Frequently Asked Questions

What does the "ARC" in ARC Hypnosis mean?

ARC has several relevant meanings:
Augmenting the Reality of Consciousness (ARC), speaks to the way hypnosis harnesses the power of the subconscious mind to dissolve self-limiting thoughts, beliefs, and feelings and generate real, positive change. You can't change the cards you're dealt but you can change the way you play them.

Architecturally, an arc is used as an elegantly strong support, such as a doorway or bridge. Similarly, hypnotherapy serves as a bridge connecting the goals of the conscious mind (the head) with the feelings and beliefs of the subconscious mind (the heart). Hypnosis is a way to open the door to the subconscious and then really change your mind.

 In storytelling, the concept of a character arc describes the protagonist's transformation as the story progresses. Often starting with a dis-empowered or self-limited version of the main character, the arc ends with the character having acquired new skills, experience, and hard won wisdom. If you feel limited by internal conflicts or self-imposed roadblocks, hypnotherapy can help you change your own arc and embrace the plot twists of your life's unfolding story.

What does it feel like to be in hypnosis?

Hypnosis is not a single state, but a continuum of consciousness that resides along a line between fully awake awareness and dreaming sleep. It can feel like daydreaming while relaxing on the beach and then dip deeper into a highly visual, creative state you may experience on waking from a dream. Generally you will be fully aware of your thoughts and feelings while in hypnosis, and will be able to speak and move if desired. Some people may achieve a very deep state of trance, called somnambulism, where conscious awareness is absent. You will likely remember the entire session once you have returned to full conscious awareness, but partial amnesia of the session can result from deeper levels of trance, similar to the way a vivid dream fades from memory as you awaken. While the depth of trance is unique to every individual, and can vary from one session to another, the good news is unconscious learning and effective therapy can take place under even a light trance.

What will my first hypnosis session be like?

For your first session we will spend extra time prior to hypnosis to talk about your particular issue, your history and background, your goals for therapy, and to answer any questions you may still have about the process of hypnosis and hypnotherapy. We will then ease into a guided mind and body relaxation exercise that helps put you into a light state of trance that can feel quite pleasant. I will then guide you into a deeper state of hypnosis, but only as deep as you allow yourself to go. We may begin to explore the issue you would like to resolve, but the main goal of this first hypnosis is to get you comfortable and familiar with the process. Many of my clients leave the first session feeling relaxed, peaceful, and even energized, and often report a deeper, more restful night's sleep than they've had in a long time!

Will hypnosis be effective for my particular issue?

While no particular therapy is effective for all people, all of the time, hypnotherapy can provide relief for many different issues, including anxiety, weight, motivation, chronic pain, fears and phobias, bad habits, sleep problems, negative self talk, and many more. Hypnosis addresses underlying beliefs and thought patterns rooted in the unconscious mind, so any issue that has a mind component can almost always be changed with hypnosis. Of course, if you have a new physical pain or are suffering from deep depression or other serious mental illness then you should first seek a qualified medical and/or psychological professional for diagnosis and treatment prior to employing hypnosis or any other alternative therapy.

What makes hypnosis different from other therapies?

Unlike traditional talk therapies that ultilize the logical, critical, conscious mind to analyze an issue, hypnosis aims to bypass conscious analysis to interact more directly with the emotional and sensory parts of the mind found deeper in the subconscious and unconscious. Under hypnosis those hidden parts of your mind are open to suggestion, making it possible to transform old thoughts, patterns and beliefs into new ones. At some level, all effective therapies work with the same unconscious belief mechanism as hypnosis. If you believe a treatment can help you, even a placebo, it will be more effective. In my opinion hypnosis gets results faster than other therapies simply because it works directly with the part of the mind where beliefs and feelings are formed and maintained, and the mind's healing potential is activated.

How many sessions will it take to resolve my issue?

No two clients are the same, just as no issue can be addressed in exactly the same way twice, so the number of sessions required can't be calculated in advance. Success is dependent on your subconscious mind's willingness to change, and often times the subconscious needs a lot of convincing. (You wouldn't be here, otherwise!) My philosophy as a hypnotherapist is to offer a pragmatic, goal oriented approach to achieve your desired results in as few sessions as possible. Having said that, most of my clients start to notice positive changes after only 1 or 2 sessions. Often 3 or 4 sessions is all it takes to achieve the desired goals, and rarely will a single issue require more than 10 sessions. Unlike traditional talk therapy that can go on for months, years, or even decades, the goal of my practice is to get you out the door feeling transformed as quickly as possible!

Do you take insurance?

Few health insurance plans cover alternative therapies such as hypnosis, but I am happy to provide a receipt you can submit to your insurance company for possible reimbursement. If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA), hypnotherapy may be eligible for reimbursement provided you have a signed Letter of Medical Necessity from your doctor. Check your employee benefits package. Many companies now offer a monthy stipend to reimburse wellness expenses. This benefit is in addition to health insurance benefits. If you have a financial hardship such as loss of job please inquire for a reduced rate for my services.

