Burlington VT Hypnotherapist Carolyn Lewis has been using hypnosis to help people in the Burlington area to improve their lives in many ways. These include losing weight, stopping smoking, sleeping better and managing the stress in their lives. Enjoy this interview I had with Carolyn to learn more about her and her hypnosis work in Burlington Vermont.
Hello Carolyn and thank you for sharing your time with us
today. Please take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers and
tell them something about your interesting website, www.wellspringhypno.com.
I am a hypnotherapist in the Burlington, Vermont area. When I first opened my practice, Wellspring Hypnotherapy and EFT Center, I worked hard, spending hours before and after every session figuring out what worked and what didn't. It was a steep learning curve for the first couple of years but my time and attention paid off. I learned, and continue to learn, from each and every client, and feel amazed at the ease and flow in my sessions these days. I LOVE my work and feel fortunate to be able to help people from all walks of life make the changes that they seek.
When developing my website, I put a lot of time into making it educational and informative. I wanted to use my website to answer the many questions people asked me when they called for information about my services. Spending the time on my website has paid off in many ways. Usually by the time a client walks into my office they have essentially completed the "pretalk" process while reading my website in the comfort of their own home. They come in with realistic expectations and an amazing commitment to doing their part of the work.
In addition to my Wellspring website, I created a "little sister" website to inspire people to consider the value of developing a "Kind Inner Voice" to help them in their lives.
Thank you Carolyn. Now tell us if you will, how long have you been a hypnotist or hypnotherapist?
I have been working as a hypnotherapist since 1997.
Can you recall how you were first drawn to a career in hypnosis?
Absolutely! In my teens and twenties I struggled mightily with weight challenges and low self-esteem. I went to a hypnotist, hoping that I would just pay my money, close my eyes, and wake up with everything "fixed".
Well, it didn't happen like that. In fact, the hypnotist wasn't even a terrific match for me. However, she taught me how to do self-hypnosis and I did twenty minutes of self-hypnosis every day for years. I stopped thinking about my "goals" and just did it because it felt so good.
Over the course of a year or two, I gradually lost all the excess weight that had plagued me, I stopped obsessing about food, and I began to truly believe in myself for the first time in my life. All of this unfolded quietly and gradually and I had a strong sense that it was the daily relaxation and auto-suggestion that allowed me to re-chart my course.
After that, I knew I wanted to help people use hypnosis to feel better and meet their personal goals. But it was another twenty years before I felt ready to take on that mission.
What do you enjoy about, or benefits do you personally receive, from being a hypnotist?
Wow, there are so many things. Early on in my work I realized that in order to do quality work, it was essential that I take excellent care of myself. So, in order to help others, I am extra thoughtful about my own self-care which is a great benefit.
Also, every time I do a session for a client, I find that I "borrow benefits". The induction is relaxing to me as well as to them, and I internalize many of the positive suggestions I am giving to my client. As a result, I feel physically, mentally and emotionally better than I ever have in my life. (And at the age of 58, it is nice to be able to say that!)
I love the diversity of people and issues I work with. For me, every day at work is a fascinating adventure, exploring the wonders of human nature.
And the greatest reward in this work is the joy of truly helping others. Often, clients call saying "I've tried everything and nothing has worked!" Hypnosis is often the "last stop". So to help someone who was in a place of suffering, experience the relief and peace of mind that comes when they are able to meet their goals, is something that I appreciate each and every day.
Have you experienced any personal benefits from using hypnosis for yourself that you would care to share with our readers?
I love using hypnosis for everyday things too numerous to name. But one fun thing I have done is to use self-hypnosis at the dentist. In order to do some personal exploration using hypnosis for pain control, I stopped using novocaine when I got fillings, and used only self-hypnosis.
It worked so well that I have gotten fillings, crowns and even a root canal using only my headphones and a recording I made for myself to help me stay focused. It was empowering, fun and, after the root canal, the endodontist's staff was so impressed that several of them came to me subsequently for help with personal issues.
It was with interest that I read about your experience as a fitness trainer prior to becoming a Hypnotist. Can you tell me if and how that experience influences your work with clients in your practice?
My training in the field of fitness and nutrition gave me a solid foundation in overall wellness principles, which is valuable when clients want help with health or medical issues.
Also, as a fitness trainer, I noticed that some people were exercising because they loved it and it made them feel good. But others were "beating themselves up" with exercise for the sole purpose of losing weight. Before I became a hypnotherapist, I remember wishing I could help them find an easier way to lose the weight than sitting on an exercise bike for two hours a day! As a hypnotherapist, I love helping people "try easy" when it comes to weight loss instead of feeling driven and miserable in their efforts.
What issues do your clients typically come to you for help with Carolyn in your daily practice? Do you specialize in helping people with certain issues?
