Frequently Asked Questions

What is hypnosis? Does hypnosis work?

Hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation, combined with heightened suggestibility and concentration.  It is a direct way to reach the subconscious, which governs our habits and behavior.  While you are deeply relaxed, your hypnotherapist makes positive suggestions about what changes you are ready to make in your life.   You visualize these changes and, after the session is complete, you naturally act on the suggestions to achieve your goals.   Hypnosis works to help you change your life through the power of your mind!

Am I asleep or in a trance during hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a state of “relaxed awareness.”  There are three different states of hypnosis.  In a “light state”, you consciously hear everything I’m saying.  In a “medium state”, which is the most common, you may find yourself daydreaming during hypnosis.  You’ll hear me say certain things, then you’ll daydream, then you’ll bring yourself back to what I’m saying, and so on.  In a “deep state”, you don’t hear much of the hypnosis on a conscious level, but your subconscious mind hears everything.  Hypnosis works just as well no matter what state of relaxation you are in.  It varies, too.  Sometimes you may be in a light state, and other times you may be in a deep state or a medium state.

When you go into hypnosis, it feels very similar to the first few minutes when you are falling asleep.    You will know that you’re in my office, but are just listening to me in a very relaxed state.  You probably won’t want to open your eyes or move, but you know that you could if you wanted to.  You are always in complete control during hypnosis.

Can the hypnotist make me do funny, weird, or bad things?

No.  You are simply in a state of “relaxed awareness” during the session.  You are always in control.  No hypnotist can ever make you do anything you don’t want to do. People do silly things for a stage hypnotist at a comedy club because they volunteer to go on stage; they expect the stage hypnotist to ask them to do funny things. If they really don’t want to listen to the hypnotist’s suggestions, they don’t. For example, if a hypnotist asked you to do something immoral or unethical, you would reject the suggestion. You have the same free will to reject silly suggestions at comedy shows.

Can I be hypnotized?

Dreaming, daydreaming, and experiencing “highway hypnosis” (when you’re driving down the highway and all of a sudden find yourself at your exit) are all examples of being in a hypnotic state.  Just about anyone can be hypnotized (except if you are psychotic or below average intelligence).  Whether the hypnosis works depends mostly on how motivated you are to change that aspect of your life.

Why are Lakeside Counseling & Hypnotherapy Center CDs/mp3s different than other "self-help" hypnosis available over the Internet?

My CDs/mp3s, which are recorded during the hypnosis part of the session, are customized for each client’s specific needs and goals. Since your hypnotherapy session is personalized to fit your goals and your lifestyle, the hypnosis CD/mp3 is very powerful and effective.  I do offer 3 generic CDs/mp3s as well: Smoking Cessation Affirmations, Weight Reduction Affirmations, and Sweet Dreams (which you listen to as you fall asleep.)

How do I hypnotize myself with just a CD or mp3?

All hypnosis is self-hypnosis.  Simply find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed, and play your recording.  Hypnosis is so easy, all you have to do is sit back, relax, and listen!

Do not listen to your CD or mp3 while driving your car or operating machinery of any kind.

How long does the hypnotherapy last?

Some clients notice immediate results, although it typically takes about 21 days to notice significant changes to your thought patterns, habits and behavior.  Therefore, I recommend my clients listen to their CD/mp3 every day, or every other day, for at least three weeks.  You can then listen to it as needed after that.  My clients have reported that for some programs, including weight reduction and reducing bruxism, they do best when they continue to listen to their hypnosis regularly.  Most changes are permanent.

Hypnosis works at the deepest part of your mind to help you change your lifestyle and habits.  Sometimes, excessive stress may cause some people to revert back to old habits, but that is rare.  If you do “fall off the wagon”, you can always listen to your personalized hypnotherapy CD/mp3 to help you return quickly to the lifestyle you desire.  Or you can return for a booster session if you want fresh material, or if you want to improve your life in another way.

How much does it cost? Can this be billed to my insurance?

I understand that confidentiality is important to you, and that is one reason why I have chosen to be an out-of-network provider. Insurance companies require a diagnosis code in order for the clinician to be reimbursed. To enhance the quality of my services, I also choose to spend more time with clients, rather than communicating with insurance companies.

