HARRISON–All I could think about was that this would never work for me. I couldn’t relax. I wasn’t buying it. I had to stay attentive to do this story.
Even his soft low voice, his expertise and experience, the dimmed lights and the reclining chair wouldn’t be able to lull my active mind into a state of relaxation so deep, he could hypnotize me.
But he did.
One afternoon I was pushing a shopping cart through the grocery store when a man stopped and called me by my first and last name. He recognized me from a TV station in New York City where we both worked decades ago, and he was a Producer. “Are you still in the business?” he asked. “Yup,” I said, “You?”
“No,” he said. “I’m a hypnotist. I have an office on Mamaroneck Avenue.”
Bob Pargament runs the Westchester Hypnosis Center. He is quick to point out the isn’t the guy on a stage making people quack like a duck. This kind of hypnosis has “powerful life changing benefit. No one can be made to do anything they don’t want to do.”
But when there are things you really do want to do, but can’t, such as stopping smoking, losing weight, public speaking, driving over the Throggs Neck Bridge, whatever it is, Pargament says he can tap into your subconscious. The subconscious is a far more powerful tool than logic is.
“Think of your analytical, conscious mind as a computer hard drive,” he says, “and the subconscious as the repository for your patterns. Under hypnosis, the mind enters a soothing groove, known as the theta state. You’re more focused. The mind moves faster. And imprints the patterns you want back onto the hard drive.”
Bob asked me what I wanted help with. I told him I wanted to stop grinding my teeth at night, my own sadly mundane symptom of stress.
That morning I came to a nondescript office building, as if going to the doctor. And now here I was in the chair. It couldn’t work for me.
Afterwards, I felt strangely energized, and kind of curious what was now programmed on my hard drive.
I called him the next day to let him know that for the first night in many years, I had stopped grinding my teeth.
Pargament says one of his lifetime goals is to help as many people as he can with this “amazing modality. I want hypnosis to be better understood, so that people will think of it as the place to go as first resort.”