Someone suffering from Bi-polar, contacted me for help out of the country, wanting to take an Overdose of medication for the mental pain. She could not reach her doctor, so I coached her to look on what positive things in life she has, and how important its for her to tell the story, so our community can understand mental illness, and let the stigma go away, and more people will go for help.
this is what she wrote me back after she felt better.
As my emotions escalate with high speed,
And my inner feelings so much they bleed
My tears stream down at my cheek bone,
And boy, do I feel alone.
The depression overtakes me
My racing thoughts, my biggest enemy
And the memories of my abuse
Who can those pain sooth?
How can I relax
When I'm full of flashbacks
I wish I can forget
The actions I regret.
I look up on the sky
And say oh my
How many tears I've already shed
Lying in bed
And wishing the pain should just disappear
Let them just vanish in the air.
I try with my might
To ride the flight
Despite the obstacles along the way
I will try to make it thru every day.
When the urge for an overdose will come
I will think of my treasures so awesome
How my kids love me and I love them
And I will say oh hashem
Give me the strength I crave
And help me be brave
Riding the wave together
And hopefully get better.
let the depression fly away
And make room for a brighter day.
Hashem give me the courage I need to get well
So for others my story I could tell
Shine hope in my shattered heart
And lets begin with a new start.
By Zvi Hershcovich
was a Bochur in Montreal’s Lubavitch Yeshiva, a friend asked me if I wanted to
study hypnosis. He had found a well respected local hypnotist who would only
give him private lessons if he found a partner.
Initially, my friend was thinking about entertaining
crowds, controlling people to do what he wanted, and discovering how the brain
works. What he failed to realize was that our teacher was a well-respected
hypnotherapist who had no interest in the entertainment or control factors, but
rather saw hypnosis as a tool for helping people better themselves.
several courses, and received a few diplomas. We went to camp, and my friend
became a hit performer. Pretty soon people were asking him if he can get them to
stop smoking, diet, and get rid of other issues.
been trained, and over the summer we were shocked to see for ourselves how
powerful a tool hypnotherapy was, and how effective it was. We cured a boy from
bedwetting, stopped two Bochurim from smoking, and helped a friend lose
various reasons, I avoided taking my training into practice, instead heading out
on Shlichus to Russia soon after I married.
to Montreal, I was glad to see an ad for a Frum hypnotherapist. Finally, someone
who can help people in our community without necessarily needing the use of
pills or medication. His name is Isaac Weiss and he lives in Tosh.
He was my first interview for Bill613.com, and
I can still remember walking into his Montreal office, being amazed at the
professionalism of the room. I had never been in a hypnotherapist’s office
before, and the atmosphere was very calming. Hypnotic even.
I asked him many questions dispelling some of
the common myths about hypnotherapy, and finding out how a Chossid became a
did you get involved in hypnotherapy? How did you find it? What attracted you to
IW: I have been a paramedic for a long time
in Tosh. I even went through college to be able to get my Quebec Paramedic
License. I’ve always had an affinity toward people in the mental health field
and I realized that there were very few Yiddish speaking Orthodox Jews doing it
time, there was a class in Bais Yaakov teaching social work. I joined, but soon
I discovered that the class only gave you a diploma. Since you know, I went to
Yeshiva, I would only been able to take the information I’d learned from the
class and I’d need something else, an umbrella to run under.
I realized that I had to find something else I
could study while at the same time going to Bais Yaakov and hypnotherapy kind of
appealed to me. I had gone to a hypnotherapist when I was a teenager and it had
worked on me, and it fit with social work.
looked for an English hypnotherapy class in Montreal and the only thing I found
was an advanced class for 250 hours. I got my diploma, insurance, and opened my
Bill613: What was your first
hypnotherapy session like?
IW: I needed 50 hours of therapy to get my
dilpoma, so I gave a free seminar to my community on psychological problems.
After the seminar a Bochur approached me and told me that he had OCD.
He told me his problem, which was, “I’m
Davening, and it takes me half an hour to do Shemoneh Esrei because I need 4
minutes where nobody disturbs me. I have to stop and start again…”
So I approached my professor, who advised to
tell the parent of the Bochur to take a certain medication, and do cognitive
behavioural therapy (CBT).
The boy’s mother wouldn’t hear of it. That’s
when I said, “you know what? I’m training in hypnotherapy. Would you like to try
She agreed, and I started working with the
Bochur. After the second session, he was able to control himself during
Davening. In about 7 sessions we were finished. He had completely gotten rid of
his OCD. And this was while I was still a student, studying
The mother was incredulous. No medication, no
cognitive behavioural therapy!
Soon I started taking more and more clients. I
found that I have something that works fast and has major results.
Bill613: You mentioned that as a
bochur you said you did some hypnosis. How did that come about?
IW: I was learning in the United Kingdom
and we had a Rosh Yeshivah who was very involved with the bochurim. He is not
alive anymore. His name is Rabbi Shtern, Zichrono Livracha. He would send
Bochurim with certain anxieties or stress or for motivation and self
confidence, and self esteem, to a hypnotherapist.
