, the folks up on stage, they really get to understand. Oh my gosh, what is the power of the mind? If something can help me do this on stage, forget my name or do something exceptional that maybe I wouldn't normally do. What else can it do? How else can I unlock parts of my mind in order to truly serve me?

Ellen
Okay, so there's an entertainment factor in there, obviously when it's being done on the stage versus a clinical situation.

Erika
Right.

Ellen
But from your perspective, it's still a very useful thing in terms perhaps, I guess, of bringing the idea of hypnosis or the practise of hypnosis into that mainstream, opening people's minds to the idea that there is more to the mind.

Erika 0:11:28 - 0:12:21
Right. It makes people curious. I mean, it's a double edged sword, of course, because then people wonder, oh, you're going to make me quack like a duck or bark like a dog like that's top of mind for most people. And some of them, you know, I think one of the biggest misperceptions about hypnosis is that it's mind control. And so folks often wonder if the hypnotist is controlling them. And, you know, there's often kind of this entertainment quality that goes along with wanting to wow, and do like, let's blow their mind. Let's have something exceptionally kind of magical and, well, how did that happen? So it kind of plays into that. That hypnosis might be some level of mind control. So on the flip side of entertaining of stage hypnosis, we get a lot of questions. So this is one of the things that professional hypnotist is, one of our primary jobs is to go out and talk with folks like you to really help people understand what is the nature of hypnosis, and how does it actually work to serve and help people and help the community and help humanity?

Ellen 0:12:22 - 0:12:32 Okay, so seeing as we're here to do that and answer my curious questions, how does it work, I guess, is the question. It's not mind control. There's something more to it. How does it work?

Erika 0:12:32 - 0:14:05
Right. And I would say if any, if you wanted to call it mind control, it's really about the client. It's really about you. Whoever's doing hypnosis, getting control back over areas in your life that you feel out of control for. And that's one of the biggest responses that we get from our clients. It's, you know, I know what to do to lose weight, but I don't follow through. I know what to do to stop smoking but I never follow through, so it really is about our clients getting control back. But hypnosis in general is a normal and natural state of mind. So we do it all the time. Any time that you're doing something in time is just passing by, like you be playing with your kids or grandkids or might be listening to music or watching a really good movie. And time is just passing by, that's a light state of hypnosis. So what we want to do in the hypnosis office is we want to capitalise upon that. It's a state of mind where you're highly focused and receptive to positive suggestion. So in the state of mind, kind of all the walls come down. We call it Depotentiating the left hemisphere is how I like to look at it. So we're really taking, you know, in our everyday life, we're using our prefrontal cortex and our left hemisphere really to, like, answer a lot of questions and really think critically and respond to people and if that isn't solving our problem, that's primarily what a lot of people used to solve their problems. If that's not working, we want to depotentiate that part of the mind so that we could give access to the subconscious mind, the unconscious mind, different parts of us, which we can talk about in a minute. I'm sure you want to know more about those, but now we're giving rise to other parts of us and giving that voice and so now we're getting more information. That's already there. That's how hypnosis works.

Ellen 0:14:07 - 0:14:33
How intriguing and it's interesting. I was thinking while you were talking there about that nature of being engaged in of other activity where we have that sense that time is both passing quickly but standing still, you know, you so engaged in an activity that you don't notice that maybe a couple of hours have past because you were entirely absorbed, which, you know, we would call from a psychological point of view, engagement or a flow state.

Erika
Yeah, uhhumm

Ellen
So, is that part of that that kind of flow state where you're able to you just stop thinking it's just like a lack of conscious awareness really isn't out of what you're doing, you stop. We'll have that little voice in our head that is constantly analysing and assessing and talking to us about what we're getting right in what we're getting wrong and what we should be doing. So is this state about coming, that piece of the mind down a little so that we're open to other

Erika
Yes

Ellen
..ideas? Okay.

Erika
0:15:04 - 0:15:42
Yes. And thank you for putting it that way. It is that is the conscious mind, that voice in your head, you know, negativity bias, constantly judging us, constantly narrating what's going on in our life when we quiet that part of the mind. It's just not the talking feedback that we quiet. We can also quiet our nervous system. And now we can get information from deeper parts of us, feelings and things that we know, right, but we aren't necessarily conscious of. We might act them out. We might be nervous about something and act out of anxiety, but not really, we're not really sure where it came from. Hypnosis allows us. It quiets all those parts so that we can get access to where is this? Where is this fear coming from? For example

Ellen
0:15:42 - 0:15:46
Yes. So we're just a bit more open to noticing, I guess.

