This is an interview with a Roger Gray, hypnotherapist and president of Hypnosis Unlimited & Redding Hypnosis and my name is Douglas Potts. Today we are going to sit and talk with Mr. Gray, about his new technique called Blockbusting and learn a little bit about his background and how he became a hypnotherapist and his point of view on hypnosis and this new discovery.
Doug: Good morning Roger.
Roger: Good morning Doug.
D: Tell us a little bit about your background, where did you grow up?
R: I grew up in Texas, and I joined the Navy when I was 19 and trained as an aircraft mechanic. After that I had various jobs, working in the field of hydraulics in heavy industry and in the gas and oil industry.
D: When you were growing up in your early years in Texas, what were your interests, activities or hobbies? I was into sports, football and ran track and was a pole vaulter. I also had an interest in photography.
D: How did you find yourself in Redding California all the way from Texas?
R: I was ending up my oilfield career in Oklahoma. I had drilled for natural gas and oil in Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, Montana and Oklahoma was the last oilfield job. I had been working as a derrick hand, and a relief driller for five years and all that hard work had thrashed my body. I needed to rest and recover. My wife, at that time, was from California, and she wanted to go home and that sounded good to me.
D: From what you have said about your past, you were very sports minded and worked very physically demanding jobs. So what led you to be interested in hypnosis and how did that become your career?
R: I met a fellow that had a business selling flowers retail and wholesale. He had a fleet of vehicles, and he had me doing some work on them. We became close friends. Occasionally he would have me pick up some flowers and do some selling. As our friendship deepened, he asked me if I wanted to buy into the Redding area and I said yes. This was the first time I was the boss of anything. All the other times I was just an employee. About six months into my new enterprise, I realized that things were not going quite so well at being the boss .I sat down and ran the figures one night and realized if things didn’t change I was going to be broke in six months. Something was wrong; I was working twice as hard as I had for anyone else, putting in lots of hours and still was falling behind.
I was prepared to do whatever it took to be successful. I started reading every book I could get my hands on about success.
Some of the books I was reading had mentioned hypnosis as a quick and effective way to get to the bottom of the issue and fix it. As I took an inventory on my success, I realized that I couldn’t blame it on anyone else since I was the boss and making all the decisions. If my business failed it was because of me, no one else. At that point I began to seek out several competent hypnotherapists, to help me be more successful. I chose two hypnotherapists, one male, and one female therapist to help me on my journey. I was determined to be successful. I worked hard to turn my situation around. I was programming every day, listening to recorded programs, reading books on success and how others did it. In six months from the time I began with the two hypnotherapists I had doubled my territory and tripled my income. One day, one of my other associates that knew I was interested in self-help and success, gave me a flyer from the Applied Hypnosis Center in San Anselmo, California. It was an intensive course during the summer that I could do since the flower sales were always down in the summer. I had the time, the money and the interest and it seemed like the next logical step for me. The training was to become a hypnotherapist but that was not my intention when I took the course. I took a course to better my understanding about hypnosis, and perhaps get some help with my own issues, and to be more educated about what to look for when I chose a good hypnotherapist to work on me. I think therapists are like hairdressers, they all get training and some do a great job, but some you don’t want near your head.
D: This was a double benefit for you, not only were you reading and preparing yourself by your studies and your interest in self-help but also found out about hypnotherapy and you were at a point where you needed change.
R: That’s exactly right Doug. My initial interest in hypnosis was to save my business by finding out what I was doing to sabotage it and then reverse it. At the time my best level of thinking was sinking my ship, I knew it was within me, but I couldn’t seem to change it or identify what I was looking for or at. The hypnotherapy that I sought out for myself, before my course, helped me dramatically. I developed much more self-confidence and clarity. Also, my decisions were getting better. My awareness expanded, as to what I needed to work on, as a result of it.
I was more willing to accept the challenges my life presented to me without so much resistance to change.
I noticed my organizational skills increased as well as my people skills. In that six-month period, I grew significantly, not only was I happier, more confident, but it showed on the bottom line is well. I was working smarter not harder and with much better results.
D: That’s amazing. So by experiencing hypnosis as a client you were convinced of the power that lies in hypnosis first hand.
R: Absolutely, Doug I was a walking testimonial.
D: It seems that the right opportunity came to you at the right time not only to help your business and you personally, but a whole new career was presented to you. What happened that made you change your career?
