Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Jack and Anger Management - Part 3

In my posting titled “Anger Management and the Adolescent Child”
I introduced you to Jack. A fourteen year old adopted young man with many emotional problems, not the least of which, was the inability to management his anger.
In “Jack and Anger Management- Part 2” I described our last two sessions and my concern that I was not finding much success in trying to show Jack a better way to control his anger.
In this, the third posting, I describe how I changed my approach to help Jack in controlling his anger and why I went from directing him to accept his anger to using forgiveness to allow him to control and hopefully eliminate his anger.
I describe how, psychically I gained insight into what to do in Jack’s session.
I also found a new appreciation for the power of forgiveness.

From Part 2;

"… Jack looked up and nodded in agreement, in a way that I knew,
he agreed with my assessment of the situation.
I continued,
“Jack… Do you think that your mother would ever reject you?
Now don’t answer right away…
think about it…”
Without a second’s hesitation, he looked up at me,
then to Diane, shaking his head, saying strongly…
“NO! She wouldn’t”
“Your father?” I asked.
This time he hesitated a second, mulled over the question,
took a deep breath and said truthfully and definitively…
“No, he wouldn’t reject me either.”
“Do you absolutely believe that?” I asked
“You are not just saying that… It is what you truly believe?
Your parents WOULD NOT… EVER REJECT YOU?... Right?”
He quietly nodded “yes”
“If you believe that, then, do you know how much it hurt these two people”
referring to his parents “to hear those words from your mouth?”
As he looked up at them, tears were starting to form in his eyes
(along with his father’s, his mother’s and mine)"

“Jack and Anger Management – Part 3

I decided at that point,
I had to change the direction I was taking with Jack’s therapy.
But, how was I going to be able to get through to this young man?
How was I going to get him to understand and believe
that more than accepting his anger, he needed to get past his anger?
If he allowed his anger to fester like an infection of the soul,
he would never know true happiness.

He now has the opportunity with his adoptive parents, who love him,
accept him unconditionally and will never reject him,
to know what the love of a real family is.
His anger was blocking him from growing.

If he was unable to get past his anger at the world,
I knew he would be stuck in this angry stage for his entire life.
Unfortunately, we all know people like that;
angry at the world for pain suffered in their youth.
These people may never know happiness and
I would hate to see Jack turn into one of those sad and angry men.

As I have told you in many other postings,
being a psychic/medium has a lot of advantages.

When I communicate with spirit,
I don’t ask who is communicating with me;
I just appreciate the connection and listen to it.
It doesn’t matter if the information that is coming to me
is from a father in spirit that wants to help his child
or a spirit guide that needs to redirect their “student” in the physical world
or if it is my “Hypnotherapist Guide”,
who I ask for help from constantly and who has never failed me;
when I get information from that part of my mind I accept it unconditionally.

So when I knew I was in for a complex and complicated hypnotherapy session
with Jack and his family,
I asked my Hypnotherapist “Spirit” Guide,
to give me a little help with this one… and, as usual, he came through.

As Jack and I went into my room where I do the actual hypnotherapy sessions,
I felt Jack’s pain and frustration
caused by his inability to control that irrational angry part of him.
He sat in the recliner as he had so many times before.
He has become one of those perfect hypnotic subjects,
and went quickly, almost instantly, into “Somnambulism”
(the most productive state of hypnosis that you can be in).
As I usually do, I helped Jack go deeper into hypnosis
by putting on some new age-y type music.

I said to myself
“OK, now how are you going to proceed?”

When I felt a chill, up and down my arms;
to me that is the unmistakable feeling of contact with a spirit.

If I were doing a psychic/medium session,
I would have expected this feeling and would ask this spirit to come closer
so I could get validations and messages.
But this connection was unexpected and
Jack was absolutely not interested in any messages from dead people
from his past that he would probably be angry with anyway!

Also I was getting a different “vibe” from this spirit,
it was not connecting with Jack,
it was connecting with me, giving me messages;
messages of how to get through to Jack.
I had been questioning to myself,
as to how I was going to facilitate this change in his perception
from being the perpetual victim;
always the one being abandoned;
always feeling rejection, even when there was no rejection,
to a person who could forgive, and get on with his life.

“Change his perceptions and you change his view of his life”,
I wasn’t sure where that came from.
A cynic would say it came simply from
my experience as a hypnotherapist and from working with Jack,
but I felt differently.
Perhaps a spirit from his family did give me insight;
perhaps my Hypnotherapist Guide…
But who gave me that insight was totally unimportant,
the message and insight they gave me was!

“Change his perceptions and you change his view of his life!”

OK I got it… thanks, whoever you are.

At the same instant, a thought came to me that if his mother had kept him,
he would have never known this loving couple who truly are “his parents”.
I realized (or was shown) that if his birth mother had kept him,
with what little we know about her,
his life could have been considerably worse;
possibly eating out of trash containers,
living on the street,
being subjected to drug users or worse.

My feelings towards this young mother instantly changed.
Instead of anger towards her for abandoning her son,
I felt an overwhelming feeling of sympathy and sadness for her.

Instead of the cold hearted, drug addicted tramp, who abandoned her child,
coldly walking away from him,

I saw her as a young girl,
in over her head, in a life that she could not deal with herself,
not to mention trying to raise a child.
Her decision to give Jack up for adoption was not a selfish decision;
it was a heart-wrenchingly difficult decision that took three years to make.

Once she realized that for Jack’s own good,
for his health,
for his future, which she could not provide for him,
the decision to give him up was the only one she had.

And it was harder for her than Jack could have ever imagined.

She did not abandon him; she gave her precious son away for his own good although she cries herself to sleep even now!

If in my eyes, I could make a shift like that, what would happen to Jack’s attitude,
if he no longer looked at himself as a victim, abandoned by everyone who was supposed to be there for him?

If I could help Jack fundamentally change his self image and his view of the people in his life, there wouldn’t be a need to control his anger, there would not be this overwhelming irrational anger there to control!

The anger may just be gone with this change of perception.

If he could only accept that he was loved and cherished and given away because his mother was convinced that it was the only choice she had and she had agonized over the decision for three years, he might just forgive her.

And if he could forgive his birth mother, would he be able to forgive the rest?

If the first family that adopted Jack, only to send him back to foster care, had kept him, he would have grown up in a family that could or would not have shown him the attention, love and caring he needed.
If that first adoptive couple had “kept” him, he never would have met and been adopted by this loving and supportive couple who became his REAL parents.

That first adoptive family, in fact, like his mother knew he would be better without them.
If he could see that first couple for the realists that they were instead of the selfish self-centered people he had viewed them as, forgiveness would be possible there too.

The plan came to me in a second;
I knew exactly how to proceed.
I thanked my hypnosis guide and continued.

Jack was already in a very deep state of hypnosis.
At this point, he is so good at going into the “altered state”, as we call it,
I simply say, “Ready?”
he nods,
I say “SLEEP!”
and he is there, in deep hypnosis.
I take no credit for it, I don’t think of what a great hypnotist I am, I simply acknowledge that the more often you hypnotize someone, the easier it is to hypnotize them again.

The session worked great.
I asked his angry part to come out and speak with me, which it did often and easily.

His Angry part stated that although he knew he was wrong in saying those hurtful things to his father and it was sorry for saying them, it cannot apologize and can’t forgive.

I asked his Angry part why he can’t forgive and it said
“No one loves Jack, they all reject him, if he forgives, he’ll only be hurt again, they don’t care about anyone except themselves…”

I asked him to go back to the time he was three, his mother had him by the hand and walked him to the door of the foster care facility.
He agreed and as he sat visualizing the scene, I saw he was getting angrier.

I asked him to look at his birth mother and describe her.
“She’s angry,
she’s ugly,
she has hard eyes,
she is pulling me by my arm,
she shakes me and says to stay,
she rings the bell,
the door opens,
she turns away,
she doesn’t say goodbye,
she doesn’t kiss me,
she turns,
she walks away…
I never see her again”
All this said with an undertone of anger, teeth clenched his brow deeply furrowed.

After some relaxation techniques, I asked him to picture what happened from a different angle… From his mother’s angle…
he was initially resistant.
I explained that there are two sides to every story and this may be his mother’s version…

“She is crying,
she has tried for three years to provide for her son,
she lost her job,
she is going to lose her apartment,
she has no husband to help her,
decisions she made in her life were very wrong
but she knows that is not Jack’s fault, she realizes he didn’t ask to be born,
she takes responsibility,
she finally realizes that she cannot keep Jack and she goes to the foster care agency.

She walks to the house and can’t look at Jack,
her heart is breaking,
she doesn’t want Jack to see her cry so she turns her head away from him,
Jack is three…
a baby…
he doesn’t know what is going on…
She rings the bell,
her hands are shaking,
she considers picking up her baby and running, but to where?
The door opens,
she turns and takes a step away,
her heart feels so heavy she thinks she is going to die and she walks away,
she turns the corner,
her legs give way,
she falls to the ground,

she cries until there are no more tears left to shed…

This process is called “Reframing” where you actually change the perception of the memory.
It doesn’t change history, he was put up for adoption and he was adopted and then returned, he was rejected, but now his view of the villains in these memories changed.

