Hypnotherapist Lala, center, sees her holistic approach to healing as the most effective way to maintain health. (JG Photo/Tunggul Wirajuda)

Finding Well-Being, of a Kind, Through Self-Hypnotherapy


FEBRUARY 06, 2015

Asense of tranquility fills the house in East Jakarta's Buaran ward as hypnotherapist Lala Latifa uses her steady, soothing voice to lull her client into hypnosis.

Cares and worries gradually slip away for the patient as Lala, 39, pairs her voice with use of pressure points on the forehead and temples. Long used to clearing the mind or improving blood circulation, the acupressure that Lala employs has a beneficial touch by giving positive affirmations. In turn, patients acquiesce to the hypnosis.

Hypnosis, she claims, will induce a sense of peace and deep sleep, while emptying the mind.

Lala then evidences the power of the mind, suggesting to the client that she is tying 20 balloons (imaginary) to her right hand and placing a stone (also imaginary) in her left hand. The client's right rises in response, and her left hand drops.

"Hypnotherapy is dependent on the mutual trust between the hypnotist and the recipient of his or her treatment," Lala says.

"The process can only be done properly if the hypnosis is done with the other party's consent. The method combines the power of belief and an innate understanding of what makes people what they are. But most of all, hypnosis can and should be used to treat oneself, as only we know what's good for us and how we should deal with our problems or challenges".

Discovering hypnotherapy

Lala's own awareness of hynoptherapy's benefits originate from her experience with a bout of serious illness.

"I started taking an interest in hypnotherapy in 2013, after the uric acid problem that had long been ailing me reached a terminal stage," says Lala, a former primary school English teacher.

"The ailment caused blood clots that left my feet swollen, and could have led to a stroke. I wasn't happy with conventional medication, as it only treat the symptoms instead of the ailment, and hampers the body's natural ability to treat itself. The side effects of taking medication are also a drawback, as they create further complications."

Lala's medical circumstances, as well as her curiosity, encouraged her to give alternative therapies a try.

"I started by trying cupping therapy, which did wonders in treating the blood clots hobbling my legs. After that, a friend introduced me to meditation, and it was from there that I learned about hypnotherapy," she says.

"I was trained by Rifky Haryo Wibowo, an expert in the field, from September 2013 until I started my own practice in April 2014. Hypnotherapy was an eye opener, as it can treat a range of mental, emotional and physical problems with the help of other hypnotists or ourselves, by harnessing willpower and one's mind.

"For instance, self-hypnotherapy helped me overcome my phobia of earthworms and enabled me to treat my uric acid problem, to the point that I can eat virtually anything.

"While it does wonders in treating physical ailments, it comes into its own when treating mental or emotional problems," Lala adds.

"As a skill that deals with the subconscious and the vibrations that it generates, hypnotherapy is also versatile as it can be combined with meditation, reiki and reading tarot cards as well as SEFT," or spiritual emotional freedom technique, a form of psychotherapy said to improve life at various levels.

"If combined with hypnotherapy, whether on the self or others, the effect is liberating, as we can overcome anxiety and improve our confidence," Lala says.

Hypnotherapy to help

"Hypnotherapy, particularly self-hypnosis, did wonders for me, but then I realized my true calling lay in helping others and sharing my skills with them," Lala says.

"Many of the issues that I help my clients with are emotional or psychological in nature. For a method that deals with the subconscious, hypnotherapy is quite frank and literal, as there's little of the symbolism of tarot reading. As with any other problem, they have to talk to me to identify them and pinpoint them.

"I even treat the very people who tackle those issues, such as psychologists, who are afflicted with issues like bipolar disorder and other problems that they can only manage to repress. Hypnotherapy helps them bring those issues to the fore, as the subconscious is coaxed out.

"The treatment also requires a lot of tact, as both educated and uneducated people with problems are oblivious to their issues or deny them, and often take it the wrong way if you try to point it out. But it's important that we get them out of denial as repressing their psychological or emotional problems in a prolonged manner can lead to cancer and other psychosomatic illnesses.

"But eventually, it's vital that I teach them self-hypnosis, so they can deal with their own problems instead of depending on others to resolve them. After all, the only people who can deal with our own problems are ourselves. I'm only there to help them resolve their issues."

Dealing with challenges

Like many practitioners of alternative healing techniques, Lala has more than her fair share of detractors, from skeptics to religious fanatics.

"Skeptics and fanatics are among the hardest people to convince when it comes to the benefits of hypnotherapy. The former hold on to science and logic, so that even if they're aware of the subconscious, they are inarticulate about it at best," Lala says.

"But at least they can agree to disagree. Fanatics are harder to deal with because they're more irrational and take their holy texts more literally.

"Sometimes they're not above accusing me of black magic and asking me what my religious beliefs are. They are also more likely to intervene than skeptics. But a lot of them use their beliefs as a shield to protect them from their issues."

Lala also pointed out that the shady business of spiritual healing casts a pall over those legitimately trying to do good.

"Many [alternative therapy] practitioners aren't above slandering their rivals in their bid to promote themselves, as well as take out ads. They are also known to make their clients depend on them by predicting doom and gloom and then telling them otherwise -- for a price.

"The nature of the business contradicts many of the underlying principles of my hypnotherapy practice, which is to get people to help themselves and reduce their dependence on others."

Lala admits that hypnotherapy is still a new frontier for Indonesia, but says she's certain the method will thrive.