Plus an Exclusive Interview with the renowned hypnotherapist Dr. Bunny Vreeland
By: J. Marlando
Hypnotism and a touch of its History
The medicine man stands over an ill tribesman and repeats, “I am well…my fever is gone…I will walk in coolness today…I will be well…I am well…I am well…I walk in good health today,” and he shakes a rattle or sprinkles something from his medicine bag onto the patient. He does this not once but for hours when the patient is seriously ill and sometimes for a few days. This belonged to some of the healing systems of Native Americans, an approach to both psychology and hypnotherapy, neither of which had yet been named in so-called civilization. Nevertheless, the Native American understood that the belief of the mind was (or could be) a strong healing force. Indeed, they understood that the mind could make sickness and also heal sickness.
This kind of healing and pain relief was probably used in prehistoric times as well and it is no doubt safe to say by medicine women or female shamans.
The more I research the subject of hypnosis the more I am convinced that it belongs to our natural abilities like throwing or dodging a rock. It is said that “hypnotism” was probably originated by the Hindus in ancient India. The Indians would take their sick to what were called sleep temples to be cured by hypnotic suggestion. This same kind of healing process was used in ancient Egypt and Greece
A patient was put into a trance (resembling sleep) by a practitioner and through suggestion there were often what seemed to be miraculous healings.
As a quick aside, the term hypnosis has its root in Hypnos, the Ancient Greek personification of sleep.
Actually the term “hypnosis,” as we moderns comptrehend it, did not come about until 1841 when the Scottish doctor/surgeon James Braid
When hypnosis was being popularized even far into the 20th century a great many people feared it and condemned it as being forms of voodoo and/or mind control. Nothing is further from the truth of course. No one can be hypnotized against their will and no one will do anything against their will even while in the altered hypnotic state. And, there is no comparison with hypnotism and brain-washing which is altogether a different process
I personally believe that hypnotism can be likened to a spiritual art form; a gift from Nature, if you will. While it is neither science in the Newtonian sense or mysticism in the occult sense, I believe that it is a natural and assessable healing process that taps into the consciousness that permeates all things.
Hypnotism and Practical Applications
"I allow myself to dip deeply into my Divine Nature."
The power of the mind is a phenomenal human asset that is ironically overlooked or denied completely by a great many people in civilization, which is a false and unnatural environment in any case. As a result, the reductionists reject all phenomena that cannot be described in the totality of its parts. They call miraculous healings, “freak accidents” and teach that mind is a mere epiphenomenon (a process) of the physical brain. Even in light of countless examples of mind influencing matter they deny the possibilities of it all the same, “There must be an objective answer,” they say, “the person was going to get well anyway” or “the pain simply went away on its own.”
In thinking about the above let’s turn our attention to psychosomatic illnesses. That is, pain and physical problems clearly caused by the mind. I can think of no one who denies that such illnesses exist. However, there are those who deny the other side of this particular coin—that the same mind that can create illnesses can also abolish (or cure) them. Indeed, one of the world’s most renowned neuroscientist, Candace Perk said, “Disease is a hundred percent mental. It’s just your brain state being reflected in your body.” This of course caused yelps and howls in the medical and scientific communities. Nevertheless, let’s find an example of this outside of the sick room.
Mary, a 90 pound woman, sees that the jack has slipped and her car has fallen on her four year old. She rushes to the 4000 pound vehicle and lifts it off her son. There are recorded cases that demonstrate this very example. What gave her the strength to accomplish such a feat?
Her mind defied every law of physics and empowered the lady with the strength that she needed at the time she needed it.
The hypnotherapist grasps this mind over matter phenomenon and applies it to the healing principles that he or she practices. Anther proof in the pudding, so to speak, is the well-known placebo effect.
There are so many accounts of people “mysteriously” getting well or healing after being given sugar pills in the guise of some miraculous cure that a volume of books could probably be filled with their names. Dr. Paul Pearsall tells the story of a man that suffered severely from allergies—he had a difficult time breathing, his eyes constantly itched and he was forever sneezing. His life was pretty miserable.