No longer villains, they were victims also.
I found a new appreciation for reframing a person’s perceptions.
I also found a new appreciation for the power of forgiveness.

After the session was over, he seemed like a different boy.
He was smiling and happy.
His parents, who had just seen their son angry and hostile, were surprised to see him in such a happy mood so quickly.

I don't know what will happen with Jack.
I hope that between his loving family, his intelligence, his emotional growth, and continued counseling, he will learn how to forgive and to trust people again.
I do know that it has been a learning and growing experience not just for Jack and his family, but for me also.
It has also been an experience that I will remember and cherish;
being part of the evolution of this young man’s life.
After all, that is why we are all here on this planet...
to learn and grow.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jack and Anger Management - Part 2

This posting is a follow-up to a previous article titled “Anger Management and the Adolescent Child”.
In this, Part 2, I review what has happened since Jack’s initial sessions and the two most recent sessions. I describe why I realized I had to change my approach to help Jack with his anger management issues. In Part 3, I describe how I went from directing him to accept his anger to using forgiveness to allow him to control and hopefully eliminate his anger.

In my posting titled “Anger Management and the Adolescent Child”
I introduced you to Jack. A fourteen and a half year old, adopted young man with many emotional problems, not the least was the inability to manage his anger.
I have seen Jack ten times since then and he is now almost 16 (“15 and ¾” according to Jack).

His anger has continued to cause major complications and problems in his life, his parent’s lives and the lives of those around him.

Our last session was in late October 2009, when we had what I feel was a major breakthrough.
I made a decision to change the direction I was taking with Jack in his attempt to understand, accept and control his anger. This decision to change my approach with Jack actually started in late August, when I received an email from his mother and I knew without speaking on the phone, that Jack and his parents were having a very bad time.

I scheduled our session for mid September 2009, right after the start of the 2009/10 school year. At that session, I found out the Jack had been having many uncontrollable fits of rage.

His mother, Diane told me on the phone, that while on vacation in August to the Grand Canyon, with the family, he had a meltdown; cursing, screaming and was totally out of control.
Jack’s parents did not know what triggered the explosion.
“One minute he was fine, not talking a lot, but fine. When Peter (Jack’s father) said that he couldn’t buy a trinket, he blew up! We had no clue it was going to happen. One minute everything was fine and the next there was complete bedlam.” After calming down, Jack realized that he was wrong, but realized that he was totally unable to control his anger and he asked Diane to set up an appointment with me.

She also relayed a recent incident that happened at school, which ended with EMS being called to transport Jack to the hospital for observation. At the school and in the hospital, he was totally non-communicative. He would later tell us at that session that it was his attempt to control himself so he wouldn’t explode again. His method to control the anger from erupting was to totally shut off, saying that if he had said anything, he knew he would again lose control and once again explode. He was showing control in the attempt, but I needed to show him another way of controlling his anger, but I was running out of ideas.

Our appointment was on a Monday and when Jack, Diane and Peter came into my office, Jack seemed very upset, biting his lip, very sullen, referring to his parents as “he” and “she”. His parents described what had happened the day before. The argument had gotten so loud and out of control, that Jack said it got physical, describing how his mother grabbed him around his throat.

After a discussion involving how there are two sides to every story or argument, I got most of the facts needed and unfortunately, I saw a side of Jack that I had never seen before and it really concerned me.

This was another fight over Jack hearing the word “NO”, but it went entirely out of control. His father who told him that he couldn’t do something (what the something was, in fact, was unimportant) and Jack again exploded. Throwing things yelling at his father and culminating with Jack screaming at both parents…

“You are not my parents and never will be!” as he stormed away from them.

Diane explained that, that is when she physically restrained him, in order to calm the situation down.

In our past sessions, I felt that if he was conflicted by his anger, he needed to accept his anger in order to control it. Now he was accepting his anger so well, he was using it as a weapon to hurt the two people in the world who had proven to him that they would never reject him.

And now he was rejecting them!

I realized that the direction I was taking with Jack; specifically the acceptance of his anger did him a disservice.
I knew that if we could help him eliminate the anger, there would be no need to control it.

Eliminating anger is always preferable to simply controlling it, but again… how?

I knew that he had to accept the pain of growing up and that what was done, was done.
There was no changing history and the only way he would be able to get on with his life was to forgive everyone who hurt him.

I knew that without finding that forgiveness for all the people in his life who had betrayed him, any time he felt the least bit of understandable or justified anger, he would explode, automatically releasing all the pent up pain, rejection, anger and fury inappropriately at everyone near him.

The two people who warranted that release of anger the least and who unfortunately received it the most were his parents.

“Did that happen?” I asked Jack, “Did you really say that your parents?”
He simply said, “Yes…” with no eye contact.

I knew he was apologetic and wondered if his parents heard a real apology;
not just a gratuitous, “sorry…”

I continued, “Do you really feel that way? That they aren’t your parents and never will be?”
He again simply shook his head, no and again with no eye contact.
His sadness was palpable.

“Jack” I said, “Sometimes when you explode, you don’t think clearly and you can say things, really hurtful things, like what you said to your Mom and Dad, but you don’t mean them.
When these things are said, you want to take them back, but feel that it’s too late. So you want to apologize but you feel you can’t. Do you know what I’m saying?”

He looked up and nodded in agreement, in a way that I knew, he agreed with my assessment of the situation.

I continued, “Jack… Do you think that your mother would ever reject you? Now don’t answer right away… think about it…”

Without a second’s hesitation, he looked up at me, then to Diane, shaking his head, saying strongly… “NO!, she wouldn’t”

“Your father?” I asked. This time he hesitated a second, mulled over the question, took a deep breath and said truthfully and definitively… “No, he wouldn’t reject me either.”

“Do you absolutely believe that?” I asked
“You are not just saying that… It is what you truly believe?
Your parents WOULD NOT… EVER REJECT YOU?... Right?” He quietly nodded “yes”

“If you believe that, then, do you know how much it hurt these two people” referring to his parents" to hear those words from your mouth?”

As he looked up at them, tears were starting to form in his eyes (along with his father’s, his mother’s and mine).

The next posting will be next week and will conclude this 3 part Posting, reviewing the change in the way I used hypnotic intervention in Jack’s situation.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Claustrophobia, Elevators, Hypnosis and Michelle Part 2

In Part 2 of this posting, I describe our hypnosis session and what was uncovered. Three days after our session, I spoke with Michelle’s mother who described the effects of our session. I offer my evaluation and comments on this hypnotic intervention.

Claustrophobia, Elevators, Hypnosis and Michelle Part 2

Michelle felt comfortable having her mother present during the session,
so the three of us moved from the waiting room in the front of my office
to my office to the back,
where Michelle sat on my recliner and her mother sat on a chair in the doorway.

The session began with new age type music;
Steven Halpern’s “Higher Ground”,
playing in the background.

I used a standard hypnotic “induction” called progressive relaxation and when Michelle allowed herself to relax and go into “the altered state” of hypnosis, I deepened her trance state by bringing her to a very safe place.

Michelle was a great hypnotic subject.
In a comparison to the general public,
regarding the ability to go deeply into hypnosis,
she is probably in the top 10 percent,
going very quickly, easily and deeply into “Somnambulism” (the most effective state of hypnosis).

When I work with a new client,
I must plan the session I will use with them, as we are talking.
The “small talk” is very important for me because I get insight to decide which hypnotic techniques from the hundreds available, is right for my client.

In talking with Michelle and her mother,
I decided that a combination of three techniques,
which I have used before, in cases like Michelle’s,
would probably work very effectively.

My plan for Michelle was to use
-“Parts Therapy” to identify the claustrophobic part of Michelle that was so fearful of elevators and once that part is found,
I would use;
-“Regression Therapy” to go back in time to the very first time this fearful part was formed.
This “First time” experience is known as the “ISE” The Initial Sensitizing Event and sets the foundation for the fear to grow;
and finally
-“Gestalt Therapy” to change her perception of the fear itself,
in order to eliminate the fear completely and permanently.

After Michelle was in a deep hypnotic state, I had her seek out that claustrophobic part of her subconscious (Parts Therapy).

When that part was found, we worked together to get in touch with how Michelle physically felt when in an elevator.
We followed that feeling to earlier and earlier times in her life
(Regression Therapy), until we found the ISE.

Her ISE was when she was four years old in Disneyworld.
She recalled being in her father’s arms as they were entering an elevator.
He reacted to the thought of being in an elevator with a powerful panic attack, running out of the elevator.

She realized that that was why she became claustrophobic.
Her father, who was her protector, demonstrated that there is something to desperately fear when in an elevator.

She was shown, exactly how and why this fear was accepted by her four year old self (Gestalt Therapy)
and with a little more insight,
she realized that the fear was not truly hers,
but an adopted fear that was no longer necessary.

Her hypnosis session went absolutely perfectly!

When the session was over, Mary said that she remembered the elevator experience but never realized that it was that experience that caused Michelle’s fear.

Michelle said that although she now remembers the experience, the memory had been repressed.

We went back out to my waiting room to discuss the session in greater detail.

I wanted to know what concerns Michelle still had.

For people who have just experienced hypnotic intervention for the relief of a phobia, the greatest concern is the “What-If’s”.
Specifically, What if it didn’t work?

When I brought up the “What-if” concern, both Mary and Michelle said that that was their largest concern.