R: I was a living example of how hypnotherapy had helped my life. I found out that I was really good at it and I wanted to share that success and that gift of knowledge with others. If hypnotherapy had helped me so much, I was convinced it could help others as well. Gradually over time I was seeing more clients, they were having more success and I was having a great deal of fun. Over the next year and a half I phased out my floral business and began doing hypnosis full time. That was over 20 years ago, and it was the best decision I ever made. I have a genuine interest in people, and I wouldn’t do anything else.
D: Let’s fast-forward to today; how would you define hypnotherapy and what are the benefits of hypnosis?
R: I would define hypnotherapy as the use of hypnosis to increase the communication and awareness between the conscious and subconscious mind and uses some technique to correct the self-limiting belief or self-sabotaging program that blocks our potential.
Given that our subconscious mind is the seat of our long-term memory and our learned responses, the subconscious programming can sometimes disagree or limit what the conscious mind wants. When that happens, we have two conflicting programs that sabotage us. It’s as if we have one foot on the gas, and one foot on the brake and all we seem to do is the same old pattern. Anytime we increase our self-awareness, we also increase our awareness of those problem areas that might plague us. Because of how our mind works we are not fully conscious of the programming that is automatic.
Our history and our conditioning, create programs for all behaviors, the good, the bad, and the ugly ones. My job as a hypnotherapist is to access your subconscious and help you find the negative blocking belief or programming that keeps you from expressing your potential. When we become conscious of what the negative or blocking belief is, it becomes obvious to us why we have the problems we have, armed with this new knowledge we are able to challenge the old distorted belief and upgrade it to the truth about ourselves, that we are far more powerful and have greater capacity than we realize. Most of the limitations we experience are not out there in the world but between our ears.
D: So hypnotherapy helps increase awareness, not only in defining the problem, but accessing the program or faulty thinking that’s creating the problem and out of that information is created the suggestions that is needed for the solution.
R: Yes Doug, I think you get it. If you don’t know what the faulty thinking is, how are you going to form the appropriate affirmations or suggestions to counter it? This is why a lot of hypnotherapists are not as effective as they could be. Straight suggestion doesn’t always get to the core programming of the problem behavior.
If you think of the mind as an apple, the skin of that apple would represent the conscious mind, and the rest of the apple would represent the subconscious. The bulk of our thinking and feeling is processed subconsciously.
D: That means our subconscious is much larger than our conscious awareness?
R: Yes, Doug, what science is telling us is, the entire brain processes about 400 billion bits of information a second and our conscious mind can only process about 2000 bits of information a second.
D: 2000 compared to 400 billion, that’s like a fraction of a percent of what were conscious of, WOW!!!! What is the subconscious doing with all that vast processing power?
R: The majority of our processing power is occupied with the two basic tasks of our subconscious. Its primary task is to keep body and soul together. This means it is taking care of all the automatic bodily functions, by means of monitoring and reacting to all the chemical, electrical and energetic communication that is taking place in our bodies100 trillion cells all the time. That takes up the bulk of our brainpower.
D: I can understand why this process is kept subconscious, because it would be totally overwhelming if we knew were aware of all this processing.
R: That’s right Doug; we wouldn’t be able to have this conversation. If we were totally aware of all the bodily communication and processes that are going on automatically, the noise would be deafening and very distracting. The mind filters out that background information, so it doesn’t overwhelm the conscious mind. Just like your computer at home, you can’t have all the information that is in the hard drive come up on the screen all at once, our conscious mind can only process a very small amount of information at a time.
The other task of our subconscious mind is to be the storehouse of our long-term memory and learning, it’s like the hard drive of your computer. Our memory is not a perfect representation of facts, but our personal interpretation of life as it unfolds in whatever developmental stage we are in.
D: So having the therapist there helps move the client towards their realizations.
R: Yes, Einstein said, “You can’t fix the problem with the same level of thinking that created the problem, you’ll just create the problem again” that’s why people seek help outside themselves because they are stuck in a loop, doing the same behavior over and over again. The therapist must, act as an agent for change, to help the client to access and identify the problematic thinking and work together to come up with a higher level of problem solving that is not self-sabotaging but life affirming.
D: This almost sounds like a virus code in a computer.
