Cindy Gouden in her studio at Hypnobalance, the company she founded in 2018.
Photo: Mike Zenari
Cindy Gouden was the first hypnobirthing instructor in Luxembourg.
Her interest was sparked by the first hypnobirth she witnessed in 2009 while she had been working at CHL. Impressed by “how calm [the mother] was, and how amazing she managed it”, Gouden signed up for hypnobirthing training shortly thereafter.
After some 16 years working as a delivery room midwife, she decided it was time to “go [her] own way”, and she opened her company, HypnoBalance, in 2018. She now offers the hypnobirthing programme--four sessions, including practical tips for managing pain through self-hypnosis, deep meditation and visualisation--in a group or individual setting in her own Schrassig-based studio.
“It’s quite important for mothers and babies, and I think if we can give them techniques on how they can prepare and manage, they will feel less lost in the delivery room,” she says. Although the programme doesn’t guarantee “perfect deliveries”, Gouden says it helps women better anticipate and manage their labour.
Gouden suggests it would be good in future if mothers would be able to choose their midwife who could accompany them not only during those pre-labour months, but also for the delivery itself. “I saw that many times when I delivered my friends, most of them [did so] without an epidural,” she says, adding: “They told me they never doubted their ability and were convinced someone was with [them] who would take care of [them], so this gave them security.”
The setting where Gouden now holds her hypnobirthing courses is reminiscent of a yoga studio and includes quotes on the walls handpicked for their inspirational value. But there’s a lot more behind the design than just the look: great care was taken, for example, in where baby photos are visible, given that some of her other hypnotherapy clients may find it difficult to see them if they are having trouble conceiving.
“People with fertility issues are coming more often, and they want to be accompanied all the way during treatments,” even in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). She adds that when working with hypnofertility clients, “most of [them] had an experience, for example, of a miscarriage and are afraid of getting pregnant, going through that painful period again”. Others may harbour guilt linked to a past terminated pregnancy, or fear based on stories they’ve been told by relatives.
Gouden has also been working with children on their own fears which can be linked to anything from sleeping or being alone in their room at night to school-related issues. “Kids don’t need hypnosis, they need visualisation,” she says. “And when they can visualise, they can remove their problem.”
To help someone achieve relaxation, Gouden may, for example, tell a client to imagine lying in a cloud. Although she says it takes most children mere seconds to perform the visualisation, the case is quite different for adults: “The adult will tell me it’s impossible… Adults need more relaxation to avoid thinking, to avoid using their brain, to go into the subconscious mind where pictures and emotions are, but kids are immediately into the visualisation,” Gouden says. “It’s amazing what they can do.”
She does work with adults to help them get over fears or past issues, although she believes “it’s better to build strong kids than to repair broken adults”. Through hypnotherapy, Gouden helps individuals go into the subconscious to deal with past emotions or situations which, she believes, can often manifest into physical pain.
“The mind is very powerful. When you see clients with, for example, a medical issue, they may have a medical issue, but the question is why did the issue come… what is the emotion behind it?”