If you spend lots of time thinking of your next meal or snack, you are not alone.  Chronically overweight people often spend much of their time thinking of food and how and when they will eat next.  Ironically, when they do eat, they shove the food in with very little appreciation or enjoyment.  They get little pleasure from the process of eating.  Instead, they are just shoving in the food.

    Unfortunately, our lifestyles can discourage enjoying our meals or snacks.  We are often busy and in a hurry, so we skip breakfast, snack in the car on the way to work and cram in fast-food while checking messages on our phones.  We are not thinking consciously about what we are eating and get little satisfaction from the food we have just scarfed down.  

    A rushed, hurried lifestyle causes us to skip meals and then substitute with hurried meals and snacks.  Because we do not satisfy the brain's need for the joys and satisfaction of eating, we are soon craving again with constant feelings of deprivation.  Many experts believe one of the reasons French people have less weight problems is because they spend longer amounts of time eating their meals and find joy and satisfaction in their meals so they don't crave snacks.

    When we do eat, our minds are often distracted with personal and work problems, deadlines, and telephone messages and entertainment apps.  It's hard to tell if we are satisfied and full, if our minds are completely preoccupied with mental distractions.  So we may continue to eat because our minds are distracted.

     And we tend to be very fast eaters.  We were raised by parents and caretakers who were always rushed and encouraging children to hurry up and finish eating.  Our first grade school teachers told us to finish up quickly because it was time for the second graders to use the lunch room.  By our teen years, lunches were rushed in order to have more time hanging out with friends during lunch break.  By the time we are adults, eating quickly is the norm.  Even if we are full, our brains have not had time to register fullness, so we just keep right on stuffing in food.

     All of these factors can cause us to eat without awareness.  What can you do that will help you to enjoy food more and actually be satisfied and not continually craving?  The goal is to eat mindfully.  One way you can do that is by not using electronics, watching television or reading a book while eating.  How can your mind know if you are full, if it is totally distracted? Eating slowly to truly savor the taste and getting satisfaction of what you do eat can cause you to eat less.  Put your fork down between bites.  Really focus on what you are eating and it's wonderful taste so you can get true satisfaction out of what you eat and be satisfied with how much you eat.

    Hypnotherapy can help you to eat mindfully as a part of a weight loss session or program.  It can help you to stop cravings, enjoy what you do eat, reach your perfect weight and BE WELL.


      Almost every evening on the news there is a report about uncontrolled anger ruining lives.  Road rage incidents, school bullying, workplace' school shootings and other violent crimes are common place.  Though some of these are organized by criminal organizations, many of them are caused because of people who cannot control their anger.

     Very few people can completely eliminate anger in their life.  Sometimes it can be helpful in signaling to others that important needs are not being met.  So in small amounts, anger can actually be a helpful emotion to express those needs and to solve problems.

     But this emotion can be very destructive when it is not controlled.  It can cause a great deal of misery not only for the recipient of a person's anger but for the angry person as well.  It can damage relationships both personally and in a working environment. It also can cause or contribute to many illnesses.

    If a person cannot control anger, the fight-or-flight response kicks in with a release of adrenalin and an increase in muscle tension.  Muscles tighten when you are angry to help you fight or run.  In other words, you get "up tight". When the muscles in your neck, jaw, shoulders and back tighten up, it can cause soreness or pain in the muscles and skeletal system.

     When the fight-or-flight response activates, your heart beats faster and your blood pressure elevates.  This increases the risk for developing coronary heart disease.  In addition, your liver releases more fat into your blood and your blood cells become "sticky".  These are normal reactions to protect you - the stickiness in the blood cells is to protect you from bleeding out in case of an injury.  The fat is released to give more energy for the muscles to burn.  But all of these reactions increase the risk of your having a stroke or heart attack.

     Digestive and breathing problems can also occur. Stomach and gastrointestinal problems such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), acid reflux,and nausea can occur when long held anger turns inward.  Throat constriction, shallow breathing and the feeling of having heaviness in the chest can happen as respiration speeds up in order to send blood to the muscles and brain.

      Besides these negative health issues, anger can cause you to just not feel good.  You may feel edgy and have very little energy.  Many of my clients complain that they just "can't relax" or "don't know how to relax".  So what can you do to manage your anger?  If you  feel like you are angry more often or all the time, it's time to seek professional help.  Ask your medical doctor or find an anger-management expert through the American Psychological Association.  

