I am pleased to introduce you to Jess Marion in this interview. Learn here how Jess' childhood interest in Hypnosis unexpectedly led to a very promising career first as a Hypnotist successfully helping clients in the Philadelphia area and now as a trainer of new Hypnotists. She has an interesting approach to her change work using PCAT. Learn about this and more in the interview.
Stephen Gruber: Hello Jess and thank you for sharing your time with us today. Please take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers and tell them about your interesting website, http://www.hypnosisphilly.com/
Jess Marion: Hello Stephen, thank you as well, it’s a pleasure. I am certified hypnotherapist and hypnotherapy/ hypnosis trainer for the International Association of Professional Conversational Hypnotists. I have a hypnotherapy practice in Philadelphia and provide training in conversational hypnosis, hypnotherapy, and self-hypnosis.
Hypnosisphilly.com is the main site for my hypnosis clinic, which serves people throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. I also have a website dedicated to my training company coming out soon, it’s still under construction. Until then any readers who are interested in hypnosis training can sign up to receive lessons and training opportunities. They can do that by visiting http://www.hypnosisphilly.com/Hypnosis-Training.html and signing up for our email list.
Stephen Gruber: Thank you Jess . Now tell us if you will, how long have you been a hypnotist or hypnotherapist?
Jess Marion: In the professional sense, I have been working with clients since 2009. Unofficially I’ve been a hypnotist both knowingly and unknowingly for as long as I can remember. When I was a little kid I would try inductions I found in books on my friends. Hypnosis, for me, has been a life long love affair. I know it to be an incredibly powerful force for good in the world and I believe it is something everyone should have the opportunity to use. Hypnosis is a part of what it means to be human and yet there are so many people who never have the chance to really understand or explore it. This is why it is so important for us to take hypnosis out into the world and share it so that as many people as possible can benefit.
Stephen Gruber: Can you recall how you were first drawn to a career in hypnosis?
Jess Marion: This is a bit of a long story so bare with me here. For as long as I can remember I was always fascinated by hypnosis. I cannot even clearly remember how it was I even first learned about it. I assume it was probably on a TV. show or a film. When I was about 9 I did my first hypnotic induction. It was kind of mixed up approximation of Dave Elman style induction, to the best of a 9 year old kid’s abilities. Of course at that age I had no idea who Elman was or even how it worked. I had a lot of fun experimenting but I never really understood what do with it. I just thought it was a cool thing to do with friends.
As I grew a little older my passion grew and I would read anything and everything I could get my hands on. This meant I came across some good things and a lot of other stuff. Sometimes I think it’s a miracle in the days before amazon.com I found my way out from underneath the pile of books that were caught between the 19th century representations of hypnosis and 20th century new age images of it. During my high school years I also became very interested in self-hypnosis and various traditional meditation techniques and spent a lot of time experimenting and exploring my own mind.
Once I reached university I dove head first into everything hypnosis. I can still remember whenever I needed a break from my studies; I’d curl up in a quiet corner of the school library with a cup of tea and one of Erickson’s many publications. I think my choice was usually the edited collections of his papers. I must have poured over those pages for months trying to figure just how this one man could have created so much magic in the lives of others. It was truly spellbinding for me. After Erickson, of course the natural progression was to the works of Bandler and Grinder, which in many ways overwhelmed me.
By this point I still had no clue hypnosis could be a career for me. I actually had given it up for a few years. Frustrated by the density of some of the NLP books and the lack of live training I decided to pursue my academic interests. I went on to complete a Masters degree and began teaching at the university. I eventually began a doctoral program as well. For my own sanity during the first semester of my Ph.D. program, which in the States is quite and daunting and arduous time, I decided to take hypnosis up seriously again. From there it was through a few chance encounters that I met my mentor and started down the path of hypnosis as my profession.
Stephen Gruber: What do you enjoy about, or benefits do you personally received, from being a hypnotist?
Jess Marion: There are too many to list in all honesty. I am personally a much better person today than I ever was before I seriously started studying hypnosis. I have had the good fortune to experience impressive amounts of personal transformation. There is also the community as well. I have met so many truly amazing people who I now have the privilege of calling my friends
Something else that not too many people realize is that when you’re working with a client, their unconscious mind isn’t the only unconscious mind listening. Every so often you get a client with some thing in common with yourself, because hypnotists are human too, we all have our issues to work through. Which means when you’re working with people, they may not be the only one getting benefits from it.
I don’t think there is anything I don’t enjoy about hypnosis in all honesty. For me as a therapist, the greatest feeling in the world is when I have a client walk out of my office having accomplished their goals. To me, that is what makes this field so special. We get to help people find solutions to problems that they often have a lifetime of experience carrying around with them. That moment when they finally break from it is truly amazing.
