CIUT Radio Presents: TECHNOLOGY ADDICTION The Unintended Consequences With Didi Vergados & Lesley Mitchell Clarke


TECHNOLOGY ADDICTION The Unintended Consequences of Technological Innovation with Didi Vergados & Lesley Michelle Clark on Innovation Nation – TRANSCRIPT OF PODCAST

Stephen: Welcome to the Innovation Nation on career buzz, Canada’s unique radio conversation that, empowers lives, enriches careers and energizes organizations.

Welcome to innovation Nation on career buzz. Hi I’m Stephen Armstrong and I’m pleased to be your host today on Innovation Nation. Innovation nation explores the intersection of the real world business practices in people’s career development. We explore how individuals turn their personal passion for innovation, into tangible commercial success. Thank you for tuning in this morning. Now today on our show, we focus on technology innovation, is it our savior, or is it the downfall of us? Are there unintended consequences? Throughout the years, we have seen an explosion in technology that goes far beyond what we could ever imagine was impossible. The intention behind this technology was meant to make our life easier, save us time and be more efficient. But, what happens when the very thing that is meant to help us takes over our lives? Today our guest experts are Lesley Mitchell Clark and Didi Vergados. And we will be talking about addiction to technology, and the impact that it’s currently having on our culture. Now, in part 1, we’re going to discuss the basic impact of technology and the addictive characteristics of it, in people’s lives. First, we’re going to be listening to Didi Vergados, who is a board certified hypnotherapist and a master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming and she specializes in health. She’s also a personal development and a corporate trainer in the field of emotional health and wellness. We also will be joined by Lesley Mitchell Clark, who is a US licensed Psychiatric Technician, a clinical and master Hypnotherapist, and a certified hypnosis regressionist with a background in neuro-linguistic programing. Now that’s all a mouthful, but you will obviously hear all about what that contents, what it’s all about. Her specialties include working with individuals for pain management, addictions, fertility issues, pediatric hypnosis, phobias and performing and creative artist issues. Both Didi and Lesley, present regularly at many hypnosis conferences and also are featured guests on various podcasts, radio and television shows. So, we are so proud and honored to have them with us today. Hi Didi and Lesley, welcome to Innovation Nation.

Lesley: Good morning to you Stephen, and also a very happy Samhain, Keltic New Year.

Stephen: Oh, is it.

Lesley: Well, it was on Halloween. So…..

Stephen: You’re teaching me something. It’s one of my interests to have a Keltic show.

Lesley: We should do

Stephen: Ok, good, well let’s get into this one first. Didi we’ll start off with you. What’s going on out there? Today I was driving, cause I was coming to the show, I happen to see things differently. I saw about 30 people at a bus stop in down town Toronto and at least 80% no exaggeration, were texting, or looking at their cell phones. There was nobody interacting with one another. And it got me thinking, we’re becoming attached to our iPad and our cell phones. And one could say it’s a very serious addiction. There seems to be intended consequences of the technology. What is going on?

Didi: Well I always resort to googling, and googling not just because it brings up various research statistics. But when I Googled just the keyword, technology addiction, there were forty eight million five hundred thousand (48,500,000) pages on google about technology addiction. That’s absolutely incredible, so then I thought I wonder how many people are typing in smart phone addiction and that was 1 million four hundred and twenty thousand (1,420,000) people are looking for those subjects on google. So it’s very interesting I think, not only us, but people are aware that this is a growing concern and I think they’re starting to feel the impacts and there’s all kind of apps out there you can get. But I did notice…

Stephen: Apps for what?

Didi: To help you…

Stephen: To help you?

Didi: with smart phone addiction.

Stephen: Ok, we’ll explore that.

Didi: So we know when the app market opens up, clearly there’s a need for it. But one of the interesting research studies was done by Nottingham Trent University, and they asked participants between 18 and 33, how much time do you think you spend on you cell phone? And what it ended up was that, they picked up their device 85 times a day. Which was double the amount they even thought. What that worked out to be…

Stephen: So after tracking themselves

Didi: Well the research study tracked them. So. they estimated half that time that they were picking up their cell phones it’s actually double what they thought and they actually spent one third (1/3) of their waking time on their cell phone.

Stephen: So cell phone is actually the new smoking.

Didi: Yeah. So, when you calculate that out of course it’s gotta cause some distress, because we only have so many hours in the day and if people are doubling what they think the time is that they’re spending on their cell phones then, really that’s not leaving other time for important things, such as family, such as work, such as running around getting errands done. So, there’re lots of consequences to it.

Stephen: And you had some research also from the University of Glasgow. Do you remember what that was about?

Didi: Yes we can talk about that in a moment, but what I’d like to talk about, is what I’ve noticed with clients coming in. Clients are coming in and there’s a real ineptness developing in their social conduct. So, people are no longer speaking face to face with one another, what I find is they’re texting.

Stephen: Even if they’re in the next room?

