“…let’s just have a moment where you’re looking inward and you’re quiet and relaxed, and give them the gift of some positive suggestions. That is as simple as hypnosis is. And then having that science to support it and having the know-how to weave that into Nurse Coaching. It’s so intuitive and automatic when you overlay the science of hypnosis— which is ages, ages old— and weave that into our Nursing healing model.” ~Christy Cowgill
Nicole Vienneau 00:00
Welcome, everyone, to Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! This is Nicole Vienneau, your host, and I am a board-certified Integrative Nurse Coach. And today I’m so excited because we get to interview Christy Cowgill, all the way from Portland, Oregon. She is a board-certified Integrative Nurse Coach. She’s a certified hypnotherapist and certified hypnobirthing educator. And she is also a certified hypno-oncology practitioner.
The interesting thing, or one of the interesting things— I mean, we are going to hear so many interesting things with Christy today— But one of the interesting things about her is that she’s also a Nurse anesthetist. And now she’s combining all of these practicians and all of these certifications to create this merging of her life work. So, let’s welcome Christy.
Christy Cowgill 00:54
Hey, Nicole, so glad to be here. Thank you for having me on this podcast. It’s going to be really exciting. I’m so excited to talk to other Nurse Coaches, to other healers, to other interested parties who are interested in the art and science of helping others, helping ourselves and creating healing. So, thanks for having me here.
Nicole Vienneau 01:15
Thanks, Christy. We are going to be filled with knowledge after this podcast. So, we look forward to hearing all that you are going to share with us. And before we get into how you’re merging all of these skills and techniques together, we’d love to hear a little bit about what brought you into Nursing.
Christy Cowgill 01:35
Always a great question. Nursing has just been something that I’ve been called to for my entire life. As a child, I was an asthmatic. In the 70s and 80s, asthma was a disease that kept you sidelined in the gym class, you know? I couldn’t participate and, yearly, at least once a year, I was hospitalized for five to seven days to kind of stabilize my asthma. The Fall was always a terrible transition time for me.
I have a lot of environmental allergies. So, the Nurses are the people who created that experience for me, in the hospital, of really learning to be without my mom overnight, learning to breathe, like literally and metaphorically. And also, my physician— she was my physician until I was 18 years old. So, I went through allergy shots with her. And the words that I remember her using are: “Christy, never allow your asthma to be a disease. It’s a condition. And if it’s a condition, you can control it.”
And I think she told me those words as a 10 year old. And we’ll see how words play out in my own profession and my journey in a few minutes. But after that, there was just no doubt that once I finished high school, I was going to pursue a degree in Nursing. And I did. And I started out as an oncology Nurse.
I did my internship in oncology, stepped foot into the Nursing world in the late 90s, and at that time, AIDS was also a really real endemic, and it was still considered the gay cancer. So, it was a space in my life, as a young adult, where I was able to help people through their journey with HIV and AIDS, sometimes and oftentimes leading to death and dying in that space.
And also oncology, where as we know, some people have great outcomes and could go on with remission, and others don’t have that benefit. So, being in the hospital space, I got to really instantly be infused with that dynamic of Nursing, which was really intense and awesome. And as life happens, doors open and opportunities led me to the intensive care unit and, specifically, in the trauma unit and dealing with that fast-paced energy adrenaline.
And it wasn’t long before another door opened. So, early in my career, I had an opportunity to apply to the Mayo Clinic for the Nurse anesthesia program, and to become a certified registered Nurse anesthetist, and I had no idea that that segment of Nursing even existed. I knew of Nurse practitioners and I always thought that that’s the route that I would eventually go in Nursing, but anesthesiology seemed very much in tune with where I was at that moment in trauma.
And as a trauma Nurse, I would find myself in the operating room often as kind of the person who would help… the Nurse who would help the anesthesiologist. They were administering the medications and, oftentimes, I was the one supporting the trauma patient with fluids and blood support and kind of pairing with that anesthesiologist.
And that really gave me this inspiration to wow, wouldn’t it be cool if that’s where my career led me? And I had the joy and pleasure of going to the Mayo Clinic, doing a residency there, and coming out the other side, in the early 2000s, as a CRNA. And so, I’ve been in this advanced practice Nursing space for… It’s going to be 20 years, and it’s been amazing.
