Dreams and Thoughts and Meanings

What does it mean when you dream about bears, snakes, your teeth falling out, falling, or having sex with your grandparents?

One way to think of this is that symbols pop up while you are unconscious and have meaning to be interpreted and dissected to understand the deeper meaning behind them. Lots of people think this way and do just that.

Another way of thinking of this is to say that things are brought to your awareness (even your unconscious awareness such as when you’re sleeping) because you saw or heard something that reminded you of that symbol in some small associated way. So if you passed a Toys’R’Us yesterday, it made you think of Geoffrey Giraffe, their mascot, and that’s why a giraffe may have been in your dream. Or maybe it made you think of bicycles because you once got a bike from the store next to a Toys’R’Us and that’s why you dreamed of a giraffe riding a bike, or of flying bicycles.

I don’t know if either of those ways is “right”, but I believe that I get an allotted amount of energy at any given moment and I choose not to attach or search for meaning in things that happened during my unconscious state. If your mind has been attaching meaning to some thought you had randomly and it’s been disturbing to you, make an appointment to get that cleared up and reclaim your energy for all the fun stuff you’d rather be doing than ruminating on that bothersome thing.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Twitter & Facebook.

Self Care: Monitor Your Intake

I was recently discussing books with some people I know and they suggested certain books to me that are not in my usual genre. As an avid reader, I generally read 4 books at a time: 1 audio book in the car (fiction or biographical), 1 for-fun fiction book, and 2 non-fiction books, generally related to psychology or another of my work-aspirations. Whatever I’m in the mood for, I’m partway through one of them. But my for-fun book is always fiction, always set in some fantasy place or completely made up setting of a real place. I like wizards and dragons and magic and being transported to somewhere completely new and outside of my reality.

So when these other avid readers suggested murder-mystery books and books about interesting serial killers and the like, I wasn’t interested. In my practice, I hear a lot of stories and many are quite unpleasant, which is why they need a professional to clear that stuff away. I’m very skilled at leaving other people’s problems in the office and not letting that bleed into my life. I don’t stay up at night thinking about the terrible things that happened to my clients – not ever. This isn’t callous, this is how you keep from burning out and stay with the client in that moment, in control of the situation and not get pulled into the story. You don’t want me crying with you in session, right? Me either! How unprofessional.

Similarly, my husband and I were talking about horror movies recently and I discerned that I no longer like the kind with “realistic” happenings in them – serial killers, madmen, psychos – but I still like the kind with supernatural appeal – haunted places, things come to life, mythological creatures. Those just aren’t as scary to me as they could be real or not. There are really killers in the world. It doesn’t interest me to spend my free time on that stuff.

My free time is for fun and I want it to be completely fun. I also limit what sorts of depressing media I take in. I don’t watch the news, almost ever, and if I do, it’s BBC World News America because they don’t throw in a bunch of sensationalism and make you terrified. Who needs that? I sometimes watch The Daily Show and Last Week Tonight, but it’s comedy and not all truth.

Think also about who you allow in your life and what they bring to the relationship. Take care of you in your way. Limit what you take in. Monitor your intake and do what is right for you.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Twitter & Facebook.

Mind-Body Healing

I’ve had a bad back for years. I treat it with acupuncture and chiropractor visits and use an amazing heating pad. Sometimes, though, I throw my back out and it’s a few days where I’m benched until it’s better. That happened a few weeks ago (originally published in 2013). I was packing for a move and I wish I could say it was lifting a box, but it was getting up from the bed playing with the cat, just twisted wrong and that was it. No time to be sidelined, though, there was too much to do, and I had another training coming up. These trainings are 3-day long-day events in uncomfortable conference room chairs.

At the training, my back was killing me. I wasn’t whining about it on the outside, but I was going through Advil at an unhealthy rate and halfway through the day was needing half a muscle relaxer just to not whimper. On day 2, we did break-out practice groups to increase responsiveness. I believe that the mind controls the body in most everything and that the signals, if not going to the mind, are not going to be received, coded, or perceived, so the mind is the key to all this. Thus, I believe that the mind can make the change in all this, speeding healing, blocking pain, and increasing the time needed to receive and process the message of discomfort and what the body needs.

