Self-Hypnosis for Injury, Surgery and Dentistry Part 2 The Hip!

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One of my coolest experiences with self-hypnosis is when I had my hip replaced. There is a long story about how the hip came to deteriorate so badly. I’ll save that for another time. Basically there had been a traumatic injury to the leg on that side more than twenty-five years earlier.
The day came for the surgery and the plan was that I was going to have a spinal so I would be numb from the waist down and use hypnosis for everything above the waist. Typically a sedative called versed is used to keep the patient calm, still and sleepy during a medical procedure where a general anesthetic is not used.
As a physical therapist I was very aware of what happens during a hip replacement, having observed a couple and worked with very many patients after their surgery. If you are curious you might be able to find a video on the internet. Basically orthopedic surgery is carpentry with blood. There are saws, reamers, drills, chisels, mallets, screws and metal plates. Hip replacement adds the field of mechanics because there are two pieces that are made of some combination of metal, ceramics, and/or plastic that are driven into the bones to make the new joint.
During the surgery I was able to talk to the anesthetist, later the nurse anesthetist, hear everything that was going on, feel my body being dragged down as my leg was tractioned and the pounding when the socket part was hammered into my pelvis. I could also feel the surgeon pushing into my side to get leverage and a weird kind of patting on my abdomen which turned out to be the instruments that were being laid on and taken off my belly. It seems that during surgery the patient is often “out” and the patient’s face is behind the surgical drape, the patient gets used as kind of a table. The drape over the patient is sterile so there’s no problem, it just felt strange.
Mentally I was able to check out and go to the beach or mountains whenever I wanted. I felt calm and relaxed throughout the procedure except towards the end when it felt kind of hard to breath. During surgery there are straps across the patient stabilizing them on the table as well as straps around the forearms to keep the arms stationary for the IVs. After I had been pulled toward the foot of the table, the straps had moved up on my chest making it somewhat difficult to breath. This seemed to get worse later in the surgery. Other than that everything was great.
Because I was never “out” I never had to regain full awareness without grogginess, nausea, discomfort or dizziness. I felt good. Later there was some discomfort but never intense pain.
There was a really interesting phenomena. When I sat up on the table with my legs straight to get the spinal anesthetic I noted that my toes were pointing toward the ceiling. The anesthetic worked very quickly. As I lay on the table, from time to time I checked in on where my feet were. My brain always told me that my feet were together pointing at the ceiling even though I knew that most of the time my left leg was completely off and below the level of the table with my leg turned as far as it would go. Strange, the tricks that your mind can play on you!
By the way, if you or someone you know is thinking about getting a hip replacement make sure to ask about the options with pros and cons. This probably applies to most procedures.
Next time I’ll finish up with personal experiences with self-hypnosis for dental procedures. After that it’ll be Blissborn the new (for me) hypnosis assisted childbirth technique.

Feel free to contact me with any comments and of course if you know someone who might be interested in these posts please send them on.
Don Berlyn

Self-Hypnosis for Injury, Surgery and Dentistry Part 1

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I went into hypnotherapy to work with people in pain. Less than a year later there was an opportunity to use self-hypnosis to deal with a sudden injury in a challenging situation. I was on an annual weeklong retreat. One of the days was twenty four hours in silence, alone as much practical. Most of us spent the day in nature. There is a beautiful canyon in the desert with a stream flowing through it. I drove a woman from Switzerland to the canyon in the morning. We had agreed the previous day to meet in the canyon later in the day for the drive back to town.
After we went our separate ways, I crossed the stream to get to a spot up higher in the rocks. While bracing myself between two vertical rocks to get over an opening my wet shoe slipped causing me to fall forward with my right arm stuck against the rock. I felt my shoulder dislocate and then reduce (go back into place). I was able to quickly determine that one muscle was completely torn off the bone but that there was no nerve or circulatory damage. So it was not an emergency situation and I couldn’t just take off and leave my friend from Switzerland alone in the canyon without a ride. I had planned to meditate anyway. I propped my forearm on my pack and using some combination of meditation and self-hypnosis I was able to stay in place for several hours. Meeting my friend, walking out of the canyon and driving back to town was a bit more uncomfortable. Moving the arm didn’t help and having to be focused on where I was walking and driving did not allow me tune out.
It was at least six weeks until the shoulder got repaired. I listened to a pre and post-surgery hypnosis CD. During the outpatient surgery it was not possible to wear any type earphones, I ended up with a nerve block and general anesthesia. Coming out of surgery I felt pretty bad. It was difficult to focus, between the pain meds, the ice water machine and interrupted sleep. After a few days it became easier to use hypnosis.
This was a good learning experience. I was able to use hypnosis to relax, block pain and stay calm after being injured. It helped of course that I had the knowledge and experience to be able to determine that the situation was not an emergency. After the surgery I don’t know if being under general anesthesia then pain meds kept me from being able to focus enough to use hypnosis. I’m not sure that using hypnosis (at least at my skill level at the time) without any pain meds would have been sufficient to control the pain.
My experience with a hip replacement a couple of years later was totally different. I’ll blog about that next time.

