Ray Singh, born and raised in London, remembers being told he had to stop smoking if he wanted to make it as an actor.
The person who told him – and who liberated him from nicotine – was a hypnotherapist, and not long after their meeting Ray was in Hollywood and appearing in award winning US medical drama Grey’s Anatomy.
To complete the circle, Ray recently qualified as a hypnotherapist – putting his acting career on hold to pursue his dream of helping people.
“Between filming in Los Angeles, I would often go out to law and medical schools,” Ray, 37, said.
“I prepared them for interviews, helped them express themselves effectively, part of me started enjoying that more than being on set, just waiting to deliver lines.”
It was around this time Ray was told by fellow Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey – AKA “McDreamy” – that his voice was “hypnotic”.
“At first I didn’t think too much of it,” Ray said. “You know how Americans can be when it comes to English accents”.
“Then later I started to think about how important the voice is, and it took me back to all those years ago when I had therapy.”
Ray left LA for New York and, after taking American citizenship, ended up back in London.
He became qualified as a cognitive behaviour hypnotherapist and now helps people overcome phobias, shyness, anxiety and smoking.
“It’s all evidence-based,” he said. “Stage hypnotherapy is just entertainment, but what I offer is based on what actually works.”
For Ray – who thinks many adults forget how to “play” as they age – there are few things more worthy of money.
“People buy all sorts of things, but how much are they spending on their mental health?” he said.