Elena Beloff is a Certified Clinical Hypnotist and Master NLP Practitioner and a filmmaker. Her first film, Zaritsas: Russian Women in America, documented true-life stories of young Russian women who come to the United States in order to dispel the overriding myths that these women were “Natashas,” ruthless, gold-digging seductresses who could be had for the price of a mail-order wedding. Elena spent years filming the women, getting inside their lives to tell their stories. She has been working as a hypnotherapist and is now putting that same energy into separating the myth from the reality of the mind science that has been her vocation for almost ten years.
“When I was about 23, I was randomly chosen by a stage hypnotist to be in his video as a subject. It immediately rekindled the interest I’ve had in hypnosis since I was five and my mom took me to see a stage hypnotist in Russia. I always wanted to understand how hypnosis worked after seeing grown-ups act like children on stage. It was an unforgettable sight,” she says. Beloff became her own first subject as she immediately began exploring hypnotic techniques. She explains, “I started using self-hypnosis methods to help me visualize my goals and become more confident. The power of hypnosis inspired me to study it more and most importantly to become a hypnotist and help other people.” Elena already had a natural gift for the technique, “I always had a natural ability to attract people and I have a kind caring nature.“
Beloff’s interest led her to explore the possibilities of hypnosis as a profession. She began extensive training. “I took a course with George Bien in Queens. He is one of the best trainers. Many of my successful hypnotists-colleagues trained with him. I also took a course with Mark Cunningham and studied NLP at the NLP Center of New York with Dr. Rachel Hott and Steven Leeds. And of course practice played a big part in my hypnosis education. Every hypnotist knows that practicing hypnosis is where you learn the most.”
Beloff’s research was very extensive. “I studied everything: the history of hypnosis, hypnotic inductions to trance, how to write suggestions, build rapport. The toughest part in my opinion was to learn some of the inductions to trance. You literally had to memorize them word for work, especially some of the intricate ones like the Dave Elman Induction or Flower's Method Induction. You need to understand why they work, why certain segment of the induction comes in a given order. Once you practice them many times, they become part of you.”
Beloff added related tools to aid hypnosis her hypnotic practice. “I use NLP techniques to build rapport, like mirroring, back-tracking and listening.” Listening is very important, she explains, “When I work with a client I become highly attuned to everything they are saying. I focus my entire attention on them, which helps me understand the nature of their problem. I am very compassionate, empathetic and non-judgmental. One of the rules we learn as practitioners is to avoid making any sort of judgment or give advice. This helps in rapport building, because when people express their problems they want to be understood and cared for and never judged.”
Because of her extensive study and dedication to the art and science of hypnosis, Beloff became concerned with certain misconceptions people have about hypnosis. She made it part of her mission to separate what is myth and what is factual about this access to the subconscious. She wants to explore and defuse many of the stereotypes that surround it, such as the belief that hypnosis is some kind of mind control, “or that you can make people do crazy things or that hypnosis is not real. Some of these stereotypes completely contradict each other: People believe that hypnosis can make people do things against their will or they believe that all hypnosis is poppycock.” Beloff says she is finding that the reality lies somewhere in between what even she thought was fact and fiction. “I believe all stereotypes are based on reality and they just tend to be blown up,” she says.
Beloff believes that certain stereotypes hurt the reputation of what can be attained through the power of the mind. She has found that false impressions of hypnosis may keep people from using it to help themselves. “People have misconception about clinical hypnosis. They sometimes think of clinical hypnosis as some sort of faith healing modality, as if you have to believe in it for it to work. Or they think clinical hypnosis is a form of stage hypnosis where you make people do crazy things. Clinical hypnosis is neither. You don't have to believe in it, it works. It has nothing to do with making people cluck like chickens. In a clinical setting, a client is induced into a state of physical and mental relaxation and suggestions are implanted directly into the subconscious by the hypnotist during the time the client is in that state of receptivity. When you are mentally relaxed you are more attuned to accepting suggestions, letting them plant in the unconscious mind. A person can make up their mind to change their behavior. They have support in their decisions to eat less or stop smoking.”
Elena Beloff is a true believer in the benefits of hypnosis. “Hypnosis has inspired me to explore myself more, my unconscious processes to be a better writer and creative person.”
Elena Beloff is available for sessions, for more information visit www.insidehypnosis.com.
Tony Sokol is a writer, playwright and musician. He currently contributes to Silver Tongue, Inside the Reel and Altvariety and has written for Wicked Mystic, Delirium and other magazines. He has had over 20 plays produced in NYC, including Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera “AssassiNation: We Killed JFK”. He appeared on the Joan Rivers (TV) Show, Strange Universe, and Britain’s “The Girlie Show.” He was born in Brooklyn, NY.