Here are some posts from my Hypnotherapy blog, Magic Cures. There is a link to the complete blog in the right-hand column. Enjoy!
Magic Cure: Create a New View of Your World
Monday, Jan 14, 2008
There are two competing visions of the world you live in.
One, the more commonly believed, holds that your behavior is the direct result of external events which are happening or have happened in the world around you.
In this world view, your parents' behavior plays a huge role in your own behavior. Past hurts direct your present actions. Past failures nag you into repeating past mistakes. Pent-up angers, fears and sadnesses created in your past dictate how you act today.
As an example, suppose your father abused you when you were a child. Obviously, according to this view, you are going to be seriously messed up today. Your own sexual confusion, angry behavior in a struggling marriage or career failures stem from what your father did to you thirty years ago.
You are a victim. You cannot change the past. Your tears bid a sad farewell to the happy, productive life of your dreams that steadily fades from view. You're screwed!
The other world view, the basis of the Magic Cures, is almost the same; but there is a subtle difference. This view holds that your behavior is the response to your internal perception of events, not the events themselves. It's not what happened to you, but how you think and feel right now about what happened that is controlling your present behavior.
Let's go back to the example of your father abusing you as a child. I maintain that it is not the abuse that is causing all your present difficulties; it is your memories of the abuse and their associated feelings that are responsible.
Your relationship with your own children sucks, not because of the abuse, but rather because of the emotion-charged memories of the abuse that are lodged in your mind. You are angry, not about what happened thirty years ago, but about the horrifying memory that lurks in parts your brain today.
Again, you are a victim, but now you are also the victimizer. True, you cannot change the past. But look, your father is not abusing you today . . . he may not even be alive. So, ask yourself, "Just who is abusing me now?"
Here is the huge difference: you can change your perception of the past. Using the Magic Cures, you can restructure your memories, beliefs, feelings and attitudes. You can reshape your present behavior and you can replace unhappiness and frustration with joy and success.
Incredible as it sounds, you can easily, quickly and permanently turn your life on a dime. It is so simple you're bound to be skeptical. It's so fast you're bound to be disbelieving. But it's so real you're bound to be thrilled when you feel so gosh-darned wonderful!
Magic Cure: Understand that you are not controlled by the unchangeable past. What happened . . . happened. It's over, finished, complete. Your perception of the past, though, is alive within you right now and this is what is driving you. And the really wonderful part: your perceptions, memories, beliefs, feelings and attitudes can be changed.
Magic Cure: Know That Behavior Can Be Changed
Sunday, Nov 25, 2007
You may accept the notion that your brain is a machine that runs your body. The three pound engine of the mind can be compared to a computer that is made up of components that control your body and these components give yet other components feedback. This feedback is registered and used to further modify behavior.
Or you may not accept this notion. You may believe some outside force is at play, or you may believe behavior is quite random. It doesn't really matter. What matters is that regardless of the metaphor you use, certain things are happening that lead you to behave in certain ways. If you determine what these things are and modify them, it follows that you can modify your behavior.
All of this seems pretty obvious. Let’s say you wish to stop an infant from crying. Try giving it food or changing its diapers. If this works, fine. If it doesn't work, try something else. It may be a verbal scolding or praising, it may be a certain look, it may be drugs, it may be electro-shock treatments . . . something will lead to the results you want.
If it is your own behavior you wish to change, the same thing applies. Do something different from what you've been doing that leads to the behavior you want. There is always something that will work, but there are also many things you could try that won’t work. Will power will seldom help you control weight or cancel out a fear of spiders, for example. Additionally, other things might lead to behavior change, but they are impractical. A lobotomy may stop smoking, but no, thank you.
Magic Cure: Know that, even though you may not have discovered it yet, there is a way to change every behavior you are unhappy with. Every single one.
Magic Cure: Seek and You Shall Find
Tuesday, Nov 25, 2003
I heard the other day about a woman who had cancer. She underwent various therapies and the cancer went into remission. Then, after being cancer-free for a few years, the illness returned. Predictions were understandably dire.
Then one day the cancer disappeared. It has not returned in the past twenty five years. She credits a self-described “shaman” for her cure.
