Not only do I love working with clients, but I also love discussing ethics in our profession. Here's another installment on issues that can arise in hypnosis practice.
Client Safety: Members shall not engage in verbal, physical or sexual abuse of any client. A principle from the NGH Code of Ethics.
When it comes to this code of ethics principle while it may appear cut and dried, there is room for confusion. Let's examine a fact pattern:
A hypnotist and her client have had three sessions so far and both client and practitioner are happy with the professional relationship – client achieving their stated agenda and the practitioner happy to have this committed and invested client. It becomes clear to both of them though, that there is a mutual attraction between them. After the third session, the client suggests they should go out for a drink sometime. The practitioner accepts and a ‘date’ is set. The date comes and goes and the experience was enjoyable for both and only confirmed the mutual romantic interest. The two continue to work together in a professional relationship for a few more sessions but also date and ultimately become more serious and intimate. Lets stop the scenario here.
What are the implications?
What could go wrong?
What is at risk?
The NGH code states that a hypnotist “shall not engage in … sexual abuse of any client” – would or could this be considered sexual abuse?
As we can see, these ethical issues can get tricky. Here, it appears we have two consenting adults, authentically attracted to each other and both mature enough to manage an intimate relationship while in a professional relationship. And in many circumstances this scenario could easily unfold without a hitch. But when it goes bad and fails, it can really do some damage.
So what is one to do? Here's a possible solution:
Assuming both want to pursue a personal relationship, they should agree to terminate the professional relationship. The hypnotist should refer the client to another hypnotist so that the client continues to get the change work they desire and the hypnotist keeps business as business. While both get the benefit of enjoying each other’s company in a lot less awkward way.
What would you do?
A concerned mother called and reported her five year old son had a bad habit of biting his nails. The nail biting was bad enough to cause infection and the young man didn’t like the pain resulting from his unsightly habit.
Children can be a double-edged sword. While they can be very open and creative imaginations, and are highly receptive to suggestion, they can also be challenging to keep focused. In this instance, this young man was also very animated, and could hardly keep still. The great thing about him was he wanted the change. I asked him why he was here to see me and he confidently stated “I want to stop biting my nails … they hurt … and it makes me feel bad.” He was impressively articulate for being five years old.
While he was serious about change, his attention was all over and so I had to develop some unique induction and change work techniques that would accommodate this. In circumstances with kids, hypnotists often will shorten hypnosis sessions as a strategy to get the suggestions in while not mentally tiring or boring the client. In this instant, I used several micro hypnotic sessions and 'magic moon rocks' and crystals that ensured compounded suggestions.
The client required three visits and became more invested each time. Progress was noted with each visit. Months later a conversation with his mother confirmed the young man was doing great and still not biting his nails, she said “…it’s like night and day!”
As a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, I pledge to uphold the NGH Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. This code is especially important to me since it offers solid guidance for a hypnotist to practice their art while conducting good business operations.
One principle that is extremely important is Client Welfare:
Members shall make the physical and mental well-being of each client a prime
This principle supports a client centered approach to hypnosis where each client’s agenda is unique to them, some want to change eating habits, others want to stop smoking. But a hypnosis plan of action doesn’t stop with a client’s agenda. Every person has different needs, different backgrounds and operates within their own unique perspective. This must be taken into consideration when designing a hypnosis process to help them bring about change. A successful hypnotic process on enhancing sports performance with one client may not work with the next client seeking the same outcome.
What better way to consider the client’s well being than to design and tailor a specific hypnotic process that accounts for their whole being? The practitioner that limits their work to published scripts and established routines not only risks underserving clients, but also misses out on valuable opportunities for experiencing how powerful the art of suggestion can be. Working with each client individually and designing a hypnotic process that works for them forces the hypnotist to craft real solutions that help the client achieve wanted outcomes. Milton Erickson was an expert at using the client’s background and particular circumstances to establish a connective rapport and move them to solution and serves as a legendary example of how to honor the client’s physical and mental well being.
What's your thoughts - leave a comment below.
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For me personally, I am so thankful for the NMDP in it's effort to collect donor information and provide education and resources. And I'm especially happy and thankful for my donor for giving me a second chance at life.
