Recommend a hypnotherapist in L.A.
November 2, 2007 2:23 PM   Subscribe

Does hypnotherapy actually help change your behavior? Can you recommend a good--and relatively low-priced--hypnotherapist in the L.A. area who can help me get in shape and work on some other issues?

I've never been to hypnotherapy and I'm not sure I believe in it, but I want to try it out and see what happens.

Does it take one visit or many visits? How much does it cost? What does it feel like? Do you notice a difference right away?
posted by HotPatatta to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Oh boy... MeFi holds hypnotherapy in low regard, somewhere between psychics and homeopathy. So this question may wendell.

You have to understand that what used to be called hypnotherapy is now most often referred to as "relaxation therapy." As such it is about as useful as other mediative treatments for reducing anxiety and other issues... which is slightly better than placebo.

Only charlatans will tell you that hypnotherapy will create a dramatic change in behavior, restore lost memories, or unblock whatever mental path is keeping you from going to the gym four days a week.

Since your focus is to "get in shape" (which is highly subjective, but I take to mean, "help me loose weight, and feel better") you should consider reality-based treatments such as joining a gym. Sorry, not trying to be snarky, but so-called "relaxation therapists" won't do this for you and the people who claim that hypnosis will are just trying to take advantage of people's ignorance and superstition.
posted by wfrgms at 2:36 PM on November 2, 2007

I have been to hypnotherapists and I have studied (as an amateur) much hypnosis. Some hypnotists have made a a very big spash doing rapid therapy, five minute cures, etc. One well known anecdote is that Milton Erickson could perform a handshake induction, i.e. you an unwitting subject would shake his hand and in five seconds just by weirdo touching your hand he would have you in hypnotic trance.

One visit or many visits would depend on the problem, the patient, and the hypnotherapist.

It probably should be at the exact market rate for psychotherapy in your zip code, something like 150$ for a fifty minute hour, and many hypnotherapists are approved under many mental health medical insurance plans so you are out the standard co-pay, 30$ or whatever yours is.

What does it feel like? Hmmm.

You are getting up above your one question here are you not? Anyway I have no idea to predict what it might be like for you or if you would notice a difference right away.

For most people and most problems I would recommend you start with a mainstream therapist and look to the library and see what hypnotherapy books there interested you. Unless you are pretty whack I don't think many mainstream therapists would discourage you from pursuing your own information when you weren't sitting in their exam room.

Milton Erickson is the father of modern hypnotherapy, and the best textual treatment is by Rossi & Cheek. There are a lot of books; they are very repetitious; the ones I own and prefer are not in print so I won't recommend anything specific.

If you ever get a chance to participate in a group session with a skilled therapist (the exact variety is not important--the best one I know calls themself a Gestalt therapist, there are some people who do Neurolinguistic programming who are fabulous) it can be very educational.

There are a lot of quacks in this line of work. The speed seduction guy is the obvious internet example. There have been a number of threads on this very site devoted to that narrow topic.
posted by bukvich at 2:52 PM on November 2, 2007

Hypnosis as therapy is alive and well, although it seems to be recovering from an era of being oversold. It appears to be most effective in helping break bad habits from smoking to nailbiting to phobic reactions. It isn't a magical lifestyle changer, though. It's also used in postsurgical environments for pain management and other things.

Instead of seeking out "hypnotherapy" I would shop around for a good therapist and after they have some knowledge of you find whether they recommend hypnosis for treatment. But really, you should get in shape anyway and doing that yourself will do more for your mental well-being than therapy you seek out of a sense of vague boredom.
posted by dhartung at 3:00 PM on November 2, 2007

I tried it once and it did nothing for me. I think it works for some people and for some it doesn't. They set it up with "you really have to want to change your behavior" which is partly true and partly CYA on their part. I don't didn't hurt anything but it wasn't worth the $20 for me to walk out with a bead on a fishing line and some vague directions about how to use it as a reinforcement.
posted by 45moore45 at 3:07 PM on November 2, 2007

Response by poster: Two things:

1. I am in shape (have been going to the gym 4x/week since March) but I hate going to the gym so much that I'm concerned my current fitness level won't be sustainable without a change of attitude.

2. I'm a cynic and I'm really, really doubtful that hypnosis is an effective, or even semi-effective, way to change behavior and/or attitude.

