Nassau: Hypnosis can help people deal with issues
Published Wednesday, December 11, 2002 The Florida Times-Union
Dawn Grant hypnotizes people for a living.
She’s heard all the jokes, but she promises she doesn’t make people bark like dogs or do other stupid human tricks. That’s one of the hardest parts about convincing people of the effectiveness on hypnosis, Grant says.
“People see the staged hypnosis shows,” she said. “But hypnosis is a natural state of mind. Everybody does it one or two hours a day. It’s called daydreaming.”
With controlled hypnosis, people can quit smoking, lose weight or deal with other issues that are bothering them, Grant said.
Grant cites national statistics that say hypnosis has been successful for about 80 percent of people trying to kick the smoking habit, and she says that’s about her success rate, as well. And as Florida prepares to ban smoking in most public places, she expects an increase in smokers wanting to quit.
Grant earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology a few years ago, then put in more than 100 class hours at the Omni Hypnosis Training Center near Fort Lauderdale to earn designation as a certified hypnotherapist.
Hypnotherapist Dawn Grant (left) discusses with client Caroline Best what Best can expect when she is hypnotized.
–Derek L. Kinner/staff
She opened A New Dawn Hypnosis Center about a year-and-a-half ago and has worked with more than 300 clients. A New Dawn is in Amelia Park.
Her office is a simple, two-room affair, with the business desk out front, and the hypnosis room in the back. Clients enter a dimly lit room and sit in a big, comfortable, cushioned chair, with an equally cushioned ottoman for their legs. Next to the chair is a soothing waterfall fountain.
There are no aromatic candles because different people like different aromas, Grant said.
Grant sits in a nearby chair and, if they client is new to hypnosis, talks about the procedure for 15 minutes.
“I call it my pre-talk. We discuss the misconceptions. I tell them this is not mind control; there will be no confessions,” she said.
A lot of people are afraid they won’t remember what they did or said while hypnotized, but Grant said it’s not like hypnotisms they might have seen in some movies or in comedy acts.
Caroline Best is hypnotized; hypnotherapist Dawn Grant says a person under hypnosis is in a deep state of relaxation.
–Derek L. Kinner/staff
“It’s an altered state of consciousness. You are aware of what’s going on around you. You hear my voice; you hear the water fountain. Then they relax. They know what I’m saying to them and they know what they’re saying to me,” Grant said.
Darlene Brown, a nurse practitioner who works in Yulee, said she often sends patients to Grant for various things, mainly to quit smoking.
“She’s been successful with quite a few,” Brown said.
Brown said many people are skeptical, even afraid of hypnosis, but she said that’s where Grant’s personality comes in.
“She’s very comforting. I’ve told many people, if you feel nervous about this, you will not when you meet her. She’s very non-threatening. She’ll tell you, ‘If you don’t want to do this, you don’t have to. You can leave,'” Brown said.
Dawn Grant of A New Dawn Hypnosis Center talks to Caroline Best, who is hypnotized. Grant calls hypnotism “an altered state of consciousness.”
–Derek L. Kinner/staff
Brown herself decided to take advantage of Grant’s work after seeing the success she’d had with her patients.
“I said, ‘I’ve got this problem that I just can’t seem to make myself do right, and of all people, I should know better.’ At a particular time of day, I just ate,” Brown said.
She said she would always stay up later than her husband, saying she needed quiet time. But at 11 p.m., after her husband was in bed, she would eat snacks. Then she would not have time in the morning to eat breakfast, so she would snack at 11 a.m. as well.
So Brown went to Grant and, while under hypnosis, Grant suggested to Brown that her body knew how to solve the problem.
“I immediately said, ‘I will go to bed at 10 o’clock,'” Brown said. “If she had asked me before, I wouldn’t have said that. From then on, at about a quarter to 10, I started feeling sleepy. I’d start telling my husband, “You ready to go to bed?'”
And going to bed earlier allowed Brown to wake up earlier, so she had time to eat a normal breakfast and got rid of the 11 a.m. snack craving.
Hypnotherapist Dawn Grant begins inducing a hypnotic state on Caroline Best by touching her forehead and telling her to sleep.
–Derek L. Kinner/staff
“I lost about 12 pounds,” Brown said.
She had a brief return to the old ways after a cruise, but Brown went to one more session with Grant and has stayed on track since.
Grant said she helps people by delving into their subconscious.
“Your subconscious holds everything you’ve ever seen, touched, smelled, tasted,” Grant said. “When people are unhappy with their behavior, it started somewhere along the time line. We try to identify what the first domino was.”
Quite often, people will find out that something they thought was wrong actually had its roots in something else.
She said an airline attendant came to her after suddenly becoming afraid of flying. Under hypnosis, Grant took the woman back to the first time she’d felt the fear and the woman remembered sitting in a seat next to a passenger and glancing at the newspaper he was reading. On the front page was a picture of a bird. As a child, the woman remembered, a bird had buzzed her several times, frightening her. She was able to resume flying and understand what her real fear was, Grant said.
Not drawn out
Most problems can be dealt with in five or fewer sessions, Grant said.
“It’s five sessions for losing weight,” she said. “I’ve had clients lose 3 pounds a week without a diet. They get a different perception of their eating habits, breaking the bad patterns. They begin to exercise and gain self-esteem. They feel like they’re ready to achieve their ideal weight.”
Quitting smoking usually requires two to three sessions, Grant said.
Caroline Best of Fernandina Beach recently visited Grant because she wanted to get into better shape. A friend of Grant’s, Best said she’d been wanting to try hypnosis for a while.
In a soothing voice, Grant told Best to relax her body, beginning at the top of her head and working her way down. Best visibly began to relax in the chair and slowly closed her eyes. Grant then told her to sleep.
Grant began talking to Best and told her to visualize the ideal shape she’d like to be in. Then she told her that whenever she saw the color red, it would remind her of exercise and achieving her goal. She also said reds would become brighter, strengthening her resolve and her routine.
At the end of the session, Grant said she would count from 1 to 3, and at 3 Best would return to full awareness, rested and refreshed.
Best opened her eyes and smiled. She said she felt good and could remember everything Grant had said while she was hypnotized.
No word yet on how the first session has affected her.
Grant said hypnotism is a subtle way of changing habits.
“We’re not really making any profound discoveries [with clients],” she said. “They are simply thinking about things they haven’t thought of for years. Afterward, they’ll be standing there and say, “I haven’t thought of that ever.'”
Grant charges $120 per session, which lasts one to two hours. As hypnotherapy becomes a more accepted form of treatment, some insurance companies are beginning to cover the sessions. Grant also is looking into becoming a provider for a PPO.
But she says she thinks the cost is worth every penny.
“It’s amazing, some of the things I have seen,” Grant said. “If people only knew how they would feel after they left here.”
Editor Derek L. Kinner can be reached at (904) 261-7606, extension 106, or dkinnerjacksonville.com.