Dr. Nancy Irwin holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and a certification as a clinical hypnotist. She offers counseling, therapeutic hypnosis, and life coaching for a variety of issues: smoking cessation, addictions, weight loss, fears/phobias, panic attacks/anxiety, insomnia, sexual dysfunctions, writer’s block, test anxiety, fear of public speaking, sports enhancement, procrastination & motivation, confidence, life purpose/reinvention, and more, but it is her mission to heal the sexually abused. A pre-licensed psychologist, she also is a treatment professional of sex offenders, for it is her belief that “The best way to prevent victims is to help the perpetrators.”
She has been a frequent media expert on Anderson, CNBC, CNN, CBS, Bravo, Fox and more.
MO: Can you talk about what inspired your decision to incorporate clinical hypnotism at your practice? What advice would give to someone contemplating visiting a hypnotist but feels uncertain?
Dr. Irwin: I will answer the second question first, which will lead to the other. My background is in stand-up comedy. I transitioned to therapist in mid-life after volunteering in the community at a shelter for sexually abused teens. An epiphany occurred. I was no longer fulfilled in comedy, and went back to school to train as a therapist, concentrating in sexual abuse. My experience theretofore with hypnosis was in the comedy clubs; I, like many, thought it was a silly trick to get people to squawk like a chicken. Yet, during my psychological training, therapeutic hypnosis was introduced. Completely different than stage hypnosis. I saw how it could be a brief form of therapy for many issues, and I was sold!
MO: What advice would you pass onto someone struggling with motivation and productivity?
Dr. Irwin: Look at the “why” behind your work and the “how” will emerge. If not, then you don’t like what you are doing! Motivation is easy when it is something we like/love to do. Motivation comes from within. So go within (meditation is a great way) and learn what you want to express. Then the motivation will be automatic. Regarding things we don’t enjoy doing but need to do (going to the DDS, preparing taxes, etc.), simply write it in your calendar, and reward yourself when it is done. We all have to do some things we’d prefer not to, but accepting and doing those things anyway allows you to enjoy your chosen activities even more.
MO: What’s one marketing strategy that’s worked really well for you?
Dr. Irwin: 1. Have a great website that reflects my mission. 2. Network any and everywhere I can. 3. Use media and public speaking platforms as much as possible. 4. Blog and write articles. 5. Attend professional organizations’ seminars and workshops. Not only does this method work for me personally, but I enjoy it.
MO: What suggestions would you make to a small business going through a big transition? What are some ways to help staff cope with uncertain times?
Dr. Irwin: Listen to each staff member explain their feelings/fears/vision for the next step. You might be surprised what you learn. Too, some people are more comfortable in a “small pond,” and may not want to move to a “big pond” with you. Be prepared for that as part of your transition, knowing it is for the best for all parties concerned.
MO: Have you had any mentors during the course of your career, or anyone who inspires you?
Dr. Irwin: Scores of people inspire me. My favorite psychologists: the late Dr. Albert Ellis, and the late psychiatrist Dr. David Viscott and the very much alive psychiatrist Dr. Fred Berlin at Johns-Hopkins.
MO: Can you expand upon the inspiration behind your book, YOU-TURN: CHANGING DIRECTION IN MIDLIFE (2008), a non-fiction self-help book for those embarking on the path of self-reinvention?
Dr. Irwin: As mentioned above, I made a “you-turn” when I left comedy to become a therapist. I was not even looking to reinvent; it just happened. I always recommend to people who are on a path of self- rediscovery to volunteer in the community. It is through selfless giving that we are able to see who we truly are. My experience waked up the healer in me and underscored how self-centered I had been! As a comedian, you are your product and so naturally it can become a bit narcissistic. Fortunately, through serving those teenaged girls, I was able to heal myself, and learn how to help others do so. Knowing that if I could make this change at age 44, anyone else can, too. I set out to collect other stories of people who transformed in midlife. I like to think of the book as evidence that we all can live a life that we love.
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