Musings of a Marfan Mom

Trying Out Hypnosis

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Today was my first (and last) hypnosis appointment. I’ve been curious about hypnosis for awhile now. I’ve read blog posts and research studies over how it can be a useful tool in childbirth, both to keep the blood pressure down and as a way to reduce the overall pain of contractions. It’s taken me awhile to find someone my insurance would cover, so I was THRILLED to finally have an appointment.

The therapist (yes, he’s a licensed psychologist) was about 10 minutes late. He came rushing down the hall, hurriedly gave his lunch order to the receptionist, and ushered me into his office. I was directed to sit in a brown leather recliner that was a cross between a dentist’s chair and Freud’s couch.

Freud's couch; via mysticmedusa.com


As I had anticipated, we spent some time discussing my reasons for wanting hypnosis. I explained that I knew it could help keep my blood pressure low, which will aid me in waiting till 5 cm to get my epidural, and because I wanted help processing the birth of the Menininho, because it still causes me a great deal of anxiety. The therapist had me describe what happened with the delivery, then moved on to some general medical history and finally family history.

“Well,” he said “I know it seems to you like you’re having anxiety about your upcoming birth because you had such a terrible experience with your first son’s birth. But it’s obvious to me that this goes much deeper. You clearly have some deep-seated abandonment issues stemming from your father’s illness and death, and those are just playing out in fears about your doctors treating your poorly.”

Could that BE any more Freudian?!

If this had been a regular therapy appointment I would have known that was my cue to leave. But, instead of saying “No, you’re crazy, I really am just upset about the birth,” I smiled and said “Oh! I can see how that might make sense. It never occurred to me before,” because I really wanted to get on with the hypnosis.

He went on. “There are also symbols in your life that are causing you anxiety that you probably don’t even realize. We need to figure out what those are so that you can reverse those feelings of anxiousness that happen for seemingly unknown reasons.”

Ok, fair enough.

So, the therapist reclined my chair and ran me through a quick hypnosis exercise to make sure I was hypnotizeable (or whatever the word is). That worked. “Ok, now you put yourself under,” he directed. He told me to visualize and describe my ideal birthing experience, which I did. Then, I was to visualize the opposite of that. Predictably, I became very anxious, almost came out of hypnosis, and had trouble articulating what I was seeing. He suggested I go back to the thoughts of my ideal birthing. Once I was again relaxed, he had me come out of the hypnotic state.

“Ok, well, any questions? No? Great. Here’s a list of directions…do this 3-4 times a day. Good luck with your delivery!”

Yah. That was IT. One session, like 40 minutes long. All of a sudden I’m supposed to be able to resolve all my life issues, find hidden symbols, and birth this child, all on my own. I actually think there is something unethical about introducing some potentially anxiety-producing issues to a client (the supposed connection to my father and subconscious symbols) and then shooing them out the door without access to further treatment.

Clearly, this guy was a quack. I still believe hypnosis can be useful, but it looks like it won’t be as useful for me as I’d hoped. I mean, I have no idea how to stay in the hypnotic state while anxious, let alone while I’m having painful contractions. So, if you have books to recommend that I read, please let me know! (And yes, I know about hypnobirthing and hypnobabies, but I don’t have the $300 to drop on the classes.)

Also, this post doesn’t sound as funny as I actually thought it was. It’s way funnier if I tell you in person. Just know then, that I’m not bitter but rather amused. :-)

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12 Comments

  1. I like the way this turned out though. Your blog is such a solid informational resource, this is along with that. I think it’s perfect. It’s hard to be informational and funny. Usually you have to bend the truth or leave stuff out to do so, and you really kept to your informational/educational, but yet entertaining vibe here. Good post. :)

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  2. Oh man. That is L-a-m-e. And it does seem like it should be rather unethical to do that to a patient. I understand the concept of self-care, but self-hypnosis is a whole new mental skill to acquire, and it seems like you should have at least a little follow-up.

    But I’m glad you’re amused rather than bitter!

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  3. I’m sorry that you had to deal with such a quack, but glad you didn’t buy into his babble… hope you can find someone better to help with your stuation… have you considered approaching the hypnobirth people for either a free class or discount for blogging about them?

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    marfmom Reply:

    I never thought about that Heather! Thanks for the idea! :-) I’ll have to see which hypnobirthing classes are offered here and by whom…the ones I’d seen so far were online courses where you bought books and CDs.

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  4. There’s a Hypnobabies Home Study which is only $140. It’s incredibly detailed. I never had an instructor in my area, so that’s what I used. Loved it, and have gone on to use it 3 times.

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    marfmom Reply:

    thanks!

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  5. Oh wow!! That is sooooo ridiculous! You would think that he would follow up or try to help you through it.

    And I have heard great things about the hypnobabies home study course. You study at your speed, which is better anyway, and you can practice it daily with the help of the CDs and such that they send you. $140 isn’t bad considering. Our hospital class where I live is $120 :/

    Wish I had more recommendations for you! I haven’t researched much hypnosis besides Hypnobirthing or Hypnobabies.

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  6. Insane.

    When I was prego with E, I read “Hypnobirthing: the Mongan Method”. Fantastic and totally interesting read. I used some of the principles with E, but not all of them. I’d recommend it.

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  7. I started making duck noises in my head about halfway through reading this post. Was the guy’s name Donald? That would be entirely too funny!

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  8. Just so you know- I was able to pick up on some of your amusement. I think you’d have to be after an experience like that. Sorry it isn’t going to work out for you. Have you considered learning some meditation techniques to help with the blood pressure and pain issues?

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    marfmom Reply:

    Haha ok good! I have done some meditation before so I think I’m just going to work on honing that: visualization and yoga breathing. Also hoping my doula has some other ideas for me. You’ll have to let me know what works for you, since you’re going first!!!

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  9. This is hilarious. I”ve always wondered about hypnosis…. kind of makes me not want to ever try it! lol

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