My Personal Journey to Hypnotherapy

In my 17 years as a clinical hypnotherapist it has become apparent that a dysfunctional family is the norm. But when the dysfunction is abusive, damage to a person’s self-esteem, confidence and self-worth will ensue.

A child’s mind is a blank slate. What parents and other authority figures write on that slate through words, actions and examples will form the foundation that child bases his life on. And the slate I am talking about is the subconscious mind. What is chiseled there remains permanent, until a new experience is imprinted over it.

My foundation was built upon the rubble of my parents’ anger, disappointment and discontent. Rather than work on those issues that existed on a personal and individual level as well as a marital level, they chose instead to blame these problems on their children. We were the cause, and as they told us, children ruin your life. As a child, I accepted that verdict because that’s what they told me. I knew only what I was told. I took on the responsibility for their happiness even though there was nothing I could do, no matter how hard I tried, to make them happy. I was a failure and very bad person to bring this much misery to my parents.

Rather than give up on this endeavor, I proceeded to give it even more effort, trying desperately to gain their acceptance. And when it didn’t come, I began to search for it in the other adults in my life; teachers, clergy, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and as I got older, even boyfriends, my husband and bosses. A behavior was formed. I didn’t even realize I was choosing relationships that would give me what I was familiar with (abuse), rather than what I was desperately seeking (acceptance and love). I was living a pattern and I was the only common denominator.

I was clinically depressed, seeing a counselor for years, taking antidepressants, and feeling miserable. I consciously knew what I was supposed to do, I knew the way I should be handling issues, but when I was in the situation I almost always reverted back to that little girl who just wanted her Daddy to love her. With every failed attempt I hated myself even more for being so weak.
I had through the grace of God a new loving and supportive husband and a beautiful little daughter. Why was I so miserable? Why couldn’t I cope with life?

One day, I realize that my boss was a man who treated me just like my father did. Only the physical abuse was missing. I had to get out, but I was too afraid. And once again, fate stepped in. On a particularly unhappy day, on my way to lunch, with tears streaming down my face, begging God to make this stop, I passed a hypnotherapy clinic. The sign said, “Quit Smoking”, “Loss Weight”, “Manage Stress”. I thought, “I don’t have to quit smoking, but the other two things sound good.” I made an appointment for a free consultation. I was leery. I had all the misconceptions most people have about hypnosis, but I just had a feeling. I went with my gut.

The hypnotherapist explained that the most powerful part of the mind, the subconscious (estimated at 88 – 99% of the mind), operates from what has been chiseled into it, or to use a computer analogy, what was programmed into it. Meanwhile, the conscious part of my awareness, at only 1 – 12%, where my desire to change was held, was fighting an unbeatable foe in the powerful subconscious.

That was the missing link; that was the realization that explained everything. Through hypnotherapy and positive suggestions I could retrain my subconscious to respond the way I wanted it to respond. So, in 1995 I began sessions. Within a year, at my doctor’s instructions I weaned myself off the antidepressants and in 1997 I began training to become a certified clinical hypnotherapist. If I could help someone, the way I had been helped, then that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

I became certified in clinical hypnotherapy in 1998. I have never looked back. I have reformatted and reprogrammed the hard drive in my head, and now I am living my life the way I choose to live it. I don’t chase after impossible expectations. I don’t crave people or habits that are harmful. I don’t hold myself or others up to withering and irrational scrutiny. Even better, I realize that I control my own destiny, and other people don’t have the key to my life.
Once you break the shackles of the past, it is an empowering feeling, and that is why I chose Empowerment Strategies as the name of my practice. I finally did it, and now it is my life’s work to help others to do the same thing.

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