Mary Herring, RN, MSN

About Mary

A Glimpse into Who I Am and What I Do
I always wanted to be a nurse. From the time I was a child I somehow knew that’s what I wanted to do. And it’s been a long and rewarding career. Nursing is the perfect blend for someone who loves science and finds helping people to be fulfilling. But if someone had told me my nursing practice would come to include hypnosis, I would have wondered if they’d been out in the hot Arizona sun too long.

I started my nursing career in neonatal and pediatric intensive care. Later I worked in adult ICU, cardiac rehabilitation, and occupational health. Each of those specialties require strong skills of assessment, critical thinking and attention to detail. Having been blessed to attend Illinois Wesleyan University for my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and University of Hawaii for my Master of Science in Nursing, I acquired those skills, a love for life long learning and the appreciation to keep an open mind and challenge conventional thinking.

Like many people I thought hypnosis was fluff & nonsense. Movies and comedy clubs make hypnosis appears frightening or silly. But an assignment in one of my jobs required me to investigate hypnosis as a possible resource for people wanting to improve their health. When I investigated, I discovered hypnosis does indeed have a scientific foundation and is useful for a wide range of physical and emotional health issues.I studied hypnosis for two years and then felt compelled to leave conventional healthcare settings and establish my private practice where I could assist people with health promotion, illness prevention and improved quality of life.

I love providing people with resources they can use to better understand a health condition, feel more in control of their health, and find additional healthcare professionals who can address unmet medical problems. When I work with clients I don’t hesitate to give them literature or information about additional healthcare professionals who may be helpful. I bring a depth of knowledge of nutrition, physiology, stress management and a holistic approach to health and illness to help individuals enjoy better health and strengthen confidence in their ability to be their healthiest. I find it rewarding to empower people to enhance their quality of life and to realize we can impact our own health.

Other Professional Activities
With an interest in teaching, I have held both full time and part time faculty positions at Illinois Wesleyan University, University of Illinois, Rio Salado Community College and Gateway Community College. From 1980 to 2017 I was an active faculty member with the University of Phoenix.

I have been a speaker at local, state and national nursing conferences. In addition to published articles in professional nursing journals, in 1985 my book, Cardiovascular Nursing, was published by Medical Examination Publishing Company. It was chosen that year as the July “Book of the Month” by the Nurses Book Society. In 2002, Molly Roberts MD and I were co-editors publishing, Blackwell’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine. That is still available on Amazon if you are interested in the topic of complementary/integrative medicine.

I am a member of the American Holistic Nurses Association, American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, and the American Nurses Association. I am a past president of the Arizona Valle Del Sol Occupational Health Nurses. For a seven year period I was employed as a nurse paralegal at a major Arizona law firm, and during that time I was a founding member of the Arizona Nurse Consultants in Law, that later became the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants.

My Therapeutic Approach/Philosophy
I bring a strong foundation in scientific principles as well as belief in the importance of the mind-body connection to my work. I believe patients should be carefully listened to, treated as partners in healthcare and encouraged to carefully explore options, so they know what they can do to reduce health risks and make healthy life-style choices.

My focus is to help you increase your comfort and expand your skills for meeting your personal health and wellness needs. Health problems can be stressful, and health information from the media and even your doctor can be confusing, so I help you make sense of all that so you can take care of yourself. Using current health information and hypnosis you learn how to achieve your goals. Throughout your sessions I offer a supportive, personalized approach to overcome health challenges and promote wellness.

Awards and Honors
  • Certification in hypnosis through the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis 1999 to present.
  • Distinguished Nursing Alumna, Illinois Wesleyan University, 2007
  • “Nurse of the Year”; Arizona Valle del Sol Association Occupational Health Nurses,1998
  • C. Everett Koop “Healthiest Companies in America Award” Honorable Mention (Lead Researcher for Onsite Diabetes Education Program), 1997
  • Employee Excellence Award: Motorola; June 1995
  • Outstanding Faculty Award; University of Phoenix; May 1990
  • Phi Kappa Phi, National Honor Society
  • Sigma Theta Tau, National Honor Society of Nursing
  • Dean’s Honor List, undergraduate and graduate school
Services I Provide
Working with me you can receive:

  • information on nutrition, health, medical conditions and stress management.
  • guidance on modifying habits and making self-care choices that promote health.
  • support for difficult medical tests, diagnosis or treatment to minimize discomfort and move to higher level wellness.
  • hypnosis to increase comfort, confidence and ability to follow medical care as well as enhance self-care skills.
  • referral and awareness of other community resources that may be helpful for increasing strength, health and comfort.
Benefits you Receive
  • Increased comfort
  • Expanded knowledge of health and current scientific information to improve health and reduce risks.
  • Improved knowledge and skills to make healthy choices.
  • Enhanced confidence in your health and ability to meet challenges.
  • Improved stress management.
What is Hypnosis Most Useful for?
  • Have you been told you need to have a diagnostic or medical/dental procedure you might be dreading?
  • Are you experiencing or anticipating side effects of chemotherapy?
  • Do you have a medical condition you are struggling with such as high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, pain, tinnitus or insomnia?
  • Are you uncomfortable speaking before groups, taking an airplane flight, going to the dentist?
  • Do you want to lose weight or stop smoking?
More Information About Hypnosis
Are All Hypnotherapists Licensed?
There is no license for hypnosis and most states do not even regulate who can do hypnosis. Some states restrict what title the provider can use, whether a person can say they are a hypnotist or hypnotherapist, but many do not have such a requirement. In all states it is illegal to call oneself a medical doctor, psychologist or nurse unless the provider has graduated from an approved college and passed the State Board Examination. Some states restrict the practice of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes to a licensed healthcare provider, but most still do not. Even if the person doing your hypnosis is “certified” there is no regulation or consistency on what “certification” means. Furthermore, credible universities never offer a master’s or doctorate degree in hypnosis. Therefore, unless someone has a healthcare license, they are considered a “lay hypnotist” and there is no government board overseeing their practice.

