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What is the difference between hypnotherapy and psychotherapy? I’m asked this a lot by potential clients or in interviews with the media. I wonder what on earth makes anyone think they’re the same! For me it’s clear and obvious but because the question comes up so often, this is the time and place to clarify it.

Firstly, hypnotherapy deals with physical as well as emotional complaints. That’s the part that seems to surprise the most people. Since 2007, hypnotherapists have participated in the national Pain Week conference, where pain relief specialists from researchers to physicians come together to explore techniques and share methodologies. With the recent scandals surrounding pain drugs, these practitioners are referring back to earlier in the history of medicine when pain was mitigated with the management of perception. That is, hypnotherapy uses the power of the subconscious mind to make conscious decisions about how certain stimuli are experienced as pain. In short, as Dan Cleary says, there is no such thing as pain; it’s how we respond to certain kinds of stresses on the body. He has successfully managed his own pain through hypnosis for decades and teaches others to do the same. I have taught clients to mitigate their own symptoms with his, and other, techniques.

Dentists and others use the ability of the mind to manipulate pain signals for anesthetic purposes. A video demonstrated how the pain and discomfort of tattooing can be ignored right in the tattoo parlor by walk-in customers who never had hypnotherapy of any kind before. On the lighter side, Wendi Freisen uses this ability of the mind to manifest physical reality to increase breast size and enhance sexual function.

So, while hypnosis IS head work, the physical stuff we do is as plentiful and permanent as the emotional change we help clients develop.

The second point is that hypnotherapy is task-oriented and creates real change in a short period of time. Psychologists may see clients for years with or without much fundamental positive change occurring. Many clients have, in fact, come to me after spending months or years in therapy because they feel that they just keep going over the same ground without a change in how their emotional state or its manifestation in their lives has changed. That is how I came to hypnotherapy myself: I wanted what I called the advanced course. I knew where my emotional problems came from and how they manifested but my life was uneffected; in fact, in many ways I became more vulnerable to my internal states. With hypnosis, I address a problem and a measurable change occurs.

I have always maintained that if you are seeing a hypnotherapist more than a dozen times for the same complaint, you need to find a new practitioner. With psychotherapy, at 12 visits you’re just beginning. In general, 6-8 visits will overcome most problems brought to me when the client is fully on board and has made a commitment to take responsibility for the change they desire. I think it is important to this result that hypnotherapists plan our sessions; we seldom just ‘wing-it’ and chat the hour away.

The third difference between psychotherapy and hypnotherapy is more fundamental. They deal with the conscious mind and we deal with the subconscious, where habits, mind-body connections, memories, all those internal things are created and develop into day-to-day reality, and thus problems, for our clients. Einstein said something like “you can’t fix a problem with the same consciousness or mindset that created it” but that is where psychotherapy lives: in the same level of consciousness where the problem lives. My own way of looking like it goes like this: mowing the lawn will definitely eliminate dandelions -for a while- but to really affect change, to get rid of the dandelions, you have to take out the root. Hypnotherapy does, by going underground to the subconscious mind and giving the client the true opportunity AND CHOICE to identify the root and pull it out.


I now have an office on Main Street in Bristol, the town where I live and have been practicing since 2003! I have a nice quiet space in the rear of the building, second floor, sharing with a local mediator, Nancy Gardner, MSW, who, like me, has office hours in two locations.
It’s a recently (2009) renovated building above a pottery studio. There is a joint waiting room with another mediator and substance abuse counselor, Terri Mayer, who also runs a skydiving school -pretty cool. Lots of AAA pamphlets in the waiting room but I will get some brochures there about my work soon. So, what’s that, you say?

This is what I do, per my brochure aimed at women, my primary market:

Hypnosis Works views women’s emotional and physical challenges and changes as a wonderful voyage through which we discover ourselves. As Helen Keller wrote: ‘Life is a daring adventure or nothing.’

Skiffington operates on the philosophy that the issues are in the tissues. Every physical manifestation has an emotional component and every emotional manifestation has a physical component. For example, most of us accept that emotional stress can weaken the immune system and chronic disease is often accompanied by depression. By addressing the issues in the tissues, we can improve mental, emotional and physiological well-being, making changes that last because they are changes made at the root of the problems.

We see the aging process as one of self-discovery and empowerment rather than with the predominant medical model of inevitable deterioration and loss.

