I invite you to get to know me, and my work through an interview I did with the journalist/author CarolAnn Bailey Lloyd several decades ago…. This may be a little more interesting than reading my Curriculum Vitae, and hopefully give you more insight into the work I’ve done, still, do and why.
My focus for this year will be my interest in the field of obesity, and in particular morbid obesity. For those who have followed me over the years, you know that I am the author of Sugar…the Hidden Eating Disorder and How to Lick It. I have written and produced +400 mp3 audio programs to help my patients, and others throughout the world. My programs can be found on all Continents…
While my thirty-year practice has focused in all areas of medical hypnotherapy, and high-level performance, I have a particular interest in food addiction, be it emotional, compulsive, emotional or secret. Why? OK…I know this subject well because my own eating disorder started in my early childhood, and as an adult, I’ve learned to accept what is and work with it on a daily basis. In other words, “I get it…all of it.” And, by the grace of God, I’m still alive and in excellent health.
On a personal note, my husband, Dr. Bohorquez, M.D., passed away in late October. I dedicated the last years caring for him and have now decided to dedicate myself to teaching others through the wonderful world of the internet.
Please open the page for Workshops and Services. Many programs are absolutely free, including ongoing awareness and self-hypnosis/imagery for morbidly obese patients, both pre and post-op. My desire is to offer support for the all-important lifestyle changes that are key to long-term success and survival. These are the same tools I practice for myself on a daily basis.
Why this area? Here’s why…I am forever grateful that I uncovered the reasons for my complicated eating disorder that placed me on the path to early death. I remember the day I learned that I had to change “everything” I was doing, not only nutritionally, but emotionally, exercise-wise, and stress-management wise if I wanted to live. Because I am educated in the field of mind/body medicine, I already knew the tools I needed.
What was incredulous to me was that no doctor figured out what was wrong with me. My story is the story of millions of people who are headed down this dangerous path. This is such a chronic dilemma in our country, and other industrialized countries, that I have dedicated the last three decades of my professional life to “shout out.” Every program I’ve recorded, every patient who enters my office for “whatever reason” has to go through a food journal with me. It doesn’t matter if they have fear of flying, want to stop drinking or smoking or can’t concentrate….or want to improve their golf game…”tell me what you eat and drink, how much and when.”
And yes, I had to become my own patient!!
In addition to the above programs for eating issues, there are many other workshops available, so have a look and choose something for you. This is how I have decided to “give back” for all I’ve been given in my life, both personally and professionally. This is how I’ve decided to honor my husband’s life.
Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht
I see that you’ve been working in the mental health field for over 35 years, have received the Psychiatric Nursing Award in academic achievement from Rockland Psychiatric Institute, and worked in oncological nursing, among other diverse accolades….What drew you to learning medical hypnosis, and how has it impacted your life and the lives of others?
In 1958 a young girl entered the RN training program at a large psychiatric institution, not knowing that she was starting a great life adventure that still continues today. On that very first day listening to the “inmates” as they were then called, yelling behind the bars, she knew innately that there was more to this than met the eye, and she had full intention to do something about it…whatever that was to be, for it was not a secret to her that she was young and immature, but for her, her youth was not a drawback. She thought of life as an open book. She had time to learn and explore. This was the first gift.
I trained in a large psychiatric hospital, as well as in the usual variety of medical institutions, and so the study and practice of hypnotherapy was a part of my basic education and experience. I loved everything about psychiatry and psychology but wanted to spread my wings. After graduation from the RN program, I took graduate work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Cornell University, New York. As I worked with oncology or cancer patients of all ages, I realized how they would benefit from many of the hypnotherapeutic tools utilized in the practice of psychiatry or psychology. Here were patients with the highest level of stress brought forth by emotional and physical pain, some facing death, others facing bodies that were changed for life. I came to realize that all of us tend to have the same issues. This was the second gift.
As for understanding what hypnosis is and what it isn’t, truth be known, we are not strangers to this mind state and it is completely normal. In fact, we are engaged in it all day long. We tend to live in our thoughts. I’m doing this right now as I write this. Whenever we are thinking we are programming our mind. Thoughts stream through the mind, programming as they go, just like street cars. Thoughts are actually “things” that not only program the mind, but also change the body chemistry, taking it either towards stress or illness or towards healing. This is accomplished not only by what is already stored in the unconscious. We call this auto-pilot. They are also programmed by current emotions that play out continually. think of thoughts as a radar goal-getter cars, bringing whatever you are thinking towards you. In addition, these connect and bring more of the same. Great if you are playing positive thoughts of what you want and then flavoring them with healthy emotions, but unfortunately that wasn’t going on for most of my oncology patients. I had a strong belief that if they could be taught specific tools or techniques to break not only conscious but subconscious and/or unconscious negative hypnosis or mind traffic and then engage in positive hypnosis, they could become more active in their own healing process, perhaps even turning the tide of the disease.