    If you do not think you are at that level of need but would like some tools to control your anger, there are some simple techniques you might try.  Step outside yourself and try to view a situation that makes you angry from a distance.   Evaluate how high your anger is by picturing a yardstick and imagining an arrow pointing at the number you are at then consciously begin to drop the number.  Deep breathing down into the abdominal cavity and exhaling slowly can help you to feel more calm and safe.  As you breathe in think "I am", and as you exhale, think "relaxed".    Imagine blowing the anger out as you exhale.  Muscle relaxation will help you relax.  Practicing deep breathing and muscle relaxation strengthens your control.

   Clinical hypnotherapy can be a great tool to control anger by working to deal with the underlying issues and helping to work with the techniques described above.  Control your anger and BE WELL.





   When I work with a client to become a nonsmoker, I always ask them to call me on their first anniversary so we can celebrate together.  I just got off the phone with a gentleman who came in last Monday to quit smoking. He said, "I know you said call me on my first anniversary, but I just wanted you to know in an hour and a half, I will have been a nonsmoker for one week.  It was much easier than I had thought possible." I reminded him that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis and that this was something he had done by using a powerful tool.  If you are thinking about getting free of cigarettes and smoking, remember hypnotherapy can be that tool. Stop smoking and BE WELL.


     Often when clients come to me to make a change in their life, their first comment is
"I just don't have any willpower".  They feel that if they just had more willpower that they could change their behavior.  A study by Dutch researchers in 2011, gives new insight into willpower and developing good habits.  The researchers conducted studies on people who had above average self-control and found that the high-self control subjects were not using large amounts of willpower to control their behavior.  Instead, these people spent their time and willpower establishing positive habits.  They were focusing on the positive rather than the negative.  By establishing positive habits, they became routine and the individuals no longer had to spend a great deal of willpower fighting negative habits.

    If you are trying to make a change in your life, rather than focusing on strong willpower to stop a negative, focus on creating positive autopilot habits.  An example might be, rather than focusing on willpower to stop drinking soft drinks, a person might focus on a good habit of keeping water easily available and drinking water regularly.  If you need help to establish positive habits, a hypnotherapist can help you.  Build great positive habits and Be Well!


      Today, most people are aware that sexual abuse experienced recently or years ago can cause mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.  But there is growing evidence that sexual abuse including molestation and/or rape can also cause a large range of medical problems.

      Since it is estimated that one in six men and one in four women were sexually assaulted before they were eighteen, this is a significant population who may have physical as well as mental health issues stemming from sexual abuse.  It has been shown that traumatic experience including sexual abuse causes unstable levels of cortisol, the major stress hormone.  The elevated levels of cortisol can in turn lead to inflammation which is a major factor in many illnesses. The inflammation can be a contributing factor to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome and arthritis.

    Since survivors of sexual abuse have higher than average rates of tobacco use, drug and alcohol abuse and risky sexual behavior, the side effects of those habits can directly affect their physical health. Other physical healths often seen with sexual abuse survivors include: chronic daily headaches, obesity, eating disorders. gastrointestinal disorders, fibromyalgia and chronic pelvic pain.

     If you are a survivor of sexual abuse, be sure and talk honestly and completely to your medical doctor.  This will help your physician to be aware at the time of diagnosis and in preventative care planning.  This will also be of value for women having a Pap smear or a man having a prostate exam. 

    A person who has been sexually abused needs to make it a real goal to take care of him or herself.  Healthy habits including getting enough sleep, exercising, eating a healthy diet and meditating can help reduce your stress and cortisol production thus reducing your risk for health problems.  Hypnotherapy is often used in building these healthy lifestyle habits.

     If you have not dealt with your sexual abuse history, seek professional help from someone trained in sexual abuse treatment.  This may be a counselor, psychologist or certified sex therapist.  There are sexual abuse survivors' groups and online help.  These include:  the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (, Adult Survivors of Child Abuse ( and Survivors of Incest Anonymous ( You may also learn new strategies for living with a sexual abuse history with such recovery books as The Sexual Healing Journey:A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse, The Courage to Heal and Victims No Longer.