Didi: I don’t know about that…

Stephen: Emailing…

Didi: Yeah, texting, emailing they’re not communicating face to face. Two examples I’ll give you, one time we were having a family picnic and we invited a new child and there’s all these new kids, the kid felt a little awkward and instead of being forced to mingle with the other children, what I saw him do was close down and look busy by getting on his smart phone. So, there’s thing like that. No longer are we forced to interact in situations we once were. The second thing is, I hear the most incredible stories about people who have been in intimate relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend for two years. I had a client recently, and he texted the break up. And I said, well why wouldn’t both of you sit down and talk, well he doesn’t like confrontation. Really? And this is a man who worked beside her every day. So, he couldn’t even sit down and have a conversation. So it allows people outs on conversations. It used to be, in our day, when someone wanted to breakup with you, that they take you out to dinner and they always did it face to face, anyone who’s a gentleman anyways. So, we’re seeing all kinds of effects like that were people are just not speaking to one another and it really concerns me what’s happening to the children how they have a lack of social development because of these devices.

Stephen: Now, is the change in human behavior cause by technology? Or is it people, is it their own development? In other words, that they are too shy, they want to avoid confrontation. So, if they didn’t have the technology, what would they do?

Didi: If they didn’t have the technology, that child would have been forced to approach other children or other children would have approached him because they say him standing there.

Stephen: So it’s stifling development.

Didi: It’s completely stifling development

Stephen: So if there is reticence for someone to engage in face to face contact, this is the way out.. And it fosters and reinforces

Didi: Yeah, it’s the way out, yes it does and it stifles the development of children as far as I’m concerned, socially speaking.

Stephen: Hi Lesley, what is addiction, let’s get down into the depth of that.

Lesley: Well, perhaps we should just kind of look at maybe the two primary different types of addiction that we deal with as human beings. And since we’re focusing on tech-addiction primarily, let me start with that. Addiction to technology, is really just a contemporary twist on a whole series of addictive behaviors that are called process addictions. Now, a process addiction is, any kind of addiction that does not involve the ingestion of substances into the human body. And so, a good example of several process addictions would be; gambling, online or electronic gaming you can even put sex addiction, anorexia, trichotillomania, which is hair pulling and certainly particularly in the area of the under developed teenage brains with the barely formed frontal lobe engaging in dangerous sort of adrenalin based behaviors. And there’re a lot of other negative activities that fall into that category and certainly as Didi was just pointing out so eloquently, as a society we now feel we have to be constantly connected, and not only is this impeding and stunting social interaction and behavior in our young people to even be able to engage socially, but also the lines between our work life and out personal time, have completely become blurred.

Stephen: Yeah, in other words, at home at night after you have you dinner with you family, you’re on you’re on your text or on your email and so on. You’re never offline

Lesley: Oh, certainly, that’s right, there are no distinctions, never offline. And this kind of behavior is not only causing a lot emotional burnout, but certainly it’s leading to a kind of a constant expectation for instant gratification. And that’s really what we’re talking about here, because in a process addiction, which I just described, we’re still talking about a kind of a drug interaction, but the drugs themselves are being created by our own bodies.

Stephen: Explain that, the endorphins or yeah?

Lesley: Yes, and you can see this, I suppose tech-addiction could most closely be related to gambling addiction. In that, the process itself, when the bet is made or when you log on, or when you check your emails, there’s literally a release of an endorphin cocktail, a hormonal cocktail which involves; serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, not Nora Ephron, but norepinephrine.

Stephen: So it’s the process of building up to the actual even for gambling is where the excitement is, the process for build, it’s the actions you take in order to fulfill the need where the excitement is.

Lesley: Yes. Now again, we should probably talk about the idea and this is still a bit controversial that some individuals have a genetic predisposition towards addiction, in general. Now, just because somebody is born with that pre disposition doesn’t mean they have to act on it or that they will act on it. So, generally when someone is involved in an addiction, either a process addiction or a substance addition, there have been also triggering factors. Traumatic events, you name it, anything can be a triggering factor.

Stephen: Well, especially on the internet there’s so many triggers there’s pornography, its push at you practically on many sites. And s0 that would be a trigger. Violence of course, in the news, on the net, can trigger behavioral addictions.

Lesley: Well, I think probably when I use the word trigger, more than that kind of situation, I think what I’m referring too, would be an incident in someone’s personal life. Say you’re a child, your parents divorced, you’re 12 years old, you’re going through a trauma. So the tech addiction has and analgesic aspect to it. What you’re really doing it trying to get your body to pump out chemicals that will take away the hurt feelings. And this of course is also when teenagers you hear about them cutting themselves. That is a tremendous release of endorphins. So, if there’s a trauma that has in fact triggered these behaviors it’s generally and emotional trauma. But as you said, the door is wide open, and I think some doors should probably never be opened for certain people.

Stephen: What would they do if they’re involved in this cycle, this process, what can they do about it?

Lesley: Of addiction?

Stephen: The second part of the show we’re gonna talk about remedies. But just to set the stage now, is there hope for people who are engaged in spending 10 hours and 12 hours a day glued to their computer, going to bed at 4 in the morning, having to get up at 6 in the morning, can’t let go. So there is hope?

