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Hypnotherapy a proven method for changing behavior

At left is Chuck Frisch, CRNA, DNP, CH, showing how he begins a hypnotherapy session with a subject, in this case Rehab & Wellness Center personal trainer Stephanie Daniels. Stephanie was a recent patient who Chuck successfully treated for test anxiety.

In 1958 the American Medical Association endorsed hypnosis and hypnotherapy as a legitimate treatment tool for pain, stress and relaxation management, weight management, smoking cessation, childbirth, preparing for surgery, as well as overcoming fears of medical, dental and other procedures.

Box Butte General Hospital’s Chuck Frisch, CRNA, DNP, CH (Certified Hypnotherapist), earned his National Certification in Clinical Hypnosis in 2006. He is a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH) which has ethical guidelines that must be adhered to by all members.

“I’ve practiced hypnotherapy for years and have had good success in the areas mentioned,” he said. “I’ve also seen it help in reducing test anxiety, reducing difficulty in retaining study information, and generalized anxiety reduction. Over the past few years, I’ve found it especially useful in reducing anxiety. Just about every patient I’ve had sessions with for anxiety has had remarkable success.”

A good example of that is Stephanie Daniels, who recently became a personal trainer in the hospital’s Rehab & Wellness Center. “I’ve had test anxiety my whole life,” she said. “This past January I was telling Chuck about my upcoming test to become a personal trainer and how stressed I was about it. He suggested I let him try hypnotherapy. Frankly, I wasn’t too sure it would work.” She sat through just two sessions with Chuck. “It worked very well,” she said. “I don’t really remember what he said to me. I just felt like I was floating. It was very relaxing. But whatever he did, it really worked on my subconscious. I had no anxiety about the test. I’m also taking college courses and even now I don’t have any anxiety.”

Asked to explain how hypnotherapy works, Chuck said, “Hypnosis is simply a state of concentration and focused attention. Hypnotherapy uses the subconscious mind to control subconscious actions. It is a method of focusing the mind and of using imagination and thoughts to alter behavior and attitudes.” Each person is an individual and not everyone experiences the same things in hypnosis; their native talents are unique, as is each one's response to hypnosis. Techniques learned by patients undergoing hypnotherapy are chosen for each person's needs.

“Anyone can be hypnotized,” Chuck said. “The question is: Do they WANT to be hypnotized? If a patient has made the decision to see a hypnotherapist, then that patient has already made the decision that they want to be hypnotized.”

The hypnotherapy program for smoking cessation at Box Butte General Hospital has an impressive success rate of around 80 percent, with the other 20 percent making a significant reduction. While some hypnotherapists use negative reinforcement, the sessions Chuck conducts use positive reinforcement, instilling a sense of wellbeing for the patient when achieving treatment goals.

When conducted by a certified competent practitioner, the results are long lasting and often permanent. “The bottom line is, a person can be a skeptic about hypnotherapy, but as long as that person wants it to work, it will in most instances,” Chuck concluded.

Anyone interested in trying hypnotherapy to address any of the issues mentioned in this article can contact him at 308.761.1100.

Box Butte General Hospital is an equal opportunity provider and employer.