Some professionals provide religious counseling, and others use hypnosis to treat patients, but Dr. W. Leo Peacock has combined the two and dubbed himself a religious hypnotherapist. He is, he says, one of a kind. Dr. Peacock explains how he uses “creative imagination” and “conscious dreaming” to allow his “students” to see themselves as something they aren’t but want to become.
As he opens the door to his cozy office in the Bon Air on Walton Way, Dr. Peacock’s enthusiasm for life is immediately apparent. His face brightens and his greeting is warm. He gestures with his hands and face as he begins the tale of his profession. Most of us don’t control our bodies, but operate on whims and impulses, Dr. Peacock said. “Most of us literally turn our minds off.” But Dr. Peacock holds that God wants his children to be successful. God also wants us to use our minds and bodies to their potential, since they are “the temples of God.”
A former hospital chaplain and associate pastor at a Baptist church, Dr. Peacock said it is important not only to feel one’s faith but also to act upon it. “Faith must be apparent in one’s daily life. God wants you to be healthy, successful and have a dynamic faith.” he said. “Many people are held back from becoming what they want to be because they don’t believe in themselves,” he said. He helps them to overcome their doubts and problems though religious hypnosis. “God and love are the most powerful motivators,” he said. For example, through hypnosis, a fat person sees himself a being thin; an alcoholic sees himself as sober; a person who has suffered migraine headaches for years is free of pain. Dr. Peacock said he helps them realize their dreams through religious hypnosis.
The best way to understand religious hypnosis is as a conscious dream, Dr. Peacock said. In a normal dream experienced while sleeping, the individual will do anything, being unaware of ethical or moral standards. In contrast, all hypnotic dreams originate in the conscious awareness and are screened by the conscience and must pass ethical and moral inspection, he said. Thus, “a conscious dream includes the best of your mind with total support from your own world of faith,” Dr. Peacock explains in a booklet outlining his unique practice. In hypnotherapy, the dream is implanted in the unconscious mind and motivates a person to behave in the positive manner he has pre-determined.
The difference between religious hypnosis and other hypnotic practices is that religious faith deliberately is included in the behavior-modification process, Dr. Peacock said. The induction procedure may well be the same as other types of hypnosis, but the preparation for the experience will be different and the positive suggestions offered to the student will always include references to the power of God, he said. “The belief in the personal power of God to uniquely aid the individual is essential both for the hypnotherapist and the student,” according to the booklet.
The basis for his philosophy is found in a legend adopted by Dr. Peacock. The story, “The Peacock Image,” relates a tale of God’s benevolence to the peacock. Upon finishing his seven days of work in creating the world , God took a look at his handiwork and chose to make a personal inspection of the earth he had created. God’s eyes were said to have fallen on the peacock, which was not a lovely creature in those days. The peacock didn’t have a melodious voice or a beautiful body. His feathers were dull and he couldn’t fly. The peacock asked God to recall him, but God replied that he couldn’t recreate a single thing after his work was done. However, he agreed on a compromise. He told the peacock to close his eyes, relax and to visualize the desired changes. The peacock did what he was told. he knew he could never fly and be believed that he could never be a songbird, but he could see himself as a beautiful creature.
The peacock is said to have felt his back grow into a fan shape and his feathers radiate with beautiful colors. The bird sensed his increasing self-worth and growing awareness of self-confidence, the legend said. “The peacock awoke from his hypnotic sleep and to his amazement he had actualized that which he visualized,” Dr. Peacock said. “The peacock’s ability to dream, combined with God’s creative power, was enough to allow the transformation to take place.” Dr. Peacock applies “The Peacock Image” to his work.
Since Dr. Peacock believes few people use their minds to their full potential, great things can be accomplished when those inner resources are tapped, he has discovered. For many years, Dr. Peacock has been a counselor to individuals, couples and families. He said he discovered some time ago that there is a gap between the decisions people make and actual accomplishment of their goals. “For years I didn’t make a connection between religion and hypnosis,” He said. Until one day, when he discovered the word “hypnosis” while reading the New Testament in Greek. He has since discovered six such references in the Bible… (See “Hypnosis” in the Bible.)
Though Dr. Peacock’s theories may be criticized because they’re novel , he has helped scores of people overcome weight problems, smoking, drinking, and stress. The energetic, light-hearted doctor gladly recounts details about students he has helped. One man’s job was on the line because he couldn’t get to work on time. He couldn’t hear the alarm clock or the telephone. Through religious hypnosis, Dr. Peacock enabled the man to wake up a moment before the clock went off each day and ultimately cured his job-threatening problem, he remembered, his eyes dancing as he told the story. Another man, although well-prepared and very intelligent, was unable to make a speech in front of a group of his peers. Without the ability to impart his knowledge, the man could not fulfill his job requirements. Again, Dr. Peacock enabled the man to gain the confidence and reassurance he needed and perform successfully before the group
Retired after 35 years of active and reserve duty in the military, Dr. Peacock said he is foremost a Clergyman. Before opening his practice at the Bon Air, he served as associate pastor at Waikiki Baptist Church for about a year. Prior to that, he was a chaplain at Eisenhower Army Medical Center for four years. He earned his master’ degree in divinity as well as art and education. He also has a doctor of philosophy degree in education and communication. “Many people don’t feel that they can; that’s why they can’t.” he said, “But you and God make an unbeatable combination.”
By Carol Daly.