Erika
0:15:46 - 0:16:13
Right. And the thing is, there's a lot of talk about how much our behaviour is driven by subconscious, right? And, you know, the latest that I read was something like 95%. I'm not quite sure how they determine that number, but I do think that it's a large number. And so, if you're not able to do something that you think you should be able to do, hypnosis is a really good tool to kind of bring those walls down and get to the core issue and quiet that part of the mind that is constantly analysing and giving you answers.

Ellen
So how then does it differ? Or does it differ if, say, from the practise of mindfulness meditation, which goal of which is to quiet the mind. Is there a difference or are there kind of different variations on the same thing?

Erika 0:16:27 - 0:17:19
Yeah, there's an overlap, for sure. There's definitely a state of mind in hypnosis where we are depotentiating that left hemisphere. We're quieting the mind, and that overlaps with meditation quite a bit. The primary difference with hypnosis, is with hypnosis we have what's called the hypnotic suggestion, which I like to consider an intention, and so we have a very specific intention, whereas with meditation, the intention, perhaps is to quiet the mind or to listen to God. Some people think that meditation is when you need listen right and prayers when we speak right. So there's a lot of different variations or thoughts on what meditation is. But hypnosis, there really is a hypnotic suggestion. What is the intention? And with the intention there's a lot that goes into that. What's driving certain behaviours? What's behind that? All of these things that we're considering. So while in a state of hypnosis now we're delivering information to that deep part of the mind of what the intention is.

Ellen 0:17:20 - 0:17:27
So it's similar, but there's a goal around the hypnosis process.

Erika 0:17:27 - 0:18:18
Right where they're actually realising the results within that day. So they're noticing that they're thinking has changed. They're noticing that the anxiety that had been driving behaviour or the fear about another person or an event or an experience like they know they were afraid of it an hour ago, but they just don't feel it anymore. And so it's very empowering for people because we can get rid of kind of like that anxious, nervous energy that really there is meaning that gets applied to that energy like I'm going to look foolish, I'm not good enough, nobody loves me, datdada. All of those meanings that get applied to these scary feelings,that's what we shift in hypnosis. We shift the meaning that could supply to these situations, and then it subsequently shifts how we feel inside so we can know that we felt scared of it before. We just we don't feel it anymore. So there's a huge empowering element to hypnosis.

Ellen 0:18:18 - 0:18:50
Yeah, and I'm wondering then again, I suppose, my or not, that I have a background in clinical or counselling psychology, but my knowledge of just the role of the therapist in these relationships. So again, if I'm comparing and contrasting it mentally right now to a meditation, usually with a meditation, there isn't that goal orientation and there isn't somebody else involved but in this case, you've got the hypnosis, the hypnotherapist, who's involved. So does that relationship play a part in this as well?

Erika 0:18:51 - 0:20:14
Well, there's always the importance of a relationship in any type of therapy. I mean, that's been proven over and over and over again, that it's the relationship between the therapist and the client that really matters the most, so that is very important. And a lot of our clients are telling us things, as you would anticipate telling us things that they've never told people before in their life. It's the scariest, ugliest, hardest, most embarrassing, most shameful things that they don't ever, ever, ever want to share with somebody in a lot of times, by the time our clients come to us, they don't go to the hypnotist first, right? We're not there yet. In the hypnosis profession, most people have tried everything else. So by the time they're coming to us, they are desperate and they really want and need help, so the relationship is very important. But what I want to mention, as far as hypnosis goes, is we believe that all of the answers are inside our clients. So the role of the hypnotist is to create a really safe container and provide the techniques to the nervous system and the mind so that the client can discover their own answers basically. So that's one of the things that I love about hypnosis, we're not diagnosing, we're not curing, we're not looking for problems, you know, there's none of that. None of that. There were really just let's help somebody with their consciousness and kind of connect the dots in a better way so that the client is feeling. And it's automatic, too, because it's happening with subconscious. They're feeling more like themselves.

Ellen 0:20:14 - 0:20:51
Hmmm which is, I have some lovely parallels actually with the work that I do with individuals, which is coaching psychology. So people come to me with a goal or challenge they're trying to face. And because it is coaching and not clinical psychology, we're not looking at it from a diagnosis or a problem based point of view, it's very much about the client being an expert in their own life and just using. I mean, for us it's a process of questioning, really to help them unpick. What are the goals? What are the blockages? What is it that I need to do because they are the experts in their own life and they do know, the answers. They just get stuck.

