Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions post thumbnail image

What you’ll find here

Over time, we get a lot of questions at our office about hypnosis – the nature of hypnosis and its legitimate uses. I’ll try to pass along my thoughts here to the questions that we frequently receive. Have one that is not addressed here? Let me know!

Consult the Question List, and click the corresponding link. Or, simply scroll through to review them all!

Question List
Hypnosis as truth serum? Click here
Multiple problems in one session? Click here
Health Insurance – Fees? Click here
Can Hypnosis help me find a lost object? Click here
What about sports/performance/test anxiety? Click here
Can Hypnosis help with sleep? Click here

Q1:  Can you hypnotize me to help me prove that I am telling the truth about a contested piece of personal history?

No. I could see where that would really be helpful in settling disputes – but it is just not possible. Here is what the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis had to say on the topic:

It is amazing that investigators and attorneys continue to expect to find a magical means of obtaining absolute veracity and are surprised that there is no such thing as “truth serum” and that people can lie with facility under hypnosis. (1980) Editorial: Finding Facts with Hypnosis, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 23:2, 71-72

Perhaps the takeaway here is that if you and another party have an issue involving trust, you might consider another route to its resolution: couples counseling or mediation are just two options that come to mind.

Q2:  I have several issues that I want to deal with in hypnosis – weight, smoking, and gambling. We can handle that all in one session, right?

No. That’s a really ambitious plan, but unrealistic for one session. Just focusing on smoking cessation – for me – is a three-part series of sessions. And even that pacing can feel pressured to me – so I can’t see how we could do justice to multiple problems in a very short time.

Weight management is, in my opinion, a very complex issue. I believe that hypnosis & psychotherapy can have a very positive impact on hunger/food selection/eating/exercise patterns – but I don’t have a magic wand to employ. We have to figure out a number of things:

current health status

tolerance for activity [pain, mobility problems, disability]

time & schedule constraints

personal goals, commitment to change

Only then can we begin to put together a treatment approach that addresses your individual situation, needs, and environment. Not simple – but we can sort it out with you over time.

Gambling problems, too, are a complex set of intersecting issues: money, secrecy, compulsivity all figure in. Lasting change will likely only come through a comprehensive approach to treatment. There is at least one social service agency in Omaha that offers such a program – Heartland Family Services. I recommend that you start there, or with a private practice colleague in Omaha who specializes in this intervention. More information here.

Q3: My health insurance will pay for hypnosis, right?

Maybe. Please allow me to explain.

In order to bill an insurance company for any service, several elements must be present:

an active policy with mental health benefits for you

a mental health assessment with a diagnosed mental disorder

a reimbursable procedure within Terry’s professional scope of practice

What are mental disorders? You’ll find lots of definitions – but the ones that really count are found in American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic and statistical manual. The current edition of the manual is known as the DSM-5. The DSM gives clinicians like me a framework of criteria and terminology with which to understand the emotional distress you are experiencing. And, of course, it yields a summary code that we can submit to an insurance company. BTW, after October 1, 2015, diagnostic codes sent for reimbursement will actually come from the ICD-10, but the diagnostic criteria will remain with the APA. I wish this wasn’t so complicated!

Maybe a table will help!

Situation Not likely workable Likely OKAY through Insurance
I want to lose 10 pounds before the re-union x
I want to stop smoking, and I think hypnosis can help the process. x
I’m depressed – just barely functioning at home or at work. ×
I’m very anxious – I have panic attacks, avoid new situations. I worry all the time. ×

I want to: have more confidence in business, be better at a sport, or expand my horizons


I hope that this helps understand more about what we can submit for insurance reimbursement. Questions? Call us at 402-334-1122

Q4: Can you help me remember where I put my ring, money, or important papers?


I get this question about once a year, it seems. Not many people actually show up for a session. Here’s why:

I’m too honest, I suppose. I tell people that I don’t have tons of experience with this, and have had mixed results. Not everybody remembers what they apparently forgot, even with the assistance of hypnosis.

Most people are hoping for a one-session intervention. I can never guarantee that. It puts a lot of pressure on you to perform, when you are just learning about your hypnotic response.

Many people admit that they were under the influence of alcohol or other substance at the time of the loss. Alcohol induced blackouts impair memory – and make remembering almost impossible.

So, if you are committed to finding something, and are willing to put in a little time to do so, hypnosis has a potential to help. Plan on two or three sessions. And, please, let’s talk to one another before you schedule an appointment – to make sure that our working together is a reasonable course of action.

Q5:  Can you help me with my golf game – or other sports/competitive performance issues? How about test anxiety or public speaking phobias?

A quick look at brings over 200 books and audio programs on the ‘inner game’ of golf. I recommend that you seek out one of those references first. I’ve never played a round of golf in my life, and I don’t have any special training in helping someone with ‘the yips‘. Sorry.

On the other hand, performance anxieties, phobias, and test anxiety are pretty familiar territory. Keep in mind that the longer you’ve had a phobic response, or the more entrenched it has become – the longer it might take to construct a useful and effective intervention.

I have worked with a symphony musician who was competing for a seat at a large city symphony – where you are blind tested before a committee you never meet. Sounds a little daunting! I’ve worked with a small number of high school and collegiate athletes who were wanting to feel more confident, more focused, and more ‘in the zone’. Admittedly, this is an small part of my practice. Parents or athletes should call me before scheduling.

Tests – that I can help with! I’ve worked with high schoolers, college students, and grad students in social work, nursing, law and medicine. Testing puts a lot on the line. Graduating on time. Getting a license or certification. The key here is preparation. Coming in for a series of sessions to assess your needs, make a useful intervention, and to teach self-hypnosis will take a few weeks. Call me with your questions.

It’s much the same with public speaking – hypnosis and psychotherapy can help, but it will take time to acquire some skills. So, the sooner we get started, the sooner you can start seeing some results.

Q6: How about helping with sleep?

Yes, there is plenty of potential here! We start with an assessment of the situation:


Medication and diet

Current life stresses

Review of your personal sleep habits and sleep hygiene

Sometimes, it is imperative to coordinate with your personal physician. If you are overdue for a checkup, or if it seems like sleep apnea or other sleep disorder is influencing your sleep quality – we’ll need to sort that out along the way. Where does hypnosis fit in? Presuming that we’ve looked at all the other factors thoroughly, we will likely focus on two elements:

using hypnosis in the office to produce an audio recording that you can use at bedtime to ease the transition to sleep, sleeping soundly, and getting the rest you need.

teaching self-hypnosis – so you can independently use hypnosis to quiet down the mind and body to get to sleep, and to go back to sleep if you experience a wake-up during the night. [Which, by the way, is common and considered normal!]