My response to the What-if’s, is that she must challenge herself.

My suggestion was to go directly to the Rockaway Mall and go into every elevator in the place.

Challenging herself to gain back the control that she had lost.
To challenge herself to gain control and not let the fear control her any longer.

When they left my office, I felt absolutely confident that Michelle was going to be fear free and would gain control back in her life.

Three day later, I received a call from Mary.
“Garry, I have to tell you…”

Her tone of voice concerned me, quiet and serious.

“Damn” I thought,
her tone of voice sounds as if the fear that Michelle had was still present.
I was truly surprised.
Michelle’s session was picture perfect.
I would not have changed a single thing about the session; it was that perfect!
So why did I get the feeling that I was going to hear some bad news about the results of our session?

I was overreacting and wrong…

“I can’t express to you the results of your session with Michelle”
Mary started,
“Except to say, Thank you so, so much!”

I felt as if a weight was removed from my shoulders!
I was relieved, happy and curious as to how they knew so quickly that the phobia was gone.

“As you suggested, when we left you we went straight to the Rockaway Mall.
We went into every single elevator there and guess what?...
Not only did she have no fear at all,
but she was actually laughing in the elevator.”

When someone with fears similar to Michelle’s,
has had a lifelong phobia and gains their control back,
it is not uncommon for them to laugh
when they are in a situation that would have caused a phobic attack.

Laughter is the indication that they are aware of the fact that they are no longer controlled by their fear.
The laughter is the release they feel when the fear is replaced by a sense of control.

I always appreciate feedback from my clients. Some email me and I am thrilled to post their comments on my website.

When I heard how good Michelle was doing, I felt thankful that I was able to help a young person eliminate a fear that had been ruining her life and had brought her such heartache.

Even though it was Michelle who obviously gained the most from our session, each and every session I have, where I can contribute to someone’s happiness, I also gain.
I am thankful for that opportunity to participate in a situation where there is mutual joy and closure.

If you are interested to learn more about fears and phobias, look at my 3 part article “PHOBIAS A to Z”

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Claustrophobia, Elevators, Hypnosis and Michelle- Part 1

This 2 part entry is about Michelle (not her real name) a 19 year old High School graduate who is going to be attending college in the fall of 2009. She has claustrophobia which manifests specifically in a fear of elevators and enclosed spaces. In Part 1, I describe in general, my experience with working with people who have phobias; getting a call from Michelle’s mother; my first impressions and the specific plan I decided to use to help Michelle eliminate this phobia and be able to fearlessly get on with her life.

Claustrophobia, Elevators, Hypnosis and Michelle Part 1

The elimination of fears may be one of my most favorite hypnosis sessions.
I do believe there is no other type of intervention that has such a powerful and immediately positive result as hypnotic intervention for the purpose of eliminating a phobia.

When people come to my office for the elimination of fears or phobias, it is as if they are sitting there in the waiting room, with a dark cloud over their head. Phobic people are consumed with their particular phobia.
If they are not currently in the midst of a phobic attack, which can manifest from a mild discomfort to a full blown panic attack, they are constantly dreading and anticipating the emergence of the symptoms.

Very often fears or phobias take on a life of their own;
compounding, strengthening and sucking the joy from the person’s life.
Often the phobic person’s fear has been ruining their lives for as long as they can remember.

There are many different types and causes of phobias (see my blog posting “Phobias from A to Z”)

There are also many commonalities between people with phobias.
-These fears are very often lifelong fears.
-They tend to become stronger over the years and manifest in other areas in the person’s life.
-The victim of a phobia feels hopeless and helpless against their fear.
-They feel alone in their fear; that no one truly can understand how the fear affects them.
-That no one takes their fear seriously; saying thing like, “just deal with it” or “Get over it, you’re such a wimp!”
-Often their self respect is negatively affected and they feel weak and helpless against it.
-The phobia itself becomes a tangible entity always present, ready to pounce and steal away what little joy the victim has left.

But, perhaps the most common and debilitating commonality is the “Tag Team” of “Anticipatory Anxiety” and the “Self-Fulfilling Prophesy”.
I call them a tag team because that is how they work; in tandem.
Anticipating the phobia, sets the stage for it to happen and unfortunately it almost always comes true.

Michelle’s mother Mary (not her real name) called me with many concerns for her daughter.
Mary said that Michelle would be attending college in the fall of 2009 and there were elevators in the dorm.
When Michelle saw them her phobias went into high gear.
Mary also told me that Michelle had been coping with the fear of elevators and enclosed places, by avoiding them.
She had sought therapy, but it didn’t help and she was curious if hypnosis could help her daughter.
We made an appointment for the following week.

In the office, my first impression was that Michelle was an attractive eighteen year old who reminded me of my daughter, when she was a senior in the same high school.

As I normally do, I began the session with introductions and a brief biography about how I became involved with hypnosis; how hypnosis works; the conscious and sub-conscious mind; etc.
The reason for this small talk in the beginning is for many and specific reasons.
It allows people to get comfortable with me and it allows me to decide on which of the hundreds of hypnotic interventions available for me to use, is right for my client.
I allow extra time for what may seem to be “small talk” but in fact it is critical, so everyone is calm and relaxed, before we begin the hypnotherapeutic part of the session.

I observed that Michelle was a bit nervous, which is very common and normal, but there was more.
She wanted it to work so badly and wanted to get right to the hypnosis.
Some people, who come to see me for the first time, may be a bit nervous and want to talk before the hypnosis session begins.
Michelle seemed distracted and I sensed that she did not want to talk at all. My sense was that she wanted to get right on with the hypnosis; small talk was unnecessary.

I asked her if my hunch was correct…
that she was OK with hypnosis,
that she felt and hoped it would work and that she just wanted to do it and hopefully she would be “cured” of this fear that has taken the joy from her life.

After explaining that I needed to know some more information from her, she relaxed and became less anxious to begin. I told her that we could get started as soon as I had all the information I needed.

Michelle relayed to me how the fear ruined her life;
How she had an opportunity to see the taping of the Tyra Banks TV show
and as soon as she saw the elevator she couldn’t go in the building,
causing annoyance to her friends and fear, embarrassment and frustration to Michelle;
how her boyfriend is losing patience with having to adjust his social life to accommodate her fears,
along with a few more situations when her life was negatively impacted by her fear.

I then asked her if she always had this fear and if anyone else in the family had similar phobias. She said that her fear was present for as long as she could remember and Mary offered the (important) fact that Michelle’s father and she had similar phobias. With a half smile, Mary suggested that perhaps “Michelle got it from us”, meaning her parents.

I explained to them both that phobias are not genetic or hereditary; they are environmentally started.

I felt that the fear started with a panic attack her father or mother experienced when Michelle was little and the fear imprinted in the subconscious of Michelle’s young mind.

I described to both Mary and Michelle, what I planned to do.
Under hypnosis, I would have Michelle enter “The Hallway of Her Mind”,
seeking the “Part” of her that is frightened of enclosed places like elevators.
Once we allow the memory to come out of the sub-conscious,
I can then do a process called “Reframing”
where I actually change the way Michelle felt about the memory.

The important thing to remember is that we do not eliminate the memory…
we can’t.
But we can change the way the person feels about the memory and thus, eliminating the fear associated with the thing that is frightening them so badly.

In the next posting
“Claustrophobia, Elevators, Hypnosis and Michelle Part 2”,
I will describe how the hypnosis session went and what was uncovered.
Three days after our session,
I spoke with Michelle’s mother who described the results and my evaluation and comments on this hypnotic intervention.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Our Changing Times - Our Amazing Times

It is Saturday 6/20/2009 and it’s raining…
It has been raining now for three straight weeks in a row and it feels like three months in a row. I feel like a moldy wet rag and I can’t wait to see blue sky and the sun again.

My wife is at work and I have the house to myself.
I have been struggling with a two-month-old writers block, but I have recently been feeling the urge (need) to write.

So here I sit, at my kitchen, looking out into the wet, grey sky. Feeling blah…

I have my laptop on the table, open to my book,
“Spiritual Evolution- A Journey from Atheism to Spirituality”…
I notice that for whatever reason, I am distracted.
I have the TV on CNN and I am engrossed by what I am seeing.

Iran… What had been the “Axis of Evil” ...our enemy…
Is in the midst of another revolution.

The first thirty years ago was bad for the US but worse for the world.

Religious extremism of any type… Muslim, Christian, Jew is simply wrong.

Now images of young Iranians putting their lives at risk in support of their freedom are on CNN and I can’t break away.
I see the bodies of young Iranians, lying bloody; being carried by their friends and relatives and my thoughts and prayers go to these young freedom fighters.

I ask myself, Why is it that one small group of people who are in control of a larger group, always seem to resort to violence to keep that control?

And I think of how sometimes, I take the precious gift of our freedom for granted.

The rain outside my window suddenly seemed less dreary;
the clouds seemed less grey.

In comparison to what was happening half the world away I feel embarrassed by my own selfishness and self centeredness.

I am brought back to the early 1960’s with JFK as our president when I was a naïve, idealistic pre-teen.
The way I felt about our great country was to be challenged when that great man fell.
With each shameful act of violence to keep control, my idealism faded and my cynicism grew.
Robert Kennedy,Martin Luther King,
It seemed as soon as there was someone to believe in, someone else was there who didn’t believe and resorted to violence to stop any new hope.

