Ep 121: Shifting Your Thinking with Hypnotherapist Rita Black

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On today’s episode I’m chatting with Rita Black. Rita is a clinical hypnotherapist and smoking cessation specialist who has helped over 10,000 smokers become non-smokers with her Smokefree123 method. She also is a weight loss expert and the author of "From Fat to Thin Thinking: Unlock Your Mind for Permanent Weight Loss". 

I wanted to talk about this topic of smoking cessation in pregnancy because it’s not something that’s talked about a lot due to shame around the subject. There is a lot to learn in this episode whether you smoke or not. I know I learned a lot and you will too.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • What hypnosis is (and what it isn’t)
  • How hypnosis works to help with smoking cessation and weight management
  • What mindset shifts need to happen in order to change habits
  • Who’s a good candidate for hypnosis
  • What someone should look for in a hypnotherapist
  • What costs are associated with hypnotherapy and whether insurance will cover it
  • How vital it is to believe in yourself if you’re going to make hypnosis work

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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I want this podcast to be more than a one sided conversation. Join me on Instagram where we can connect outside of the show! Through my posts, videos, and stories, you'll get even more helpful tips to ensure you have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. You can find me on Instagram @drnicolerankins. I'll see you there!

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Ep 121: Shifting Your Thinking with Hypnotherapist Rita Black

Nicole: In today's episode, you'll learn about using hypnosis for smoking cessation and weight management. Welcome to the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified OB GYN who's been in practice for nearly 15 years. I've had the privilege of helping over 1000 babies into this world, and I'm here to help you be calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Check out the full disclaimer at drnicolerankins.com/disclaimer. Now let's get to it.

Nicole: Hello. Hello. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 121. I'm so glad as always that you're spending some of your time with me today. On today's episode, I'm chatting with Rita Black. Rita is a clinical hypnotherapist and smoking cessation specialist who has helped over 10,000 smokers become non-smokers with her Smoke-free 1, 2, 3 method. She's also is a weight loss expert and the author of From Fat To Thin Thinking: Unlock Your Mind for Permanent Weight Loss. I wanted to talk about this topic of smoking cessation in pregnancy, because it's not something that's talked about a lot. There's a lot of shame and judgment around smoking in pregnancy. Now, according to the CDC, roughly 7% of women who gave birth in 2016, and that's when they have the last date available, smoked cigarettes during their pregnancy. Some studies estimate that that is higher, even as high as 10 to 15%, I suspect the number is higher than 7% again, because there is a lot of shame around smoking and not wanting to admit that you smoke.

Nicole: Now, even though we know that smoking during pregnancy has been linked to a lot of negative outcomes, like low birth weight, preterm birth, um, birth defects, it is hard to quit. It's an addiction, and it takes the average person five to 10 times before they quit for good. Also the medical community doesn't always do a great job of offering resources to help people quit smoking. Now hypnosis has mixed evidence when it comes to how effective it is for smoking cessation. Some studies show that it helps some studies show that it doesn't make a difference over traditional behavioral health interventions. However, it is low risk. It definitely does work for some people and it may help you avoid nicotine replacements like patches or vaping. And since pregnancy can often be an inspirational time to make changes in your health, we should definitely talk about this topic.

Nicole: So Rita and I talk about what is hypnosis and it is not making you do something that you don't want to do, like the tea cup and get out also how hypnosis works to help with smoking cessation. It actually works much faster than I realized. She talks about the important mindset shifts that need to happen in order to really make any habit change. Who's a good candidate for hypnosis, whether it's smoking cessation or weight reduction, what should someone look for in a hypnotherapist and much, much more. There is a lot to learn in this episode, whether you smoke or not. I know I learned a lot that I didn't know you will too. Now, before we get into the episode, let me do a listener shout out. This is to Alison Kingsley and the title of the review says building my confidence, knowledge and readiness for baby.

Nicole: Number one, the review says stumbled across this podcast when seeking additional education on certain aspects of childbirth. And at week 28, I am feeling confident, empowered, and a lot more ready for my natural birth than what I would have been without many of Dr. Rankins' podcast. There's truly an episode for every expecting mother, every birth partner or woman interested in the different aspects and avenues of birth. Although she is not my personal doctor, I feel so much more prepared when having discussions with my midwives and I'm eternally grateful for this podcast and all the gems she drops for us for free. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for starting the show and empowering women throughout the years. Well, thank you so much, Alison, for that lovely, lovely kind review. I so appreciate you taking the time to leave me that delightful message. Now you mentioned that the podcast was free and other great report.