R: Yes Doug it’s very similar to a computer virus. A computer fails to compute or operate correctly when there are opposing or conflicting programs in the system. Human beings are biological, walking, talking computers. We are learning all the time and adjusting to our environment at every developmental stage of life.
If we learn or interpret something at the age of three with a three year olds level of understanding and we believe it to be true for us, even though it may not be a fact, it becomes law in our universe and we always interpret or filter other information through what we believe is true, unless it is changed or up graded. Let me give you an example.
Pretend for a moment that we are both five years old. It’s a nice sunny day, and it just happens to be Easter Sunday. Now both of us have never experienced an Easter before, and all the older kids and adults are all talking about the Easter Bunny. Everyone is in agreement that there is an Easter Bunny. That’s the only evidence we have, but since they are convinced it’s true, we are willing to entertain that possibility. Remember we are only five and in a child’s mind; anything is possible, after all the adults (the gods) in our universe are saying there is an Easter Bunny. Now remember, agreement is truth to a child. So what happens next is that we are given baskets and told to go out to the backyard and look for the Easter eggs that the Easter Bunny left and what do you know, there they are. The emotional brain develops first in childhood and the imagination rules, so we look to our elders to help us define what’s real. First, there was an agreement that there was an Easter Bunny. Second, there was the evidence of finding the eggs and third, in conclusion, there must be an Easter Bunny. So (A), leads to (B), which leads to (C). As we grow older, we began to get information from older kids and adults that there is some doubt about the Easter Bunny being real. As this doubt builds, it begins to challenge the original premise; (A) total agreement that there is an Easter Bunny. As time goes on and we experience less agreement that the Easter Bunny is real, we began to formulate a new belief; (A) not everyone believes in the Easter Bunny, which leads to; (B) the Easter Bunny is imaginary, which leads to; (C) the Easter Bunny is not real and is just a fun thing to do with the young children. When you have a new (A) you also get a new (B) and a new (C) This is an example of how we reprocess or update an old idea emotionally.
So you see Doug, much of the work I do with clients is about bringing to consciousness some of the old Easter Bunny beliefs that the subconscious still believes is still true, that limit our potential and is in conflict with what our conscious mind wants to achieve. Once we become conscious of what our innermost beliefs are that block our progress, we can process that information through our conscious mind and adult reasoning thus coming to a higher level of understanding and truth about ourselves, our lives and our potential. When there is agreement both consciously and subconsciously there is always forward movement. When we feel blocked in doing what we want to do, there is always a subconscious program that is in opposition to it. All of our behaviors have a program that directs it. That’s the good news and the bad news.
D: What makes it so difficult to reprogram our self?
R: What makes life such a struggle is that we are not fully conscious of all the programming that is in our long-term memory or how it’s affecting us. For example, if we have a subconscious Easter Bunny belief; that we are unworthy of wealth, that conflicting belief may cause us to work twice as hard for half as much in spite of our best efforts. What we believe subconsciously always shows up, as our life. If you want to know what you secretly believe just look at your life. Our lives on the outside are an exact mirror of what we believe on the inside, it’s always a perfect match. Remember every behavior has a program or belief that runs it; this is true of biology and psychology. If there are areas in your life that you would like to make improvements in, but feel blocked in doing so, there is an opposing program that interferes with that success.
Let me explain. As in my Easter Bunny example, the idea of the Easter Bunny being real was natural and appropriate for a five year old child. As time rolls on, and new experiences began to challenge the old paradigm; that the Easter Bunny was not real, we gradually over time began to integrate in a more appropriate belief about the Easter Bunny.
Society is awash in many self-limiting paradigms. Many people still agree that those paradigms are real and irreversible. Many fictitious beliefs have never been consciously reviewed or up graded, example; you can’t fight city hall, rich people can’t get in to heaven ….etc. You see Doug; there are personal Easter Bunnies and collective ones. As a hypnotherapist, my job is to help the client access whatever Easter Bunny beliefs that their subconscious mind may have, that is blocking their potential or conscious goals, and upgrade that program.
D: What inspired you to do therapy in this way? Was it a book you read or some mentor you followed?
R: How I approach life and hypnotherapy has been influenced by my career as a mechanic and troubleshooter. The first thing you do as a mechanic is to have some idea as to the full potential of the machine, what it’s supposed to do. The next step is to find out what it’s doing wrong, and the cause of it. When you find out what’s causing the blockage to full functioning, what is needed to repair it becomes obvious. You simply remove what isn’t working well and replace it with the fully functioning part. The same is true with human beings, when we have conscious access to what is blocking, or interfering with expressing our true potential, we can begin the process of examining our limiting beliefs and upgrading that program to a higher level of learning and functioning. There is always forward movement when there is both conscious and subconscious agreement.
