Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


A few years ago I received my certification as a hypnotist. It's a subject that's always fascinated me. I don't do it for money; I do it to try to help others change their lives.

First time I hypnotized someone I was terrified. Even though I had practiced and practiced I wasn't sure I knew what I was doing.

Since that time I've helped a few dozen people quit smoking. And helped others change bad habits and develop more confidence.

The first thing I was taught as a hypnotist was to forget pretty much everything I'd seen on television about hypnosis. What one sees on TV is entertainment. Nothing more and nothing very realistic.

If one were to observe a hypnosis session from outside the room, it would seem very boring. Yet there is definitely rhyme and reason to what the hypnotist is trying to do.

The goal of a good hypnotic session is to bring the client into a receptive state, the theta state, where the subconscious mind is open to suggestion.

A lot of those who ask for my assistance want me to perform some kind of magic where they will no longer be an addict or alcoholic. There's not enough room here to explain why that's a very impractical suggestion. Suffice it to say any kind of change is generally a long process. But a decent hypnotist can facilitate that process by implanting the proper suggestions in the subject's subconscious mind. And usually it takes at least three sessions to have a positive impact that will help the client change.

The good thing about us having a competent hypnotist here at TLC is that we can work very closely with the counselor on specific issues. Sometimes that helps speed the healing process.

It can help open doors for both therapist and client.