As I recall the story, the doctor got some pills from a large pharmaceutical company saying that they were testing a new drug. When the man with the severe allergies came in, he told the man he wanted him to take the new pills, as the pharmacy had said they really do magic.
The man was happy to try anything and went home. A few hours later the man called the doctor and said, “Doc., these new pills are miracle makers, my symptoms are practically all cleared up.”
His doctor, long experienced, knew that sometime people felt better because of their enthusiasm for a drug or cure but then they relapse in a day or so. And so, being cautious the doctor told the man to keep testing the drug just to make sure.
Three days later the man walked into the doctor’s office with a big smile, looking like a new person—his eyes were clear, the hacking cough had gone away and the doctor became almost as excited as he was. As soon as the man left, he hurried into his office to order more of the pills. He told the person at the pharmaceutical company how wonderfully the pills had worked and said, “They’re just as magic as you said they were.”
“Sorry Doc.,” the voice on the other end of the line said, “we only sent placebos to doctors in your state. If those sugar pills worked like magic, that’s what they had to be!”
There are two important points to this true story. The first is that because the man with the serious allergies believed the pills could make him better they did. But the other half of that particular tale is that it is being discovered that the doctor’s faith or belief in the medication or treatment strengthens the effects on the patient. In this case, the doctor was unaware that he was handing out placebos, and believed he was giving his patient a potent new test drug. This phenomenon is well worth contemplating.
It is well known that a great many diseases and illnesses are psychologically constructed. That is, I don’t mean people sit around and try making themselves sick intentionally. However, it is well known that countless diseases and illnesses arrive when a person is under great stress and anxiety. This can include everything from nose colds to cancer. What happens is that the constant stress and anxiety of the mind affects the body and reduces the strength of the immune system.
(As a quick aside, the best way to avoid germs is to simply keep your hands washed especially after coming home from shopping or going someplace where there are lots of people).
As for psychosomatic illnesses, illnesses known to be caused by one’s mental state include peptic ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension and bronchial asthma. The mind simply works in strange ways.
The hypnotherapist understands all of this and through his or her suggestions helps people rid themselves of both the causes and effects of their illnesses. This absolutely does not mean that there are not cases where a hypnotherapist does not recommend seeing a doctor or medical specialist to patients with serious, physical ills. The professional hypnotherapist’s interest is seeing the person get well and if that takes a medical doctor that is what will be suggested.
A couple of years ago I was given a short interview by a charming radio host by the name of Bunny Vreeland. I didn’t know it then but she was also a hypnotherapist. I thought that some readers might like to know what a hypnotherapist is like and how at least one thinks so I interviewed her for this article.
An Interview with hypnotherapist Dr. Bunny Vreeland
Dr. Bunny Vreeland is a vivacious, positive and welcoming human being who practices in Camarillo, California and also does a weekly TV show on KADY.com at 10 Am every Wednesday moring.
As busy as she is, she graciously gave me the following interview sharing her thoughts and history as a hypnotherapist.
J.M. Thank you Dr. Bunny for this interview.
Dr. Bunny: Thank you for the opportunity, Jack. I’m very honored to be here with you.
J.M. Hypnosis remains a controversy in a lot of people’s minds. What attracted you to it?
Dr. Bunny: I actually had my first experience with hypnotherapy when I was eight. I was eight years old when my step-father had surgery under hypnosis with absolutely no anesthesia. I didn’t know anything about Hypnotherapy at that time. I remember that he had hemorrhoid surgery and I was told it was a really painful surgery, in those days. Here’s what happened – he was hypnotized right before the surgery and right after the surgery he got up off the table, got into his car and drove himself home with absolutely no pain or blood!
This opened my thinking about some of the medical possibilities available with Hypnotherapy. Later, both he and my mother had other surgeries and medical procedures under hypnotherapy.
I was a high school drop-out. That was a defining moment for me – dropping out of school when I was sixteen years old. I did a lot of stupid things during that time which I was able to understand and use, later, as I worked with clients who had their own experiences of ‘derailment.’