Nicole Vienneau 05:10
Wow, what a career that you’ve had. Well, I think of you as a young child being faced with living with asthma and how that affected your life. And yet you had all of these role models as Nurses to stand up and say, “Hey, this is something that you can aspire to, too.” And then you chose— okay, I’m going to take this route, moving into oncology and partnering with people living with AIDS and HIV and then moving into ICU trauma.
And then also, other practitioners’ role-modeling for you potential opportunities. And I loved how you said, “The doors opening” — the doors opening for you and becoming a Nurse anesthetist. And now, combining all of this, right? We know, as Nurse Coaches, combining our life skill, our life experiences and our story, and using that as an opportunity to create new possibilities. So, I’d love to know how you found Nurse Coaching. I know our listeners are so interested, too.
Christy Cowgill 06:15
I know, I kind of left you at a cliffhanger, right?
Nicole Vienneau 06:17
Christy Cowgill 06:19
So, you know, two decades in anesthesiology, I can’t say that there wasn’t a day that I was really inspired by all that could happen in a given day. So, I would do liver transplant anesthesia, I did trauma anesthesia, I’ve done high risk obstetrical anesthesia, I’ve done plastic surgery anesthesia, and every step of that has been fantastic.
And I worked a lot. I worked a lot, I spent a lot of time in the entrepreneurial space, securing contracts, working in that avenue, self billing, being that type of practitioner, and I kind of reached a point where I was just burnt out. And that is how I found Nurse Coaching. So, I don’t think my story’s unlike many of the other Nurses who find Nurse Coaching. I needed some healing.
Every patient that I was there for their last words— and maybe their last words, I was the only person to hear— I know in my heart by name. And sometimes I would awake in the middle of the night, and I would see a vision of that day— what if I had done something different? What if the outcome would have been different? Maybe I should have reached out to the family and really let them know how truly blessed I was to hear their loved one’s last words.
And all that heaviness, and the inability to debrief at the time, just started to build up. And I realized that I was creating a wall from existing with my own family. So, Nurse Coaching just seemed like a great way to start to heal myself, to calm those voices that had start to build up, and to reestablish my own resiliency and my ability to help others heal.
So, that’s 2018— I was cohort 26 in the Integrative Nurse Coaching™ world. And that was a pivotal point for me. That’s when I started to identify as a coach and really realize that my entire anesthesiology career, I had been coaching and suggesting to patients the positive outcomes that they desired so when they’d wake up on the other side of surgery, that was the first thought that would come back into their mind.
And continuing to reflect back on my career, and in 2000, when I heard a CRNA speak on the power of the word and the words that we use in healthcare. And remembering each and every day that I would walk into a space where I was taking care of a patient, and I would suggest that they change the words that they were using.
Let’s not ask. And for the listeners who are Nurses, we’ve got to stop asking, “What is your pain like? How much pain do you have? Are you in pain?” No, that is the most horrible question you can ask somebody when you’re really wanting to know how comfortable they are. Because all of a sudden they have to scan their body for pain. They’re looking, then, for pain.
We’re coming back from an operating room, and they’re nice and dozy and sleepy, and we’re saying, “What’s your pain score?” We have a mom in labor: “Well, how painful was that last contraction?” We’re starting to suggest things that we don’t want our patients to feel. We don’t want our patients to experience that, especially if they don’t have to, and we’re making that suggestion.
Or, we ask, “Are you nauseated?” You know, let’s start by asking, “Are you hungry?” Because physiologically, there’s no way you can be nauseated and hungry at the same time. So, when we ask a question a different way, the experience of that question on our brains and our subconscious level is very different.
If you are nauseated, and somebody asks you that— “Are you hungry?” You’re gonna be like, “No, I’m not really hungry, I just, you know, my stomach’s just not very settled.” Right? Very different experience.
So, I realized our words are powerful. Our words are powerful, and probably the three most impactful words that a person will hear in their entire life— maybe I’ll let you guess what that could be. What’s the most impactful words that somebody can hear when you think about just your life? Most people say, “I love you.” Right? That triggers such a huge emotion.
The most impactful words are likely, “You have cancer.” Right? The world stops. You remember where you are when you heard those words, and you remember the practitioner’s face who’s telling you that. You probably remember what you’re wearing. And all of a sudden, you hear nothing else. “You have cancer.” It’s like a dead-end stop.
I’m transitioning, now, to my love of caring for those who are on their cancering journey. Because I would change that immediately to a verb. “Hey, you’re cancering and here’s what we know about your situation right now.” Because as humans, as a whole person, it’s likely that there are cells in our body that are doing the wrong thing right now. And sometimes they self correct and life goes on and we don’t know it.
