Photo cutline: Mark Gage, consulting hypnotists, stands at his Pineywoods Hypnosis office entrance. (Photo by Morgan McGrath)
Hypnotist finds new life with new business
by Morgan McGrath, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce intern
Though most pair hypnosis with comedy and entertainment shows, Mark Gage, a consulting hypnotist at Pineywoods Hypnosis, plans to change that mindset.
“I’m a big proponent of mindfulness in every aspect of your life. If you can shift your awareness just the tiniest little bit, it can change and cause a cascade in your life. It just changes in ways that you never expected. I’m passionate about seeing those changes happen to people. That motivates me and gets me going,” Gage said.
Gage has always been interested in the ways of hypnotherapy.
"I've been interested in it for pretty much my entire life -- just different kinds of modalities for change [and] mindfulness. I was raised Catholic, but I've studied Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism -- anything that can make your mind see something in a different way or awareness. That has always fascinated me,” Gage said.
Gage clocked over 500 hours of training to become a consulting hypnotist in Arizona, acquired through both an internship and an externship in which he actually saw clients. In addition to being a father, hypnosis is not the only thing he has done during his lifetime.
"When I moved to Tyler from Palestine, a friend of mine needed an operations manager. He had a major medical transcription and billing company that was nationwide, and he said he really needed someone for operations. I’m a hyper-organized person, so I became his COO and ended up doing that for about 16 years,” Gage said.
Those 16 years came to and end when the company was sold, which led Gage back to doing what he loved.
“In September 2013, my friend sold his company and it merged with a bigger company that treated the staff like garbage. Basically, they didn’t care if a patient’s information was correct or wasn’t correct. It was all about money," Gage said. "Within the course of about a month and a half, we went from 350 people to four, so I was thinking that it was just a matter of time.”
After Gage quit his job as operations manager, he was able to renew his certifications and grow a new business here in Nacogdoches.
“I was leery, because some people still have stigma from hypnosis from back in the day, but I’ve really had a very good response from the psychologists, psychiatrists and physicians in the area that are excited about it,” Gage said. “I think that was the hardest thing for me to overcome -- the fear of, 'What if people don’t accept this?' That was a growth experience in itself. How can I challenge people not to be afraid if I’m afraid myself?”
Gage is able to help people that have a variety of problems, including weight management, stress and anxiety, phobias, pain management, memory enhancement, smoking management and any other problem he believes he can help fix.
“I’ve had people from competitive swimmers to people who want to lose weight to people getting divorces. You never know how it’s going to present itself that day. And then to see them be happy and smiling when they leave, it just feels so much better. That’s worth it to me,” Gage said.
Gage’s hypnosis techniques are very different from how others delve into the world of hypnotherapy.
“Some hypnotists use standard script books. You come in for weight loss, you come in for fear of spiders or snakes, and they pull out a script. That doesn’t work with everybody,” Gage said. “My background is in language and linguistics. That’s what I went to school for. I can recognize key language patterns in people.”
Gage’s strategy is simple. Depending on the problem, he is able to understand how to help each individually.
“The very first step is somebody has to come in or they have to talk to me on the phone,” Gage said. “I listen to how they speak to themselves, about themselves, how they speak to me about themselves and how they speak to me about other people and the reactions to other people.”
The next step is coming in for sessions. Based on what the problem is, Gage will recommend how many sessions he believes he will need to help someone.
“When they come in for a session, usually for the first time, I’ll do a progressive relaxation. I have music in the background and I’ll relax them from head to toe. Relaxation is a key part to the whole process. You have to relax their critical thinking mind and their body so that the subconscious opens up,” Gage said.
Gage said that studies have shown that 30 minutes of hypnosis equates to about a two to three hour nap, meaning that the individual will walk out of each session feeling refreshed and revived.
“With hypnotherapy, you can have rapid change very quickly, because you get the critical thinking part of your mind to just step aside so that your subconscious can take the suggestions. When you get logged into your subconscious mind, that’s when you come out of that state of awareness,” Gage said. “Then, you just go through the day doing those things, almost like when you drive a car. For example, you don’t really think about all the things you do when you get into a car -- turn it on and all that. Your subconscious knows how to do that. It’s done it for years. So your conscious mind is drifting away.”
Although Gage requires referrals from psychologists, psychiatrists or physicians for some patients, people that are willing to try this method of personal development may find it more helpful than traditional methods.
“In six sessions of straight-on hypnotherapy for depression, that is adequate, when it might take 600 sessions of psychoanalysis, because I don’t care about the root cause of the problem -- your subconscious knows why it’s there. And I can get rid of it at any time. For some reason, you’re holding onto it. I don’t need to know the reason, the person knows, so I can tell them to release that, which is the first thing I do in the first session,” Gage said.
Gage finds that, in the process of helping people with their problems, he is able to find ways to cope with things himself.
“Right now, my mom is very sick. She’s in hospice care and, with my stress clients, I think I’ve taken on some of their suggestions,” Gage said. “And I think I’m much more calm in dealing with that situation and helping my family deal with it than I probably would have been a year ago. I see what’s going on. I understand what’s going on. Yes, it’s painful, yes, it hurts, but I can be more supportive for them, and I think that’s one of the best things.”
To Gage, change is not a bad thing, but something that he can use to help people adjust to changes in they lives.
“When you have so much negativity in your life, it just leaks out,” Gage said. “This was a way to recalibrate and change to more of a positive mind frame. I wanted to make a change, not just for me, but in the community and for myself and being more positive overall.”
Contact Pineywoods Hypnosis at (936) 553-9366 or go to www.pineywoodshypnosis.com for more information.