In my trance state, my partner effectively increased responsiveness in me. This meant, to me, that my body and mind were more than twice as responsive from before this trance state session. My body and mind were optimized, turned up, in line. I took my symbol and used it every time my back twinged. One deep breath, eyes closed, and thanked the messenger for the message that something was amiss and I needed to give extra care and healing to that part of my body. Second deep breath, eyes closed, dissipate the pain (I pictured it pixelated and expanding away). Note: none of this was part of what my partner did in the trance state, but since my body and mind were already optimized for responsiveness, they were responding to one another in an advanced way and I was building on that. This did not remove all pain; there was still an error in my body, a problem to be healed, but I could increase healing and decrease pain.

A couple of days later, my husband and I met up after my training was over and he was rubbing my back and said “I can see this is the muscle you pulled; it’s raised, but your whole back isn’t swollen anymore. Does it still hurt?” “Some,” I answered, “keep looking.” He did and I took a few breaths, visualizing my symbol and dissipating the pain. He said it looked a little flatter and how did I do that? This stuff, it’s good stuff! 

I also got an emotional issue for me unstuck that weekend at the training and am looking forward to using that energy for being awesome in the moment and seeing how it frees me up for health and happiness.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Twitter & Facebook.

Changing Personality?

Sometimes people wonder if the process of therapy will change their personality, if they will be someone other than themselves once they fix the troubling pieces. Good therapy is meant to change the parts you want changed, on your agenda, not the therapist’s. If Oscar the Grouch wanted to process the death of Mr. Cooper, he would still leave therapy a grouch. If Oscar ever wanted to be less grouchy, that would be his choice. Therapy is never meant to make you anything that you are not, except a better version of yourself, fixing what you want changed.

“I’d rather be myself,” he said. “Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly.” Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Twitter & Facebook.

Living with chronic illness

At the time of this writing, I was 11 weeks into a constant migraine and taking steps to figure out a cause and some solutions. That probably doesn’t count a chronic illness yet, but here’s what I’ve learned thus far:

Lower your bar. Do what you can and be where you’re at. It’s okay if all you can do today is nothing. Perhaps you can do a single task for work, or for your home, or for your health and hygiene. That’s okay. Count your wins. Perhaps today I can only lie under the blankets and wish the world away, but I also brushed my teeth. Count that as a win. It’s a little win. But if, today, you could also make a meal for yourself, that’s 2 wins. Some days hold larger or more numerous victories. Count it all.

Do it now, if you can. I’m a procrastinator and leave things for Future Me to do. But since I can’t do everything everyday, Current Me has to be more responsible.

Keep records and be scientific. I started tracking things in Excel (I’m that brand of nerd). I was tracking temperature, barometric pressure, pollen counts, stages of the moon, my temperature, my blood sugar, my blood pressure, my mood, my energy levels, my sleep patterns, pain levels, and what medications I was taking and how they made me feel. This allowed me to have a more productive conversation with my doctor. We could rule things in and out. This got me closer to knowing what was and was not helping, what may be a cause or correlation, and we could discuss it without me saying “I don’t know. I just hurt all the time,” which wasn’t helpful.

Seek help. Talk to your doctor and advocate for yourself. Say “it’s still not better” if that’s true. Take a referral to a specialist – this made a big difference to me. Join a support group online – there’s lots of free peer-run groups on Facebook and elsewhere – but remember that they are people like you and not professionals. Ask people you know if they’ve been through what you’re experiencing and what they suggest. If you’d like to learn to manage pain in the body, I can teach you that through self hypnosis. Please read this article on the process and call the number below to schedule an appointment.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Twitter & Facebook.

Resolve to Quit Smoking

cigarette butts in a red circle with a line through it

A lot of people think of the new year as a new start to your new life, and why not? Every day is a new start! If you set a goal this year to quit smoking, let me help you meet that goal. I’m offering a New Year’s Resolution package of $400 for 5 hours over 4 sessions. Share this important information with your friends and coworkers!

Step 1: Pick a Quit Date. Between here and there, cut back on your smoking. Do not quit cigarettes cold turkey. It is a shock to your body and leads to relapse. Assess how much you are currently smoking, and cut it in half and half again before your last cigarette. I recommend skipping the gum or the patch or the fake cigarettes. The goal is to be free of all nicotine. If that means you need longer to cut down, that is a smarter option.

