lifestyle

"I got hypnotised. And it was downright creepy."

I was hypnotised last week as a last-ditch resort to cure my nail-biting habit — and I walked out of that appointment hundreds of dollars poorer and wanting to gnaw my nails right down to the quick.

Yeah, it was not what you’d call a success.

Before you roll your eyes, hear me out. Because my failure to convert my nails from the messy, ragged stubs worthy of a third grader to long, Iggy Azalea-style talons was not inevitable (as my more sceptical friends might claim).

Because here’s the thing: my recent hypnotism session was just plain awkward. During every minute of the one-hour, insanely priced affair — $5.80 per minute, in case you’re wondering — I felt about

as far from relaxed as humanly possible, so I never really had a reasonably shot at success.

Here’s how the whole thing went down.

“My recent hypnotherapy session was just plain awkward.”

I found my hypnotherapist online and was immediately suckered in by his shiny-looking testimonials page and logo (which, on reflection, he could’ve crafted himself using Microsoft Paint.)

In my mind’s eye, I pictured my hypnotherapist — let’s call him Trent* — rocking a clean white coat, polishing a high-tech relaxation chair in preparation for my arrival, and blasting the gentle sound of whales around a very slightly dimmed room as his jovial colleagues diligently went about their business in their adjoining rooms.

That’s what a friend had described to me of their hypnotherapy experience and for half a weeks’ pay check, dammit, that’s what I expected to get.

I booked in immediately and, the next day, rocked up to the man’s deco-style office building in the heart of the CBD and buzzed up to his floor. There was no logo on the buzzer to reassure me I’d come to the right place — but otherwise so far, so good.

I knocked. Trent opened his door. I stepped inside.

“That’s when Trent told me to close my eyes and listen to his slow, deep voice — as he kicked off his shoes.”

Glancing around, I saw no bustling floor of clinicians hovering aRound filing systems and rushing to meetings: In fact, there were no other rooms at all except the current one we were in, a small bathroom and — hang on, was that a bedroom over there?

It dawned on me that Trent worked from home in this tiny apartment, and that I’d be sinking into a ‘very, very sleeepy’ state of relaxation… in his lounge room.

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Right.

Despite a couple of framed diplomas on his wall, things were feeling more intimate than I’d bargained for. But they grew even more so when Trent pulled an armchair up next to my couch and I glanced over at him — to realise he was wearing a pair of tracksuit pants.

Here I was thinking we were establishing a perfectly regular clinician-patient relationship, and it seemed Trent had opted to dress for a fourth date in front of a Grey’s Anatomy box set.

The next ten minutes passed in a blur, but I was committed by now. I’d paid a deposit, I’d cleared my schedule for the afternoon, and I had a really fancy dinner to attend the following week that required distinctly non-ragged cuticles. I had to push on.

That’s when Trent told me to close my eyes and listen to his slow, deep voice — as he kicked off his shoes.

He let his loafers fall right near my feet, and folded his white sock-encased feet in a neat little criss-cross under the coffee table.

It was odd.

“I had a really fancy dinner to attend the following week that required distinctly non-ragged cuticles. I had to push on.”

Not quite sleazy, but unprofessional. Not quite enough to make me gather my handbag and hotfoot it out of there, but enough for my tummy to perform a tiny flip of anxiety as I squeezed my eyes shut to start.

While Trent whispered at me to relax, my muscles tensed and my jaw clenched, and I didn’t hear a damn word for the next 45 minutes, until he uttered the words “… and on the count of three, you can open your eyes”.

I was wide-eyed and on my feet before he finished counting.

I know Trent meant me no harm. I know #notallmen are out to get me, and that this hypnotherapist’s fondness for working in loungewear from the comfort of his living room couch shouldn’t have to equate to me feeling spooked.

But spooked I was. Spooked and vulnerable and a little ripped-off.

And as I handed over my $350 and told him not to worry about a receipt, I remember thinking — I’ve never been more ready to bite those damn nails in my life.

Have you every been hypnotised? Did it work for you?

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