Lesley: Absolutely. What Didi and I do every day is, we interrupt these neural circuits, if you will, these behavioral circuits that are involved in the repetitive behaviors. Because the addictive brain, just very-very briefly, the addictive brain functions a little bit differently than those of us, and I have the addictive gene, I now from 23 in me, that I do, but the person who is pre-disposed to addiction has a different neurological function. For instance; if you are not predisposed that way, you can do a pleasurable activity and the neural response goes to you brain once and you are satisfied by that experience. In the addictive brain the desire to repeat in the endorphin release is ongoing. And once that door is opened, to stop that pattern the brain needs to be retrained and we do that.

Stephen: So you can be trained, we’ll talk…I just want to set that stage in the second part of the show

Lesley: Yes, Absolutely.

Stephen: We’re going to….go ahead Didi.

Didi: Yeah, I was going to say for members of your audience who want to google it, it variable ratio enforcement. And that is, we never know whether it’s going be a good text, or a bad text, or a satisfying email so it causes us to keep checking-checking because there’s going be that one time just like that slot machine. Where, we’re going get so excited and it’s going give us that little dopamine squirt. It’s the dopamine squirt we’re looking for, so we’ve trained our brain to keep checking, checking checking. I want to check because I know one time out of 10 I’m going to get my boyfriend saying Hey, I miss you, Whoo yeah, I’m happy

Stephen: That was like in the old days when you wanted the phone call

Didi: right

Lesley: Yeah, where you actually wanted a phone call.

Stephen: And every time the phone rang you freaked out you hope it was you other hard partner whatever, in the early stages of courtship.

Didi: Because it’s so instant because this is attached, I’m sure they’re going make one that’s an extension of our hand soon.

Lesley: Well, the little watch, the I Watch is darn close.

Stephen: Well that is the whole concept today of the internet of things where everything will have a chip on it including our human body so there are big ethical issues a head but that will take us out of the focus.

Didi: Yeah but I did want to mention that I did see one technology where your arm is actually the screen now. So you actually are typing things in on your arm which…

Stephen: So you have and implant?

Didi: No, somehow they turned the arm into the screen, the interface for the phone. So, I was just joking, but actually the technology is there.

Stephen: Of course

Didi: And it’s really scary.

Stephen: I want to get back to the process addiction versus substance. Now, our focus today is process but I just you to set the stage in the context with substance so just again explain the precise difference between the process and addiction and the substance. Give a sum…example, we all know…but just give some.

Lesley: Well, Just very-very clearly a process addiction involves a release of pleasurable brain chemicals into your body through a specific action which then becomes repetitive in order to keep receiving that release.

Stephen: and the substance?

Lesley: A substance addiction involves someone who is bringing an external concoction, whether it’s an opioid or a stimulant…

Stephen: Alcohol, cocaine…

Lesley: Alcohol, into the body in order to also create that euphoric sensation. And so in the realm of addiction actually a process addiction is much more challenging to treat, because first of all the client has to become aware that that’s what’s going on…

Stephen: It’s triggered by mental thoughts?

Lesley: Indeed, and it’s always accessible you don’t have to go down and find a dope dealer at college in Spedina it’s always available so….

Stephen: You can’t just escape it.

Lesley: You really can’t, and so it’s again, and this is true in hypnotherapy in every respect

Didi: It’s the same with food, cigarettes are on or off, you’re either smoking or you’re not. But with things like food addiction, tech addiction that variety store offering the Twinkies, the super market the restaurants they’re every block. So this is why we have slightly different ways in dealing with food and technology addictions, but we do handle all addictions.

Lesley: Indeed, because some of the process addictions as you say, they have to be just downgraded to a normal proportion. In other words, let’s talk about sex addiction, someone who is always looking at pornography and certainly the healthy person wants to have that as part of their life a sex life that is healthy and emotionally connected. So we can’t completely ….

Stephen: Say you can’t do it?

Lesley: Eliminate yeah we have to walk a fine line between stopping the compulsion if you will interrupting the compulsion and still allowing the person to preserve the normalcy of…

Stephen: Sex!

Lesley: of Sex, so that’s one instance in which process addiction is challenging to deal with.

Stephen: I’m Stephen Armstrong and you’re listening to the Innovation Nation on Career buzz here on CIUT 89.5 FM Toronto and worldwide online at CIUT.FM. Just a special announcement our membership drive starting the 14th of November our goal the year CIUT is $60,000. The date of the honor campaign is Monday the 14th of November till 20th the 14th of November so please tune in and donate because this is a volunteer driven organization and we’re bringing such great guests as our two guests today talking about technology addiction. Now I’d like to get your back grounds just before we go to the break in about 10 mins. We’ll pick it up in the second half and talk about the remedies the good things that people can do to well get healthy

Stephen: Didi how did you get into this field?

Didi: I thought the mind is the most amazing and powerful thing. Ever since the time I was young and I heard that statistic we only use 10% of our brain, I thought wow what, would happen if were using the other 90% like what’s capable, what are we capable of, what’s possible.

