I was pleasantly surprised by my first hypnotherapy session

There was a huge difference between my expectations and reality

Shawna Barnes avatar

by Shawna Barnes |

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As you watch the scene unfold, you see someone standing before a person who’s seated. The person who’s standing swings a pocket watch in front of the other, whose eyes are closed, and chants, “You are getting sleepy. Veeeeeeeery sleepy.”

Is this what you envision when someone mentions hypnosis? It was for me — until recently.

Last week, I met with a friend and new client to discuss building a website. They’re a hypnotherapist, so I’d decided to try hypnosis for the first time. But I was leery, skeptical, and mildly concerned about how it might affect my myasthenia gravis (MG).

I’ve seen various warnings that we myasthenics should be careful when using external tools to help us relax. Lavender, for example, is a wonderful plant with dozens of medicinal uses. However, I’ve heard some anecdotal stories about lavender relaxing MG patients a little too much, resulting in a flare-up of symptoms.

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As the day approached when I’d be dipping my toes in the proverbial hypnotherapy waters, I started doing some research so I’d feel more at ease and prepared for my appointment. It turns out that hypnotherapy originated in the 1700s and has been recognized by the American Medical Association as a legitimate treatment since 1958. Who knew?

I asked all the questions I needed to ask, so I felt comfortable going into the appointment. I also felt a step ahead of the game because I knew and trusted this person.

During the intake process, I completed a form where I was able to provide a focus for our session. I chose to focus on pain management and feeling less guilt when asking for or accepting help.

We kept the session brief, and when it was done, I was completely gobsmacked.

Expectations vs. reality

I’d tried to go into the session without any expectations. I must have failed, because what I experienced was not what I was expecting. When I got home and explained to my husband what the experience felt like, the best “non-woo-woo” explanation I could come up with was that it was more of a guided meditation conducted by a wellness practitioner with hundreds of hours of training. Definitely not the swinging-watch and clucking-chicken people.

I’m not sure why I was so taken aback. After all, the Mayo Clinic describes hypnosis as a “changed state of awareness and increased relaxation that allows for improved focus and concentration.” But taken aback by the vast difference between expectation and reality I was.

During the session, I was relaxed, but aware of my surroundings and what was happening. Leading up to the appointment, I was worried about losing control, but the experience actually left me feeling more in control. I now had another tool in my toolbox to help me manage my health.

As someone with chronic health issues, I tend to be bombarded with “miracle cure” suggestions, such as drinking celery juice or thinking happy thoughts to improve my conditions. I was half-expecting hypnotherapy to be a similar experience, but I was wrong.

I left the appointment with not only the information I needed to build my friend an amazing website, but also a renewed sense of gratitude and peace. I’m grateful for this amazing place I get to call home, and I feel at peace realizing that maybe those positive affirmations about accepting the help I need really work. Only time will tell.

Note: Myasthenia Gravis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Myasthenia Gravis News or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to myasthenia gravis.


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