Again, my hope returned with the promise of the Clinton administration,
only to be disappointed by the man himself, but not his message.

Now I am sitting at my same old kitchen table,
watching my same old TV and trying to write in my book,
but I am witness to an amazing change in a country thousands of miles away
that will not allow me to do anything but sit and watch change, in action.

This change for freedom is being accomplished by the voice of the Iranian people and I am brought to the recent change in our country.

Our change was peaceful, organized and a polar shift from the previous administration, with no violence.

How great is this country?

And I am once again an idealist no longer naïve; too much life experience in these 59 year old bones, hardened by too many “What could have been’s”.

But here I am again,
Mr. Idealist and proud to be one.

Now, always the optimist, even when I have been disappointed so often, I look at the TV and think of the “What If’s”.

I think back to the time, seven months ago on Election Day 2008 (Another memory that will always remain with me).

10 pm watching MSNBC and thinking
“He might actually do it! Obama may be the first African American president of the United States of America”.

I remember thinking that this man, may be “The One…”
The one that Kennedy could have been, given the chance.

But, Obama is different than all the rest or at least it feels that way to me… This time I don’t think I will be disappointed.

I gave myself the audacity to think... “What if”.

And at 11pm when Keith Obermann said
“MSNBC now projects that Barack Obama IS the next president of the US”, with my jaw agape and a tear in my eye, I thought “What if?”

What if he can change the view the world has of my country?
What if he can bring us together?
What if this was just the beginning of the changes?

"What If" there is the same change in Iran?
And now I am sitting at the same old table…
In the same chair…
Watching the same TV… on the same channel,
But the world could be very different tomorrow…
What if we could actually have World Peace, for our children?!

This is certainly an amazing time to be alive on this planet.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

PHOBIAS from A to Z - Part 3

In this, the third posting on Phobias, I write about how hypnosis can help with the removal of phobias; the hypnotic method I use to control and eliminate phobias and a case study of a client who had a lifelong fear of the water but no longer has Hydrophobia - Fear of water.

How hypnosis helps

There are many “tools” a hypnotherapist has at his disposal. I tend to combine different tools to make the most effective therapy for each client.

No two people are the same, so through combining different proven therapies and techniques, I offer each client an individualized plan of action; this is at the core of “Transpersonal Hypnotherapy”.

I have found that the most powerful and effective method of eliminating phobias is to combine two different hypnotic techniques; “Parts Therapy” and “Regression Therapy”.

Parts Therapy, is a technique developed in the 1950’s by Charles Tebbetts, a hypnotherapist who found that you can have a dialog with a “Part” of a person’s subconscious.

Regression Therapy is a hypnotic technique used to have a person go back in time to where the fear started.

Combining the two works very effectively to find the memory that caused the phobia and then with other therapies, eliminate the fear and give back control to the person.

Under hypnosis, a person with a phobia is directed to a comfortable place and given the suggestion that they are safe and have survived whatever caused the fear.

Once I determine the source of the phobia and more importantly the person remembers what had been a repressed memory, the power and fear the memory had had is greatly diminished.

Case Study on Hydrophobia - Sue

This is a case study of a young woman who was able to overcome her lifelong fear of the water with one hypnosis session.

Sue (not her real name) called, asking about the effectiveness of hypnosis for stopping a phobia of water. She described her fear as “not afraid of showers, but I never take a bath!” Her voice shook as she even mentioned a bath.

She continued describing how she never goes in a pool or the beach, that she can’t swim and was deathly afraid of being on a boat.

We made an appointment for the following Monday. It would be our first and only session.

At the beginning of her session, she relayed how the phobia was being controlled by avoiding the places where she would be around water.

“I have been able to deal really well with the fear, I just don’t go in a pool, a lake, the beach or the ocean. I take showers instead of a bath. I never put myself in a situation when I would take a cruise or be on the water. So I felt that I didn’t need any help, I dealt with the fear by avoiding water and I was fine. But I now have a major problem and it will ruin my life if I can’t fix it.”

She relayed to me that she is a single mother of a nine year old boy.
She is engaged to a wonderful man who loves her and her son.
Her fiancée wants to marry her and adopt her son.

She described a perfect relationship and then informed me of the majorly huge hurdle in her life.

“He has a house on Lake Hopatcong, with a dock and a speed boat” she said as if telling me he had a terminal disease.

“He loves his boat! He is on the lake every weekend and all summer long!
His friends, who I love, all have boats!
Our whole social life is on the water!
My son loves being there with him and he wants me to go out so badly, but as soon as I step foot on the dock, I start to shake!
Once he actually had to carry me off the dock!

I told her that hypnosis can help.

Fortunately, she was an excellent hypnotic subject, who went almost immediately into a very deep state of hypnosis.
As I described earlier, I brought out her “fearful part” and had that part of her “Regress” - go back in time to the very first time she was aware of her hydrophobia.

Without going into great detail, I had her go to a time when she wasn’t afraid of water and then “Progressed” her to a time when she was fearful.

As I observed her, a memory reflected through the expression on her face.

“I was 9 years old…” she said in a faint whisper.

“My parents wanted me to learn how to swim, so we went to the lake (Hopatcong) and they hired a lifeguard to teach me…”

“Oh my God, I see it all so clearly…” she said, her eyes closed, yet I could see her eyes moving left and right.

“We went into the water which was up to my neck. The lifeguard held me so I was on my stomach. He told me to breathe when he said I should and he held my face in the water and turned my head up yelling


He kept holding my head underwater, pulling me out only when I was choking!...”

Whispering, “I never remembered that until this very moment”, tears streaming down her face.

I then did some hypnotic techniques called “Reframing” where she gained back the control that had been taken from her.

After the session, she thanked me and I told her the only way she will know for sure that she is phobia free is to test herself on the boat. She agreed, with the comment, I'll call you for another appointment if it doesn't work.

That weekend my phone rang and it was Sue, she was on her cell phone.

There was a lot of noise in the background.

“Garry?” she said.

“I wanted to thank you for saving my life!”

I think she was exaggerating, but the feeling you get when you realize a joy-draining phobia is eliminated can make a person exaggerate a little.

“I am calling from the boat!"

"Me and my new family we are on the lake! I can’t believe it… It is so much fun! Thank you so much!”

If you are plagued by a phobia, you don’t have to deal with it, you can eliminate it and realize how much better your life can be phobia-free!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

PHOBIAS from A to Z - Part 2

Synopsis; In this, the second posting on Phobias, I write about how the natural process of the primitive part of the brain contributes to the acquisition of phobias; how phobias form; the hypnotic method I use to control and eliminate phobias.

In the last posting “Phobias from A to Z – Part 1”, I describe how the primitive brain effects the “Fight or Flight” instinct.
In the cave man example, you can see how, because it was so necessary to react instantly to perceived threats, the functioning of the primitive brain was essential for survival of the human race.

Keep in mind, that the cause (the killing of a clan member) of the Fight or Flight instinct would be repressed.

The horror of witnessing the killing of a loved one would be blocked from the awareness of the young clan member by their subconscious.

However, the reaction to seeing a jaguar (the symbol of the horror) would result in an immediate, critical and unthinking response.
You may say that the young clan member had a phobia of jaguars.

In modern society, the threat to your survival is much more complex than those of ancient times. Say what you will, the society we live in today is obviously more civil than that of primitive times. The human brain has also advanced, but still, at its’ core is the same primitive brain stem that helped our ancient ancestors to survive and become the modern day human being.

Our subconscious has many functions, not all are yet known to us. It is a protector, a servant, and the storehouse of knowledge, memories, emotions, habits and much more.

Referring again, to the caveman analogy from Part 1, you can see why the function of repressing the horrific memory, while automatically causing a fight or flight reaction, was critical to survival.

However, in a society where we are not threatened with life or death on a daily basis, the function that was essential to the survival of a primitive man is now, in a modern society, contributing to the manifestation of so many phobias.

How do phobias form?

Generally speaking, phobias can form in two ways.
In an adult, a phobia can form after a severe traumatic experience, such as a plane crash or a life threatening accident. In a traumatic experience, you can understand how a phobia could start. These phobias are usually temporary and fade with time.

Phobias formed in childhood are much more common and devastating.
When a child, between two and seven is witness to a traumatic experience (or a perceived traumatic experience) their primitive brain stem reacts the same as a primitive man; repressing the specific memory and triggering the “Fight or Flight Response”.
The memory of the traumatic incident is buried or repressed, again, by the subconscious, but the reaction to seeing the symbol of the trauma is reacted to in the same way our ancestors did.

Each time the repressed memory is stirred, whether by seeing or experiencing something that would stir that memory, the phobic reaction is stirred.
The reaction stirred by these repressed memories present themselves as phobias, each time the repressed memory is stimulated.
The phobic person will feel a variety of emotions, from mild discomfort to a full-blown panic attack.

