Episode 80 Mindful Hypnosis For Self-care: Interview with Liz SLonena

Sep 14, 2022

What is mindful hypnosis and how can it be used in mental health therapy? Can you transform your well-being through hypnosis? 

MEET Liz Slonena

Dr. Liz Slonena (slow-nih-nah) is a multi-media artist, speaker, clinical psychologist, and recovering perfectionist in Asheville, North Carolina. She helps creative professionals and entrepreneurs reclaim their power, banish burnout, and heal attachment trauma so that they can give the middle finger to perfectionism, people-pleasing, and self-doubt. Dr. Liz is the co-creator of Brief Mindful Hypnosis, a science-backed way to rapidly overcome stress to help you feel more calm, creative, and confident. With over 10 years of clinical research and publishing over a dozen scientific studies, Dr. Liz is unapologetically nerdy and interweaves the he(art) & science of meditation so you can easily merge mindfulness and flow into your life.

Find out more at www.drlizlistens.com and connect with Liz on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Insight Timer, and Aura App


  • What is mindful hypnosis? 2:00
  • How to teach mindful hypnosis to clients and practitioners 7:10
  • How does mindful hypnosis help therapists with self-care?  12:11
  • Finding motivation with mindful hypnosis 15:55

What Is Mindful Hypnosis?

  • How is mindful or self-hypnosis different from clinical hypnosis?
  • Overcoming the stigma of traditional hypnosis
  • How to be a guide for clients as a clinician
  • Examples of everyday self-hypnosis

How To Teach Mindful Hypnosis To Clients And Practitioners

  • How to teach what the mindful hypnosis state is like
  • How to call upon mindful meditation at anytime
  • What are auto-suggestions in hypnosis?
  • How to integrate mindful hypnosis into everyday life

How Does Mindful Hypnosis Help Therapists With Self-Care?

  • Closing out your day in a productive, thorough manner
  • Self-hypnosis for filtering negative energy from difficult casework
  • Avoiding compassion fatigue when dealing with clients
  • Using mindful intention to avoid burnout

Finding Motivation With Mindful Hypnosis

  • The correlation between relaxation and finding your way away from negative thoughts and energy
  • Identifying what is the most meaningful to you and removing “stuck,” beliefs that you are holding on to
  • Defining mindfulness in hypnosis
  • Being non-judgmental while practicing mindfulness

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Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:

Find out more at www.drlizlistens.com and connect with Liz on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Insight Timer, and Aura App


Chris McDonald: Welcome to the holistic counseling podcast, where you discover diverse wellness modalities, advice on growing your integrative practice and grow confidence in being your unique self. I'm your host, Chris McDonald. I'm so glad you're here for the journey.

Chris McDonald: Do you give so much to others that you're left feeling drained? Is it hard for you to engage in consistent self care practices? The past couple years have been heavy for us all, and many of us are feeling stretched thin. I am offering you an hour long webinar on September 28th from noon to 1:00 PM eastern ,called holistic self-care boundaries for therapists. This webinar you'll gain tools on how to set emotional boundaries, physical. And energetic boundaries. You'll learn some invaluable hands on skills to help fill yourself up and stay grounded so that you can boost your overall wellness. So you can show up as your best self for your clients.

Ready to put yourself first, go to holistic counseling podcast.com/holistic-webinars/looking forward to seeing you there.

Welcome to today's episode of the holistic counseling podcast. I'm your host, Chris McDonald. Today's guest is Dr. Liz Sloan and she is here to talk about mindful, hypnosis as self-care. She helps creative professionals and entrepreneurs reclaim their power vanish, burnout, and heal attachment trauma. So they can give the middle finger.

I can't say that without laughing, Liz . Yep. Perfectionism people pleasing and self. Dr. Liz is co-creator of brief mindful, hypnosis, a science backed way to rapidly overcome stress to help you feel more calm, creative, and confident with over 10 years of clinical research and publishing over a dozen scientific studies.

Dr. Liz is unapologetically, nerdy, and interweaves the heart and science of meditation. So you can easily merge mindfulness and flow into your life. And a fun fact about Dr. Liz is she's a huge video game in anime nerd. So welcome to the podcast Dr. Liz. Welcome. I'm so

Liz Slonena: glad to be here.

Chris McDonald: Sorry. I keep laughing through your bio.

I love they can give the middle finger to perfectionist people pleasing and self doubt. I'm like, yes, this is awesome.

Liz Slonena: Yeah. I gotta just dismantle that patriarchy and internalize capitalism, one middle finger at a time, one middle finger

Chris McDonald: at a time. Okay, cool. And I love how you are all scientifically based too.

