From Financial Stress to Smoking, Pargament Uses Hypnosis to Cure Ills

From Financial Stress to Smoking,
Pargament Uses Hypnosis to Cure Ills
by Jane K. Dove, Lewisboro Ledger (November 13, 2008)

“Stopping smoking, reducing stress from the current economic downturn and losing weight are the top three reasons clients come to me for hypnosis,” certified hypnotist Bob Pargament of Katonah told The Ledger. “In the past, it was always smoking and weight loss, but now I have a lot of patients seeking relief from constantly obsessing about their financial problems.”

Mr. Pargament heads the Westchester Hypnosis Center in Harrison. He founded the center in 2004 after making a dramatic midlife career change.

“Before getting involved with hypnosis, I was in television, focusing on program development and distribution. One of my biggest successes was Showtime at the Apollo,” he said. “But the company I worked for went out of business about five years ago and I decided it was time for a change.”

Mr. Pargament said he was always interested in techniques that used light and sound machines for self-hypnosis. “I was also into Transcendental Meditation and other techniques to reduce the stress of my career,” he said. “I decided to attend a seminar on hypnosis and something just clicked. One seminar led to another, and I was hooked and decided to become a certified hypnotist.”

Mr. Pargament trained with well-known teacher Gerald Klein of the Omni Hypnosis Center of Deland, Fla.

Mr. Klein has taught many well-known hypnotists, including Brian Weiss, author of “Many Lives, Many Masters.”

After completing his advanced hypnosis training, Mr. Pargament became a certified member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, based in Merrimac, N.H. He also obtained special certifications in pediatric and weight loss hypnosis.

Mr. Pargament said he found it gratifying to help patients cope with a wide range of issues. “In addition to the `big three’ of smoking cessation, relief from financial stress and weight loss, I help patients cope with a variety of issues and phobias like fear of insects and heights,” he said. “I also do a lot of work in confidence building and working on self esteem.”

Hypnosis sessions

Mr. Pargament said a typical sesion begins with spending time just talking to the patients, obtaining detailed background information and discussing the issue they want to deal with.

“I explain to them what hypnosis is, how it works and dispel misconceptions,” he said. “I find if I establish a comfort level, they become better patients and I can put them into the deepest levels of hypnosis.”

Mr. Pargament said some patients require only one session to get outstanding results, while others require multiple visits, most often for weight loss.

“With smokers, I often have success with just a single session,” he said. “For example, I had one patient, a 53-year old woman, who smoked two packs of cigarettes a day since she was a teenager. After one single session, she stopped smoking, and two years later, has not had another cigarette.”

Mr. Pargament said he has had similar dramatic successes with weight loss patients. “I have many that have lost 30 to 40 pounds and kept the weight  off,” he said. “Some have lost even more than that.”

Mr. Pargament said hypnosis for weight loss is especially effective because it has the ability to reset the patient’s “appestat,” the mechanism that transmits a signal from the brain and indicates fullness. “Many overweight people have lost touch with their appestat or just ignore it,” he said. “I can tap into their subconscious and change that.”

Mr. Pargament uses techniques of progressive relaxation to hypnotize patients. “I do not rush things but gradually put them into a deeper and deeper hypnotic state,” he said. “Once they are in the hypnotic state, I appeal to their subconscious in a very positive way.”

“For example, with a person that wants to lose weight I will talk about how they will feel satisfied after eating less than they did before. With a smoker, I will emphasize the benefits of having strong, healthy lungs and a longer life expectancy. I never use negative references.”

Cost-effective option

Although the American Medical Association officially endorsed hypnosis as a therapy 50 years ago this month, Mr. Pargament said there are still barriers to its acceptance.

“Hypnosis has been successfully used for anesthesia, burn treatment, childbirth, fertility treatments, and a host of other conditions,” he said. “It is a wonderful preventative and curative option but is still not covered by insurance.”

Mr. Pargament said hypnosis is very cost effective. “I try to obtain results in a single session,” he said. “For example, I would say spending two hours with me and never smoking again is a really good deal.”

After his high-pressure job in the television industry, Mr. Pargament said, he finds practicing hypnotism to be extremely rewarding.

“I don’t like to pat myself on the back, but I love helping people tap into their inner resources,” he said. “Many people have told me that they have epiphanies after hypnosis that help them to successfully come to grips with issues that have plagued them for years. They say they feel lighter, freer and happier, and that means a lot to me.”

Mr. Pargament and his family, wife Leslie and two sons, Max and Daniel, have lived in Katonah for the past 10 years.

For information on the Westchester Hypnosis Center, call 800-675-7583 or visit