Lee McKing: An interview with a Hypnotist

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Whenever the word hypnotist is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is a deep voice asking you to follow the clock with your eyes and sending you to a moment of trance. Or at least that is what the movies would like us to believe.

We met a hypnotist named Lee McKing and we guarantee you he is nothing like what is mentioned above, in fact McKing is an interesting man whose approach to hypnotherapy is more conversational, similar to having a conversation with your friend. Get to know more about this interesting 28-year old man in our interview with him below.

Vanilla Luxury: What sparked your interest in hypnosis or hypnotherapy?

Lee McKing: It wasn't so much as an interest but more accidental! Or incidental might be the right word. It started because I nearly died.

I was a Ngee Ann Polytechnic Year 1 CPEE student, where a sudden incident happened. My right lung had collapsed to about the size of an egg! That's when the doctor said, “You will die...” The illness had affected me in more ways than one and this was when I fell into depression. 

Fast forward to a few years later, a Facebook ad popped up one day about NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming. I clicked it to find Worldwide Institutes of NLP and was intrigued. After some research, I realized this might be the key to improving my health. I then attended the Basic NLP Practitioner Course. After completing the Basic NLP Practitioner Training, I began working on my issues and started with healing the smaller issues one by one.

A couple of months later, I realized what actually happened when I was 20 years old. I had developed PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was a huge issue, a PTSD related to nearly dying! I believed only the Master NLP Practitioner Course can help me (and I was too afraid to work on it myself) and thus, I signed up for the Master NLP Practitioner Course. The Master NLP Practitioner Course truly changed my life! It was a very emotional healing experience. Simultaneously, it was also where I discovered that the core NLP techniques was hypnotic in nature.

That got me curious and I started looking to learn more about hypnosis and hypnotherapy. That's how I chanced upon the Conversational Hypnosis Professional Hypnotherapy course or CHPH from the Hypnosis Training Academy. If the Basic NLP was based on curiosity and intrigue with a touch of healing, while the Master NLP was for healing and becoming holistic, the CHPH was for curiosity and wanting to learn more. After all, I believe there is always something more that I can learn as an individual.

Well to sum it up quickly, it started many years ago when the doctor “accidentally hypnotized” me (it happened when he said “You will die...” while I was in a state of shock from the X-ray) and over the years of learning, I have reached this point where I am now a hypnotist. After all, if I can heal my traumas, anxieties, fears, depression...etc... with hypnotherapy, why not help others to heal too?

Vanilla Luxury: Reactions from friends and family when you expressed your interest in hypnosis?

Lee McKing: Wow reactions hahahaha! I am Roman Catholic and my family is quite... how do I put it... Well, my mum for one, will always frown a certain way when she disapproves of something. And there was some discussion even in the beginning when I first learn NLP. That was because I told her that there were some elements of hypnosis involved.

I only told the other family relatives very short explanations of NLP but, when I learnt hypnosis and decided to be a hypnotherapist, again, I went through the discussions with whoever I was with. It was actually quite fun because I had to prove to myself first and foremost, that I know what I am doing, before I can prove to others. So it made me want to learn even more, grow in skill and experience and so on.

Friends on the other hand were a bit more varied... Some didn't like the idea of me being a hypnotherapist while others were fascinated.

Vanilla Luxury: What are some of the areas a hypnotherapy session helps in?

Lee McKing: Alright if you search the internet, you will find that hypnotherapy seems to help in almost everything. And just because someone claimed it to be so, I wouldn't bet my money on it until I have personally proven it to some extent.

For example, there is this claim somewhere (I forgot where I saw it though) where hypnotherapy can change the eye color of a person. What?

Then there is another claim that hypnotherapy can help a child stop bed-wetting. I personally have not done such a thing before but it sounds plausible. However, I cannot guarantee the effectiveness if I do receive such a request.

Then of course, there is the claim of using hypnotherapy to resolve and heal traumas, which I truly believe since I have helped myself and several others with it. I can guarantee its effectiveness, though I cannot guarantee the same or exact number of sessions needed for different people and different traumas means. Sometimes it is done in one session and something more serious might take three. 

Generally, I use hypnotherapy to help my clients are in the areas of emotional and behavioral issues. Emotional issues can include and are not restricted to fear of public speaking, anxiety and stress management, or needing a confidence or motivation boost. Behavioral issues, on the other hand, can include and are not restricted to procrastination, smoking, being more organized or even generating new positive habits.

One interesting thing is some people do come to me for stress or frustration at work and sometimes, I use hypnotherapy to help them find their purpose and passion again. This helps strengthen them in their work. You have no idea how important a sense of purpose is to people.