Other times, they don’t, and they cause some sort of problem. Maybe that’s why you’re seeking health. But we’re on a cancering journey. So, the way that we say words to our patients matters. And just going back, you know, 30 years in my own life— okay, maybe 40— when my physician told me, “You know what, Christy, you don’t have a disease, you have a condition,” I held on to that with all my might.
Every time anyone would say, “Oh, you can’t be a scuba diver, you have asthma. How could you do that? You can’t run a mile, you have asthma.” And I’d be like, you know what? My asthma, I’m gonna own it. It’s a condition, and under the right circumstances, I can control that. There’s medications that, yes, I may need to take but there’s also a mindset that goes with how our bodies respond to the environment.
I’d keep thinking about that with coaching, and with our words, and it just naturally led to this ability for me to say I can’t divorce my Nurse anesthesia career, nor can I divorce my Nursing, caring core. I combine it now with ways to help patients, clients move forward in their own journey, whether it’s through chronic pain, whether it’s just a life transition, whether it’s a cancering journey, whether it’s a Nurse who’s transitioned into the Nurse Coaching world and needs some mindset support on how to become an entrepreneur.
So, that’s where I love to blend everything that I’ve learned and know to be true with the science of what does coaching look like? Because we know that we’re leveraging our psychology. You know, how do we help people resource and motivational interviewing. And with my work now expanding into the hypnotherapy, there is study upon study upon study about how we, as Nurses, or as hypnotists, can impact.
And we already know this because in Nursing, we’re doing guided imagery often. We already know that technique. And as Nurse Coaches, we’ve expanded that technique. We know about suggestions and helping clients create goals for themselves and then offering back that feedback as a suggestion and reinforcing that.
So, the law of repetition, and then the law of attraction, of really positive thinking, of attracting more of what you want, instead of waking up in the morning, asking yourself the questions of what you don’t want. I just see this as just a wonderful alchemy of all of the skills and experiences that I have. And I find it as a great way to really liberate myself, as well as anybody who feels too caged in by the current healthcare model.
If we’re looking at the healthcare model in isolation, what Nurse Coaching does, what hypnotherapy does, what our experience does, is brings that back into a whole person so it’s more expansive and more open. And that’s the space that real healing can begin. And our system is just… It’s not made to navigate the whole person space, so we need some other help outside of that.
Nicole Vienneau 15:03
We do need help on the other side of that. I really feel like Nurse Coaches are creating this new space, which really isn’t a new space, it’s just creating space to actually do the work. I noticed some of the phrases that you’ve shifted to create this whole picture— one of them was cancering, one of them was, instead of seeking treatment, it was seeking health— and the power of the word choices, suggestions, possibilities. Can you tell us more about that?
Christy Cowgill 15:45
I’m going to give you a specific example. And we all have our: “Hello, I’m your Nurse today. Hello, I’m your Nurse anesthetists today, and I’m here to talk to you about your experience with anesthesia.” That’s my world so I’m going to stick to that. But imagine if you are the patient laying there, and I say, “I am curious if you have any opinions about what your anesthesia should look like today.”
And I will say, most of the people say no. And that’s when I can then offer: “Well, here’s what I offer. There’s this medication that you can use.” Or perhaps, you know, in some cases, you don’t choose to have anesthesia. So, I’m thinking that works great in things like childbirth, or procedures where, routinely in the United States, we are sedating patients, we are offering them a general anesthetic for procedures that are very short.
And the client looks at you and says, “Oh, I didn’t know I had a choice.” Well, absolutely you do. And here’s what both choices look like. And just that look of relief on a person’s face, even if they choose the medication, or even if they choose to forego the medication— “I didn’t realize I had a choice.” And that has always struck me as kind of odd that we, when we enter that healthcare system, we don’t realize that we have a choice.
So, that’s kind of a really, you know, a salient point. That’s where I can hone in that that’s where I’ve seen it, that’s where I witness it. It almost makes my heart hurt reflecting on that, that we have taken the power away from somebody to feel like they don’t have a choice. So, as I think about all the roles I’ve played as a Nurse anesthetist, I’m oftentimes brought in at that, you know, moment in somebody’s childbirth where they cannot take it anymore.
They’re on the wall, the husband’s just in the corner saying, “I don’t know what to do.” The Nurse is screaming, “Hurry up, do it faster!” And you’re just like, whoa. And you can walk into that space and it just… you just feel the energy of just being spiraled out of control. But you can just look at Mama and say, “You know what, we got this. You’re gonna have one or two more contractions.”