Liz Slonena: Yeah, it is kind of an interesting. Kind of juxtaposition that, um, yeah. Being, you know, integrating the scientific studies with it and just getting some creativity and art with it as well.

Chris McDonald: Cool. So can you share with my listeners a little bit more about yourself and your work?

Liz Slonena: Sure. So where to begin that you haven't already talked about.

Um, but anything new coming up? Yeah. Newness here is that I am in the. Preparation stage of creating a program so that listeners, other therapists and entrepreneurs can really learn how to use brief, mindful, hypnosis in their practice and their business as a self-help and self-care tool. Uh, just because I've used it every day of my life for stress reduction, increasing this calm and confidence in my life and creativity too.

And I think that we could all really benefit from this and the best thing about it. All hypnosis is self hypnosis. So being able to use it on the go, you know, I did some final hypnosis right before jumping on this call and I find that a lot of people could have a lot of benefit from this too.

Chris McDonald: H how is this different from regular hypnosis or is it the same kind of thing?

Liz Slonena: It is different in that it is the merging of mindfulness facets and skills delivered through hypnotic techniques and through hypnosis and clinical hypnosis, something that. Is kind of different from the mindful hypnosis component is it's the merging of an dialectic of both acceptance and change.

Clinical hypnosis is mostly super duper change base, which always has its time and place. But for some folks they're kind of put off by that change or they're, they're not ready for that change. And there's a lot of benefits from. Mindfulness practices and mindfulness skills that I think go above and beyond just changing aspects of yourself, all your life, but really leaning into and accepting all parts of yourself, just the way that they are so that you can shift your relationship, not only with yourself, but your thoughts, your emotions, and the situations that arise around you.


Chris McDonald: can see how that could be really beneficial, cuz I think that is scary for some people to go into hypnosis and ex have to this expectations of great changes. And I could see some resistance with that.

Liz Slonena: Sure. And I don't know what your experience has been like with hypnosis or clinical hypnosis, but a lot of folks have negative steps yeah.

Towards hypnosis. So I'm just curious. What's the first thing that pops into your mind when I say hypnosis.

Chris McDonald: I just gotta share a movie I saw in Netflix oh yes. The hypnotist . So there was this horror movie about like he could implant, um, certain things and make this woman do crazy stuff. And I think that's the first thing that comes to mind for me too, is, oh, I'm gonna lose control and you know, I'm gonna have to do something crazy or they could take advantage of me some.

Liz Slonena: Right. Exactly. And you know, there's so many great films out there in TV shows that use hypnosis as a plot point of mind control or losing. Yes, that's it, you know? Yeah. Or like get out, it's a great movie. And of course I have some, ah, mixed feelings with it because it portrays in such a negative light.

And so with that, all these myths and misconceptions of hypnosis and clinical hypnosis are completely untrue. Uh, All hypnosis is self hypnosis and there's nothing I can make you do without your permission. Another way of thinking about it is that I'm just a guide. I provide you the script and you go on your own inner journey.

You paint the mental landscape in the picture. You are the movie director while you are in trance. It's not like at, as if you can never get outta trance. In fact, You go in and out of trance throughout your whole entire day. Some examples of this include highway hypnosis, or let's say you're driving along your car.

Maybe you are just groove to a really good song, and then you just completely miss your exit or you just. Automatically just see yourself. Oh, I'm arrived at my destination. And I have no recollection of how I even got here in the first place. And so these are kind of examples of every day hypnosis or adaptive dissociation where our body is here, but our mind is elsewhere.

Uh, so daydreaming is another common example of hypnosis that, you know, with a daydream, you can go in and out, maybe think about something pleasant after a, you know, when you're in the middle of a boring meeting and you can go back and forth, let's say someone calls your name and you just perk right up.

And you're back to the present moment with this boring meeting.

Chris McDonald: But I love how it's, you're normalizing it too. This is something that we all do. We've all driven somewhere and all of a sudden we're there. We don't even. What we did to get there, but somehow we arrived.

Liz Slonena: Right? Yeah. And so with these kind of normalization, that it is an everyday occurrence and it's a natural talent and skill that we can really harness for our wellbeing and with this.

Yeah. Sometimes we need to learn a few skills to really harness it and kind of drop into a helpful trance. And there's a way that we can use how to benefit ourselves. So, how do

Chris McDonald: you teach this then to, if you just teach it to clients or other therapists, what do you do to, for your teaching?

Liz Slonena: Right. So I found the best way is to experience mindful, hypnosis, uh, through essentially a guided meditation where I just lead folks to really experience what the mindful hypnosis state is like, and kind of coach them along with that too.

