Hypnotherapists ... Creative Entrepreneurs ... Changemakers ... Sisters & Mothers
Laura, tell me about the rewards of creating a business with your sister.
It helps that she is one of my favorite people! We have a pretty comfortable working relationship. We definitely have complimentary skills and different strengths and weaknesses. I tend to be the passionate and wordy one while she tends to be more pragmatic and efficient. We were able to find a good balance and often found an amazing sense of flow as we went.
I really loved creating the voice of Blissborn together. We freely passed every word back and forth and edited each other's work relentlessly. It's also wonderful to share the successes and challenges with someone else who really gets it, right down to the last letter. We both feel really fortunate to have each other as we tell each other all the time!
What sparked you both to create Blissborn?
Laura and I created Blissborn after trying several other birth hypnosis programs, both for our own babies’ births and as teachers, after we became hypnotherapists. Each program we tried seemed to have great qualities and missing elements. We felt we knew what really worked, and we couldn’t find anything in the market that provided it, so we created our own series of classes to teach to our students. Over the years we refined the classes by interviewing past students after their births and continuing our research and testing. Soon the classes were so efficient, effective and fun that our hypnotherapist colleagues began asking if they could learn our techniques. So we created an educator training program, and the good news spread from there! The program has taken on a life of its own.
Shelley, how do you handle resistance?
I first stop and notice my own feelings about it, and then try to see it from the other person’s perspective. Resistance to Blissborn usually comes from people who don’t understand hypnosis, and so I listen to what they think hypnosis is and then ask if I can explain what I know to be true. If the person is open to it, this usually starts a wonderful dialog resulting in the person wanting to try hypnosis. In the rare event that the person won’t or can’t hear the truth, I remind myself that each person is on his or her own path and Blissborn’s target audience is intelligent, open-minded people. There are plenty of them!
Watch the YouTube video below to see how one Blissborn couple overcame issues of resistance and had a successful childbirth.
Laura, what do you like to tell people who are new to hypnosis and are a little bit skeptical?
At first I felt like I wanted Blissborn to reach the whole wide world! At one point a couple of years ago, a mentor told us that we, like every other business, should really focus on our specific type of clientele. After rejecting that roundly for a while, I have finally come to understand this for myself. Reaching the right clientele means teaching is even more joyful for me -- it becomes about sharing ideas and moving forward together. I don't waste a lot of time trying to convince anyone anymore and I trust that people find their way to the right situation for them. I really enjoy talking about my work, but I no longer feel a need to make sure everyone understands it. In this way, I save my energy for our clientele, and there are plenty of people who are thrilled to learn about the power of their own minds.
One exception to this is that sometimes a birth partner will get dragged into class by a mom (or vice versa). In that case, I feel confident that they'll understand a lot more by the end of class. It helps that Blissborn is so science-based. I feel very comfortable supporting every statement we make with examples and studies and common sense. We also designed the first class to start students out with a couple of relaxation exercises involving their imagination -- the beginnings of hypnosis. Once people realize that hypnosis is a natural state and it feels great, they usually get invested in it even if they were major skeptics before. It's fun to experience that "light bulb" moment with them!
Shelley, what's the hardest life challenge you've overcome and how do celebrate that victory?
The hardest life challenge has been balancing work and family and that is an ongoing ordeal. When Laura and I decided to make Blissborn available to other educators, we worked 12- to 16-hour days for several months, completely immersed in it. Creating the Parent Manual, our 234-page book, was the most difficult and time-consuming part. We asked our families to support us by making their own dinners, taking over most of the chores, and leaving us to our work, knowing it wouldn’t be long. It did end up taking a long time, and they were very patient and understanding (for the most part!). When that book was finished and submitted to the publisher, we looked at each other and burst into tears. It was very moving. Then we had a glass of wine and went to bed to catch up on much needed sleep! Our other celebrations have included a weekend away, a night out to dinner and a movie and other simple pleasures. We also take time to encourage each other and point out what has gone really well and what worked for us, in addition to what we would do differently next time. Those conversations have moved us forward exponentially.
When did you both know you wanted to become a hypnotherapists?
Laura and I always knew we wanted to do some sort of work together because our skills are complimentary and our interests and work standards are similar. We have been best friends all our lives and knew it would be very rewarding to work together. One day Laura told me about a lunch conversation she had with her cousin who had just graduated from hypnotherapy school. I didn’t know a thing about hypnotherapy at the time, but we were both intrigued and after some research we felt that this was something we could do that would be very fulfilling, interesting and would allow us to make a difference for other mothers. We enrolled in the best school and on the very first day we knew we’d found an extraordinary path.
What advice would you give someone whose passions and beliefs go against the grain of conventional thinking and popular beliefs?
Trust life. It is showing you what you need to know and do and be. Other people’s lives are their paths and life is giving them something that is just for them. Your path is just for you and only you know what it is. Be grateful that it is clear to you now because many people struggle to find their purpose and their path. Grab that clarity and follow it, thank it and love it. When others try to steal your dreams, it is only about them and not about you. Let it go and follow your bliss. Surely there will be disappointments along the way, but you will always be OK, and you’ll be much happier knowing you went all-in, feeling, thinking and doing exactly what your path invited you to do. It’s all part of your journey and it’s exactly right for you, right here, right now. Trust it.
Two natural births — one with breathing techniques alone, and one with visualization techniques — motivated Shelley Black to find a better way to birth. Supporting Laura with hypnosis in the birth of her third child was so inspiring, she knew she had to get the word out about using hypnosis in birth. She left her corporate career and dedicated herself to teaching self-hypnosis to expectant parents. Shelley served as a birth hypnosis instructor and coach for new hypnotherapists at the Hypnotherapy Academy of America for three years. She helps run a birth center in Albuquerque and uses hypnotherapy to help people with habit cessation, reaching goals, overcoming anxiety, beating postpartum depression, improving relationships, and patient parenting.
Before becoming a hypnotherapist, Laura Ross Wood was a full-time mom with degrees in Speech/Language Pathology and Psychology. She used hypnosis for the birth of her third child. Hypnosis made that baby's entrance to the world easy, short and comfortable. It was such a powerful experience that she made it her mission in life to help new families get a great start in an atmosphere of peace, confidence and empowerment — an experience which sets the stage for loving and peaceful homes and happy children.
Laura teaches Blissborn classes at an Albuquerque birth center and in her office. In addition to childbirth preparation, she is also a hypnotherapist specializing in helping children overcome issues like anxiety, bed-wetting, sleep problems and speech disorders. Shelley Black and Laura Ross Wood may both be contacted through www.BlissbornOnline.com or www.HypnotherapyNM.com