Dr. Fredrick Woodard is a clinical psychologist with three master degrees and author of eleven peer-reviewed journal articles on hypnosis, spirituality, and psychotherapy. He is in private practice and conducts research into the paranormal, hypnosis, and psychotherapy.
I spoke to Dr Woodard about his fascinating work…
Let’s begin at the most logical place…the beginning! Can you give me a brief outline of your work and where we may have heard of you before?
I have always been interested in spiritual, paranormal or parapsychological experiences which ever name you wish to use. I have had people share experiences with me, I’ve read extensively about the paranormal, and witnessed some very unusual experiences that I could not explain. I have had the pleasure of experiencing Native American events such as sweats at Tule River reservation in Porterville, California and witnessing my cousin Tim Shay lead spiritual events on Indian Island, in Old Towne, Maine.
I have explored workshops in metaphysical events, meditations, psychic development classes and explored ghost hunting to name a few things. I spent significant amounts of time seeking experiences for personal and spiritual growth. The University of West Georgia was the starting point for my academic and writing career in Carrollton, GA with spiritual and paranormal phenomena as a way of looking at our human potential and consciousness in a new way. This is the University where Ramon Moody explored Near Death experiences and William Roll studied poltergeist experiences. They have a fantastic humanistic psychology graduate program.
Well about being heard of, I have published 11 peer reviewed scientific articles in psychological journals: The Journal of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Reports. The key article in the paranormal arena was a qualitative research article on spiritual and paranormal experiences titled: A Phenomenological Study Of Spontaneous Spiritual And Paranormal Experiences: In A 21st Century Sample Of Normal People, Psychological Reports, February 2012, 110, 73-132. I received the New England Paranormal Award for Researcher of the Year in 2012 from CeCe Productions for that article. I had done an earlier research study on hypnosis experiences - A Preliminary Phenomenological Study of Hypnotizing and Being Hypnotized, Psychological Reports, October 2005, Volume 97, p. 423-466.
My other articles outline my theory on hypnosis, a research methodology, a case study and some theoretical arguments for the theory. This was all developed over my education with three master’s degrees and a PhD in clinical psychology. I also have a Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy from California. One of my goals and aims of exploring paranormal experiences, for that matter all unusual experiences that can’t be examined in a laboratory, for example, alien abductions, near death experiences, angels, possession, hypnosis and meditation, etc. in order to understand how awareness expands and takes in more of our Universe.
All my experiences, ideas and research are made very readable for the average person in my self-help book: Perceptual Hypnosis – A Spiritual Journey to Expanding Awareness. Many have told me already that it is well written and a thought provoking book. So I guess my book is the first time I have really stepped out more broadly into the paranormal world to share my ideas.
Was this always your desired career path or have you diverted from something else?
I always had a desire to help people and to seek to explore the unknown in a way that would result in positive and healthy benefits to my fellow human beings and all creatures on the earth for that matter. I was always fascinated with how the mind can heal and affect the body.
As a Clinical Psychologist and Hypnotherapist, could you give me an example of a typical day at the office for you…if there is such a thing as a typical day!
Actually every day is different! Well my day job is a psychologist and hypnotherapist so I mostly do psychotherapy and hypnosis for various problems. I spend a portion of my day doing paperwork. I stay incredibly busy and I have a full schedule. There are phone calls and meetings and consulting with adjunct services. There are also training and consultation meetings to review cases.
My night and weekend job is my interest in the spiritual – paranormal and all that goes with that. I interviewed quite a number of people about their experiences and continue to do research and writing in that direction. One of my objectives is to see the psychological community take spiritual – paranormal phenomena more seriously as an area of scientific study. Since some professionals instantly dismiss them as phantasy or worst hallucinations. However, even hallucinations have serious meaning to explore in the advancement of science. Subjective experiences are often dismissed by some scientific minds even though interestingly enough the scientific method was discovered as a dream.
You offer psychological services to everyone from children to the elderly. Give me an example of the kinds of reasons people come to you for help.
I do work with anxiety, depression bipolar, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder mostly. I have worked with Asperger’s disorder, ADHD and some psychotic individuals. People usually seek services due to traumas, and multiple life stressors that trigger these problems such as family problems, occupational stressors, relationship issues, divorce, death, accidents and so on.
Many people share their spiritual and paranormal experiences with me and are fearful that they will be misjudged by others for these experiences. I believe that paranormal experiences are part of our evolution and human potential. I think there are internal aspects and external influences that affect these experiences. My case example in my book on shadow experiences and a sense of possession if only briefly, explains the inner and outer experience of such phenomena quite well and demonstrates how one’s own inner abilities are the true source of healing in many cases.
You mentioned that you have an interest in paranormal experiences and I’ve noticed that you are currently looking for individuals for a study. As a Psychologist, are you more inclined to believe that experiences we define as ‘paranormal’ actually have a psychological explanation, or do you believe in ghosts, spirits and hauntings?
Yes I do a lengthy interview process with people who can come to my office in New Hampshire to be interviewed in person. Any spiritual or paranormal experience is sought such as OBEs, ghosts, animal and spirit guides, possession, etc. I have interviewed a number of people who reported UFO and ghost experiences.
I use a phenomenological research methodology which I learned at University of West Georgia and California School of Professional Psychology at Fresno. It took me a number of years in graduate school to master this methodology. It takes things down to their essential essences or the basic fundamental meaning of the experiences.