Nicole: Great free resource that I have is my free online class on How To Make A Birth Plan That Works. A lot of people don't realize that a birth plan is just really so much more than that piece of paper that you bring to the hospital. That's actually like the worst way, for lack of a better way of saying it to do a birth plan. Making a birth plan really needs to be about a process where you decide what you want for your birth. And you talk about that with your providers and you understand how the hospital approaches birth to make sure that all of those important factors are on the same page and ready to support you in what you want for your birth in the context of your own unique pregnancy circumstances. So in this free one-hour class, I give you questions to ask so that you can go through that process and learn how to make a birth plan that works. You can sign up for the class, drnicolerankins.com/register it is offered several times a day, on-demand. And here's the secret inside of that free class. There's a special discount that is unlocked on the Birth Preparation Course, which is my signature online childbirth education class. So that is another reason to go through the free class to check it out again. It's drnicolerankins.com/register. All right, let's get into the episode with Rita Black.

Nicole: Thank you so much, Rita for agreeing to come onto the podcast. I am super excited to have you talk about this topic.

Rita: Oh, well, I am super excited to talk about this topic. It's one of my favorite topics.

Nicole: Yeah. Let's, let's dive right in. So I want to just start off telling us a bit about yourself and your work and your family, if you'd like.

Rita: Oh, for sure. Okay. So, um, my, I actually really began my business when I had my daughter over, uh, now she's 19, so a long time ago and I'm a clinical hypnotherapist and I primarily help people stop smoking and manage their weight. And, uh, why I got into hypnotherapy was I was somebody who struggled for years smoking. I was a pack and a half a day smoker, and, um, you know, tried many, many times to stop. And then I was successful myself with hypnosis. And then I also struggled with my weight up and down the scale 40 pounds. And after I, and I actually smoked to help manage my weight, which if anybody of your listeners are, or anybody that knows it, like, you know, a lot of times with women, they're really afraid to stop smoking because of weight gain. So I quit smoking.

Rita: I kind of had to sit down with myself and say, you know what? You can figure this out with the weight thing too. And I used hypnosis and a lot of other cognitive, um, behavioral tools to stop and, and, you know, and then, um, the time came for me. I just decided to dive into hypnosis. And so I became a hypnotherapist. And then, you know, at the same time you asked me about my family. I had, you know, I had my daughter and as she was a little girl, I started my business. And so I really, she, my, my daughter and then I have a son, so my children are now older. My daughter is gone away. She went, she's at Berkeley, she's in her freshman year and she did the whole COVID, um, she's at school, but she hasn't been in a classroom yet. And my son is 15 and in the next room and I live in LA.

Nicole: Okay. Nice. Nice, nice. So talk about what type of training did it take for you to become a certified clinical hypnotherapist?

Rita: Yeah. You know, th there are so many different ways that you can train to become a hypnotherapist. It's not like becoming a therapist. I studied psychology at NYU many years ago, but I didn't. So I specialized in hypnotherapy. I went to a school was called Pacific University. I studied for a year, uh, did courses and everything, but it's, it's currently hypnosis, isn't being a hypnotherapist, isn't something that is licensed, but you are certified, right? So you take tests every year. You have to take a certain amount of courses, kind of like somebody else who's licensed. But, um, the, uh, the access to entry to it is, uh, uh, different. So for me, I did, you know, a training and then I specialized kind of like when doctors specialized, but not nothing like the amount of time, but I'd specialized for smoking cessation and for weight management. So I, I studied and mentored with different people for those particular niches.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. But you've been doing this a long time.

Rita: Oh my gosh. And yeah. And I would say my major training was in the field with just working with people and especially with smoking, because I really learned what people needed. Um, and oh God. And with weight as well. I mean, both of those things, you just it's trial and error, but like over the years, you really see what people need and you, you, you know, pivot and, and, you know, get better at it. Absolutely.

Nicole: Exactly. Exactly. So why don't we first talk about what is hypnosis because, well, I think we all have these perceptions of you dangling something and we all get sort of out of it. Yes.

Rita: You watched get out like yes. Falling through the floor. I kind of joke with that with my clients. Yeah. So hypnosis is really a relaxed mind technique where your unconscious mind becomes more open to ideas of change. So just to kind of like give you a visual, like if you, I draw a circle and like the 12% of your mind is your conscious, critical, analytical thinking. So like for a smoker, you know, about 12% of your mind wants to quit smoking. And that's where your willpower, the logical mind is. Right? The other 88% is all the other things, your identity, your habits, your beliefs, you're the part of your survival mechanism. I mean, so many things are your imagination, uh, your memory, all these things exist in your subconscious. And so when you have a problem, that's persisting a lot of times, it's that that's the subconscious mind has no idea you want that change. It's, it's just sitting there doing everything on automatic pilot, and there's a defensive mechanism that kind of keeps, uh, filters out anything that doesn't agree with, what you already know to be true about the world. So like from in the first 20 years of your life, you're sort of imprinted with beliefs and morals and all those things that really work well for you. And then, you know, we get millions of bits of information that hit our brain and our brain needs some sort of like sorting device and, and our critical filter really just accepts the stuff that we and re re aligns us with this, the stuff that comes in the, and that's why, you know, like it's kind of like the internet and we're all in our own little echo chamber in our social media, because of the way the internet works.