We all know of stories like this. People with severe illness go to healers, shamans, doctors, chiropractors, priests – whatever – and, in spite of expectations, they are cured. There can be many explanations, but in some of these cases, the person consulted actually knew how to cure the given illness!
Sometimes many people know how to affect a cure for a problem and other times only a few people know. The “savior” may be a trained professional using conventional methods or a “wacko” using nothing but nonsense.
The result is the thing, however.
For whatever problem you are encountering or whatever behavior you wish to change, there is someone, somewhere who knows how to help.
Magic Cure: Find people who know how to solve the problems you have. Don’t be afraid to keep looking and exploring, because someone knows how to create just the change you're looking for.
Magic Cure: Know Yourself to Know How to Change
Monday, Nov 17, 2003
You have promised yourself you'll improve your life. You've promised to lose weight, quit smoking, sleep better or make more money. You've even taken the first steps.
Then you fall right back into your old, unwanted behaviors.
Why is this?
Breaking your promises to yourself is a glaring illustration of the enormous gap that sits between what you want for yourself and what you are able to actually produce.
If you’re overweight, you resolve to change our diet and exercise patterns. If you smoke, you know you ought to quit – right now! If you’re in debt, you tell yourself that you should control your spending. If you’re argumentative, you strive to be more calm and polite.
Yes, finding areas of your life that need improvement is easy as pie. Even your good friends and close relatives are able to spot your imperfections, and they frequently tell you exactly what you need to do to shape up.
So, OK, you get it. You understand what needs doing to improve your life. But why don’t you do it? Why do you go on repeating your mistakes over and over again?
Short answer: Because you don't know how to stop.
Your mind, and its little three-pound engine, the brain, is a buzzing basket of brilliance. Nerve cells fire, chemicals surge, sparks of genius flash and unfettered emotions tingle up and down your spine. Your entire body is a symphony of complex creativity.
Unfortunately, your symphony's conductor can’t read music - and this causes problems by the score!
Let’s do a little science. Your brain is organized into modules of activity. Whenever you see a fish, for example, your brain runs a pattern of recognition and your conscious mind registers “fish”. You are aware (“conscious”) of only a tiny fraction of this mental activity, as most “programs” run unmonitored in the background, out of awareness (“unconscious”). Breathing, for instance. You do it without thinking.
As an example, suppose you decide it’s finally time to stop smoking.
In your conscious mind you run a program that evaluates risk versus benefit and smoking comes out as "off-the-scale" dangerous. You think consciously that you must quit smoking - now!
Meanwhile, back at the hippocampus (a part of your brain - not a school for hippos!), there is another program running and it is out of your awareness. It’s a very powerful program, elegant in its simplicity. It goes, “I want a cigarette, I want a cigarette, I want a cigarette.” It does this over and over again, out of your conscious awareness.
This automatic program, first generated when you were a rebellious teen looking for a way to be cool, runs on a hair-trigger. If you see someone light up, hear the coffee pot percolating, sip on a beer or just get out of bed in the morning, the darned thing is going to fire off. "I'm awake, now where's my cigarettes?"
What’s more, this program has become wired directly to your hands, so before your conscious mind can say, “what the …”, your fingers are wrapped around a butt and you’re puffing like mad. You're making some tobacco company CEO very happy.
And, where is your little "Mental Maestro" during all this? He’s striking up the band in a rousing - but futile - rendition of “All You Need Is Will Power”. Totally useless!
Here's the bottom line: As long as your "I want a cigarette" program is running in the background, you will continue to smoke. If you shut that program down (there are a number of ways to do this - some easy, some not so easy) you will stop smoking. Guaranteed!
Spirit-Mind-Body Healing methods – Hypnosis, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) – achieve what your conscious mind cannot accomplish. You can learn how to “go in” and replace the harmful programs with brand new ones that get you where you want to go.
Afterwards, a stimulus that used to trigger the old smoking program – sipping a tall, frosty mug of beer, for example – now fires off a completely different program: “I love and respect myself. I need my body to live and I love doing things that keep me healthy and fit.” Now, this new program runs over and over again in the background, out of your awareness, and guess what? No more smoking.
