Hypnosis gains Acceptance in Health Care

Published on 07/21/1997

Hypnosis gains acceptance in health care

By Clyde Noel / Town Crier Staff Writer

Ever go upstairs, or walk in a room, and when you get there you’ve forgotten why you came? Or, maybe you were driving on the freeway and started to daydream and went past your exit and wondered where you were?

Josie Hadley, a longtime resident of Los Altos and a Palo Alto-based hypnotherapist, will tell you everything you ever learned is stored in your subconscious, and when things like that occur, it’s because your conscious mind is free.

“The knowledge required to drive a car exists in your subconscious, and when your conscious mind drifts off, it allows your subconscious to become more active,” Hadley said. “You may become so engrossed in your thoughts that your conscious mind will drift off allowing your subconscious to become more active.”

Sound complicated? Not to Hadley. That form of hypnosis is gaining momentum and being accepted as part of the evolution of our health care system.

In 1977 Hadley developed the Palo Alto School of Hypnotherapy which offers training in professional hypnotherapy. This is her 20th anniversary of being in business, and her course has been approved by the State of California and the Department of Secondary Education for 20 years. Her first class had 20 students. The six-week course she teaches now is approved by the National Board for Hypno-anesthesiology.

“People who take the course are usually in mid-life and have finished their career. They raised their kids and are now looking for something more fulfilling and more giving from the heart,” Hadley said.

For more than 20 years, Hadley has helped clients with stress reduction, weight control, smoking cessation, phobias and improving athletic performance through hypnosis. But new challenges are presented every day.

During those 20 years she has specialized in pain control and preparation for pre- and post-surgical procedures at El Camino and Stanford hospitals. Hadley is the director of the California Institute for Medical Hypnosis.

“Hypnosis can be a powerful tool for surgical procedures in the pre-operative, intra- (during surgery) and postoperative phases,” Hadley said. “Learning self-hypnosis can help surmount periods of private distress and motivate a patient to actively participate in his or her own recovery.”

Hadley explained that prior to surgery, hypnosis can reduce fear, anxiety and tension and increase confidence by developing a positive state of mind.

John, a volunteer in one of her seminars, was facing a four-hour surgery for prostate cancer and was eager to learn techniques for controlling pain, minimizing bleeding and hastening his recovery.

Several students worked with John to decrease his anxiety and fear of the operation. After the seminar he reported feeling calm, positive and empowered. Several days after surgery, John called the instructor to describe his experiences. He reported feeling no fear or anxiety whatsoever as he went into the operating room. He used the hypnotic techniques learned at the seminar to minimize bleeding and discomfort.

Hypnotherapy is going beyond the smoking and weight control programs by moving into the medical field and working with people’s personal problems, Hadley said.

“We help the mind overcome personal objection and help control a person’s life,” Hadley said. “Our students work at Stanford and El Camino hospitals with people who have cancer, and with those in remission.”

Hadley has trained nurses to use specialized hypnotic techniques for pain control, pre- and post-surgery anxiety reduction and relaxation for patients. In the medical hypnosis course, the students do field trips to hospitals and medical centers and offer their services for no charge.

The Palo Alto School of Hypnotherapy is located at 2443 Ash Street, Suite D, in Palo Alto.For more information, call 321-6419.