Rita: It, it of filters through everything that isn't going to pertain to you and only gives you that information that's going to, or ads and stuff that pertain to you. It's kind of what the mind does. So the mind's like re like, if you think it's hard to quit smoking your mind's going to reinforce that idea on a subconscious level. So I say, you know, 12% wants to quit. The other 88% wants things to stay exactly as they are. So what hypnosis does is in the state of hypnosis, your critical filter becomes relaxed. So your unconscious mind becomes more open to ideas of change. So the belief system that habits can, you can lay in suggestions that can be altered. Now you talked about like, you know, the movies with people like walking around in a trance and stuff like that, or, you know, this authoritarian guy in a polyester suit and a mustache, you know, dangling the watch and saying, you will do what I say.

Rita: Um, the conscious mind has to be aligned with what the changes are. And so that is why hypnotherapy is safe because you need to want the change for it to happen. And, and that's why I think there's misconceptions. Like people think, oh, well, you can make me want to quit smoking. And I was like, no, I can't make you want, but if you want to quit smoking, we can get your subconscious mind to get aligned with that really quickly. But, um, you have to want that change.

Nicole: That makes a lot of sense. Yeah.

Rita: Yeah. Yeah. So I hope that answered your question 100%.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. And I think that piece that's really important cause you definitely think of it as someone controlling what you do, but it's not. It's just helping. It's more so helping you take control of a behavior that you already want.

Rita: Correct. I have a joke. I say if, um, I was that powerful, my husband would pick up his socks, you know, I could hypnotize my husband and my son both to pickup their dirty socks. And I haven't done that yet. So I'm not that powerful. I say, my clients all hypnosis is self-hypnosis you need to want the change. And you are really the one in control in a sense.

Nicole: Got it. Got it. Love it. So how often do you treat pregnant people who are smokers?

Rita: Yeah. I, you know, more often than you probably would think, you know, I think there is a big, um, you know, I live in Los Angeles, right. And smoking is really just generally culturally smoking is frowned upon. So a lot of people hide it. So, you know, when I say I help people stop smoking, people will say to me, oh, well, nobody smokes anymore. I was like, oh, again, there isn't a lot of secret smokers out there. And, um, so my business is quite busy. Uh, so I do see a fair amount of women who find out that they're pregnant and, you know, they might be already trying to stop, but they're too stressed out by, you know, whatever's going on in their life, whether it's just the fact that they already have a child and they're taking care of the child and now they found out they're pregnant.

Rita: Um, there, so stress might be keeping them from stopping. They just might have been such a heavy smoker for so long that the idea of smoke is smoking, you know, and stopping, it freaks them out. And, you know, also people, uh, their doctors might say to them, well, you can vape. But the problem with vaping is that it also is as dangerous as smoking for, you know, like now the research is showing, you know, like for the infant brain and so, um, and hard and, and, and many, many things. Uh, so, um, yeah, I, I do get a fair probably about four or five women a month come to see me personally. And then I have an online course that other, you know, people will come in, you know, um, enroll in and go through.

Nicole: Wow. Okay. That's actually, yeah. More than I would have more than I would have thought. And, um, pregnancy also presents itself, I'm sure as, uh, that window of opportunity where you have people that are perceptive and want to change.

Rita: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. And I think so much of becoming a non-smoker is really that it's not about not smoking. It's about creating a new identity and stepping into it as a non-smoker the brain, you know, for any transformation to happen on the subconscious level, you need to hit identity first and you, and, and even, and what you say, Nicole is so true because when a woman finds out that she's pregnant, it's an identity shift right there. Then it's like in that millisecond, you're like an expectant mother, you all of a sudden go from just being this woman, living her life to like I'm a mom to be. And that totally is, uh, is called, uh, for reframe you're reframing how you see yourself. And, uh, so, and becoming a non-smoker I say to people often, I'll say, remember, when you found out you were pregnant and you stepped into that new identity in that second, it's the same with becoming a non-smoker.

