Every Friday you'll have the opportunity to peek inside the mind of one of our local health & wellness experts. They'll share with you their advice, suggestions, wisdom and answer their most popular question from clients.
The comfy hypnosis chair
This week let's get to know our local health & wellness expert Karen Gray. Karen is a Certified Hypnotist, Registered Nurse, and the Director of Green Mountain Hypnosis in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
Tell us about yourself and why did you choose to go into a health field?
I first got interested in hypnosis when my friend and partner, John Burchell, shared his experience with me. At first, I was skeptical. As a Nurse, I worked in science, methodology, logic, and evidence-based practice. I used to think hypnosis was just for the show at the State Fair. I just didn’t think that it could be real science. But my curiosity got the better of me.
John has been using hypnosis to help people who cannot use opiates to manage chronic pain for decades. The more he told me about how hypnosis was used, and how it worked on the subconscious mind through language patterns and shifts in focus, the more I realized that I had been using these fundamentals of hypnosis for years! As a nurse, each time I distracted patients from painful procedures by helping them to visualize a more pleasant experience, guiding patients into relaxation, and assisting others to use their imaginations to reduce pain, I was using hypnosis!
I was officially hooked after John hypnotized me for the first time. The experience was profound, and I went from being a skeptic to a firm believer, after just that one session. And the more I learned about hypnosis, the more I knew that I could use those advanced techniques to help patients improve their quality of life more effectively. Once I realized what a truly powerful tool hypnosis is for improving people’s lives, John and I began the process of opening our hypnosis practice in the Upper Valley.
What makes you unique in your field?
My medical background sets me apart from other hypnotists. Over two decades of combined experience in emergency care and nursing gives me a broader understanding of behaviors, crisis, and conditions that can be helped with hypnosis. I can offer a more holistic experience to my clients.
What question do your clients ask most frequently and how do you answer them?
I get a lot of questions, but i think that the most common one is “Do you think I can be hypnotized?”
And the answer is always “Yes! As long as you are willing to be hypnotized”
If I could point out the one thing that will make your hypnosis sessions a success, it is your willingness to be hypnotized and follow through with the process. It has been my experience that the clients who say "I can't be hypnotized! I'm too ___!" are the ones that go into hypnosis the fastest and deepest - and have the best results.
Hypnosis is a natural state that you already experience every day. The most common example is daydreaming. Hypnosis is, in part, a process of creating a state of increased focus and suggestibility, where the subconscious mind can be led to create real and permanent change.
What do you see as the greatest health risk posed to this generation?
I believe that the greatest health risk to our current population is stress. Chronic stress damages us not only emotionally, but also physically. Stress creates disease, depression, and anxiety disorders. And these physical symptoms of stress often return or worsen despite medications and treatments, because traditional healthcare does not work on the underlying stress.
What’s the best health/fitness/wellness advice you ever received?
I think that the best advice I have ever gotten is that if you are not willing to do something, it won’t work. We spend a lot of time beating ourselves up because we couldn’t stick with the overly complicated and restrictive regimen for more than a few days. Well, of course we couldn’t! That sort of regimen just isn’t sustainable in the long term. I use this philosophy now to help my clients find the best ways to help themselves in simple ways that make sense for the long term.
Do you have a success story of redeemed health you’d like to share?
I have a lot, from a lot of people working through a lot of different issues, like weight loss, chronic pain, stress, and more. But the one that really sticks out for me is a 14 year old girl I worked with recently. She had been bullied and assaulted at her previous school, and was so afraid to return this fall that she experienced crippling panic attacks.
I worked with her for the standard three-session series on reframing her experience building her confidence, and eliminating her fears and anxiety. I also gave mom some tools that she could use to help her daughter. At the start of her second session, her mom looked at me with tears in her eyes and said “You are a Miracle Worker!” At the third session, her grandmother told me that she “was a whole new kid!”
What is your favorite area of wellness to practice?
I have to say, I love hypnosis the best! It is so versatile and effective.
What are you passionate about, besides your professional life?
I am passionate about my family and being involved in the community. And I love helping small businesses succeed through coaching, collaboration, and networking opportunities.
What’s your favorite quote or mantra?
“You are what you say you are!”
What’s one book you recommend everyone should read?
I recommend a lot of books, and I think that you should read what moves you, inspires you, and causes you to think. Of Mice and Men is a good place to start.
What one suggestion would you make that would have the greatest impact for improved health?
Start the work of changing the way you experience the stress. We can’t get rid of all the things that cause stress, but we can change the way that we react to them. And as soon as you do that, you begin to get better both physically and mentally.
Any final piece of wisdom you’d like to share?
I hear from a lot of people that feel like they are stuck in their life, routine, bodies, and emotional states. I would share that you have so much more control than you ever thought possible!
How can people learn more about you?
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Next Week's Interview Marie Stone an Integrated Energy Therapy Practitioner.
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