For a long time, I worked in fast food restaurants because that was the only work a high-school dropout could find, then. Fortunately, for me, I was asked by a photographer to do some modeling for a project he was working on. I was (still am) very photogenic and I was able to move on to a modeling agency in L.A. where I found constant work.
When I was in my 20’s and modeling for that agency in LA, I overloaded my immune system - all in 1 week - by being exposed to poison oak, riding a horse bareback, and posing (in lingerie) on a bearskin rug (all in one week!) Those experiences broke down my immune system and created 33 allergies. I was a mess! After going to an allergist for a few months with no relief, I tried hypnotherapy, although, I didn’t know it, at the time.
Here’s what happened - I was standing in line at Barnes and Noble, waiting to pay for some audio cassettes. (This was back in the days before CDs.) And, while I was standing there, I saw this little tape on one of those display racks. The words on the front of the tape said, “Stressed”? I have no idea why I bought that tape, but I took it home and started listening to it. The tape was by someone I had never heard of – Mark Russell. I listened to that tape and Mark Russell’s voice every day for two months.
One day, I realized that my allergies were gone! Although I didn’t know it at the time this was a hypnotherapy tape and it was my re-introduction to hypnotherapy which would, truly, change the course of my life, forever.
It was about a year after buying that tape that I was in Palm Springs for a few days. One morning I stopped at a small breakfast café to get some fresh squeezed orange juice. While I was standing in line to pay for the juice, I heard a familiar voice behind me and turned around.
“Are you Mark Russell?” I asked the man behind me.
He said, “Yes, how did you know that?”
“I have been listening to your voice for months. You changed my life! How did you do that?”
He laughed and told me that the tape was a hypnotherapy tape. Mark and I have become good friends and continue a friendship, today, many years later.
As I learned more during this process of rediscovering hypnotherapy, and it’s many benefits, I became more and more excited.
By the way, I did go back to school and, finally got my Ph.D. at the age of 60.
J.M. You are a licensed practitioner?
Dr. Bunny: In the state of California, a hypnotherapist can be certified and registered, however there is no licensing for the Hypnotherapy profession at the present. I am a board certified, clinical hypnotherapist – which means I have had basic training, advanced training, master’s training – medical and clinical training. In fact, I have had hypnotherapy training in every specialty, except Hypnobirthing. I also teach hypnotherapy. I am accredited to teach and certify students for basic and advanced hypnotherapy training.
J.M. Am I correct in assuming that hypnosis actually has an entrance into two arenas of the mind? One, the unconscious, and two, the subliminal. Is there a difference in how and why you might utilize one over another…or are they both the same in your view?
Dr. Bunny: Jack, that is a thought-provoking question. First, we have to understand the difference between what all these terms mean. Let’s look at definitions: We’re not dealing with the “un-conscious,” we’re dealing with the conscious mind and the sub-conscious. Subliminal is slightly under the subconscious mind, where the conscious person can hear things but they’re not in a state of ‘trance.” So Jack, when you say unconscious & subliminal what I work with is the subconscious, which can include the subliminal, and, in that regard they can be similar, but not exactly the same. I hope that makes sense.
J.M. As I once told you, it was hypnosis that solved a great mystery for me. I was enduring serious anxiety attacks and had a dream…my doctor put me under and I was able to interpret the dream. The anxiety simply went away after that. In regard to this “mental” cure, the world renowned neuroscientist, Candice Pert, tells us that she no longer believes in illness. She believes that all illness is just our brain state being reflected in our bodies. How much or little of this do you agree with?
Dr. Bunny: Yes, I remember you telling me about this. You have asked an excellent question and one I’ve thought about extensively. As I mentioned earlier, hypnotherapy got rid of my migraines & 33 allergies. There are over 900 issues (that I know of) that Hypnotherapy is incredibly valuable in addressing. A lot of our illnesses are self-created, and if you can create something, you can ‘un-create’ it. However, when it comes to things like healing broken bones or stitching up an open wound, a medical doctor is necessary.