How long does it take? Quicker than you think! Usually an unwanted habit can be replaced in about 30 days.
Sound difficult? Sorry . . . it's the simplest thing you'll ever do!
Magic Cure: If you want your life to be different: learn how your mind works, then try working with a good Spirit-Mind-Body Healer to reprogram your mind for success.
Magic Cure: Removing the Pain from Painful Memories
Saturday, Nov 15, 2003
Memories can be thought of as traces of activity, both chemical and electrical, in various parts of the brain. Here are a couple of concepts that will be useful for this discussion.
1) Each time a memory is experienced, it is a “firing” of a pattern of neuronal activity that has been somehow reinforced in the past, and this reigniting further strengthens the pattern, making it even quicker to fire in the future. Like walking repeatedly through tall grass and making the pathway easier to navigate, if we mull over a memory of a past event, we make that memory stronger and easier to access.
2) A memory of an event will not be of the event itself, rather it will be a reconstruction of the previous memory of the event. We don't recall original events, rather we replicate (fire off a pattern of neurons) our last memory of that event. Think of a symphony orchestra. Every time they play the 1812 Overture, it requires that the whole orchestra reassemble and play the piece. Our mind "plays" a memory by reassembling all its component parts. Also, when a memory is re-experienced, the possibility exists that it will be modified in some way. The orchestra never plays the music exactly the same.This explains why our memories change over time.
3) An important component of memory is emotion. Memories of events with a strong emotional content are more easily recalled than memories of non-emotional events. Additionally, recalling a past event reactivates the emotion associated with it. If you recall a past trauma you will once again “feel” all the negative emotions linked to it. As an example, remembering an auto wreck generates a strong fear response – trembling, sweaty palms, stomach upset, etc.
4) Fearful situations evoke a "fight or flight" response. If these options are thwarted, your brain may supress the memory and produce a generalized stress response. You may, over time, develop physical symptoms such as back pain, headaches, high blood pressure or cancer that seem to have no cause. Buried memories are not dead and your mind-body complex will continue seeking resolution.
5) You cannot control the “firing” of a memory. Drive past another car crash and it will probably trigger the memory of your own wreck. You can, however, control your emotional response to the memory by unlinking the fear response tied to it. You recall your smash-up, but you don’t get the sweaty palms or other adverse emotional reactions. Whereas these emotions may have been debilitating in the past, you now recall the event without any emotional reaction at all.
Something called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a quick and easy way to “unlink” memories from their associated emotional response. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), the drug Propranodol and certain Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (CBT) also have an effect on breaking the connection between memory and emotion. Watch the movie Try it on Everything to see how one of these techniques works.
Magic Cure: If you are plagued by a memory that is causing emotional distress, techniques exist which are effective in removing your pain. You can be freed quickly, easily and permanently from the links to your past that are keeping you from living the happy life you seek. Your memories remain, but their negative impact vanishes. Cool!
Magic Cure: A Picture is Worth . . .
Monday, Nov 10, 2003
Memories consist of mental images (pictures) or internal dialogue (words) and the associated feelings (emotions).
When you remember a childhood event – a spanking, for example – you generate an image in your mind, frequently associating some dialogue. You also create an emotional response to the memory.
When you remember the spanking, you may see yourself as you imagine you looked when the scene played out. You may hear yourself crying or create internal dialogue – “I hate my father!” - about what you see. You may also notice a physical response – perhaps a tightening in the throat as if you’re about to cry again.
One way to change how you feel is a technique called Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). You bring up the image you've created of the spanking and begin “playing” with it in your mind. You move it around in your mental field of vision. You change the color of the image. You run it like a movie, and then put silly background music to it, and then run it backwards. You can even give your sad tale a happy ending – however you chose to manipulate your image.
As you make these changes you do two things: 1) You change how you feel right now in response to the incident, and, 2) you change the way you will remember and feel about the incident in the future. Your tragic memories turn to positive life lessons. You feel happy!
Magic Cure: Locate an NLP practitioner and let her open her bag of tricks to help you feel terrific!
Magic Cure: The Swish Pattern: Overcoming Unwanted Behavior - FAST!