And I started studying things like hypnotism because there were miraculous things that people could get over just by being put in a trance and being told they could. And what we have discovered about hypnotism, is that0 pretty much our belief systems are suspended while in a trance, so anything thing is possible anything really is possible, people have gotten rid of tumors in a weekend. I also have another program called miracles in hypnosis

Stephen: Would you be controversial by saying that? People have got rid of tumors in a weekend?

Didi: It’s medically documented

Stephen: It’s medically documented?

Didi: I interviewed on hypnotherapist, lady came in a on a Thursday, she’d originally came to him for fear of flying and then she discovered she had a tumor which was medically document and he worked with her for three and a half hours with putting her in and out of trance and she felt warmth going to the area and when she went back on Monday to get I think it was a biopsy they discovered there was nothing left except scar tissue. And the doctor was so amazed that he ran the studies up to the universities himself. Because he thought wow, how is this possible?

So we know we’re capable of a lot more than we once believe.

Stephen: And this is tapping into the unconscious or the subconscious mind?

Didi: Sure-sure-sure, and because I’ve done many interviews on my series miracles in Hypnosis, on in the know, you can see them there. It’s astounding, it’s incomprehensible what’s possible when we tap into this power of your mind. So again I’d became very fascinated from the very-very young age and started studying this stuff like crazy. And I’ve actually made it my mission, I’m always trying to keep up to date on what’s going work, what’s going work, what’s going work besides hypnosis NLP is very good with…

Stephen: Neuro-linguistic programming?

Didi: Right, with breaking patterns, as Lesley was saying we do pattern interrupts, we use neuro-linguistic patterns interrupts to like interrupt the pattern in the brain and put something else in for the brain to respond to instead that’s a healthy behavior. So that’s a little bit of how I became interested. But I’ll study anything, not just hypnotism. I’m happy to go to a jungle and study shamanism. Whatever is gonna work, yeah whatever is going work, I’m looking at it.

Stephen: managing you mind.

Didi: I’m looking at it.

Stephen: Lesley, what’s your story, how did you get into this field?

Lesley: Well my undergraduate degree is in psychology and also theater arts so I’ve always been sort of drawn both to the medical and the arts. And then while attending university I became first a Psychiatric aid and then a Psychiatric technician. And I’m as old as dirt, so we’re talking a long time ago.

Stephen: You don’t look it.

Lesley: Well it’s all the spackle and the duct-tape. But during that time period when I was at university it was the very dawn of psychotropic medications, in other words, we really didn’t even have antidepressants. When I did this kind of work there was still strait jackets, padded rooms, electroshock therapy, you name it, I saw it, I helped facilitate it. And so I began to really…

Stephen: So you as the tech were right at the front line?

Lesley: Right at the front lines, but I intuitively, instinctively knew that much of what was going on was completely the wrong path and archaic and would be outdated soon. And I had tremendous compassion for the people that I was caring for. So many years later I actually made kinda of a career shift. I went back to school, I became trained and I was fascinated with the process of hypnosis as Didi pointed out because of its incredible ability to work quickly.

Stephen: And heal?

Lesley: And heal, Traditional talk therapy I essentially lost faith in that I did not want to practice as a psychologist I think people can yammer about their problems for 15 years, or 40 years or a 100 years, like Woody Allen, and then go out and strip their daughters. I think that there are great limitations. It can become ego based.

Stephen: So traditional Freudian psychotherapy you’re not into it?

Lesley: I think they are very important elements that we take away from the work of Dr. Freud, which used tremendous amounts of hypnosis by the way, he was the main twentieth century presenter of that technique. But hypnosis, you may not know this is ancient in the extreme. It’s over 5000 years old that we know about both the Greeks and the romans practiced it regularly. The Greeks had what they called sleep temples entire clinics devoted

Stephen: So meditation?

Lesley: Well they did it a little bit differently, they used a maze for one thing a kind of maze of a maze and the priest doctors would get the client or the patient into an altered state by using some type of opiated drink probably. But both the Greek and the Egyptians believe in the complete mind body connection. In western medicine we lost that for a while. So the client would be, or the patient would be put into a light trance state by using a mild hypnotic and then the priest doctors would hide in these little hidey holes, these little areas within the maze and the patient would be walked through the maze by a priest doctor on each side and then at certain intervals another priest doctor would pop out of their hidey hole and whisper a positive message into the ear of the client or patient rather. So they were still putting people into a trance state, they were still putting in suggestions exactly what we do today but they had also added the sort of the mind body aspect to it by also having the person walk the maze.

Stephen: You talked about psychotropic drugs, I don’t want that to pass. So first you said people were treated and we can remember those black and white films and movies about people being put in strait jackets and be getting electric-shock therapy in the 1930s and so on in the United States. And then with the psychotropic drugs which I assume means antidepressants and so on, what’s your take on those? Because there’s a lot of controversy over many of these drugs; Prozac, Zoloft Amin and the damage they do.

Lesley: Well, the first psychotropic drugs were antidepressants came along, the first psychotropic drugs would have been things like; Thora zine, Stela zine Mel aril drugs that were designed for violent patients. So the first drugs that came along were designed to eliminate things like straitjackets and patter grooms. So the patient would be completely sedated a lot of the time.