So this can be in sessions together where. Learn about mindful, hypnosis and experience of meditation, or it could be entirely through, um, audio based tracks such as, um, I have a YouTube channel as well as collaborate with other apps, um, to feature my meditations and people can do that on the go of really learning self hypnosis.

And it's kind of one of those things that once you. Feel what mindful, hypnosis kinda state is. You can tap into it easier and better every time. Uh, so once they have that felt sense, which essentially is a very deep state of serenity and calm and relaxation, maybe a really, really deep state of meditation.

Then we can learn how you can call upon this for yourself. And it basically is self-guided. You in a way are taught various gestures or anchoring points so that you can do a hypnotic induction on yourself, which can be as easy as taking a cleansing breath in holding it at the top. And then as you exhale with a sigh, gently closing your eyes to go within, and then when you're in this place, whether it's, you know, a place, a piece or you.

A place that really generates a lot of safety and protection. Then you can give yourself some great auto suggestions or suggestions that you want to complete a goal. So let's say folks, um, thinking about therapists right now, they're feeling unmotivated and they don't wanna do that darn note that has been, you know, on their to-do list for the past week or so.

Well, once you go into. Mindful hypnosis state and give you yourself auto suggestions for finding new found energy, being able to easily and effortlessly craft that note in three minutes or less. And these very specific pinpointed. Suggestions can help with you kind of moving forward as well as post hypnotic suggestions, where you basically craft yourself, affirmations of I'm gonna be able to, you know, go through this note easily and effortlessly, and I'll be just so happy.

I finally had this done and then you open your eyes and then away you go type in that note. That

Chris McDonald: sounds wonderful. yeah. cause I see time with notes too. Sometimes those, especially those tedious kind of things, that's just, for me, it's like, Ugh, to get the motivation sometimes to do

Liz Slonena: that is hard. Yeah. Yeah.

And that's the, the wonderful thing of tapping into your unconscious is that you're unconscious always wants to help you out. And sometimes we have to kind of bypass our monkey mine or our hypercritical consciousness to really get into that state. Higher wiser. Knowing a lot of energy can come from that too, of knowing what needs to be done, knowing what's best for yourself in this moment or in this day.

And allowing that kind of hypercritical part, just to take a vacation, just, you know, take a rest and allow your unconscious to, to do all the heavy lifting for you.

Chris McDonald: How long does it take, if you're going to use the mindful hypnosis, if let's say that you have a presentation coming up and you're nervous about it, like how long does it take to get yourself in that state?

Liz Slonena: Ooh, that's a great question. I would say with practice beforehand, where most kind of guided meditations of mindful hypnosis, or maybe 20 to 25 minutes, long self hypnosis, you can get it done. Less than three minutes, um, when you get, get really good at, at it. Yeah. When you get really good at it, where you have like these anchoring or these gestures that you can do for yourself, or even using a sound bowl or singing bowl for kind of a hypnotic conduction, you can go into it very quickly, easily and effortlessly.

So it can be really helpful on the. Or just, you know, whether it is like a little boost for 30 seconds before you are on air or on a presentation or three minutes, if you really need to boost that motivation to get those nuts notes

Chris McDonald: done. And this is something that you use with clients as well.

Liz Slonena: Yes. Yes.

And it's, uh, it's wonderful to see them use it and kind of, they craft their own self hypnosis, either affirmations or induction. So it's very individualized. And so not only is can it be used for boosting creativity producing burnout, but I've had a lot. Folks, reducing smoking or other unhelpful habits like social media scrolling by just using the self hypnosis, uh, tips and

Chris McDonald: techniques.

And how could this help therapist with self care?

Liz Slonena: Oh man, where begin? let you count the ways, right? Yes. Yeah. So not only does it give a great state of deep relaxation, I found that not only can you use it just to wind down after a long day, in a way kind of like filing all the mental things that you had to do, case notes, kind of mentally file them away, close out your day.

But with that motivation piece, Doing your notes, because I find that having notes hanging over you or documentation is like a surefire way to burnout. And I've also kind of customized some mindful, hypnosis or self hypnosis too, to protect myself and my clients from really challenging cases, such as really complex PTSD.

Um, Really, um, kind of gruesome case clients. And with this of just kind of imagining themselves encapsulated by a golden bubble or color, a healing color of a bubble of compassion where only love and compassion enters in exits and can be filtered through. So this could be really helpful. Just grounding yourself when you are interacting with challenging clients and being able, just to protect your energy throughout your day.


Chris McDonald: so great to hear that this can also incorporate that. Cause I think that's so essential for therapists with all the difficult cases that we have,

Liz Slonena: right? Yeah. The com you know, compassion, fatigue, vicarious trauma. It's, it's everywhere right now. And we just have to develop some systems in place to take care of yourself.

