Nestling into the subconscious: An Interview with Jane Nash

Image by Ian Hunter

Jane Nash is an Internationally qualified NLP Master Practitioner/Trainer and Clinical and Forensic Investigative Hypnotherapist/Trainer who moves and works between various locations within Australia and the UK. She is also an accomplished teacher and author and harbours a vast number of other talents and interests. She combines her training, life experience and insightful (and often playful) perspective into all of her work and into her connection with the people she works with. I’m very pleased that she took the time to answer some questions about an area of therapy that I have never really explored before.

Upasana: How did you happen upon hypnosis?

Jane: I knew about hypnosis as a party trick if you like, but I hadn’t really considered it in a serious way until I saw people experiencing trance as part of a therapy session on a TV program.

Upasana:  Did you have your own misconceptions about hypnosis?

Jane: I’m very aware of mind control from having had very dysfunctional relationships in my own life. Also, when I worked in schools I saw how possible it was to persuade and influence. I knew a fair bit about how advertising and subliminal messaging worked but I had no idea how hypnosis could be used in a therapeutic sense.

Upasana: What work did you do before pursuing hypnosis and NLP?

Jane: I was a teacher and a lecturer. I have worked in all sectors – primary, secondary and tertiary. I ended up teaching teachers how to teach. I have always written poetry and short stories but the money-work was in education. I did work for a short while as an academic therapist – I was the teacher of last option for kids who were school refusers, many of them either autistic, or with learning impairments such as ADHD or dyspraxia.  Now that I know more about it, I can see that I was using NLP and hypnosis then but I didn’t know enough to see how it was working.

Upasana: How did you know that you wanted to pursue this work in your own career? What attracted you to it?

Jane: One summer, as I spiraled into depression: over 100 kgs, drinking, smoking, self medicating, sinking in a history of years of unhappiness and internal unquiet, I saw a program that changed my life. Now, I had known something of Neuro Linguistic Programming in its early stages and had read some papers on it years before when I was a young teacher, but one night, from the bottom of a bottle of port and after a whole packet of cigarettes, I saw a program called ‘I can change your life‘ featuring Paul McKenna. He was known as a hypnotist and used to be considered a bit of a joke, but here he was changing people’s perceptions of themselves within hours. He was releasing phobias and helping people see strategies for an improved life.

I was in such emotional pain – and just getting worse. I had an amazing chap in my life and I thought to myself: ‘if I don’t fix me, I will not only destroy myself, but I will destroy this relationship too’, and for the first time in my life I wanted something different. I learned the skills that I had seen on that tv program and got some NLP and Trance guidance to facilitate my own work on myself – and I got better quickly. I really did let go of so many awful things that I had been carrying around.  And as soon as I had a handle on myself, a light-bulb went on in my head and I wanted to help others reach their potential and be brave enough to move forward as fast as I had. I got better, I started retraining and I never looked back. And by the way, that ‘chap’ and I are now married and he’s an amazing man and I feel loved, valued and at liberty to be myself.

I do my best to walk the walk – not just talk the talk. I went from size 20/22 to size 8/10, I have become a vegan and a committed fitness enthusiast, I have used my own techniques to give up drinking, binge eating and smoking. Life is just too bloody gorgeous to damage myself any more – and that’s part of what i want to demonstrate to my clients .

Upasana: How does hypnosis work on the mind and body?

Jane: It works by getting message-units to bi-pass the critical/analytical part of the brain and finally nestle into the subconscious. I can’t make you do something you don’t want to do but hypnosis can enhance desires.

Upasana: What kinds of desires?

Jane: The desire to be able to sleep with a spider in the room, fly in an aeroplane, reach orgasm, lose weight, give up smoking and so on. If the brain controls it, hypnosis can affect it. There are lots of really groovy studies about the psychobiology of Hypnosis and Trance and we can now prove how Trance affects the limbic system, the nervous system, the digestive system – it’s just amazing.  Once we have this kind of control, we can be more responsible for our own holistic health. I’m all about educating my clients about how they can take control using these skills.

Upasana: Is there a theory of mind that hypnosis is guided by?

Jane: I am an Emotional & Physical Behaviourist. Which means I believe in the theories of John Kappas. So I am a ‘Kappasinian Hypnotist’.  Although I have trained with different organisations, the primary and best hypnosis education I have received is through the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in Tarzana, USA.  There they teach the ‘Theory of Mind’. I generally teach my clients this theory in a condensed version before I hypnotise them. I am also proficient in Eriksonian and Elman hypnosis but those styles are not suitable for everyone all the time.

Kappasinian Hypnosis and its ‘theory of mind’ is a great way to make sure that no matter how deep or light the trance, the hypnotist talks to the 88% of the brain that is subconscious. (For more information on this, watch a video made by one of the college lecturers here)

Upasana: What is the process of hypnosis like for the client?

