I am Bart Walsh and I direct Affinity Counseling and Hypnosis. My orientation to counseling, psychotherapy and hypnotherapy is essentially a strengths perspective with a solution focus. The strengths perspective acknowledges all the strengths, resources and instinctual imperatives within an individual that have helped the individual get to the present moment. Each individual is unique, has a unique history and carries a unique set of experience, learning and resources. Each human being, from intrauterine development on, accumulates experience which contributes to a personal foundation of reality. This reality encompasses identity (self-perception), relationship (other-perception), expected response to the course of the environment, belief about the future and personal role in the future.
Distressing or problematic experience can disrupt a healthy flow of resources and distort perceptions. Quite often distressing symptoms indirectly reflect the particular resources needed to resolve the problem, positioning the solution in the problem. Almost always the strengths and resources necessary to enact favorable change are present in the troubled person.
Many strengths and mind-body resources are not even at a conscious level of awareness.Modern science has revealed much about resources and mind-body communication taking place out of conscious awareness. We now have evidence of regular, ongoing communication between the central nervous system, the immune system, the endocrine system and the emotional system. Just as what is happening in the body affects our thoughts and emotions, so too our thoughts and emotions can affect what is happening in the body. Hypnosis and other approaches can tap into mind-body communication and access many resources normally not available at a conscious level of awareness
Trauma studies have identified automatic adaptive and protective mechanisms operating outside of conscious control. The "fight or flight" response, for example, is activated at times of real or perceived threat. Problematic panic and anxiety reflect a fully functional, important instinctual mechanism (a strength) just needing a "pause button" installed for calmer functioning.
The strengths perspective helps me to scan for the resources needed in you to resolve your concern.
The influences that guide my work and contribute to the strengths perspective have been derived from studies, experience or training in: systems theory, Jungian therapy, cognitive therapy, object relations theory, Ericksonian hypnotherapy, hypnosis breath work, narrative therapy, ego-state therapy, solution focused therapy, music therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and more.
Based upon the concerns you present, the psychobiological resources you reflect and the information you provide, a particular approach to treatment will be selected for your counseling or hypnosis experience. The treatment approach will be discussed and mutually agreed upon. Your feedback in session will allow you to regulate the pace of treatment. The frequency of visits is negotiable.
Family therapy examines the strengths and roles of family members, the structure of the family, developmental stages of family members, family communication style and outside systems the family is affected by or involved with. All family members need to be involved initially. Strategies for change are discussed and homework is assigment.
Couple or marital therapy acknowledges the unique nature of each couple relationship and explores behavioral, perceptual or interactive changes necessary to allow the relationship to develop in a satisfying manner. Common presenting concerns include communication difficulties, dysfunctional fight style, physical intimacy, emotional availability, parenting style, finances, extended family/inlaw boundaries and sexual functioning. Homework assignments are typically given to establish and reinforce beneficial change.
Hypnosis is a common human experience. You likely have not defined as hypnotic trance the experience of day dreaming, or being oblivious to the people and activity around you while captivated by a television program, or driving on "auto pilot" until arriving at your destination, or a child's active play with an imaginary friend. There are many other examples of natural trance states in which automatic functions temporarily take place secondary to unconscious activity. Hypnosis is simply a way to use the trance experience you already have, but in a very focused and goal directed fashion.
Whenever you are functioning in the automatic mode (driving, common routines, listening to something you know well, jogging, etc.), it is quite easy to drift from an alert state into an altered state of consciousness (trance). Various levels of consciousness range from alert to light trance (day dreaming) to moderate trance to deep trance to sleep. Responsiveness to hypnotic suggestion at various levels of consciousness varies greatly from person to person.
You are in full control of your trance, with the ability to come out of the trance when you choose or move deeper into your hypnotic experience as you choose. In hypnosis, you are simply accessing more of yourself and your inner resources to accomplish whatever goal you have.
Consider hypnosis like two people going for a drive. During the waking state, most of the time, the conscious mind has the steering wheel while the unconscious mind is in the passenger seat working on the lap top computer, getting all sorts of things done. In a trance state or a sleep state the unconscious mind has the steering wheel while the conscious mind watches everything from the passenger seat or sleeps in the back seat or moves back and forth between those positions. It really doesn't matter so much whether the conscious mind is watching or sleeping because it’s all happening in the same vehicle.
Hypnosis involves communicating directly with the unconscious mind, rich with so many useful resources. The unconscious mind knows so much about your strengths, skills, abilities and potentials. It has a wonderful production crew able to present a show to you when you go to sleep- so much creative energy in the dream world. The unconscious is aware of your biological functions and can have a great deal of influence regarding what happens in the body. The unconscious knows about the unique qualities and characteristics that make you who you are. By connecting with so much more of yourself you can safely understand and direct so much more of your experience.
Hypnosis is about intrapersonal communication and relationship between conscious and unconscious realms. Hypnosis is also about interpersonal communication between both the hypnotherapist and the conscious mind and the hypnotherapist and the unconscious mind.
The unconscious mind is there to help no one else but you. It holds learning that once required great effort to acquire and now is part of automatic functioning like walking, talking and reading. Opening up a channel to communicate directly with the unconscious affords you a good deal more control over your experience. By connecting with more of your self, you really are securing informed consent regarding the choices available to you.
Hypnosis is a safe and effective tool when used properl
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Will I remember what happens during hypnosis after I come out of my trance?
Different people maintain different degrees of conscious presence during trance. Some people are proud to report remembering everything that was said during the hypnotic session. Others report remembering certain pieces of their experience, but not much else. Some report little or no memory of their hypnotic experience. Without the hypnotherapist even attempting to induce any amnesia, memory functions are quite varied from person to person.
Will I be asleep?
Hypnosis is different than sleep. Developing hypnotic trance places the conscious mind in a secondary position relative to the unconscious mind. If the conscious mind relinquishes its observing presence completely, the experience will feel much like falling asleep. The brain wave activity of sleep typically differs from that of hypnotic trance.
Is hypnosis safe?
Yes, hypnosis is quite safe when used with a qualified professional for a mutually agreed upon purpose. At Affinity Counseling and Hypnosis there is an option to have your session audio or video taped for your home review.
Tobacco Smoking or Chewing Cessation
Commonly asked questions about using hypnosis to quit the tobacco habit.
How long does it take? How many hypnosis sessions are involved?
For most people two sessions of hypnotherapy is all that is required to become tobacco free. Planning the sessions close together, like two days in a row, work very well for most people. Allow about ninety minutes for the first session and one hour for the second hypnotic experience.
Will I be alert and functional at the end of the hypnotic session?
Yes, you will be fully alert and, most likely, quite relaxed after your hypnosis experience. You will be able to drive a car (if you could before the session, of course- no driving lessons at Affinity) and function as you would normally after the hypnosis session. You may feel a little different after hypnosis, but you will be as fully functional after the session as you were coming into the session.
Will the treatment work better if I use a nicotine patch or Nicorette gum in conjunction with the hypnosis?
No, the hypnosis treatment will not work any better by adding nicotine to the mix. In fact, adding nicotine will complicate matters. During your hypnotic trance you will be accessing psychobiological resources able to rapidly move you through tobacco withdrawal. Your system can do that beautifully without adding more nicotine.