Blending Social Work with Hypnotherapy – An Educational Contribution from Essy Freed, LCSW

Essy FreedHello, I am Essy Freed, a licensed clinical social worker and certified clinical hypnotherapist. I have been practicing hypnotherapy since 1984, and still love it! I have seen and helped thousands of people enhance their lives. Join me on my adventure, which commenced over 25 years ago.
Not being satisfied with my career, I wanted to do something else with my life. I noticed an ad in the AJC for an accredited school of Hypnosis (HMI), sanctioned by the State of Georgia. I phoned the Hypnosis Motivation Institute (HMI), and made an appointment with one of their instructors. I proceeded with caution, as I, like so many, did not know the first thing about hypnosis…only that I did not want to bark like a dog or quack like a duck, on command! During my initial visit at HMI I was hypnotized by Gary H., clinical hypnotherapist, I did not feel uncomfortable in anyway, and I did not do anything that was embarrassing or inappropriate. After looking at the school’s curriculum, I honestly fell in love with the courses……all psychology and very little math…..Yeah! I enrolled at HMI and never looked back.
HMI was the largest clinic and school of hypnosis in the Southeastern United States. The classes I attended included the history of hypnosis, theory, research, experiential training, and practical applications. I furthered my education and became an intern at the school working one-on-one with clients. I lectured to groups on hypnosis and facilitated group hypnosis sessions. After graduating with over 600 hours of clinical residency education and practical experience, I was certified as a Clinical Hypnotherapist. I became a staff member, supervisor, and instructor of hypnosis for HMI. I found my career path.
Now, 29 years later, and in private practice since 1987, I have seen hypnosis accepted by the counseling community as a viable therapeutic tool. Still, there are many misconceptions about hypnosis, and it is important to understand exactly what it is and what it is not.
This is what I learned.
• It is not a magic wand nor is it a cure-all.
• The client is in control at all times; they are not being controlled by someone.
• The client’s problems will not be resolved in a Nano second. However, using hypnosis in conjunction with conscious counseling can certainly decrease the amount of time someone spends in therapy.
• The client is not asleep while in hypnosis. In fact, they experience a heightened state of awareness.
• The therapist can access the subconscious mind, where one’s habits, beliefs, values, and behaviors are stored, and help change negative thinking and actions into positive and more constructive behavior.
• Hypnosis can be used in pain management, fears and phobias, sports improvement, study and test score improvement (I used it to pass my LCSW), eating disorders, addictions, sexual dysfunction, anxiety, depression, and so much more.
As a hospice social worker for ten years, I was able to use hypnosis to help staff, patients, their family members, and friends of patients, who were fearful, anxious, and experiencing emotionally difficult times. As in the past, I currently continue to work with individuals diagnosed with terminal illnesses. I use hypnosis to ease their emotional as well as physical states, thus, making their transitions easier.
There are so many areas in which I use hypnosis, whether it is to help someone overcome a self-defeating habit or behavior, or decrease emotional discomfort. I am so blessed and grateful that I am able to add something to my counseling skills that nourishes my soul, and can assist those in need.

Essy Freed, Licensed Clinical Social Work & Clinical Hypnotherapist
Hypnosis Center of Dunwoody

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