Erika 0:20:51 - 0:21:29
Right. And how cool is it that all you're doing is asking questions, right?
Because on some level, that's what we are directing our clients attention. That's what we're doing. We're attention shifters were taking our clients attention. We're directing it at this. We're asking questions, probing what unfolds from that. Then we use techniques and then we ask more questions. The cool thing is that in a hypnotic state, clients are more receptive to doing all of this work. So they're don't, the walls aren't there. You know, people hold back that type of a thing. They're more open to sharing. Now clients really still can hold back. It's not a truth serum. They can, but they want to. They want to share and its easier.

Ellen 0:21:29 - 0:21:34
Yes, it does makes it. I was doing some reading and preparation for our interview, and a couple of people said that that hypnotic state was a little like those moments, just as you're waking up in the morning or just before you go to sleep at night. So thinking about that, I can kind of imagine what you're saying there, that if you're in that kind of hazy, it's like my conscious brain hasn't really clicked in yet, and you might hear children moving around the house or you might hear your phone ping or something. But it's almost like I'm sort of, it's almost like I kind of don't care about those things that ordinarily worry me.

Erika 0:22:02 - 0:22:13
Right, you don't because that part of your brain is depotentiated. And that state of mind is called the Hypnogogic state, and it's a really cool state of mind. So, if you ever have a dream and you wake up and you're like, Oh, man, I can't remember the dream. What needs to happen is you need to go back into that Hypnogogic state, and you'll remember it again. And so what's really interesting is that you know hypnosis, another way to describe it is focusing and filtering. So, it's focusing our attention on something and filtering certain things out. So, when you're in that Hypnogogic state, your brain is already focusing on certain things and filtering out other things to the degree that it's not a primary concern of yours in that moment. So hypnosis is similar in that way, yeah.

Ellen 0:22:43 - 0:22:50
So is self hypnosis a thing? Is that something that's doable, or does it really require the assistance of a professional?

Erika 0:22:51 - 0:24:07
Well, all hypnosis is self hypnosis, and the reason I like to say that is nobody can force you into a state of hypnosis. There's no like covert, hidden, sneaky, you know there's nothing like that. So it really is, you know, hypnosis is, you know, we're going to do it on purpose with our clients and so self hypnosis in general, yes works really well, I think. And with the hypnogogic state, yes, you can. I know folks who one of their techniques is they have their phone right next to their bed and one quick press onto their recorder because they can't type, they can't text, they can't write. If they do any of that, they emerge out of the state. So the one state that has been successful for folks to remain in Hypnogogic state is you reach over, grab your phone and just audibly record what's going on and then when you listen to that again, it can remind you, and you can go right back to sleep. That's what would bring you back into that state then you could wake up again. But in general, with self diagnosis, the benefit of working with a professional, it's like somebody who has a lot of experience, is somebody there with you. They're going to be able to point out things to you that you might not see on your own so you can paint your house yourself, there's YouTube videos, I could go to the store, I could do it all myself, or I can hire someone to do it and probably get done faster, both work.

Ellen 0:24:07 - 0:24:19
That does make perfect sense. So it is again about having that coach that guides that almost a partner, really in a ways. And if you've established that good therapeutic relationship where they've got

Erika
absolutely

Ellen
somebody there to just help them along, nudge them along a little faster. Who knows which questions to ask, or perhaps which insights to offer?

Erika 0:24:26 - 0:25:38
And recently, coz you know, I've been doing this for a while, but recently I've been come aware of something really important in hypnosis, and it's the ability to stay in a state with a client when they're at their lowest. And so, for example, when clients are experiencing a really low shameful or like they're just they're expressing or they're just feeling really bad. Our ability to just stay there with them and almost be like, hey, I will sit in the dark depths with you. It's OK, we're going to survive, you're alive, I'm alive, it sucks, but I'll be here with you. And so just sitting there and being willing to say I will witness your whatever. I'll witness your BS or whatever this thing that happened to you, I will be here with you. And just that alone, I can't tell you how many times clients like, even if there's not, like some huge revolution or something that they hadn't realised. Just sitting there with them through their depths of despair is so comforting for people. I don't know if they felt like they couldn't share that with another, like it was too shameful to even share, and therefore they don't ever feel complete because they're still hiding this part of them. But really having that other person just sitting there is so helpful.