D: Once we get these insights, does permanent change happened immediately?
R: The insight itself creates a degree of change and shifts the perspective into a higher level of functioning, but it takes practice over time to maintain the learning and become enduring change. What the neuro-scientist says about the brain is, neurons that get fired together get wired together or what patterns of thought and behavior get practiced the most, endures the most. It’s a matter of firing the new pattern, or practicing the new choice until it becomes the habit of the new routine.
D: If this information, this opposing virus code, is buried deep in the hard drive of our mind, how do we access it and change it?
R: This brings us to my discovery, the Blockbusting Protocol.
D: Tell me about your discovery. What led you to put it together the way you did?
R: About 10 years ago my day started off, much like any other day; a middle-aged lady came to see me, who wanted to lose some weight, about 170 pounds. After a brief introduction, and before I could even find my pen and notebook, she began telling me one reason after another why she thought she couldn’t lose the extra weight. I quickly began taking notes, because I knew these were the fears or the negative beliefs that were stopping her from her goal. It is not uncommon for people to express their secret fears during the interview. But I was amazed at how well defined, and how many there were. One fearful thought or idea seemed to lead to another and into another and to another. She was expressing one fearful fantasy after the other. This is not an uncommon phenomenon, and these are always to be paid attention to, because it is part of the subconscious fears and reactions to what the conscious mind wants to do. I have seen this many times in my practice, as a statement here and there, but never in a series of fearful fantasies that seemed to be so well-organized. Let me reconstruct it for you, as best I can.
CLIENT: Well Mr. Gray, I’m afraid if I lose the weight that I want to, I’ll get my womanly figure back and if I start looking too good my husband will get jealous that other men will find me attractive, that might cause marital problems.
Roger: What do you fear will happen if there are marital problems? I asked?
CLIENT: I might get divorced and if I get divorced I won’t have a house to stay in and I might not be able to find a job that will support me.
R: I could tell by what she was sharing she was reluctant to go further into the negative fantasy. So I kept asking her, what do you fear will happen if that happens, to keep the conversation going to its most emotional and subconscious conclusion. I was curious to see where this line of questioning would take her. Remember now, this line of questioning was done in the interview process.
Roger: What do you fear will happen if you don’t have a house to stay in and a job that will support you?
CLIENT: I might wind up on the streets as a bag lady.
ROGER: What do you fear will happen if you become a bag lady?
CLIENT: I would feel most unprotected and vulnerable, and I could get hurt.
ROGER: What do you fear will happen if you’re unprotected, vulnerable and could get hurt?
CLIENT: I could get beaten and robbed.
ROGER: What do you fear will happen, if you’re beaten and robbed?
CLIENT: I would die.
R: This line of questioning allowed us both to explore her subconscious irrational fears, of what she believed would happen, if she lost the weight and to take it to its ultimate fearful conclusion. This was the conflicting belief or program that was keeping her from losing the weight. This was her personal Easter Bunny belief. Now that we know what her subconscious fearful fantasy is, that is resisting the weight loss; we have a better idea of what we were dealing with and how to proceed.
D: This is amazing and it sounds like this is a very important discovery but there seems to be more to it than just this.
R: Yes Doug, just finding the blocking belief or virus code does not automatically correct itself in the human any more than it corrects itself on your computer. Finding out the nature of the conflict does not automatically correct it but it is the first step in recognizing what needs to be fixed and how to go about it.
When I began to work with clients using this process, I realized that these blocking beliefs were sometimes out of context, of how or where the client learned them. My clients would often comment that even though they had made the statements, and it felt correct, it still made little logical sense to their rational mind, and it seemed out of context, disconnected. Not knowing how they learned this way of thinking seemed to block their progress. It just didn’t make sense to them how they could entertain two such opposing beliefs, both of them being entirely opposite of each other. Example: I need to lose the weight to survive on one hand, and if I lose the weight I won’t survive on the other.
D: Can you give me an example to help explain this to me?
