Mysteries of the city

The business of dreams

Self­Help Guru makes big bucks in the City with hypnosis clinics

In a 65 square­-foot room lit by a strong green light, entrepreneur Alessandro Baitello, 41, claims he is capable of curing a wide variety of health conditions from anorexia to impotence, drug addiction, depression, fear of driving, among others. This is the motto of the Hypnosis Clinic, a chain founded in Curitiba three years ago. Having gained its first São Paulo branch in January in the Santana neighborhood, it proceeded next to the neighborhood of Vila Mariana, thereafter to begin business in November in the city of Campinas, SP. “The process consists of inducing the client to a near­-sleep state, so that his subconscious may surface”, explains Baitello. He tallies having seen 5000 clients in his offices , with a “satisfaction rate of 93%” .

During the session the patient makes himself comfortable in a reclining chair ; throughout the ensuing fifty to sixty minutes the hypnotist does not swing a pendulum or any such cartoon cliché. Soft music oozes from his notebook as he makes questions and comments aiming to lead the patient back to memories and events which may have triggered the issue being dealt with. “It’s even possible to regress to intrauterine life”, assures the expert.

The entrepreneur tells that he does not approve of a treatment consisting of more than five sessions, which is the maximum to achieve successful results in his technique. This package costs R$1950,00 (approx. USD 500) . The chain boasts a generous number of testimonials by ex-­patients to corroborate its efficiency. E­-commerce manager Andrea Hernandes, accredits the treatment as part of the success to having lost 22 pounds : “My subconscious was programmed to associate soft drinks to a dense blue liquid , which put me off drinking it”, she states.

Word ­of­ mouth has been highly effective to success, and thus presently each unit grosses on average R$65,000.00 (approx. USD 17.000) per month. In the city of Santos, SP , the first franchise branch was inaugurated at the beginning of November , to the tune of R$140,000.00 plus R$20,000.00 in furnishings (total approx. USD 45.000). “I plan to have 328 addresses in eight years”, says partner Nélio Santos. For sustainability of this lightning growth the School of Hypnosis has been founded in the same building as the Santana branch , in which staff is due to be increased ( there are fifteen hypnotists in action by today ́s count ). A native of Jundiaí, SP, Baitello was an undergraduate in psychology until the fifth semester. A college dropout , he is also known for his self ­ help talks such as O Motivador (Th e Motivator), often exploiting themes such as obesity. He has taken hypnosis courses in Brazil and Spain.

The technique has been accredited by the Conselho Federal de Medicina, Federal Council of Medicine, since 1999, and has been used to treat conditions ranging from anxiety disorders to alleviating minor pains during surgical recovery. “However, we always recommend a doctor to conduct the procedure”, advises psychiatrist Emmanuel Fortes Silveira Cavalcanti , third vice­-president of the Council. The use of hypnosis by people who are not doctors or dentists is not in itself illegal. Used to fending off criticism to his controversial practice, Baitello defines himself “I’m not a health professional , I’m in the business of well­being”.