Um, it can be also used in a way of honestly, and radically realizing how much you can actually get done today. Burning yourself out or burning the candle at both ends, um, and really trusting yourself that. Whatever is on your to-do list. You will get to it eventually. You don't have to burn yourself out doing all the things you can pace yourself.

Chris McDonald: And I think a lot of private practice owners too, get into that mode of trying to accomplish too much and burn themselves. I know I do. yep. Right there with you and just yes. Accomplishment oriented. Right. And just keep, go, go, go. And it's just like, then you're so exhausted at the end of the day. It's just, it wears you out.

So I guess. Thinking this could be helpful for that

Liz Slonena: too. Oh yes, definitely. After, you know, the end of the day or even beginning your day with a mindful intention of really focusing on, okay. What is the most important thing that I wanna do today, or just holding in attention throughout your day to come back home to, and that can be so helpful of realizing what is really necessary versus, you know, what really lights you up versus.

That can wait until tomorrow. And it really is setting that pace to be able to do things that is really, really helpful for you rather than trying to prove yourself, or please others in the process,

Chris McDonald: or to check off as many things as you can.


Liz Slonena: right.

Chris McDonald: to do that. Yeah. I think that that's a self-care skill too.

Cuz letting that go to say Hey, and I always say put it on the shelf in your mind that for this will, this will still be here for tomorrow. It's okay. It's letting it go. Isn't it too, of, of things that still need to be done. Right. I know that a lot of people struggle with that.

Liz Slonena: Definitely. And it's one of those things too, of realizing what really lights you up and coming back to your values and what really fills you up rather than just trying to check off all the to-do lists and realizing that you are just.

Burning yourself out, you're using your energy and your creativity. Maybe they're not most beneficial ways.

Chris McDonald: Right. And I know you mentioned motivation would, so would this be helpful with clients who have a lot of low motivation with depression?

Liz Slonena: Definitely. Yes. And it is in that way where relaxation is a long lost art and science and letting go at that self criticism, letting go of that shame and blame and really getting to.

A deep state of tranquility and serenity to identify, okay, what, what is most meaningful? What has been getting in my way? And it can be so powerful through mindful hypnosis of letting go and even removing and purifying. Maybe some of the UN the stuck beliefs that one may have of, oh, I can't do this. Or, um, I'm never gonna be happy again, or I'm just too fatigued to move and just letting go in, in a way, imagining those beliefs, just leaving your body, leaving your mind, and in a way, purifying yourself to step into your higher wiser self to even identify.

One action that can get you back on track to where you feel you are at your highest, most greatest. Good.

Chris McDonald: So how do you define mindfulness? Oh,

Liz Slonena: that's such a good question. Mindfulness to me is being fully present. Free from judgment and self-criticism and really soaking in the moment. Of course that's harder and easier said than done.

Oh yeah. Um, but it it's a continual practice that we can flow in and out of mindfulness, but really holding that intention of just coming back to the present

Chris McDonald: moment. I think you said a key component too, is that non-judgmental part of it, right?

Liz Slonena: Totally. Yeah. And it is so hard and our tricky brains are just wired to be critical sometimes too.

Yes, and it is just noticing, oh, there was some that self criticism back again, that voice, it may be very loud today, or it's a little bit softer today, but realizing that you are so much more than a single thought, a single emotion, a single event can be so empower.

Chris McDonald: So I love what you said earlier, too.

Going back to the acceptance of all the parts of ourselves and different sides of ourselves. I think that that can be therapeutic in itself.

Liz Slonena: Definitely. Yeah. And it's one of those things, too, if you are aware with ego parts or even internal family systems that yeah. We all have these parts within ourselves.

Sometimes they can be so beneficial and other times we can get really stuck in the should or would, or coulda kind of situations, or I can't do anything. Not enough in a way hypnotically, you can see that as a negative trance of kind of keeping you stuck and small and silenced, uh, but really in a way of identifying what, what their purpose is, what is it wanting me to know?

That's really important. And sometimes it is. You know, just trying to protect ourselves, these kind of survival skills that were once helpful in the past, but are not really serving us now and letting that part know like, Hey, I got this, you know, thank you for that reminder, but we're gonna move forward in this present moment.

Chris McDonald: I just pictured like one part, just shaking hands with another one. It's okay.

Liz Slonena: oh, that's beautiful. Yeah. And I mean, you're just illustrating how yeah. The imagery can just pop up. Yeah, sure. It, it can be so healing and restorative, whatever that part may look like, just gimme a handshake or even a hug and letting it know like, Hey, I got this, you can take a break, go on vacation.