Jane: The feeling is different for everyone – but it’s not like meditation in which you quieten the inner voices. In hypnosis it’s like an overload of information that forces a trance state.  Their eyelids flicker a bit like they are in REM but they can hear everything. Ultimately it’s very relaxing and you’re quite safe, you can’t spill all your secrets for example – unless you want to! It’s fun and not spooky – but I will leave the description for each individual to experience.

Upasana: What issues do clients bring into your sessions?

Jane: That’s a great question but I don’t have enough space here to answer it! After all these years it would be difficult to list every ailment or issue I have dealt with. Weight loss and smoking are popular, but so are sleep issues, fears and phobias (they are really different by the way). I have done a lot of work, in tandem with other therapists, with war veterans  suffering from post traumatic stress. I have helped many people to get over abuse, let go of the past, build confidence… My favourite has to be encopresis and enuresis: helping kids to stop pooping and peeing at the wrong time is amazingly satisfying. It’s great when kids learn that they have control in their own lives. I do a lot of work with generalized anxiety and I have a great 10 week program for people diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (using NLP not hypnosis) they need longer because they like to repeat things!  Recently I trained a consultant anesthetist in hypnosis not only to train his own brain but also to use with his patients so that they need less medication…

Upasana: I have heard that hypnosis can be of benefit to control addictive behaviours and tendencies. What have you learnt about addiction through this work? Will we always replace one addiction with another?

Jane: There are so many different ideas and therapies for addiction – how to manage addictions depends largely on the value set of the client.  If the client believes that they can get rid of it and be free of it – then it’s possible.  If a client believes that they will be addicted to something regardless of what it is – then I work with them to create a behavior that replaces the problem. To be addicted to healthy food, yoga and a balance in life is a possible scenario. It begins with how the clients see themselves. It also depends upon the addiction.

No Hypnotherapist or NLP Master Practitioner should work with an addict without being part of a larger support network. I always tell my clients that I need them to be part of a support group like AA or NA and to liaise with some form of medical support such as a gp before beginning hypnosis. Addiction is often linked to other problems – and going cold- turkey, for everything except cigarettes and sugar, can be really damaging and in some cases fatal. Hypnosis and NLP are a great key to aid concentration and self control and can be very useful in detox. They work well in assisting people to get through and out of the addictive patterns.

Upasana: Has your way of working evolved through time and experience?

Jane: Of course it has. I have gone from a very awkward and formulaic (but still effective) approach, to more subtle approaches and I’m better at it – I can hypnotize now without words. I’m a bit sneaky. My NLP has morphed into the Design Human Engineering Branch of neuro-persuasion and I am steeped in Logo-therapeutic concepts that help me bring  a sense of purpose to my work.  Perhaps I end up being more of an existential therapist at the end of the day – but it’s worth it – I’m here to aid passage for whomsoever asks.

Upasana: What strengths do you bring to this work?

Jane: I’m a bit obsessive myself, so when I start something I like to finish it. So there aren’t many stones left unturned. I guess the old protestant work ethic doesn’t do me any harm either – I’ll always go the extra mile. And I’m not afraid to find the best person to train me. I have travelled all over the world to train: the USA, to the UK and here in Australia.  I believe everyone has the ability to change and I will always do my best.

Upasana: Why are you suited to this work?

Jane: I see myself as an educator and a story teller – and both skills are essential not only to do this type of work but to help my clients acquire the skills they need to realize their own strengths and capabilities.

Upasana: Has this role changed how you are in other areas of your life?

Jane: Yes, I think so – partially because it led me to study micro expressions, more of the forensic side of the brain.  I’m interested in the study of deception. I feel like a bullshit meter and I am calibrating everyone I meet for truth or deception – self deception mainly. My friendship groups have changed as I have become more proficient in NLP. As the changes in my own perception have become more radical, the way I deal with everyone else has changed. I’m also much more confident and as I’m no longer playing the victim card – those rescuers and oppressors that were part of my circle, no longer have any impact on my life.

Upasana: What has been the greatest joy of this work for you?

Jane: Of course it’s great to see old clients who have permanently changed their lives for the better. However, I live much more in the present to be honest with you.  Every time the light- bulb goes on in the eyes of a client and they get that ‘aha!’ moment – that’s a good moment for me.

Upasana: Has this work opened up new doors for you?

Jane: My writing is better and I’ve been published more (in both fiction and in the self help area) since my language skills changed. That’s a bonus. I was really keen to study psychology but I don’t fancy going back to university to start again from the beginning so I’m working my way through university book lists right now. I’m fascinated by Paul Ekman’s work as well as neurology and forensic psychology so if anything, the doors are in personal learning.

I’m nearly 44, I’m always excited with what life brings. Do I see new doors opening? Every day.  Luckily I’ve also got a huge bunch of keys so I’m busy working through those too!

self portrait by Jane Nash

self portrait by Jane Nash

Find out more about Jane’s work here.

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