Today’s Hypnotherapy is NOT Mind Control!

Gone are the days of the swinging pocketwatch and a stern, hard-nosed psychotherapist saying, “Look into my eyes…”, sending the patient into a trance where they may dredge up painful memories of the past or perhaps, begin clucking like a chiken at the sound of a bell.

This is not today’s hypnotherapy. I don’t use a pocket watch, I don’t say, ‘look into my eyes’ and I don’t even send you into a trance. My method brings my patients to a highly relaxed state of inner concentration and focused attention allowing you to absorb suggestions that are meaningful (to you!)—while you remain awake.  My hypnotherapy is solution-focused to help clients work on their future—not a focus on the past.

Having a medical background and having served as Chief of Gastroenterology at Stamford Hospital with 35 years experience in Gastroenterology and Hepatology, I am able to approach issues from a unique perspective- different from most others who practice hypnosis. If I feel the person would be better treated with medication or therapies other than hypnosis, I suggest they see their physician. I only focus on conditions that are amenable to hypnosis and for which there is compelling evidence of its effectiveness.


Anxiety, Stress, Anger, Health Anxieties
Examples are: Panic Attacks, Constant Worry, Stress, Anger, Irritability, Hypervigilance, Abandonment, Avoidant Behavior

Using a method known as “thought stopping”, I open a moment for evaluating the cause and the reaction (response versus reactivity) so you can control your behavior instead of allowing it to control you.  As well, I’ll always add a “replacement” tool, or “anchor”, to be used as soon as these thoughts come to our mind and before they can cause any real anxieties.

Fears and Phobias
Examples are:  Flying, Heights, Public Speaking, Claustrophobia, Driving, Animals

Treatment involves finding the original cause, if there is one, and addressing it.  If there is no obvious cause, desensitization and re-framing (approaching the problem from a very different perspective) under hypnosis is very effective.

Smoking is one of the hardest addictions to overcome (the hardest chemical addiction according to Psychology Today!).  With proper motivation, the success rate of hypnosis can approach 75%.  I screen people as it will only work with clients who are extremely motivated.  The hypnosis “program” to stop smoking includes other methods of behavior modification that must be followed.  It is a 2 session program.

Examples are: Nail Biting, Jaw Clenching, Hair Pulling

Habits develop as a replacement for stress, anxieties, worries, etc.  Whereas at one point in time they served to relieve stress, as we get older they no longer do and are no longer needed.  Thus addressing the cause (often anxiety or stress) and substituting healthier behaviors is the goal.

Performance Anxiety
Examples are: Sports Performance, Test Taking, Driving, Writer’s Block

Guided visual imagery, improving focus by lessening distractions, and increasing confidence in prior successes can help overcome these anxieties.  Although hypnosis can’t improve upon someone’s natural ability, it can help people raise the level of their performance.  Tiger Woods, Mary Lou Retton (Olympic Gold Medalist in Gymnastics), Jimmy Conners and Michael Jordan (the entire Chicago Bulls’ team used self-hypnosis) have all used hypnosis with great success.

Personal and General Improvement
Examples are: Insomnia, Nightmares, Procrastination, Self-Esteem, Confidence

All of these arise out of prior experiences and habits among other causes.  They can be addressed effectively through behavior modification, re-framing, breaking old and forming new associations.

Relationship Issues

Hypnosis is NOT a substitute for marriage counseling however behaviors that are destructive in relationships can often be addressed, while complementing other therapies.


The number of visits is very variable, yet hypnotherapy is typically very short term. If I believe longer therapy is needed, we’ll discuss that, as well. Together we will identify your challenge and set a clear goal on how we’ll know as it’s improving.

Contact Dr. Gardner today at (203) 940-2995 or email at: or go to:

Dr. Peter Gardner, MD is an Approved Consultant with the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) as well as the American Board of Internal Medicine (in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology).

In these uncertain times of the COVID-19 crisis, your mental health and well-being are more important than ever.

Many of our practitioners are happy to conduct video, FaceTime or telephone sessions in order to provide you with safe and effective continuity of care.

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