Bill613: Did you ever use hypnosis
Bill613: Does that appeal to you
IW: There are several differences
between stage hypnosis and hypnotherapy.
all, in stage hypnosis, you get the same feeling as when you drink a little. You
know what you are doing, you just lose your inhibition. The same thing happens.
Your subconscious tells you to do something and you consciously may think, “Come
on, I’m not doing that.” You know that what you’re doing isn’t real and serves
no purpose other than entertainment, but you do it anyway because you want to
have some fun.
In hypnotherapy you are aiming toward a clear
goal. The hypnosis is only a tool to help you get there. So both the
subconscious and the conscious are working together.
stage hypnosis the crowd is already somewhat hypnotized before the hypnotist
even arrives. Everyone knows that there’s going to be hypnotist show today so
there is a level of expectation there, plus there’s the peer pressure of people
who want to have fun and go on stage.
In hypnotherapy the whole experience is
relaxing, without any peer pressure whatsoever.
Bill613: How far can one go in
hypnosis? How deep?
IW: Hypnosis is suggestibility,
and there are 6 stages of hypnosis, the final one being called the coma stage,
since that’s the stage where you can do pain management and ensure that someone
won’t feel pain.
So someone who needs light surgery but is
allergic to any medication will undergo hypnotherapy to a coma degree. The
Jewish General has actually done a surgery on that level of hypnosis.
Bill613: What if someone falls “deeper”
IW: There’s no such thing as going deeper.
The stage following coma is to fall asleep. The client is only in a relaxed
other levels you can bring the client, making them hallucinate positively, and
hallucinating negatively, which is usually where a stage hypnotist will go.
They’ll make you see things that are there with your eyes open, and they’ll
remove things from your open eyes. We don’t use it as often.
Hypnotherapists usually work with a stage
called somnambulism, where the clients hallucinates with closed eyes.
Bill613: When would you need your
client to hallucinate?
IW: Sometimes I need to them back
to certain memories that happened, and the only way to get there is by using the
client’s emotion. If a layman tries to dredge up a traumatic incident, quite
often it’s hidden under layers of memories. Sometimes the memory goes back to
when someone is 2 years old.
Bill613: Let’s address some fears
that people have. Can you make someone do something they don’t want to
IW: Absolutely not!
Let me explain. Hypnosis is like when you wake
up in the morning, your alarm clock rings and you snooze it for another 10
minutes, and you can hear people walking around but you kind of really want to
go back to sleep. This is what hypnosis feels like.
The way our brain works is on a speed of 4 to
40 hertz. The average speed during the day is 15.
When we relax we’re slowing down our brain,
which helps us go to sleep. At a certain stage the brain is hypnogogic. Some
people take Ambien which is a hypnotic medication that gets you to that stage.
It makes you stop analyzing and over thinking and allows your brain to
But at that moment, when you are most relaxed,
or to use our earlier metaphor when you are half awake after hitting the snooze
button, if someone were to say “hey, give me all your money” you would never
give him your money. And that’s as deep as you can go in hypnosis.
The reason is because your conscious mind is
always protecting you as is your subconscious mind, so it will protect you from
doing anything you wouldn’t want to do.
So let’s say if I were to give someone a
suggestion to go rob a bank and bring me the money, then if he was actually a
real bank robber he will go and do it with more confidence, but in that case
trust me, he wouldn’t bring me the money.
Bill613: Can someone get stuck in
IW: It’s a question I was asked
just this week. A local guy was going out of town on a business trip, and
he was getting regular panic attacks. We didn’t have enough time to do the full
protocol that I do which is called 5-PATH hypnosis, so I did a few sessions with
him and recorded myself doing a hypnosis session specially designed for him so
that he would be able to fall asleep easily, go to his appointments, and be able
to do whatever he needs to do without any problem.
He went to Europe and e-mailed me saying,
“Well, things are better but I’m still having problems.”
So I said, “Did you listen to the
He said, “well, I have a question: it’s going
to put me to sleep. What if I don’t get up in the morning?”
I said, “It won’t happen. You’ll wake up and
be conscious. After 7 hours you’ll wake up.”
The next day, of course, he e-mailed me
saying, “That was a wonderful night and the next day was without any
What would happen if it you’d put someone in
hypnosis for 6 to 7 hours? A person needs to eat, drink and go to the bathroom.
All that would happen is the guy might fall asleep. He’d just be relaxed for
awhile until he’d snap out of it.
There is no documentation that anyone has ever
stayed stuck under hypnosis. It’s impossible, because hypnosis is just a state
Bill613: Can a hypnotist control
you and make you do whatever he wants?
IW: No. I’d have an easier time
trying to convince you to do something consciously. Because I don’t know what
you’re thinking subconsciously and as I said you are always protected. Your
subconscious will never allow you to violate morals. I guess there are
misconceptions from TV.
Bill613: Do you only have Jewish
IW: No. My door is open to anyone
who wants my help. I’m on google, I’m in the yellow pages. Last week there were
more non-Jews than Jews.
Bill613: And how do they see you
as a Frum Yid?
