Monday, March 10, 2008


As a clinical hypnotherapist, people ask me this question all the time – it is probably the most common question I am asked. As health care costs mount up and salaries appear to remain stagnant, I am well aware that the usual fee for hypnotherapists may sound expensive. However, breaking a habit, one of the hardest tasks that man (or woman) would ever have to do in his entire life, is no fun and games.

There are good habits and bad habits, yet everything we do is habit. Think about this:

In the morning when you get up for work or school or for whatever you get up for, what’s the first thing you do? Some people get up and go straight to brush their teeth, others may get up and take a shower, and some may fix coffee or breakfast before doing anything else. Whatever you do, you usually do it the same way each and every day – it’s a routine.

How many times have you driven your car down the same road and stopped at the same stop sign or traffic light on the way to or from work? Yes, there may be other routes you can take to get to work but, for whatever reason, you take the same route each day. There could be times when your mind may think of something else while driving and you just happen to arrive on the job anyway without realizing how you got there.

Habits are just small, medium and large ‘programs’ embedded in our minds. Tying your shoes is a habit. Riding a bike is a habit – even though we don’t think of it that way because we get physical enjoyment out of it, just as we do with another activity such as swimming. But your muscles (hands, feet, thighs and calves) are trained on what to do, whether that is riding a bike or swimming. These two activities may require different muscle groups to be activated at different times, yet they know what to do. Any time you can do it in the dark, without conscious thought or without looking directly at it, it has become habit – which is a program.

Why are habits such a big part of our lives? If we had to relearn everything we do during the day each new time we did it, we would be very frustrated. So our minds are set up so that once we do something (scientists say that we must do it for 21 consecutive days), it begins to ‘stick’ or become habit.

Of course, I never get calls about good habits. My calls come to me when someone has allowed a ‘bad’ habit or negative behavior to ruin their lives. These ‘bad’ habits stem from eating too much, eating the wrong things, drinking too much, swearing too much, too much negative chatter going on in the back of one’s mind, being too lazy, feeling depressed all the time, suffering from a form of addiction, having a habit of attracting the wrong man or woman, compulsive behavior (obsessive compulsive disorder)... and the list goes on and on.

Getting back to the original question – how many hypnosis sessions do I need? In answer, I will quote a good friend of mine Dr. Brady Hurst who is a scholar and a gentleman and has been a great source of information about how the mind and the emotions work. “John, to change habits, the mind needs repetition, repetition, repetition.” This certainly is in line with what the scientists say that it takes 21 consecutive days to make or break a habit.

With that said, I advise clients that they can do however many sessions they are comfortable with (financially). However, if they really want to change or break their negative habits which they have accumulated over a significant amount of time, they would need at least six sessions to start out with and they should gear themselves up for more if the habit requires (oftentimes, this is the case). Nobody said it was easy – but with will and determination and openness, anything is possible.

In addition to attending sessions in my office, my clients would also need to learn self-hypnosis (which I would teach them) and listen to a general or customized*** hypnosis CD especially at night before and during sleep for at least a month. It takes an aggressive approach to eradicate an aggressive, persistent problem.

***(contact me for more info on customized CDs)
Thank you for reading,

Clinical Hypnotherapist & Life Coach
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