Noted Palo Alto Consulting Hypnotist Alexandra Bley is very successful in helping a wide range of clients with issues including weight loss, stopping smoking, anxiety, and sleep.
In this interview with Alexandra we were lucky to find out more about her eclectic approach to hypnotherapy that is leading to so many satisfied clients.
Alexandra also gives some very insightful tips on what to expect when consulting a hypnotist and for some for beginning or would be hypnotists.
could you briefly introduce yourself to our readers please.
I appreciate the opportunity to this interview. My name is Alexandra Bley and I have been a Consulting Hypnotist since 2004 with an established private practice in Palo Alto, California.
I offer private one on one sessions in my office and via Skype. My previous background is in science. I earned a Master degree in Science from the Johannes-Gutenberg University in Mainz Germany and worked for a Pharmaceutical Company in the San Francisco Bay Area until my son was born.
After staying home with him for the first few years I knew my heart wasn’t into science anymore. I wanted to help people in a more meaningful way and out of the many alternate healing modalities hypnosis held the most potential for me.
My career as a Hypnotist started with traditional hypnosis training at the Palo Alto School of Hypnotherapy in Palo Alto. I became certified as a Clinical and Medical Hypnotist and finished with a Master Degree Hypnosis.
In 2006 I got certified as a 5-PATH Hypnotist as well as 7th Path Self-Hypnosis Teacher through the Banyan Hypnosis Center, one of the most advanced therapeutic hypnosis approaches at that time. Going through this training allowed me to help my clients on a much deeper level and brought my career to whole new level.
Over the years I have added various valuable techniques and modalities into my practice. I am trained and certified as an EFT- Practitioner, as a TRE (Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises) Practitioner I, through David Bercelli, Founder and Developer of TRE, LLC, as well as Reflective Transformational Coach by Matt Sison, CHt.
All those modalities have shaped my current unique mind-body-emotion approach to hypnosis. I always work with my client as a team and prefer using modern interactive hypnosis versus conventional trance hypnosis.
Alexandra, can you tell us what first attracted you to a career in hypnosis?
My very first experience with hypnosis is a very personal one. I am happy to share this part of me because I have found that it has given others hope that there are options other than mainstream approaches to healing. I also believe that it sent me on my path from being a scientist to becoming a hypnotist myself.
When my son was still fairly small I started having very intense anxiety and panic attacks. I never wanted to be medicated but couldn’t find anything that would give me relief for more than a short period of time. So, I tried but medication made things far worse especially in the beginning.
A very close friend of mine recommended hypnosis. Until that point I hadn’t heard much about it nor did I know a hypnotist in my area. I knew I didn’t have anything to lose and gave it a try with someone she had recommended.
I was surprised because in even one session I felt more relief than I had in a long time. I started to feel hope again. I continued to work with this practitioner for a while and within a year decided to become certified as a Consulting Hypnotist myself.
What fascinates me the most about this kind of work is the fact that we are carrying the answers for our healing right inside. The skillful use of modern hypnosis techniques allow us to access this often subconsciously held information for deep transformation and healing.
That is very inspiring Alexandra. Have you experienced any other personal benefits from using hypnosis for yourself that you would care to share with our readers?
The use of modern hypnosis especially the mind, body and emotional approach that I am using with my clients has been and still is one of my own main self-help tools.
As mentioned before it has helped me personally tremendously to overcome long term anxiety as well as moving through the challenges that came along with hormonal changes of going into perimenopause.
Continuing this work on a regular base helps me to stay centered and balanced in my daily life and to navigate through the challenging moments in life with more ease. I consider this my daily emotional hygiene and it has become part of my routine just like taking a shower, eating well and exercising.
Alexandra, I know your clients speak highly of your work with them. What issues do your clients typically come to you for help with?
I have worked with a wide variety of issues over the last decade. When people hear hypnosis they always think of weight loss and smoking cessation. Even though hypnosis is a very valuable tool for these issues that involve changing habits it has a much broader range of application.
I personally work with a lot of people who suffer from anxiety, fears or other emotional issues. Many medical issues respond very well to hypnosis, for example insomnia, sleep apnea, IBS and migraine headaches to name just a few.
I have successfully worked with Trichotillomania and clients with certain skin conditions. Preparing people for surgery with hypnosis is also very helpful.
The more relaxed a person feels the better the outcome and healing. I also help people improve their self-confidence and performance in school, at work or in sports. My website www.hypnosisforwellbeing.com shows a broader list of things I am working with.
Do you specialize in helping people with certain issues?
As I mentioned before my approach to hypnosis always includes a mind-body-emotional approach. I have mostly specialized helping my clients by resolving the underlying stress and emotional components of their issues.
Once we release the internal often subconsciously held emotional stressors the body and mind can return to a natural place of peace and relaxation, resulting in better physical, mental and emotional health.
I have had a number of clients with physical symptoms who couldn’t find relief through the traditional medical approach.
I remember working with a teenager who had IBS like symptoms and was in so much pain that he had to miss school a lot. The doctors couldn’t find anything wrong and various approaches didn’t help much at all.
After the first session he noticed a lowering in discomfort and within a few sessions he was able to attend school regularly again. He didn’t miss any more school for the rest of the year.From a hypnotist's point of view, can you tell us about some of the teachers who have influenced your approach to hypnosis the most?
Calvin Banyan’s systematic approach to modern hypnotic regression therapy and later my training with Randy Shaw and then Matt Sison leading me to become a Reflective Transformational Coach have been influencing my approach to hypnosis in the most profound way.
