Thanks for sharing your story with us Paul. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
After working for 10 years at Massachusetts General Hospital and in homecare Hospice as a Registered Nurse, I was ready for a change and wanted to pursue self-employment. I was interested holistic modalities and had used Hypnosis for my own public speaking phobia while in college, and it worked great.
After leaving nursing, I spent 3 months searching for the right path and when someone mentioned Hypnotherapy as a possibility, it caught my attention. After taking my first certification course I instantly had a good feeling about it.
I opened my practice, ‘Burlington Hypnosis’, in October of 2001. Soon I was fortunate to appear on Boston radio, WBZ 1030AM, which soon led to an appearance on WCVB TV’s ‘Chronicle’. My practice quickly grew and in 2007 I started hosting my own cable TV show ‘Healthy Hypnosis’ which I marketed to 25 Greater Boston communities.
My medical background as a Registered Nurse sets me apart from most of my colleagues, especially when working with clients who have medically based difficulties. I better understand their situations and can use Hypnotherapy to help them find relief.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Being self-employed in any field is challenging and at times overwhelming. In spite of such a quick start to my new practice, I was still trying to make a living in one of the most misunderstood, disregarded fields there is.
Initially, I thought I would easily get referrals from the mainstream medical community because of my medical background, but this was not the case. New England has very deep, old-school roots, so getting my foot in that door never really happened the way I thought it would.
Another challenge involved the craft itself. In order to generate word of mouth referrals, I needed to be good. Becoming a confidently, effective Hypnotherapist took time and practice. So I offered free sessions, spoke to any group that would have me, and slowly established my hypnotic comfort zone.
Thankfully I made a few friends in the field over the years and we often compare notes, techniques and share frustrations which has been a big help to all of us over the years.
Times got so tough I even tried to leave the field a few times, but I always came back. Being able to help people in need with Hypnotherapy is an incredibly fulfilling experience. I am so grateful to have stumbled into this profession and stuck with it as long as I have.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Burlington Hypnosis story. Tell us more about the business.
I am a sole proprietor in every sense of the word. I am directly involved in web design and optimization; social media and marketing; producing my TV show and editing video as well as writing and recording a wide array of Hypnotherapy programs covering most of the typical day-to-day problems that people struggle with.
I see many clients dealing with a wide array of stress/fear related problems including exam performance, fear of flying and public speaking. I also see many struggling with chronic generalized anxiety, confidence issues, and even depression.
My medical background serves me well-helping individuals with peripheral neuropathy pain, irritable bowel syndrome, tinnitus, and substance abuse. Hypnotherapy enhances the mind-body connection which can offer relief in ways one might not ever expect.
The program I am most proud of is my Virtual Gastric Band weight loss program. This unique approach guides individuals to imagine that they have undergone a medical procedure to ensure weight loss. Initially, I was reluctant to get into this application because I have always been against the real-life surgical approach, but I quickly learned how effective it is. I routinely have clients reporting more than 40-pound weight loss and have many video testimonials posted on my site.
What sets me apart from many of my colleagues is not only my medical experience in general but specifically my work in homecare Hospice. It was important to gain trust and develop a rapport with these patients and their families, and the best way achieve this is to simply listen. The art of listening is very therapeutic for patients in Hospice as well as with my Hypnotherapy clients.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I was lucky in so many ways throughout my 16-year career as a Hypnotherapist, starting with the uniquely unexpected conversation with a local practitioner, who first mentioned the field of Hypnotherapy. I saw her ad in the local paper about her Reiki practice so I called. She took the time to speak with me about holistic modalities and she also put me in touch with my first Hypnosis instructor.
I was also lucky when discussing this option with my wife. If she hesitated at all I probably would never have taken this path. Thankfully there was no hesitation; she instantly said that if I thought it felt right I should proceed.
Luck was also in my corner when one of my very crude brochures landed on the desk of Paul Sullivan at WBZ radio. He hosted a nightly talk show and thought I would make an interesting guest to interview. This lucky connection began a 15-year relationship with WBZ. Unfortunately, Paul passed away in 2007. His replacement Dan Rea said that ‘if I was good enough for Sully I was good enough for him.’ I have been on with Dan twice/year since.
Luck continued to carry me when I sent an audio CD of my first WBZ appearance to WCVB-TV and was soon contacted to appear on an episode of ‘Chronicle’ dedicated to Hypnosis.
I was certainly desperate to make this new career track happen, and looking back it seems as though the universe was right there guiding me every step of the way. I got to continue making important connections with people in need and don’t feel like I’ve worked a single day yet.