Ellen 0:25:38 - 0:25:53
Okay and then so we've got that therapeutic experience, and then we're overlaying it with this ability to calm the nervous system, calm the mind and be, tell me a little bit more about this idea of being open to is it suggestion? Is that the right word? What's the terminology we should be using here?

Erika 0:25:53 - 0:27:23
Yeah, The hypnotic suggestion is the term, and you're absolutely right. You know most humans have been training for anxiety their whole life. We live in a mostly anxious society where it's all about hustling and getting straight A's and kids, you know they're going to school and then after school programmes. And I mean, it's just so many things. It's just really, really stressful. So most of my clients, I tell him they've been training for anxiety their whole life. Their brain is designed for an anxious life. And so one of the first things we do is I just haven't trained for relaxation, which is, a form of self hypnosis. So I have them listen to a relaxation recording. It's about 20 minutes. I have them do that every single day, 20 minutes, it's like practise, right? If you want to learn to play an instrument, you will practise. So if we give our brain the practise in relaxing every single day, it's going to get better at it. And clients are getting results in as little as three days from that. As far as the hypnotic suggestion goes, we will come up with something that makes sense for the client. So if they want to lose weight, the hypnotic suggestion might be, and I have authored a couple of books on this, I have a lot of experience helping people lose weight. But the one of the hypnotic suggestions could be I only when I'm actually hungry and that alone, right there, if people who wanted to lose weight, especially emotional eaters, is who we're talking about here. Most people you know, emotional eaters aren't eating because they're hungry. They're eating because they're happy they're eating because they're stressed. It's usually boredom and stress. And so a suggestion, like I only eat when I'm actually hungry. When that is accepted, at the root level of who this person is, their appetite shifts.

Ellen 0:27:28 - 0:27:51
Interesting. Yes, although really internalising that message and you're absolutely right. I mean you know, I've talked about this with people as well. These habits that we build up over a lifetime that you know, whether it's emotional eating, whether it's I know, that I eat when I'm cold. I know that when I'm cold.

Erika
Yeah? You too?

Ellen
I stop when not which is probably, you know, there's probably an important driver behind that, but it's not always helpful.

Erika 0:27:51 - 0:28:05
Well, it is. Your body has to regulate your body temperature, right? So when we're cold, the body thinks that you might need more food. So you're, I mean, I have a cup of tea with me at almost all times to make sure I'm not heading to the kitchen because I'm cold, but you're absolutely right.

Ellen 0:28:05 - 0:28:24
Yep. So it's just helping to create that awareness, the thoughts that about other ways of behaving or other ways of acting to perhaps break some of those habits and then that's internalised. I guess it's almost becomes part of, you know, those identity statements about who I am and how I operate in world.

Erika 0:28:25 - 0:29:31
Right, and the neat thing, you know, I can tell you a quick story just to really kinda help share how this plays out in real life. So, had a client who wanted, she was probably, I think it was like 70 or 80 pounds. But she e-mailed me and I read her email and she told me she went to the grocery store. She goes to the grocery store but it wasn't until she got home, she got home and started unloading her groceries that she realised she didn't even go down the chip aisle. Now what was so remarkable to her? She loved Cheetos and that was really her problem. She kind of had, like, a little addiction to Cheetos, and that would kick off all sorts of other things. And she thought about her Cheetos all the time and that type of thing, right? What was so remarkable to her was that she didn't even think about going down the chip aisle. It wasn't that she went to the grocery store and was standing there like no I shouldn't by 'em, but I wanna 'em, I shouldn't buy 'em, I wouldn't. You know, that didn't even occur to her. She just went to the grocery store just like she normally would and just shop and then didn't buy them. That's what we're looking for because we wanted to be automatic. And when we help make those changes at the root level of who people are, they're making decisions that are in their benefit without really necessarily having to think about them.

Ellen 0:29:31 - 0:29:45
And not having to have that internal battle that so often when we want to change behaviour becomes about, you know what we focus on GROWTH. So the more I think about what I shouldn't be doing the more it just entirely preoccupies my mind and how that leads.