Adding TRE (Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises) has shown to been very valuable as well because it complements my current approach to hypnosis and helps my clients let go of deep seated stress and tension.
There are many other hypnotists who’s books and teachings have inspired me. One of them is Steve Parkhill.
Do you find any particular phase of your hypnosis work to be of special interest to you?
I personally like the part of interacting with people in private one on one sessions. However, I equally enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience in workshops or training of other hypnotists.
I have had the opportunity to teach hypnosis students about the value of working with emotions in hypnosis at the Palo Alto School of Hypnotherapy in Palo Alto, CA.
I look forward to continue sharing my knowledge through continued teaching, motivational talks and private one on one sessions.What are the three most important bits of advice would you give a client before their first session of hypnosis?
First of all you need to make sure that you are choosing a hypnosis professional who is skilled to help you with your issue. You also want to make sure that you are comfortable with the person you are going to work with.
I always take time to explain to my clients what to expect when working with me and how I might help them via a 15-20min phone consultation before they even book an appointment. That helps them to make sure they are comfortable with me and what I have to offer resonates with them.
Besides the skills and experience of the hypnotist a key ingredient in the success of a session is the commitment of the client to participate in their own healing in session as well as at home. I often ask my clients to practice things at home between sessions. The more engaged a client is in their own healing the better the outcome.
Last but not least healing occurs at the speed of nature. It always helps if the client is open to the length of treatment.
Hypnosis is considered a short term form of therapy compared to many conventional therapies and modalities. Even though the modalities I use produce a noticeable positive effect often already in the first session it is hard to predict the exact amount of sessions required. I usually start with 4 sessions and then decide with my client if they might benefit from or require more sessions.If you could give a potential or beginning hypnotist at least one piece of advice, what would it be?
My strongest suggestion for everyone who is aspiring to be a hypnotist is to do self-work. Don’t keep what you are learning just a theory. Be your own best client.
You can work on your own or with a colleague who has a similar approach to hypnosis. The more you use the tools that you have learned on your own the better your understanding will be about what your client is experiencing and how to help them in the best possible way. Your own experience can be a tremendous inspiration and motivation for your clients especially in moments that are challenging.
One of my mentors once said “your clients will heal you”. Sometimes we get clients that resonate with something that we might have experienced in a similar way. But remember their story isn’t our story!
We need to work with compassion and at the same time be as unbiased as possible when helping a client. The more inner work you do the less you will resonate with what your client brings into the session.
Another tip for success is to create or join a study group.
When I got certified as a 5-PATH Hypnotist we had to learn a huge amount of information in a very short period of time which only covered the basics. Right after I joined a study group. We met regularly online and went step by step through all the materials, talked about case studies, compared results and asked questions. This was and still is incredibly helpful.
What is the most frequent misunderstanding about hypnosis that you encounter with clients or the public?
In my opinion the biggest misunderstanding that I encounter is the idea that hypnosis magically makes all your problems go away by someone simply putting you into trance and suggesting unwanted things away.
This takes the responsibility for healing away from the client and puts the hypnotist in the role of “fixing” people. Unfortunately, hypnosis is often presented this way. I find this too simplistic and often misleading.
No doubt, the power of suggestions is very strong (and some cases truly only require a simple positive suggestive technique). We all carry them in the form of limiting beliefs about ourselves often planted many years ago sometimes even by well-meaning parents, teachers or other influential people.
However, true healing requires the responsibility of each and every one of us. There is a learning in each healing, an opportunity to grow.
I see my role as a Consulting Hypnotist in guiding and coaching my clients to uncover often long held patterns, believes and emotions that are underlying their issues. Once uncovered they can be transformed using the right techniques and approach.
Instead of putting clients into a trance I see my responsibility as waking them out of their trance and empowering them with the right tools and techniques so that they can continue on their path even when our work together is complete.
I will always work with my client as a team as a coach and facilitator for healing.
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 accepted in some areas than in others. How would you rate the public acceptance of hypnosis/hypnotherapy in your region?
I feel very lucky in this respect. Through my entire career as a hypnotist I have felt living in California has given me the advantage of living in a beautiful part of the world and also the openness of many people to experience healing modalities that are not mainstream.
Even though there are still a lot of myths about hypnosis and what it can do I have encountered lots of positive responses especially from people who had limited success through conventional therapies or medical approaches.
What would your favourite book on hypnosis be that you would recommend to others?
There are many good books on hypnosis and it is very hard to narrow it down to only one. However, the book I consider most influential in getting me on the path that I am on right now is Calvin D. Banyan’s and Gerald F. Kein’s book Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy.
This book opened a whole new insight into modern day interactive hypnotherapy to me. Until, then I was trained mostly as a traditional trance Hypnotist using lots of relaxation, positive suggestion and visualization techniques.
Even though these techniques alone were very powerful to work with I felt there was something missing. Sometimes I felt I couldn’t help clients sufficiently who had deeper issues.
I attribute a lot of my success as a Consulting Hypnotist to the path this book sent me on first as a 5PATH Hypnotist and 7thPath Self-Hypnosis Instructor and now as a Reflective Transformations Coach.
The book I refer to many of my clients is “Life is the Perfect System” by Matt Sison. This book mostly accurately reflects my current mind, body, emotion approach to hypnosis.
Is there anything else that you would like to expand upon or add that we have not covered?
I wished that our general approach to health would change and that hypnosis would be accepted and included into the treatment plan covered by health insurances. I think this would open the door for many who might benefit tremendously from hypnosis but are not able to afford it on their own.
Thank you Alexandra. You have been very generous with your time and openness. I am sure that many readers will appreciate this.
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