     If you have not dealt with your sexual abuse history, seek professional help from someone trained in sexual abuse treatment.  This may be a counselor, psychologist or certified sex therapist.  As a hypnotherapist, I work with sexual abuse survivors as an adjunct therapy on referral from the person's primary therapist when that therapist believes hypnotherapy could be a valuable tool.  There is help available.  Don't let a history of sexual abuse affect your mental, emotional or physical health.  Heal your past and Be Well.


     Are you hoping to have a lengthened life span because you don't smoke and are not obese?  Before you pat yourself on the back, know there is another habit that can shorten your life span.  In 2011, Lennert Veerman, MD, a senior research fellow at The University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia, reported on a study of 11,000 adults ages 25 and older which compared lifestyle and health data.  The study found that for every hour of sedentary TV-watching per day, on average life expectancy was reduced by 22 minutes.  Which means that a six-hour daily TV habit after the age of 25 could be expected to reduce life expectancy by nearly five years. In other words, the cardiovascular risk for too much TV watching is as dangerous as smoking and obesity.

    It's time to cut back on television watching and begin to add in more healthy activities like spending time with your family and friends, exercising and meditating.  If you need help in making those changes, hypnotherapy can be a great tool to motivate you.  Get up.  Move.  Be Well.


      What do pumpkin, collard greens and raspberries have in common?  The answer - they will all help you live longer.  A study published in Archives of Internal Medicine in 2011 by Chaoyang Li, MD, PhD reported that those foods were among fruits and vegetables that helped people live longer because they contained high levels of alpha-carotene.  Dr. Chaoyang Li is an epidemiologist in the division of behavioral surveillance at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, and the leader of the study of 15,318 people.

     His report concluded that the people with the highest blood levels of alpha-carotene were 39% less likely to die from all causes over 14 years.  Among the foods with the most alpha-carotene were:  carrots, snap beans, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, mangoes, collard greens, plantains, bell peppers, tomatoes, plantains, raspberries, peas, cornmeal and corn, tangerines and vegetable juice cocktail.

    Another study by Katherine Tucker, PhD, professor and chair, department of health sciences at Northeastern University Boston on 623 people was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  In it Dr. Tucker, the senior author of the study, reported that people who ate at least three weekly servings of tuna, salmon or mackerel had smaller amounts of bone loss over four years than those who did not.  Those particular fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

    If you want the best chance at having a long, full and healthy life, these studies indicate, better food choices improve that chance.  If you are having trouble making those changes, hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool to help you improve those choices.  Eat well.  Be well.


A study recently reported in the New England Journal of Medicine emphasized the message that smoking carries severe risks for smokers.  The study took the result of surveys of 217,000 adults collected for the federal National Health Interview Survey between 1997 and 2004 and linked them to the National Death Index which reports cause-of-death.  The results were scary.  Very few smokers reached the age of eighty.  In the nonsmoking population seventy percent of women who never smoked and sixty-one percent of men who never smoked reached the age of eighty.  Just thirty-eight percent of female smokers and twenty-six percent of male smokers celebrated their eightieth birthday.

If you want to give yourself the best opportunity to live a longer, healthier life, it's time to consider quitting smoking.  Hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool in helping you get rid of this scary habit that can carry such grave risks.  Quit smoking, live long and BE WELL.


     A study recently reported in the New England Journal of Medicine emphasized the message that smoking carries severe risks for smokers.  The study took the result of surveys of 217,000 adults collected for the federal National Health Interview Survey between 1997 and 2004 and linked them to the National Death Index which reports cause-of-death.  The results were scary.  Very few smokers reached the age of eighty.  In the nonsmoking population seventy percent of women who never smoked and sixty-one percent of men who never smoked reached the age of eighty.  Just thirty-eight percent of female smokers and twenty-six percent of male smokers celebrated their eightieth birthday.

    If you want to give yourself the best opportunity to live a longer, healthier life, it's time to consider quitting smoking.  Hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool in helping you get rid of this scary habit that can carry such grave risks.  Quit smoking, live long and BE WELL.


      Most of us know or at least suspect that soft drinks are not good for us.  Whether we are talking about sugared sodas or diet drinks or even bottled teas or sports drinks, there are significant health risks to consuming those drinks.  Studies show that the average American consumes about fifty gallons of soft drinks in a year and 11.5 gallons of fruit juice and fruit beverages.  These drinks contain sugar or a sugar substitute and may also contain caffeine, phosphoric acid or high-fructose corn syrup. None of these things are good for us and may cause health problems.