From the teaching perspective, my background is that of a teacher, I’m in my natural element when I’m in that setting. It’s like uniting both sides of me. To be able to teach hypnosis to others is an incredible experience. There is nothing like watching someone light up when they suddenly realize that they are so much greater than everything they thought about themselves up until that moment. That is where I find fulfilment. As a hypnotherapist I get to help one person at a time make powerful changes. As a trainer I get to lead students through powerful change so that they can take these skills out into the real world and be a true force for good.
Stephen Gruber: Have you experienced any other personal benefits from using hypnosis for yourself that you would care to share with our readers?
Jess Marion: I use hypnosis all the time. I think it is very important for hypnotists to experience hypnosis on a regular basis. This includes self-hypnosis and being hypnotized by others. The more familiar you are, as a hypnotist, with the experience of hypnosis, the easier it is to guide others there at just the right pace for them.
Using hypnosis regularly will increase your success rates because you increase your state awareness and control. Plus you have the added physical and emotional benefits that come from hypnosis. Of course it is also an incredibly enjoyable state to be in anyway.
Stephen Gruber: What issues do your clients typically come to you for help with Jess in your daily practice? Do you specialize in helping people with certain issues?
Jess Marion: I tend to get a lot of people with anxiety related issues. Philadelphia seems to be a very stressed out city. Anxiety, phobias, and panic disorders are the most common followed by smokers. I also get some cancer patients as well, which is quite rewarding for both them and myself.
Stephen Gruber: I know from your web site that you trained in and use an interesting approach to helping your clients known as PCAT. Can you tell us a little more about this please?
Jess Marion: PCAT is a systematic approach to influence developed by my mentor, Igor Ledochowski. It can be used in any setting that requires the use of influence to remove obstacles, issues, and objections. In the therapeutic context it gives us a framework on which to hang our hypnotic skills. It is an efficient way of assessing the entirety of the problem while breaking it down into a manageable size. When all steps are in place it also ensures a high rate of success because any chance for failure is built into the sessions so that if the therapy isn’t going to take then it isn’t going to take in your office and not out on the street. I would rather have a client tell me something is wrong then and there rather than leave and call me three days later to tell me something didn’t work. PCAT takes into consideration all of the variables that go into an elegant piece of change work and makes them apparent for the therapist. In terms of a therapeutic model, I highly recommend it.
Stephen Gruber: Jess , I notice that you have some interesting testimonials on your site. Is there a particular success story that you could describe to our readers.
Jess Marion: I had a client a few months back who had developed a fear of speaking in class. She was an absolutely brilliant girl and due to some demands placed on her in a highly competitive academic environment she became terrified of speaking in class to the point where she had difficulty verbalizing responses when called on during lectures. She came to see me a week before she was scheduled to give a presentation in the class and we worked together for about an hour. The following week her mother called to tell me that she not only made the presentation but stepped well outside of her old comfort zone and came into class dressed in period clothes and did a type of performance art piece as her presentation. She ended up with one of the highest scores in her class. I was and am so happy for her because these type of changes tend to generalize and create long lasting positive results.
Another case was with a woman with a panic disorder surrounding anything related to medicine. I make the distinction between phobias and panic disorder here because her responses were very similar to someone with a fear of flying as apposed to someone with a phobia of cats or something like that.
When we began working together she wanted the fear completely gone. After the first session she was able to move it from a 10 to a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being intense panic resulting in fainting. At the end of the second session she had moved it from a 7 to a 2. I asked her what needed to happen for it to move from a 2 to a 0 and she said she didn’t’ want it to. When I asked her about it she replied that everyone has a little fear and uncertainty when going for testing and injections and to move it to a 0 would be unnatural.
I thought this was incredibly charming and a wonderful lesson. Hypnosis is a learning process for both us as hypnotists as well as our clients. We get to refine our skills with each session and they are able to connect with the deeper parts of themselves that are often forgotten. For this client she discovered that what was most important to her was to feel normal and have the same emotional experiences as others in this context. In exchange she was willing to experience a slight amount of fear.
Stephen Gruber: Do you find any particular phase of your hypnosis or hypnotherapy work to be of special interest to you? If so, why?) e.g. one on one sessions, training hypnotists, writing scripts, producing recordings etc.
Jess Marion: There really isn’t any part of the field I don’t enjoy. Hypnosis is my passion in any way shape or form it takes. I enjoy teaching hypnosis specifically because it unites both parts of my life- the hypnosis side as well as the academic. Plus working in with groups means there is more opportunity for transformation. I see the hypnosis learning environment to be one of transformation. Students should have similar experiences as their future clients. In the case of training other hypnotists, not only do they have transformation but then they go out and create positive change for others as well. It’s truly an amazing thing.