I've never been hypnotized. Will it work on me?

If you've ever been lost in a good book, daydreamed will dozing on the couch, "zoned out" while listening to music or watching TV, or been so relaxed while soaking in a tub that you lost track of the time, then you've already experienced a hypnotic trance. Most people experience hypnosis all on their own, several times a day. Trance is a natural state of consciousness somewhere between the fully awake state and the dreaming sleep state. There are only a very few people who have difficulty entering this state, but for the vast majority hypnosis can be achieved intentionally and with a little practice, easily.

Is hypnosis safe?

Hypnosis is a natural state of consciouness most people enter into on their own, several times a day. It is generally as safe as daydreaming. Hypnosis used as therapy has been practiced safely for hundreds of years. For people with severe mental illness, however, hypnosis is usually not recommended. Please inform me if you have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, have severe depression and/or suicidal thoughts, or any other serious mental health disorder.

Can hypnosis be used to manage pain?

Yes! Sufferers of chronic pain can find relief using hypnosis. In this age of the prescribed opioid many people are understandably concerned about the side effects, addictive nature, and obvious dangers of some medicines and are looking for other ways to manage their pain. Alternative medicines such as cannabis can be effective but may still have unwanted side-effects. Hypnosis techniques for pain management are side-effect free and can be used in conjunction with, or in some cases in place of, pharmaceuticals.
Please remember, physical pain is a signal from your body to your brain that something needs attention. Always seek a medical doctor's opinion and diagnosis before pursuing any alternative treatments for pain to first rule out any unknown causes. If you are seeking treatment for chronic pain I will require a signed form from your doctor agreeing that hypnosis is an appropriate alternative treatment for you. I will provide this form to you once we have discussed your pain issue in more detail.

Does hypnotherapy really work?

Yes, hypnosis is scientifically proven to be an effective therapy for many physical and mental issues and ailments. Countless people have been able to quit a habit, remove a phobia, or calm anxiety using hypnosis. It can be more effective than prescribed drugs for issues such as stress, chronic pain, and smoking secession. It is an also an excellent complimentary therapy to increase the benefits of other treatments. Hypnosis can be used before and after medical and dental procedures to reduce anxiety, increase the speed of recovery, and improve the chances for a successful outcome. The effectiveness of hypnosis speaks to the innate connection between mind and body, and the power of our own imagination and beliefs to affect our physical and mental states of being. Our thoughts really do affect our health.

Is hypnosis for pain simply the placebo effect?

The placebo effect can be powerful medicine. Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars developing new drugs that never see the light of day because they can't be proven to be more effective than a placebo. How can a pill with nothing in it still work? While the physical mechanism of the placebo effect is not well understood, the simple fact is that your belief can often be just as powerful, if not more so, than a physical drug. Hypnosis uses the innate power of your imagination to amplify the effectiveness of existing medicine and in some cases can even replace a physical drug. In some studies hypnosis combined with placebo is more effective than placebo alone. One important difference is that while placebos rely on deception to work, and as such may be unethical, hypnosis relies on suggestion and positive intention. So while they both may be acting on the same mechanisms of the mind, they are not simply one and the same.

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a natural state of consciousness characterized by narrowed focus and enhanced creative thought.
Most people enter hypnosis naturally, all on their own. If you've ever driven a familiar route with no memory of the journey or "checked out" while watching TV, you've already experienced a hypnotic state.
It's also a state where deeper learning can take place.

What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy takes advantage of the hypnotic state's learning potential to make desired changes in thought, perception, and behavior.
Hypnotherapy works by communicating directly with deeper levels of consciousness, training the mind with new, more desirable patterns.
Changing the mind isn't achieved with conscious willpower, but with subconscious re-learning.

Why Use a Hypnotherapist?

Sometimes life's problems can feel insurmountable on your own. By working with a hypnotherapist you can finally resolve deeper issues that may have burdened you for years.
If you have self-limiting thoughts, troubling memories, unwanted habits, difficulty sleeping, anxiety or nervousness, creative blocks, or chronic pain, I can help you replace your old, unwanted patterns with new ones, allowing you to become your better you.

What is the difference between hypnotherapy and stage hypnosis?

The purpose of hypnotherapy is to use the hypnotic state of consciousness to achieve desired changes in thought or behavior, while the purpose of stage hypnosis is to entertain. If you've ever been to a stage hypnosis show you may have seen several audience members doing silly or unusual things. The hypnotist carefully screens and tests the volunteers so that those who eventually make it up on stage are cooperative and have a bit of the acting bug in them (plus maybe a couple drinks). They are encouraged to follow the hypnotist's bizarre instructions by the applause and laughter of the audience. It can be great fun to watch! Rest assured, you cannot be forced to do or say anything under hypnosis that you don't want to, either on stage or in my office.

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Stephen B. Lewis

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