Phobic Commonalities
“…I always had the fear of public speaking. Every time I needed to speak in front of people, my face would get red hot, I’d sweat… my voice would shake, I couldn’t breath. I assumed that I had ALWAYS been that way. I didn’t know any different. Then when I was hypnotized, the memory of my 2nd grade class came to me, my teacher and the kids in the class laughing at me; it all came back… I finally remembered and understood why I had the phobia. And it stopped! I couldn’t and still can’t believe it, but it worked!...”

a quote from Phil, a Police Captain with a severe public speaking phobia.
One common feeling many people with phobias have is the lack of knowledge or understanding of where and why they have their particular phobia.
Many people, who have had hypnotic intervention for the relief of a phobia, have told me that they remembered how and why the phobia began, only after being hypnotized.

The Self-Fulfilling Prophesy of a phobia.
“…Sometimes I think I will get an attack, and it happens, I’ll be fine until the
thought of chocking comes into my mind and then it happens…”,

a quote from Mary, a 47 year old who had a fear of chocking her whole life.
Very often sufferers of phobias will actually predict an attack happening.
This self-fulfilling prophesy aspect of phobias are common to all phobias.
Unfortunately, when you allow a thought to come into your mind, it is an exercise in futility to get it out. When you anticipate it happening it will happen.

The Anticipatory Anxiety factor; the third commonality…
“… I live with the phobia, I stay inside, but I also live with the fear of when it will happen; it can be worse than the fear itself… I live 24-7 with either the fear of seeing a bird or the fear of the phobia of seeing a bird”,

a quote from Karen, a 50 year old hairstylist with a fear of birds.
The fear of the phobia becomes worse than the fear itself. When a phobia is so ingrained, a person has no joy in their life because it (the phobia) is all they think of.

When you are in the midst of a phobic attack, you feel that you are alone in your fear and there is nothing that you can do!

It controls you and you are powerless to take that control back.

It takes on a presence of its own. All too often, people who have phobias will try to simply, avoid any chance of being where their phobia may be activated.
If you have a fear of birds, like Karen, you stay indoors.

If, like Phil, you have a public speaking phobia, you would never put yourself in a position to be speaking in front of a crowd.

However, what if you must deal with a phobia?

You can go to “Talk Therapy”, where you can discuss where and when it started and if you find the cause, you can find closure and cure.

You may learn coping strategies to “live with” the phobia.

However, if the function of the subconscious is the protector that will block the painful memory that causes the phobia AND is the store room for all your memories, it becomes quite difficult to determine where and when it started.
The place, the subconscious, which has the information for you to understand why you have a phobia, is the same place that is designed to keep that information from you.
I call this a phobic’s “Catch-22” and it is no joking matter.

I combine two hypnosis processes for the elimination of phobias. Combining Parts Therapy with Regression Therapy, works very powerfully to allow the sufferer of a phobia, get their life back.

In the next posting, titled “Phobias A to Z - Part 3” I will describe how hypnosis helps a phobic person eliminate the phobia and describe a case study about Sue, a single mom with a lifelong phobia of water- hydrophobia.

Feel free to make a comment on y blog, I will be happy to post it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

PHOBIAS from A to Z - Part 1

In this posting I cover the subject of phobias. There is a listing of many phobias in alphabetical order and a lighthearted and serious view of phobias. I also give definitions of phobias, the brain the functioning of the sub-conscious and its effect on the conscious mind and how the brain forms phobias.

Phobias from A to Z

Fears and phobias have been with us since we first walked the planet.
They have been the subject of stories around a campfire, of books, of short stories, movies, radio shows, television and more.

As you can see from the following list, there are hundreds of phobias;
some seem understandable like Lilapsophobia – the fear of tornadoes;
some seem silly like Dendrophobia – the fear of trees;
some seem obvious like Aichmophobia – the fear of needles;
some seem bizarre like Octophobia – the fear of the number 8;
some seem strange like Barophobia – the fear of gravity;
some seem exhausting like Somniphobia – the fear of sleep;
some seem redundant like Phobophobia – the fear of phobias;
some make sense like Atychiphobia – the fear of failure
some seem common, like the number 1 phobia in the world...
Glossophobia - Fear of speaking in public.

Below is an alphabetical listing of just some phobias…

Achluophobia - Fear of darkness.
Acrophobia - Fear of heights.
Agliophobia - Fear of pain.
Agoraphobia - Fear of open spaces or crowds.
Aichmophobia - Fear of needles or pointed objects.
Amaxophobia - Fear of riding in a car.
Androphobia - Fear of men.
Anginophobia - Fear of angina or choking.
Anthrophobia - Fear of flowers.
Anthropophobia - Fear of people or society.
Aphenphosmphobia - Fear of being touched.
Arachnophobia - Fear of spiders.
Arithmophobia - Fear of numbers.
Astraphobia - Fear of thunder and lightening.
Ataxophobia - Fear of disorder or untidiness.
Atelophobia - Fear of imperfection.
Atychiphobia - Fear of failure.
Autophobia - Fear of being alone.
Bacteriophobia - Fear of bacteria.
Barophobia - Fear of gravity.
Bathmophobia - Fear of stairs or steep slopes.
Batrachophobia - Fear of amphibians.
Belonephobia - Fear of pins and needles.
Bibliophobia - Fear of books.
Botanophobia - Fear of plants.
Cacophobia - Fear of ugliness.
Catagelophobia - Fear of being ridiculed.
Catoptrophobia - Fear of mirrors.
Chionophobia - Fear of snow.
Chromophobia - Fear of colors.
Chronomentrophobia - Fear of clocks.
Claustrophobia - Fear of confined spaces.
Coulrophobia - Fear of clowns.
Cyberphobia - Fear of computers.
Cynophobia - Fear of dogs.
Dendrophobia - Fear of trees.
Dentophobia - Fear of dentists.
Domatophobia - Fear of houses.
Dystychiphobia - Fear of accidents.
Ecophobia - Fear of the home.
Elurophobia - Fear of cats.
Entomophobia - Fear of insects.
Ephebiphobia - Fear of teenagers.
Equinophobia - Fear of horses.
Gamophobia - Fear of marriage.
Genuphobia - Fear of knees.
Glossophobia - Fear of speaking in public.
Gynophobia - Fear of women.
Heliophobia - Fear of the sun.
Hemophobia - Fear of blood.
Herpetophobia - Fear of reptiles.
Hydrophobia - Fear of water.
Iatrophobia - Fear of doctors.
Insectophobia - Fear of insects.
Koinoniphobia - Fear of rooms.
Leukophobia - Fear of the color white.
Lilapsophobia - Fear of tornadoes and hurricanes.
Lockiophobia - Fear of childbirth.
Mageirocophobia - Fear of cooking.
Megalophobia - Fear of large things.
Melanophobia - Fear of the color black.
Microphobia - Fear of small things.
Mysophobia - Fear of dirt and germs.
Necrophobia - Fear of death or dead things.
Noctiphobia - Fear of the night.
Nosocomephobia - Fear of hospitals.
Obesophobia - Fear of gaining weight.
Octophobia - Fear of the number 8.
Ombrophobia - Fear of rain.
Ophidiophobia - Fear of snakes.
Ornithophobia - Fear of birds.
Papyrophobia - Fear of paper.
Pathophobia - Fear of disease.
Pedophobia - Fear of children.
Philophobia - Fear of love.
Phobophobia - Fear of phobias.
Podophobia - Fear of feet.
Porphyrophobia - Fear of the color purple.
Pteridophobia - Fear of ferns.
Pteromerhanophobia - Fear of flying.
Pyrophobia - Fear of fire.
Scolionophobia - Fear of school.
Selenophobia - Fear of the moon.
Sociophobia - Fear of social evaluation.
Somniphobia - Fear of sleep.
Tachophobia - Fear of speed.
Technophobia - Fear of technology.
Tonitrophobia - Fear of thunder.
Trypanophobia - Fear of injections.
Venustraphobia - Fear of beautiful women.
Verminophobia - Fear of germs.
Wiccaphobia - Fear of witches and witchcraft.
Xenophobia - Fear of strangers or foreigners.
Zoophobia - Fear of animals.

The one thing that all phobias have in common, (actually, there are many more than “one thing”) is that they are no laughing matter for the millions of people who suffer from them.

A phobia that may seem silly or insignificant to you may be ruining the life of its victim.
People who suffer from phobias are in a constant state of apprehension and fear.
They are haunted by their fear both day and night,
by what is causing it;
by when it will happen again;
if they will ever be able to control it;
will they be embarrassed by their phobic attack?

Their lives are controlled by their particular phobia
and they are helpless to control their fears
and because they are helpless, they become hopeless.

Fortunately, I have found a very effective tool to help people with phobias gain control over their fears
and with this control, comes hope and finally a life free from debilitating fear.

The tool I am referring to is Hypnosis;
specifically PARTS Therapy.
Started in the 1950’s by Charles Tebbetts, this therapy goes directly to the “part” of the subconscious where the phobia resides, or more accurately…hides.

In order to understand and overcome the debilitating effects of a phobia, we first must thoroughly understand exactly what a phobia is, how it works from the subconscious and how it was formed.
Then, armed with that understanding a person with a phobia has the tools to overcome it;
to live a happier, normal fear-free life.


“What is a Phobia?”