Erika 0:29:46 - 0:30:25
Right? And that's why deprivation doesn't work with dieting for the long term. Deprivation doesn't work because we do want things. And so, for my clients, I always want him to eat when they're hungry, always and they get themselves into a really good habit of only, not because of the clock, right? Which is a lot of times what we're taught, not because breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but they're eating because they're actually hungry. And so it changes everything. They're not looking for food, they're waiting till they feel a sensation, and then they eat. So there's a completely different driver there. And, you know, one of the best response is I get from my weighless clients is I just don't think about food anymore.

Ellen 0:30:25 - 0:30:25
Yeah

Erika 0:30:26 - 0:30:27
It gives 'em so much free space.

Ellen 0:30:27 - 0:30:33
So just changing that thought patterning kind of thing that drives so much of what we do.

Erika 0:30:33 - 0:31:10
Because so many people they think about food all day long, is what happens, right? So they'll eat a meal and then this comes from, I ask a lot of my clients know what, what are you looking forward to today? And one of the things they look forward to with my weight loss clients, the only thing, they report, is they look forward to eating because that's the only time where they're not being judged stressed or whatever. So if somebody is looking forward to food all day long, they're going to think about it all day long, right? So now if you're not thinking about it and you're doing other things, it is just such a load off. And people are doing new habits, they're doing pottery and painting that it feels like they have a new life again.

Ellen 0:31:11 - 0:31:14
Just goes to show how complex our relationship with food is isn't it?

Erika 0:31:14 - 0:31:24
Yeah, we have to eat every day. It's different than stopping smoking or stopping alcohol because those things will just stop, but something were like food, we're managing. So yeah, it's a lot harder.

Ellen 0:31:25 - 0:31:40
So Erica, what's this kind of succs.. I know this is not a quantifiable thing, necessarily but what's the success rate with this? How are people more amenable to the hypnotic suggestion, to the process and therefore the results than others? Does is it not really matter?

Erika 0:31:40 - 0:32:27
Oh for sure. I mean, there's some people who are kind of gifted hypnotically. There are some folks who are totally into professional development, right? I mean, they'll read every professional development book. They kind of know lots of things. So this type of person comes in hypnosis. They've been meditating for years, and they know that hypnosis isn't mind control, like they have a lot of experience, you know? So that type of person. Yeah. I mean, there are personal development guru. They were skilled at it. There are other folks who are super anxious. It's kind of the opposite. They're so anxious that they can't sit still, right? They'll come into the office or if I see them online because we're doing zoom sessions now and they can't really sit still. It's, they really have been training their brain for that anxiety, right? So one of the first things to do with those clients is teach 'em anti anxiety techniques to calm down. Then they feel better.

Ellen 0:32:27 - 0:32:33
And that begs an interesting question. You mentioned Zoom sessions, is this still something that can be done over Zoom?

Erika 0:32:33 - 0:33:18
Absolutely. Yeah, I've been working with clients over Zoom since 2016 when my book was published, so I have a lot of experience. It's nothing brand new, but I started noticing first of all, the convenience of people not needing to fly in to see me was paramount for them. And as long as.. so we do need a couple of things for the zoom session to go well. We really need our clients to be in a protected environment where they're not going to be interrupted. So that was one of the challenges with Covid because a lot of people are working from home. They don't have a home office anymore right, they're like sleeping in their home office and that type of a thing. So a good internet connection, usually headphones, a good microphone and a laptop. Not usually, we don't want him to join with a mobile or iPad. It causes problems.

Ellen 0:33:18 - 0:33:46
Yes, as long as you've got as replicable situation in terms of visual audio environments as you might have if you were sitting 1 to 1 with somebody. The actual technology, I mean and I have certainly found this, and probably lots of people have found this now that we've got a bit more used to doing these things, even meetings online as a result of Covid that we stopped noticing the technology after a while. It's just become invisible to us.

Erika 0:33:46 - 0:34:26
Yeah we're getting used to it. The other thing I do is I give my clients the relaxation recording, a hypnotic relaxation recording, and I ask them to listen to it every day until we start our sessions, which it's not required but it's certainly helps. And the reason is because the mind gets accustomed to my voice. It's kind of like, you know, our kids went the same bedtime story every single night, it becomes familiar, it's safe, it's comfortable. And so I have my client's listen to my voice and the relaxation recording as they fall asleep at night such that by the time I see them in hypnosis, you know, the brain's like I know this person. This, this is, you know, she helps me fall asleep. You know, all of those kind of good feelings that go with that. And so then the zoom sessions go even easier.

