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  • Writer's pictureDr Kate Owen

How Hypnosis Changed My Tastebuds

Dr Kate Owen

Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Family Therapist

I met Dr. Mike Dow in May 2023 at the Mind Heart Connect Conference in Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Mike Psy.D., Ph.D., is an American psychotherapist and author and was teaching a Masterclass on self-hypnosis.

I had been meditating for many years and was curious to see how similar or different self-hypnosis was, so I was very keen on this part of the Conference. I had colleagues who had studied hypnosis, so I knew that it was a meditative state whilst still holding awareness. I wasn’t as worried as some of the people in the audience who wanted to know if he was going to make them cluck like chickens. For the record...stage hypnosis is a gross misrepresentation of what actually occurs and it is worth noting that everybody who volunteers for such performances is in the 'driver's seat' of their experience. That's right, they are willingly clucking like a chicken.

As we sat in the audience Dr. Mike asked what we wanted to use hypnosis for, and someone called out “Eating healthy”. So Dr. Mike proceeded to guide a hypnosis session with this request in mind. During the process, I remember being captivated that as he described making healthy choices such as eating salmon and vegetables, I could visualize this dish, smell the salmon and it smelt appealing to me. This was truly fascinating as I had never enjoyed eating seafood except for a small amount of mild-tasting fish…usually with a lot of batter! The hypnosis session ended and I felt peaceful and relaxed, thinking nothing more of the experience.

What happened next was where the magic (or science) happened.

Later that evening my friends and I went to a Spanish restaurant for dinner and on the menu was a lot of seafood. Without even hesitating I ate prawns, mussels, and fish….and it tasted delicious. My friends who know me very well could not believe their eyes. This is when I knew that Dr. Mike had activated my subconscious brain and the implanted suggestions from earlier that day had taken hold.

Well, that was it, I just needed to learn more!

I quickly purchased his book “Your Subconscious Brain Can Change Your Life: Overcome Obstacles, Heal Your Body, and Reach Any Goal with a Revolutionary Technique” and downloaded the accompanying audio files of Dr. Mike guiding several different sessions. Of course, I jumped straight to the audio experience, and then backtracked and read through the chapters.

The book outlines Dr. Mike’s integrative approach which he calls Subconscious Visualization Technique (SVT). SVT is a combination of hypnosis with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness, guided visualization, audio-visual entrainment, and bilateral stimulation (utilizing the left and right sides of the body to access both sides of the brain). And as Dr. Mike writes “Don’t worry if you have no idea what any of this clinical mumbo jumbo means. You don’t need to. In fact, there’s no need for you to understand what’s happening for the magic (oops, I mean science) to work” (p.xv).

The first half of the book is for neuro nerds like myself where you learn the science about the subconscious brain, brain waves, medical imaging, and the SVT process. As Dr. Mike writes “If you think the subconscious brain is some woo-woo pseudoscience, get ready to have your mind blown” (p.xiii).

Part two of the book guides the reader through the rationale for using SVT for specific goals and the science supporting its use for groups of conditions. With each of these specific areas, there is a transcript you can learn and adapt if needed. Don’t worry, each of the specific areas also comes with the audio download so Dr. Mike can do all the work for you if you choose.

The specific areas include:

· Letting Go

· Stress Less and Conquer Fear

· Boost Your Mood

· Habits and Healthier Living

· Healing Your Body, Pain and Elusive Conditions

And as a bonus, in the Appendix Dr. Mike has included support for:

· Sleep, Insomnia, and Induced Dreaming

· Success

· Spiritual Connection

Of course, there are contraindications for using SVT and these are listed in the book.

So I did an experiment and listened to several of Dr. Mike’s audio files every day over a two-week period. At first, I wasn’t sure if my subconscious brain was being activated and influenced by these experiences, but then some small but important things started to shift in my thinking, attitude, mood, and behaviour. I felt surprised when I noticed myself being more confident and assertive than I usually would be. I felt pleased when I could handle challenging situations more calmly than I would have before.

All of this makes sense to me, as earlier in the year I read Dr. David Hamilton’s book “Why Woo Woo Works”. I appreciated the research quoted in his book and how he explains how a belief system is a powerful tool in healing.

“Our beliefs and perception alter our brain and body biochemistry in a direction that confirms what we believe is supposed to happen. Biology will always follow perception. When perception shifts, so does biology” – David R Hamilton

My interest had been piqued and I signed up to study Clinical Hypnotherapy. I won't be relying on scripts for my hypnosis sessions as I am learning a Modern form of hypnosis that tailors the embedded suggestions to the unique circumstances and strengths of the client. My learning and application in this area have been fascinating so far. Just ask my study buddy who is very happy that my practice has turned her fear of spiders into something that she can smile about!

But if nothing else, I hope that this article has been interesting to highlight the importance and power of your belief system and unconscious processes. What you think and believe really does make a difference in your life. So monitor your thoughts and the stories that you tell yourself…and perhaps experiment with talking to your subconscious. Apparently, it is always listening.


Dow, M. (2019). Your Subconscious Brain Can Change Your Life: Overcome Obstacles, Heal Your Body, and Reach Any Goal with a Revolutionary Technique. Hay House Australia.

Hamilton, D. (2021). Why Woo Woo Works: The Surprising Science Behind Meditation, Reiki, Crystals and Other Alternative Practices. Hay House.


Please note that this article is educational in nature and does not constitute therapeutic advice or recommendation. Please seek professional support if required.

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