KCRW Podcast: Hypnotic Induction

As an appendix to the previous episode of KCRW's The Organist where I spoke with producer and artist, Ross Simonini, about my story and hypnotherapy, in this one I offer an experience. This is a hypnotic induction, and with that I must include some caveats. There are many different words for the same things. Often times hypnotic inductions are similar to guided relaxation or meditation. Guided imagery exercises can be similar to self-hypnosis and veer easily into shamanic journeys, Jungian archetypal work, or past life regressions. 

I'm a meditator and this particular induction is intended as guided relaxation. There are many ways to induce and work with trance that are eyes-open, awake, dynamic, and conversational. The central lesson here is that trance is not dependent on relaxation and can happen at any time. Living and working in New York City, I find people appreciate the opportunity to get quiet and be guided back to a native sense of calm. If you're seeking good old-fashioned chilling out, look no further. 

From KCRW's Website:

"If each episode of a podcast is an organ, an essential piece of a larger body, then this is an appendix to that body: a non-essential but still uniquely formed bonus episode. In it you’ll hear a hypnotic induction as performed and scored by the hypnotherapist Daniel Ryan. Ryan was featured on the Organist last week in our episode about the relationship between our bodies, our minds, and sound. One last note— it’s probably best if you stop operating heavy machinery while you’re listening to this podcast."

I had the pleasure of speaking with the terrific and knowledgeable Adam Eason on his podcast, Hypnosis Weekly recently. Adam maintains private practice and leads the Anglo European College of Therapeutic Hypnosis which he founded in Bournemouth, UK, where he lives. He champions a scientific and evidence-based approach grounded in ethical practice and teaching from all sides which I highly regard and respect. On his blog, Adam has been quite articulate and outspoken on what he sees as the concerns within regression therapy. I agree with him on most - if not all - of his points and personally feel that what are often seen as problems with regression therapy are actually opportunities for a broader possibility space. During our conversation, I talk a lot about my experience with my father, watching him practice in the 90s when regression therapy was less than 20 years old, and in the second half I list out what I feel are the 5 most significant issues for the field to overcome. I'm grateful to Adam and his writing as he has helped me become clearer on what the challenges are put forth to regression therapy. You can listen to our conversation above, and I highly recommend the podcast in general for informed conversations within the field. 

You Are The Expert On You

On a Venn Diagram of health and wellness offerings, it's hard to say where hypnotherapy would be. Somewhere near the margins, I imagine. Despite the absence of adverse side effects, it's being very cost-effective, or it's broad applicability, the entrenched PR problems of hypnosis usually overshadow other factors. The same feedback loop of messaging continues to cycle making little to no dent in the public perception or understanding. News stories and articles about hypnotherapy sessions usually go something like:

  1. Would this person make me cluck like a chicken/swing a pendulum?
  2. They didn't make me cluck like a chicken/stare at a swinging pendulum. 
  3. We talked and they listened intently and asked interesting questions. 
  4. We did some relaxing exercises that felt like guided meditation. 
  5. I left feeling calmer and more peaceful as opposed to more agitated or worked up. 
  6. I still don't get it. Maybe you'd like it? 

It's an echo chamber of the same non-starting narrative. There are exceptions, of course, but I never cease to marvel at myself and my colleagues working in this field so deeply trained in listening and language, and so seemingly unable to explain itself. 

Living and working in the vibrant and thriving wellness scene (it's a scene) in NYC, I notice often the conflation of luxury products with health and wellness services. Sometimes the marketing is boldly unethical. There are degrees and some are more egregious than others, but it's so pervasive now that containing it feels like a battle that's already been lost. It was due to this that reading my friend, Rachelle Robinett's recent article titled "I Helped Turn Wellness Into a Luxury Good. Now It's Out of Control" was refreshing and cathartic. I'm going to leave a few excerpts below, but please read the whole thing if you've come this far. Her story, in my opinion, is necessary and timely. I admire her courage and honesty in telling it.  


"I see how wellness has become another way to display wealth, and commodifying health is more dangerous than fetishizing clothes. I see how it thrives on inventing new ailments, creating social pressure to cure them, and selling snake oil for how to do it. I see how, by embracing the idea that well-being must be bought, we’re becoming more and more distant from ourselves—our bodies, our minds, and our health."

"My new clients regularly confess that they don’t know how to make simple meals for themselves, how to get to bed on time, how to fall asleep without medication, or how to make time to work out. They can buy the potion, but they can’t buy the time to mix it into a smoothie (or a glass of water for that matter). These issues are serious, and correcting them is so much more important and effective than any supplement."

 Writer and Holistic Health Practitioner, Rachelle Robinett.

Writer and Holistic Health Practitioner, Rachelle Robinett.

"...from within the industry and with everyone’s wellbeing in mind, these are some of the ways I've learned to find health in more of the right places:

Try food first

As someone who has studied herbal medicine for many years, I firmly believe that food can do more good (or harm) to my body than any potion or pill. I believe that simply eating more vegetables can nix the perceived need for fancy remedies for most people, and produce is a hell of a lot cheaper too. Those “basic” foods you can find at most grocery stores often have fewer ecological and socioeconomic side-effects than so-called superfoods. By basic, I mean things like lettuce, carrots, garlic, and apples. And the more local, the better. As long as I'm mindful of my consumption, I'm on the right track.