Rita: So for a lot of women, when they find out they're pregnant and they can like, kind of wrap their mind around, like smoking, isn't an option because when smoking isn't an option in the mind, the mind doesn't really bug you for it. So there are a lot of women who do find out they're pregnant and they can stop on a dime. Um, but then there are the others, like I said, for whatever reason, they're too stressed. It's not that anything is wrong with them. It's just that they're, you know, whatever their deeper subconscious is just like a little more resistant. And that's when they come to see me and they just want somebody to guide them through the process. So, um, it's but it's, it's fascinating. And here's something else that I find is really interesting. And I don't know if your listeners with pregnancy, is that because it's not an option in the mind, you know, like for that, once you stop, so many women can stop smoking during their pregnancy and it's easy.

Rita: Nice. Yeah. Yeah. It can be easy, but here's word of advice. See yourself as a non-smoker for the rest of your life. Because the weird thing, what happens with the brain, as soon as the baby's born, the brain's like, okay, well, we can smoke again. And the cravings start to come back. So, but if you can say, I'm going to be a non-smoking mom and really align yourself with that identity for the rest of your life, you know, then, you know, I have, I have women who, uh, might come to me like in their forties or fifties and said, oh yeah. When I had my children, I just was like, that's not an option. And, you know, they were a non-smoker for years and they're totally stuck.

Nicole: Nice. Nice, nice. Yeah. So are there any special considerations when you use hypnosis on pregnant people?

Rita: No, not at all because, uh, hypnosis one is super relaxing, so people love it. And, uh, and I'm sure you've heard of hypnobirthing. There is like a whole sector sector. In fact, I did hypnobirthing, um, with both of my children. I didn't do it naturally. And I said, give me the drugs too, nothing wrong with that. But my husband gave me some suggestions and I listened to this wonderful, you know, rainbow RAL relaxation. So yes, hypnosis is perfectly fine when you're pregnant, it's perfectly safe. Um, there's no, you know, no, no need to worry about that.

Nicole: Do anything different? Yeah. Yeah. Why don't we go through a little bit of an overview of the process of using hypnosis?

Rita: Sure. Um, so the way that some, when, for instance, somebody comes to me like there's, you know, I work with two things smoking and with weight management and the hypnosis for the smoking is really one session. Like I, somebody comes to me as smoker. They leave a non-smoker really. Okay. Really? Yes. I mean, that's how I work. There are people who offer six sessions, but I'm like, you can do it in one. And the reason, uh, that I work with this this way is because really it is about getting the mind to make really one decision. And that decision is I'm going to be a non-smoker and really, but to sign off on that on multiple levels. Right? So when somebody comes to see me, I spend 90 minutes preparing them. And then in my online course, like it's like two hours preparing them to be a non-smoker.

Rita: So what I mean is like cognitively breaking down, any resistance that they have. And again, with their agreement, like we, we reframe, we take away the fear, basically we're removing the fear of like, because the idea of most people approach quitting smoking from this idea of like I'm taking away something that I've depended upon. And what the shift we create is that, oh, no, you've been a slave of this thing. And now you're taking back your power and you're stepping into your power and creating something new because the brain loves to create new things. It just doesn't like to get, you know, like let go of, so we completely change that the way they look at it. So that by the time we even get to the hypnosis, they're like, I am so ready to be a non-smoker and then we do the session and then they leave and they're done.

Rita: And, you know, for whatever reason, there's any like residual problems, I have people come back, you know, for another session, but usually most people can stop in a session. Now with weight management, it's different because weight one, you know, once you're a non-smoker, you never need to smoke again in order to live your life. But with weight, obviously you're dealing still gotta eat. You gotta eat. And there's so much, I mean, like the first thing that's put in your mouth when you're born is either a bottle or a boob. Right. And you know, like that's food that then we start our relationship with, um, food so much earlier. It's so much more like ingrained in our culture. And so that's more involved, but, um, really all of the work I do is I, it's not just hypnosis, but I work with people cognitively, like, you know, empowering them to see they're the one in control.

Rita: And then we use hypnosis to take it to the deeper level and to make that change. So, um, if I'm doing a hypnosis session for weight, we'll talk about like what the resistance is that PR for that particular thing, maybe it's night eating. Maybe it's getting to exercise. Maybe they're like, over-eating carbohydrates and they want to stop. Then we talk about that. We look at how that's impacting them. We look how they can become empowered by letting it go. And then we use the hypnosis to take that to the deeper level. And then especially with the weight I offer backup, like continuing to listen to, to the hypnosis, because like I said, with the weight stuff, it, you know, it's, so enmeshed to that, I find that having additional audio audio is helpful.

Nicole: Sure, sure. Do you ever with the weight piece, have people, do you say like, you know, maybe you want to consider working with other professionals?