Step back it's

Chris McDonald: okay. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Is there any of the mindful hypnosis you can share with us

Liz Slonena: today? Sure. Yes. I have plenty of tracks available. So I have a YouTube that has the mindful hypnosis that was used in the research studies that we conducted on them. Ooh. Um, so beers can listen to that. My YouTube is your Zen within.

Relax with Dr. Liz. And, um, I also have free premium access to aura, which is a wellness app. It's all in one that has a lot of my hypnosis and meditations and even help coach talks on there that, um, listeners can take advantage of too, to really kind harness that calm and embrace that confidence within themselves.

Chris McDonald: So are you offering trainings at all for a therapist to learn how to use this?

Liz Slonena: Yes, I am so excellent. Let's see. Yeah. Then the next thing up. Um, so if anyone is interested in learning hypnosis in their clinical practice, I highly recommend it. It is by far the most versatile skill I offer for myself and for my clients.

And I'm gonna be doing brief, mindful, hypnosis workshop. In October, uh, as far as the society of clinical and experimental hypnosis. So, um, that is the society that I'm a part of. And they have a full workshop of learning, like intro level hypnosis, secondary hypnosis, as well as advanced training. So highly recommend that.

And we are in the works of creating a retreat with CEU related to learning, uh, mindful, hypnosis, and mindful hypnotherapy. Uh, You can join the interest list if you are interested in that. And I also offer consultation to those who are interested in and are weaving mindful, hypnosis in their practice. As I do rely a lot on EMDR ifs and eco state parts.

So it's always fun to incorporate this in your practice too.

Chris McDonald: And is all that on your website? Yes, that's right. Oh, very cool. And what's your website

Liz Slonena: again? It is, uh, www doc doctor Liz

Chris McDonald: listens.com. And what's a holistic strategy that you like to use?

Liz Slonena: Ooh, well, we already talked about it today. It's we did hypnosis yes.

That, um, besides, uh, that brief mindful hypnosis for myself, I love playing my steel tongue drum and that's kind of. A poor man's, um, hand pan , but it's OK. Yeah. Cause those are really expensive, but it's really nice just to clear the air and it's one of those beautiful instruments that no matter what notes you hit and play, they sound beautiful.

So it's really easy for beginners and you can in a way, fall into a wonderful trance of creating music with. I love

Chris McDonald: that. That's so awesome. I think drumming is just therapeutic in itself. Isn't it? Oh yeah.

Liz Slonena: Bilateral movement right there. Yeah.

Chris McDonald: We're doing a holistic happy hour in August to go to a drum circle.

oh, beautiful. We have, uh, yeah. Yeah. So, um, I have these, uh, get togethers for listeners that are local and we just do different things. Sometimes we'll do just online, but we've been doing some in person. So I thought drumming is like a wonderful way to create community and get together.

Liz Slonena: Definitely. Oh man.

Now I wanna join I know

Chris McDonald: I need you to

Liz Slonena: come down. Yeah, yeah. Drive over to the Eastern state of North Carolina. right,

Chris McDonald: exactly. So, is there any other takeaway that you wanted to share with us today? Sure.

Liz Slonena: And I think there's three parts of this. You are your own freedom. Rest is rebellion. And gather glimmers of joy daily,

Chris McDonald: very thought provoking.

Those are good mantras to remember for sure. Yes. . Was there anything else you wanted to share before we end today? Sure.

Liz Slonena: So if any of this is interesting to you, both. For yourself, your business, your practice, uh, listeners can D me on my various social media handles, um, which is Dr. Liz listens or visit my website, um, so that they can get premium access to aura that, uh, web app or interest in the various things I have offering here.

So just wanting to help all the helpers out in whatever way I know possible.

Chris McDonald: Well, thank you so much for coming on the holistic counseling podcast. Dr. List. Of course

Liz Slonena: happy to be here

Chris McDonald: and you've reached an end of another episode. Be sure to visit us@wwwdotholisticcounselingpodcast.com, which has been newly updated, and you can access our show notes and all our episodes.

Are you enjoying this podcast? Remember to rate five stars and review today. So we can reach more holistic therapists, just like you. This is Chris McDonald sending each one of you much light in love till next time. Take care. Thanks for listening to the holistic counseling podcast. Ready to engage with other holistic counselors.

Head on over to my Facebook group, the holistic counseling and self care group, where you'll be able to connect with other holistic counselors, just like you. You'll also gain invaluable resources on holistic practices daily and connect with others in a fun. Drama free environment. Remember to tune in next Wednesday for another episode.

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