“Medline Plus” describes a phobia as

“…a type of anxiety disorder. It is a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. There are many specific phobias. Acrophobia is a fear of heights. You may be able to ski the world's tallest mountains but be unable to go above the 5th floor of an office building. Agoraphobia is a fear of public places, and claustrophobia is a fear of closed-in places. If you become anxious and extremely self-conscious in everyday social situations, you could have a social phobia. Other common phobias involve tunnels, highway driving, water, flying, animals and blood...”

Wikipedia has a longer description and describes a phobia as

“…a morbid fear; an irrational, intense, persistent fear of certain situations,
activities, things, or people. The main symptom of this disorder is the excessive, unreasonable desire to avoid the feared subject. When the fear is beyond one's control, or if the fear is interfering with daily life it is considered a phobia… "
"...Phobias (in the clinical meaning of the term) are the most common form of anxiety disorders. An American study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that between 8.7% and 18.1% of Americans suffer from phobias. Broken down by age and gender, the study found that phobias were the most common mental illness among women in all age groups and the second most common illness among men older than 25...”
"...Most psychologists and psychiatrists classify phobias into three categories:
Social phobia,
also known as social anxiety disorder - fears involving other people or social situations such as performance anxiety or fears of embarrassment by scrutiny of others, such as eating in public. Social phobia may be further subdivided into generalized social phobia, and specific social phobia, which are cases of anxiety triggered only in specific situations.
Specific phobias -
fear of a single specific panic trigger such as spiders, snakes, dogs, elevators, water,
waves, flying, balloons, catching a specific illness, etc.
Agoraphobia -
a generalized fear of leaving home or a small familiar 'safe' area, and of possible panic attacks that might follow.,,"
The human brain is the center of the human nervous system and is a highly complex organ. It has the same general structure as the brains of other mammals, but is over five times as large as the "average brain" of a mammal with the same body size. Most of the expansion comes from the cerebral cortex, a convoluted layer of neural tissue that covers the surface of the forebrain. Especially expanded are the frontal lobes, which are involved in executive functions such as self-control, planning, reasoning, and abstract thought. The portion of the brain devoted to vision is also greatly
enlarged in humans.
The brain is the physical home of the conscious and subconscious…


We can (and I have) researched the heck out of phobias, but I can never find in my research, where they come from…
How and why they form…

Through working with many people with phobias,
I have found my own method of helping phobic people
and it doesn’t include months and months of talking sessions.

If you have no idea where it came from, what is the point of talking about phobias endlessly?
I feel it only strengthens its hold over you.

As I have described in other posts, the subconscious is the servant to the conscious mind, but by some of the complications it causes, you may disagree with that statement.

Picture this…

You are a caveman,
living a hunter/ gatherer existence.
You are primitive, living with your clan
and you are also hunted by other larger predators.

In order to survive, you must react instantly to a perceived threat.
But how do you instantly react?

Your primitive brain comes into play with the “Fight or Flight” instinct.
But it is not a true instinct, it must be learned…

So, there you are in the forest,
with your clan,
hunting rabbits,
picking vegetables etc.

You are 5 years old walking behind your mother.
Suddenly a large Jaguar leaps on your older brother,
dragging him screaming, bleeding and dying into the bush!

Your tribe instantly reacts!
The men throw their weapons!
The women grab you and the other small ones and run!
The image is burned into your mind, permanently!

To survive, they reacted instantly…
Fought and Fled and survived.

But, so that you never remember the horror of seeing the death of your brother,
your subconscious mind repressed and blocked the image of the scene from your conscious awareness.

You can’t recall your brother’s death,
but to survive,
it also lets the emotions of the event react in your mind,
each and every time the image of a Jaguar comes to you.

When seeing a Jaguar, from that moment on, you would either fight or flee,
without thought…

reaction MUST be immediate, without thought…
to survive.

So when a Jaguar is seen,
you like all your clan, react immediately almost instinctively,
but you will never remember why you react the way you do;
and you and your clan… survive.

This response is hard wired in our brains right now, from our distant past,
but… what was a survival mechanism then, is now causing phobias.


In my next posting titled “Phobias A to Z - Part 2”
I will be describing how this survival mechanism from our past, causes our phobias; how phobias are formed; and commonalities between many phobias.
Please feel free to make comments.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Past Life Regression as a Therapy

This article is about the therapeutic use of Past Life Regression, a definition of what a Past Life Regression is and how experiencing a Past Life can help you understand yourself better, as taught by Dr. Brian Weiss.

Before reading about Past Life Regressions, it would be helpful to have a working definition of what a PLR is. The following definition is by Florence Wagner McClain of the Llewellyn Encyclopedia and I find to be quite accurate.

"Past life regression is just remembering.
Stored in your subconscious mind are the memories of all of your experiences since you became a soul with the awareness of your individuality. Regression is reaching into those memory banks to recapture the events of past lifetimes.

It isn't so very different from trying to remember events that took place during your early childhood. At first, the memories may be dim and few, but each event remembered sparks another memory and another until it becomes easy.

In one way, you might compare it to an information storage system that has had little or no use for a long period of time. Some of the file drawers are stuck, or rusty. There are a few cobwebs here and there. Dust is thick and fills the air making it difficult to see. Some of the light bulbs have burned out, and the file clerk has taken an extended vacation.

But-a little attention here and there, putting the system on notice that you intend to make extensive use of it, and everything slowly begins to shift into gear. Shortly the system is running efficiently, retrieving the memories and information you request.

There are many ways to get the attention of your 'file clerk,' or gain access to your subconscious. Nearly everyone has experienced a form of spontaneous regression. For example, have you ever met someone for the first time, but felt an immediate kinship as if you were old and intimate friends? You probably were friends in some past lifetime, and the presence of that soul caused your subconscious to produce the proper emotion for that far-past relationship.

Perhaps you have traveled to some strange place only to find that it is familiar to you-you have a feeling of being at home. No doubt it was home to you sometime in the past. These are not uncommon experiences.

Very young children often have fairly clear memories of past lives. Sometimes these memories take the form of daydreams or are acted out in play. Occasionally past life memories are the basis for some of the fears of childhood. The child who is afraid of water may have memories of having drowned in another lifetime. The child who is afraid of the dark or can't bear to be in a confined area may have, at least, the emotional memories of the POW who was kept in the dark or confined in a small cage. Children usually forget past life memories rather quickly as they approach school age.

Some individuals have gained a certain amount of access to their subconscious through the practice of meditation. Probably the most familiar method of gaining access to the subconscious is through conventional hypnosis under the guidance of a trained Hypnotherapist".

Now, with a good definition you can imagine how the knowledge of a past life can affect your present life. If you are new to the concept of Past Lives (PL’s), I am going to confine this article to the basics of the concept. In future articles and workshops, I plan on developing a more detailed explanation of how PL’s can be a very useful therapy.

To be open to and explore the subject of PL’s, we need to make an assumption. You do not have to believe in PL’s, but you should be at least open to the possibility of reincarnation. Reincarnation is the bedrock for the belief in Past Life Regressions (PLR’s), so for the sake of argument, let’s assume that reincarnation is real. Your soul is immortal and uses the physical world as a school to learn, grow, evolve and assist others in their growth.

During a PLR, I will hypnotize you to visualize yourself going back in time, first, to a happy childhood memory.
Then, through the use of regressions we will go back to an earlier time in your life and finally I will have you sense yourself in your mother’s womb.
Next, with the permission of your higher self, we will go back to a place and earlier time that your soul was in another body.
There you experience various significant events in that life, which are affecting your life, now. You will experience your death in that life, which may sound scary, but is really enlightening because it proves to you, that death, is not as permanent as you may have first thought.
After your “death” in that life, your soul goes into “the light”, where you visit with the souls of family that has passed.

Past Life Regression Therapy (PLRT) is the therapeutic use of a past life regression to determine what experiences your soul had in that past life, which is now affecting your current life.
You gain insight as to why certain unexplained thoughts, fears, angers, etc. had bothered you, which suddenly, now make sense.
The therapeutic use of PLR was perfected by Dr. Brian Weiss ( among others; PLRT has helped thousands of people with issues in their current life that could not be helped by more traditional therapeutic techniques.

I had the pleasure and honor to be taught by Dr. Brian Weiss in a week long Past Life Regression Workshop and Advanced PLR workshops that included “Future Life Progression”
(I will be writing and having workshops on that in the future).
At this PLR Workshop there were 150 therapists, doctors, hypnotherapists, teachers from all over the world to learn the PLRT techniques as taught by Dr. Weiss.
As you can imagine there were many, many questions posed to Brian and he answered them all in the loving nurturing way that is so his manner.

I will list some of the more popular questions and give the answers Brian gave.

Do I have to be “Very Deep” in hypnosis to have a PLR?
Not really. If you understand that issues from past lives can affect your current life, then those memories must be very close to the surface, readily accessible, even in a light trance.

How do I know it is a “real” past life experience and not my imagination?
This is a very good question. Therapeutically speaking, if the person has a better life; better able to function in society, with less stress and a better understanding of who he is and the purpose of his life… If he is better able to cope, in general, from the information he receives from a past life…Does it matter if it real or imagination? Of course it didn’t matter…And as Dr. Weiss said… But it IS real!”

How do you know PLRT is real?
I know from experience. As always, I will state that my belief in PLR, along with everything else on my website is my opinion. However, if you want to discuss the subject of real vs. imagination, contact me or enter a question unto this blog.

