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Getting to Know Your Practitioners with Dr. Traci Stein

Traci and Belleruth in the studio. Traci and Belleruth in the studio.
22 May

 

We chatted up the insanely talented Dr. Traci Stein to learn more about the practitioner behind some of our best-loved audios! The result was an interview so good, we have to split it into 2 parts:

Q: What got you interested in hypnosis and guided imagery?

A: I’ve been interested in imagery and hypnosis since I was in my teens, before most people had heard of these techniques. I’d hang out in a local bookstore that had a bunch of hypnosis audiotapes. I found it amazing and fascinating that this simple thing could shift how you’re feeling or your motivation to do things that were good for you. Later on, as a professional, I attended a variety of workshops and knew I wanted to become certified in clinical hypnosis. These tools are really good complements to psychotherapy. But with regard to using imagery in a formal way, even before I became a psychologist, I met Belleruth and heard her programs. This is when I was the Integrative Medicine Program Director at Columbia… most of the cardiac surgery patients used Belleruth’s tapes before, during or after surgery and seemed to have better outcomes because of this, and this observation was supported by the imagery research. Imagery and hypnosis are great for bypassing the conscious, inner critic and accessing a deeper,wiser part of you that wants to help you heal. And I love that these tools don’t require a lot of effort for the listener. You really can “just be” when using them.

Q: Where do you get the ideas for your audio topics?

A: Sometimes I might have a number of patients who have a similar issue that I think imagery could help address. Or, when my mind is a little quieter, I’ll have an “aha” moment about a topic that I think would be beneficial to people and that I would also enjoy doing. And of course, sometimes people email me or HealthJourneys about something they would like me to create.

Q: Do you ever get writer’s block when creating?

A: Of course! I think that’s normal even though it’s frustrating. What helps me get back into the flow are meditation and doing some sort of rhythmic, repetitive exercise like jogging. Jogging naturally puts you in a type of light trance, which seems to free up creativity. Self-hypnosis and imagery help as well. The imagery on the Intuition program is actually really helpful, because of the emphasis on opening up the energy centers and connecting to something greater than yourself.

Q: Do you take experiences/imagery from your own life and put it into your audios?

A: Definitely. When I’m in the mode of creating guided imagery I probably more often notice things in daily life in that type of multisensory, poetic language. It’s almost like a switch gets turned on.

Q: Who’s your favorite under-appreciated (below the radar) guided imagery practitioner?

A: I like some of Joe Gallenberger’s work, not because his imagery itself is so detailed (it isn’t) but I like that it’s paired with hemi-sync technology - I like the way his programs induce a deep trance-y state. I also like Lauren Rainbow’s heart-centered imagery. She is an up and coming medium and she’s very good at what she does. She’s very vivacious and vibrant…you can tell her imagery comes from her heart and soul.

Q: What advice do you have for others who may want to start making their own guided imagery audios?

A: I would say don’t overthink it; get out of your head. The best preparation for that, again, is meditation, or some sort of trance-inducing rhythmic exercise. Also, just notice how you notice things – like, how do you know that the wind is blowing? It’s because you see leaves gently rising or falling or swaying, or you hear a faint rustle. Maybe you see the play of light across leaves changing moment to moment, or you smell the scent of some semi-distant flower on the wind. It sounds corny but everything you experience is multisensory even if one sense predominates for you. Just notice how you experience everyday events and then just jot it down and record this….listen to your recording a day or 2 later as if it’s something completely new and novel. Your mind will let you know pretty automatically if something sounds right to you.


Want to explore more from Dr. Traci Stein? Check out her work here, all 25% off from now until June 4th with coupon code STEIN25. And stay tuned for part 2 of our interview!

Traci Stein

Traci Stein, PhD, MPH, is a practicing psychotherapist and Columbia-trained
clinical psychologist, ASCH-certified in clinical hypnotherapy. She has combined integrative therapies, including hypnosis, with conventional medical and psychotherapy practice. Her passionate commitment to mind-body healing has spanned two decades.