And immediately, on that next surge that she experiences, it’s less intense than the one before and it’s only because now she’s heard, she’s seen, she knows that we’re gonna change course, right? But still, that option’s there. Now, all of a sudden, there’s that possibility. So, now you just experienced the same thing, but under a different circumstance. You had more control, more agency there.
And just, at least praising them for that moment, that— wow, all of a sudden, you took that power back for a moment to still yourself, to trust your body to be present, and look at the outcome. Like, that next surge wasn’t… you weren’t on the ceiling, you weren’t trying to run away, you were within your body.
And so, maybe then we go on and do the epidural, but before the medication is even in their back and they lay back and they’re just like, “Oh, I feel so much better,” they’re heard, they’re seen, and they’re now taking some agency back over themselves. That’s another concrete example of, wow, I haven’t given you any medication yet. So, there is that placebo effect, and we know that to be real in healthcare.
As a matter of fact, we’re existing during a global pandemic and there have been headlines come out when they were studying the effectiveness of the COVID vaccine. There were some members of that study that were given a placebo. So, they were not given the vaccine, but when they followed up with them the next day, they were actually showing symptoms of having the vaccine. They had body aches, their temperature was up, they weren’t feeling great, right?
That’s powerful. That’s powerful news for all of us, that when we’re in the face of illness or health, that we can take back some of that control. And that’s a choice that a person has to make, and it’s a little bit of a choice of trusting in our own inner guidance. Sometimes, that trust is what’s taken away from the patient.
Nicole Vienneau 20:16
So much of my experience in healthcare, as an intensive care Nurse, was not realizing that I was taking away choices. Because that’s what I learned. And I know that many Nurses out there, healthcare providers out there, experienced that, too. This is what they were taught, but not knowing that that was, in fact, what we were doing. So, having you say all of this, you know, and bringing this to our attention, helps us realize, oh, there is another way for us, too, to practice as healthcare providers.
Christy Cowgill 20:57
I think that’s true, and I don’t want to shame any of us for how we were trained, right? Or, for the pain score. That exists. And we’re told, like you need to assess for pain, what is your pain level? I think what we need to realize is, even though if we’ve been doing that a certain way, maybe there’s a way to still get the same information but have that experience in a different way.
So, when we talk about pain and suffering through— we hear this often— in a car accident or pain and suffering from a trauma, any traumatic event, there can be pain and that’s something that we may or may not have control over. If there is a mechanical injury, we may not have control over that pain; a nerve is injured, okay. But we do have agency over our own suffering.
So, there was pain, so now, how can we take back our own agency over suffering? Or, how can we, as healers, help others take agency back over their suffering, right? That brings Nurses, who maybe were in the intensive care unit, into that intensive caring unit, the ICU, the Nurse Coaching intensive caring unit.
And this is, I think, when we look at our leaders in the Nursing space, like Florence Nightingale, for example, caring across the board, caring across population health, caring about people washing their hands. There can’t be anything that’s more mundane about: “Oh, let’s wash our hands.” But the ripple effect from that one thing that we do creates whole person health and population health, right?
I see it as there are so many possibilities on how we help create agency. And for me, those are just a few examples in my own career where I just, for a long time, I would ask questions the same way, and then I realized, wow, I can get the same response asking them another question in a different way. And the power that I would see shifted back to them was pretty profound.
And then when you give that power back to them, and they’re standing in their agency, just how profound everything is after that, how all of a sudden, they can control their pain immediately, immediately, without telling them: “Gain control over your pain.” And all of a sudden, then there’s less trauma, there’s less of all the ick that comes upon us with being sick. It feels icky. But how do we: okay, here’s something back that you can control.
Nicole Vienneau 23:33
I love all of this. This is wonderful to bring to our awareness. And I appreciate, also, that you said you weren’t sharing any of this to shame any of us for learning the way that we have learned. And I know that there is no intention of that, and I know our listeners are the same. But it is this whole growth process that we have. And when you say agency, the agency is for ourselves, too.
And I love the concept of the intensive caring unit, because not only are we caring for the people who are in front of us and loving on them and helping them get through trauma and illness and seeking health, but we also are looking at ourselves and the impacts of the environments that we are faced with and how those environments affect us in our seeking health.
And so, I’m curious to know some thoughts that you have surrounding that, in care of the healthcare provider.
