The Following Post is written by Emily Bernard describing her experience working with me in a Personal Breakthrough Session with the intention of clearing her PTSD and anxiety about public places.
Mark Shepard is very tall. His height is the first thing I notice about him when I open the door to let him in. The second thing is his demeanor, which is kind, gentle, and warm. He has a youthful, eager way about him. His smile says, “This is as much of an adventure for me as it is for you.”
When I called Mark, I was ready. I had arrived in New Haven in July 2008 in order to begin a fellowship at Yale. Within four weeks, I was in Yale-New Haven hospital. The doctors determined I had a bowel obstruction–my second in seven years–and scheduled me for surgery. I was lucky–my intestines somehow untangled themselves from the mass of scar tissue inside my abdomen. After a week’s stay, I was allowed to leave.
This was my second visit to Yale-New Haven. Fifteen years ago, I was stabbed in the gut by a stranger in a coffee shop. The perpetrator was sick with mental illness. He was hospitalized; everyone involved survived.
For fifteen years, I have been unable to get past certain fears associated with being in public and interacting with strangers. After one of my doctors informed me that I was just “one of those unfortunates,” people who “over heal,” or make too much scar tissue, I decided to do whatever I could to turn my fears and luck around.
Medical doctors told me there was nothing to be done; psychotherapy didn’t seem to be helping. I decided to look beyond traditional doctor’s offices for solutions.
Enter Mark Shepard.
For our first session, Mark agreed to come to my house. His generosity put me at ease, and made it that much more possible for me to take the leap into the unknown world of hypnosis. At that point, all I knew about hypnosis I had read about in books. Mark was recommended to me by a massage therapist who herself had yet to try hypnosis. “When I’m ready, Mark Shepard is the one I will go to.” That was enough for me.
Mark and I first spoke on the phone. He was friendly, prompt, and direct. I liked him immediately. He sent me some literature to help me get acquainted with hypnosis, the unconscious mind, and his methods. There were questionnaires to fill out, and homework to prepare so that Mark could come to know more intimately the kinds of struggles that had led me to hypnosis in the first place.
I liked the questionnaires and the homework. I see them as the first stage in the process of the work I am doing with Mark. They force you to articulate your problems, fears, and goals. They help you focus, and they all center around the issue of “change.” What Mark does has psychological components, but it is not psychotherapy. He gets you to identify the root of a problem, but also the role you have played in either creating the problem or contributing to its survival. The work is goal-oriented. It takes faith, work, and openness. I believe it is a process–one, for me, that has only begun.
Thanks to Emily’s willingness to share her process, you will be able to get a sense of how I do what I do to help people clear fears, phobias, anxiety, PTSD and other Mind/Body challenges. Look for Part 2 next…