You can learn more about the National Marrow Donor Program here:
In early 2017 I worked with four clients that wanted to stop smoking. All four of these clients had something in common - they had decided to give themselves the gift of hypnosis to stop their habit. If fact one in particular said, I give presents to my kids, husband, but I always forget me..."so this is a gift for me this year." And that was the theme of the other three clients - taking care of themselves with a gift.
As we close out 2017, I checked in with these four folks to see how they were doing. All of them are enjoying their new smoke free life. Each reported coughing up junk from their lungs, but it was a different kind of cough, a "cleaning out cough". All reported having more energy, feeling an overall sense of better health. They all reported saving money and one was putting money away for a vacation.
I share this with you because you deserve health and a clean breathing life - smelling better, keeping your money, and feeling stronger. It's never too late to start and while you are busy providing for everyone else and giving to others, don't forget to give to YOU.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season!
It is my opinion that any living being is going to experience anxiety at some point in their life. Anxiety is a good thing as it helps us manage risk and see situations from all aspects, Anxiety can help insure that we are prepared for challenges such as academic tests or physical responsibilities. Those with increased anxiety may be more deliberate thinkers that exercise stronger judgment. So there are many ways that anxiety can manifest and present positive outcomes for people.
For some though, too much anxiety can produce a limiting effect that slows one down and inhibits the full experience of life. If this is you, hypnosis may present an alternative solution in addition to meditation, spiritual exercises, a mental health provider or medication.
Using hypnosis, I have helped many clients manage anxiety, reframe past trauma, and mitigate limiting behaviors. Life's too short to let anxiety rule your experience. If you are seeing a mental health professional, consider asking them if hypnosis would be an option for you. If you are not seeing a mental health professional and would like to learn more about hypnosis, just Google some key words - "hypnosis and anxiety" for example and you will see lots of helpful information. When you are ready, contact me and I will be happy to consult with you specifically about your situation and the outcomes you desire.
Fear of Flying Case study. Client suffered from air travel anxiety since childhood. Symptoms included severe anxiety and disturbing dreams up to several days before the flight, inability to relax on the plane or enjoy the flying experience. Additionally, her severe fear of flying impacted her travel companions. "I just want to go on a flight and be normal." "My fear of flying impacts my work because I can't travel to conferences, training, and other important events."
The client was serious about change as evidenced in her words and actions. To prepare for change and prior to starting hypnosis sessions with me she watched educational videos and also read articles relating to her fear of flying. Additionally, she scheduled air travel, that purposefully included layovers, two months out from the start of her sessions.
Our sessions occurred weekly and the client attended four hypnosis sessions prior to air travel. The strategies used were tailored to her specific circumstances and desired outcomes. She was receptive and invested in the process.
After returning from her planned travel, the client gave a positive report that she 'enjoyed' four flights (2 going there, 2 coming back). The client was able to sleep and read on the jet and even her spouse noted a remarkable difference in her demeanor from previous flights. The client then 'fessed up' and told her spouse she had visited a hypnotist to address the fear.
Approximately one month after the air travel, the client returned for a final 'capstone' session to further compound the work she had done and also further cement this new found freedom of air travel in her subconscious mind.
People ask me that question all the time. Or they say, "I don't think I can be hypnotized" ... "there's no way I can go under". The truth is, just about everyone can be hypnotized. If you drive a vehicle and arrive at your destination and notice that you cannot remember any of the drive there, then you have experienced a mild form of hypnosis. We often call this 'highway hypnosis'.
Same thing with watching a movie or television show. We all know its fictional - with a director calling the shots, actors, and a script. But often, we get lost in the story, buy into it, cry, laugh, get angry, or demonstrate some emotion. Again - its a mild form of hypnosis.
One of my best success stories was a guy that thought he would have trouble 'going under'. I told him "we are not going 'under' anything, rather, we are going to relax you and soon after you'll go into a hypnotic state." He did awesome and went very far into the hypnotic process. Now he has been off of a 2 pack a day smoking habit for nearly a year and he is super pleased with his new healthy lifestyle.
So if you are reading this and you think you cannot be hypnotized - think again!
Last month on a lovely Saturday afternoon a woman called me requesting an immediate appointment for her 10 year old daughter (lets call her Kisha). The family had traveled to Baltimore a thousand miles from home to attend the Kisha's gymnastics competition. Thursday and Friday were practice days and it was clear the young girl was experiencing a lack of confidence. Both mom and daughter were very concerned because Sunday was the competition and Kisha's performance was really off. The mother had heard that children can be amenable to hypnosis and decided to give it a try. She said to me, "I want to do every thing I can to help her and increase her chances of success... I know how important this is for her esteem, and how much she wants to be part of the team."