Feel free to contact me with any comments and of course if you know someone who might be interested in these posts please send them on.
Don Berlyn

Hypnosis/Trance Work with Massage/Body Work

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When many people think of body work they assume massage. It turns out that there are many kinds of massage and many types of what could be called “body work” that are not massage and some techniques that seem to be both and neither.
I have some experience in the body work/massage world. I am married to a massage therapist, have friends that are massage therapists and love a good massage. I teach “kinesiology” (movement, bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments) at a massage school. I am not a massage therapist. I am a physical therapist who uses a lot of manual techniques (and exercise) in my practice. I am also a Certified Zero Balancing Practitioner. This is a type of body/energy work that from a superficial view involves a fully clothed (except shoes) person laying face up on a treatment table. No lotion, hot stones, warm towels, just the ZBer applying traction through the legs, gentle lifting with the fingers under the client, some traction at the neck and arms. Oh but there is so much more. Looks can be deceiving and it’s what you don’t see is where the magic happens. Please check out the Zero Balancing website for more information:
I recommend having a Zero Balancing session to experience it. If you ever get to Flagstaff, AZ find me. I do that.
For those of you who have experienced a good massage/body work, you may have noticed drifting off into a place of profound relaxation. Perhaps kind of a trance state? The skilled use of manual techniques can serve as a very effective hypnotic induction. As I mentioned a few posts back, I don’t typically touch clients when they are in a trance. Zero Balancing where touch is the format can be the entry into hypnotherapy.

How I use Hypnosis during a Zero Balancing session

Occasionally before a Zero Balancing session with an already established client I encounter an issue that may be addressed effectively with hypnosis/visualization. If I get the feeling that it would magnify the experience of the ZB for that person I would discuss the addition of hypnosis/visualization as an option. Sometimes people bring it up when arranging the ZB because they already know about that aspect of my work. If the person would like to experience the directed subconscious technique we talk about what the person’s goal/s is/are, what images, places, experiences that incorporate that goal and any imagery that should be avoided.
As Zero Balancing often induces an altered state of consciousness, it is not necessary for me to go through the usual verbal suggestions to relax. The ZB proceeds normally through the lower part of the session. When I come to the head of the table and assess the person’s condition, I begin offering suggestions, working with the client’s breathing, helping them drift deeper into relaxation then gently guiding them into “imagining, sensing and feeling” the experience that they would like to have with their goal/s attained.

Next time I’ll write about how I’ve used self-hypnosis to deal with an injury, during surgery and at the dentist.

Feel free to contact me with any comments and of course if you know someone who might be interested in these posts please send them on.
Don Berlyn

The Difference and Similarity between Hypnosis and Meditation

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One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “what is the difference between hypnosis and meditation?”. My answer is that they are similar and different. My own experience with formal hypnosis over the last seven years is fairly extensive in terms of varied flavors, the number of sessions, as both the hypnotherapist and the client. I do not teach formal meditation and don’t claim to be an expert. I have practiced meditation in a formal way inconsistently over the last ten years. I’ve had some amazing experiences of peace and at times simply being gone. I’ve basically used focusing on breathing, on nature or music and once a walking meditation. Just as in hypnosis there are different techniques in meditation.

One similarity is that in both hypnosis and meditation the conscious mind can become very quiet. Both can involve the visualization of objects and scenes that exist only in the mind in the current moment. In hypnotherapy this could be seeing/experiencing oneself in the future having recovered from a health/medical issue, being at an ideal weight, hitting a golf ball just right, being comfortable flying in a plane, having achieved basically any goal. In some traditions, like Mahayana Buddhism of which Tibetan Buddhism is a part, meditation might include visualizing a complex mandala*, various bodhisattvas**, world peace, the liberation of all being from suffering. Perhaps the main difference that I can think of, is that in hypnotherapy the experience is guided at some level by another person while meditation is internally guided.

