"The Heart of the Matter"

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Transcripts: 489.1 to 489.5

Week: 489.1 Guest: Chip Mayer, M.E.D. Topic: Hypnotism - Part One Host: Richard Roeder Producer: Ed Graham

NEMA: This is a five part series on hypnosis and its uses in treating physical and mental challenges. My guest is Hypnotherapist Chip Mayer from Middlebury, Vermont.

NEMA: Ms. Mayer, I can't think of too many subjects that have been as misunderstood and distorted as hypnosis so first get us started by talking about what hypnosis is and just as importantly, what it isn't.

Mayer: Okay. Well, hypnosis is now being more and more understood by the western mind. I think it's always been understood more by the eastern mind and it's now making more of a mark on mainstream medicine and well-being and the new age movement has really helped to enlighten people about the powers of our own mind. We have great powers and we haven't tapped these powers yet and hypnosis is one way to tap these powers. Hypnosis is just very simply a deep state of relaxation where the conscious mind is relaxed and distracted and that allows the subconscious mind which is a very powerful part of our minds to come to the foreground and receive suggestions and basically help us to take charge of our lives in ways that we would like to. Often what happens is the unconscious mind or the subconscious mind is influencing our behaviors, our thoughts, the way we live our lives but we're not aware of it. In the hypnotic state, you have access to that subconscious mind and you can interact with it and you can change it, you can listen to it, you can communicate with it and you can actually experience taking charge of your life in a way that you never knew you were able to. It is not a magical state. It is not a mystical state. We've been in it. It's a very natural state for us to be in. You've been in hypnosis every day of your life. You just never knew it was hypnosis. A good example is when you're driving in your car and suddenly you get to where you're going and you realize you spaced out on the road. You don't remember the last few minutes of the road. Most people have that experience and that's a good example of a hypnotic time. Or the time just before you go to sleep or just before you wake up. That in-between time between waking and sleeping is a hypnotic time so we're in it a lot. It's a very natural place for us to be and the thing that I think people are most misinformed about is they see on TV somebody snaps their fingers and then you've got someone with their hands out in front of them like a zombie going "I'm in your power, master." That is Hollywood's versions of hypnosis that is absolutely not true. You allow it to happen. You allow it to stay happening so anyone in a hypnotic state has full control over themselves. They would never do anything that was uncharacteristic of them. If they had to get up for any reason or take care of themselves for any reason, they'd get up, they'd walk out. If we had to leave the building, the person would be able to walk out with me and no problem so you're never in the place where you couldn't be reached, where you couldn't take care of yourself or you would do anything that was uncharacteristic of you and I really want to stress that because a lot of people fear hypnosis because of that. You allow it to happen and you allow it to stay happening.

NEMA: Join me for part two on hypnotism with hypnotism with Hypnotherapist Chip Mayer.

Week: 489.2 Guest: Chip Mayer, M.E.D. Topic: Hytponist- Part Two Host: Richard Roeder Producer: Ed Graham

NEMA: This is part two in a five part series on the health supporting uses of hypnosis. My guest is Hypnotherapist Chip Mayer from Middlebury, Vermont. I asked Ms. Mayer to dispel some of the myths about hypnosis.

Mayer: You're never in a place where you couldn't be reached, where you couldn't take care of yourself or you would do anything that was uncharacteristic of you and I really want to stress that because a lot of people fear hypnosis because of that. You allow it to happen and you allow it to stay happening.

NEMA: Historically, words like "spell" or "trance" have been used as part of this Hollywoodized picture of what hypnosis is. I would assume you take issue with a word like trance or spell.

Mayer: Well, I don't take issue with trance. This is a trance state and I think that that's a very normal state for us to be in. A spell I have more of a problem with because a spell somehow implies that someone has done something to you or has taken over you, that you are not in control. I think we have correlated trance with out of control but I want to actually re-educate people in that the word trance is what I do. People go into a hypnotic trance. It's a trance state but it's a very natural state. A spell for me tends to give more the implication that some magician or something has done something.

NEMA: So someone's taking power over you which is not the case. Now there are several age-old questions I'd like to cover before we move on and one of them is that anyone can be hypnotized. Some people say "I can't be," other people say "I can be hypnotized very easily." Can anyone or are there certain people who it just does not work with?