In our phone consult, Kisha's mom provided me some background and also alerted me that Kisha had experienced some trauma in her past. This information along with some other details allowed me to start thinking through a strategy specific to and tailored for Kisha.
When the call came I was enjoying late afternoon yard work. Earlier that day, I had finished with my hypnosis clients and it was all about relaxing now. When Kisha's mom called, I heard her passion and realized she was so serous and wanted her daughter to succeed. She even became slightly emotional describing how Kisha's confidence seemed to disappear with each routine she practiced. There was no way I could say no. They were at the office an hour later.
Before they arrived, I consulted some notes and references and developed a plan specifically designed for Kisha. We had a lengthy session and it was obvious that she settled well into the hypnotic state.
The next week after the family had returned from their long journey home the mother called me. She was moved to tears at how well her daughter performed - she had even performed a (I think it was called ) standing back flip, several times with great ease and confidence. Kisha's mom went on to report how they're both sold on hypnosis.
It is always a pleasure working with young people. My youngest clients have been seven years old. We have addressed hair pulling, nail biting, confidence, sports and academic performance. Often both parents and kids are surprised at how well the young person responds to hypnosis.
Baltimore Stop Smoking!
I mean it!
I am passionate about helping people stop smoking and since I started my hypnosis practice, I've helped many, many people stop tobacco. No matter if you smoke 2 - 3 packs a day, or you've been smoking for so long that you've given up hope. It's never too late.
In my experience there are two big things help a person give up tobacco:
1. They must be ready - the smoker must really want to put smoking behind them. They are tired of being winded. Hate the way they smell. The idea of dying prematurely and surviving through heart disease, lung problems, cancer, etc. is daunting. They are just ready.
Often my clients say - "I don't want to end up like my mom, dying early from ________."
2. The hypnosis should be tailored to the individual client's needs. There are some organizations that pull 20 or more people into a room, hypnotize them in a smoking cessation program and the result is all over the place. A few folks quit for good, a few walk out of the program and light up. And theres a bunch in between that will stay off tobacco for various amounts of time. Many folks that have attended these mass hypnosis sessions come to me after the fact very disappointed in the experience. This tells me that it is so important to tailor hypnosis solutions to the needs of the client.
When you are ready to quit - hypnosis is a great solution that can help you make positive change in your life. Make sure the strategy you use is designed with you in mind and supports you in this important milestone in your life.
Smoking at work costs employers untold amounts of money and time. Not to mention how it impacts moral and the engagement of other employees.
It reminds me of a time when I was in the Coast Guard, and stationed on a ship in Boston. One day I was making my rounds and a young seaman that worked for me was sitting outside, not working, and enjoying the sun shining on his face. Puzzled, I asked him what he was doing, he was one of my best workers - a real leader, and so it was odd seeing him sit there. He said he was on a 'smoke break'. This was odd as well, because I knew he didn't smoke. He told me that he was tired of his peers taking impromptu smoking breaks, standing around and not getting anything done. So, out of frustration, he decided to take a break as well. This was a hard-working and engaged employee was put off by the added 'perks' of being a smoker. 'Gabby' was his nick name and he told me that he added it up once and that his work group lost about 20% productivity because of all the smoke breaks.
Bottom line - If you think your non-smoking employees are okay with your smoking employees, you a probably wrong.
BMH has smoking cessation plans for corporate clients that are interested in helping employees stop smoking. If this sounds like a good option for your organization, please contact BMH and we'll set up a free consultation.
A male senior citizen that had been smoking 1 - 2 packs of cigarettes for more than 41 years. Stopped smoking after three hypnosis sessions. He's been off cigarettes now for more than 16 months. Activity has increased, sleeping and overall health has improved.
A highly motivated female client that smoked 1 - 2 packs cigarettes for 15 years. Stopped smoking after the first hypnosis session. Was seen for one more session to compound results. Has not smoked for over a year.
A female that had been smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for over thirty years stopped smoking after four hypnosis sessions. Combined her new lifestyle change with a wellness plan (with her doctor's advice) and now reports to be in 'fabulous' health. Has been a non smoker for nearly two years.
