In Sondra Lambert’s nightmares, her teenage son Nick laid helpless in a trauma center, hooked to machines and given little chance of survival.
The dreams reflected real memories of a family tragedy, and haunted Lambert every day.
But Nick, the victim of a wrestling move gone wrong, didn’t die that day.
And it was only after a session with a hypnotist that Lambert allowed her dreams to feature her son waking up and saying, “Mom.”
“They walked me back through that trauma room, and I said ‘I want to tell you, son, you’re not going to die tonight,’” Lambert said. “When you have a traumatic event, it gets trapped in your mind and you keep re-living it. Hypnosis is a shift of perspective.”
Nick is now 34, married and with children.
After years of attending hypnotherapy sessions, Lambert and her husband, Larry, now practice hypnosis on patients themselves. They opened a new office in Crofton earlier this year, and work to help people address a wide range of challenges in their lives.
Larry Lambert became a licensed hypnotherapist after retiring from the Army in 1997. Sondra joined him more recently after working as a federal contractor. The couple live in Bowie.
“We’re here not because we read about hypnosis in a book,” said Sondra Lambert, who used hypnosis to help her lose 50 pounds. “We knew it worked for us, and we want to see it work for other people.”
In simple terms, hypnosis is an attempt to help the conscious mind communicate with the subconscious mind, which controls many of our habits and fears. A person who consciously wants to quit smoking, for instance, may find that their subconscious associates cigarettes with old memories of fitting in or looking cool. With hypnosis, the goal is to change subconscious thinking.
Sondra Lambert describes hypnosis thusly: “I meet myself on the inside.”
During hypnosis, patients are usually deeply relaxed physically, but completely mentally aware. Larry Lambert said no one can be hypnotized if they aren’t willing to be.
“You don’t lose control,” he said. “That’s a myth.”
The Lamberts also don't practice hypnosis for entertainment. There are no attempts to make people do foolish things for a laugh, like you see on those television specials.
“People will ask me, ‘will you make me quack like a duck?’ And I say, ‘well, here in my office, what would be the value of that?’” Larry Lambert said.
A typical Galaxy patient is usually there to try and solve a problem in their life. Perhaps they want to quit smoking or lose weight. Perhaps they need help moving on from a traumatic event, such as a sexual assault or accident. Many patients even use hypnosis to address physical problems.
National Institutes of Health has endorsed hypnotherapy to address chronic pain, and the Lamberts said they have had success in helping patients improve their quality of life.
And sometimes, hypnosis can solve mysteries.
The Lamberts said one recent patient was suffering from hearing loss, but doctors were not able to diagnose any physical problem. Hypnosis, Larry Lambert said, revealed that the woman may have subconsciously suppressed her hearing after being scolded by an employer for failing to listen.
In addition to working directly with patients, Galaxy Hypnosis is the local site for the Omni Hypnosis Training Center.
Galaxy Hypnosis charges $140 per session, with most patients requiring fewer than four visits. The practice currently is offering introductory sessions for $49.
Galaxy Hypnosis is located in the Crofton Medical and Professional Building, 1667 Crofton Center, Suite 4. Appointments can be made by calling 301-202-3605 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.