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Change Your Mindset

Hypnotherapist Angie Egan explains how hypnotherapy can help change bad habits and conquer fears

Hypnosis tends to get a bad rap. The word conjures up old ideas about magic tricks and mind control. And we've all heard about a swinging pocket watch followed by the words, "You're getting sleepy...." But as Parker-based hypnotherapist Angie Egan explains, this results-driven therapy doesn't deserve its less-than-stellar reputation.

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into this profession.

I was a student of hypnosis long before I was a teacher. I used HypnoBirthing to birth my children. I trained using self-hypnosis and had a really wonderful birth experience, so I knew I was going to do it again. Then my instructor said, “You know, you should teach this.” So I became certified to teach HypnoBirthing right before my son was born in 2008. And that's kind of what started me in the industry.

And I loved it. I loved working with moms who were choosing to do an alternative, non-medicated birthing method. I taught for nine years, but within about five years I knew I wanted to really go more into the hypnosis side, not just the birthing side. I started seeing how people were changing in other ways. They weren’t just preparing for their births; they were getting more confidence. They were setting boundaries. And I thought, gosh, if this can help with birthing, what else could it help with? So that's what really got me into the industry.

What certifications do you have?

 I first trained with Marie Mongan, who developed the HypnoBirthing method. It's the most famous hypnosis program for birth in the world. She's no longer with us, but she was amazing.

And then, about five years later, I was certified for general hypnotherapy through the National Guild of Hypnotists. I'm state licensed and insured. I think that's an important thing for people to know I have the credentials behind the sign.

Do you have an office in Parker?

I do. It’s at 11479 Pine Drive, right across from the Goddard School.

What are some common concerns or help that clients come to you for?

Most people come to me for habit change. The most common ones would be tobacco cessation or weight loss, those tend to be the most well-known, but I work with a lot of people to overcome fears, like the fear of flying or public speaking. Sleeping issues are really common, as are struggles with self-confidence.

It sounds like you look at it from a wider lens—overall self-esteem and self-control.

Absolutely. It's confidence building. It's habit-changing in your subconscious mind. So whatever habit we've developed, and we've gotten used to, we tend to reinforce that negative mindset. Like, if someone has to speak publicly, they might think, “I'm gonna go up there and it will be terrible. Nobody will like what I say.” Hypnotherapy helps shifts those thoughts to be more positive. And I don’t mean just “fake it till you make it.” I really don't care for that idiom, because it's not faking it, it’s believing it till you do it. So you're believing it's going to happen just before it happens—but it's a belief, not a hope.

How does a typical session go?

It starts when a client calls me with a concern and asks if I can help. If it's, say, a sleep issue, I'll do some discovery work about what's been going on, what they've done to try to fix it. Interestingly, it doesn't matter how long the issue has been going on—it could be lifelong, a few years, or a few months, but as long as they have the motivation for it to be different, I can work with them. If they're saying, “I want to sleep better, but I don't want to change anything about my life, I don't want to do anything,” I can’t help with that.

During a client’s first appointment, I talk through what they want to accomplish, doing what I call an intuitive session. I don't have any stock scripts; all my ideas and suggestions come from the conversation I have with my client. That way, it resonates more deeply with them. Because if I say, “Okay, you're gonna sleep eight hours a night,” but maybe they really only sleep six or seven hours. Or they like to stay up late and sleep in or they want to go to bed early and get up early.  So everything that I say comes from their specific desire, their choice.

That conversation takes about 25–30 minutes, and then I guide them into a hypnotic state. And that piece involves body relaxation, mental relaxation, and then suggestions. And then when they emerge—because hypnosis is not sleep, so they do not wake up, they emerge from their hypnotic state. Then I give them their follow-up instructions, the things they can do to reinforce the practice.

How many times, generally, would someone see you and they felt they have made a positive change in their habits?

My goal is that even after the first session the client will notice some shifts and changes immediately. It doesn't mean the entirety of the issue is fixed. For most clients, I see them for somewhere between three and six sessions. It's not a forever modality. It's not like traditional behavioral therapy, where you're going and you're talking and you're talking and you're talking. I don't even need to know much about. If you're coming in, let's say, for a car accident or trauma or something like that, we can discuss it a little bit, or we can discuss it not at all. There's so much work that's done within the own client’s mind, and we can release that, so I don't have to know anything about it. That's really powerful because I teach people how to use hypnosis so they can keep improving and reinforcing their success without being tied to in-office sessions.

Are you saying that they learn how to hypnotize themselves?

Exactly! I want my clients to know how to hypnotize themselves. Which again, makes me a little different. I don't want people to think it's me somehow controlling their minds, which is a big misconception about hypnosis. I want them to understand it's them allowing themselves to go into a hypnotic state. And actually, we spend seven out of every 90 minutes in self-hypnosis. When we're driving a familiar road, or we're reading, or we're doing our makeup and kind of lost in our head, those are all levels of self-hypnosis.

Speaking of misconceptions, what others would you like to debunk? Swinging pocket watches? Mind control?

The pocket watch thing is huge. Yeah, I have a pendulum, but I don't use it; I pull it out kind of as a joke and people get a kick out of that. The biggest misconception is that hypnosis is mind control. It’s absolutely not—it's about getting a deep part of your mind to work better for you. I am more like a coach and a guide, who will show you the process of how to use what you're already walking around with. And once you that happens, you automatically begin tapping into your subconscious power more often.

So the first thing is that it's not mind control. It is a willing and really client-centered modality for clients who want for it to work. People think they go to sleep, and then I say these magic words, and then they come out changed. It's actually called the theta brain state. It's the state where you're not quite asleep and not quite awake. It's that in-between state when your subconscious awareness is really strong.

It's similar to meditation in that you're doing body relaxation and mental relaxation, but the focus of meditation is really just openness and flow. This focus is on a very specific result, so if it's something like sleeping better, the focus might be suggestions like, “The moment your head touches your pillow, you instantly and easily fall right to sleep” or “Your bed is your cocoon of safety and comfort.” Meditation is about being open, whereas hypnosis has a very focused purpose.

Interested in learning more? Contact Angie Egan by visiting or calling 303-550-4110.