The office is spacious, warm, comforting.

An oh-so-welcoming leather sofa and recliner are along the far wall under a soft pool of light.

One wall is painted a deep blue; another, a deep purple.

“Those are my favourite colours,” says Lee Ann Thomson in a profoundly soothing voice. Then she admits, “And, yes, blue and purple make you calm.”

That’s important, because this office needs to be all about “professional” and all about “relaxing.”

Thomson is a registered clinical hypnotherapist and she operates Thomson Hypnotherapy Clinic out of this office on the second floor of the Horwoods Mall. Before she can help clients solve issues with the power of their own minds, the setting has to be just right.

So, of course, my first question to Whitehorse’s newest hypnotherapist is this: “Are you going to make me cluck like a chicken?”

“Only if you want me to,” Thomson says with a practised warm and gentle smile.

It is not the first time she has heard this question, but it is an opening for her to address the often-distorted Hollywood depiction of hypnosis.

“That’s a stage hypnosis situation” she says of the entertainers who have fun with willing participants. “Therapeutic hypnosis is used to assist people to release negative emotions and thoughts and it is done in a respectful and confidential way.

“The interesting thing about hypnosis  is (the client) is always in control; they can come up anytime from that trance.”

Do hypnotherapists use swinging pocket watches to hypnotize?

“I haven’t seen that used outside of a movie theatre,” says Thomson. “But I have seen some people use a spinning spiral to focus the eyes and focus their attention.”

This is serious business. Thomson’s clients come to her with serious issues such as anxiety, addictions, insomnia, grief, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and excess weight.

The key to solving these issues often lie in the subconscious, which is 90 per cent of the mind and it is powerful. Thomson says she helps people go there, find underlying or root issues, deal with them, and then get along with their lives.

For instance, one client had a fear of flying: “He had no memory of anything traumatic happening while he was flying, but, in hypnosis, we regressed in time and back and back until the very first time he had that feeling,” Thomson says. “It turns out that when he was a child, he was in an earthquake. So, fast forward through his life, it was the feeling of the plane’s turbulence and the feeling of the earthquake that were the common factors.”

The client did not erase those memories for the healing process to complete. Instead, he just viewed it from the perspective of an adult and understood it.

A popular service is weight loss. Thomson starts with an intake (as always) that explains away misconceptions, such as the fact clients cannot give away secrets if they do not want to. And, if they do not want to be hypnotized, then she cannot hypnotize them.

As well, they are not asleep. Indeed, “they are actually in a heightened state of awareness.”

With this information, the client can relax and go to the sofa or recliner… it is their choice. Thomson starts some soothing music and uses that soothing voice of hers to help them enter a state of deep relaxation.

With trust built, the next session explores emotional issues that may hold back the client from losing weight.

In Session 3, Thomson places a “hypnotic gastric band” around the client’s stomach to make them feel full after a small portion of food is eaten. No surgery required, it is the client’s mind that makes it happen.

The next two sessions work on habits, triggers, cravings and instilling good eating habits and an increased desire to lead an active lifestyle.

Thomson says she decided to undertake the training and become registered as a hypnotherapist when she saw a family member turn her life around after struggling with anxiety.

“The result was absolutely amazing,” Thomson says. “Today, she is a self-confident, focussed happy, young woman who is at ease with herself and the rest of the world.”

For more information go to www.ThomsonHypnotherapy.com.