Sunday, Jan 12, 2003
The NLP Swish Pattern is a mental "trick" based on the idea that most unwanted behavior, be it smoking, overeating, getting angry or being late for appointments, has a visual "cue" that occurs just before the behavior happens.
In other words: There is a picture in your mind that acts as a "start button" for the unwanted behavior. For example, in your mind's eye you see your hand move to strike a match just before you feel the craving for a smoke. Once you see/hear/smell/feel that match ignite you are on a sure, automatic path to actually smoking a cigarette.
This visual cue that starts this unwanted behavior - you lighting the match - is going to be your starting point for the Swish pattern.
The second step of the Swish is to identify the picture of "the successful you who no longer feels compelled to do the unwanted behavior." It's how you will look whan you've overcome your nasty smoking habit.
Once both pictures have been identified and you can bring them before your mind's eye at will, you are ready to start the Swish pattern.
Here are the Swish Pattern steps:
1.Identify the visual cue (trigger) of your unwanted behavior.
2.Create a visual representation of your desired behavior.
3.Visualize the picture associated with your unwanted behavior as large and bright, filling your entire field of vision. Simultaneously, visualize the picture associated with your desired behavior as small and dim, somewhere on top of the large picture. (Step 1 in the illustration below)
4.Rapidly (less than a second) decrease the size and brightness of the large image, while increasing the size and brightness of the second. (Step 2 to Step 3 below)
5.Break State: Open your eyes and look around, ending the swish cycle.
6.Repeat step 1-5 at least 5 times, increasing the speed each time.
Things to keep in mind to make the Swish Pattern work for you:
Chose powerful pictures. Spend some time on both your cue picture that triggers your unwanted behavior and the picture of the you who is free of the compulsion to do the behavior. Change the submodalities (color, brightness, etc.) in order to find the version of the picture that has the most power to compel you to do your unwanted behavior (in case of the cue picture) and attract you to a non-compelled state (in case of the picture of the desired you).
Choose the right submodalities. For most people the submodalities of size and brightness work best to intensify and weaken the power of their pictures, but any other pair is fine, too, as long as it works for you. However, make sure you stick with the same pair for the cue picture and the "desired you" picture.
Some finer points: Your cue for the unwanted behavior typically is "associated", i.e. you are looking out through your own eyes (as in lighting a match before smoking). The picture of the you that is free of any compulsion should be "disassociated", i.e. it should be a picture in which you see yourself from outside your body. Like somebody took your photo.
Also, your "free at last!" image should be showing what you look like being that new person, rather than showing you actually doing a new behavior. The focus is on who you are as that new person, rather than on what you do. Experiments have show that this way the picture is more attractive and produces better results.
The Swish should be carried out at least 5 times, initially. The more powerful the pictures you chose, the more powerful the Swish will be. If the Swish is done right, it will start to occur automatically, every time your cue for the unwanted behavior pops up. Think of it as a call forwarding system. As soon as telephone A (your unwanted behavior) starts ringing, a software (your Swish) forwards the call to telephone B (the you who is free of the behavior).
Make it faster each time and interrupt after each cycle. Speed is important. By the time you have done the Swish five times you should be doing it in a blink of an eye.
Make sure you open your eyes and look around after each Swish, to "break state" and interrupt the pattern. Otherwise it becomes a cycle, going from the desired you back to the cue for the unwanted behavior.
Swishes can be done in other representational systems (e.g. audio, kinesthetic, etc.) as well. The structure is the same as with the visual swish. Instead of pictures, you will be working with sounds and sensations of touch, temperature, etc.
The Swish pattern is easy, however, you need to find the right pictures to make it effective. Spend some time finding a cue picture that really draws you into your unwanted behavior and an attractive picture that shows you as a new person without that compulsion. The better your pictures, the better your results with the Swish.
Magic Cure: Try the Swish pattern to put a quick and easy end to unwanted behaviors.
Magic Cure: I Think, Therefore I Ache
Saturday, Jan 11, 2003
Have you ever had a bad dream and then felt rotten all day? Have you ever, for no apparent reason, had an upset stomach or a sore back or a migraine? Worse yet, do you suffer from serious medical problems like ulcers, cancer or heart disease?