Step 2: Call me and let’s set a first appointment. During the initial appointment, we’ll discuss your history, any potential pitfalls, your smoking habit, your quit date, and determine a realistic plan for you. We will also be discussing your support system, behavior changes, and anything I can think of to help you stay quit for good. Never will I berate you for your habit; none of us are saints. I will simply help you get from good to great. This appointment is 90 minutes. The phone consultation is about 30 minutes.

Note: If I feel your quit date is too soon, based on your smoking habit, I will advise you of this. I will always be honest with you and want your success!

Step 3: Second appointment. We’re going to do some hypnosis and Rapid Resolution Therapy at this appointment. We’re going to change the way your mind stores data so that you loathe the idea of smoking. This is going to be the day before quit day, or as close as we can arrange it with our mutual schedules. If you want to have your last puffs before you see me, we could do it that way also, your call. We’re going to use strong words and imagery to make smoking absolutely repulsive.This appointment is one hour.

Note: If there are issues that I feel are relevant as obstacles and need clearing before your smoking (perhaps you smoke because of anxiety symptoms or there is concurrent substance abuse), we will be using the second appointment to clear that issue instead. If that issue is more involved, I will tell you during the first appointment and we will discuss pricing. If you have concerns, just ask me.

Step 4: Quit Day. The day you wake up free of the chains of tobacco use and enjoy detoxification in every cell throughout your day. You’re already doing wonderful things for your body and mind just in the first day.

Step 5: Third appointment. I check in with you and we discuss how it’s been. This will be shortly after Quit Day, maybe in a few days or a week. If there were any cravings, I want to make them absolutely gone. If there was any slip up, I want to be sure we institute behaviors and thoughts to immunize you from them in the future. This appointment is one hour.

Step 6: Fourth appointment: This appointment is a check in to see how things have been going. It should occur somewhere between a week and a few months from the third appointment. If you don’t need this appointment, we will skip it. If we used the second appointment to clear an obstacle issue, we will then not have this last appointment, but I would still like for you to call me and tell me that you’re on the path and doing great. This appointment is one hour.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Twitter & Facebook.

Mini-Missions: Simplify & Add Joy to Your Life In Less Than 30 Minutes

Mini-Missions offers a life lesson for each week that can be completed in under 30 minutes. Anything from how to improve your credit score, to how to be a better friend, to how to have a cleaner house is included in this short, handy guide.

It is available at Amazon for only $8.50 (less on Kindle, if you want to keep it for yourself) and even has a match book price if you want to give a paper copy and keep a digital copy, so you’ll save a few bucks!

If you’ve already read it, won’t you please leave a review on Amazon and tell people how your life was made a little better by clicking HERE?

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Twitter & Facebook.

Secondary Trauma?

waves crashing on rocks

I’m hearing the term “secondary trauma” misused frequently. Let’s learn what the different kinds of trauma are.

Trauma is an experience that leaves a negative impact on a person. This is usually caused by a single event (such as, but not limited to: car accident, rape, mugging, natural disaster, or neighborhood violence).

Secondary trauma is what happens to a person in the processing of that event. For example: a person is raped and knows the rapist. They press charges and, as have to give physical evidence, be questioned by police and lawyers, and appear in court facing their abuser. Each step may increase the trauma.

Vicarious trauma is the sort of burn out that trauma therapists, CPS workers, police, or others may endure from working with cases of trauma. It is the strain of carrying another person’s burden. This can be offset by learning to compartmentalize the information they take in as belonging to others.

I will be holding an upcoming webinar on managing vicarious trauma. Please contact me with your interest at autumn@clearmindgroup.com.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Twitter & Facebook.

Have a Happy Relationship in 7 Steps

Valentine Couple. Portrait of Smiling Beauty Girl and her Handso
Valentine Couple. Portrait of Smiling Beauty Girl and her Handsome Boyfriend making shape of Heart by their Hands. Happy Joyful Family. Love Concept. Heart Sign. Laughing Happy Lovers. Valentines Day

A long-time friend recently told me “you’re the only person I know that’s happily married.” While I took the compliment, I thought it awfully sad for her friends. I asked “what about other relationships?” She said it was the same all over, married, living together, seriously dating, everyone she knew, including herself, was unhappy in their relationship.

