BERLIN — Chronic pain, insomnia, depression and smoking cessation: these are all issues that hypnotherapy aims to treat. Options for the alternative medicine on the Eastern Shore are relatively slim but Berlin resident Meg Schomann is offering the service in town through her business American Hypnosis Associates (AHA).
Schomann began her career in hypnotherapy more than a decade and a half ago, receiving certification from the Eastern Institute of Hypnotherapy in Virginia for general practice, as well as a Master’s certification and Hypno-anesthesia certification. Originally opening in Salisbury, Schomann’s business operated for about 18 months before she left the field for pharmaceutical work.
But Schomann never lost interest in hypnotherapy and has decided to re-start her business from home with the intention of growing quickly.
“I definitely have goals,” she said. “I want to move into an office this summer once I’ve built up a client base.”
Hypnotherapy seeks to treat many of the same issues targeted by traditional therapy. Some of the most common that Schomann deals with include pain management and insomnia.
“There are certainly a lot of people out there in pain where traditional medicine isn’t doing it for them,” she said. “It’s just not getting it to where they need it to be. So one of my favorite things to do is turn down the volume of someone’s pain.”
Schomann teaches relaxation techniques and then attempts to lead the client through a series of mental images and suggestions.
“It’s a gentle approach,” said Schomann. “No drugs, no chemicals. For a lot of people, it’s a one-shot deal. You don’t have to keep coming back and back and back.”
The approach is similar for dealing with insomnia with Schomann encouraging a state of relaxation.
Dealing with phobias or emotional trauma is another popular topic for hypnotherapy. With phobias the hypnosis is geared to teach people at a subconscious level how to put situations into perspective.
“A lot of times your reaction to something is so much greater than what it really needs to be,” said Schomann. “But you can’t help it, it just kicks in because it’s your subconscious going, ‘we’re going to die here.’”
Other uses for the practice include smoking cessation, weight loss and alcohol management as well as self-esteem building and depression treatment. Another area where hypnotherapy claims effectiveness is in recovering memories.
There is some general skepticism about the effectiveness of hypnotherapy, which Schomann acknowledged. A lot of the negative stereotypes can be blamed on the portrayal of hypnosis in fiction, according to Schomann.
“The difference is that hypnotherapy works from a healing modality whereas hypnosis can be for entertainment, it can be for all sorts of things,” she said.
Hypnotherapy is only effective if the client approaches the session with an open mind, Schomann continued.
“I can’t force you to do anything. You have to be willing to follow my suggestions for imagining a beach or a mountaintop or wherever it is that you want to go,” she said. “You have to imagine until it becomes a reality. And then we take you where you get the real healing, where you get the real benefit, the real change.”
For more information contact Schomann at 410-603-4706. A website should be online and available sometime in the next week.