Rita: Oh, for sure. Yeah. Yeah. And a lot of people come to me after working. I mean, I've had people come to me after gastric bypass, like they lost the weight, but then they started gaining it backs because really I really work with the mental piece. And so much of weight management, we get stuck in this all or nothing like, oh, I was good. Like, so a lot of people might be on a specific diet plan, like keto or be working with a nutritionist, but they just, they can't get over the mind habits stuff like, oh, I blew it. So I'll start again tomorrow. And then they eat all weekend long and then, and then they get to Monday and they're like, oh wow. You know, like, and it's, it's a vicious cycle. Yeah. And so I spend a lot of my, my focus on breaking those sort of mental habits that aren't being, being, um, uh, you know, like other experts would probably be focusing on food or exercise and I really focus on the mental piece.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. So then how do they maintain that smoking cessation after the session? Or you said with the weight loss, they can get ongoing things. I know with smoking, especially it takes people on average, you know, anywhere from seven to 30 times to quit for good. So how do they maintain it?

Rita: Well, so here's the, the thing is that I really use this idea of there's two brains. We have a smoker brain and we have a non-smoker brain. And, uh, you know, most people are nonsmokers, even heavy smokers. Who've been smoking forever. They're at least a nonsmoker for the first 13, 14 years of their life. Sometimes I've had some people who started when they're nine, but most people don't start until they're teenagers or a little older. And, um, you know, the crazy thing is Nicole, what I've learned over the years, working with, you know, thousands of people is that the second anybody uses nicotine, their entire brain will go back to smoking. I think people are under the illusion that, oh, I could just smoke one. And, and that's, you know, you, you know, one of my biggest frustrations is that, uh, sometimes people will do a session with me.

Rita: They leave and they'll say, oh my God, that was so easy. And I love being a non-smoker. Um, oh, but I went to a party and then my friend, um, said, well, let's test it, just smoke a cigarette. And the problem with that is the second you use nicotine, um, your mind will go back, but you ask like, how do they maintain it? Well, the thing is, once a person is a non-smoker, I, I really focus them on being a non-smoker. So building that brain back, it's like a muscle where they're living in that non-smoker brain and thinking about the smoker brain as I call it the cigarette monster or the nicotine monster, like that monster is getting weaker the longer that they're, um, a non-smoker and it's like this idea of putting that brain into hibernation. And the only thing that is going to wake up that brain is if they use nicotine in any shape or form.

Rita: Right. And, and, and I, you know, I know because you're a doctor, I'm sure you're very exposed to addiction. And it's just that once that the, that, that wiring in the brain is engaged, the brain will go back and it's very hard to fight against that. So my, I do when somebody works with me, whether it's on my online thing or, um, you know, personally, um, I do give them backup audio as well to listen to coaching, uh, reinforcement hypnosis and, um, uh, stress management and hypnosis. So, uh, but for a lot of people, once they really make that shift in their brain. And that's why my, my, my company is called hypnosis is that, um, once they make that shift, uh, they can feel like they really put a high, like, I, for example, I worked with a woman Friday who had been smoking for 40 years, you know, and, and, uh, she was like, I've tried so many times to quit.

Rita: And like you said, you know, like 30 times to quit. And, but once we did that session, like she literally, it was so amazing. She sent me this little audio that was like, she's like, I'm so happy to be a non-smoker somebody steps in their freedom like that. They can feel elated. It doesn't have to be like cravings and withdrawal because the actual physical withdrawal from nicotine is very mild. Most of what people experience in that sort of first few days is sugar reregulation because there's sugar in cigarettes. And, um, the tobacco is cured in corn syrup. So they're having higher insulin levels. And this is something else like for pregnancy, because I know you have to regulate your insulin, that a lot of people don't realize that there is a lot, uh, the sugar that smoking elevates your insulin levels, um, nicotine elevates your insulin, but so does the corn syrup that serum that the tobacco for most commercial cigarettes, like not the American spirits, but American spirits are cured in molasses. So that's still going to have an impact.

Nicole: Sure. I did not know that.

Rita: I know a lot of people don't and doctors don't. I work with doctors. I have doctors who come to see me, who are smokers, or nurses, and they're like, well, I'm pre-diabetic. And I'm like, I know isn't that crazy? Yeah.

Nicole: Learn something new every day. I love it. I love it. So if somebody is thinking about hypnosis first off, are there people who are good candidates or not great candidates for it?

