Like many a young woman, Viola Sator came to Los Angles to be an actress and ended up waiting tables. Unlike many a young woman, she's parlayed her interest in the human psyche into work as a hypnotherapist. “I was always interested in how characters were developed and when I waitress at Cole's, I look at people and wonder what makes them tic. When I found hypnotherapy, everything suddenly made sense.”

Based on NLP–Neuro Linguistic Programming–hypnotherapy it is the practice of modifying behavior based on your own, specific set of subconscious perceptions for a desired outcome. Sort of. Read on to learn how deep Squid Ink went to discover that sometimes the girl serving you grilled cheese and tomato soup in a dirndl at Cole's is deeper than you know.

The session starts like a typical therapy session which, coincidentally, is not dissimilar to a character building exercise and a food-taking order; why are you here, who do you love, what do you desire/need. With pen and paper, Viola draws a circle representing a newborn's brain. Scribbling +'s for positive and -'s for negatives, she explains that the subconscious (88 % of your brain) fills with experiences and that these experiences are the groundwork upon which the rest of your life will gather information.

Then a set of questions to assess suggestibility. Things like, “Do you prefer reading non-fiction rather than fiction? If someone describes biting into a tart lemon, does your mouth start to water?”

Finally, I hunker into the Lazy-Boy, wrapped in a blanket, lights turned down low and enter a state of “deep relaxation.” What happens next is decidedly less skin baring than Our Man Flint, nowhere near as psycho as Psycho Beach Party, and unfortunately Barbara Streisand doesn't show up earnestly explaining that, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever. The session is more akin to a vocal massage, reminiscent of being read to as a child which puts me in a decidedly relaxed state, open to suggestions about how I might change behavior patterns which I've admitted need modification.

So for all you hyphenates out there – the model/actress/waitress/musician/writer/cat owners – hypnotheraphy is an interesting avenue to explore if your life feels like a battle.

“In the restaurant or acting business, we're in a constant state of defense. Hypnotherapy can help you understand not everybody is after you. For me, when a customer's cranky, now I'm like, whatever, it's okay.”

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.

LA Weekly