R: Let’s use the example of the lady who wanted to lose weight. During my interview with this lady I was writing down her responses to my questioning and then I read them back to her. When I read her statements back to her, it formed an emotional equation that felt true to her, but it was obvious that it was not rational. She said, “I know that’s what I said, and it felt true when I was saying it but when you read it back to me in its entirety I can see it is not rational.” Her blocking belief was that if she lost the weight, her husband would get jealous and might divorce her and she might not be able to find a job that would support her. She would wind up on the streets as a bag lady feel unprotected, vulnerable and get hurt, beaten and robbed and if that happened, she might die. So the true meaning of the emotional belief was, if she were to lose the weight she wanted to, she might die. Her rational adult self knew this would probably not happen. She was a fully grown adult, and had many resources, including family. Nonetheless, another part of her was terrified and that terror was enough to stop any forward progress. Any belief that has to do with your survival become a survival imperative and it will take precedence over any other program. Her conscious rational mind just wanted to lose some weight, but to her emotional subconscious mind it was a direct threat to her survival.
When there are conflicts between the subconscious and the conscious mind, the survival imperatives always win, the subconscious mind will do whatever it believes will protect us even if it is killing us.
Many of these beliefs are ancient beliefs and have not been accessed consciously, and updated. What I did next with this client was to ask her where she learned that losing the weight would be a threat to her survival.
She thought for a moment and said, “I learned this from my mother” and upon more discussion it became obvious how she learned it.
Now that the blocking emotional belief was consciously identified and in its proper context we both could see what the problem thinking was and where it came from. The next step was obvious to me; we needed to work on some upgraded affirmations to form a new behavior program that was a life enhancing, not self-sabotaging.
D: How did you know what affirmations would be a fit for her?
R: I began by reading back to her the negative blocking beliefs, taking each part, challenging the validity of it and working with her to develop a belief about her weight loss that was true for her, life-affirming, and not self-sabotaging.
Example of blocking belief: “If I lose the weight I want to, my husband would get jealous, and that would create a divorce”. Once the light of her intelligence was shown on this belief, she realized that she had been married for 20 years, and it had more to do with her dealing with her own sexuality than her husband’s jealousy. If her husband did get jealous they could surely work it out. Once we formed a new A in this emotional paradigm a new B and C naturally took place.
Example: Positive suggestion: My weight loss is not a threat to my marriage or my survival. My mind and my body will adapt to what I give it. I choose to give myself healthy foods and behaviors that protect my health and happiness. I know what I need to do and I now choose to get busy doing it. My life is what I do with it and what I focus on I become. I choose to focus on what I want in life and make those small changes every day that all add up to success, happiness and well-being. By following my own best advice I am creating the life I hope for. By losing the weight I want to, I am protecting my marriage, my health and creating the magnificent life I envision, this is worth the effort.
R: I had her repeat the affirmations out loud until she was able to say them smoothly and confidently. I also made a copy of the written affirmations for her to take home, put on her mirror, to be read daily.
D: Doesn’t this protocol also do something with the eyes?
R: Yes, Doug I added later, the bilateral stimulation of the eyes, because it seemed to help speed the process along.
D: Can you tell me more about the bilateral stimulation?
R: Not much is known about how it works but we do know that it works. The early hypnotists used to use a pendulum to induce a trance but they thought that the trance was brought about by fatiguing the eyes, by watching the pendulum go back and forth, and giving suggestions, at the same time, that the eyes were beginning to feel tired sleepy and fatigued. Now we have a more modern theory of why it works. Some scientists think that doing a rapid side to side motion with the eyes, while concentrating on an issue, mimic REM sleep processing and help the brain to synchronize and problem solve. When I combined the two techniques, my blockbusting questioning with the bilateral stimulation it not only helped my clients access the information they were seeking faster, but also helped them integrate the new upgraded information easier.
My Blockbusting Method in itself moves people forward dramatically, and it is a great preparation before a more formal hypnosis is used to reinforce the new beliefs. Because the issue is now conscious, and the inner conflict is mostly resolved there is little resistance to the new beliefs. The hypnotic reinforcement is icing on the cake. I do very little hypnosis work without first using my blockbusting process to find out what the blocking beliefs are, where they learn them and what is needed for the upgrade. Many issues can be taken care of using my blockbusting techniques without the hypnosis. I have found that using both my Blockbusting Method first and then reinforcing those new powerful strategies in hypnosis are a winning combination.