What is hypnosis?

Hello, My name is Joni Johnston Neidigh. As some of you know that I have been in private practice as a psychotherapist for over 25 years. Several years ago, I made an informed, intentional decision to add the modality of hypnosis to my practice. History will confirm that I use good judgment based on well researched information and experiential learning whenever I introduce my clients to a new concept. I can say with conviction that hypnosis works. So, I would like to take a few minutes to explain to you what hypnosis is and help dispel any misconceptions you may or may not have about this powerful therapeutic tool.

Hypnosis is a state of consciousness that we enter into naturally each and every day. It feels very similar to the way you feel when you are either daydreaming or driving. So, what can you expect from being hypnotized? You can expect to be very relaxed and more open to suggestions. Your heart rate as well as your brain wave vibration rate slow down, giving you access to your subconscious mind. Please understand that your conscious mind is still completely aware of what is going on the whole time you are in this relaxed state of mind, but your subconscious mind simply has the ability to accept the suggestions for change that you indicated to the hypnotist that you wanted. The word trance often scares people, but it is actually natural for us to feel this unknowingly all the time. If you have ever watched a television program or a movie and became super absorbed in the program, that is what trance feels like. You get the same feeling when you are driving and thinking about something else and you miss your exit.

Now, let’s talk about what hypnosis is not and why some people might be afraid of using hypnosis or self-hypnosis. Hypnosis is not sleep, you are not unconscious while in hypnosis. You are not under any type of mind control during hypnosis, and it is not magic. In fact, it is a heightened state of awareness and you are able to respond to requests during hypnosis such as giving a signal if asked if you understand something or a verbal answer. An important thing to know is that in order to be hypnotized, you must want to be hypnotized. You cannot be hypnotized against your will, nor can you be forced to do something you do not want to do. When clients come to see me for hypnosis, they decide what life changes they want to make. Based on that request, with their permission, I make suggestions while they are in this relaxed state so that their subconscious mind will begin to accept those suggestions, resulting in the desired changes.

There is nothing mysterious about hypnosis. Using hypnosis to produce faster and more permanent changes makes perfect sense. The conscious mind accounts for five to ten percent of our mind. It is working right now as you listen to me. It is the part that is logical and analytical. It helps us to solve problems, make decisions, criticizes, and is also the place of working memory. The subconscious mind accounts for the other ninety to ninety five percent. It stores all of the information for all of the experiences that we have ever had. It automatically controls our breathing, heart-beating, the immune system, and so much more. The subconscious mind is creative, emotional, and intuitive. Think of it as a computer that can be reprogrammed, we are always reprogramming our subconscious mind as we experience new things and we engage in self-talk. If you are constantly telling yourself that you are not good enough, you are fat, you are a smoker, or that you are a failure, then that is what you will become. So how do you reprogram the subconscious mind? How do I help you get the suggestions that you are good enough, that you are healthy, that you are not a smoker, and that you are a success into the subconscious mind? There is a part of the conscious mind called the critical factor. It is kind of like a headband between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. This part of the conscious mind has the power to accept or reject suggestions from getting into the subconscious mind. The best way to bypass the critical factor is through the use of hypnosis. When I hypnotize someone, and I use induction to help them relax, the critical factor simply goes to sleep. The conscious mind is still awake, but now the subconscious mind is receptive to the suggestions we agreed upon in order to help you make the lasting changes. Fortunately, new research in neuroscience confirms that the brain is malleable and capable of changing even the most ingrained patterns. That means as a hypnotist I can help you rewire your brain to interrupt and change patterns that have previously led you to have unwanted behavior and thoughts leading to things like general anxiety, smoking, over eating, sports performance problems, pain control, test anxiety, fear of flying, and much more.

My goal for this talk is to provide you with a better understanding of what hypnosis is and what it can do for you. It is a tool that anyone can use, and it is important that it is accurately understood. It is my hope that when you are ready to eliminate bad habits, learn to manage stress, or overcome whatever it is that you want to change that you will consider using hypnosis and self-hypnosis. If you have any other questions about hypnosis or you are interested in scheduling a session, please contact me at my website, www.aim-for-success.com or visit my Facebook page @AIMforsuccess.

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Understanding Psychological Evaluations

Psychological evaluations are used in a variety of settings. For children, Psychological assessments are often needed to diagnose conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Autism Spectrum. The results of an evaluation can help to clarify what is causing a child’s emotional or behavioral difficulties. These types of evaluations are conducted by Dr. Mark Flynn at Community Behavioral Services. The evaluations are often used to clarify an individual’s diagnosis in order to create an appropriate treatment plan.

Psychological evaluations are also useful for adults. In addition to helping to understand what is causing an individual’s emotional or behavioral problems, they are also used at times to clear someone for employment or clarify the extent of any existing disability which might impair their ability to work. In a forensic setting, Psychological assessments are used to assess parenting skills in family law cases and are frequently needed to assess an individual’s competence in a legal setting for determining how psychological problems might be related to their legal difficulties. These evaluations are conducted by Dr. Larry Neidigh at Community Behavioral Services.

What is a psychological evaluation?

A Psychological Evaluation typically utilizes three procedures. First, a thorough history is taken regarding developmental issues, past trauma, medical conditions, interpersonal functioning, and past diagnoses and treatment. It also includes a formal Mental Status Examination which is a discussion with the Psychologist regarding the moods, emotions, and psychological issues which you are currently facing. The Mental Status Examination includes a review of symptoms of the major mental disorders to ensure it is thorough and no difficulties have been overlooked. Though it seems somewhat unusual to many people, during the Mental Status Exam, you will typically be asked to perform some mental calculations and answer some questions regarding your general understanding of what is occurring in the world today in order to make sure that there are no intellectual or organic factors which may be affecting your day-to-day life.

Finally, the evaluation also includes a battery of carefully selected psychological tests to further assess difficulties you may be experiencing and/or to evaluate the severity of the problems you are experiencing. The psychological tests are standardized and produce scores which can be compared to scores of the average population. The psychological testing is used to provide an objective measurement of difficulties which helps in understanding the most appropriate approach to treatment. These are not like academic tests and there are no right or wrong answers. It is typically you answering questions about yourself.

How can a psychological evaluation help me?

Psychological evaluations can help you understand what is causing the problems that you are struggling with. They can help you understand what kind of help you really need and provide valuable insights into your personality. With children, the evaluations often lead to referrals for specialized help with certain conditions. In a forensic setting, the evaluations help establish someone’s disabilities or competence. These evaluations are frequently used by the court in making decisions regarding parental fitness, custody, and timesharing issues. These are also used by the courts to determine eligibility for disability benefits and in personal injury cases.

What should I do if I need a Psychological Evaluation?

Only a Licensed Psychologist is allowed to conduct Psychological Evaluations under Florida statutes. However, being a Licensed Psychologist does not ensure that someone is competent in performing Psychological Evaluations. You should inquire about the Psychologist’s training and experience to make sure that this is their area of expertise. If you are in need of a Psychological Evaluation, please contact us at Community Behavioral Services to schedule an appointment.

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