Hypnosis Sanna Style…
|by Kim Epp Frenette, June 2013|
Hypnotherapist Sanna Carapellotti, MS, CHt, of Mt Lebanon won’t swing a watch in your face and make you quack like a duck. You won’t find her telling a hundred people in a conference room they will magically quit smoking when she snaps her fingers.
If you do meet with her at her private therapy office, or in one of her unique small classes, according to Carapellotti you could have surprising success in dealing with a host of concerns – including pain management, eating issues, stress and anxiety, family disruption, weight loss, and, yes, eliminating bad habits like smoking.
“The subconscious mind directs our lives, it directs the body,” explains Sanna. “Hypnotherapy is about assessing and reorganizing the subconscious mind with updated information so the experience, how we ‘mind’ a life event, can be integrated in a new way.”
Carapellotti came to that conclusion through a circuitous professional and personal journey. In college she became “smitten” with psychology and loved “trying to understand the human condition.” Her fascination led her to an MS in School Psychology from Duquesne University, and soon after she was working with troubled teens in a clinical setting.
It was during a session with these teens, 100% of who had parental relation concerns, that Sanna got a visceral sense of just how deep in the subconscious issues can be buried. “I just broke down into big, huge uncontrollable sobs and I had absolutely no idea why.”
Even after a colleague asked about previous life trauma, Sanna did not at first relate her breakdown to her mother’s unexpected death when Sanna was thirteen, leaving behind five children and a week old infant. “When my mother died I just sucked it up,” explains Sanna. “Nobody knew what to do. I don’t remember crying for years. I slipped into the mother role.”
After making the connection, Sanna sought help through traditional therapy but nothing seemed to alter her moderate depression until she attended an “alchemical hypnotherapy” session almost ten years later. “In the session, I will never forget, I was finally able to integrate her death….guided imagery allowed me to see a bigger picture.”
Sanna says this work, similar to work she now does with her clients, involves processing issues at a deep subconscious level. “Processing work is very different than keeping it at a prefrontal, cognitive level,” says Carapellotti explaining the difference between her methods and traditional psychotherapy. “We can all talk about our own issues….There is a difference between talking about the garden and digging the garden. In processing…you dig it, plant it, and shape it.
After experiencing the benefits of hypnotherapy, Carapellotti felt she had found her calling. She began intensive training in various types of hypnotherapy and related techniques, including Sports and Performance Hypnosis, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Medical Hypnosis, and Hellinger Family Constellation Work. Carapellotti now has more than 10 specialized certifications.
Over her years in private practice Carapellotti has also developed her own programs, including her very popular HypnoDining®Class, which helps people become aware of, and alter, their eating patterns at a very deep level. (Sanna will be presenting a version of her class at the Highmark Women’s Health Conference this summer.)
When working with clients Sanna uses various techniques based on the client and the situation, but they are all grounded in self-empowerment. “This processing can be applied to any life challenge. People don’ realize the power they have within themselves. It is a lot more powerful and effective if you tell your self something than if I tell you.”
She recalls one client who had a lifetime struggle with obesity. When the client realized, and then reworked, the childhood connection between her eating and trying to comfort her mother who was grieving the death of a child, she was able to get to a healthy weight and stay there. Another client, suffering from the trauma of a friend dying in his arms, claims that his work with Sanna changed his life. He has gone on to be a motivational speaker.
Stories like these, and many others she can cite, are what motivate Sanna. “I get great satisfaction from having somebody realize the power of life. Things happen that we have no control over but you can take something out of it.”
Carapellotti has worked with hundreds of clients, 95% of whom she says get significant benefit from even just one session. Her effectiveness, she says, comes from her own journey. “Honestly I am good because I’ve done my own work. I sit in front of myself everyday. In someway, shape or form, I have been there. It’s universal. It’s the human condition.”
“Owning who I am within my work, owning my own power,” says Sanna, was also a process, but a necessary one. “I have this skill, this ability. Early on I tried to fit into main stream therapy thinking. When I allowed myself to be who I am was when things started opening up for me.”
“It all came together. Learning how to live in spite of my mother’s death was huge. It all was there to bring me here.”
We spoke with Sanna Carapellotti about her life and work in late May 2013. Below are some excerpts from our conversation. For more on her practice you can visit her website at www.pittsburghadvancedhypnotherapy.com
Why it’s more than just talk:
For example, athletes hear “Be confident” all the time. I show them how to bring up confidence just like that. We use body position, breath, imagery, and language.
The people who come to me want to work. You can affect a lot of change in one session. It is amazing….What happens is absolutely breath- taking even 20 years later.
On (not) milking the revenue stream:
I am big on teaching clients how to manage themselves. I teach techniques and skills that are fast and effective. I don’t want them to come back 3 times a week. I want them to go out in their life. Then if they need something, they will come back.
On quacks and ducks:
Entertainment hypnosis is very different than hypnotherapy. I do not control anybody’s mind. Entertainment hypnotists know who is susceptible – they look for what tells them who wants to quack so they have a successful show…
Hypnosis v. Zen…
In meditation the goal is to empty your mind. The work I do is to recondition the mind with what you want. More imagery, words, suggestion.
Hardest won business insight:
To realize my value and clarifying my purpose….and allowing myself to move with what I discover within my business
On not selling short:
I would give people breaks then hear in session that they just bought a fur coat…Before I was probably giving away too much.
On when she will:
I will work with military clients at reduced rates in honor of my dad who suffered in WWII
On why it’s worth the bucks:
It is about having a life team… people who will help you get the best from your life.
On messing up your kids’ heads:
I just have a therapy fund. I did the best I could.
On what parents should tell their (hopefully not) messed up kids…
You can shape your mind and heart to live well in your life. Some things you take from us, some things you toss. That’s life. When you need help, go to your team.