Do you have a smoking cessation story you'd like to share, please do so in the comments!
When it comes to making a big change in your life it's best to stop and consider all of your resources. My most successful clients are those that use this approach.
Once they have considered their resources, they then set a plan in motion with their resources in mind and this helps to reach their objective.
For example, lets suppose a client has decided to reduce their weight. After careful consideration they come up with the following list of resources:
1. Themselves. Knowing they are strong and can set and achieve a goal if they really want to.
2. Friends. Get friends on board with the change they want. If their friends cannot support them, then surround themselves with friends that will.
3. Family. Same as above. Get family involved (to the best extent possible).
4. Structures. Post notes around the house about their goals, craft a vision board.
5. Group. Join a group with the same objective - Weight Watchers, Overeaters Anonymous.
6. Other tools. Hypnosis, visualization, intention, the gym, the pool, etc.
The new year often brings about the inspiration to change a behavior or to start doing something that is beneficial. These are known as new year's resolutions.
Often, these resolutions are not upheld because we rarely develop a plan to achieve our objectives, or we put little or no effort into it.
If you have decided on a new year's resolution, here are a few points to consider that may help you be more successful:
1. Write it down. Spell it out in a journal or on a sheet of paper, and get detailed with it.
2. Tell someone about it. This builds in a level of accountability.
3. Take action. The goal will not make itself happen, so you must take action.
4. Resources. Align your internal strengths, and outside resources to bring this resolution into your reality.
My teacher uses the story that hypnosis is a tool just like a hammer. In order for a hammer to do anything, you need to pick it up and use it.
The hammer will not work on it's own.
I used to chuckle when my teacher would say, "Can you imagine taking the hammer back to the customer service area at the store and returning it because it doesn't work?" I agreed with him - the staff there would look at you like you are crazy.
Life is hard and many challenges come our way. We often have solutions around us that can help including hypnosis. Are you using all the tools in your life?
Here are some tools that I often turn too:
We develop patterns to help us negotiate everyday life. Sometimes the patterns are good - maybe we read before bed, maybe it's daily meditation, a daily walk.
We get into trouble when the pattern is not benign or positive but rather negative and even destructive. Patterns such as using tobacco, eating the wrong things at the wrong time, gambling, harmful sexual behavior, grinding teeth, picking our skin, or pulling our hair out, just to name a few. These patterns start when we feel uneasy, stressed, anxious, or uncertain. These patterns can start when we are traumatized or hurt.
Hypnosis can help identify and interrupt negative patterns. Once you have identified the negative pattern, you are armed with powerful information that helps you regain control of your life. You can design new patterns that re constructive, helpful positive and support you. If you are tired of the same old destructive patterns in your life, taking back control is much easier than you think and hypnosis can help.
Next time you see yourself engaging in a bad pattern take these simple steps to create more awareness and control:
1. Notice the negative pattern (you going to the fridge well past dinner).
2. Stop yourself - go someplace other than the kitchen instead, try the living room, or your backyard and sit for a few minutes. Ask "Why am I wanting to eat now?". it may take a while to answer that question and if so thats okay. But ask it every time you go to reach for unnecessary food.
3. Set in motion a new, positive pattern. Instead of going to get unneeded food, instead go outside and take three deep breathes, go look at a pretty scene or picture and say a silent prayer, do some push-ups or stretch instead.
Sound easy - well it's not - at first that is. But once you have done it a couple of times, it get's easier
This past weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to explore regression and other hypnotic techniques taught by an esteemed colleague Racquel Knight of Hypnosis Columbia. It was an excellent and well attended event full of lively discussion and great instruction. I can't say enough good stuff about Racquel, not only an exceptional hypnotist, but a dear friend as well.
Learn more about Hypnosis Columbia and Racquel at:
If you haven't been to the Baltimore Maryland Hypnosis store in a while, please stop by. We have designed a variety of new multi-session packages and some that combine both hypnosis + professional coaching. Also included is a custom tailored audio that's designed to meet your individual needs.
The term mesmerism is attributed to Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer who was one of the early influencers of modern hypnosis. Dr. Mesmer believed there was a natural energy, a magnetic resonance between living and non-living objects. He termed this energy animal magnetism, and the theory gained popularity in the 18th century. While Mesmer was on the right track that there was an energy at play within living organisms (some theorize that his beliefs were in alignment with the Chinese practices of Qigong) he had unconventional methods that brought concern among his colleagues.
