A New York City woman is helping clients get to the root of their emotions through hypnotherapy.
If you told Nicole Hernandez years ago that she would be a hypnotherapist, she wouldn’t believe you. Having majored in psychology for her undergrad and getting a master’s in integrative communications and journalism, Hernandez figured she’d find herself working as a journalist or in a public relations space.
Hernandez found herself working in travel public relations, and she found that the responsibility that came with the job was starting to weigh on her.
“I found that I was experiencing a lot of anxiety and stress started to elevate. The responsibility started to weigh on me,” said Hernandez. “I saw therapists, coaches, spending all kinds of money to get help for the stress and anxiety I was feeling and it really wasn’t until my final job in the corporate space where I started to get really sick.”
Hernandez recalls developing gastritis, stress-induced alopecia and panic attacks at the height of her stress. She thought that leaving the corporate environment was the cause and set off as an entrepreneur, only to find that being an entrepreneur was even harder.
“It got to the point where I couldn’t eat, my stomach was so inflamed that I couldn’t eat anymore and I was still experiencing the panic attacks. So even though I had my own consulting business at that point, my anxiety was at an all-time high,” said Hernandez.
A coworker at Hernandez’s last corporate job went to a hypnotherapist for her own anxiety. Though skeptical at first, Hernandez decided to try out a group session to see what it was all about.
“It really was like a last resort. I first started off with a little workshop to make sure I wasn’t going to be like, barking like a dog. I went and did a session specifically for social anxiety, which really helps me around public speaking and not sweating as much, and then I went more into it really for treating the root of the anxiety, which was through training,” said Hernandez.
It was through training that Hernandez found that her anxiety around weighted responsibility stemmed back to her relationship with her mother, who was bipolar.
“That feeling of weighted responsibility feels like life or death, that was tied together. Once I became aware of it and released that, it changed me,” said Hernandez. “It changed so that yes, I have anxiety from time to time but I don’t have panic attacks. I can eat again, and don’t lose my hair anymore. All of my symptoms were alleviated due to that session.”
Taking on the moniker “The Traveling Hypnotist,” Hernandez has built a career as a board certified hypnotherapist, and you can find her as the Resident Healer for the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown. She specializes in helping anxious high achievers become more conscious leaders, utilizing modern hypnotherapy, mindfulness, somatics, and her own intuitive gift.
Hernandez comes across her fair share of skeptics, but she tries to help people understand the neuroscience behind hypnosis and break down any misconceptions they might have surrounding the topic.
“We’re all living through our own narratives and the past really creates that. Once we start to look at it, instead of waving a watch in front of your eyes, you look at it as, ‘I’m gonna understand my personal narrative and do the work to change that personal narrative through a process that looks a lot like visualization or meditation,’” said Hernandez. “It creates a deeper change. The emotional narrative is emotional. And a lot of times with other modalities, we don’t get into that deep emotion that you do with hypnosis. That emotional shift is what really helps people to feel a sense of change.”
On Oct. 23, Hernandez is teaming up with NYC-based adventure tour host and operator Outer There to host a group hike with a twist: as you go along the hike, participants will participate in a group past life regression. For those who don’t know what a past life regression is, Hernandez describes it as using the process of hypnosis or meditation to consider your subconscious and see what past life memories occur.
“It’s not for me to change anyone’s beliefs about whether they believe that reincarnation or not, that’s not the aim here. For me, it’s really about giving someone relief,” said Hernandez. “If you just believe what you saw was a metaphor, that’s awesome. At least we begin to understand the metaphors that you’re creating and where your narrative sits right now, and we can create change from there.”
The hike component of the group session, entitled Hike Into Your Past Lives, was paramount for Hernandez, who says that connecting with the body is a huge pillar of her business. Tickets for Hike Into Your Past Lives start at $29. For Hernandez, making the session accessible was important because she knows that not everyone could afford a traditional session.
“My personal work is expensive, I have seen that there are people who would like to work with me but they just can’t afford it. I give student breaks, things for teachers,” said Hernandez. “I really feel like the wellness industry giving people of color and maybe going through a financial bind at the moment an opportunity for wellness and feeling. And both the owner of Outer There and myself are people of color and I think we need to stop leaving ourselves out of the equation.”
Hernandez hopes to host more of these events in the future, and that those who participate are able to come with an open mind and heart.
“This is really for beginners, maybe they are interested in past lives and they’re kinda nervous about what they’ll find,” said Hernandez. “People get worried that they were a murderer in a past life or something bad happened to them. We give it space where we can come to it in community and just make it feel really engaging, entertaining, light and it can have more depth than that.”