January 01, 2010, 03:39 PM
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A reader asks:

"What or who did you use to bring yourself under hypnosis?"

I had some New Agey lady hypnotism therapist hypnotize me. My wife found her. I was pretty paralyzed by feelings of doom at the time (right after my diagnosis with lymphatic cancer in late 1996), so I don't remember how my wife found her.

There wasn't anything very exciting about being hypnotized. The hypnotist just spoke in a dull, repetitious manner until I was lulled into a state where I was more receptive to suggestions. Then she told me this story I had made up for her about how I was 80 years old and playing the 17th hole at Ballybunion with my sons and grandson. For the rest of the day, I'd feel like I was going to live to 80, which helped me function better. The next day I'd feel lousy, so I'd go back a couple of times per week.

After awhile, my depression lifted permanently, so I stopped going.

I have no idea if hypnosis would work for people on average, but it had a clear and immediate effect on me in that particular situation. Granted, that's purely my subjective feelings, but that's what I wanted to alter: my subjective feelings.

And, yes, I had the hypnotist try to get me to do amusing tricks under hypnosis like in an old nightclub act, but that didn't work. She declared me "moderately suggestible."