This is an interview with my sister, Austin, TX therapist and hypnotherapist Laura Ryan! She has been a practicing hypnotherapist since 2001 and has helped thousands of people lose weight, quit smoking, or work on other issues. Everyone I’ve ever mentioned this to have been very curious about her business, so I thought I’d post an interview here! She has some great reviews and feedback here!
Q: What is your favorite thing about helping people with hypnotherapy?
A: I have helped a lot of people who have tried several different avenues before meeting with me and it feels good to see people make progress and grow in ways that surprise them. I love seeing the excitement in clients who initially thought that their situation was hopeless or that they were past help, but discover through dedication and commitment, that they are able to make significant improvements in their behavior.
Q: What is something surprising you have learned about human nature in your work?
A: I have learned that most people are doing their best and that I should never judge a new person when I first meet them; many of the people that I would consider to be most difficult initially become my favorite people to work with.
Q: What is your opinion of stage hypnotists, i.e. the comedians who make people eat onions onstage?
A: I understand that everything has a place in the world and that there is a purpose for stage hypnosis. The problem that I have is that it casts a shadow over the whole profession and makes hypnosis seem like some kind of trick or joke. I take my work very seriously and it is annoying to have to explain to people over and over again that what happens in a stage show is not what happens in my office. Hypnosis is not about tricks and mind-control, it’s about helping people guide themselves to solutions and change ingrained behaviors.
Q: I know a lot of your work is with people struggling with weight loss, what advice can you give to lose or maintain weight during the holiday season?
A: I recommend that someone who struggles with these sorts of things begins to unpack their triggers and beliefs about food and determine what emotional problems that they are trying to solve with food. Also, understanding that food has the same caloric value regardless of the calendar date or location of the food. (IE: a piece of pie at your Aunt Mabel’s house on Christmas eve will process the same way as it would in your living room on March 9th).
Q: What do people seek in hypnosis that they won’t be able to get?
A: Because of stage hypnosis and myths about hypnosis that run rampant in popular culture, a lot of people think that hypnosis is magic and works instantaneously with little effort from the individual. I explain that hypnosis is a tool and will only work with the commitment and dedication of the person seeking help. Also, hypnosis is not a state where another person is controlling your mind, no one can give you suggestions that you don’t accept or agree with.
Q: What led you to start working with hypnosis?
A: My parents were into hypnosis when I was in high school and I had a pretty remarkable experience with it when I was 17. When I graduated from college, I saw that a hypnosis center was hiring, so I decided to apply. During my work there, the owner suggested that I do the hypnosis training, so I pursued it and then followed that with an NLP certification.
Q: What inspired you to get your therapy degree after working as a hypnotist?
A: I realized that the problems that were being presented to me at the hypnosis center were beyond the depth of my certifications. I really wanted to help people to the best of my ability and I realized that I needed further education to get there, so I went back to school for a Masters Degree in Counseling.
Q: Why do most of your clients come to see you?
A: Over the years, I have come to realize that every presenting issue that I help people with ultimately comes down to anxiety. People try to escape anxiety with food, cigarettes, alcohol, and other compulsive behaviors. People become paralyzed by anxiety and try to control it with obsessive behaviors and unhealthy relationship patterns; a big part of hypnosis is really about learning to manage your day-to-day challenges without crutches or dysfunctional coping strategies.
I have survived hosting Christmas- it was my two sisters, their British boyfriends who are also brothers, their boyfriends’ parents, and my mother and my brother in my tiny house
The Trip There
It was. An. Adventure. Their dad wandered onto the tarmac while waiting for their flight out from Austin, and was detained for being a terrorist. He claims that no-one told him he couldn’t go walking on the airstrip. He also liked to kneel on the floor and splash himself with bath water instead of taking a shower, which has the overall effect of soaking the whole bathroom. He is obsessed with Boddington’s pub ale and hot chocolate, but refuses to pay more than $1.50 for anything.
We had a little party, and this was the first family party I have ever been to that went on past 3 AM. I went to bed at two to the sound of my future father-in-law swishing soy milk around in his Egg Nog (really Advocaat) bottle to get the last dregs of whiskey and milk out, and my sister Laura singing to the detuned piano on the back porch, and my spouse singing as Tom Waits in the front room.
Laura Ryan: Oh, I was playing that piano last night, it is sounding so creepy and awesome. Me: Yes, I heard you. Laura: You could hear that? Me: It’s right outside my bedroom. There’s not, you know, any kind of soundproofing out on the patio. You’re just a drunk person singing outside.
I love family time.
(A month after they left, we discovered that the in-laws had opened a window in the guest room that then stayed open, just wafting heated air out into the yard)
Postscript: the marriage ended in divorce, the father in law ended in death, but I still shiver thinking about this Christmas.