Stephen: like zombies

Lesley: yeah, you’ve heard the term the Thora zine shuffle, so we went from the incredibly violent episodes, to over sedation and nobody really knew dosing in the very beginning. They didn’t know how to dose correctly. So little later on, antidepressants came in and I believe there is an absolute appropriate use of SSRI inhibitors of antidepressant medication

Stephen: but where possible, deal with the hypnosis and none…

Lesley: we are not meant to replace doctors we’re a complementary, not complementary, what’s the word I’m looking for Didi? We’re a collaborative type of treatment. So, when we’re working with some who’s dealing with depression of anxiety it’s not unusual for them to be on a medication. However, some people have varying negative reactions, side effects to, especially antidepressants they tend to make people feel mid rangy. Not really happy, not really sad…

Stephen: Zombie like?

Lesley: just well…

Didi: No.

Lesley: emotionally shut down, cold, and that’s very disturbing for some people.

Lesley: So we often work with individuals who are on some levels of education.

Stephen: We’re going take a break and in the second half we’re going get into some case study and we’re going get into some remedies and then to the good stuff that there’s good news out there,

Lesley: There is!

Stephen: There are, there’s good news,

Lesley: you bet yah.

Stephen: That’s really what I want to get into. My guests today is Didi Vergados and Lesley Mitchell Clark and I’m Stephen Armstrong and you’re listen to the Innovation Nation on Career Buzz here on CIUT 89.5 FM in Toronto and worldwide at online at CIUT.FM. We’re gonna be back with Didi and Lesley to discuss the unattended consequences of technology the addictive side of it. Here’s some special music it’s called there were roses by Cara Dillon on her liberty album released in 2003. Listen to the words because it’s about people who are addicted to violence.

Stephen: Welcome back to innovation nation on career, and I’m you host, Stephen Armstrong. Before continuing with our interviews with Didi and Leslie, I just want you to know that in the AMGI website there’s over 27 previous radio programs anywhere from artificial intelligence, engineers without borders, strategic thinking, design thinking, leadership and innovation, doctors without borders, early childhood education a very great range of topics around creating a healthy innovation nation. So we’re back with Didi Vergados and Lesley Mitchel Clark. Lesley just tell me a little bit about your hypnotherapy techniques, basic principles and then I’d like to get into some client or case study or patient experience and then we wanna talk about what people out there who are having problems can do.

Lesley: Certainly, that sounds wonderful. Very simply all hypnosis is really self-hypnosis, nothing happens in hypnotherapy that the client does not want to happen. And so, what we do technically is, it was discovered that if we can the body relaxed enough, if we can get the physical body to relax and we do that in a variety of ways depending on how the client responds, what kind of language they like if they like imagery we figure that out we have training to understand how someone’s mind work so we now pretty quickly how to induct someone into a trans-state. So, once the body is physically relaxed and we have sort of distracted the conscious mind, that little if you want to call it a veil, if you want to call it a membrane between the conscious mind which is actually a very tiny part of us, it’s what we walk around

Stephen: I think it’s what 2 – 3 %

Lesley: It’s tiny, it’s like the tip of an iceberg sticking out and we use this analogy often. So the subconscious mind is the biggest part,

Stephen: That’s on top.

Lesley: And the subconscious mind is where behaviors are formed, if someone has a phobia it’s where that experience has occurred and the brain has created a defense mechanism on the form of a phobia. So once we get the body relaxed we have access to the subconscious mind where behaviors are created. So we are really guides, we are experts in the language of the subconscious mind. And it may surprise you that you think about trances and you probably have a very not you specifically, but individuals might have a very Hollywood idea about what a hypnotic-trance is. You are not unconscious, under hypnosis, unconsciousness would be the delta state. You are not unconscious. There are many levels of consciousness in hypnosis, to simplify things we talk about six levels of trance.

Stephen: Go through them.

Lesley: Well the first level is a very mild state of relaxation and level six would be what we call hypnotic coma or the Hinsdale state. And I think Didi would agree with me, we don’t general bring clients into that deep a level of trance unless we’re doing some pretty intense pain management or it may occur if we’re doing a regression process to recover memories

Stephen: Is there any danger in going to that level 6 and is it regulated?

Lesley: No, there is no danger whatsoever because it would have to be, the worst thing that would happen is that somebody might fall asleep and pass into the delta state and then they would wake up. To keep somebody in a deep level like that you would have to constantly reinforce it and we certainly don’t do that. But there’s no danger this is all benign, everything we do is benign. So in order to do behavior modification which is what Didi and I do 99.9% of the time we only need to get a client to what we call level 3. And a very good way to describe level 3 is have you ever had the experience where you’re driving your car from one point, Didi explained that to you before.

Stephen: Yes, but go ahead I want to bring that up, go ahead.

Lesley: Many people have had the experience where they’re driving from point A to Point B they arrive at the destination and they have no clear memory of how they got there

Stephen: how they got there

Lesley: And we actually call that driving hypnosis, so that is as deep as we need to get people so that they will be receptive to the suggestions. And they have to be onboard with the suggestions for them to work. And also you can’t take something out without putting something in which is what Didi mentioned earlier in dealing with addictions.

