Story written in News.com
I HAVE a filthy habit.
Or, more accurately, I had a filthy habit.
I have been a nailbiter since way back. My teen years were punctuated by my mother screaming “STOP BITING YOUR NAILS”, to which I responded with “MY IMMUNE SYSTEM IS STRONGER THAN YOURS”, because in my tiny teenage mind, I figured a positive side effect of my dirty habit was all the bacteria I was ingesting. Weirdo.
And you know that rancid-tasting “stop biting your nails” paint that is meant to deter you from sticking your hands in your mouth? I tried it, but I got used to the taste. I ended up quite liking it.
My nails (or lack thereof) at the beginning of this whole process.Source:Supplied
I’m now 35 and had pretty much given up on the notion of breaking this habit. So my interest was picqued when I received an email from a lady who claimed she could assist in beating a range of issues — including smoking, overeating, problems with anxiety or sleeping — through “virtual hypnotherapy”.
Obviously the first image this term conjured in my mind was this:
Michael J. Fox in “Back to the Future II”.Source:Supplied
But the reality is much simpler.
Basically, you go to the website, pay to download an audio track of a hypnotherapy session then you listen to it at home. It’s recommended that you do it once a day for two or three days to make sure it sticks. The purchase comes with a “lifetime guarantee” so you can listen to it as many times as you need. The lady spruiking the service, Dr Karen Phillip, a Counselling Psychotherapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist, claims the system has a success rate of more than 85 per cent (note that this comes from a sample size of around 100 people, as this is how many sessions have been sold so far).
Hypnotherapy itself is nothing new. The therapeutic process of putting people into a deeply relaxed state during which the individual has an “increased receptivity to suggestions” was approved by the American Medical Association back in 1958. Since then, it has become widely recognised by the scientific community as an effective healing tool. Brain imaging findings have supported the contention that hypnosis is a distinct form of consciousness, although how it works is still something of a mystery.
“Hypnotherapy is a powerful modality,” Dr Phillip says.
“There are many cases of surgery occurring while the patient is under hypnosis, without any drug or anaesthetics use”.
So if it’s so wonderful, has Dr Phillip used hypnosis in her own life?
“My husband also studied hypnotherapy and I required an emergency hysterectomy three years ago,” she recalls.
“My husband and I wrote a script for my speedy recovery. Instead of spending six weeks recovering I was back working after three weeks, not only that the commands used included no symptoms of menopause would be experienced. I can attest, as can my medical practitioner, that I never experienced any menopause symptoms whatsoever. No HRT used. Fast recovery, no ill affect.”
Traditionally I’ve been a bit sceptical about hypnosis. It always seemed like a bit of a placebo (ie, if you really want to quit smoking, you will stop if you truly believe in the hypnotherapy). But even if that is the reason it works, the outcome is a positive one, so why it works is kind of irrelevant I guess.
I also saw that clip of Jessica Rowe being hypnotised on TV the other week, and that all seemed weirdly convincing.
So I was game. I downloaded the audio track onto my phone, but first I wanted to check that I wasn’t going to slip into a weird hypnotic state at home (like this) and not come out of it.
“Hypnotherapy is simply a state of relaxation,” Dr Phillip assures me.
“Some relax deeply, others lightly. Providing the person is feeling relaxed the session commands enter into the subconscious mind to make the changes occur. If the person did not feel as relaxed as they wanted or were interrupted, the session can be undertaken again at any time. You will always open your eyes; the session ensures this at the end. The worst case may be you have a relaxed sleep for a short time.”
With that fear allayed, I was ready to kick off.
My first attempt was a bit of a failure. Five minutes into the session, just as I was starting to feel extremely heavy, the audio abruptly cut out as my phone auto-locks after five minutes. That was a truly rude awakening. So a word to anyone embarking on this in the future — listen to the track on a device with auto-lock switched off.
The second attempt was much more successful. I was certainly awake, but I felt like I was on the cusp of a deep slumber. I was aware of everything she was saying. The words washed over me and after the session I felt strangely refreshed afterwards.
I did the same thing for the following two days. It wasn’t all smooth sailing: on the third day I’m pretty sure I fell asleep — so my other piece of advice would be to listen to the recording when you’re not feeling drowsy.
One thing I do remember clearly from the session was the suggestion that when I put my hands near my mouth and go to bite my nails, my hands would suddenly seem unusually large and cartoon-like.
I remember thinking “hell … that sounds terrible … I don’t want that” and thankfully that hasn’t happened. Apparently that’s a common thing with this sort of hypnotherapy — you can take on board what you’re comfortable with, and leave the other stuff behind.
But back to the results. Here I am 30 days later and I haven’t bitten my nails once. Hopefully the new mindset sticks and I don’t fall off the wagon.
Look, I’m not going to be a hand model, but that’s not bad for a chronic nibbler.Source:Supplied
I am now drumming my newly lengthy nails on any hard surface, and annoying the living hell out of anyone within earshot.
… Which leaves me with an entirely new bad habit I need to break.
Read full article from Simone Mitchell of News.com.au
More information can be read re benefits of Hypnotherapy here