Christy Cowgill 24:41
Oh, there are so many thoughts that I have. I think that most Nurses would benefit, most healers would benefit, from taking some sort of a reflective pause at their own life, at their own ability to give themselves agency and healing. So, a coaching model is one avenue. For me, also, I started to explore hypnotherapy because I had experienced it in my own life, although I didn’t really realize it, at the time, how powerful it was.
And maybe I want to just phrase this with a little bit of a trigger warning because I’m going to be talking about miscarriage and infertility. So, in my own life, as a woman who had a very fantastic career, and then I wanted to have children later in life, my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at about 14 weeks. So, it was after I kind of announced it and had been really happy and then all of a sudden, there was cramping; there was loss of that pregnancy.
So, there was immense grief, as many women have had. And maybe you’ve heard of women— like just immense grief of the loss of a child that was so personal only because nobody else had seen this life form. But these little tiny footprints just left this grief mark on my heart. After the loss of that pregnancy, month after month after month after month, we would rally ovulation time, pee on stick; no conception.
What’s going on? I felt like grief was getting in the way. I had all the shame of my own. Why is my body not doing something that should be so natural? Blaming myself— I shouldn’t have been in the operating room. I was working too many hours when I was pregnant, that’s why I lost that baby. It was my only chance. You know, all of that going on. Just some immense grief that I was working through.
And the midwife had me kind of scheduled to go into seek fertility treatment, and so I was like, that’s not necessarily the route I want to go. But it was 18 months, you know, of trying to conceive post-miscarriage. And I had an idea— It probably wouldn’t hurt to go to a hypnotherapist. So, I did. I didn’t tell anyone because, I mean, that just sounded so woo and outside of the medical realm, right?
It wasn’t like I was going to tell my physicians or the fertility clinic that I was going to seek hypnotherapy. And I walked into the hypnotherapist, and he had a lovely British accent, and I realized that he probably knew nothing about infertility. So, that right there, I was like, great, and he’s gonna hypnotize me. I was a total skeptic.
I walked out of his office, he gave me a recording, and I listened to it a couple times. What I know is that it shifted something within me. And it was subtle, but it was agency. And I knew I had my infertility treatment coming up in about 30 days. I got to cancel that, because I had a positive pregnancy test.
Now, I can’t relate it back to directly to hypnotherapy, but wouldn’t it be cool if that was the thing that gave me the ability to just destress enough that my body took to that next opportunity to have a natural thing happen, which was pregnancy? And I closed the door. And I was like, I have a wonderful daughter as a result of that pregnancy, and I never really thought about it again, until later.
I was like, wow, hypnosis in that moment, it just gave me what I had been seeking, which was peace and calm, for just a moment, to put my body into the parasympathetic space quickly. And I used hypnobirthing with the birth of my children. And I found a hypnobirth educator that was a labor and delivery Nurse.
And so, I was like, oh, I trust her because she’s seen birth and she’s seen it go this way and that way. So, I trust her, I know what she’s saying is probably going to jive with my Nursing mind, and all of it did. My husband came along. He was not knowing what to expect as an engineer, but he also sat through the five weeks and we walked away with just more peace and ease as we both walked into that birthing space.
And I realized, instantly, that that was the type of birth that I had seen in the hospital less frequently than the chaotic, very stressful birth. And I was like, wouldn’t it be cool if more women and more partners had that agency stepping into that space? Part of it is just knowing what we’re getting into, knowing that we have some options, knowing that there’s different positions to labor in, knowing that when there is pain in the back, that partners can help alleviate pain here.
When there is discomfort in the front, they can do other things to help Mama push through those times in labor that can be really challenging. And wouldn’t it be cool if people knew that before going in, and had that resolve? And that, in effect, was my own birth experience.
I walked into that, I knew I can get through this because, even as a Nurse, as a Nurse anesthetist, like, I had seen birth, but the dynamics of what’s going on with the human body had, I don’t know, maybe they didn’t teach it that way when I was in Nursing school, right?
I didn’t associate the deep breaths and the neurochemistry, the neurobiology that could happen; the endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and the oxytocin that I would resist giving myself if I was holding my breath and not relaxing into the moment. And not making it a stressful medical event— allowing myself that space to be in a healing, calm, natural event that was happening in a medical space.
And so, it was kind of just flipping some of those definitions. And that was super, super powerful for me, and it was really powerful for my husband who didn’t know a dang thing about babies. And here he was, put in the role of helping his wife, as a coach, get this baby into the world and be this loving father right away.