Can “Bad things” happen from a PLR, like in the movie “Stir of Echo’s”?
PLR is safe and enlightening. The only contraindications for any PLR or regression therapy are in the case of serious mental or emotional conditions. A person should NOT participate in PLR, regression work or hypnosis if they have been diagnosed by a medical practitioner as clinically depressed, bi-polar, manic/depression, etc.

For more information look at my website
More interesting sites

Carol Bowman's website;


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Group Hypnosis and Telephone Psychics... Buyers Beware


This article is about the concerns everyone should have when deciding to participate in a group hypnosis workshop or seeking a psychic. There are links to online reports of misrepresentations by unscrupulous hypnosis and psychic practitioners. How everyone should keep a healthy skepticism and the best method of finding a hypnosis or metaphysical practitioner that is right for you.

All hypnosis is good for you.
A very strong statement, but one I stand behind.
No hypnotist, no matter how gifted, experienced or deceitful can make you do something that goes against your better judgment.
Even if you saw your best friend, making a fool of him or herself during a hypnosis stage show, you should know that they would be that goofy in the right situation and the hypnosis just let them let their hair down a little quicker.
Stage hypnosis is a double edged sword.
On one hand it demonstrates how powerful hypnosis is and at the same time it frightens away many people from taking advantage of a very beneficial therapeutic technique.
During a hypnosis session (group or individual) you will feel relaxed and your body will totally de-stress, your blood pressure will be reduced, time will fade away with your stress.
Sounds good, huh?
That’s ‘cause it is good.

Speaking in general, group hypnosis during a seminar or workshop can help people quit smoking or lose weight but, can never be as effective as a private session.
The reasons are many and obvious.
During group hypnosis, the hypnotist must adjust his technique for the average participant. Some will be deeper than others and so their hypnotic experience will be better,
while other participants will never experience hypnosis at all.

There are however, many benefits to attending a hypnosis workshop.
They are an inexpensive way to experience hypnosis
and understand what it feels like to be in hypnosis.

If you are in the 10 percent of the population that are extremely good hypnotic subjects,
you may walk out of the workshop and be perfectly happy and satisfied with the results.
Perhaps you will never smoke again or begin to control eating urges and
in general, most group hypnosis workshops are happy with a 10 % success rate.
I am not.
That is why my group hypnosis workshops are 4-5 hours long.
The reason why my group sessions are so long is because,
I want all participants to have the best shot at a great experience.
The workshops that I am doing now are,
"Smoking Cessation",
“Introduction to Hypnosis”,
“Past Life Regression”,
“Stress Management” and
“Hypnosis and Meditation”
In each group workshop, I will conduct at least three hypnosis experiences,
each one progressively more deeper than the previous one.
The reason is I want you to have a thouough experience
and not question if you were hypnotized.
The more often you experience hypnosis,
the deeper you go and your questioning if, in fact, you were hypnotized
becomes a moot point.
I want to feel comfortable that when you leave my workshop,
you will be satisfied, although I still admit,
group hypnosis can never be as effective as a private session.

There is a big difference between cynics and skeptics (I used to be a cynic)
no matter what proof you had,
if I didn’t believe in what you were “selling”,
I wasn't buying.

It didn’t matter if the proof was beyond doubt,
I was a non-believer and nothing would or could change my mind.
If that sounds like you, and nothing will change your mind,
you are not allowing a lot of joy and amazement into your life.
Consider challenging your disbelief,
you may be pleasantly surprised at the results of letting your
disbeliening guard down a little.

I am now a skeptic. I now will accept that anything as possible,
but I hold off, true belief until I am completely convinced.
Those things in life that I do not believe in,
I still allow myself the option of changing my mind,
should stronger proof come along.
I think I am a healthier person now than before.
I consider myself a “healthy” skeptic.

As in all professions, there are practitioners who are honest,
professional and totally reputable, but unfortunately,
there are those that are not
and give their profession a bad name.
With hypnosis (other than the types of group hypnosis seminars cited below)
there are hypnotists that are better than others,
but an extremely small percentage are fraudulent.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the field of Psychic/Mediumship.
The few fraudulent psychics have terribly besmirched
the reputation of practioners of this age old art and ability.
But in this case you MUST keep your healthy skepticism on high,
because in this field,
where people are so open and vulnerable,
the possibility of being a victim is higher than when looking for a hypnotherapist.
I suggest reading my blog article titled, “Metaphysicality”.

Here are a few articles from the internet about some, less than honest hypnosis smoking cessation and weight management programs and call in psychics.
You should always remember to thoroughly investigate any group hypnosis program, hypnocounselor/hypnotherapist or psychic.
Advertising in newspapers, radio and TV is fine,
but remember that word of mouth and referrals
are always the best way to find a reputable practitioner.
Ask for referrals and always, always keep your healthy skepticism!


New Jersey Company That Markets Hypnosis Seminars for Smoking Cessation and Weight Loss Agrees to Settle FTC Charges

Florida Company That Markets Hypnosis Seminars for Smoking Cessation and Weight Loss Agrees to Settle FTC Charges

BBB of Texas report on fraud in hypnosis seminar

IHI Settles FTC Charges over Stop-Smoking, Weight-Loss Claims

Lawsuits mount over “Miss Cleo”

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Metaphysicality Part 5; ESP and Psychic Abilities

In the 5th posting of the series, I define the seven psychic or Claire-senses we have. I describe the "Paranormal and some good links.

ESP and Psychic Abilities

The term clairvoyant is used commonly and interchangeably whenever people discuss the subject of Extra Sensory Perception – ESP. I would like to bring in a definition of each extra sense we possess. A definition for the seven “Claire” senses can be helpful.

Or "Clear Seeing" is the ability to see anything which is not physically present, such as objects, animals or people. This sight occurs "in the mind’s eye", and some mediums say that this is their normal vision state. Others say that they must train their minds with such practices as meditation in order to achieve this ability, and that assistance from spiritual helpers is often necessary. Some clairvoyant mediums can see a spirit as though the spirit has a physical body. They see the bodily form as if it were physically present (This is Bill’s strength; Bill, Jill and I have an ongoing psychic circle, called “Connecting with Loved Ones in Spirit, which meets every Tuesday evening). Other mediums see the spirit in their mind's eye, or it appears as a movie or a television program or a still picture like a photograph in their mind (which is a good way to describe the way Jill and I “see”).

or "Clear Hearing” is usually defined as the ability to hear the voices or thoughts of spirits. Some Mediums hear as though they are listening to a person talking to them on the outside of their head, as though the Spirit is next to or near to the medium, and other mediums hear the voices in their minds as a verbal thought.

or "Clear Feeling" is a condition in which the medium takes on the ailments of a spirit, feeling the same physical problem the spirit person. The medium also takes on specific mannerisms and attitudes. People have stated that a Clairsentient medium at times even looks like the person who they are in touch with (I have been told exactly that by some of our sitters).

or "Clear Smelling" is the ability to smell a spirit. For example, a medium may smell the pipe tobacco of a person who smoked during life. I have smelled Chicken soup, so strongly I had to ask if anyone else smelled it. When asked about chicken soup, our sitter said that her (pased- grandmother would always sit over a bowl of home made chicken soup. Jill, smelled the strong odor of cleanser, which was a strong validation to our sitter.

or "Clear Tasting" is the ability to receive taste impressions from a spirit but this is a rare ability.
or "Clear Sensing” is the ability to have an impression of what a spirit wants to communicate, or to feel sensations instilled by a spirit.

or "Clear Knowing", is the ability to know something without receiving it through normal or psychic senses. It is a feeling of "just knowing". Often, a medium will claim to have the feeling that a message or situation is "right" or "wrong."

As I stated before Bill, Jill and I have a psychic circle on Tuesdays evenings. We bring into our circle from one to five people to give psychic/medium readings to. See my website for more information

Bill’s predominant senses are Clairvoyance and Clairaudience. He also reads auras and energy.

Jill’s predominant senses are Clairaudience and Clairsentinence. She has an ability to separate and sit with spirit to gain information and messages.

My predominant senses are Clairaudience and Clairsentinence; I allow the spirit to make me feel what they had felt in life. People have told me that when I am communicating with their loved ones I actually “look like them”.

All three of us are Claircognizance and Clairsentinence.

There are some people who call what we do “Paranormal” implying weirdness or not normal. Let’s look at the word first, before labeling our work too quickly.
There are various definitions for the paranormal, Beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation: “such paranormal phenomena as telepathy; a medium's paranormal powers”.

Paranormal is a general term that describes unusual experiences that lack a scientific explanation, or phenomena alleged to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure. In parapsychology, it is used to describe the potentially psychic phenomena of telepathy, extra-sensory perception, psychokinesis, ghosts, and hauntings. The scientific community, as referenced in statements made by organization such as the United States National Science Foundation, contends that scientific evidence does not support paranormal beliefs.

What is paranormal?
We are often asked, "What exactly does paranormal mean?" The term paranormal is used to describe a wide variety of activity and phenomena. According to the Journal of Parapsychology (a quarterly publication devoted primarily to the original publication of experimental results and other research findings as published by the Parapsychological Association), the term paranormal describes "any phenomenon that in one or more respects exceeds the limits of what is deemed physically possible according to current scientific assumptions." The actual word is derived from the Latin use of the prefix para meaning "outside or beyond" what is considered normal.