I'm mostly looking for input from those who have tried hypnotherapy and can tell me about their personal experiences. I'm willing to try most things. I totally don't believe in psychics or psychic ability, but I visited one purely out of curiosity. I'm curious about hypnosis and I want to try it for myself, mostly to prove to myself that it's a sham. But I'm open to anything that may happen when I visit.
posted by HotPatatta at 3:10 PM on November 2, 2007

HotPatatta, I hope you mean you're a skeptic, not a cynic.
posted by wfrgms at 3:18 PM on November 2, 2007

Hmm. My sister, a cog. psychologist claims that hypnosis can't really change you or make you do anything you don't want to do, but for some reason, and it's well documented by the academic community, it works on some people for certain things.

I used it to quit smoking. I hated the hynotist, and was probably ready to quit after years of trying, but he helped me reframe my attitude and I've been a happy (but not militant) non-smoker for 19 years. Perhaps it was a defining moment.

So try it once. If it's not for you, it's not a big loss. Going back again and again (which my slimy therapist tried to get me to do) is not such a good idea.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:34 PM on November 2, 2007

Oops, 9 years.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:35 PM on November 2, 2007

I went to a hypnotherapist on one occassion, and it worked for me. His name is Bob Foy, his office is in Santa Ana, CA, and his phone number is (714)972-4916. I saw him to stop smoking. He charged me $200 for a one hour sessions. It was pretty much what I expected. He asked me some background questions about my smoking habits and why I wanted to stop. Then, I laid down in a chair, closed my eyes, and he gave me various suggestions about what smoking was doing to me and why I should stop. Like I say, it worked for me, but I'm not sure if that was more a function of my being at a point where I was ready to stop, such that I was willing to pay someone $200 to help me do it.
posted by metawabbit at 3:41 PM on November 2, 2007

mostly to prove to myself that it's a sham

You may find a hypnotherapist reluctant to take on somebody with this attitude. Not that it is wrong but you may hear them say that you have to want to believe, or some such nonsense.

It either works or it doesn't and what you believe doesn't factor into it. If you can find one who will take you on under those circumstances, that's the one you want.
posted by trinity8-director at 3:47 PM on November 2, 2007

Response by poster: Obviously I wouldn't tell him or her that I'm on a mission to debunk their profession.
posted by HotPatatta at 4:33 PM on November 2, 2007

It either works or it doesn't and what you believe doesn't factor into it.

If changing what you believe is the purpose of the exercise, then what you believe does factor into it, very much so. Hypnotism may be to some extent a placebo effect, it may be a social dynamic effect, the hypnotherapist (as in conventional psychotherapy) may be just steering the patient and the patient doing the actual work, or it may be a neurological effect triggered by certain stimuli. We don't know.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:07 PM on November 2, 2007

oh, geez....went to Positive Changes for weight loss....
gained weight there.
got lapband surgery now.
I don't recommend hypnotherapy, not for the price I paid. Listening to CDs? Maybe.
posted by flowerofhighrank at 9:45 PM on November 2, 2007

I used hypnotherapy to help with my trichotillomania. I only went for a couple sessions. At first I was disappointed immediately after when I didn't feel any different. Over the next few days though, I noticed that there was sort of an extra layer of awareness in the process of my hair-pulling, and it really did wind up making a significant difference. I'm surprised and impressed.

It's been about six weeks since then, I'm still in better shape than I was before, though I'm looking forward to doing more sessions to keep the effects in place.
posted by hermitosis at 10:04 PM on November 2, 2007

I'm curious about hypnosis and I want to try it for myself, mostly to prove to myself that it's a sham.

Most of the time we find what we expect to see, whether it's there or not. Hopefully you don't need a therapist to tell you that.
posted by hermitosis at 10:07 PM on November 2, 2007

Don't know anything about hypnotherapy, but I have had great success in shifting my own conditioning using positive reinforcement. The ideas in Other People's Habits have been very useful in this regard.
posted by Coventry at 6:31 AM on November 3, 2007

Hypnotism may be to some extent a placebo effect

What I meant was, if there is more to it than that, then beliefs don't factor in. If it is just placebo, then yes, what you believe will be the major factor.
posted by trinity8-director at 11:41 AM on November 3, 2007

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