Hypnosis is a massively misunderstood discipline, something that the organisers of Illuminations understand all too well. ‘There are two schools of hypnotherapy,’ explains Dr. Yuvraj Kapadia, acclaimed clinical hypnotherapist. ‘The eastern styles involve stage hypnosis, or perhaps even getting you to do something against your will. What awe teach here is pretty much the western model, in which the control is essentially with the client himself.’
The good doctor first came to the UAE in 2006 at the invitation of Soniyaa Kiran Punjabi, the brains behind Illuminations. He’s been commuting ever since, first training Soniyaa, then conducting local seminars to spread awareness in the region. Soniyaa explains that Dr. Kapadia’s appeal lay in his ability to put hypnosis into very logical, understandable terms. ‘My whole life transformed,’ she smiles, ‘and that’s why I really wanted to spread the awareness amongst my friends and family. The response has been really great.’
During the short time I spend amongst these people, it is indeed the enthusiasm and clear methodology of Dr. Kapadia that proves the most infectious. Like most people, I arrive feeling suspicious. The doctor counters this by being as straight-forward as possible. ‘Basically, we view the mind as being in control of the body, so everything starts with a thought. This generates an emotion, which in turn affects your energy levels - and when they get screwed, your body goes into a kind of breakdown. We use hypnosis to access your subconscious mind and work with your thought patterns.’
Dr. Kapadia’s methods differ from those of other hypnotherapists mainly in his routes to the subconscious mind. ‘I noticed that virtually every alternative practice pretty much used hypnosis. Whether you practice pranic healing, reiki or yoga, the trance you go into is a hypnotic trance. So we started accessing the subconscious through any of these routes. That’s very non-classical.’
The theories in place at Illuminations originate from the California Hypnosis Institute – Kapadia represents the Indian chapter – and are increasingly recognised as highly effective medical disciplines. ‘It’s surprising,’ Kapadia marvels, ‘but if we take holistic healthcare as an industry by itself, the amount of money spent worldwide actually exceeds the amount spent on drug therapies and conventional healthcare. And yet, it remains one of the most fragmented, unregulated and unstructured industries. What we’re trying to do here is give the whole model a kind of semblance.’
Pavan Nihalani is a partner at Illuminations. He began as a student, following the courses to their conclusion, now working full time as a clinical hypnotherapist. ‘At Illuminations we do a few different things,’ he explains. ‘Our therapists do individual sessions with people for all kinds of issues, and we train new hypnotherapists. Every couple of months we have a workshop. We also have workshops for other kinds of healers – energy healers, emotional healers – but hypnotherapy is what we focus on.’ I ask him if he can give me a demonstration of hypnotherapy in action.
He guides me into a dimly lit room, where I take my place on a soft couch. I feel self-conscious, convinced that this won’t work for me. Asking me to count down from one hundred, Pavan begins speaking in a manner that makes me even more certain that this is a waste of time. And then something strange happens. Pavan asks me to open my eyes, warning me that I won’t be able to. My eyelids feel solid, and try as I might, there’s no way of freeing them. It’s not a worrying feeling; I’ll admit to being completely amazed.
Shortly after, I’m brought back to full consciousness, and Dr. Kapadia explains the science behind the eye trickery. He tells me that the eyeballs roll upwards during a deeply relaxed state, which makes it very hard for the eyelids to open. That you are so relaxed suggests that you are close to being in a hypnotic trance. With a little more practice, I could get the hang of this.
Ultimately, I’ve yet to determine my personal feelings about hypnosis. Still, I leave a little more open-minded about the practice, pleased to have had the chance to listen to what Dr. Kapadia, Soniyaa and Pavan have to say. I also feel surprisingly clear-headed, and a lot looser around the shoulders. Whether this has to do with my brief session or not, I’m unsure, but it’s an agreeable feeling that lingers long into the days that follow.
Illuminations presents Hypnotherapy for Beginners, level one certification course, from March 6 to March 8 at One to One Hotel, Salam Street, Abu Dhabi. For more information check www.illuminationsworld.com, or call 050 466 584