Rita: So I think that what I say to people is, um, if you, uh, the litmus test for, you know, like, like for stopping smoking is that is what you're getting from smoking currently being outweighed by what, you know, you could get as a non-smoker. Then I think you're a good candidate for smoking cessation hypnosis. You've got to want the change hypnosis. Like people call me all the time and say, you know, my son is on meth and he needs to get off. Now. I don't work with addictions like that, but they they're like, he doesn't wanna stop, but I want him to stop. I'm like, I'm sorry, he's not going to be a good candidate for hypnosis. He needs to want the change. There are some people who are what you would call tsunamallistic, which means like they can go into trance like in a second, they don't need a lot of, uh, pre uh, relaxation, you know, like the second they close their eyes, you can see that their brain goes into that state really, really quickly. But I, most people can be hypnotized. Uh, the, the people who can't be might be epileptics, um, do have epilepsy who is, and their epilepsy isn't treated, um, if, uh, untreated bipolar or somebody who has like a really low IQ, but most people with an IQ of like 90 and above, um, can be hypnotized if they really want the change. And if they have a good hypnotherapists, somebody who knows what they're doing.

Nicole: Nice. Nice. Nice. So speaking of hypnotherapists, what should someone look for in a hypnotherapist?

Rita: Right. Oh, well, that's a great question. I would say you want to feel like you trust this person, right? So you look, Yelp is actually a really great place to find hypnotherapists because there's a lot of reviews. Like that's how most people find me. Right. Um, a so that I, you know, I don't think that, I think you want to, I, like I said, I think you want to look at their reviews and just go, how's this person and ask them, are you a specialist in what I've done? You don't want, like, cause a lot of hypnotherapists will do everything. They'll do phobias and past life regression and all of these things. And they'll say, you know, I can do all of these things, but I find the people like that I have relationship with other hypnotherapists, they specialize. And, um, that's what, like, if you want somebody for sleep hypnosis, find a sleep hypnotherapist. Um, that, and so because then they're going to have the breadth of experience, the deep train, you know, like the they'll they'll know what they're doing. Um, yeah. So, so that's what I would say for sure.

Nicole: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. So how much does hypnosis typically cost and does insurance ever cover it?

Rita: Yeah. That's an awesome question too. It really depends on the state and your insurance. So in California, um, insurance doesn't cover hypnosis. However, if you have a flex plan, um, and some employers like, so I'll, if you have a flex plan, you can use your flex credit card and, um, it's covers smoking cessation. So certain things will be covered. So you would have to ask your insurance provider, uh, weight management sometimes is covered, but you just, it really does depend on the insurance provider, um, and hypnosis can really range in costs. So, I mean, I've had people tell me they paid $4,000 for a weight loss hypnosis, not like one session, but like a course. I'm like, wow, that is insane. A lot. That is a lot, some people charge. Yeah. Like a thousand dollars for smoking cessation. I don't like I try to make my rates reasonable and there are really good people out there who are reasonable, but like you could pay like a hundred dollars for a session. Um, sometimes, like I said, like for smoking cessation, somebody might charge you, uh, several hundred dollars for six sessions it really, it, it varies so crazily, but like, um, and my online, uh, smoking cessation session is incredibly reasonable. I'm more, I am more expensive, but I'm, I am, again, I'm not like thousands. Like I, I really have a reasonable rate. I just work in Los Angeles. It's so expensive here. I have to cover my,

Nicole: So, I mean, you're also providing a very important and valuable service.

Rita: Oh my gosh people. You know, a pack of cigarettes a day is now about 10 bucks, at least in California. And I say to people, you are saving $3,500 a year. It's like being on a pension and getting a pension. And in Australia, can you believe that cigarettes are $35 a pack? Like, that's insane.

Nicole: That is insane. That is really, really bad. That's obviously a deterrent to get people from smoking. When does it work?

Rita: I don't know. I mean, I have people all over the globe, so like I do have Australia and clients. Who are they I guess they still pay for it. I don't know. I guess, no, I guess, no. All

Nicole: Right. So, um, as we wrap up, are there any misconceptions about hypnosis that you want to clarify or clear up?

Rita: Well, I think the main thing is we've covered, which is hypnosis is not, um, magic or Hoodoo, like, uh, people will, will, you know, especially in the early days of, you know, when I started working in the early two thousands. And at that point, I think hypnosis because meditation has become such a big thing and, um, uh, has come more into the light. Like people see it more as a modality for healing, versus voodoo, or magic, then people would've asked me like, am I going to bark like a dog or a quack, like a duck? And I'm like, and like I said, I can't make you do anything. If you want a bark, like a dog. I mean, maybe we can make that happen.