Vanilla Luxury: How different is hypnotherapy from counseling?

Lee McKing: Hypnotherapy and counseling is actually quite similar. The difference is how we work. Generally speaking, counseling tends to be more conscious while hypnotherapy tends to be more unconscious. But before I distinguish the differences, allow me to also separate traditional hypnotherapy and conversational hypnotherapy.

Traditional hypnotherapy is what you usually see on the television, the client is sleeping for a couple of hours, the hypnotist has a droning and boring voice, etc. Yes, this is possible! Some hypnotherapy techniques require a deeper trance and thus, this is good. I prefer the conversational style of hypnotherapy though. It is faster, and works with light trances.

Let me quickly explain with an example. Say you have a fear of spiders. In counseling, you might go through something called exposure therapy. It's about roughly 6-8 sessions where they gradually expose the object of fear to you, like starting with a picture of a spider and talking it out. The next session might be a toy and so on. It's quite conscious and you will learn to adapt or handle the fear, and of course, feel some of that fear each session until it is completely resolved or it has reached an acceptable level.

Now, for hypnotherapy, what I will do is tap into your unconscious mind. The traditional style of hypnotherapy might take a couple of sessions at least two, to resolve your fear. The conversational style can resolve it in minutes, as short as 5-10 minutes to no more than 20 minutes (unless it’s a fear from a past trauma). The way I do it is to find the reason behind the fear, which might surprise you!

Vanilla Luxury: What are the biggest differences hypnotherapy has made in your life?

Lee McKing: It has been an amazing journey for me. Learning NLP and Hypnosis has done so much for me, such as learning about myself to resolving issues and becoming a more positive and holistic individual.

I think for me the biggest change is my mindset. I used to be a pessimistic and a negative person, and while I am an Introvert by nature, I used to be someone who didn't form a lot of friendships. Learning how I 'hypnotized' myself into negativity meant I knew how to change that. And changing those negative beliefs into something positive was my beginning of a whole new look and perspective on life.

When I nearly died, while I did have some new perspectives such as appreciating relationships rather than academics, my mind (the old me was negative remember) focused on the bad things that happened instead, and that's how I fell into depression.

Now, even if something bad were to happen, yes I will still be sad or hurt or in pain, but I know how to stand up, look forward and take it as a learning experience and then move on.They say “like attracts like”, and when I have become so positive in that way, I began to attract like-minded and positive individuals, and the friendships I forged are amazing.

There is so much that has changed since I first learn NLP and Hypnosis. Whatever I say here cannot fully describe how thankful I am to stumble upon it and learn these tools.

Vanilla Luxury: How do you work with clients who are unresponsive to your hypnotherapy sessions?

Lee McKing: An excellent question! There is something that I have not shared yet and that is how hypnosis works. I will briefly mention it here.

First and foremost, hypnosis requires a few factors for it to work, and one of it is consent. Essentially, the hypnotist requires the hypnotee or subject to give consent to being hypnotized. A simple one would be to ask, “Are you ready to be hypnotized?”

The second criteria for hypnosis to work is for the subject to want the change to occur.

For example, a guy may come to me for a smoking cessation session. Scenario A is where he says he wants to stop smoking because of his children and his health and he witnessed his dad passing away due to lung cancer from smoking. Scenario B is where the guy says he came because his wife sent him here and he honestly enjoys smoking with his friends. Which of the two will be able to be hypnotized?

That's right! The guy in Scenario A. Why? That's because he wants the change to occur. The guy in Scenario B might put up resistance such as saying he enjoys smoking, it's a great and easy way to make friends, and it's fun.

Alright so now you know the 2 main criteria, what then?

You see, when I ensure the client wants the change to occur and gives consent for hypnosis to occur, then most of the time (at least 99% of the time), hypnosis will occur naturally and they respond well to it! But yes, there are instances where they want the change and gives the consent and yet, not as responsive as what we will like. What gives?? This to me is super rare but still possible. It comes down to the issue of trust. Yes, I know what you are thinking, the client doesn't trust me, the hypnotherapist right? Well, surprisingly no. In fact, they don't trust themselves or their unconscious mind. And some cases, they don't know how to trust themselves.

If I may share this case study of one of my clients. She came to me with an issue, she wanted change, she gave consent, 10 minutes later, all we got was 1 color and that's it. I got curious and asked her to open her eyes, and asked whether she trusted me. She said yes. Then I asked if she trusted herself, and she paused... before replying no. Then I said until she does, her unconscious mind cannot help her and then I waited.

The moment she consciously decided she trusts herself completely, she went into a hypnotic trance and we continued with the therapy. Really cool stuff. If I was not the therapist but a student learning from the trainer, my jaw would have dropped.

