Elgin hypnotist helps clients let go of stress and achieve their goals
By Melanie Kalmar For Sun-Times Media October 29, 2013 11:40AM
Elgin hypnotherapist Art Leidecker. | Submitted
Updated: December 1, 2013 8:07AM
ELGIN — Hypnosis is “almost magical” in the way it helps people let go of stress and achieve their goals, whatever those might be: becoming pregnant, quitting smoking or sticking to a weight-loss plan, according to local hypnotist Art Leidecker.
Hypnosis also can influence children to behave in school, relax during a test or stop wetting the bed.
However, Leidecker warns, hypnosis won’t work for someone who is not fully vested in achieving their goal or making a change. He says a perfect example is the chain-smoker who only wants to quit because his doctor said to do so.
Hypnosis is not what it was portrayed to be on television in the 1950s, when hypnotists were often shown convincing some unfortunate volunteer to cluck like a chicken or play the fool in a myriad of ways, he said.
“Hypnosis won’t make you do anything that you don’t normally want to do,” Leidecker said.
How it works
During hypnosis, patients are induced into a state of deep relaxation, where the conscious mind is distracted, allowing the subconscious mind to accept positive suggestions from the hypnotist, Leidecker explained.
Since 1994, he has been teaching self-hypnosis to clients from his office at 273 E. Chicago St. in Elgin. During three one-hour sessions at $155 each, clients learn the skills to hypnotize themselves.
“They can reinforce the work I do, and they learn to take on new challenges or issues,” he said.
He also teaches chiropractors, doctors and mental health professionals how to incorporate hypnosis into their practices.
He said chiropractors turn to hypnosis because it is easier to do adjustments on patients when they are relaxed.
Fertility doctors use it to calm patients who are stressed out, because the last thing the body will do when it’s in fight-or-flight mode is conceive a baby.
Very often, Leidecker said, cancer patients have problems with chemotherapy, such as loss of appetite or nausea. The stress can be so great that they vomit on the way to the doctor’s office.
“With hypnosis, we can help them eliminate the stress and anxiety they feel, and increase their appetite,” he said.
It also can help maximize the benefits of medication and, in turn, minimize the dosage — which reduces the risk of side effects, Leidecker said.
Leidecker said psychiatrists and psychologists favor hypnosis because of the rapid results it produces. Best of all, through self-hypnosis, he said, patients become capable of working through their issues by themselves.
Why it works
Hypnosis works because it reinforces a person’s self-confidence and desire to achieve their goals, Leidecker said.
“Their confidence is enhanced at the subconscious level, not just at the conscious level,” he said. “Thus, their motivation is always much stronger.”
In 1970, Leidecker took a one-day class in self-hypnosis to quit smoking.
When he began to regularly practice what he learned, he said, he kicked the habit for good.
Later on, he practiced self-hypnosis daily to achieve success in business, he said, and once again it worked.
After retiring from a lucrative career in video distribution, Leidecker said, he became restless.
Convinced that, with hypnosis, he could help other people achieve their goals, he became a board-certified hypnotherapist and certified instructor of hypnotherapy.
In addition to his practice, he ran a hypnotherapy school for more than a decade with his now-late wife Marilyn.
The Leidecker Institute regularly held classes in hotel meeting rooms. But twice a year, class convened on a cruise ship. It was Marilyn’s way of attracting students from all over the world — and it worked, Leidecker said. Doctors, for example, came from as far away as Israel and Japan, and wrote off the trip as a business expense.
Shortly after Marilyn passed away in 2006, Leidecker sold the Leidecker Institute, because his wife had handled the administrative aspects of it and it became too much for him.
Still passionate about his hypnotherapy practice, Leidecker doesn’t plan to retire.
“One thing about hypnotism is, as long as somebody can prop me up in a chair and I can talk, I can continue doing this until I cannot do it anymore,” he said.