I work with everything and anything. My "favorite" areas to work in seem to shift over the years. I teach hypnosis for birth classes and for years I loved attending births and helping the moms stay focused and free of fear. I no longer attend births as it created havoc with the rest of my office scheduling, but I now often work with children (some of them whose births I was at!) and love recording personalized stories for children with the suggestions embedded in the stories.
My other current favorite area to work in is anxiety and insomnia. I combine Emotional Freedom Techniques with hypnosis and personalized recordings. It is so rewarding to see the quick and lasting relief that people experience from this approach, and the joy of family members finally getting their loved one "back".
Carolyn, I notice that you have some personal stories on your web site. Is there a particular favorite story that you could describe to our readers?
Thanks for noticing the stories. Instead of testimonials, I opted to tell full (true) stories that would help people understand the different ways this work can unfold.
One of my favorites is a story I haven't even put on my website. It was a fellow who called me asking for help with his "clay trap shooting". Of course as a hypnotherapist we often end up working in areas where we have no experience, and this was one for me. I was honest and told him I didn't have any experience with that sport but could apply the same principles we use in other sports.
His session was a "one-session wonder". In our warm up exercise where I had him imagine first his shooting practice (where he did consistently well) and then a competition (where he always lost to the same guy) he sat straight upright and said, "That's it!"
He didn't need anything else from me. Through the first exercise, "slowing down the video", he had become aware of the tiny thing he was doing differently in competition than in practice. He found it easy to correct once he knew it, and phoned me after the next competition to let me know he had finally beaten his toughest competitor.
I didn't get any sports referrals from him as he didn't want to share his secret!
Is there something different or especially emphasized in your approach to helping people with hypnosis work that you would like to tell us about?
Yes, I always pay attention to my clients' attitudes towards themselves. If they are often "yelling at themselves" or "disgusted with themselves" I spend time with them on that. I believe that change happens best when a person can be kind and patient with themselves through the process.
I recently found out that you have another very interesting web site www.kindinnervoice.com. Could you describe some of the key ideas that lie behind this approach to change work that you have developed?
This is a project that is near and dear to my heart. I believe that the foundation of inner kindness makes change easier, smoother and more permanent. I liken our "Kind Inner Voice" to a teacher who inspires us and helps us to do our best. On the other hand, when our inner dialogue is harsh, judgmental and conditional, it is like having a harsh teacher. Our minds freeze, and though we try hard, we often don't succeed because learning or making changes is difficult when we are in a stress response. Our "automatic pilot" tends to revert to the comfort of the old pattern in those cases.
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, leading workshops, writing scripts, producing recordings etc.
I do all of the above and enjoy the variety. My favorite is probably the one-on-one sessions. My first session with a client is usually 2.5 hours and this is an amazingly deep and effective way for me to work. I am a very kinesthetic person and "feel my way" through the maze of the person's subconscious mind. During this process, I am simultaneously teaching my client simple concepts and learning about what their personal process is like. I often say that we are doing a "puzzle" together. They have the pieces of the puzzle and I will show them some different ways to move them around.
Each person and process is unique and I love the way that this "exploring" usually uncovers exactly what we need to jumpstart the process of change.
What is the most frequent misunderstanding about hypnosis that you encounter with clients or the public Carolyn?
Mostly the same expectation that I had when I first went to a hypnotist. People expect that hypnosis is a "magic wand" and that they won't need to do anything except walk in the door and they will be magically changed. They often think it is something that is done "to them" as opposed to a process in which they will be actively participating.
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 Vermont region?
In the Burlington, Vermont area, hypnosis/hypnotherapy is widely accepted. I love that farmers as well as doctors, for example, are equally likely to seek hypnotherapy services. Many of my referrals are from physicians and psychotherapists who have a real team approach to helping their clients.
Do you have a favorite book Carolyn on hypnosis that you would recommend to others?
I have a few favorite books which I like for very different reasons. I did some of my hypnosis training with Jack Elias in Seattle and love his training manual called "Finding True Magic". www.findingtruemagic.com
On a lighter note, I keep a few copies of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hypnosis" in my office. It is a simple, straightforward easy read that helps to demystify the process for those folks who want a simple introduction to hypnosis.
And, on a personal level, I love "Radical Acceptance" by Tara Brach. It deepens and expands upon the simple principles I share in my Kind Inner Voice DVD and I have found wonderful personal guidance from Tara Brach's work.
Carolyn, based on your experience, what do you see as the future of hypnotism in the US?
I see hypnosis continuing with a slow steady growth, becoming increasingly mainstream and accepted.
Thank you Carolyn. 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?
Yes, please email me at info @wellspringhypno.com or call at 802-872-0089 or visit my two websites: www.wellspringhypno.com or www.kindinnervoice.com