Stephen: How long do these hypnotherapy sessions last and over what period would you expect to see results?

Lesley: Results can happen immediately but we have address kind of one thing at a time in hypnosis. People may come to us with 12 issues and hypnosis is very-very effective and very quick but we have to address one issues at a time. So the amount of sessions an individual needs depends completely on the individual and the complexity of the issues.

Stephen: And their openness

Lesley: And their openness. If we’re doing something very straight ahead for us like smoking cessation, is would be unusual for it to take more than three sessions.

Stephen: And get it, that people say that’s the worst addiction of the lot but of course you’re saying it’s not, it’s the process addictions that are in the mind as oppose to the substance.


Lesley: Well, I will agree that it is one of the worst addictions but I think the fact that it’s been recognized so long and hypnosis has been recognized as a treatment for smoking cessation so long. We have very tried and true techniques, Didi and I just don’t get it there and imagine what we should do, we use intuition and we use our vast experience of course. But for many of the issues that we’re talking about her, we have actual procedures and techniques which have learn and refined and adapted.

Stephen: Well the best way for us to understand those, Didi give us some patient, client case studies.

Didi: I have both case studies from my clients and from my personal life with technology addiction. I’ve had clients come in for not just technology addiction, cutters, bulimia, food addiction, cigarettes as we mentioned many of them. I’ll give you too though, I did have a client that came in she didn’t come in for technology addiction, I don’t recall what it was she came for but she definitely had it and it was the crucks of her issue, I think it was, something to do with relationship I can’t exactly remember cause it’s so strongly in my mind that she could not put this down, and I’m holding up my smart phone

Stephen: showing a cell phone

Didi: She could not out it down, she was checking till midnight, she was checking in the middle of the night and as well…

Stephen: Well we see this in restaurants where there’s 6 people, particular young people are all siting and six of them are all on their smart phones.

Didi: Right, so the first thig I’m gonna say in dealing with any kind of addiction, as Lesley mentioned earlier on in the interview, we have to bring a conscious awareness to the client so whether we do that through regression and having them go back to the first time they learned to have this behavior and what it did for them. We’re looking at what is the client trying to do for themselves through picking up that phone all the time. Ok, so I can give my experience with corporate people for example. So a long time ago in my previous career, I’m going back 25 years ago

Stephen: When you were 5?

Didi: Yes, I dealt with a lot of corporate women and it made no sense to me because I saw that they were all working 6 days a week, 10 hours a day and I just looked at them and I said, what’s going on? Because surely you know that you may be getting a $110,000 or whatever it is you’re making but when you average it out per hour you’re actually not making much. And they would say things like it’s about performance, it’s not about that. So these people were, their identity, who they were, it was so important for them to perform at their best that they were gonna do it no matter what people threw at them they didn’t care if they had to do it 6 days a week. That’s just who they were, where as other people would be like me, you know, whatever, like I’m gonna do the best I can. So we’re looking at the positive intention so I always, obviously I’m looking at my own behavior because the email one I find that I’m constantly checking a lot and I’ve laid some boundaries up around that same with the cell phone and the texting

Stephen: You’ve become aware and conscious.

Didi: Well yes, I’ve become aware and I thought to myself ok, what am I trying to do for myself, what need am I trying to get met. Why is it that I’m compelled to always check my email? And what I discovered with myself was I don’t like to let the emails pile up then it makes me anxious right I need to…

Stephen: Cause that’s a lot of work you have to face.

Didi: Yeah, because then I feel if it gets too overwhelming I’m never going catch up. So realizing that about myself I was able to let a certain portion of that go. And it allowed me to prioritize which emails need to get out and if the other ones if I never get back to like sending in a charity donation which happens from time on somethings I belong to or I don’t send a petition out over facebook

Stephen: Blocking emails as well, of course blocking junk mail

Didi: Oh yeah-yeah my personal email is kept super clean, super clean, nothing get in there that isn’t a priority. So that’s one way of dealing with it, now the second thing we have to do is, remind the client that, how their brain works. So Lesley was saying earlier we’ve got to let them know that ok, I know the pornography give you the instant gratification, but you’re going find that engaging in real sex with your partner though it may take longer to build up to get into it the dopamine release my happen over a course of hours that’s what we call a simple pleasure versus an instant gratification. So, Lesley and both worked with this sweet girl, she was so sweet, she was addicted to GBH.

Lesley: GBH.

Stephen: What is that?

Lesley: It’s one of the date rape drugs, it’s probably more like connibinal or something like that…

Stephen: Ok, what’s its impact

Lesley: Well the millennials are using it in conjunction with alcohol primarily at their rave events it is apparently is an ecstasy, it’s like that but it’s far more dangerous and the unusual thing about this gal that we were working with is she was using it privately, repetitively.

Stephen: What did it do for here?

Lesley: Well we did come to find out that she was really trying to accomplish was manage pain.

