Jacob Gerber would not get out of bed.
About a week had passed since the beginning of the school year and the Monroeville seventh-grader, facing more academic challenges and responsibilities than an elementary student, was still stricken with back-to-school anxiety to the point of vomiting.
His mother, MaLinda, had to practically drag him out of bed. An argument followed.
That afternoon, Gerber sat her son down and conducted a hypnosis session with him.
"I felt like I kind of wasn't there and I felt it was working," Jacob said of his own experience.
The next morning he sprang out of bed, smiling which he normally doesn't do in the morning, showered, and got ready for school with no problems.
The school day went just fine and now he enjoys it.
MaLinda Gerber hopes similar success stories follow with her new business, Serenity Hypnosis. The certified clinical hypnotherapist runs the operation out of her Norwalk home.
Gerber conducts hypnosis from a Christian perspective, using Scripture to try to relieve patients' anxiety.
"At Serenity Hypnosis Center, my goal is to help people relax with a Christ-centered approach so they can release all negativity in order to rejoice in the blessings of their lives," the business' mission statement reads on the Web site,www.serenityhypnosiscenter.net.
The products Gerber offers include a CD called "Healing Light of Jesus," which "uses Scripture and imagery to help you resolve all your hurts and worries with the love of Jesus."
The CD is for sale on the Web site for $15.
Gerber also offers, among other things, school anxiety help for students in fifth-grade and higher and pet loss meditation.
The latter is personal for Gerber both of her dogs had to be put to sleep at about the same time, both due to illness. Her German shepherd was almost 9 while her beagle-mix was 14.
"He was my best friend, he was my therapist," Gerber said about her beagle-mix.
The death of Gerber's pets persuaded her to offer pet-loss meditation. But her desire to become a hypnotherapist goes back further.
About four years ago she took a course in stress management, to help with stresses in her life.
"I have definitely learned to control my own stress," she said.
Gerber learned stress's relationship to hypnotherapy and figured she could help others.
She became certified in hypnotherapy, and started working out of her home three years ago.
Gerber said just about anybody can be hypnotized.
"You only need average intelligence to be hypnotized," the lower the better, she said. "As long as the subject is willing, it will work."
One thing to remember, Gerber said, is that contrary to popular belief, the hypnotherapist is not in control of the subject's mind during a session; the patient is.