Q. During the workshop, you said you prefer to explore sources of joy, rather than pain, but painful memories often arise during therapy. So, should one just focus on learning how to draw positive emotions from negative experiences?
A. I certainly think that is an important part of life. There is a rule at play in therapy, that says we can’t change the past, but we can change our perceptions of it. And we do all the time. Our perceptions of the past are constantly changing and drawing positive out of negative is a big part of that. You’re allowing that perception to change.
Q. Do you believe in talk therapy?
A. Of course. I’ve been to talk therapy and it helped me. There’s not one tool that’s going to work 100% of the time. A valid criticism of the entire field, from the most fringe things like what I do, to the most conventional, is that it’s set up poorly. There’s no structure. When somebody needs help, they don’t know what tool is for them. Hypnosis needs to get into [pop] culture, because if it’s in the culture, then young people have an idea of what’s going on. Talk therapy got into pop culture; think of The Sopranos, or In Treatment. Even if it’s on a TV show, when hypnosis is portrayed, it’s not portrayed accurately, there’s always an element of tricking people.
Q. Why do people often relate hypnosis to negative connotations such as being tricked?
A. Stage hypnosis is all about tricking people.
Q. How do you think regression therapy differs from conventional therapy?
A. Wildly. Most people who come to me have tried that and it didn’t work; most people who come to a regression therapist have tried most things and now they’re coming to me–and that’s fine, that’s actually a good place to operate from. I also feel, and this is agreed upon with most people I speak to who are either hypnotherapists or mental healthcare professionals, that the talk therapy model set up by Freud doesn’t work for anybody below the age of 40 these days.
Q. Why is that?
A. The generation divide. Different needs. The baby boomer generation, there’s a lot of repression there. The general tendency was to repress things. Do not talk about them. So people sought therapy to talk. Today there is so much communication. There is so much voicing of how we feel. It’s a very different thing. Today people need things like focus. They need a connection to the present moment. People need mind-influence practices. The tools haven’t changed, but the needs are very different from what they were. The quarter-life crisis of people between the ages of 22 and 28 is a very real thing; People not knowing what they’re doing when they get out of college, it’s very natural. It’s everywhere.
Q. How can hypnotherapy help people figure out what they want to do for a career?
A. It’s a tool for self-examination. It’s a wonderful tool for understanding our own ideas. I love working with creative people with hypnosis, writers as well. For instance, if you have an idea for a piece you want to write, in hypnosis we can follow that idea to its core, emotionally: What powers that idea has. Where did it come from? Does it trace back to some memory when you were four years old and this certain thing took place? And that idea that you had, that has blossomed into a story, began with that feeling.
There’s a Camus quote, that I’m surely going to get wrong, but it’s something to the effect of: “[A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek] to rediscover, through the detours of art, those [two or three] great and simple images in [whose] presence [his] heart first opened.” So, in the presence of those images where our heart first opened, when we’re creating our artwork, that’s what we’re trying to get back to. With hypnosis we can actually facilitate that and go in our minds to the inception of our creative power.