    Our bodies are simply not created to process the sugars in sweetened drinks, the excess sugar negatively affects the body's chemical balance which can lead to a variety of serious illnesses including: pancreatic cancer, osteoporosis, leaky gut syndrom which can increase the risk for and/ or severity of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other autoimmune diseaes, hypertension, asthma, gout and heart burn.  Diet sodas are no better with recent research indicating that people who drank diet soda daily were at much greater risk for stroke and heart attack. It is likely the sugar substitutes such as saccharin and aspartame and the phosphoric acid are the causes for this risk.

     If you are thinking of turning to sports drinks, be aware that a sixteen ounce bottle of lemon tea has 10.5 teaspoons of sugar and a twenty ounce bottle of Gatorade Original Lemon-Line contains 8.5 teaspoons.  If you have decided these health risks are to great, hypnotherapy can be a great tool whether you quit cold turkey or gradually.   


    It's the time of the year when many of us begin to think about a new start.  Whether it's losing weight, quitting smoking, getting more exercise or one of a myriad resolutions, most of us consider the beginning of a new year an opportunity for change and new beginnings.  For most of us that process of change begins by identifying the bad habit.  To learn and  understand your habit, break it down.  Ask yourself "what are the triggers that cause me to (do whatever it is you want to change).  Next break down the actual behavior of the habit ( what do you do, where, when, are you alone or with others). Then think about why you have the habit - what are the rewards? Finally, identify how you are going to change the triggers, behaviors and rewards to attain your goals.  It is o.k. to look for help in making those changes.  Smart people use tools.  You can dig a hole with your fingernails.  It's a lot easier to use a backhoe.  So get help where you can - a personal trainer may help you to get started in an exercise program, a registered dietician may help you plan your meals.  A hypnotherapist can be another great tool in supporting new beginnings.  Be smart.  Get the help you need to make new beginnings.  And BE WELL. 


     Almost everyone in daily life will have some challenging temptation.  It could be an impulse purchase, an unhealthy snack, a cigarette.  Many of us believe we can resist these temptations by using willpower.  But know that using willpower alone is hard. Researchers in a study by L.F. Nordgren, et. al. at the Northwestern University Kellog School of Management found that many people think they have more willpower than they really do.

     The study found that college student participants often overestimated their ability to control their impulses and behavior.  This in turn caused a bigger problem.  Because they thought they could resist temptation, they tended to put themselves in situations where they were exposed to even more temptation which they couldn't handle.  The students who believed they had strong willpower were likely to make poorer choices like choosing to smoke, hang out at the bar,  buy the impulse purchase or eat an unhealthy snack.  Students who believed themselves to not have as much willpower were less likely to make those poor choices.

     So rather than rely on willpower, avoiding situations that have those temptations is easier.  I tell my clients that you would not send a new AA member to a bar.  Food junkies need to avoid donut shops and shopaholics need to avoid the mall.  Hypnotherapy can be a great tool for confirming these new methods for dealing with the temptations in your life.


     This is a transcript of a recent phone call I wanted to share with you.  "Hi, Dr. Johnson. This is (client's  name withheld).  I was in to see you about six weeks ago to quit smoking.  It's been an amazing experience. Since I walked out of your office I haven't had an urge at all.  And my fingernails have grown to whole new lengths I've never had before.  I justed wanted to let you know.  Thank you very much.  My son and some friends are coming to see you.  Thanks again.  Have a wonderful day."  Hypnotherapy can help you change old bad habits as well.


        In the last week, I have had a number of parents call my office asking if hypnotherapy can be used with children.  The good news is that not only can children be hypnotized but that children are generally more hypnotically responsive than adults.  Children tend to have active imaginations and few, if any, preconceived ideas about hypnosis.

        Although some hypnotherapists work with children under the age of 5 or 6, there is little published research on the effectiveness of hypnosis with toddlers.  I have found that it is difficult for young children to focus enough to address their needs.  If you are seeking hypnotherapy for a young child, you may need to interview several hypnotherapists to find one who has worked successfully with very young children.