There is a great book about Meditation; Meditation for Dummies by Stephen Bodian. I love the “for Dummies” books that I’ve bought. I’m thinking about writing a Living my Life for Dummies.


For my clients that are interested, I certainly encourage meditation in addition to any techniques that have been recommended as part of their sessions. The health benefits of meditation have been studied extensively.


A way to make meditation more user friendly and perhaps more effective for some people.

Meditation can be a daunting experience in the way that it is commonly presented. One version is sitting on a cushion for extending periods of time. Trying to have a quiet mind rather than the “monkey mind” of internal chatter is a challenge.

At The HypnoThoughts Live conference, I attended a seminar on Hope Coaching/Mindful Hypnosis. (For information on Hope Coaching visit .) One of the speakers, Michael Ellner brought up an idea which is great. Instead of one long meditation session, how about several ones of a few minutes. Stephan Bodian in his Meditation book also mentions brief sessions. Just like with exercise, many people say that they don’t have the time but almost everyone has six minutes or so here and there throughout the day. Starting first thing in the morning with a meditation can set the tone for the day. With exercise if the goal is to burn calories, then it doesn’t matter if you walk one mile a day or four, quarter mile walks, the calories burned are the same. There are things that are likely beneficial in the long periods of sustained meditation and that maybe something for people to aspire to. For people who are in pain, who may not be able to sit in one position for long, whose lives feel so chaotic, who are stressed and anxious, the small bouts of meditation may bring a sense of peace and increased comfort.


*for a cool website to explore the concept of mandalas see: .

**for information and images of bodhisattvas an internet search will result in at least a couple of different definitions and many varied images. But you’ll have a better idea of the concept of bodhisattva than you did before. Especially if you had no idea to begin with.


Next time I’ll write about hypnosis/trance and body work.

Feel free to contact me with any comments and of course if you know someone who might be interested in these posts please send them on.


Don Berlyn

Hypnosis Conference and some differences between the worlds of Physical Therapy and Hypnosis

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I attended a hypnosis conference, HypnoThoughts Live in Las Vegas from last Friday through Sunday. The first thing I noticed while walking through the slot machine area of the smoke filled first floor that even early in the morning there were a lot of mainly older people, many appearing physically disabled, sitting in front of the blinking machines with glassy eyed, blank expressions. Wow. What a sad display of hypnosis and not even to the second floor conference center yet.

The conference itself was great. (Probably not the best food I’ve had at a conference but I wasn’t there for the food.) The interaction with other attendees and the presentations/lectures were excellent. I learned a technique that I included in the session with a client less than an hour after driving into town. That is the mark of a great seminar.

I was definitely in a trance in the exhibit room. I spent way more than I had planned including 15 copies of what seems a really good book about hypnotherapy. Now I have to figure out who to give them to that would actually read them. It would be nice if they were to become a client and/or refer someone.

This conference itself was interesting in that the world of hypnosis is so different from my home world of physical therapy. Physical therapy is a body of knowledge and a defined practice. In physical therapy everything is about treating patients or researching or teaching about treating patients. The education is rigorous, there are board exams and licensure in every state. There is typically a state board to insure that PTs are following the rules. There is one national organization under which each state is one chapter and under the national organization there are sections for specialties such as orthopedics, pediatrics or neurology.

Hypnosis is a tool. Anyone can use the tool. I can hold a power saw but I am NOT a carpenter. It is the Wild West, even on the East coast. Anyone can call themselves a hypnotherapist and charge whatever they can get. It doesn’t matter if they watched U tube, read a book, took a weekend course or went to a seven week intensive program like I did. (Just to brag, I’ve gone to two additional hypnotherapy courses of two weeks each, done some continuing education and read extensively on hypnotherapy related material.) There is no licensure, board exams or state boards. There appear to be many organizations. I belong to the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners ACHE) which seems to be mainly a western state organization and certified the school that I attended which has since started its own organization. I have attended one ACHE conference which was pretty interesting.

When it comes to being an entertainment hypnotist, it seems there is not even a pretense of being regulated. Just put “The Great” in front of your name, get a rabbit and a hat and you are good to go. Just kidding, not everyone uses a rabbit. Really there is no reason for stage hypnotists to be regulated, the market does that. If you are not entertaining you are gone faster than a bag pipe player out of tune (how would you know?).

