'Earlier it was a stigma to discuss mental problems. But I get more patients for past life regression as in India people believe in rebirth and karma,' Dr Prakriti Poddar, who uses hypnotism to treat illnesses, tells A Ganesh Nadar.
Have you ever had the need to meet a hypnotherapist?
A hypnotherapist is not your usual doctor. S/he analyses your past and present to understand the source of your illness and your mental state.
Given the rise in suicides and mental health issues across the world and particularly in India, there is a growing demand for experts who can counsel and treat you in alternate medicine.
Dr Prakriti Poddar is a hypnotherapist who uses hypnotism to cure people "who are willing."
Hypnotherapy, an alternate form of medicine, involves a combination of science, technology and therapy.
Dr Poddar studied hynotherapy at the California Institute of Hypnotherapy in Mumbai, and has knowledge of hypnotherapy, past life regression, neuro-linguistic programming, tasso regression and neuro feedback (mapping brain waves) using an EEG machine.
"My grandma Sheela Bhalla was a faith healer and that is why I chose this field. I liked what she did," she says, sitting in her office in Lower Parel, south central Mumbai.
After her education, she started as a counsellor in the Salvation Army.
During the 11 years she lived in Canada, Dr Poddar started Mind Over Image, a healthcare consulting firm. She moved to India in 2003.
In India, she used her skills and experience in healing and hypnotherapy to provide corporate training for HR professionals. This included training in emotion, behaviour and leadership.
"I had to start with the basic before moving onto the esoteric," she explains.
"In Canada, people are open to discussing problems of the mind and so hypnotherapy was a success there. In India, they are opening up only now."
"Earlier it was a stigma to discuss mental problems. But I get more patients for past life regression as in India people believe in rebirth and karma. I have Buddhist patients who want to get rid of bad karma," she says.
Dr Poddar has created various therapy tools to help her patients. Some of the popular ones are The Legacy Gene, The HIP Technique and I Sound Pharmacy.
In I Sound Pharmacy therapy, Dr Poddar first identifies a sound that takes you back to the trauma you have been through.
For example, if you have been in a car accident, each time you hear the screeching of brakes, you relive the trauma.
In her therapy, she replaces that sound with a healing sound. So the next time you hear it, you don't recreate the trauma.
She also uses incidents from the past to cure health issues.
Dr Poddar explains how she cured a lady who had a backache for many years.
"She tried many doctors and finally came to me. I discovered she was an only child and as a young girl of four she had once fallen down. After that her parents became over-protective and did not allow her to do many things telling her not to hurt herself," Dr Poddar recalls.
"This constantly telling her to be careful played on her mind. It was like a spider sitting on her back, holding her away from everything. So whenever she wanted to do anything, she would hold back as she didn't want to hurt herself. Once I came to know what worried her, I suggested that it was not the truth and nothing was going to happen to her. The pain disappeared."
"In the first few sessions I plant a seed," says Dr Poddar. "Usually I can help the patient in five sessions. Depression can set in as early as the womb and it depends on how your mother was feeling at that time."
A single session, she says, costs Rs 2,000. Clinical hypnotherapy is Rs 3,000 per session.
The first session is just to relax you, she says. The treatment starts from the second session.
A five-session course can range between Rs 17,000 and Rs 25,000.