"Local Hypnotists Open Eyes to Wellness"
Featured in the Alexandria Times
January 6, 2011
Volume 7, Number 1
Story and Photos by Derrick Perkins
Visit the Alexandria Times Website to Read the Article in its Entirety.
Local hypnotists open eyes to wellness
THURSDAY, JANUARY 6 2011
By Derrick Perkins
Jason Linett’s been hypnotizing people for five years now, but like many in his field, he doesn’t keep a pocket watch handy in his Alexandria office.
“I don’t have the swinging watches and I don’t say, ‘Look into my eyes, you’re getting sleepy,’” he said Monday, the day before the seventh annual World Hypnotism Day – a global event held to dispel the myths surrounding the practice.
“Hypnotism isn’t what we see on TV or in movies, that is very different from what it actually is,” said Linett, an Alexandria hypnotist. “[Hypnotism] is very often portrayed as struggle of power or commanding another person. In truth it’s very natural, very open. In most cases somebody is coming to see me to lose weight or quit smoking.”
Far from the stages of Las Vegas or the vaudevillian shows of old, Linett helps clients into a trance-like state — more like daydreaming than sleeping — with a series of tasks designed to get the conscious mind out of the way. Then Linett talks to the subconscious mind about giving up old fears or bad habits.
He doesn’t tell them to do anything. Whether the individual changes their ways is ultimately up to them, Linett said.
“If it’s somebody who wants to quit smoking, it’s not necessarily that they’re dropping the cigarettes, which they are, but that they’re gaining control over their own life,” he said. “Think about somebody who has achieved that, what else can they do?”
But the word ‘hypnotism’ carries a lot of baggage, dating back to the days of George Du Maurier’s novel of Svengali’s use of the technique to imprison and manipulate a young woman. Tom Nicoli, the practitioner who founded and still organizes World Hypnotism Day, believes people are beginning to separate fact from the fictional characterization of the technique.
“When you’re in a daydream state you’re also in a hypnotic state, so it’s a natural state you’re in all day long,” Nicoli said. “People think … ‘Will I wake up?’ Well, you’re not asleep. It’s the same thing as daydreaming; you have no loss of control. All hypnotism is self hypnotism — you must be a willing participant.”
The idea that someone else could use hypnotism to control an individual against his or her will is the most pervasive misperception Nicoli deals with, he said. And it may be the reason so many hypnotists have moved away from that title while using the same methods to help people struggling with phobias, stress and pain.
“There are many people using this process, calling it positive thinking or power of the mind, when it’s still hypnosis,” he said. “It’s just a word and people have been so misdirected.”
Local hypnotherapist Pamela Prevar compared a session in her Old Town office to fixing a computer virus. It’s all about reminding a client’s mind why they want to change for the better, she said.
“Forget Hollywood, we talk about some realistic step you can take, but you have to take the step,” Prevar said. “It’s something that you have to want to do. For most people it works very well.”
For Linett, helping people overcome their phobias is the best part of the job. Fear of spiders or heights likely stem from upsetting childhood experiences, he said, long since forgotten but for the subconscious mind.
He hopes World Hypnotism Day will open eyes similarly closed by the stigma attached to the word.
“It’s been around in some form forever,” Linett said. “It’s a natural ability we have.”
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Our Alexandria Hypnosis office is accessible to all Northern Virginia areas.
Our services are convenient to Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties, and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas, and Manassas Park. Our location is a short distance away from Prince George's, Montgomery, and Howard County in Maryland.
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