When people find out I’m a hypnotist, after the obligatory question “will you make me cluck like a chicken?”, comes a set of questions that are important to the rest of our interaction, like: Is hypnosis real, does it work, will it work for me?

Well I’ve had some experiences lately that have helped clarify my thinking. Maybe it’s happened to you…

Last week a patient who had regularly needed Valium to be relaxed enough to visit the dentist asked me to be with her during her crown prep appointment. At that appointment the dentist would drill the affected area of the tooth, take out any damage or decay, and create a mold for the lab to produce the new piece. The patient was nervous about the procedure but decided she would use hypnotherapy only, no Valium or Nitrous (laughing gas.) I’d helped her once before, during a teeth cleaning, and now she was ready to take it a step further.

During the procedure I helped her focus on her internal resources and gave her some suggestions to be able to fade the sound of the drill and possibly uncomfortable dental noises like the scraping and suctioning, while being able to clearly hear my voice and my instructions. I also gave her suggestions about how easy the procedure would be and that she would be pleasantly surprised it went by so fast and smoothly.

When the procedure was over, Dr. David was excited about the results and commented “I feel like you hypnotized us too”, and she added “there are a lot of noises in the procedure and your voice was the only one we kept hearing” and “It made it less noisy, faster, more comfortable…” – Here’s an impromptu video with their comments:

So to answer the question “is hypnosis real?”: In my experience, hypnosis is not only real but contagious! Second Hand Hypnosis produces predictable results. It can work when you’re in the dental chair and it can work even when you’re not the intended recipient, as long as you’re listening. Will it work for you? If you’ve ever been swayed or consumed by the news or cried at a movie… you’re as hypnotizable as the rest of us.

These statements might seem bold, but consider this. Dr. David called me the day after the crown prep appointment saying she wants to learn more about the language of ethical influence, because just by listening to me work with her patient she had learned how to use a simple technique with an anxious child and experienced great results.

In the hypnotherapy office we don’t diagnose, treat or prescribe. Those are words and actions reserved for the medical, dental and mental health professions and rightly so. What we do is offer experiential learning and skill building sessions. Much like Dr. David found a new automatically installed skill she could use with a patient, our NLP and hypnosis clients learn ways to deal with pain, anxiety and other uncomfortable situations in the most natural and effortless way.

Incidentally, when I talk about internal resources I’m referring to the thoughts and knowledge humans already have which can be harnessed and directed to bring about the therapeutic and medical changes we’re after.

Dr. David and her patient learned just how natural the hypnotic process is and most importantly that it’s not magic but skill. I have since received an email from the patient saying she believes she’s ready to go to her next appointment and use the skills on her own, and a phone call from the Doctor saying she wants to learn more for the benefit of the rest of her patients. Their belief is that hypnosis works. Ironically, it is that belief that makes it work more effectively.

The beauty and the curse of hypnosis is that it’s a subjective and unique experience to all, which makes standardized testing an inadequate tool for measuring its results. It is up to interested parties to openly discuss cases such as this, where hypnosis worked first hand, second hand, and even when using it without a full understanding as in the case of Dr. David’s anxious young patient.

Hypnosis is another language: The language of ethical influence. And like any other language, developing fluency requires practice and dedication. So while a student with 50 hours of training might know enough to get around, the person who practices regularly and continues to expand his/her knowledge can learn to have entirely natural hypnotic conversations and create the proper context for those inner resources to come alive in the appropriate situation.

If you’re a hypnotist who works or wants to work with dentists, join me for this webinar in which I will share with you:



Learn more about Isabel David, DDS. on her website www.isabeldavidsmile.com and about the work we do with dental professionals at www.hypnodontist.com


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