It got me to thinking: What makes my relationship a happy one? Is it simply a matter of perception, that she assumes I’m happy and assumes others are not? She’s not delusional and seems to have a pretty good handle on how others truly are, so that seemed unlikely. I don’t present a false front to her, so that seemed an unlikely reason. Is my relationship happy? Yes, I feel happy in it. Her statements must be true, to the best of her opinion. So why am I happy and so many people, at least by this sample, seem to be less so?

I do the following things, that may be a benefit to you in your relationship:

  1. Say thank you. The little things add up. If you spouse did something around the house, notice and say thank you for having done that thing, even if it’s so mundane as preparing a meal or bringing in the trash cans. After all, without them doing it, it’s all on you. Once in awhile, say thank you for the bigger things “thank you for going to work every day and making sure we have enough money to pay our bills,” or “thank you for always being available to listen when I need to vent about the kids.”
  2. Let it go. We have a rule that may or may not work for you: whatever is bothering you, you have to say it right away. This involves no stewing, no ruminating, no grudges. We never have an argument (we rarely argue anyhow) that involves “and remember last month when…” because we dealt with that thing last month. Sometimes these things are stupid, like “you said you’d move my laundry to the dryer and it’s still in the washer.” Stupid, right? I know. But isn’t that the kind of thing that, if you ruminate on it, will lead you to say things about a person’s character like “he never follows through.” Is that true? No, but there seemed to be a lack of follow through in that instance. So deal with the issue, not the characteristic. You are with someone because you believe their traits are good, overall.
  3. Keep it to yourself. Don’t talk smack to your friends or family or coworkers. They will hear you in a bad mood and make generalizations, especially if mostly what they hear is your bad-mood stuff. They’ll then give you advice like “you don’t need someone like that,” which may be far from true, but when several people say the same things, you may doubt yourself. Be slow to talk negatively about others (your spouse, your kids, your friends, your family) to anyone. Be quick to talk positively, though. This is not akin to wearing blinders and pretending things are as they aren’t, but evaluating on your own scale, not an outsider’s. Journaling is a better outlet.
  4. Compromise. You shouldn’t get your way all the time. Weigh the importance of the issue with the importance of your continued relationship. The old saying is “You can either be right or happy.”
  5. Communicate. Oh, so cliche! I know, I know. It’s a skill; it’s an art. Talk, face to face, at least a few minutes every day. Know what an expression means, a gesture, a lack of talking about something. My best friend said of me, “I can tell by the tone of your silence when something’s bothering you.” That’s an art developed over decades.
  6. Do the little things. I’m always thinking of people I love. When I’m at a store or watching TV or reading, I may see a passage or article or item that reminds me of them. I snap a photo, send an email or a text, pick up an inexpensive thing, right then. I don’t wait, don’t hold things for special occasions. I say “I saw this and thought of you.” Most of my circle has said I’m incredibly considerate because of that. How much effort does that take? Almost none. Almost no money – if I can’t afford a thing, I photograph it and send a text “doesn’t this remind you of that time we were talking about…” My one friend has a pair of scissors I got her in the shape of a woodpecker that makes her laugh every time she’s in her kitchen because we were once at a party and a man told us a terrible joke involving a woodpecker with no punchline. We still laugh about it. It takes no money and almost no effort to connect with others. I made a bad-day-bag of gift wrapped item of less than $10 each that my husband can pull from when he’s had a bad day at work, after a rather long run of such bad days. You know when he sees these little things, he thinks of me and that I was thinking of him.
  7. Take nothing for granted. I believe that divorce is possible for me, that people change, that this marriage may not last forever. I spend some time each day devoting time and energy to my marriage and my spouse. While that amount of time and energy varies, I don’t think I ever miss a day.

If you find this useful in some way, please share the information.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Twitter Facebook. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Be a Quitter: Stop Smoking with Hypnosis

Smashing The Habit

Quit smoking in an effective, lasting manner that takes into account your history, health, and needs. Regular cost is $750, but I’m offering this as a package for $600 if you pre-pay. That’s 5 hours over the course of 4 sessions.

Share this important information with your friends and coworkers! Be quitters together and enjoy better health and a longer life. Continue reading “Be a Quitter: Stop Smoking with Hypnosis”