IW: In the beginning, they hadn’t
see my picture prior to meeting me and they would be shocked. Now I make sure
that everyone sees my picture. As a matter of fact, they are more trusting of me
than Jews are!
Bill613: What kind of issues do
your clients usually have?
IW: Most of the clients I see will
have fears, but there are also other emotions that people come in for like
sadness, anger, loneliness, and other habits and behaviours they’d like to work
Bill613: Do you see people for
smoking and for dieting?
IW: I do. I am a certified Smoking
Cessation Specialist. I also work with people on dieting. There is actually no
dieting, it’s just changing their eating habits. They can eat whatever they
want. What we do is suggest that the subconscious will get satisfied faster and
realize when it’s satisfied, and we’ll also suggest not to eat when they are
Actually, some people need to learn what
emotions are! So the first thing I do is teach them to realize that they have
emotions. There are Frum people who don’t understand the concept. When I ask
what is an emotion they say, “I don’t know, maybe at a bris you are emotional?
Maybe at a funeral?”
So I ask them, “What is an emotion? What is a
positive emotion? Negative emotion? Neutral emotion?” They have no idea and
think maybe an emotion means someone is angry. So I teach them the emotions and
we discuss whether they are positive, negative, or neutral.
Then we discuss the way they eat. Are you
eating because you are hungry or bored? Hungry and lonely? Hungry and
Then I suggest to their subconscious that they
start eating slowly. From now on, they start chewing their food well and when
they are completely satisfied, they stop eating. Some people, as soon as they
start eating fast they are full.
There is one guy that we helped who lost 100
pounds in less than a year without any dieting. He ate sugar, steaks, whatever
he wanted, but only when he was hungry and he would get satisfied off very small
Bill613: What about smoking? How
long can you get someone off smoking?
IW: It depends how long they have been
smoking. Meaning to say, why are they smoking? Is it an emotional issue? If so,
it would take about 5 to 10 sessions. However, if it’s just habitual, then it
would take about 2 sessions.
Bill613: What about Frum women? Do
you do hypnotherapy with them as well?
IW: Well, do you see this window
here that’s open to the waiting area? It’s there for a reason if I do need to
see them. If they just need CBT for regular talk therapy, then most of the time
I’ll refer them to a woman who can help them.
If they would need hypnosis, then I would
refer them to a few hypnotists whom I work with.
But sometimes they only speak Yiddish. In that
case I will open the blinds, where someone will always be in the waiting room,
and make sure everything is done in a Tzniusdike way.
Certain people I send to my wife in Tosh. She
doesn’t do the same advance hypnosis as I do, as she does hypnobirthing. but she
can do hypnosis for certain things such as weight loss.
Bill613: Do you see
IW: My main work is usually with
individuals, however if I feel that the relationship needs some enhancement,
both will come in for one or two sessions where I will do couple
Sometimes the other partner might choose to do
individual sessions as a result of the couple sessions.
Bill613: What about children, do
you take them on as clients?
IW: I only take on children that
are 8 years and older. Hypnosis actually works great and very rapidly with
children, I usually have success in about 2-3 sessions with them.
Bill613: Are you the only Yiddish
speaking hypnotherapist in Quebec?
IW: Yes. In New York, there are
some Chasidic hypnotists as well. Many are people who use hypnosis as a back
door but they do not call themselves hypnotists.
Bill613: You said before that you
blend hypnosis with other work, what else do you do beside hypnosis?.
IW: The most common thing I use
with hypnosis is CBT which stands for cognitive behavioural therapy. Cognitive
is a fancy word for thinking, and in most cases I will use both hypnosis to find
the root of the problem, and CBT to help set a new way of thinking without
cognitive distortions, so the client won’t fall back in the trap
Bill613: why do you use CBT over
IW: CBT is in my opinion one of
the best choices a Heimishe therapist can choose their main modal to work with.
CBT and Yiddishkiet work very well together, unlike other therapies from the
earlier generations. CBT is also a quick therapy.
And the main reason why I like it is because
there’s paper work that the client fills out which helps me more understand
their insights, and I use them as a teaching modality, where I give my clients
tools that they will use their rest of their life time.
Bill613: If you would have one
message to give to the community, what would you tell them?
IW: I think it’s time to get rid
of the stigma that if you have some fears you are crazy. Look, 45% of people
will struggle from a emotional problem in their life time, and 20% of people
struggle from fears and anxiety, which is probably the same number of people who
will catch pneumonia. No one would hide pneumonia and not go for
I believe that some emotional problems like
fears are contagious. I have seen many families where one of the parents or one
sibling struggled from fears, and then it spread to other family members. Let’s
stop that stigma.
If you or
one of your family suffers from emotional problems, talk to your doctor about
it, go for help as soon as it starts. Remember you don’t need to be a superman
and never have fears or weakness, and when you will open up you will probably
find a lot of your close ones going through the same ordeal, and the sooner you
treat the problem the sooner it will go away.
By Zvi Hershcovich
Isaac Weiss can be reached through his website or
by calling 514-875-9888.