What was really special about this conference is that everyone was invited, hypnotherapists, entertainers, people who just were curious and some folks looking for craps tables. Several different organizations were represented. It was all love and peace. Kind of like Woodstock for Hypnosis, think hot and dry instead of wet and muddy. Elevator music vs. amazing. Naturally induced trance (no ODs) vs. chemically induced trance (there were ODs). The price was very reasonable and despite the food, I’m looking forward to being there next year.

Next post I’ll rattle on about the difference and similarities between hypnosis and meditation. I’ll describe the technique I learned at the conference that I used with my client. It’s a way to make meditation easier/more user friendly for most people. The Dali Lama is already cringing, while smiling peacefully.



It’s alright to get paid isn’t it? Another Learning Experiences

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It’s alright to get paid isn’t it?

Strange concept. It makes sense that if you do some service for someone you should get paid. Nobody paints my house or fixes my car for free. So why do I and so many other people in the “helping” professions feel that there is something wrong for getting paid to help someone overcome a difficulty. Obviously a personality defect.

The owner of the Hypnotherapy Academy of America, wise fellow that he is, recognized this tendency. Attending the school was pretty expensive but a good value because of the very high quality of the education, excellent instructors and complete, clear and easy to use materials.  Tim, the owner and head of the school, made it clear that it was important both for us and our clients to charge a fair amount for our services. We spent some time on this subject, looking at our beliefs about money and discovering if they were helping or hindering us from being successful.  We needed to get reimbursed so we could continue doing what we do and to have a decent level of living which would also serve as model for our clients. The clients need to pay for what they receive, “an equal exchange” so that they would value the service. It turns out that when people have to pay even a small amount for a medication they are more likely to actually take it than if it is free. It appears that at least in some areas of life, free = no value.

I know that when I help someone achieve their goal of becoming tobacco free they will save hundreds of dollars a year. There are of course other benefits. So charging an amount equal to a few weeks’ worth of poison delivery devices seems like a great deal.  Although I know this on the intellectual/conscious level I still have to practice this in my professional life, in both Hypnotherapy and Physical Therapy. I could use another session on this myself.

There is such a thing as going too far the other way. There are hypnotherapists who are all about money with systems to identify all of these areas in which a client “needs” sessions. This can come to over a thousand dollars. Then there is all of the canned CDs or downloads you can recommend. I ended up spending a lot of money to one of these operations to improve my business and before becoming completely turned off, feeling both pressured and disgusted. I am aware that this attitude of trying to squeeze the most money possible from the people you are supposed to be serving also exists in some PTs, MDs, DCs, dentists and hospital administrators.

I really like to see a person for just a few, sometimes one session with the client having the tools to help themselves and hopefully so happy that they become my best referral source and advertisement. It’s a crazy business plan. Maybe it‘ll work.


I’ll be attending a hypnosis conference called HypnoThoughts Live in Las Vegas, July 18 – 20. This gathering is for entertainment hypnotists, hypnotherapists and anyone with an interest in hypnosis. Although I don’t do entertainment hypnosis it is fascinating and fun to watch when performed by master show people. There looks to be a great variety of interesting lectures and presentations. This may be blog material you’ll soon be seeing.

Sex Stuff; Another Hypnotherapy Learning Experience

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This just happened so I guess I’m still learning.

Sex. A touchy subject. Actually in my practice NOT touchy. In my hypnotherapy work there is rarely any touching, unlike my physical therapy practice. “No touch”, words to live by when one’s client is in a trance.

“No Touch” was also the favorite phrase of one of my favorite clients from a few decades ago when I was a supervisor/trainer in a sheltered workshop and a recreation staffer for the same organization. Frankie was a stocky, very strong, very friendly guy who happened to have Down’s syndrome. Frankie always had a smile. If I remember right, when you reached out towards him he would say “No Touch.”, while smiling large. He did love to shake hands, pat you on the back and give bear hugs that would leave you breathless. Frankie gave good advice. Guess that would be one advantage of phone sessions. But I digress, sometimes a lot.

I got a call yesterday morning, a Sunday, from a male who desperately wanted my assistance to feel comfortable dressing, feeling, and thinking as a woman. He wanted to know if I did sessions over the phone, he wanted the session that night and he wanted to pay me after the session. He lived on the East Coast, I live in Arizona. Red flags everywhere. Flags on top flags, flashing lights, flares and “just say no” signs. Did I mention the sirens?