Mayer: Most people can be hypnotized. You do need to be required to have some degree of concentration so very very very young children maybe would not be good subjects, like two year olds. But most people can be hypnotized. Anyone who really wants to be in a private setting with a good hypnotist can be hypnotized. There are some people that are more successful with it and there are some people that tend to be more susceptible to it and find it an easier state to produce in themselves but as I said - it is a very natural state and we're in it every day, every one of us, that in-between time between king and sleeping so the state itself is quite natural. But there are lots of factors that come into play when a person comes into an office to be hypnotized. Do they feel comfortable with the hypnotist? Is the setting appropriate and conducive for a hypnotic state? So in those ways, I know some people who have done group settings. Some people do well but a lot of people do not and they walk away from that setting feeling like they're not hypnotizable but then they come to a setting like mine which is an individualized setting, a person that they can trust hopefully. After I'd speak with them for a while they really do feel that they can trust me and I explain hypnosis so with an informed consenting person, most people will be able to achieve a nice trance state very easily.

NEMA: Join me for part three on hypnotism with Hypnotherapist Chip Mayer.

Week: 489.3 Guest: Chip Mayer, M.E.D. Topic: Hypnotism - Part Three Host: Richard Roeder Producer: Ed Graham

NEMA: This is part three in a five part series on hypnosis. My guest is Hypnotherapist Chip Mayer from Middlebury, Vermont who helps her patients deal with medical problems including cancer treatment through hypnotherapy.

NEMA: In spite of the spotty history of hypnosis as a form of entertainment, it in fact has been and continues to be used by you and others for valuable medical, emotional, and psychological challenges. Talk about some of the many ways and conditions for which you use hypnosis with your clients and patients.

Mayer: Okay. There are as many uses of hypnosis as there are clients. I think the things that I'll focus on, because I really can go on and on with the various different interesting and unusual problems I've come across, but a lot of people come to me, they want to make a change in their life or they have to go through or they're going through a stressful time in their lives, whether it be medical issues, whether it be psychological issues although I must say I'm not a psychotherapist and I would never encourage anyone to go to a Hypnotherapist for psychotherapy. I think you should go to a licensed psychologist for that and we might want to talk about that further later on. I'm not sure if you want to discuss that or not but most people are in stressful situations. They're going through something in their lives that is difficult, that causes them to feel stressed or afraid and hypnosis is a wonderful way to get through those stressful times, so that's one whole area. Within that there are lots of obviously different times that you can think of in your life, I'm sure, and everyone has their own specific issues.

NEMA: Well certainly anyone listening to us right now has probably seen ads for things like smoking cessation programs or helping people sleep and no doubt hypnosis has a great value in those areas but there are a couple I'd like to talk to you about specifically because they're some of the areas you specialize in and one of those has to do with people who are struggling with cancer, who are in chemotherapy.

Mayer: Well first of all, I will be speaking from my own experience because I was diagnosed with breast cancer in '92 and am fine now and went through all the treatments and used hypnosis for my own healing so I can also tell you from my own experience but generally what happens is when a person is diagnosed with cancer, two things - there's just a great deal of fear and there's also a real sense that your body has betrayed you, that you're not okay, that there's something awful about your body and those two feelings in combination can be very debilitating and can also impede the healing process because the more you can relax, the more your immune system is in an optimal environment to work well, the more you can deal with the treatments, just the healthier you are so that first moment when you realize the combination of your fear and you're feeling like your body - there's something really wrong with it - from that moment on you can either enhance that feeling or reduce that feeling and hypnosis can help you reduce that feeling. Having that feeling is not abnormal. Everyone has it and it's not going to make your cancer worse but focusing on that feeling or letting that feeling take over and get out of control is not optimal for a healing process to occur.

NEMA: Join me for part four on hypnotism with Hypnotherapist Chip Mayer. Week: 489.4 Guest: Chip Mayer, M.E.D. Topic: Hypnotism - Part Four Host: Richard Roeder Producer: Ed Graham

ROEDER: This is part four in a five part series on hypnosis. My guest is Hypnotherapist Chip Mayer from Middlebury, Vermont. I asked Ms. Mayer about the use of hypnotherapy for chemotherapy patients.

