PALM HARBOR — Failing banks, evaporating portfolios, plummeting property values.
Today's monetary mayhem is enough to give even the most cheerful a case of the financial blues.
Now, certified hypnotist Debbie Lane says she can help the sad and distressed boost their mood and confidence, eliminate those fears of recession and program their minds for prosperity.
All without turning them into barking dogs or clucking chickens.
In honor of World Hypnotism Day, Lane will appear Saturday at Oak Trail Books in downtown Palm Harbor, where she will give a free workshop from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Lane said she will dole out practical tips, show ways to drain emotion and fear from the body, and conduct a group trance — sans the proverbial pocket watch.
The stereotype of a hypnotist waving a shiny metal object and turning people into robot-like slaves willing to jump off a cliff is a myth, she said.
"Hypnotism is a safe, natural experience that happens to us every day of our life," she said.
"The last brain wave before you go to sleep and the first brain wave as you're waking up are hypnotic brain waves. If we focus on a concern before we go to sleep with a question rather than fear, often we wake up with a solution," she said.
Lane said she saved over $3,000 on her car and house insurance by using this method.
Saturday she will be a tour guide, leading audience members into a deep, relaxed state conducive to positive thoughts — and a great night's sleep.
The hypnotic state, which feels similar to daydreaming, bypasses the conscious mind to allow the subconscious mind to be more receptive to suggestions, she explained.
Audience members will be aware of sounds around them and free to emerge from the trance at will.
"They will be in control the whole time. Hypnosis is not mind control. If it was, there would be world peace," she quipped.
Lane is known for her work helping Jennifer Mee, the "hiccup girl" who suffered nonstop for nearly six weeks. The media attention thrust Lane into the spotlight and she was subsequently named the 2007 International Hypnotist of the Year by the International Association of Counselors and Therapists.
Lane said she has stopped the hiccups of a man from New York who was plagued with the problem for four years and has helped a woman who had been burping continuously for two years.
"I've had them burping and chirping and with problems on the other end as well," she said, referring to the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
She also helps people overcome test anxiety, stop smoking, lose weight, and improve their public speaking skills.
On Saturday, she'll address what she believes has become a widespread problem.
"Recession blues seemed like a timely topic," she said.
Reach Terri Bryce Reeves at firstname.lastname@example.org.