Modern Hypnosis — No more swinging watches, no more clucking chickens…by Cheryl Shainmark

***image3***Ask most adults what they think of when they hear the word “hypnosis” and they are likely to say “stage shows,” “weight loss,” or “quitting smoking.”

Until I became a hypnotherapist myself, that would have been my response as well. Despite recent coverage in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, few people realize how hypnosis works or how widespread the use of hypnosis has become in treating a range of diverse issues such as infertility, depression, anxiety and stress reduction, irritable bowel syndrome, pain management and more. One of the most fascinating aspects of my work is that I never know who is going to walk into my door — what “ailment” a client will need help with… it’s like running an E.R. for the soul.

One of the first things people ask me is some variation of “Am I going to cluck like a chicken?” Invariably, I will tell them, “Not unless you want to!” and we will laugh together. Hypnosis is just a state of deep relaxation so you stay in control the entire time. You never do anything that you don’t want to do.

A trance is an “altered state” much like a daydream, but deeper, and you can wake yourself out of it anytime you want. If you’ve ever been driving and found yourself almost to your destination with no memory of how you got there, then you’ve been in a trance. Likewise, if you’ve ever been so immersed in a book or movie that someone had to call your name three times to get your attention, then you’ve been in a trance.

The most important difference with using hypnosis is that you do this deliberately — because research has shown that an altered state is the best way to reach the subconscious mind. So if there is any issue, problem or change that you want to work on in your life, you can do it safely and rapidly by using the hypnotic state to communicate with the subconscious.

Sometimes you may want to put information in, such as suggestions for change or for breaking an old habit, and sometimes you may want to get information out, such as the solution to a problem or an old memory that you want to work on.

Here’s another example of something that we all do from time to time: you’re thinking about a problem that you have and you’re trying to figure out a solution, so you think and you mull and you bang your head against the wall and nothing comes to you… but then later, when you’re driving or folding the laundry or falling asleep, the solution comes to you from out of nowhere. How many of us have had this experience? This is what it’s like to work with the subconscious — you kind of throw the problem “in the hopper” and your subconscious keeps working on it while you (and your conscious mind) go off and do other things. That’s how hypnosis works, and again, you can do this process deliberately — getting the best solutions for what will work for you, from your own subconscious.

***image1***So, to debunk another myth, most of us can be hypnotized because we have a lot of practice doing it in our daily lives already. There’s no magic or mumbo-jumbo involved because it’s all states of mind that we’ve created all along, kind of accidentally. As a matter of fact, most of us are so good at entering a trance that we don’t need much encouragement — remember the old black and white movies with the doctor swinging a watch and saying “You are getting sleepy… “? Well, that’s just not necessary now — it’s like using a sledgehammer to open your vitamin bottle.

Today’s hypnotherapists use a lighter touch, so to speak — generally inducing a hypnotic state by just modulating their voices and helping the client to relax naturally.

Modern hypnosis and the new hypnotherapy is geared to safe, rapid results and may be used either stand alone or in conjunction with other therapies. Hypnosis is now being used to treat adults, children and seniors, and those who are unable to use, or are opposed to drug therapies. And yes, it is safe and effective for weight issues and giving up negative habits — but if you really want to cluck like a chicken, you may have to go to Las Vegas and catch a stage show.

Merlian News Interviews Cheryl Shainmark

Cheryl has received training in advanced clinical hypnosis in areas such as regression therapy, pain management, trauma therapy, and stress reduction.

Cheryl is an active member of several community, women’s and volunteer groups, and is an instructor in self-hypnosis for Continuing Education programs in Katonah-Lewisboro, NY, Somers, NY and Ridgefield, CT.

Her professional memberships include the National Association of Transpersonal Hypnotherapists, the National Guild of Hypnotists, and the International Association of Research and Regression Therapists. In addition to her private practice, she lectures and hosts regular workshops in Mt. Kisco for learning self-hypnosis and for helping gifted and Indigo children.

For additional information and a calendar of events, please call: (914)241-3689 or visit

by Cheryl Shainmark
Cheryl Shainmark is a local resident of South Salem with a private practice in Mount Kisco, where she treats both adults and children. She is a certified hypnotherapist with an academic background in Psychology and History. Cheryl has written articles and book reviews for various publications including Clark & Fritz and Encore Books and is a frequent contributor to Merlian News.