I should have of just said “NO, can’t help you.” and hung up as soon as I understood what he was talking about. It did take a while to understand what he was talking about. He did add at some point that he wanted self stimulation as part of the session. When I made it clear that I did make suggestions for that in a session he backed off of that part of his request. I tried to explain that I didn’t think that one session of hypnosis would serve him the best, he should see a qualified person over a period time if this was long term change he would be making. I listened to his situation, did a quick interview to get some details to work with. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, clear goals are crucial. This guy had a combination of a lack of clear goals, some hidden goals as well as some dishonesty that became very apparent. Based on what I had to work with, I gave him some suggestions for visualizing his intention.

I texted the contact info for a very experienced hypnotherapist who works primarily on the phone and has a lot of CDs for being comfortable with different sexual orientations and arrangements. Recommended doing a Google search for whatever type of hypnosis he was interested in and he would probably find all kinds of sites. (A search for “erotic hypnosis” turns up quite a list). Additionally I put into print exactly what sexually related issues I will address. I thought that we were done, however he kept calling and texting wanting that session. How many ways can you say no? I only speak English. When he realized that I really, really was not going to the session he accused me of lying and threatened to report me. I encouraged him to do just that. He did call one more time and I told him to never call me again.

It’s been over twenty four hours maybe this warp in the fabric of sanity is over.

This is the first time in seven years that I’ve had quite this extreme of an interaction. I know hypnosis can be considered “out there”, but really. I’m curious if anyone else has had a similar experience and how you dealt with it.

For anyone still reading and interested here is my list of broadly defined “sexually” related areas that I will work with;

  1. Impotence, only after the man has been medically cleared,
  2. Getting self-confidence up, stress and anxiety down to begin a relationship,
  3. Dealing with the aftermath of relationships that ended,
  4. Working with the self-beliefs around sexual abuse/trauma
  5. And ending a pornography habit.

Learning Experiences: Goals are important Part 2

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Clear goals, Where’s the goal? Is there a goal here, somewhere else, anywhere?

Usually I have at least a bit of a phone or face to face conversation before setting up an appointment. One time however I got a call from a woman who said that a guy that I had helped thought I could help her.” Well that’s great!  What would be the best day for you to come see me?” I probably said something like that. The man that made the recommendation had some clear goals that he wanted to achieve. We worked great together, he did his homework and he was much happier with his life. Unfortunately by not having “the talk”, I did not discover that for my new client there were no goals that she wanted to address. She was just very unhappy, didn’t really want to talk and wasn’t sure why she was seeing me. It was probably the longest session of my hypnotherapy career. Must have been something wrong with the clock.

There was this other time a few years before. A man with self reported Asperger Syndrome made an appointment to see me but as the session progressed there just wasn’t a clear goal. I couldn’t get him to come up with a specific issue. He knew he wanted to do something with his life but there really didn’t seem to be any direction to that journey. It was a conversation about something, some things, never anything concrete or focused. So we ended up with the generic, but still useful visualization, stress reduction, focus and relaxation techniques. And somehow I didn’t even get paid. I can’t remember what the excuse was. Whatever it was it wasn’t too clear.


Hidden Goals

A couple of years ago I had a client who I found extremely challenging. The story got very complicated very quickly. Because of the nature of the situation details will be kept to a minimum. A woman, well into her twenties contacted me for regression to work with abuse she experienced earlier in her life

I carefully explained that the use of regression under hypnosis in this setting is to recognize the feelings and beliefs about oneself based on the previous events that may be having a negative effect on her life now. This allows those ideas to be examined and if not accurate, can be changed to a more positive self-view. For instance if she was blaming herself for being abused as a minor and experiencing guilt, that could be identified and a more accurate assessment could be made, perhaps what happened was not her responsibility but the action of an adult beyond her control. In the process the facts or history do not change only the personal beliefs and judgments about that history. I emphasized that anything that might come from a hypnotic regression session would not be considered legal evidence.

(I’m pretty sure that is true. I’m not an attorney but I’ve watched lots of Perry Mason, Matlock, Night Court and Law and Order. I haven’t seen Judge Judy but I do know from legal ads on TV that I can sue for damages from the effects of some drug that I’ve never heard of even if it resulted in my death. Ah justice.)