Didi: And sleep,

Lesley: And sleep…

Didi: Paid and sleep

Lesley: She couldn’t sleep because she was in pain and so that is what we finally got down to it. And there really wasn’t even a lot of information about people who were using GHB privately.

Stephen: So this sedated her…

Lesley: So it was a heavy duty, it’s an animal tranquilizer

Didi: It’s very dangerous

Lesley: It’s extremely dangerous

Stephen: Ok so what happened?

Didi: So what happened was I worked with her on creating some boundaries around the addiction and what not and then upon realizing that she had pain we sent her to an acupuncturist as well as because I give Lesley all the pain she’s the specialist in pain management.

Lesley: It’s cause I’m a pain in the ass.

Didi: But a good one, a good one. And also Lesley is our sleep specialist so then I referred her to Lesley and she dealt with the pain and the acupuncture really helped as well but Lesley dealt with the pain and the sleep. And I mentioned that one thing to her I said, so and so you got remember it’s about getting back to simple pleasures. And then she sent us, she copied both of us on the email where she said it’s the first time I haven’t used it today. She said I went to the beach and I just and I was present at the beach and I enjoyed that simple pleasure. So helping clients realize that yeah, you’re not going get that automatic

Stephen: Yeah a lot of it’s awareness, it’s building awareness.

Didi: Yeah, it’s awareness, So I’m going let Lesley take over from here cause I’ve explained being conscious identifying what we’re trying to do for our self the positive intention or the need we’re trying to get met behind the behavior.

Stephen: I’ll just make an announcement Les and then I wanna talk about the 20 question

Lesley: Oh certainly,

Stephen: cause I think that’s a fantastic way that people can help themselves.

Lesley: Oh, lovely. Indeed they can.

Stephen: I’m Stephen Armstrong and you’re listening the Innovation nation on career buzz here on CIUT 89.5 FM in Toronto and worldwide online CIUT.FM. Again a special announcement there’s a membership drive and our CIUT goal is $60000 we’re a volunteer driven organization and we need listener support. The date of the campaign is the 14th of November until the 20th of November. Please engage with the show at that time and with the station and donate. Ok Lesley the 20 step, wait not the 20 step, the 20 questions. A lot of these things we know are based on AA, Alcoholic Anonymous

Lesley: Indeed, Indeed, they’ve been adapted

Stephen: They’ve been adapted for technology and sex and whatever.

So just take us through some of the questions or the principles of those questions, the 20 questions.


Lesley: Alright, well again these are diagnostic questions where if you are beginning to feel compelled if you are unhappy and there’s a lot of unhappiness when people are involve in addiction you have to remember this, they stop getting pleasure in the way they did initially


Stephen: Or they’re losing lots of money and time and physical wellness because they’re not getting sleep.


Lesley: they’re losing money, physical wellness, self-esteem all of it goes down the tubes and they feel it becomes compulsion. So these question that we’re about to talk about briefly here as you said were developed by Dr. Robert Cellegar at John Hopkins university in the 30s and Dr. Stephany Brown who has written a wonderful book by the way called speed if anything wants to pick it up it’s all about our life styles ad tech addiction. She had sort of adapted the questions, and I adapted the questions a little bit further ok I don’t mind saying but these questions are available on our website…


Didi: They will be shortly, absolutely.


Lesley: They will be shortly, yeah Bloom hypnosis,


Didi: Dot com…


Lesley: Dot come rather

Stephen: You mean you’re not ready for this show?


Lesley: Well, we’re as ready as we could be,


Didi: I lost my web guy


Stephen: the phones will be ringing off the off the hook, go ahead


Lesley: Well they can just talk to us. So these 20 diagnostic questions are divided into 3 categories, behaviors, feelings and beliefs essentially. So the behavioral questions that you should ask yourself if you’re wondering if you’re in this category; (1) Do you want to turn off your technology; phone, pad, computer, gaming system but find that you cannot and have you lost control. (2) Do you keep adding technologies but never taking any away, so it’s escalating, the behavior escalates. (3) Are you working, or playing on your electronic platforms for longer and longer periods of time but yet you never seem to finish either your work or your play. So your functionality starts to go out the window, right you effectiveness.


Stephen: Move into the feelings,


Lesley: And for feelings


Stephen: Two from each of the next…


Lesley: Oh alright, so for feelings do you feel internal pressure to live fast and act fast which becomes a craving to connect more rapidly and we discussed that in depth earlier. And do you feel empty if you are not constantly in action and engaging through your technology. Again these are the desires for the endorphin bumps as we would call that. Belief systems do you believe that you have no limits and are entitled to live without limits and that’s a real addictive mind set right there where feel that you a part from your own limitations. We used to call it the cocaine personality back in the 80s but it really transcends all addictions. And again another belief facility do you believe that you should think feel react and behave instantly so you’re again demanding super human stuff for yourself.

Stephen: I think this one is fantastic, I just noticed, do you reach for your phone or other devices first thing in the morning

Lesley: Yes,

Didi: Like the cigarette

Stephen: Like you’re literally waking up and there’s your computer beside you or your phone it’s incredible.