At Hypnosis Works, clients are taught to use mental focus to take control of their  subconscious body processes, making it possible for healing and change to occur. Skiffington’s own personal history brought her to this career. She continues to use self-hypnosis to make fundamental changes in her own life.

With age we become experienced sages. Embrace it and choose for yourself how you will live the rest of your life!

Specialties of the House

  • Weight Control
  • Insomnia
  • Toxic Relationships
  • Freedom from Anxiety Attacks
  • Allergy Elimination
  • Stress Relief
  • Trauma Release
  • Soul Retrieval
  • Fibromyalgia & IBS
  • Ending Hot Flashes
  • Sexual Problems/Libido
  • Blood Sugar Regulation
  • Divorce/Separation issues
  • Grief, Depression, Anger
  • Chronic Pain
  • Migraine Relief
  • Fertility/Infertility
  • Eliminating Fibroid Tissue
  • Surgery Preparation
  • Surgery Recovery
  • Fear & Phobia Release

Client-Centered TECHNIQUES

  • Post-Hypnotic Suggestion
  • Creative Visualization
  • Parts Therapy
  • Motivation & Empowerment
  • Core Transformation
  • Age Regression
  • Ericksonian Imagery
  • 7 Keys to Self-Actualization

Hypnosis Works classes this fall include the usual smoking cessation classes, once a month on the 2nd Tuesday of the month from Oct thru Dec and some new offerings. This is the tentative schedule for those offered by the Bristol Rec Dept in Bristol, VT. Other workshops meet elsewhere. Go to for more info. or (802) 453-5885 to register

#1 Title: Quit Smoking With Hypnosis 3 sessions offered (choose only one)

Class Description: Become a permanent non-smoker, if you choose to. Participants will be taken into hypnotic trance to change the belief that they want to smoke, and release that urge with both physical and psychological replacements.  Participants leave with a CD to listen to at home. Love yourself enough to work the program for 30 days. Advanced Registration Required

#2 Title: End Toxic Niceness and Learn to Say “No”

Class Description: I wonder…. how good it would feel to say ‘No’- to your boss, to your kids, to your mother, in a way that stops other people from having control over you but is polite and thoughtful. This class teaches women how and why to end doormat-ism in a way that respects others and, most importantly, themselves! Advanced Registration Required

#3 Title: Non-Religious Meditation for Stress and Depression

Class Description: Research shows that meditation can reduce stress and depression. This is a course for beginners to learn to meditate without the religious component. Techniques include quieting the mind, mindfulness (on the model of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction as taught at UMass Medical Center, and finding the time to put regular meditation into the daily life of busy people. This is NOT self-hypnosis but is a good starting point if you wish to learn it later. Advanced Registration Required

#4 Title: Goal Setting for the New Year

Class Description: Get from where you are to where you want to be.

Together we will create a written plan (like a road map), customized to participants’ individual needs, directing your actions toward the life you want with the clarity of purpose, motivation, and determination necessary to create the life you deserve. PLUS a hypnosis session to plant it in your subconscious. Bring a pen and pad of paper. (Watch the DVD “The Secret” ahead of time.) Advanced Registration Required

#5 Title: Annual Relief from Holiday Stress!

Class Description: Bliss in the midst of holiday madness  Enjoy a simple session to teach yourself a simple way to ground yourself, remember what’s important and what your holiday is really about. The holiday season can and should be enjoyed.

@Vthillpainter is doing some serious self-hypnosis – literally painting a picture that his subconscious believes and acts on: he hears the waves and feels the sand, and I bet he smells the salt, perhaps catching some of the salt spray. Rock on, Reed!

@Vthillpainter is doing some serious self-hypnosis – literally painting a picture that his subconscious believes and acts on: he hears the waves and feels the sand, and I bet he smells the salt, perhaps catching some of the salt spray. Rock on, Reed!

Every good day is a #HootSuite day.

check it and My own squidoo lens connects with it and other funky topics

Enjoying the summer!

No clients today so I’ve been online with my social media work, but it really feels like play. It’s 530 and time to spend time with the kids but I just keep playing. I love this stuff. Wish I had more time with it.