Ellen 0:34:26 - 0:34:38
Yeah, that does make sense. I think you know that priming, the connection, that therapeutic relationship particularly given that voices would be part of this I'm guessing that's quite a clever way to do that actually.

Erika 0:34:38 - 0:35:06
Yeah, I thought so too at the time. And it's a very generic recording, so it's because we help people with all sorts of things. So it's no specific to weight loss or smoking or confidence or anything. It truly is, relax. It really helps people to just do nothing or what I like to say. No thing, nothing in particular just floating, right? Just existing in the present moment answer the body wants.

Ellen 0:35:06 - 0:35:45
Yeah. So, Erica, you mentioned then. I mean, we've talked a little bit about weight loss and you've mentioned things like smoking and alcohol cessation, which I know are probably some of the more commonly understood reasons why somebody would seek Hypnotherapy. What are some of the other? You talked about confidence then. What is it that, that kind of performance end of the spectrum? If you've got somebody who and again we're talking, I'm assuming largely people who have no kind of clinical diagnosis or not struggling at a clinical end in terms of mental health.

Erika
Cracked.

Ellen
Yes, what are some of the other performance end of the spectrum goals that people might seek the assistance of hypnosis with?

Erika 0:35:45 - 0:36:51
Well, I've helped a lot of CEOs and business owners really be good leaders. So a lot of them, you know, they are excellent at what they do, right. They've gotten their business into a place where they're really, really good at what they do, and it's almost time to maybe take a step up or they're giving more and more talks in front of their team and they're nervous, so public speaking is definitely part of it. I've helped a lot of people with their public speaking, a lot of authors and business owners with public speaking right, feeling good, standing up and talking in front of people. Some of the other things that I help people with are behaviourals, right. So there are things like hair pulling or nail biting, that type of a thing but the number one I would say other thing that I help people with or hypnotists help people with in general would be combination of stress and sleep because, you know, people are so stressed and when they're really super stressed they're not thinking clearly they make mistakes at work, they get extra upset. So normally they're presenting to us because something just happened. Oh man, I was so stressed last week I yelled at my daughter and now we're not talking, I have to fix this, right. It's usually not that they're coming to us just because they're stressed. It's because they're stressed and oops, something happened.

Ellen 0:36:54 - 0:36:56
It's reached a critical moment.

Erika 0:36:56 - 0:37:37
Exactly. So my personal, you know, I love helping people with high performance. So I love helping business owners, authors, business owners and coaches achieve like self actualisation. So it's like, OK, here you are now. How can you be fully actualised? What is it about you that would really make you be a complete and full human, right? So I love doing that type of work, and that type of work usually is what business owners, and there's usually a spiritually component that goes along with that. But that again, it's all about who are you? Get rid of the things that are not your own being full alignment with source or whoever, whatever you believe, so that you can show up fully for your business, for your employees and for the world.

Ellen 0:37:38 - 0:38:34
Yeah, which perfectly aligns again with what we might do as coaches and certainly coaching psychologist is kind of using that tool kits that we have. And in your case, you've got this additional tool kit of the hypnosis to be able to help people to essentially become their best selves, you know, unleash what potential? I would call it that, but also step away from the things that hold us back. So, the uncertainty, the fears, the anxieties and I love that point about stress and sleep because, you know, we know how fundamental sleep is in particular to being able to be our best selves. And yet it's one of those things that we so often don't prioritise or we let get in the way. You talked a bit about relaxation and relaxation state. If I was coming to you with a goal of getting better sleep, what are some of the things that you might address with me?

Erika 0:38:34 - 0:40:10
Well, I'd ask you if you were watching television or the news, because that's one of the biggest stressor, so we'd have you do a news fast, first of all. I'd ask you about your bedtime routine as well, because a lot of folks that I work with what tends to happen is they are stressed and they're successful right. They're really successful, they have jobs and families. They're managing a lot of stuff and then come eight o'clock, nine o'clock, the kids were in bed, maybe spouses in bed. Employees aren't asking anything of them. It's kind of like my time, right? So it's like from this end of day when nobody is bothering them. Nobody wants to go to sleep. It's like the most peaceful, delicious, glorious part of the day. Who wants to sleep? I'm sitting here and I could do whatever I want nobody's asking me, anything of me. So we have to watch for that because that is valid. It's totally valid. You know, I'm not going to tell my client to go to sleep at the only time of day that they've had a pure present moment to themselves. That's completely valid. So what we would do then is we're going to look out throughout the rest of the day. I don't want my clients waiting until the end of the data have their time of day. We need to do much better self care. I mean, the whole we totally need to, rethink how we live, right, to a large degree. But, I would want you to be able to not get yourself stressed out. I want you to leave work with, like maybe 70%. Maybe you put 70% into your job, not 100%. That's what most people do. They come on with zero energy so that when you get home now we have time to cook dinner, go on a walk, go surfing, go kite. Whatever you want to do, right, you have time to do that. So you feel like I had a day, I had a real day and then when it comes time to night time, maybe you read for an hour but yeah, you feel content with your day and you can go to sleep.

