I recently completed a one-week intensive program with a Denver-based hypnotherapist specializing in fertility issues. The program addresses emotional blocks to conception and works to process these issues while the brain is in a theta state. I read Jim Schwartz’s book The Mind-Body Fertility Connection a year ago; I already knew a lot about mind-body issues, but the opportunity to work one-on-one with Jim was invaluable. We uncovered issues, processed them, and I learned visually-rich meditation exercises designed just for me.
Talk therapy can be beneficial in many circumstances, but can also be too linear since it works with the conscious or critical mind – the part of the brain that is analytical and logical. It’s not necessary to re-live anything during hypnosis, but I see the efficacy of working on issues while the mind is in a deeply relaxed theta state as a time-efficient method of therapy. We made huge strides in just 6 sessions last week.
Hypnotherapy isn’t for everyone. I work extremely well with images and visualizations, so it’s a natural fit. Jim has done extensive research and knows what underlying issues to target. He did a great job tailoring his treatment to my circumstances and I could tell he wasn’t utilizing a one-size-fits-all approach. I’ve worked with two hypnotherapists in my hometown but neither was a good fit – partly because they didn’t customize the sessions to my circumstances.
Jim claimed that some people go on to conceive naturally after hypnotherapy, sometimes while waiting for an IVF cycle. I’m not counting on that, especially since I start birth control pills next week (so my body can be completely manipulated with hormones over the next few months). I believe the emotional issues represent just one piece of the puzzle; but if performing meditation exercises on my own can help me achieve a more relaxed state, then that can only help during the IVF process.
One study suggests that hypnosis prior to embryo transfer doubled the success rate in IVF patients: 28 percent of women who underwent hypnosis became pregnant versus 14 percent who did not receive hypnosis. The study was criticized for numerous flaws; it doesn’t indicate the rate of live births and doesn't control for age or diagnosis, for instance, but I think it suggests enough of a correlation for future research.