There has been much research in the field of Mediumship. In Britain, the Society for Psychical Research has investigated some phenomena, mainly in connection with telepathy and apparitions. According to an article in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, in some cases mediums have produced personal information which has been well above guessing rates.

The VERITAS Research Program of the Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health in the Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona, run by Dr. Gary Schwartz, was created primarily to test the hypothesis that the consciousness (or identity) of a person survives physical death. Studies conducted by VERITAS have been approved by the University of Arizona Human Subjects Protection Program and an academic advisory board. Gary’s book “The Afterlife Experiments” is on my reading list.

References and Links;

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Metaphysicality - Part 4; Mediumship

In the 4th posting in the series, I discuss the new popularity of psychic mediums; a history and definition of Psychic Mediumship; what to look for, be aware of and be concerned about, when using a medium to connect you with passed loved ones and give some insight as to what my partners and I do during a psychic circle.


There are TV shows like “Ghost Whisperer”, “Medium” and more Psychic shows, from psychic detectives to pet psychics than ever before. The subject of Psychic/Mediumship is once again, very popular.
I say “once again” because contrary to current thought it is by no means “New Age”;
Mediumship is and always has been Age-less.

The ability that Mediums like John Edward, John Holland Lisa Williams, and others demonstrate are as inherent to human beings as their other five senses. People are beginning to believe that in fact, we are all psychic.

In fact, it was watching John Edward on TV that first aroused my curiosity about how Mediumship works. Through various synchronicities (which I attributed, at the time, to coincidence) I went from being a cynic to a skeptic to a believer and after many classes and effort to becoming a psychic/medium.

A Definition and a Brief History of “Mediumship”.

The term "Mediumship" denotes the ability of a person (the “medium”) to apparently experience contact with spirits of the dead, spirits of immaterial entities i.e. angels, spirit guides, ghosts etc.

The medium generally attempts to facilitate communication between non-mediumistic people (the “sitters”) and spirits who may have messages to share.

A medium may appear to listen to and relate conversations with spirit voices; go into a trance and speak without knowledge of what is being said; allow a spirit to enter their body and speak through it; relay messages from the spirits those who wish to contact them with the help of a physical tool, such as a writing instrument.

Mediumship is also part of the belief system of some “New Age” groups. In this context, and under the name channeling, it refers to a medium who receive messages from a "teaching-spirit".

There is a long documented history of Mediumship. Attempts to communicate with the dead and other spirits have been documented back to early human history.
One of the most well-known is the story of the Witch of Endor, who was said to have raised the spirit of the deceased prophet Samuel to allow the Hebrew King Saul to question his former mentor about an upcoming battle, as related in the Old Testaments’ First Book of Samuel in the Jewish Tanakh.

Mediumship became quite popular in the United States after the rise of Spiritualism as a religious movement. Modern Spiritualism is said to date to the mediumistic activities of the Fox sisters in New York State in 1848. The trance mediums Paschal Beverly Randolph and Emma Hardinge Britten were among the most celebrated lecturers and authors on the subject in the mid 1800s. Mediumship was also described by Allan Kardec, who coined the term Spiritism, around 1860.

After the exposure of the fraudulent use of stage magic tricks by physical mediums such as the Davenport Brothers, Mediumship fell into disrepute, although it never ceased being used by people who believed that the dead can be contacted.

From the 1930s through the 1990s, as psychic Mediumship became less practiced in Spiritualist churches, the technique of channeling gained in popularity, and books by channelers who related the wisdom of non-corporeal and non-terrestrial teacher-spirits became best-sellers amongst believers.

For some mediums, a spirit guide is a highly evolved spirit with the sole purpose of helping the medium develop and use their skills. They assist mediums in following their spiritual path. For other mediums, a spirit guide is one who brings other spirits to a medium's attention or carries communications between a medium and the spirits of the dead. Many mediums claim to have specific guides who regularly work with them and "bring in" spirits of the dead. Some mediums believe that spirits of the dead will communicate with them directly without the use of a spirit guide.

In Spiritualism, a portion of the services, generally toward the end, is given over to the pastor, or another medium, who receives messages from the spirit world for the congregants. This may be referred to as a "demonstration of Mediumship." A typical example of this older way of describing a mediumistic church service is found in the 1958 autobiography of C. Dorreen Phillips. She writes of the worship services at the Spiritualist Camp at Chesterfield, Indiana: "Services are held each afternoon, consisting of hymns, a lecture on philosophy, and demonstrations of Mediumship."

Today "demonstration of Mediumship" is part of the church service at all churches affiliated with the National Spiritualist Association of Churches 'NSAC'.
These types of services are held each Sunday at The Institute for Spiritual Development in Sparta NJ. Their website is

Mental Mediumship is communication of spirits with a medium by telepathy. The medium mentally "hears," "sees," and/or feels messages from spirits, then, directly or with the help of a spirit guide, passes the information on to the message's recipient(s). Trance Mediumship is often seen as a form of Mental Mediumship.

Some mediums remain conscious during this communication period, while others go into a trance, wherein a spirit uses the medium's body to communicate. Trance Mediumship is defined as a spirit taking over the body of the medium, sometimes to such a degree that the medium is unconscious.
“Part trance mediums” are aware during the period of communication,
while “full trance mediums” pass into an unconscious state in which their physical and mental processes are completely controlled by the spirit communicator.
Because the typical trance medium has no clear memory of the messages conveyed while in a trance, a medium of this type generally works with an assistant who writes down or otherwise records his or her words.

A good example of this kind of relationship can be found in the early 1970’s in “The Seth books”. Full Trance Medium Jane Roberts channeled “Seth” an advanced spirit guide, while her husband Robert Butts transcribed the sessions. Her website is
Edgar Cayce, known as “The sleeping Prophet” is another example of Trance Mediumship. Mr. Cayce has an extensive library in Virginia Beach, Virginia of thousands of recorded full trance medium readings covering all aspects of human life. For more information on Edgar Cayce goes to

In Spiritualism, psychic senses used by mental mediums are sometimes defined differently than in other paranormal fields. The term clairvoyance, for instance, may be used by Spiritualists to include seeing spirits and visions instilled by spirits, whereas the Parapsychological Association defines "clairvoyance" as information derived directly from an external physical source.

In my opinion, it is extremely important for anyone, seeking the use of a Medium to contact deceased loved ones, to understand how the process works and to always keep their healthy skepticism.

Some important things to keep in mind;
- As in all professions, we all have varying degrees of proficiency. Mediums are no different, you will find some that are amazing and some are less; Most are 100% ethical and unfortunately some are… less.

- The best way to judge any professional is through word of mouth and referrals.
Listen to friends and family that have been to a Psychic/Medium (P/M). You would be amazed by how many people, who you would not expect to go to a P/M, that do. You would be equally amazed about how many people, some that you know who are Mediums or have great hidden mediumistic abilities.

- Most P/M’s are scrupulous but unfortunately there are those that are frauds.
People who so desperately want to hear from loved ones that they let their guard and common sense down are most vulnerable to fraud. They are unaware of or choose to ignore that there are those supposed “Mediums” who are fraudulent and are doing this to steal from the most vulnerable of us.

When seeking a Medium be aware of and avoid any who,
- seems to be fishing for information, or coming up with many very general impressions. If they are more focused on your reaction, if they are reacting to what you are saying, rather than what they perceive from spirit, they are probably doing what is known as a “Cold Reading” and is either not an experienced psychic or perhaps a fraudulent one.
A Medium should always be more concerned with what spirit is telling them than what you are.
- Asks you to return with more money. If the P/M suggests that you should come back for more readings, because your loved ones are requesting you to do so, along with asking you for more money, they are frauds and you should leave as soon as possible! Messages that you receive from a loved one is as important for the loved one in spirit to get to you as it is important for you to receive it.
All those in spirit want to get their message to you immediately, completely and always from a place of love. They will never say “I will have a message for you on your next session”, if a medium says that they want you to return for additional readings, you should know that it was not your loved one’s message, that message is coming from a fraudulent medium. That is just not how spirit communicates. Please keep a healthy sense of skepticism.
Many people want to hear from loved ones so badly that they can be easily scammed.
There is nothing wrong with going back for additional readings as long as it is you who wants to return and it is your request. Most P/M will suggest that you wait a while before scheduling an additional session.

If you plan to come for any P/M work either with me or with our Circle, PLEASE tell us nothing!
It is not that I (we) don’t want to know who you want to contact.
The information, validations and messages MUST come from them, your loved ones in spirit. As soon as we think about who you want to come through, we are using a different part of the brain. When a P/M begins to think with the logical part of the mind a situation arises that I call “From me/To me”.
I can get mixed messages if I am confused by a message coming “From me” which is based on assumptions, guesses and are usually wrong.
This is also connected with “Cold Readings”.
What we do want is information “Coming TO me”. Information coming from spirit will not make sense to us, but the validations, information and messages are not for us, they are for you.
After a session is over, I/ We will ask for you to validate the information that we did bring through.
I hope that this posting was informative.
Please feel free to post a comment or question and I look forward to replying.
The next posting will be on 1/18/2009 and will be titled,
Metaphysicality – Part 5; ESP and Psychic Abilities.