Sex Stuff; Another Hypnotherapy Learning Experience

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View from the far side of the recliner

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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View from the far side of the recliner

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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View from the far side of the recliner

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.