Friday, September 09, 2016

TOP STORY >> Helping others through hypnosis

Leader staff writer

No one thinks, I’ll be a hypnotist when I grow up, Caroline Cramer likes to say, but that’s exactly what she did.

Although her journey wasn’t that straightforward, she started out as a psychologist. Then her daughter happened and at about five months old, her baby stopped breathing, suffering from a reactive airway disease.

“I didn’t smoke around her,” Cramer admits. However, she says that wasn’t good enough and soon she sought the help of a hypnotist for her nicotine habit.

The Benton hypnotheraptist got her over the hump and she quit — that was 25 cigarette-free years ago.

The Hypnosis Clinic of Cabot occupies a storefront on North Second Street and while it’s busy outside, inside it’s quiet and cozy, more like a home than a modern, often cold clinic.

Cramer grew up in Beebe and earned a degree from Marygrove College in Detroit, Mich., and returned to the area after graduation. Years later, she trained at the Southern Institute of Hypnotism in Little Rock.

These days, she’s certified with the National Guild of Hypnotists, Inc., the American Hypnosis Association, the International Hypnosis Association and the Mottin and Johnson Hypnosis Institute.

Cramer’s also a motivational speaker with the John Maxwell Team and a life coach and teaches hypnosis, and she is proprietor of the Hypnosis Clinic of Cabot.

She has another hypnotherapist and massage therapist working for her.

In the past, she served as a minister and was married to a pastor for 28 years.

Today, she is married to Greg Cramer and has three kids and two bonus kids, and attends Grace Fellowship church in Cabot.

As Cramer moves from room to room at her clinic, she explains the side-by-side recliners in one room are for the comfort of couples expecting a child.

The room can also accommodate groups.

A room across the hall provides an intimate, one-on-one setting.

Cramer admits hypnosis is an often misunderstood medical tool but that’s changing.

It’s simply a calm state of focused concentration.

“Your body becomes relaxed, but your mind is sharp. It is not an unusual state of mind and does not cause an unusual feeling,” she says.

Contrary to popular belief, at no time while under hypnosis is a person asleep or unconscious.

A century ago, hypnosis was viewed as more of a novelty or carnival sideshow and while under, people did all sorts of wacky and outrageous acts.

“This is probably the biggest myth of all,” she says.

A client will never do anything, or accept any suggestion that violates personal morals or values. In fact, Cramer says, “I can’t make my clients do anything they don’t want to do.”

Today, hypnosis — it hones in on the Alpha brain waves that occur during a wakeful but relaxed state — is considered a useful tool in behavior modification and is safe, says Cramer who is a certified, clinical hypnotherapist.

In fact, she adds, it can modify any number of problems, including obesity, smoking and other addictions, and behaviors like nail biting.

For example, she says she can help a person change a perception about smoking or food.

Bonnie, from Cabot, used hypnosis as a weight-loss tool. She lost 30 lbs in about eight weeks and says, “I still eat what I want, and I still eat as much as I want, but hypnosis has changed my wants. Now I eat to live instead of living to eat.”

It can also be a way to help control pain.

Cramer says, “I help a person turn the pain dial way down, offering them a cognitive way to control it.”

The calming effects of hypnosis can help with the stress and fear experienced with a medical diagnosis like cancer.

There are more intangible modifications such as putting an end to debilitating fears, beliefs and phobias, eliminating procrastination, reducing everyday stress and destructive or undesirable behaviors. It can improve memory.

Most often a person undergoes dramatic results in a single session.

Cramer’s daughter, Eden, says, “It’s very cool to tell people that my mom is a hypnotherapist. Everyone wants to know more about it, and I’ve gotten some pretty great hypnotic techniques to help me in school.”

Arkansas State Rep. Mark McElroy participated in a group hypnotherapy session, not with Cramer, that focused on smoking cessation.

McElroy says he quit cold turkey and hasn’t picked up a cigarette since.

Pat, from Beebe, who smoked for about 40 years, signed up for a single session with Cramer and quit cold turkey, and Cramer says she feels good about her work with her clients.

About Pat, Cramer says, “I’ve given her life back to her.”

Hypnosis is all about changing personal habits.

Cramer says, “I use a blend of cognitive and subconscious suggestions, delivered with the correct neuro-phrasing techniques that will help you to think and feel differently. All actions are a result of your thoughts. Together, we can change the way your mind processes the information, resulting in an outcome that is beneficial and balanced.”

She estimates she’s helped thousands in 15 years and feels she’s making a difference through her work.

Cramer says she has a passion for her work and is encouraged by all the successes she’s witnessed.

“I have seen my clients gain confidence, end clutter, overcome headaches, master memory, end insomnia, and the list goes on and on. It is so rewarding to work in a field where I can see immediate transformation…,” she says.

Besides mind control, Cramer says clients often worry about getting stuck in a hypnotic state but, she adds, “That’s not possible.

“If the hypnotist left the room, or if you were listening to a tape and the power went out, you would either fall asleep and wake up naturally or your subconscious mind would detect that there is no voice guiding you and bring you to conscious awareness,” Cramer explains.

And anyone who is willing to undergo hypnosis, can be hypnotized. “The only reason someone “could not” be hypnotized, would simply be because they were unwilling to be. You own your own mind, and I cannot override your will. All hypnosis is truly self-hypnosis,” Cramer says.

She is simply the guide.

“Hypnosis can be the most powerful tool you’ve ever used to find the root of the issue and make permanent changes in the way you think and feel,” she says.