Lesley: That’s right, that’s like the first line of cocaine of the day or the first drink it is right there as soon as you come to consciousness. And believe it or not there are people who wake up in the middle of the night to check their data and their computers in the same way that someone might wake up to have a cigarette if they’re a 3 pack a way smoker.

Stephen: What are the consequences, talk about the physical the burn out etc. the consequences, give us the some examples someone might be right now be getting 2 hours sleep a night.

Lesley: Well as you said, it’s, whether it’s a process or a substance addition there’s a complete destabilization of a person’s life, they can end up homeless and on the street through tech addictions by screwing up their jobs, screwing up screwing up their relationships it is just as profound as any kind of substance addiction the body suffers people become vulnerable to illness. When we’re dealing someone with these issues we’re also usually treating anxiety, depression possibly something like Psoriasis or ulcers, you’re opening yourself to absolutely every type of possible negative consequence that can happen to a human being when you’re interfering with the basic brain chemistry of you bodies which can run perfectly.

Stephen: Listeners obviously can contact both of you or other hypnotherapist and so on or people that can help with addictions. But Didi you have a 4 step, not a four step but four specific actions that people can actually start to take to become mindful to help themselves

What are those?

Didi: OK, the first one I mentioned was getting down to the crucks of it, what areyou trying to do for yourself. For me it was peace of mind, couldn’t let the emails pile up so it caused me upon that conscious realization it caused me to just prioritize so that’s good, that’s how I handled that. The second thing is turn your alerts off I don’t know how people do it cause I know my mind

Stephen: you mean every time an email comes in it goes beep

Didi: and the texts, and I have clients that literally come in and their phone is going beep beep every 60 seconds or so it’s ridiculous

Lesley: Very common, very common

Didi: And what this does is this creates an environment constant interruption and distractions

Stephen: Technology is managing you

Didi: Yeah it becomes your task master so the first thing I always say I had this guy he was the most anxious person to this day I have ever seen really high powered executive. And I told to him turn off your alerts, creates certain boundaries say when I’m in a meeting I’m gonna turn it off because I knew the way his mind work immediately he was saying that’s a client every time the ding was going off he was getting more and more and more anxious especially when he was driving, he had been in several car accidents. And he was successful

Stephen: Oh that’s a nightmare

Didi: for while he turn it off and then he started turning it on back again

Stephen: Well he didn’t have the big accident where he hit a lady with a prom and two children?

Didi: Yeah, he had been in two car accidents it was pretty serious

But his level of anxiety was so high because of these alerts all the time.

So the first thing I say is have boundaries, turn off the alert and create boundaries of how many times a day you’re gonna check your email. Tim Ferris the 4 hours work week he was great I ready that book such a long time ago think about it that study showed us that on average most of spend one third of our working life are you kidding on our technology create boundaries for that and use discipline use discipline to enforce those boundaries There’s certain times when the work day is over I turn everything, I shut it all down at 7

Stephen: You call it breaking the state?

Didi: yeah we do a lot of work where we do pattern interruption and there’s a video on youtube where I talk about ways to kill your cravings in 60 seconds or less, it’s on my personal Didi Vergados youtube channel. So there are several things you can do if you find you’re compelled way more strongly than you believe you can handle. You’ve got to break the state and then you’ve got the turn your mind and tune it into something more productive like getting back to work or whatever it is you’ve got ta use a lot of discipline

Stephen: it’s all about mindfulness and awareness

Lesley: Indeed it is and just very quickly I did just want to insert that if you are a parent or a teacher or a caregiver with children this is very primary that you become aware of the level of stress and possible that tweens are experiencing. They are prime targets because they have a underdeveloped frontal lobe, their amygdala is barely functioning they are prime target for addictive behaviors to gaming and so any parents that are out there please do contact us if you do have concerns we’re both certified pediatric hypnotists

Stephen: And early childhood educators

Lesley: Early childhood educators because it starts early the kids are walking around with their tech at age 5 so please they’re vulnerable

Stephen: And of course they learn it from their parents or they learn from teachers who have this same addiction.

Didi: It’s the new babysitter I’ve seen like 3 year olds iPads at airports, it’s the new

Lesley: It’s allowed

Didi: It’s the new baby sitter, it’s pretty shameless but it’s the new baby sitter

Lesley: So parents have to become aware and mindful for their children’s sake

Stephen: We’re out of time I was actually gonna get both of you to give us a wrap up sentence but we’re out of time

Didi: Feel free to go to our website at www.Bloom we have lots of videos

Stephen: She is a great sales woman as well woman as well

Lesley: Well why do you think I love her that much, well that’s not the only reason but that’s a big one

Stephen: Well thank you so much to Didi and Leslie

Lesley: thank you, thank you Stephen

Didi: Thank you for having us Stephen it been our pleasure to bring this awareness to people

Lesley: A total pleasure

Stephen: Well our subject today was technology addiction and I’m your host Stephen Armstrong if you have any comments on today’s show or with questions about innovation nation please email at and thanks to my guests Didi and Lesley. An mp4 file of this will be on my website in about 3 days so you can download it and the contact information and the contact information for Didi and Lesley is also on my website thank you for tuning in this morning.






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