Rita: Um, I can't make it. And I think the movies also kind of reinforce that, that stigma, that image. But, um, yeah. And, and the other thing was smoking cessation. I think people are very curious about like, well, what are you doing for me? Like, are you going to erase the fact that I ever smoked? And I was like, no, I can't do that. But what we can do is get you really aligned with the fact that you're a non-smoker so it can just be easy and you can feel happy about it. You'll remember you smoked, but you'll go, wow. I smoked. That was kind of crazy. Sure. But yeah, so it's a different it's it's yeah. So you can't erase, uh, you know, people will ask me, can you erase my ex-boyfriend my, from my mind, I'm like, noooo I can't. Though we can make you really happy in that you guys are done, you know?

Nicole: Yeah. There you go. And it sounds like the movie and TV has done to hypnosis what they've also done to labor where it's presented in a way that's so not like reality.

Rita: I never thought about that. Like that must make your job so hard.

Nicole: It does. Sometimes people, people think that they're going to have sometimes think they're going to have two contractions and that's labor. That's not exactly how it works. So we share this similarity.

Rita: Thanks a lot television. Yeah,

Nicole: Exactly. Exactly. So what is the most frustrating part of your work?

Rita: I think the most frustrating part is, I mean, two big frustrations. One is that people have that misconception about hypnosis also that when people get that change, like they stopped smoking and it's easy that then they're like, well, I thought it was easy. So I just smoked. And I'm like, uh, why'd you do that? Because once you go back to smoking, it's not like hypnosis will help you stop, but it's not like this magic spell where if you smoke again, you're not, but you know what I mean? Like it's so I think that's frustrating. The other thing is that people, I find it and maybe you find this too, because you empower women to have amazing births that people don't believe in themselves. You know what I mean? Like they, they, they don't fully know that they can do it. And, um, it's hard and it makes me sad more than anything else. That's my guy. I get these women who have been smoking for 40 years and they're just like, I don't believe I can do it and they can, uh, but they have to believe in themselves. So I feel like a lot of my job, I don't know about you, but I spend a lot of my time helping people really believe that they can do it.

Nicole: One hundred percent. Yeah, for sure. For sure. For sure. So what about on the flip side? What's the most rewarding?

Rita: I mean, people will tell me all the time, like you changed my life. I mean, like I work with, you know, because I'm in LA, I work with celebrities. I work with like people who have one name I work with, but you know, like the most rewarding thing for me, isn't all the glamorous stuff. It really is like, like the women who have been like, like for instance, I think I was telling you before we turned on record, like, I work with a lot of grandmas who, you know, women who are going to be a grandma for the first time. And they're like, my daughter doesn't want me to be around the baby and smoking. I don't, but I don't believe I can do it. And when they become a non smoker and they're like, I'm holding my grandchild and I'm a non-smoker and, and it's changed their life.

Rita: It's, it is, um, it is amazing or that, you know, that a child can go and quit smoking and, and not hide that from their parents or somebody who's sick. And they, they become a non-smoker and it's so empowering because it's not just about smoking it's and it's not just about weight, it's about believing in, and I think down deep down, like when people, you see those transformations and I'm sure, like, you know, when you visit women after they give birth, it's like, that's such an empowering experience. I mean, like, I think the most, two most empowering days of my life are the two days I gave birth. And, um, you know, I remember when I had my son, cause I knew he was the last one. I just, I don't think I ever felt so complete as that moment where I kind of sat back as like, oh yeah, maybe I did that. And I think that's what I love the most about what I do is I, I get to see people see how powerful they are.

Nicole: It's really, really beautiful, really beautiful. I love that. So what's your favorite piece of advice that you would give to someone who's pregnant and trying to quit smoking or even someone who's postpartum and wanting to work on their weight? What kind of advice would you give them?

Rita: I would say again, you are way more powerful than you think you are. I think that really what you want to focus on is not what you're not going to do, like not smoking or trying to lose weight, but what do you want to create? And, um, you know, making that decision to be a non-smoker, once you step into that identity, you can do it. You can walk forward on that path and in the same thing with managing your weight, I think you've got to love yourself after you give birth and go, okay. I love my body as it is right now. It just gave birth to this amazing being. And, um, you know, I, I can get back to where I was and I just need to take one baby step at a time. I think doing what you say you're going to do so set realistic goals, because I think one thing after women give birth is like, sometimes if you've gained weight, you so quickly want to get that weight off and, and you have this body hate. And, uh, and the problem with that is then that creates that negative reinforcement. So they'll, they'll go and try to lose 10 pounds a week and that's not doable. And then it sets them up in this failure cycle, like, oh, I didn't do what I was going to, and then you stop believing in yourself. So I think that really realistic goals and, um, and create what I call your inner coach. Like, you know, really talk to yourself in an empowering voice because it's really easy to let that inner critic take over.

Nicole: 100%. Excellent. Excellent advice. So where can people find you? And I know you have a couple of free resources and things like that.