I am a seasoned therapist with over 20 years of experience.  A 50-55 minute counseling session is $110, and a 75 minute counseling/hypnotherapy session is $150.  Payment is due at time of service, and  I accept cash, check, MasterCard, Visa and some HSA cards.

When asked, I can provide you with a superbill, which is a form required by insurance companies for potential client reimbursement.  This will have a diagnostic code on it, as insurance requires.  Please note that many clients choose not to file with their insurance company in order to preserve their confidentiality.

Is hypnosis really going to help me lose weight?

Hypnosis is a very effective weight reduction tool.  You must be ready to make a permanent lifestyle change.  Hypnosis makes the weight loss process easier, as it works at the deepest level of your subconscious mind.  Whereas diets are only temporary, the goal of hypnotherapy is to make the weight loss process easier by having you naturally eat less, eat healthier and exercise more.  Keep in mind that hypnosis doesn’t just melt the fat away with no effort on your part! It is not a quick fix.  Your hypnotherapist is not a Registered Dietician or Medical Doctor.  It may not work for you if there is a medical, medication or metabolic reason for your weight issue.  If the weight issue is caused solely by overeating and/or not exercising, then hypnosis can surely help you to reach your weight reduction goals.

I’ve tried to stop smoking many times. How can hypnosis make me stop?

Hypnosis works at the deepest part of your subconscious mind.  You will experience a lifestyle shift from being a smoker to a nonsmoker, and you will do different activities instead of smoking.  This program is very behavior-oriented, so your hypnotherapist needs to know what you want to do behaviorally instead of smoking in the car, with your coffee, etc.  Something has to “click” inside of you, at which time you decide once and for all that you are ready to be a nonsmoker.  If you are ambivalent about wanting to quit, it probably won’t work.  You must be serious about becoming a nonsmoker.

“When I went to see Amy I was smoking 4 packs of cigarettes a day.  I smoked everywhere – in the tub, in the car – I was a walking furnace.  Thanks to her and hypnotherapy I am smoke free for over 10 years.  Thank God.  I am around smokers at the bar and restaurant but it doesn’t bother me whatsoever.  Thank you, Amy, for helping me leave cigarettes and nicotine and poison behind and becoming healthier every day.”
– Dillard A., Cornelius, NC

Is hypnosis better than the patch or that nicotine gum?

Hypnosis works to change your habits on a subconscious level.  It is very powerful and does not rely on a temporary chemical substitute.  Instead of providing you with an alternate source of nicotine, hypnosis works at a deep level within your mind to help you become a nonsmoker.

Can hypnosis help me to stop vaping, as well as stop smoking cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco?

Yes. hypnosis can help you stop using all of these items.

What is Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)?

Emotional Freedom Techniques™ (EFT) provide a quick and easy way to eliminate pain, such as headaches and backaches, and other health problems.  It also can help you improve at sports, overcome cravings and eliminate feelings of anger, depression, grief, guilt, and anxiety.  The EFT program was developed by scientist Gary Craig in 1995 and is based on the work of psychologist Dr. Roger Callahan.  With EFT, relief from symptoms is very quick, often within minutes. EFT is easy to apply.  The method is so simple, even children can use it.

EFT methods are similar to acupuncture and acupressure, except instead of using needles or pressure, you tap on energy points throughout your upper body.  By tapping on several energy points while focusing on the issue you want to resolve, you can quickly experience profound changes in your emotional and physical health.  You will be given a handout that describes the technique and shows the tapping points, so you can do EFT on your own after just one session.  I have condensed EFT into the “Reader’s Digest” version and added my own helpful hints.

I usually teach EFT as part of the second session (in addition to counseling and/or hypnosis.)

What kind of experience does Amy Bernstein, LCSW, CH have?

Amy Bernstein is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Hypnotherapist.  She trained through the American Institute of Hypnosis and is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the National Guild of Hypnotists.  Amy has a BA in communication from NC State University and a BS in social work from UNC-Greensboro.  She earned her Master of Social Work degree at the University of South Carolina.  She is a Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist with over 20 years of experience.

What should I do if I need to talk to someone immediately?

If you are in urgent need of assistance, help is available!
You may text the word HOME to the number 741741 to reach a crisis counselor by text.
Or you can call the Behavioral Health Help Line at 800-418-2065, call 911, or present at your nearest emergency room.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.