For him to just have that agency within him of this is natural, my wife is going to be okay, here are the words that’s going to happen during transition, and I know them now, so I know not to freak out, and I can just be right there in that space, and hold my infant right away, was a true blessing.
And again, the universe gave me that gift, and it took five more years for me to weave it all together, to be like, wouldn’t it be cool if hypnosis was part of Nurse Coaching? And wouldn’t it be cool if hypnosis was more of a part of anesthesiology every day? Because those words help everyday people shift their everyday thoughts, fears, concerns, and even habits.
It has like, boom, stop denying yourself the power of this mind, and stop disallowing other people to notice and recognize and celebrate the power of their own mind. I think it’s an important thing to realize that the healing journey, for me, is a myriad of my own experiences and then kind of delayed AHAs. It definitely did not hurt anything to change my perspective. And if anything, it made a profound difference.
Nicole Vienneau 32:33
Oh, I love this!
Christy Cowgill 32:38
Oh, sorry, I told you I could get a little wordy.
Nicole Vienneau 32:41
Ah, no, this is wonderful. Because, gosh, many of us throughout the world have had experiences similar. Maybe not… of course, not the same, but you know, realizing that all of our experiences lead us— can lead us— in different directions.
And this power of the AHA— the delayed AHA, is what you said— you know, it’s like, oh, this happened, this happened, this happened, and then I moved on in life. And then going back, and you’re recalling, oh, well, that did happen and that’s what I learned from that. And now I’m going to use what I learned there. We all can really appreciate and relate to all of this. And how are you using the delayed AHA right now?
Christy Cowgill 33:33
You know, the scientific-minded me, the Nurse is like, where’s the evidence? Right? Always, where’s the evidence that hypnosis works? So, I have dug out a few headlines for you. So, in cancer: “Hypnosis appears to reduce perceived hot flashes in breast cancer survivors and may have additional benefits such as reduced anxiety, depression, and improve sleep.”
Hello, that’s pretty awesome. That’s going to make anybody feel better, but specifically somebody who’s going through their breast cancering journey, right? Tinnitus— ringing in your ears: “73% of clients who were taught self-hypnosis reported disappearance of their tinnitus.” 73%.
Now, wouldn’t it be cool if Nurses knew some techniques to teach self-hypnosis? We already know guided imagery. Guided imagery relaxes the mind. Meditation relaxes the mind. Hypnosis is the suggestions— whether it’s from yourself or guided— the suggestions enter the mind in that relaxed state and are accepted by the subconscious of things that must be true.
The client arouses from that wonderful, imaginary state and all of a sudden, their symptoms are gone. If you could get rid of tinnitus 73% of the time, that’s amazing.
Tinnitus is hugely debilitating. 81% of our clients who are smokers will stop smoking and will quit, even a year later, with use of hypnosis. That’s really cool. Weight loss— we all have our clients who want to lose weight, to release weight. Sometimes, they’ve tried a myriad of things.
So, when we combine hypnotherapy and hypnosis techniques, alongside some cognitive behavioral therapies, which we all teach as Nurse Coaches (our food logs— that’s a behavioral technique, right?) and we coach some of those things, we’re going to magnify their success by offering some hypnotherapy, in addition.
And that’s been reported in many, many, many repetitive studies over hypnotherapy. Sexual health, right? Hypnosis can help see significant decrease in gynecological exam pain, and several measures of assessing are the female’s intercourse pain reduced with just a couple of sessions of hypnosis.
And again, I feel like Nurse Coaches— and this is what was my delayed AHA in 2018, sitting in the curriculum of the Integrative Nurse Coach™ Academy— was every time we would do a guided imagery, and would start to offer those suggestions, I kept thinking back to the times that I experienced hypnosis for infertility, and that I had experienced hypnosis suggestions in preventing discomfort in labor and delivery with my own childbirth.
And I was like, oh, this feels so familiar. Why am I not doing this more? And then I realized, with the pandemic, as telehealth became more readily accessible and mental health clients were able to access their practitioners via Zoom and via virtual techniques, that so did the national guild of hypnotherapists say, yes, hypnosis can be done virtually. Why? Because it’s guided imagery with suggestions.
There are some more advanced techniques of past life regressions in that, but just bringing it into the medical space of how can hypnosis help for our clients in the medical space, that was a profound AHA for me, that just happened to intersect a time in our history where telehealth was more readily supported.
