Saunders recently opened Suggestive Lifestyle in Mt. Juliet and works as a consulting hypnotist. He says he can help people with personal development, weight management, smoking cessation and various ailments.
“There’s nothing I do that happens without your help,” Saunders said. “A consulting hypnotist is someone that consults you on a problem and will use hypnotism to try to alleviate or relieve a problem. I’m just a guide into your mind.”
According to the American Psychological Association, most clinicians agree that hypnosis can be a useful therapeutic technique. Though it’s portrayal in the entertainment industry colors it as little more than mind control, the practice today is commonly seen in the field of psychology as just another tool in the doctor’s bag.
“People differ in the degree to which they respond to hypnosis,” reads the APA’s website. “A person’s ability to experience hypnosis can be inhibited by fears and concerns arising from some common misconceptions. Hypnosis makes it easier for people to experience suggestions, but it does not force them to have these experiences.”
The roots of hypnosis trace back to sleep temples in ancient Egypt during the time of Imhotep. Someone with an ailment would visit the sleep temple of Imhotep, do a bit of ritual chanting, maybe take some herbs and go to sleep in the hopes that their dreams would bring them healing. Greeks also adapted sleep temples to their culture, but the practice faded from the pages of history until a man by the name of Franz Anton Mesmer popularized it again in the 18th century.
Mesmer practiced a pseudoscience that used magnets as conductors of the healer’s energy to miraculously cure patients. Many patients flocked to Mesmer in the 1780s for his showmanship, and although most saw him as a fraud by the end of his life, he caused ripples in the field of psychophysiological studies that led to further studies of “animal magnetism” and the practice of mesmerizing patients.
Mesmerists broke off into basically two camps that can still be seen today, those that believe in psychic phenomena and those that merely use the technique for therapy. A man by the name of James Braid changed the name to hypnotism sometime in the 19th century and referred to the process strictly as a matter of suggestion. In 1959, the American Medical Association officially approved hypnosis as a therapeutic tool.
Saunders found his way into the practice of hypnotism after a 10-minute session helped him quit smoking.
“I smoked cigarettes for 20 years. I went to sleep for 10 minutes, woke up and I’ve never touched them again. No withdrawls. No cravings. It’s like I’ve never done it,” Saunders said.
After this experience, he decided to get training to practice hypnotism in order to share it with others. He went through 100 hours of training, both being hypnotized and practicing hypnotism on others.
He and his wife are both Christians, and he says he doesn’t use hypnotism for exploration of past lives or anything that he can’t prove.
Saunders said what happens in a session with him is much like meditation but a deeper state of focus.
“You’re mind, the subconscious, is unlimited,” Saunders said. “Every habit we have has a positive intention. Your subconscious knows what you’re supposed to be doing, but no one ever told the younger you that started doing [the bad habit] that it wasn’t right.”
Democrat staff writer Jacob Smith did an introductory session with Saunders at the Democrat’s office.
Read more about Jacob Smith’s experience in his column this week.
Suggestive Lifestyle is located at Saunders’ home office in Mt. Juliet. Call Saunders at 615-549-5904 or visit suggestivelifestyle.com for more information.