A botched attempt a treating a patient led Mesmer to leave Vienna for Paris. There, he continued to practice medicine and his theories of animal mesmerism. In 1784, King Louis XVI ordered a commission (that included American Benjamin Franklin) to investigate Mesmer's practices. The commission determined that there was little to support Mesmer's practices and that his findings could be attributed to the imagination of the patient. The investigation ultimately led to his exile to Germany.
Mesmer's work is important in that it created more awareness on the patient's imagination and that through autosuggestion, change could be influenced.
Parents often call me asking "Can my child be hypnotized?" The answer is YES! In my experience children are often very amenable to hypnosis. In fact, kids respond really well to hypnosis. Maybe it's a component of their lack of world experience or a more robust imagination but many children find it easy to go into hypnosis and benefit from the change work as well. Over the years, I have been able to help young people improve school & sports performance, increase confidence, stop nail biting, hair pulling and more.
Working with young people is great because of the energy they bring to the session - I sense an open-mindedness and awareness that is just not there with adults. It's also impressive when the child has asked to come see the hypnotist... this tells me the young person is ready for change and they have often done their research and are already committed to the process.
Recently a client came to me about hair pulling. She is a strong and independent woman that has battled hair pulling for more than three decades. After she put this embarrassing habit behind her, she said to me "I wish I had used hypnosis back when I was a young kid, when my hair pulling started... it would have saved me a lot of pain..." For those parents with a child that is suffering from a self-limiting behavior, I strongly encourage you to consider hypnosis now, while your child is young. I offer a free consultation to answer any of your questions.
Very excited about my 2016 advertising campaign and here is one element of it. A dear friend Marc Lussier designed this advertisement for display on a prominent LED billboard here in Baltimore (the largest LED billboard between Atlanta and NYC).
It can be seen near Baltimore's Penn Station. Tell me what you think.
Here we are well into the month of January, Many have made those fabled New Year's resolutions. Did you make one? If so, how's it coming? Are you still on track, and making progress? A New Year's resolution is pretty much just like any goal, it just coincides with the new year, heralding a new beginning... out with the old and in with the new.
When it comes to any goal here are some simple steps you can take to increase your success:
Decide & Intend you goal. Think about exactly what it is you want, how it will look, how you will feel when you achieve it, what it's execution will mean for you. Once you have a good grasp of what you want make a deliberate decision to take action on it.
Write it down. Capture exactly what you want on paper. If you journal, write out a short headline in the journal of the goal along with 2 -3 sentences about the specifics of it. Then compound the effect by writing the goal's short title again on note cards (or even better) sticky notes and post them where you can see them. If you do not journal, just write the goal itself out on the sticky notes.
Publish it. Thats a fancy way of saying tell someone. Tell your friend, a family member, a coworker, a peer, Tell one person or a bunch of people, make a blog post or put it on Facebook. Just make it known to others.
All of these steps send out the signal of how serious you are and only help to affirm your outcomes. Of course, if you need an additional boost, your local hypnotist can help maximize the power of your intent by helping you harness your subconscious mind. What to learn more, call me today for a free consultation.
Mark your calendar - January 4th is recognized throughout the world as the day we give our attention and appreciation to the art of hypnosis.
As I review 2015, I am so happy for and proud of my clients and the changes they have brought about through hypnosis. During the past year I have had the pleasure of helping clients: lose weight, stop smoking, stop nail biting, stop hair pulling, increase confidence, improve academic performance, and more.
I'm looking forward to 2016 and helping even more clients bring out their best, helping other hypnotists through our new NHG Chapter build community and expertise, and conducting new small group workshops that allow customers to explore hypnosis.
The new year will be here before you know it. Are you looking forward to bringing old habits into the new year? Are you wanting to continue with the same story line, the same behaviors that don't serve you? Does the thought of continuing to let your weight, smoking, or stress control you in the new year sound appealing?
Why not start the new year off right - make a commitment for change.
Scott Howard is an NGH certified consulting hypnotist and the President of the Baltimore City Chapter of the National Guild of Hypnotists. Scott is dedicated to helping everyday people with everyday problems through hypnosis.