So, when there were ethical guidelines lifted on that— and I already had my experience as a Nurse anesthetist and a Nurse Coach— and the National Guild of Hypnotists said yes, we can train and certify and credential people in the study of hypnosis, and then you can go forward and practice as a professional consultant hypnotist, that was a door that I was like, yes, please.
That opens so many possibilities of not just helping patients go forward with coaching, but enhancing their success rates and being able to point to multiple areas of success in that. A year after practicing hypnosis, with life coaching and, you know, the traditional things that people seek— hypnotism for smoking and weight release.
There was a gentleman in the UK, who’s not a practitioner, but who has spent decades of his life, and he’s one of the few masters level degreed hypnotherapist in the world. He does hypno-oncology, and so he is studying and teaching how we can impact our patient’s cancering journeys with hypnosis. And that was really cool. I called him up, I’m like, Gary, tell me more.
Because hypnosis, in that space, can help with hair loss. It can help with the chemo side effects of losing your taste buds. It helps with, you know, fatigue and energy and anxiety, depression, getting people through all of the medical experiences that they have with cancer. So, it’s this great complementary thing that we can offer.
And we can offer it at the bedside, even, with just using gentle guided imagery in a way to suggest you’re going to make it through this MRI scanner, or you’re going to make it through this next chemo round, and lessen their incidence of nausea and vomiting. And that’s a profound gift to a client, especially right now in this world where we are so short-staffed in our medical ends, right?
We have to… now we’re losing some Nurses in that space. We’re overwhelmed with other people who are sick, who need that help as well. So, our system, as a whole, is overwhelmed. So, offering even three minutes, five minutes, of like, let’s just have some moment where you’re looking inward and you’re quiet and relaxed, and give them the gift of some positive suggestions.
That is as simple as hypnosis is. And then having that science to support it and having the know-how to weave that into Nurse Coaching. It’s so intuitive and automatic when you overlay the science of hypnosis— which is ages, ages old— and weave that into our Nursing healing model.
Nicole Vienneau 40:30
Sign us up!
Christy Cowgill 40:35
Well, since you mentioned that, one of my goals for this year— 2022— and it’ll be ongoing because I imagine that 2023… 24… and onward, my passion in Nursing is really beholden to the profession and to make it better, to make it the best it can be, and to lift up the Nurses who are feeling that burnout in support.
If you are a Nurse, and you’re listening to this, or if you’re any type of healer— an energy healer, a physician, anybody— throughout this year, I’m going to be offering free one hour webinars where we’re going to talk about pain, illness, and cancer and how you can help, and some really quick techniques for helping through that journey.
Some of them I’ve mentioned here, and they’re really simple— the words that we use, changing the words that we use, and then some techniques that you can do to help your clients in the moment. And you can be a little hypnotist because a hypnotist is just changing that mindset. And there’s always Q&A after that.
So, you know, if you want to know more about hypnosis, obviously that would be a great space to ask that, or if you want to know more about Nurse Coaching. But I’ll offer that throughout the year. I also offer hypnobirthing for beginners, and sometimes I do have clinicians or Nurses or healers pop into that— doulas.
But specifically, it’s for the moms and their partners who want to know more about what does hypnobirthing look like. But it’s a great way to kind of learn about the curriculum. A lot of our hospitals offer kind of a Lamaze or Bradley method. Hypnobirthing isn’t that different. It’s a comprehensive childbirth education model.
So, we talk about all of the physical things that are happening in the body, and the emotional and the spiritual, and the psychology of birth is interwoven there, along with some hypnotherapy that the moms learn, as well as their partners. And then moms learn self-hypnosis, and they learn as deep as the Esdaile technique, which was brought upon in the 1890s by Dr. Esdaile.
And he was using it in surgery. And we know that the Mayo brothers, when they opened their hospitals in Minnesota over 130 years ago, they were also using hypnotherapy techniques for surgery, for big abdominal surgeries. And they were finding that the patients who had that offered to them were using, you know, 20 to 30 to 50 percent less anesthesia— less ether, in that case— than other patients.
And that’s profound. And we’ve lost some of that art because we’ve… it’s just been lost in our evolution of how healthcare has been modeled. So, it’s a gift to us, as healers, to heal ourselves, but also to find another way where we can fit this in quickly into the space and time that we have with a client. Just simply kind of even nudge them a little bit in that direction of being more in tune with their own healing possibilities.