It is a lengthy time consuming process which many people avoid. Rather they reach for the fast and quick explanations that just fall short of being truly adequate in addressing such phenomena. I have an open mind and am not quite sure what my research will reveal, however, I do think that there is more to our Universe than we realize. I see synchronicity as a form of validation for influences we are still uncertain about. I think there are psychological causes for some things but as I explain in my book, perception is the key and there are ways to expand our awareness to help us see more of the Universe than we are seeing now.
I think it explains why some people can see things others cannot when it is real and not psychotic or internally made up, both of which we are all capable of. Perception is more than seeing with the eyes; rather perception to me is all the ways we take in information.
Have you ever had an experience you may classify as paranormal/unexplainable?
Yes I have, had some unusual experiences. I remember interviewing a woman who stated she had problem with electronics going haywire around her and had a quite complicated case to present. After she left my office my telephone died and the tape recorder and microphone both broke. I had to replace all my electronic devices in that room. I thought
I was in the Concord, New Hampshire State Library doing genealogy research when I was on break in graduate school and could not find a connection between my great, great, great, great, great grandfather Joshua Woodard and his son Captain Amos Woodard a Revolutionary War Soldier and was running out of ideas.
Two elderly men were whispering at the other end of the room. Suddenly several of the words one of them was speaking were loudly echoed in my head “Check the land deeds.” I went to Pittsford, VT and checked the land deeds and written on one document was a statement that Widow Mary Woodard sold to her son Captain Amos Woodard,” which verified the lineage for me. How and why those words were blasted in my head remains a mystery to me. I just know something unusual happened to me at that moment.
I have had many synchronistic events take place in my life which has opened me up to see connections that many people often miss. For example one day when I was in college, I was questioning whether I believed in any of this metaphysical supernatural stuff and remembered that a psychic had told me that my Uncle was around me protecting me. I said what if he isn’t really there?
At that moment I bought a soda and got some change. Face down was a World War II nickel which is a nickel from 1943 that has a big P on the back. My Uncle died as a marine in the war and that coincidence made me step back and keep my mind open. It was too odd, you could have bought thousands of nickels at the bank and not come across one of these nickels, and I have only had one other time that I got a WWII nickel in my change when buying something. You just step back and saw woooh… what are the chances of that happening?
I’d like to discuss Hypnosis with you. Can anyone be hypnotised or are some people (for want of a better word) “immune” to the techniques used?
To not be able to be hypnotized is to not be in control of yourself. Well the interesting thing about hypnosis is that it is really self-control and not other controlled. A true hypnotist guides his client, he realizes the client is doing the work, making it happen. It’s simply the effect of pure thought, if I put no other thought in my head but the one I am thinking about it will be so.
If one thinks of a lemon fully enough, one’s mouth waters. If one takes control of ones thoughts many changes can take place. Many problems are caused by mis-learnings that result in bad habits and negative experiences. No one can be hypnotized if they don’t want to be. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. But in daily life, people have come to believe many things that are not true.
And I sort of see people as needing to be dehypnotized from such experience that they believe so fully even though it is not true. We don’t always have the full picture so it becomes so difficult to unravel.
What can hypnosis help with?
Hypnosis can help one get in the altered state to explore past lives, expand psychic abilities, and for self-growth. It can help one overcome some of their limitations and blocks in life. Hypnosis helps with many problems in life such as PTSD, anxiety, depression; smoking habits, poor eating habits, sports performance, and many other things.
Paranormal aspects of hypnosis have been demonstrated by a number of dentists and psychiatrists who have published on the use of hypnosis with possession, reincarnation, and development and expansion of psychic abilities, near death experiences, between life experiences and alien abductions.
Are there ever occasions where you have to refuse someone hypnosis? If so can you explain?
Sometimes hypnosis is just not the way to go for someone and it is not a magical fix. It is really work with a learning curve as someone has to gain the skill of using it to benefit their lives. Also people whose thoughts race and have a hard time focusing have difficulty with hypnosis since they can’t seem to quiet the chatter in their minds to work on the process of hypnosis.
Usually not good to do for someone who wants to remember traumas because courts do not accept memories recovered under hypnosis as evidence, it is better to help the person remember on their own, since the memories are stored within them anyway. People can distort the memories and create false memories. However, if the memories lead to physical evidence that would be different and then the memory wouldn’t really matter as the evidence would override it.
Tell us a little bit more about your book “Perceptual Hypnosis”.
Perceptual hypnosis is my way of describing about hypnosis that tells people how an individual can understand and expand their experiences and see it as an evolving process that is part of our awareness.
A colleague of mine stated that he could not compare my book to any other book he as read on hypnosis, so it is very original in its approach which was my goal. My book is more of a new understanding of what is going on as you use hypnosis and how to change your perception and awareness to achieve your goals.
It is well researched with supporting references, case examples and personal experiences from many different situations to demonstrate the ideas. I explain many things about hypnosis including how our perception develop and open to a more accurate perceiving of our Universe. I discuss a case study on shadow figures, religion, paranormal, the media and hypnosis and other aspects of how to understand how hypnosis is a part of everyday life experiences.
I have a CD that is a self-help exercise and the book helps people work through an understanding of how to alter perceptual distortions and expand their awareness with a goal to see more accurately and empower the individual. There are exercises at the end of each chapter.
Finally, is there anything else you would like us to know?
I am currently working on a second book that presents all the interviews I have conducted on spiritual or paranormal experiences that people have shared with me for a number of years. I welcome others to participate in my research or provide me feedback on my currently published work. I have also started some ghost hunting activities and am developing a team for those events.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with Supernatural Magazine!
You can learn more about Dr. Woodard’s work on his website: www.woodardhypnosisandpsychotherapy.org