Dr. Natalie Candela
Hypnosis for Behavioral Change
At some point in our lives, most of us want to change something about ourselves – whether it is to eat healthier or stop smoking, get motivated to complete a project or stop experiencing anxiety in social situations. We are taught that if we just have enough will power, we can accomplish whatever we want, but most of us find that this is not exactly true, and even in cases where it is (for example, starving yourself to lose weight), once we stop applying the brute force, we eventually tend to slide into the old behaviors. The reason this happens is because that part of us that wants to change – our conscious mind – is only responsible for 10-12% of our decision-making. The remaining 88-90% is controlled by our subconscious mind.
Our subconscious is a combination of “programs” that we have absorbed, accepted, and internalized since our early childhood. In modern terms, subconscious mind represents our “institutionalized” thinking – the things that are accepted so deeply that they become the way of life and are generally not questioned. This type of programming is responsible for the vast majority of our decision-making throughout the day. Therefore, when all 10% of our conscious decision-making commits to a change, we begin to experience a push-back from an overwhelming force that works to maintain the status quo.
Our subconscious mind doesn’t do this to hurt us. It does it because its job is to keep us safe, and it erroneously believes that this is the best way to protect us. This belief comes from the fact that at some time in the past this really was the best way to protect us. For example, smoking a cigarette really was the best way for us to feel camaraderie instead of loneliness; avoiding highways really was the best way for us to feel physically and emotionally safe. But as time passed, we came to a conscious realization that those things no longer served us and were, in fact, very limiting. And so as we make a decision to change our behavior, we quickly realize that while our conscious mind wants to go right, our subconscious mind steers us wrong… (I mean, left).
Behavioral hypnotherapy focuses on communicating with the subconscious mind and helping it change its view on what might be the best way to keep you safe and protected. We do that by first putting your conscious mind into a place of rest and relaxation. When the conscious mind is relaxed, it loosens its grip on analysis and reasoning, the two things that
form the doorway to the subconscious. Loosened grip on analysis and reasoning does not mean that you become helpless or out of control, unable to reason about what is being done to you. It simply means that your constant inner critic takes a break and does not interfere with the process. For example, if I ask a fully-conscious person to imagine that she puts all her fears into a balloon and then pops the balloon, the person will likely think, “Well, that’s stupid. You can’t put fear into a balloon. That doesn’t make sense. It’s make-belief, and it’s silly.” But if I ask a person in a trance to do the same thing, her judgment on the silliness of the
situation will be suspended, and she will just imagine what I suggest.
Imagining things in our mind is an important part of hypnosis because our subconscious mind does not know the difference between an actual and imagined experience. So once the conscious mind is relaxed, the hypnotherapist helps the subconscious mind to have an internal experience that can release unhelpful associations and build helpful ones. The more this is reinforced, the more the new view of reality integrates into the subconscious mind and becomes the new running program. So, for example, in the beginning, the person’s subconscious mind might have told him to pick up a cigarette so that he would feel accepted among (high school) peers, and in the end, the person’s subconscious mind might tell him to put down a cigarette so that he feels accepted among (health-conscious) peers. We maintain the sense of belonging, but give the subconscious mind a different way to accomplish it.
Hypnotic work that helps people make behavioral changes is the core of hypnotherapy. But behavioral changes don’t have to be about changing something bad to something good. They can also be about enhancing something that is already positive. For example, athletes use hypnosis to improve their performance. Since subconscious mind does not know the difference between real and imagined, once a person sees him or herself making a shot or delivering a speech, this experience is absorbed into the visceral body memory and is viewed by the subconscious mind as a memory of an actual event instead of a mere visualization.
What my clients say...
"I’d tried meditation, medication, therapy, and group support but, even collectively, these were only barely leaving a dent on my pervasive anxiety. Dr. Candela was immediately intuitive as to a hypnotic technique that would help me cope. After just three sessions within one month’s time, I was feeling tremendous relief. She additionally provided great lifestyle recommendations for keeping my recovery on track. Dr. Candela is truly professional and compassionate. I can’t recommend her enough."
William K., Sterling Heights, MI
"Natalie is a wise, insightful and compassionate hypnotherapist. It was amazing how she could quickly understand my complex issues and determine a unique and specialized session specific to my needs and my challenges with relationships, communications, and a complicated health issue. She has helped me resolve issues that have haunted me all my adult life. I look forward to a freer, more rewarding future because of hypnotherapy."
Cheryl H., IN
The day I walked into Dr. Candela's office, I had one of the most interesting conversations I had ever had with another human being. Immediately I felt right at home. I felt safe and comfortable to talk about anything, and best of all, I could be the one true me. With the help of regular hypnotherapy and QHHT, I have been able to focus on my classes and homework without any ADHD medications and have become happy with where I am in life. I have learned to put away old bitter feelings and emotions, remove old grudges, and shine brighter than ever before. I have become a much more enthusiastic person, knowing what I want, where I am going, and what my purpose is. Dr. Candela helped me work through the issues that negatively affected my concentration, leading me toward greater mental and emotional stability. In fact, I have experienced more improvements within the three months of weekly hypnotherapy sessions than I had within the nine years of taking ADHD medications. It is hard for me to describe just how thankful I am for everything Dr. Candela has done for me, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you!"
Jon P., Loveland, OH