After seeming to acknowledge all of the above, the client then indicated that she wanted to recover memories of what had happened to her because she was pursuing legal action and that information would help her case. I repeated everything that had just said about the uses and limits of hypnotic regression. I then asked if under those conditions, she would like to proceed if the outcome might be an improvement in her self-image and the quality of her life but would not be of any use legally. She kind of said that she’d like to try. I did have her experience the breathing, visualization and being present techniques. The trance part of the session was kind of successful in that there was no regression but at least she got to a peaceful place. The woman did want to do another couple of sessions. I’m not sure if we actually met for one or two more sessions. My client had a hard time showing up for or perhaps remembering the appointments she had made.  I never got paid for those sessions. Maybe if she gets a settlement but I’ll still pay the rent in the meantime.

It seems that when I don’t get paid for a session it is a sign that things just aren’t clear. That’s been a learning experience for me.

More Learning Experiences; Goals are Important

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Kids or whose goal is it?

Working with children can be great, they can so easily be in their imagination. If a child wants to come see me for something that is important for them we can both feel successful. Kids usually come with parents and that often includes parent goals which may not be kid goals. Sometimes a parent will be in the room talking about the kid’s “problem” which the kid doesn’t consider their “problem” if a problem at all. If a person doesn’t own an issue they are not likely to feel that they can change it. Once we get through our three way interview and goal setting part of the session I end up doing the best I can. Usually I teach visualization, stress reduction, focus and relaxation techniques that can be used for the specific issue as described by the parent or at least the child can hopefully use them for whatever they want.

I once had a session with a girl and her father with the issue being that the daughter was hypersensitive to the sound of people eating, especially it seems at home. It turned out that her sister had something similar going on. We had a very extended interview and discussion. The girl didn’t really seem too concerned about the situation. I’m not sure that we accomplished much in the session. Some days later her dad called and after a long conversation it seemed that the parents had very different ways of dealing with their daughter. My recommendation was family counseling. There are situations where the best thing I can do is not do. This seems especially true when there is more than one person involved and not everyone sees the same problem or even agrees that there is a problem. I like to feel successful.

Not Kids but whose goal is it?

I have been smart enough (just barely probably) not to fall for the “Can you make my (usually boyfriend or husband) quit (usually smoking or chewing)? My automatic answer is “No, I can’t make anyone do anything” (not even my kids) “but if (he) would like to (make some change that is pleasing to the significant other) then have (that person) get ahold of me and we’ll see what we can do”. Occasionally I’ll hear from the person with the habit that someone else wants to change but not as often as I would think. Could be a lovely Valentine’s or anniversary present. Think I’ll make it a gift certificate.

Learning Experience Choosing the wrong imagery

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Learning Experiences Chapter 1

Choosing the wrong imagery for deepening relaxation;


Although I learned the technique of using the concept of an elevator to help the client go deeper into a trance it’s one that I don’t use. Many people if they aren’t flat out claustrophobic are at least uncomfortable in elevators. An elevator can be a socially awkward place, trying to avoid eye contact while your personal space is getting squeezed and memories from the many movies and TV shows that used the situation of people trapped in an elevator run through you head. Elevators can be funny, George Carlin talked about farting in one and sending it empty to another floor. (George Carlin had a lot of very funny things to say. His bit on gas is classic.) There are scenes with people in elevators used for humor but laughing even though very beneficial in many ways doesn’t help the person get to that deep place. It just isn’t worth it to me to use as a method to calm people. Stairs seem to work better for me. Maybe I like the exercise.

Other Imagery; Falling/Fire

I haven’t used the imagery of falling, off a building, a bridge, a mountain, a tree, into a hole, a well any type of falling other than “deeper into sleep”.

Fire, as in looking into can be very relaxing. Other aspects of fire could get you burned.


After asking about my client’s history to make sure there have been no negative experiences with water and determining that the client does find being in water in some setting is relaxing, water is my go to imagery.

The Learning Experience

I had a client and friend that had grown up near the ocean, went on at least annual river trips, basically water seemed like the perfect medium for relaxation. This person suffered from occasional incapacitating migraine headaches. Sometimes if you can catch them early enough it just might work to either stop it or at least take the edge off. This time the situation was doomed from the beginning. My friend already had the headache for a while, thinking that I could help her anyway (hey I was new at this) I went to her house. Then I made things worse by using the imagery of floating on the water with the gentle rocking of the waves helping you becoming even more relaxed. The feeling of rocking, gentle or not just made her feel nauseated. The only good things are that she is still my friend (I think) and her migraines have become infrequent. Maybe she just says that so I won’t offer to help.