Rita: Yeah. So, um, I have two, uh, I have a number of websites, but one, the one for weight is www.shiftweightmastery.com. I have a book on Amazon called, um, you know, it'll probably be in my show notes, but it's, so I won't get into that, but it's a, it's a book that actually has hypnosis with it. So if you're looking to lose weight, um, probably the cheapest way with hypnosis is like, cause it has free hypnosis with it and a 30 day process. And it's very empowering.

Nicole: What's the title of it, you said?

Rita: It's called, um, from fat to thin thinking, unlock your mind for permanent weight. You can read all the reviews on Amazon. It's it's helped a lot of people lose weight. Um, and then I have a podcast called thin thinking. And, um, so two freebies that I think are gonna be in the show notes is one. I do have a, if you want to know like how I have a masterclass, it doesn't have hypnosis, but for stopping smoking is called how to stop smoking without withdrawal, cravings or weight gain. And I really get into the mindset of stopping smoking. And it's very helpful for a lot of people. Um, the other one is a free sugar cravings, um, hypnosis session, uh, that you can go and it's got coaching and, uh, you know, shift out of sugar cravings hypnosis. If you just want to test drive hypnosis and see what it feels like for free.

Nicole: I love that. Thank you so much Rita for coming on to the podcast. This has been super, super informative. I know I have learned a lot and the listeners will love it as well.

Rita: Oh well, I'm Sue. Thank you so much for having me. I'm honored to be here and, and happy pregnancies everyone. Oh my gosh. Enjoy.

Nicole: Yes, love it. Love it. Love it. All right. Thanks Rita.

Rita: Take care. Thank you.

Nicole: Wasn't that a great episode really informative. Rita is very passionate obviously about her work and I'm grateful that she came on. I love to hear people when they're really committed and excited about what they do and that really comes through in Rita's voice. So thank you Rita for that great episode. Now, you know, after every episode, when I have a guest on, I do something called Nicole's Notes where I do my top three or four takeaways from the episode. So here are my Nicole's Notes from my conversation with Rita. Number one, pregnancy is a great time to try to improve your health. You're often motivated because you want to do better. You want to get healthier. So this is a great time to pick up a new habit and try to improve your health. And you don't have to do all the things at once.

Nicole: Sometimes it feels like you have to do everything, but pick something that you can do, whether it's change your eating habits and improve what you're eating, whether it's exercise and move your body more, whether it's something like working on your mind and your mental health with things like meditation or yoga, to kind of help with those pieces of things, use pregnancy as a time to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Use that motivational state to help you. Number two, it can be a little bit tempting to judge people when they have behaviors or do things that are harmful to themselves or to their developing baby. And I would just encourage us all to have some compassion. And I'm saying that for myself, just as much as I'm saying that for you all, because it's easy to kind of make those, those judgements and things like that.

Nicole: But I have learned from my 15 years of experience that people have life circumstances and a lot of things that contribute to where they are and the things that they do that are difficult to understand and are very difficult to experience and the way people cope with things, the way people manage things, some people are just trying to get through day to day and survive. So before you pass judgment on something that someone is doing, I would encourage you again to have some compassion to step back before you make that proclamation or that judgment about their character or who they are, and keep a more open mind. We all have things that we need to work on. We all have behaviors and things that we need to improve. So again, just keep that compassion and empathy in place. And then the last thing I want to say is that another resource, if you're trying to get quit, smoking is 1-800-Quit-Now it is a free number that you can call it's. Um, a service offered through the government that connects you with quitting coaches and things like that. So that's another resource you can try if you are trying to quit smoking during pregnancy, it's 1-800-Quit-Now lots of great resources for you there. All right. So there you have it, please be sure to subscribe to the podcast in Apple podcast and Google podcasts and Spotify and Stitcher, wherever you listen to me right now. And of course I would love it if you leave a review in Apple podcast in particular, it helps the show to grow. It helps other women to find the show. And I love doing shout outs from those reviews as well. So leave me that honest review in Apple podcast, if you so desire. I so appreciate it. Also be sure to check out that free online class, How To Make A Birth Plan That Works.

Nicole: This class is one that you must take before you write a single word of your birth plan. It's drnicolerankins.com/register it is completely free. You got no excuse not to take it, take it. All right. So that's it for this episode do come on back next week. And until then, I wish you a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. Head to my website, drnicolerankins.com to get even more great information, including free downloadable resources on how to manage pain and labor and warning signs to look out for after birth. You'll also find information on my free online class on How To Make A Birth Plan That Works as well as everything you need to know about my signature online childbirth education class, the Birth Preparation Course. Again, that's drnicolerankins.com and I will see you next week.