Mayer: You come to a Hypnotherapist so that you can start focusing on what's good about you and hypnosis allows your body and mind to start making connections and you can start encouraging your body to relax and the body and mind can relax each other so your mind can relax. When your mind is relaxed, your body relaxes and that initially starts a good healing process going in that your immune system is functioning better but then we really focus on specific suggestions about fear, about getting through the treatments, about picturing yourself healthy and my feeling is that when somebody has a serious illness like cancer, no one can predict the outcome and that's true of any situation that we're in. We do not have that much control but we can make it our intention to heal as best as possible and then trust that if you're doing that, whatever is meant to be will be. And so you can let go a little bit of the guilt about "I couldn't cure my cancer. I couldn't do this." You can just really start being in the moment, being as good to yourself as possible and starting to get a sense that you have an inner resource that really can help you.

ROEDER: You mentioned something that rings another bell. You said that one of the things that can happen when you can create this better communication through hypnosis with the self, you talk about the immune system working more efficiently. You work with AIDS patients, don't you?

Mayer: I don't. I haven't seen anybody with AIDS but I did mention to you, I think, before about other people who are working with people with AIDS, especially children and other diseases where children need a lot of tests and medical treatment and a lot of the way people would think about working with young children in these situations is to kind of hold them down and get it over as quick as possible and now people are using hypnosis and it's being documented in the journals now, the medical journals. My husband is a physician and so he's been telling me about this and it's been very exciting to hear. He's a pediatrician and so he knows about what's going on with kids in these situations and that the journals are definitely starting to really recognize that when hypnosis is used for medical treatments especially for young children, relaxation, distraction, positive suggestions, calm relaxed situations, they do so much better and they're quite capable and very creative.

ROEDER: There are certainly a world of emotions and fears to deal with in a person getting surgery. How have you used hypnotherapy to help a patient before and after surgery?

Mayer: Very simply, before surgery people come to me with their concerns and everyone has a particular concern about or a particular fear about their surgery. We address those concerns very directly.

ROEDER: Join me for part five on hypnotism with Hypnotherapist Chip Mayer.

Week: 489.5 Guest: Chip Mayer, M.E.D. Topic: Hypnotism - Part Five Host: Richard Roeder Producer: Ed Graham

NEMA: This is part five in a five part series on hypnosis and its role in mental and physical health. My guest is Hypnotherapist Chip Mayer from Middlebury, Vermont who used hypnosis in managing her own bout with breast cancer.

Mayer: Before surgery, people come to me with their concerns and everyone has a particular concern about or a particular fear about their surgery. We address those concerns very directly. I put in direct suggestions that allow the person to start thinking positively about their surgery, anticipating it, feeling secure, feeling like this is going to be an ultimately helpful situation. During the surgery, people are more relaxed, they go into the anesthesia more easily, they come out of the anesthesia more easily, I put in suggestions about the side effects of the anesthesia being minimal and the healing process being quick and I think I have my most success in this area because almost everyone who I've seen for this has reported that the doctors have been very very surprised with how easily and quickly they've been healing as well as their family members and themselves.

NEMA: I realize that hypnosis holds a rather enigmatic place in medicine and how do doctors, in general, respond - for example, if a surgeon has a patient who they're going to perform a surgery on and the patient mentions that they're going to want some hypnotherapy to accompany that, what has been the general feeling that you get from physicians on this?

Mayer: Here in Vermont it's been very positive. I've been really pleased. They may not always understand. They may kind of scratch their heads but they're more open to it than I would have imagined. And there have been people who are very knowledgeable about it too and refer people to me so I have not experienced too many doctors really discouraging it or putting it down. Most doctors I think are now starting to see it enough in their own medical journals and that they're starting to just say - "Well I may not understand it and it's kind of a little bit of a mystery to me but boy, if it helps my patient to relax that's great for me." And so I think they're real excited about the possibility that this might be something that could be helpful.

NEMA: How should listeners who want to try hypnosis - how do they go about finding the best therapist in their area?

Mayer: That's a good question and it may not be so easy. I think word of mouth is just a very good way to find somebody because anybody who's not doing good work is not going to be referred and recommended so I think if you trust a person who's seen somebody, that might be a good first way to find somebody but if you have a local community mental health agency in the area, hypnosis now is really becoming more popular among therapists now, psychotherapists, because there's more emphasis on short term work now in psychotherapy and hypnosis is a very nice complementary skill for a therapist to have so they might know of people who do my kind of work.


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Last modified: December 02, 2021