J.M. Can everyone be hypnotized?
Dr. Bunny: Early on, I learned that there are three types of people who cannot be hypnotized: Anyone with and I.Q. under 65, anyone who is drunk or stoned, and anyone who does not want to be hypnotized.
But, the truth is, we are all already ‘hypnotized’ or ‘conditioned’.
How have we been conditioned? Most of us have been conditioned to believe certain things. We might believe we are not good enough, talented enough, smart enough, chosen, etc.
We are told by parents, teachers, peers, authority figures and the media what to think and what to believe. Certain events occur in our lives, and we react in a particular way.
When a similar event occurs in the future, we tend to react the same way. As more and more events occur of a similar nature, our tendency to behave the same way becomes stronger. Very soon, we respond in that particular manner without thinking about it
J.M. Do you or can you teach people self-hypnosis and is self-hypnosis ever used to augment having sessions with you?
Dr. Bunny: Absolutely. I also send each client home with one of my CDs to use at home.
J.M. I suppose people come to you to quit habits such as smoking or nail chewing. Is this primarily the focus of your practice?
Dr. Bunny: I assist people in making positive changes in their lives, be it Weight Loss, Smoking Cessation, Sports Improvement, Memory & Concentration, Fears & Phobias, Stress, Anxiety & Worry, Depression, Emotional Control, Bariatric Hypnotherapy for Weight Loss (restricted Bariatric patients), Sexual Dysfunction & Enhancement, Hypnotic Anesthesiology for Pain Management, Test Anxiety and Past Life Regression/Therapy.
J.M. How long does an average session take?
DR. BUNNY: My hypnotherapy sessions generally take about an hour and are done in a private, comfortable office environment.
J.M. Dr. Bunny I see you have a patient coming in now so I wish to thank you for your time. One other thing: I end most of my interviews with this question: If you were suddenly cast upon a mountain top and below you were tens of thousands of people asking you, how can we have peace in our lives, what would you tell them?
Dr. Bunny: Jack, if I were suddenly cast upon a mountain top and had the ability to speak to people so they actually heard me, I would say: “Forgive and get real. Be real.” It is the hardest thing for us to do. We tend to complicate our lives to entertain ourselves and to make ourselves feel important. When I first came back to Ventura, I went to two hospitals and asked to work with “terminal” cancer patients. It was the most incredible learning opportunity and experience of my life because what happened was, when these patients realized that they were going to die, many of them went back and made amends and got real in their life. They forgave old grievances, they were forgiven and they reconnected with people they loved. And many of them got well. Now, not everybody did but the ones that did, for the most part, that got well – you can call it remission, or whatever – told me that the forgiveness changed everything.
As I drove away from the interview I kept thinking how right she was—there is nothing that makes our lives more miserable, more phobic or anger-filled than non-forgiveness…non-forgiveness of others and non-forgiveness of ourselves. I couldn’t help but think that a great challenge for hypnotherapy would be to simply get people to leave their old regrets, angers and disappointments by the wayside.
I think that the person who is skeptic about the healing methods of hypnosis should know that the hypnotherapist does not hypnotize anyone; it is probably safe to say that the hypnotherapist serves as a guide to help the patient into their altered state of deep relaxation or trance and then makes suggestions that helps that patient seek and find the truth within. In this regard, no hypnotist can make you throw off your clothing and dance naked in the streets, eat snails or bite the heads off chickens. It can even be said that it is the patient who ultimately hypnotizes him or herself.
The true or natural hypnotherapist is as much a sage as practitioner in that he or she works from the insights of empathy and compassion. I have witnessed this from Dr. Bunny, as she likes to be called.
One of the major reasons why I believe that hypnotherapy works so well takes me back to Candice Perk, mentioned a couple of times in the above. She states that, “I can’t relate to the mind/body dichotomy anymore…is your consciousness [mind] in your head? No, it’s in your whole body.”
Something to seriously think about!
The Cadice Perk quotes:
Hooper, Judith and Teresy, Dick * The Three=Pound Universe *G.P. Putmans Sons
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