Question products (and my motives)

While most of the wellness products on the market today aren’t inherently bad, details—such as quality, ingredients, and intent—really do matter. Before I buy a product, I ask myself: "Is this a shortcut that's going to handicap me in the long run?" "Is the intent to make me dependent on something rather than capable of caring for myself?" I read ingredient labels—not the marketing messages. I do research, check reviews, and get referrals from people I trust. And obviously, I question my sources. Searching terms like “the benefits of” is a sure way to get some confirmation bias. Need proof? Google “the benefits of Twinkies.”

Not everyone needs a healer and a supplement regimen

Perfect-health potions are a perpetual obsession of our species. I resist peer-pressure to have a healer, an astrologer, and a 12-ingredient daily smoothie. Or any unconsidered supplements in my life. (Unless it’s really good-quality probiotics. Just kidding, kind of.) If I'm taking supplements, I reality-check them once in awhile. Am I truly feeling better? Is it really worth the money? Nothing can counteract the effects of a poor diet or imbalanced lifestyle; if that were possible, we’d have a hangover cure by now.

Mind the social media

Today, every person can be a brand, and every brand can seem like a person; social media is full of blurred lines. So it’s on all of us to think about what we post, like, and share. It may be harmless to overshare over-styled smoothie bowls, but it can be harmful when celebrities endorse overpriced and untested products that none of us fully understand. (I recently suggested that a woman stop taking maca—which she'd tried after seeing it in her Instagram feed—in the evenings. Maca is known for increasing energy, and she was suffering from insomnia.)

Vegetables, sleep, exercise

Vegetablessleep, and exercise remain the unchanging foundations of wellness. I try to avoid today’s conveniences that pardon me from focusing on those basics. If delivery meals means forgetting how to prepare a meal, or breathing apps distance me from my ability to know when I need to stop and breathe, they may not be worth it.

My health is my own

My wellbeing is my responsibility, but it’s also my adventure. It should be a source of happiness, not anxiety. How I feel, what my medical test results show, and the way I'm able to live my life matter far more than being on the latest superfood bandwagon."

KCRW Podcast and Interview: Sleeping Knowledge

How does music resemble food? How can sound work like medicine? To treat chronic digestive pain, producer Ross Simonini tried everything until visiting hypnotherapist Daniel Ryan, who uses only the sound of his voice through a technique shared by orators, monks, musicians, parents—and magician David Blaine.

We also learn about the psychoacoustics of lawn sprinklers with Susan Rogers, a sound engineer who’s recorded albums for David Byrne, Barenaked Ladies, Tricky, and, most famously, Prince’s albums Purple Rain and Sign o' the Times. Rogers is one of the most legendary female sound engineers in an industry long dominated by men. These days, she’s also a professor at the Berklee School of Music, where she researches how our brains process sound.

Lastly, author Eugene Lim brings us speculative fiction on the interstellar connections between celebrity CEO Elon Musk and the Organist podcast itself.

Hypnosis segment produced by Ross Simonini. 
Interview with Susan Rogers produced by Jenny Ament.

Japan & Thailand

For the next three and a half weeks I'll be traveling in Japan and Thailand. From May 2 - May 25th I'll be on the road, in a plane, on a boat, potentially on the back of an elephant, (under only the most humane circumstances, otherwise I'll decline) on a motorbike, in the back of a tuk tuk, smiling over a bowl of delicious ramen, or generally gawping at the beauty and madness on the other side of the world. It will be my first time meaningfully exploring Asia. Almost a decade ago, I was staying on the Asian side of Istanbul, "The Gateway to the East" they call it. That time I didn't make it past the threshold. This time I'm going deep. 

There will be temples, monasteries, restaurants, hotels, cities, forests, jungles, rivers, parks, anime, cherry blossoms, manga, beaches, islands... I'm ready for an adventure. And prepared for a culture shock that may take a few days (weeks? years?) to subside. Many of the therapies and techniques I'm trained in are based in Eastern philosophies put through Western filters. I'm beyond excited to see that second layer finally removed. 

Leaving NY has got me thinking about NY. Whenever I travel there's a part of my mind meditating on home. And this particular trip already feels different. My girlfriend and partner, Sarah, recently completed her grad program (She was valedictorian!) and she's now launching her practice as an Acupuncturist. Her business is called Sanctuary and at this early stage, it's set up for success. There is a lot to celebrate. Yet leaving can feel like abandoning multiple projects midstream, even though everything is prepared and leaving is essential. Such is the mindset of concrete, steel and glass. It's like the illusion that holding on tighter will draw something closer, or make it more dear. One more day of the (true) joy of work, and then... holiday. 

New Website

I understand when someone has an averse reaction to technology and usually applaud those friends and acquaintances who have chosen to simply live without smart phones and social media. It can feel like going against nature - moving against the trends of one's time. Often when I'm feeling introverted, looking at social media can feel pushy and invasive to me. Other times, I love it and ride the wave of pleasure and fun posting pictures of my dog or some random adventure. It's all a nice distraction, from a certain point of view. 

Another point of view as a small-business owner would be that to not engage with the tools available to me would be somewhere on a spectrum of silly to stupid. It would be cannibalistic to my own potential for growth, if it was done without purpose...

I've had websites up for my practice since i began in 2011. I haven't always updated them regularly. This one is new however. Its purpose is new too. This is a foundation. The previous ones were intended to present a picture and now those old photos feel like they are all collected here. I feel like I've cleaned my home or organized my cabinets. Things in rows and right angles. The kerning that occurs internally.