Ellen
0:40:14 - 0:40:26
So it's really taking that whole of life approach isn't it? It's not just a quick fix for a certain issue. The silver bullet that we all look for sometimes.

Erika 0:40:26 - 0:40:48
There might be, there might be habitual things, and there might be some elements that are just really, really quick fixes but I'm looking for things that are sustaining and really kind of challenging how people are living their life, which is like, look, do you really need to do that? Right? Is that really required so that people are really making better choices in their life, period. So I, I want to analyse everything.

Ellen 0:40:48 - 0:41:02
Very interesting. And I think I read somewhere that you also do a bit of work with athletes? Elite athletes? Again at that end of the performance spectrum, what are the sorts of issues you're dealing with in that regard?

Erika 0:41:02 - 0:41:48
Yeah, I haven't worked with that in quite some time, quite frankly, but it's still, it's really about performance and it's about that moment when you know the gun goes off and it's the ability to show up and perform right in that moment and not be afraid. Sometimes there are injuries that athletes are overcoming. I work with athletes before who aren't professionally active anymore, and that can be depressing for a lot of athletes. I mean, if you could imagine doing something that you absolutely love and your top in the world or top in your area, and now you're not performing or now you're not even participating anymore and so there's a little bit of grief and there's some other elements that go along with that but as far as the professional athletes, that type of thing and it all has to do with a mental game, all of it.

Ellen 0:41:49 - 0:41:55
And this is probably a bit of a how long is a piece of string question, but how many sessions typically might it take somebody with the assistance of hypnosis to attain their goal, or at least make them feel like they're making substantial progress towards their goal.

Erika 0:42:03 - 0:43:06
Yeah, I'd say, on average, we see clients for five sessions. Now clients can feel better in a single session. They really can. We can give our client great insight. They can feel really good but what I love to teach and want to share with everybody is we really want to do complete solutions. And so, especially with where hypnosis is in the profession right now, if you just do a single session with a client and it gives them a little bit of help, but it doesn't solve their problem. A lot of people say, oh well, hypnosis was nice for a day, but it didn't actually work. And so the important thing right is we have got to integrate these changes back into our client's life. You probably know from your practise too, our clients start to change spouses, kids, other people, sometimes they're supportive, sometimes they're not. And sometimes the changes that are clients went to make or have made internally aren't as easy to implement in their external life. As far as, oh I'm going to change my job. I'm going to get a new whatever, right? So we want to help 'em through that entire process so that they're actually realising the results that they came in for. So it's usually five sessions.

Ellen 0:43:07 - 0:43:30 Yeah, ok, so we call it a brief solution, focused intervention, I guess, having that goal orientation and it's, we're not talking the old fashioned approach, the therapy, which might have been, and probably still, in some cases, months and months or years and years. It's a relatively quick process that covers both the goal and then the integration of the new behaviour into their everyday life.

Erika 0:43:31 - 0:43:56
Rght. And, you know, like for something like weight loss, of course, clients learn everything and they shift their relationship with food and they're eating differently but they haven't lost all the weight in six weeks or five weeks. So, some clients I continue working with if they like the additional support, I don't see this often and other ones, they have what they need and they can do it on their own but yeah, so I mean, with some clients. Yeah, we keep working together sometimes if there's other things that they want to keep working on.

Ellen 0:43:56 - 0:44:01
And are there any risks associated with Hypnosis?

Erika 0:44:02 - 0:44:22
No, there's no risk. There's no risk of things that people worry about - mind control, that's not true. Saying something like a truth serum type thing, that's not true. It's basically just anything that you can think, right. So how dangerous is thinking? So, it's just as dangerous as thinking normally would be I suppose. There's a real risks though.