       By the age of six, most children are able to comprehend metaphors and have the emotional, linguistic and cognitive capability to make excellent hypnosis subjects.   A study by Olness and Gardner in 1988 found that most hypnotic ability is limited in children less than three years of age and reaches its peak during middle childhood up to the age of fourteen.

       What kinds of things could hypnotherapy be used for in working with children?  Last week I worked with an eleven year old boy who sucked his thumb, a young teenager who had test anxiety and another who procrastinated and a ten year old who wet the bed.  Hypnotherapy can be used in many of the same areas as with an adult.  Habit modification is one of those.  Where an adult doesn't want to give up cigarettes, a child may have difficulty giving up his "blankie".  Undesirable habits like hairpulling, nail biting and overeating may be addressed just like with an adult client.

       Hypnotherapy may also be used in dealing with childhood trauma like physical, mental or emotional abuse.  These issues should be addressed in hypnosis by a psychotherapist who has hypnotherapy training or as an adjunct therapy to the work being done by the psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor or psychotherapist.  Note that not everyone who practices hypnotherapy is an appropriate practitioner for a traumatized child.

       Other psychological applications of hypnosis with children include: tics, learning disorders, behavior disorders, anxiety and somatoform disorders. Medical issues that may be addressed with hypnotherapy include: eating disorders, pain management, treatment of nausea and/or vomiting and bed wetting.  Again, These issues should be evaluated by appropriate medical doctors and mental health professionals who may refer a child to a hypnotherapist as part of a treatment plan.

      A couple of notes about the session itself.  The parent or guardian who brings a young child to the session will be in the room during the entire session. Teenagers often prefer their parent to wait in the waiting room so they can talk more openly during the clinical interview that precedes the hypnosis.  Some teenagers are also self-couscious about how they might look during hypnosis (is my mouth open?).  I suggest that the child make the decision after the age of 12 or 13. 

     During my time with the child before hypnosis, my primary goal is to build rapport with the child.  Sometimes I will tell a story or have a toy to help establish that rapport.  I will try to identify an interest to build a relaxing metaphor.  One child last week pictured himself in a "wonderland of toys" (his words).  I suggested he imagine himself there putting his favorite Lego toy together.  Another child liked Sponge Bob Square Pants so he imagined himself in the pineapple house under the sea and eating crabby patties.

    Hypnotherapy is a tool for change.  It can be a valuable tool for children as well as adults. If you are thinking about hypnotherapy for your child, find a well-qualified, highly trained person and then give your child and the hypnotherapist a chance to work together.

Video Gaming and Addiction

     If you have a child in your life who plays video games, you may be concerned if that child seems out of balance - spending too much time and energy in gaming while other areas of life are neglected.  Yours is a legitimate concern. There are 45 million children between the ages of 8 and 18 in the United States and 88 percent of them play video games. A study done by researcher Douglas Gentile of Iowa State University and director of research at the nonprofit National Institute on Media and the Family reported that 8.5 percent of American youths age 8 to 18 who play video games show multiple signs of behavioral addiction.  In addition, four times as many boys as girls were considered pathological gamers.

     Gentile adapted diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling into a series of questions about video game use, which became part of a 2007 Harris Poll of 1,178 children and teens.  If the gamers reported at least six of the eleven symtoms the gamers were deemed pathological.   Several symptoms were identified.  They included:  spending increasing amounts of time and money on video games to feel the same level of excitement, escaping problems by playing video games, lying about the length of playing time, irritability or restlessness when game play is scaled back, skipping chores or homework to spend more time playing games, stealing games or money to play more and escaping problems through playing video games.

   Gentile found that children considered pathological gamers had trouble paying attention in class, did worse in school and reported feeling "addicted".   In addition, they were found to be twice as likely to report ADD (attention-deficit disorder) or ADHD (attention-deficit  hyperactivity disorder)

     Not everyone agrees with Gentile's findings.  Michael Brody of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry believes, "I think kids use this just the way kids watch television, the way kids now use their cellphones.  They do it to relieve their anxiety and depression. It's all a matter of balance."

     The key word here is "balance".  According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, all screen time, including computer and video games but also television should not exceed one to two hours  day of "quality programming."  If a child you love is exhibiting the smptoms described above or is struggling, without success, to cut back gaming time, that child may need help through therapy to lead a more balanced life.