A new field of science, Mind-Body Medicine, is finding evidence that your brain plays a huge role in your physical health. I’m not talking about the old “psychosomatic” illnesses that were little more than the creations of a hopeless hypochondriac. No, it is becoming clear that your mind can actually create illness; serious illness.
Let's say you witness a traumatic event. Most of us watched the 9/11 tragedy on TV, for example. A part of your brain (the amygdala) tries to respond with a "Fight/Flight" response, but niether option is available. You are stuck there in front of the television, staring, and you're frozen in disbelief, anger and fear. The situation is unresolved.
Your brain, however, continues to send out low-level F/F commands to your body like: "raise blood pressure" or "reduce imune response" or "reduce insulin production". Over time, these commands result in discomfort and then illness.
This sounds like bad news.
It’s not, however, because your mind can also be channeled to create health. Specific Mind-Body techniques have been developed that enable you to target the previously undetected mental causes of your illness and safely blast them out of your life.
Magic Cure: If you have physical problems, especially ones that aren’t getting better with conventional treatments, seek out a Mind-Body specialist and learn how to give yourself the gift of good health.
Magic Cure: Change Your Mind, One Neuron at a Time
Sunday, Jan 5, 2003
A really cool tool for breaking unwanted habitual behavior is Brief Multi-Sensory Activation (BMSA), based on Psychosensory Therapy, developed by Ronald A. Ruden, M.D., Ph.D.
To understand how BMSA works, imagine we’re looking at a bunch of nerve endings associated with a habit.
Now, think of the electrochemical process at each synapse as a group of tiny arcade basketball players throwing balls across the gap at a bunch of hoops on the other neuron. C'mon, use your imagination!
As the little players start shooting from the first nerve and mount up the score, an action potential is finally reached. Let’s say that when they get to 50 points the second nerve fires. Pow!
Of course, these guys get better over time and they get to 50 points faster and faster. The link (habit) gets stronger.
Next comes a major rule change: the second nerve will now fire when only 2 points are scored. Zap! Now this connection fires at the drop of a hat.
A strong habit is forming.
Now, BMSA is like spraying a huge fiberglass net over all the hoops. The hoops are blocked and the little guys can throw basketballs to their hearts' content, but none are going to go in. No points are scored now and none are scored in the future.
The link is broken, the habit is broken . . . You're free!
Magic Cure: Visit a BMSA practitioner to get rid of bad habits like smoking, overeating, OCDs and stressing out. This actually works, it is permanent, it's easy and it happens really fast!
Magic Cure: EFT on the Beach
Friday, Jan 3, 2003
There is a beautiful, magical beach where you can set aside your problems and begin a new life.
Really! The beach actually exists. It has a physical location: Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. It is a special place of healing for you. Go there if you can. Meet with Rich and Cath Smith. They use Isla Verde Beach as their office.
But don't worry if you're unable to travel. This beach can also be found deep within yourself. It exists for you no matter where you are. This magical place of wellness can be reached if you have the map, and the map is known to many healers.
Magic Cure: Seek out Rich and Cath, the authors of The Magic Cures. Seek out other healers who can help you discover your own magic. Leave your pain behind and walk into a life of health, happiness and success.
Magic Cure: Hypnosis TherapyFriday, Jan 3, 2003
These days it takes only two pilots to manage a huge plane that holds more than 500 passengers. They sit at a high-tech control panel and use a joy stick and a couple of buttons to keep the big thing flying smoothly to its destination.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your brain had a control panel like a big jumbo jet, so you could give the exact commands that would allow you to fly happily through life?
Here’s the great news – it does!
Just like a pilot, you can run your mind to do the things you want. You can control your stress, manage your habits, relieve your pain and change your life. You can use your mind's control panel to reprogram yourself for success in every aspect.
Hypnosis is the wonderful tool that opens the door to your mind and allows you to "put your hands on the controls". In hypnosis, you can "go inside" your brain and change the programs that control your behavior - quickly, easily and permanently.
Remarkably, using hypnosis to make changes requires you do nothing but sit back, relax and listen. Your hypnotist does all the "work", you get all the benefits. Sweet!
Magic Cure: Use the magic of hypnotherapy to take absolute control of your life.