This excitedme and I began developing easy to learn techniques for patients of all ages from little children to adults. For me, this was a life-altering experience to be able to empower patients in this way. I went on to teach these tools in the Royal Marsden Hospital, University of London, UK and then later in my career, took the same tools into the workplace, realizing that these were true self-development tools and knew no boundaries. All I had to do was to find the appropriate images to apply to whatever one could possibly want to achieve. This was to become my joy or my third gift.
Could you explain the differences between hypnotherapy and medical hypnosis? Would you say that medical hypnosis works more effectively, and if so, why?
All hypnosis has the potential to be effective and as mentioned above, that can include “negative hypnosis.” But therapeutic or medical hypnosis is utilized to stop the negative mind traffic and to install positive images that are then highly activated with positive emotions. We can go about experiencing therapeutic hypnotic work in several ways. In the practice of hypnotherapy, one works with a professionally trained hypnotherapist who is credentialed or licensed. The therapist leads the client into a relaxed, trance state, helping the client/patient to work within specific problem areas that can include past experiences. This is known as regression. This type of regression is not the same as past life regression, but instead, deals with experiences that occurred in the individual’s current life. In medical hypnosis as an individual can work with a hypnotherapist or on one’s own. The latter is commonly known as self-hypnosis.
Actually …all is hypnosis is self-hypnosis. A person cannot just jump into someone else’s mind and program it. Permission is needed from the individual. So, there is always a safety net. In the practice of therapeutic hypnosis, we work with mindfulness or deep relaxation. We then have the opportunity to work with specific images or words such as affirmations. Images can include all the senses including emotions. The goal is to help the client to slow their brain waves, to allow for placing suggestions in the subconscious mind. The quality of the images is a very important part of hypnotic practice, and great hypnotic suggestions can direct change quickly.
In the practice of individual self-hypnosis an individual can be trained to slow brain waves to 1/200th of a second and then place a therapeutic image, even with our eyes wide opened A large part of my work is to teach people how to do this, as well as to design their own images for self-management “in the mindful moment.” These include images for managing physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts that are related to specific issues the person or client may want to change or improve or to achieve goals in any area of life.
I understand that you are a writer and producer of hundreds of interactive self-hypnosis audio programs. Please tell me how you got into creating and producing these programs, what they entail, and how they have helped individuals?
I always have to smile inwardly when asked this question because it was truly a serendipitous event. After my Mother’s death back in 1996, I went through several months of mourning. One day, I was sitting in my office simply staring at my filing cabinet. I remember my exact thoughts, “One day I’ll die as well and all the work I’ve done will simply be thrown away, so what is the point of anything?” Then, a little voice told me to “clean out my files.” The voice continued, “You could record these techniques for others to learn.” My response was, “Honestly, I don’t know anything about how to do this”, but the little voice continued to advise me as to what to do. So, I thought, “Why not?”
I started the way I start everything…making a list to focus my mine while bringing some order to the speeding car thoughts. This time I made a list of subjects for the audio programs and the list continues to grow. I had much to learn about the process of writing for recording, then doing the actual recordings, and then producing the programs, and then bringing them to the public. I also had much to learn about the internet. I wanted to design websites that would be more like my private practice, bringing my nursing experience to others through discussion groups and other areas for teaching. Looking back…way back…the originals were recorded on “audio cassettes”, then after a few years having to re-record all of them on CD’s, design labels, and ship them out. Now there are mp3’s….a happy moment for me. I’ve been involved in these projects from that long ago day. I believe this is the way my Mother intended for me to heal, and perhaps still does. A point of interest, as I write this today, I must share that I have recently lost my son Michael, and my husband Joseph Bohorquez, MD, a Professor of Radiation Oncology who helped me enormously in my major work in Oncology. He was my husband, my mentor, my friend…and I miss him enormously. But, I feel him by my side as I take my work to a whole different level.
I like the fact that you developed the work, “Self-Help Prevention for Employees: Recognizing the Signs that You are Losing It and What To Do Next.” Based on the title, one can assume that it was designed for individuals in the work environment. Could you better elaborate what this entails and who it can help?
Way back in 1984 I was Director of Staff Development in a large ero-psychiatric center. My job description included improving the standard of nursing care and also to provide “some sort” of educational programs for the administration that would fill the State of New York requirements. What I found in this workplace was a large group of people who were at various stages of burnout. Nutrition was poor, emotional stress was high, many were addicted to some substance, others were chronic absentees. Few had life goals and even thought this was a ridiculous subject to consider. It was my belief that before they could do better jobs for the employer, they needed to learn how to care for themselves at much higher levels. At that time, this was a “very hard sell” to my employer. I remember the head administrator telling me that I could do it “if” it didn’t cost anything. With that permission, I went forward, always remembering my oncology patients, knowing that we are all one and the same.
