Probing minds

By NEELY STEINBERG  |  April 25, 2008

Interestingly, the prospect of smoking cessation is what attracted Benton to hypnosis in the first place. After being cured of a lifelong habit in one 10-minute hypnosis session, Benton, who was ignorant of the field, realized he’d found his raison d’être. Now he’s a national and international hypnosis instructor who has been featured on CNN and the Discovery Channel, and delights in teaching students everything he knows about a therapy he feels doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Impressions of hypnotism we get from movies and TV and night-club acts do little to legitimate it as a tool for real healing. Understandably, Benton vehemently opposes Hollywood’s harmful portrayals and the nefarious stunts of stage hypnotists. “These stage guys create an illusion that there’s a loss of control and that everyone is under [their] spell, which, of course, is pure garbage, because really there’s no loss of control or consciousness,” explains Benton. “The truth is that in hypnotism, you’re more in control than when you’re not because you’re really in the zone.”

Simple solutions
So what is hypnosis, really? The key, Benton explains, is the cooperation of the unconscious mind, which he likens to a computer’s hard drive. Every event you experience and every corresponding emotion is stored, uncritically, in your unconscious mind. The conscious mind, on the other hand, is like RAM — which consumes only about five percent of the computer’s power. The conscious mind is critical, ethical, judgmental, and protective; hence, for people to heal via hypnotism, it needs to be circumvented.

Once a subject is induced, the therapist aims suggestions, affirmations, and the like at the unconscious mind. This can allow people to overcome their psychological demons and even some medical issues, such as skin disorders, high blood pressure, and fibryomyalgia.

Benton, who has trained for the past nine years under Harvard Medical School’s Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology Dan Brown, claims to have an overall patient-success rate, backed up by hospital documentation, of 90 percent. He also asserts that approximately 95 percent of all people can be hypnotized, so it’s no wonder that hypnosis is expanding into such fields as nursing, dentistry, and social work.

“Many of the nurses who come through my program use hypnosis with the children they work with,” says Benton. “Social workers use it a lot to help their clients with anxiety and depression, and dentists use it to help people with dental phobias or with various dental disorders.”

Dr. Murad Padamsee, a Wellesley-based dentist who specializes in chronic dental pain, enrolled in Benton’s certification course several years ago and has successfully used Benton’s techniques to help patients overcome their fear of dentists and treat painful disorders, such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) or bruxis (teeth-grinding).

“Ted is a remarkable practitioner and teacher. He’s very open, straightforward, and incredibly knowledgeable. The techniques he taught me to use on my patients really work,” says an enthusiastic Padamsee.

Surely, students of the course, who can join the American Board of Hypnotherapy upon graduation, shouldn’t expect to attain Benton’s level of expertise from the get-go. “While I can teach someone to hypnotize someone in five minutes, finding your hypnotic voice or developing a real comfort zone using hypnosis can take time. Usually, it takes several months to a year for most people to truly develop that,” says Benton.

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |   next >
  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Entertainment, Science and Technology, Health and Fitness,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY NEELY STEINBERG
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   CAN'T ESCAPE SNAPE AT LEAKYCON  |  May 27, 2009
    Sure, Figawi Race Weekend is a blast, but how many times in my life would I have the opportunity to mingle with more than 750 J.K. Rowling devotees? So, this past Memorial Day weekend, I decided to skip Nantucket and join the all-ages, international assembly of Potter-heads at Boston's Park Plaza Hotel for LeakyCon 2009.
  •   RUNNING A CLEAN RACE  |  April 29, 2009
    Johnny and his crew of knuckleheads were playing a round of ding-dong ditch in the Back Bay when they were spotted by a cop.
  •   WHY NO BARACK OF LAMB?  |  October 28, 2008
    Assuming he was indeed born in Honolulu, and barring another hanging-chads debacle, Barack Obama will likely be our next president.  
  •   NIGHT OF THE LIVING GEEKS  |  September 10, 2008
    I’ve never dated a geek. Nor have I ever envisioned myself doing so.
  •   DATED ADVICE  |  August 21, 2009
    To boink a lot or not to boink a lot?

 See all articles by: NEELY STEINBERG