A licensed healthcare professional will usually study hypnosis in postgraduate courses and receive ongoing training through continuing education. Ask your providers about their background. Explore whether they graduated from an accredited college. Reputable providers will never be offended by your questions. They will not brush off your questions or just imply that you have nothing to worry about. Hypnosis is most effective when you are comfortable with the person with whom you are working.

Services I Provide

Medical Hypnosis
Research in recent years has demonstrated that the brain is always growing, learning and forming new connections.  The technical term for this is neuroplasticity. We also know that the brain communicates to the body and the body sends communication to the brain.  This mind-body communication makes hypnosis a wonderful tool to help improve various health conditions.  Research has also shown that there is a neural basis for hypnosis.  Various types of brain scans document that the brain function changes in hypnosis versus normal wakefulness or sleep.

So hypnosis is real.  Hypnosis is not sleep, magic or mind control.  It is a highly focused but narrow area of attention.  It is a normal state.  If you have ever become so involved in a movie or a game with your favorite sports team that it was like you were part of the action, you likely were in a state of trance or hypnosis.  You might be aware of what is going on around you or you might not be. Most people can experience hypnosis.  Notice, I did not say, “Can be hypnotized,” because hypnosis is something you participate in, rather than something that is done to you. Using hypnosis you can learn to eliminate barriers and shift the way you approach life’s challenges to improve your health and reach new goals.

If you are interested in more of the scientific information about hypnosis you will enjoy the online lecture of David Spiegel, M.D., of Stanford University School of Medicine.  (This lecture is a couple hours long, but it is broken down into ten short segments of 3-12 mins in length for ease of viewing. Dr. Spiegel is an excellent speaker who uses visuals and humor to keep presentations interesting.)

Additional information about the many health applications of hypnosis is available here

Mary Herring, RN, MSN provides medical hypnosis at Optimal You.

Nutrition Consulting
What we eat has a direct impact on our physical and emotional health.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation available these days from many sources.  Some of the information on the Internet is there to sell products; some is just personal advice that lacks scientific foundation.

If you have questions about your food choices and habits, and how you can feel better and be healthier, you might like to work with someone who has sound scientific training in nutrition.  Our approach to nutritional guidance is not gimmicky. We do not sell nutritional products or advocate rigid diets.  As a matter of fact, we don’t even like the word “diet” because it conjures up a number of stereotypes that are not helpful.

We offer the latest nutritional information.  Once you are armed with information, we believe you can make choices from a position of being aware and mindful, and can both enjoy food and choose foods to meet your health and personal goals.

Mary Herring RN, MSN provides nutritional consulting at Optimal You.

Mindfulness Practices

“Mindfulness” describes a mental state of nonjudgmental attention to and awareness of the present moment -- along with calm acknowledgment of feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations as they arise. Mindfulness can also describe a type of meditation practice which cultivates this awareness, a quality all human beings possess.

According to, “mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”

Mindfulness meditation comes from early Buddhist traditions over 2500 years old, developed to foster

  • clear thinking
  • compassion
  • open-heartedness, and
  • the alleviation of suffering

Despite its Buddhist origins, mindfulness meditation requires no special religious or cultural belief system. In fact, Jon-Kabat-Zinn PhD is internationally known for bringing these practices to the West – creating a research-based program called “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” that has benefited people from all walks of life. This program has been a helpful ancillary form of treatment for many patients with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, anxiety, psoriasis, and other chronic conditions caused or exacerbated by modifiable lifestyle factors.

As one aim of mindfulness is to take greater responsibility for one’s life choices, it may both strengthen one’s internal resources for optimizing health, and evoke greater engagement with one’s health care too.

Ample research documents effectiveness of mindfulness practices in avoiding relapse in depression, addictions, and also in many forms of anxiety. Studies of its applications in trauma survivors are underway as well. Some forms of psychotherapy which use these practices include Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention. It is not a panacea, though. Psychiatrists and therapists keep aware of potential pitfalls with certain types of people, conditions, and timing. For instance, actively psychotic patients may worsen with long periods of silence in an extended mindfulness retreat. Once symptoms remit though, the person may be well able to participate and benefit from such programs.

Mindfulness can be taught as part of formal meditation practice, and also as integrated into everyday life situations. It isn’t about changing what you think or feel – but about becoming gradually more aware of these things in a moment-to-moment way. Through mindfulness practice, you can develop a wiser and more compassionate relationship with your own mind and body. This pays dividends not only in how you feel personally, but also in the quality of your relationships with others.

All Optimal You professionals apply some form of mindfulness principles or practice in their work.

You can learn more about me at my Webpage:

Please feel free to call me if you want to see if my services may be helpful for you.

(602) 616-9340

I am in the office on Tues and Thursdays from 9:30 to 6PM

Initial appointment is 90 mins; subsequent appointments are usually 1 hour long. Fee is $115 for 60 minutes; appointments for 90 minutes and two hours are $150 and $190 respectively. There are special package rates for stopping smoking and weight loss.

To assist others who may need an appointment I ask if you need to cancel that you notify me 24 hours before a scheduled appointment if possible.

A fee of $25 is charged for cancellations with less than 24 hours notice and a fee of $50 is charged for not keeping a scheduled appointment.