Ellen 0:44:23 - 0:45:00
Yeah, okay, I think they were probably the questions that do come through but because of that original, though obviously, because they've listened to you now talking about it for this period, they now have far greater insight into how it works and what's involved. So, Erica, for anybody who is perhaps interested and you are based in the States. Obviously, a lot of our listeners will be here in Australia if somebody was interested in Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy to help them either address a challenge that they're facing or achieve a goal that they're looking to pursue, where would they start to look? How would they know who to rely on or who's credible?

Erika 0:45:00 - 0:45:54
Right. Who's credible? Well, I mean, first of all, any of your listeners can email me because I have a lot of awesome colleagues in your area. Lots of them actually, there's a tonne down there, if you wanted to work with somebody remotely. What I like to do is just research the person online and look at their reviews and just see, like who the person's worked with and their philosophy. That's what I usually like to look at. Just do a little bit of research and then most hypnotists because of the nature and the sensitivity of what we do, most hypnotist will offer a consultation so that you could talk to the hypnotist, share what's going on and see if it's a good fit for you, so I recommend doing that. Anybody who promises single session cure or something kind of fantastic like that? I don't care for that type of thing, that's more marketing than service and so I tend to not recommend folks who market themselves like that.

Ellen 0:45:55 - 0:46:24 Erica, that's just been fascinating. I've learnt so much, and I will make sure that we put the links to your website, your books, so that people can make contact and follow up with any of those if those things. I'm guessing, and I know the time zones don't work all that well but if there are people based in Australia or our region who are keen, perhaps to work with you, is that something now that we have zoom, that, that would be doable?

Erika 0:46:25 - 0:46:33
Absolutely, yeah. I do work with people around the world, and, you know, we could work out a time zone thing, but yeah, it works really well. So I'm open to that.

Ellen 0:46:34 - 0:47:16
The wonders of technology.

Erika
Right

Ellen
Erika, thanks again. I really do appreciate your time today, your insights. As I said, I've learned a lot. I'm sure our listeners have learned a lot about Hypnosis, how it works, but also the benefits of it for everyday life, really. You know, you've inspired me to even think about how could I use it in my life. You know, just in terms of the idea of being able to get to that relaxed state and perhaps just work through a few things that are mind clutter, in a way that makes it a bit more accessible unless of an internal battle is very appealing. So thank you again.

Erika 0:47:16 - 0:47:17
Very good.

Ellen 0:47:17 - 0:49:06
We appreciate your time. People can find you by the show notes and best of luck.

So what do you think? Are you keen to give Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy a go now? Or maybe it's something you've already tried. I'm actually more intrigued now that I was before what a great adjunct to traditional therapy and the overlap between Hypnotherapy and mindfulness is kind of fascinating, isn't it? If you're keen to find out more about Erica, her work, her writing or maybe booking online appointment with her, you can do all of that by our show notes, either in your podcast player or at Potential.com.au. We've also included links to her social media accounts and her books, and you can also find out more about Erica via Kitcaster. Kitcaster is a podcast agency that books experts on podcasts. And they may contact with me and the PP team to explore whether we'd be interested in having a chat with Erica, which indeed we were and the magic happened from there. It's really quite fun and fascinating to see and be involved in the growth and evolution of podcasting from the inside. So much has changed since we started three years ago.

Okay, so what else is new as we wind up this episode? Well, we have been working hard behind the scenes on some coaching opportunities. For those of you who are perhaps new to leadership and managing people and teams, if that's you, you are my most favourite client to work with. I am working with some delightful new leaders at the moment and we're exploring confidence and boundaries and how to have difficult conversations and giving feedback and work-life balance and avoiding burnout and all of the challenges that comes with a steep learning curve of a new leadership role and the sometimes tricky nature of managing yourself and other people at work.
If that's you too, and you'd like a little bit of extra support in that role, sounding board outside of your organisation and plenty of people leadership 101 Tips and strategies born of my 20 years now working as a workplace psychologist and leadership coach. Pop on over to Potential.com.au and check out the online coaching page. We've set it up so that you can book a coaching session with me directly through the page, paid for either by you as an individual or your employer. I'd love to see you pop up in my calendar. I'm very much looking forward to working with you. So that's the show for today, episode 95. We're taking a short break for Easter and the school holidays, but we'll be back in a few weeks with another great guest and plenty of insight and ideas for fulfilling your potential. We'll see you then.