Harnessing the Human Mind
The human mind might be the most powerful natural tool for losing weight, stopping smoking, conquering a phobia, or making other healthy changes that require self-control. The difficulty is in harnessing that power. That’s the goal of hypnotherapy, says Michelle Spencer, a master hypnotist and the owner of Bayside Hypnosis, in Pensacola.
There’s a world of difference between the cartoonish, entertainment-inspired vision of how hypnotism works (involving a man with a pendulum and a hapless audience member acting silly on stage), and the therapeutic reality of modern hypnotism, which ultimately is a tool for self-empowerment.
“Hypnosis is simply a deep state of relaxation, allowing the unconscious mind the opportunity to change moods, habits and behaviors for the better,” Spencer says. “It reduces the chatter in a person’s mind so they can focus and take action on their goals to be successful.”
Real hypnosis isn’t much like what most of us have seen on TV or in the movies, she says. “You can’t be ‘made’ to do anything, and you always have free will. You have to demonstrate you can pay attention and follow directions in order to be accepted as a client.”
She notes that hypnosis is currently taught at many major medical schools, including Harvard Medical School and Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. All branches of the military, the secret service and many law enforcement agencies have used hypnosis for decades.
“Hypnosis has been part of the healing arts since the 1800s,” she says. “Top athletes and corporate executives use hypnosis and custom suggestions to sharpen their focus, increase self-confidence and overcome performance problems.”
Hypnosis is particularly popular and effective for helping people overcome bad habits, reduce phobias, and manage anxiety and stress, Spencer says, but the number one reason people come to Bayside Hypnosis is to lose weight. Her clients often find that shedding pounds is just the beginning of the benefits of hypnotherapy.
“Most of my clients begin for weight loss, but over time they discover how their self-esteem and motivation improve by getting rid of a lot of emotional baggage,” she says. “My business thrives because I assist people to overcome patterns and habits that they no longer want. I’m humbled and truly amazed at how much hypnosis can do to help people feel better, love healthier and let go of the things from the past that hold them back.”
Another area of specialty for Spencer is pain management. Chronic pain is a fact of life for millions of Americans—and so is reliance on potentially dangerous pain medications. Spencer helps her clients manage their pain in a healthy way, by harnessing and focusing the power of their minds.
“Your state of mind affects your physical symptoms,” she explains. “Hypnosis can provide relief so you can get back to living.”
Spencer was trained by master hypnotists and is a member of the Master Hypnotist Society.
“I served as an apprentice and intern for over a year, observing and training with some of the best hypnotists in the world,” she says. “A high level of training and ethics are prominent in the Master Hypnotist Society.”
Her Pensacola practice is also a school where she teaches other people how to become hypnotists, for fun or as a profession.