Working one on one has its benefits as well. When you have one client there in front of you, you really get to know them as individuals and you get to fully engage in the intricacies of the problem puzzle they bring you. I enjoy puzzles and that’s all problems really are.
I should take a moment to say that I do not write scripts. Personally I do not believe in them. You as the hypnotist have absolutely everything you need to elegantly work with someone else. Scripts can become distractions. They take you away from the present moment with your client. They also limit the flexibility of a session. If there is one thing I could share with all hypnotists out there it is; you don’t need anything else beyond who you are to be a powerful influence and agent of change. My mentor has a saying and I fully believe this, “hypnosis is not something you do, it is someone you become”.
With that said I do think scripts have some use in that reading them as a part of your own studies can open you up to new techniques and approaches. Also writing scripts, as a type of decision tree exercise is quite valuable.
Stephen Gruber: What is the most frequent misunderstanding about hypnosis that you encounter with clients or the public Jess ?
Jess Marion: Interesting question.
With the public the most common one that comes up is that they think I’m going to control them. I’ve met people in social settings who actually made it a point to avoid eye contact because they thought I was going to hypnotize them then and there.
In the clinic setting it is a bit different. The two most common ones I get are first that hypnosis is like being asleep and unaware. I have had a small number of clients who, despite all of my pre-framing, came out of trance and didn’t believe they were in hypnosis because they could hear me the whole time.
The second misconception is that as a hypnotist I do all of the work and change just happens to them magically without them participating in the process. Because of their misconceptions they think that hypnosis is something done to them and not done with them.
As hypnotists it is very, very important to out-frame both of these beliefs because if left not addressed you run the risk of the client completely undoing whatever piece of change work is about to happen or has already happened.
Stephen Gruber: As we both know, Hypnosis as a healing and helping modality has existed for hundreds of years now. However, it is more widely known and more accepted in some areas more than others. How would you rate the public acceptance of hypnosis/hypnotherapy in the Philadelphia region?
Jess Marion: This is a tough one. I think it is probably comparable to anywhere else in the U.S. There are many people who accept it and then there are others with misconceptions about it so they don’t. I don’t think in general hypnosis is as accepted in the States as it is in some other places around the world. In many ways I am lucky however, to be in Philadelphia because unlike New York and some of the other major U.S cities, we do not seem to have as many hypnotists working professionally here. The market is pretty open right now. The down side of that though is that I think competition is good for all of us because it forces us to refine our skills.
With that being said, I run a local meet up for people interested in hypnosis, mentalism, NLP, and general influence. We have roughly 150 members which isn’t huge but its still quite impressive. I think that it is these people with the continued interest who will really spread the word and help the acceptance of our field grow.
Stephen Gruber: Do you have a favourite book Jess on hypnosis that you would recommend to others?
Jess Marion: Just one? I don’t think I can limit myself so I won’t.
Some of my favourites are: Training Trances by John Overdurf, Tranceformations by Bandler and Grinder (the original version), The Collected Papers of Miltion H. Erickson edited by Ernest Rossi, The Power of Conversational Hypnosis audio program by Igor Ledochowski, My Voice Will Go With You edited by Sydney Rosen, and currently I’m reading Emotional Equations by Chip Conley.
Stephen Gruber: Jess , based on your experience, what do you see as the future of hypnotism in the US?
Jess Marion: It is my sincerest hope that it becomes more widely accepted as a powerful healing and learning tool. If I had it my way, courses in hypnosis would be taught in universities and self-hypnosis would be taught in our school system. Will it reach that point though? I am uncertain about that. I do see it gaining wider acceptance especially within the medical sphere though. NLP as well is a prized asset to major corporations here. In fact many use NLP practitioners for everything from negotiations to advertising. With the continued positive exposure, hypnosis will grow in acceptance and because of that it will grow as a field.
Stephen Gruber: Thank you Jess . Can you tell our readers who are interested in learning more about your hypnosis work, which is the best way to get in touch with you?
Jess Marion: I can be reached at info@ hypnosisphilly.com. If you are interested in training with me then visit http://www.hypnosisphilly.com/Hypnosis-Training.html and sign up for our email list.
Stephen Gruber: Is there anything else that you would like to expand upon or add that we have not covered?
Jess Marion: Thank you Stephen for having me. I would like to just reminding everyone that you have unlimited potential. Your unconscious mind is incredibly powerful and can create so much happiness and success in your life. You can trust your ability to learn and grow which means can trust that you deserve happiness and fulfilment in your life. Because of all of these things you can trust your unconscious mind.