Can you imagine doing a jumping right foot side kick and breaking two neck high boards in two with your foot? Well, if you are a hypnotist you’ll love reading this amazing story of triumph as Jessica Karas uses hypnosis to do just that and get her black belt in Tae Kwon Do! Please read this incredible story of subconscious and conscious mind working together to fulfill a very special dream.
Before we move into the story I just want to say that for some time, I’ve been impressed with Jessica. Now, after her story I’m now even more impressed. Jessica “Jess” Karas is a 5-PATH Hypnotist in Lincoln, Nebraska. Not only does Jess have her own Hypnosis practice, but she also gives freely of her time helping new hypnotists understand difficult concepts via our active message board. In addition, Jess has 3 children (one with autism) and she is a mentor with Big Brothers/Sisters. Now on to this incredible story!
How long have you been a hypnotist? I became a hypnotist in February, 2005....so 5 1/2 years.
What inspired you to get your certification? As a last resort, I gave hypnosis a try for an issue I was struggling with. The only thing I "knew" about hypnosis was the corny stuff I'd seen in movies-----you are getting verrrryyyy sssslllleeeeepppyyy-----but I was that desperate. It helped in unexpected ways and I was intrigued by the process. When my hypnotherapist, Roberta Worm, mentioned she would be teaching a course, I signed up. It happened to be 5-PATH & 7th PATH, but I really didn't know what that was until I took my training.
Wow! You just happened to fall into some of the best training available in hypnosis.
Where is your practice and what is is your practice like? ------ My practice is in Lincoln, Nebraska. When I graduated, I looked for office space in a mini- mall (as we were encouraged to do in class) for the exposure and accessibility to walk-ins. However, at the time, not much of this type of commercial space was available and the areas that held this sort of retail space were not in very desirable locations. I looked at other office spaces that were part of medical or business complexes, but was put off by the price. I was very stressed about juggling the needs of my family, and this almost-getting-off-the-ground hypnosis business.
I finally realized (duh!) I didn't have to be like anyone else, I could have a business model that suited me and the demands of my life. So, I refinished a portion of my basement, doing the work myself, and set up a home office. I designed my own business logo & cards, and I was off and running. I see clients on a part-time basis, which allows me the flexibility I need for the other areas of my life.
What kinds of clients/issues do you work with? ---- I work with whatever comes through the door. When I started my business, I thought it would be mostly smokers and weight loss people, but I don't really seem to attract much of that. Interestingly, clients' issues seem to go through cycles or themes. Sometimes the theme is traumatic abuse. Sometimes it's limiting fears: fear of public speaking, or flying, for example. The theme of the last 4-5 months has been clients whose sexuality goes against the religious beliefs they were brought up with. It's led to some really deep, wonderful discussions about God, church doctrine, tradition, faith, etc. I love the variety. You never know what you're going to get.
I can relate. Kinda like a box of chocolates isn’t it? Now for the big question, have you used hypnosis on yourself? What methods did you use? Originally, I had sessions in 5 & 7th PATH for my own issues relating to intimacy. Since then, I've practiced 7th PATH quite a bit, often with my husband. Most recently, I used a combination of techniques to prepare for my 2nd Degree Black Belt testing in Tae kwon do.
A bit of back-story first: a long time ago, a horse I was riding went through a jump, instead of over it. She fell; I fell. She was alright. I broke bones (tailbone, sacrum, collarbone, and nose). I went off the horse to the right, so the right side of my body was more affected. I've also had surgery on my right foot. Add in being 45 years old, and I'm not the most agile person out there!
The black belt test involves, among other things, breaking 2 boards----at neck height---with a jumping right foot side kick. Since I jump like a rock, I found this to be very challenging. So challenging, in fact, that in the 18 months I practiced it, I was never successful. I was very frustrated and discouraged. It was as if my mind knew what to do, but my body wasn't listening. It made me feel old, and stupid, and uncoordinated. I even asked about alternatives, but I wasn't successful with those kicks either.
Finally, I realized that I wanted to do the standard technique, partly out of pride, (I didn't want to be the old lady who couldn't do it) and partly because I didn't like the way it had a hold over me. I've broken plenty of boards, why should this be any different?
That’s when I went to work on myself through hypnosis. I used self-regression and uncovered/released: fear of injury, fear of failing, fear of looking stupid, fear of hurting the people holding the boards (which I'd done many times), fear that I'd always be a first degree, limiting beliefs about age/past injury/lack of flexibility, fear that I didn't deserve to be a 2nd degree, the need to compare myself to others, the fear that I wasn't working out hard enough, and more. Then one day in class, I broke the boards! Now I knew it was possible. Game on!
Next I shifted to visualization. I pictured the end result----foot through boards and the distinctive sound it makes. I visualized myself smiling, uninjured and triumphant, afterwards. I also released myself from the need to over think this. Also, since I had begun dreading going to class because of all the failed attempts I began a series of suggestions that I gave myself hundreds of times over the summer. I began with: "I am loose, confident, and happy every time I step in to the gym". This evolved into: "My body knows what to do to break the boards". To: "I pass my test with flying colors." Somewhere along the way, the word "effortless" became important as well. I never thought about/pictured the process, only the end result, trusting my body to do the rest.
I went from never breaking the boards, to breaking them at least once a week. In the week’s right before the test, I would walk around my (empty) house yelling: "I am an awesome board breaker!" I kept up the suggestions dozens of times a day, especially while driving in the car. In addition, I put some of the broken boards near my bed so I could smell that fresh, piney fragrance all night-----weird, I know, but I wanted to stack the deck as much as possible.
At testing, I mumbled suggestions to myself almost constantly while I breathed low & slow to maintain calm. I set up my board holders, took several steps back, telling myself "my body knows what to do” and........the boards broke.....first try. I have no conscious recall of the jump, the kick, or the moment of impact. All I heard was the distinctive sound they make when they break, and then I was aware that I was walking away. I couldn't even tell you which specific part of my body touched the boards. It's supposed to be the heel, and usually, even though it doesn't usually hurt, you can feel the point on your foot that touched the boards. To me, it was as if those boards broke themselves. The neat thing? Later on, several different people commented to me that it looked "effortless" : -).
Amazing! I LOVE that you put the broken boards by your bed so you could smell them! That is so cool! After this, for the record, I have to ask a stupid question. Would you recommend that hypnotists use hypnosis for their own problems? Absolutely. I think it makes you a better provider if you have first hand knowledge of what the hypnosis process feels like, and what it can achieve. It also makes you better able think on your feet if your client goes in an unexpected direction.
Do you have any special techniques you use on yourself that you can share? I do a lot of positive energy sort of stuff. I visualize myself in a bubble of peaceful, white light and all the stress and ugliness of the day just splats on and slides off. I especially use this around my autistic son. He's a great kid, but he struggles with a lot of anxiety and he's a world-champion pessimist. I have to stay on my toes not to get sucked in to all that drama. Also, more and more, I've been using self-regression. I observe my feelings and work back to the source, releasing the old, stuck energy along the way.
Jess, I just want to thank you for sharing your story. I loved it and I just know our readers will be inspired to remember to use hypnosis on themselves because of it. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them even get into martial arts after this! You’re truly an inspiration in our field and I am so glad to have you in my professional circle. See you on the message board Jess!