Today was an all-marketing day, then, EXCEPT for my piano lesson from 1pm to 2. I’ve been taking them in barter for a couple of years now and I’m not too bad. My main two tunes to work on (one for technique the other for theory, I guess..) are a piece of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah and “Good Night, Ladies” that we sang as kids. For “Good Night, Ladies” I’m supposed to write the treble line using chord families. If you know what that means, cool. If not, no biggie. Piano is a big part of my spritual life.

My squidoo lens updated (, and hootsuite dashboard all connected including this post, so I’m done for the week. Hypnotherapists can have very easy days of it! Glad I chose this career.

I thought a good way to begin was to give a sampling from the week’s clientele. Because confidentiality is always important to maintain,  I’ll have to ask those folks whether or not I can describe their sessions without identifying them. So it will have to wait till next time. However…. a good substitute for the meanwhile, I think, would be some testimonials I have received. So here they are:

Sports Peformance Client

“As I prepared for my seventh Ironman endurance triathlon this summer, I decided to try hypnosis with Kerry to enhance the mental aspect of such an event. Twice before I had very good success with hypnosis for competitive equestrian events and then later in preparation for swimming with 2000 people in my first Ironman.

“I was intrigued with the possibility of improving my ability to tap into my “mental toughness” during an event where physical exhaustion starts to dominate the whole picture. Could hypnosis improve the mind over body aspect of the triathlon, especially during the marathon event (the third part of the day)? And during my meeting with Kerry, we discussed two physical discomforts that have plagued me each of the six previous Ironmen and she felt we could address
those also.

“I can tell you that I had excellent results with just 2 sessions and a CD to listen to! Despite torrential rain (3 inches) all day, I had a great day and when it got tough I tapped into my key “word” and just kept on trucking. And miraculously I had neither of the physical discomforts of the past! That was pretty amazing!”

–female amateur athlete

Hot Flashes Client

“I want all the women I know to understand how easy it was for me to get rid of my hot flashes with Kerry’s help! Hot flashes are such a topic of conversation among women around my age, but I want them to know its no big deal! I met with Kerry once… and listened to the CD she made me of our session as I fell asleep for a month (and even cheated as I actually listened only about half the nights since I wasn’t alone). I have not experienced another hot flash…! I wish all my women friends would have this knowledge so they could overcome the inertia to take the few proactive steps necessary.”

–Elementary School Teacher

Equestrian Client

“G. was 12 going on 13 when she first visited with Kerry. I could
tell she wanted to ride but I could also tell she was genuinely afraid.
Her fears were quite real to her but in the realm of riding horses she
had never really had an experience that would be described as traumatic.

I wanted to help her get over this hurdle and give her the chance to
gain enough confidence to progress in her riding so I suggested she see
Kerry. I thought hypnosis might help. After the 1st session I saw
improvement, by then end of the 3rd session she was well on her way,
riding with much more confidence. The hypnosis gave her a new tool to
recover from a mishap and continue to ride versus becoming fearful and
certain that something bad was sure to happen next.

Now, a few months later; she has moved on to a new bigger mount and is
looking forward to jumping once again.”

–comments from the client’s Mother and Riding Instructor

Smoking Cessation Client

“I was an on-again, off-again smoker for over 20 years. Quitting was a constant struggle and even when I quit for long periods, I still longed for a cigarette. With hypnosis, I finally quit for good and it was easier than any time before. Kerry helped give me tools to use whenever cravings come up, tools that work because of the deep level
of effectiveness that comes with hypnosis. The change is within me. If you’re ready to quit, hypnosis will give you the power and tools to succeed.”

— 42-year-old man

‘Medical’ Client

“I have known Kerry & her work w/ hypnosis through my sister about a year ago. She was dealing w/ menopausal issues that included “hot flahes” & was very happy to relay that she had been helped tremendously & was relieved of all of her symptoms!!! I of course, wanted to be rid of my menopausal issues as well as some neurological lifelong disorders that I have. First of all, Kerry is a wonderful, amazing lady w/ a great sense of humor who knows how to empower you through hypnosis to “remove/relieve” you of what’s ailing you and she did indeed help me greatly!!!! Through our interactive sessions & CD’s that she “tailors” to your needs within 30 days your sysmptoms are gone, if they start to show up months later, play your CD again & regain/re-enforce what you already have learned (that you are in control – that your mind is a very powerful tool) that you too can be helped to overcome whatever it is that afflicts you.”

— Florida woman, referred by her sister

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