Hypnotist: Solutions to what ails all in the mind

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Some may picture a hypnotist as a magicianlike figure on a variety show, snapping his fingers and making victims cluck like chickens.

Yes, it really works, according to Los Altos-based hypnotherapist Eric Rosen.

“They’ll cluck like a chicken – but only if they want to,” he said.

Contrary to popular belief, a hypnotist cannot force a victim to do something he doesn’t want to do – like commit a crime.

Rosen’s use of hypnosis, however, has nothing to do with entertainment and everything to do with healing. He helps his patients overcome a variety of mental blocks that have led to weight gain, hoarding and fear of public speaking.

Rosen, 44, offers classes and individual sessions in Los Altos and throughout the South Bay. His recent workshop in Los Altos, “Hypnotize Yourself Slim,” drew interest among residents and encouraged three participants to undergo his therapy.

The former advertising writer fell into his relatively recent career change after he researched hypnosis as a technique to improve the quality of advertising.

“I had a mercurial interest,” he said. “It can be such a powerful aid for healing.”

Rosen enrolled in the Palo Alto School of Hypnotherapy in 2009. He is now a state-certified clinical and medical hypnotherapist.

The field of hypnotherapy is evolving, Rosen said. A big turning point came in the 1950s when Dr. Milton Erickson introduced techniques related to storytelling as a way of successfully hypnotizing patients.

“We’re hard-wired for storytelling,” Rosen said. “There are very therapeutic qualities to story-telling.”

Getting engrossed in a movie, for instance, is a form of hypnosis. People find themselves living the characters.

“The back tenses when they see a guy hanging by his fingers over a cliff,” Rosen said.

Getting patients to the rapid-eye-movement stage of sleep, when vivid dreams occur, is “where you can make profound changes,” he added.

Rosen declined to divulge specifically how he hypnotizes patients. He said no single technique works 100 percent of the time, but most work most of the time.

Treatment is most successful when the hypnotist and client develop a good rapport. Rosen offers free half-hour consultations to test if there is a good match. Insurance often will pay for the complete treatment with a doctor’s referral.

“Does hypnosis work? It does if you give it the space,” Rosen said.

Rosen’s office is located at 745 Distel Drive, Suite 112, Los Altos. For more information, call (408) 565-5215 or visit

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