What if the client didn't trust me in the first place? Well, then it's quite unlikely they will want to come to my office and say they want to change and give consent for hypnotherapy. If any future clients are unresponsive for one reason or another, then I will ask some questions to find out what might be hindering the process, and seek to resolve it if the client agrees to it.

Vanilla Luxury: How much does the subconscious mind, law of attraction and karma have to do with hypnotherapy?

Lee McKing: This is a very interesting question! First of all, I tend to use the term unconscious mind rather than subconscious mind. It's the same thing essentially.

Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis to provide therapy for a person, to heal emotionally and sometimes physically too. It taps into the unconscious mind to find such positive resources. There is huge potential in being able to harness the brain, especially with hypnotherapy as one way to remove the blocks in the unconscious mind.

For example, being negative since birth, it is not so easy to suddenly think positive. You can keep telling yourself to think positive and it may or may not help. If it doesn't, well, hypnotherapy is one effective way to change that. How about putting positive and beneficial patterns, thoughts and beliefs into your unconscious mind, like earning money is easy? Achieving success is possible? Or even that opportunities are right behind that door? That's how powerful hypnotherapy or more so your unconscious mind can be and how it all links together.

And now a bit about karma. Some people believe karma is real and what comes around goes around but some people still don't believe in it. Now as a hypnotherapist, how I work is from the client's point of view, their beliefs, their systems and what not. What this means, is that if they believe in karma, I will be with them, and if they don't, I will still be with them. Think of me as a mirror and reflecting the client's beliefs, perspectives and values but not thoughts though hahhaa I don't read minds. For those who believe in karma, there are hypnotherapy techniques that go into a past life, again assuming the client believes in past lives too, to resolve the karma from the past so they can live a better life today.

However, the topic of karma can be quite a vast topic too, like the difference between good and bad karma and how a person can build karma in this life for the next life too. So I will just quickly conclude, that hypnotherapy is closely linked to the unconscious mind, which is linked to the law of attraction and you can align them fully with hypnotherapy. For karma, it depends on the client.

Vanilla Luxury: What’s the most common misconception about hypnosis?

Lee McKing: There are quite a few common misconceptions. Here are some of what I usually get asked (not in any particular order).

1)     Hypnosis is mind control – Remember that consent has to be given before hypnosis can occur. The media has highly exaggerated the powers of hypnosis to the extent where it seems like magic. You can choose whether you want to go into a hypnotic trance or not. I assure my clients should they feel uncomfortable, they can open their eyes and come out of the trance whenever they want to.

2)     Hypnosis allows spirits to take over your body – Honestly, this is one of the interesting ones I've heard and is completely untrue. Hypnotherapy or hypnosis is a way to go inside oneself, to explore one's mind, your soul still stays in your body. Even if the client believes in past life and we are doing such a technique, it is all in the mind.

3)     Don't look into his eyes! – This one is a good laugh! It's not the eyes, it's the voice. I think it is partly because the hypnotists of old wanted to keep it a secret, like a magician's magic making it seem as if they had power from their eyes.

4)     Hypnosis can make you do anything hypnotist wants – Hypnosis only works when the subject wants the change to occur. Another factor is that hypnosis follows the subject's ethics and values. For example, if you won't kill or harm anyone, no one can hypnotize you to kill or harm anyone.

5)     You will reveal all your secrets – No, this is not possible unless the subject agrees to it. Typically, consent comes with ethics and values, your secrets are completely safe (unless you choose to reveal those secrets yourself. Now if you are thinking of those mentalist 'read your mind' thing, well, that's a mentalist.

Vanilla Luxury: Which is your most memorable session to date?

Lee McKing: Wow! I've got a few that I will always remember because the change was amazing for the client and for me too. I will briefly share two sessions.

The first is a lady who gets anxious easily. She even had sweaty palms whenever she got anxious. In just one session with me, she realized her anxiety had significantly reduced and even her sweaty palms were gone!

The second is a man who came to me with stress and frustration from work. He felt like he had a lot on his plate and was stuck. During the session with me, he not only lightened the mental load, he even re-found his purpose for what he was doing and that just made all the other small issues disappear!

Now their issues were resolved in one session because they shared enough details for me to understand the construct of the problem allowing me to use the right technique for the issue. Hence, sometimes, when there is not enough information, or if the issue is a bit more serious, it may take more than one session to resolve it completely.

Vanilla Luxury: If not a hypnotist, what would you have done?

Well, since this started because of what happened when I was in polytechnic, if it didn't happen, I might have become a psychologist or a teacher. Although more likely a teacher, I quite enjoy teaching!