So, those are ways that people can get involved right now. I think by the end of this year— I’ve done it before, but it’ll come back— is not speaking specifically to healthcare, but speaking to the entrepreneur in the healthcare space. So, speaking to the new Nurse Coach, perhaps, on creating business and business success.
And how hypnosis can accelerate your performance and business. How hypnosis can accelerate and overcome your fear of failure, your fear of success; can motivate you to do the things that you need to do to have a healthy, successful entrepreneurial business. And so that, again, is combining my years of experience in Nurse anesthesiology, where I’ve always been an independent contractor.
I’ve always been in that space of it’s been a business model for me as well as a healing model. But now, as a Nurse Coach and building a different business— and a lot of it’s been like digital advertising, digital marketing— how do you show up there? And then what does that look like? And how does organic growth happen? How do you partner with your practitioners in the community?
So, that’s a live and evergreen sort of course. So, it’s a self-pace you learn, but also, you know, some live interaction there. So, there’s some really helpful tools, but also I leverage how hypnosis can help you get there without having to struggle. And that was really successful last year, so I will be doing that again the end of this year. And that’s a really fun way to get involved, too.
Nicole Vienneau 45:28
So, how can we find you?
Christy Cowgill 45:32
You can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. You could also just call or text: (971) 249-2819, for those who want to do that the old-fashioned way. And that… you know, a lot of people like to text and that’s fine. But my website is also enterintocalm.com, so find me there. Find me on any of the socials: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn.
I try to monitor those as much as possible, but oftentimes people will find me there and just have a quick question or a win, too. Like, I love hearing wins. I love hearing Nurses say I had a patient who had really high blood pressure preoperatively, and I just sat with them and I used a couple of quick techniques, and next thing you know, their blood pressure was down, we were able to go forward with the procedure.
That’s a win. That’s helping somebody overcome their white coat syndrome very easy by just some guided imagery and coaching. So, share your wins, ask me questions, come to a training, I offer a lot for free. And then, also, I offer one-on-one coaching and consulting and hypnosis. And that looks a lot like a hypnotherapy session combined with a lot of Nurse Coaching. So, it’s a nice blend of those two worlds.
Nicole Vienneau 47:06
Sounds wonderful. And of course, we’re going to share all of your links in our show notes so people can easily access you.
In the last few minutes that we have together, is there anything that you’d like to share with our audience, from your heart?
Christy Cowgill 47:21
From my heart, I know that each of us was born and made to be a healer. And we give and we give and we give every day as much as we can. It’s like we’re squeezing that juice out of an orange to the last drop. And when you’re done doing that, unclasp your hands and look at the orange that you’ve been squeezing. And thank that orange and give it back the juice that it needs so the next day, it can be a big, plump orange again, and give and give and give.
And that is from my heart. That’s how I feel. I really feel that we are all called for a purpose in this life, and it morphs and it changes and sometimes we resist that change. Sometimes, we’re not aware of that change. Sometimes, there are those delayed AHAs.
So, when we’re done squeezing and we thank that orange and we look at it, that’s where we can decide what building that orange back up to its full capacity looks like, and how we can contribute to making that orange nice and plump and juicy again. And we have the power each and every day to do that.
Nicole Vienneau 48:33
Thank you for your words from your heart to our hearts. Thank you so much, Christy, for sharing all of your wisdom, all of your experiences, your passion for what you do for others, for yourself, as well, and healing yourself and caring for yourself and others. And we look forward to seeing your future success as you journey on through life.
Christy Cowgill 48:58
Yes, thank you, Nicole, and thank you to all the listeners.
Certified Hypnotist, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Registered Nurse, and Nurse Coach (Board Certified)
Christy Cowgill, CH, RN, CRNA, MBA, CHBE, NC-BC
Certified Hypnotist, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Registered Nurse, and Nurse Coach (Board Certified) has been practicing nursing since 1997 and began introducing hypnosis formally in the last decade to both clients and other medical professionals.
She has a MBA that inspired her to open Enter Into Calm, LLC- Hypnosis and Coaching alongside her anesthesia practice Alchemy Anesthesia, LLC. Previously working directly with patients facing upcoming surgery, procedures, or childbirth as her role in perioperative medicine; she now also serves both private clients and small groups virtually.
Her enthusiasm and knowledge has caught national and global accolades and her programs have been described as a life changing experience. Her current programs focus on weight management, HypnoBirthing®, mindset for the entrepreneur, pain management, and her other passion lies in helping those facing their cancer journey.
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