I designed the program that included high-level nutrition, addictions management, mindfulness meditation, self-growth, awareness and self-hypnosis instruction aimed at Health and High-Level Performance. We explored the many aspects of goal achieving, and everyone came to play. Rewards came along. The program went on to win a State of New York award for teaching excellence in the workplace. Of course, this helped me to gain support from my employer, the board of directors, and the program flourished. It was called “Therapeutic Work Environments.” Some measurable outcomes included less sick days, accidents, and a big decrease in staff turnover. But most important to me was that the employees who were truly suffering broke out of their hopeless, helpless cycle and were able to move forward in their lives. Some went back and took their GED’s, others began studies at the community college. Others lost weight, exercised for the first time as an adult, and decreased health costs. Many of my audio programs are based on self-help prevention for employees, and people from around the world currently listen to these very programs. Again, this brings me joy and another gift.
I see you are the writer and producer of two public television series, WomenShare and To Your Health: The Older Generation. Please tell me about these programs and what motivate you to develop these innovative series?
I wrote, produced and hosted both of these programs back in the mid-80’s. I never had any experience with television, but the idea intrigued me. What if I could develop simple programs that would bring health and wellness knowledge to the elderly population and also to women? We could touch on the many areas I had experienced in my nursing and teaching career, including disease prevention, mental health, mindfulness/insight meditation, and self-hypnosis techniques.
Women’s issues are endless. Exploring those in-depth excited me. In addition, Albany, New York, being the home of SUNY, our community was filled with experts and educators who might be willing to donate their time and expertise, so why not? I was able to attract a small budget, and the project took off.
We recorded two programs each week for almost two years, receiving three top National Honors for best programming in our categories. The programs were also showcased by the American Association of Gerontology at their national meeting where I found myself teaching others how to utilize public television for education. For me, this proves once again, that just about anything is possible if one really wants to do something. Another gift!
There are a lot of individuals who are skeptical about any form of hypnosis. What can you tell those who are interested in turning to hypnosis for self-help, but aren’t quite sure about its efficacy? And relative to this question, what specifically can medical hypnosis treat?
Once it is understood as to what hypnosis really “is” and that we all practice it all day lone, one can move from that knowledge into utilizing it therapeutically or “on purpose.” Therapeutic or medical hypnosis is not “stage hypnosis.” That is something entirely different. We can all recognize stress in our bodies and know how it affects our mind. We all know about negative thoughts, emotions and how racing thought patterns can be managed instead of these managing us.
We can all observe how the mind appears to have a life of its own and would prefer to take back ownership. We have all experienced negative patterns on automatic pilot such as compulsive or emotional eating, nail biting, skin picking, compulsions to eat, drink, smoke, shop, gamble or to zone out. Who wouldn’t prefer to break out of this hopeless/helpless cycle and return to empowerment? Who wouldn’t want to take sensations of anxiety or panic and pocket them instead? Regarding medical conditions, surgery or hospitalization, who wouldn’t want to manage the stress-effects while offering the body a healing environment instead of one taking it deeper into troubled waters? And, regarding personal development, who wouldn’t want to enhance confidence, self-esteem, focus, concentration and be able to set and achieve goals with the help of their own “inner coach?”
There are some aspiring hypnotherapists and medical healing practitioners who would like to break into this field. What training and education did you receive, and what recommendations would you give to those who would like to pursue a career in mindfulness or hypnotherapy?
As I mentioned earlier, my training came through the field of psychiatric and medical/surgical nursing, so for me, medical hypnotherapy was an important part of my education. Many nurses aren’t aware of how to apply their education and experience in other endeavors, so this is something they might like to explore. At the very least, it will assist them in giving a higher quality of nursing care to their patients, as well as caring for themselves in such a difficult and stressful profession.
For others, thre are many credentialed programs for hypnotherapy and mindfulness. It’s important to understand that self-education after credentialing is paramount for it is bringing one’s own life experience to the practice that makes for a high level of professional performance. For those looking to get into this field, know it can be a long path to starting and then marketing one’s own practice. Keep in mind that things are often diffcult before they become easier. Dealing with the human condition on a daily basis is never easy. Self-care is the name of the game. I suggest interviewing other hypnotherapists and asking lots of questions. I’m always open to sharing my experience with others who might like to walk this walk.
Finally, what have you found to be the most rewarding part of your profession..personally and/or professionally?
For me, it is listening to the story of the individual seeking help and then designing the metaphors or hypnotic suggestions to unravel the problems. Designing images “in the moment” is like erasing what is not needed while painting a new desirable outcome, then emotionalizing it. Just like a picture is worth a thousand words, so is a mental image. When it is placed in the subconscious mind and nourished with inner motivation, one gets to experience clarity along with the individual. I can feel tingling in my own body when the suggestion or imagery is planted. In the beginning of my practice I was a bit overwhelmed and a bit taken aback by this physical reaction, often questioning what was happening, but as the years went forward, I do know what it is, and for this, I am not only rewarded but extremely grateful. By assisting others away from their stress and into a healthy, productive life, I have helped my own self-development, each day bringing more and more gifts, not only to myself but to others in my life.