Friday, April 20, 2018




(ex-change /iks`Chanj)
1.  situations in which people give each other information or discuss their ideas or opinions (Macmillan Dictionary).
2.  any conversation between a client and therapist during hypnotherapy, and especially when the client is in a state of trance (Neil Child – Hypnotherapist).

Today I am going to coin the word, EXCHANGE, and attach it to any tete-a-tetes taking place between the client and therapist during any hypnotic state of trance.

Rarely, historically and traditionally during hypnotherapy, is there a tete-a-tete between client and therapist while the client is in a state of trance.  Stating this, there are exceptions.  Whenever the client is in a state of trance on stage (stage hypnosis) or state of trance on the street (street hypnosis), there are always tete-a-tetes, and these chats are very necessary for the comedic entertainment of the gathered sitting audiences and gathering standing street gaggles.

In the academic literature I’ve often read that when in the trance state, the hypnotherapist is gaining access to the client’s unconscious.  The unconscious mind, as coined by Freud, refers to the part of the mind that cannot be known by the conscious mind, and especially includes socially unacceptable ideas or desires, traumatic memories or painful emotions that have been, by personal design, repressed.  Repressed implies an unconscious refusal to acknowledge certain events; whereas, suppression is conscious refusal to acknowledge, but I digress. 

I shall be direct:  In my hypnotherapy practice, the unconscious mind is of no importance.  In my sessions I deal only with fully conscious minds; I exercise a process where my clients are induced to a heightened state of focused attention and into a low peripheral state of awareness.

(Conscious refers to the state of awareness, of being awake.)  Sigmund Freud gave us the concept of the “unconscious” mind with a load of drama and personality, presenting inner and raging battles amongst the Ids (our instincts), our Egos (our realities), and our Superegos (our moralities).
Note:  Carl Jung added “collective unconscious” or archetypes (a set of shared beliefs, ideas, and moral attitudes operating as a unifying force within society) to all of Sigmund Freud above.   

According to Carl Jung, we have an ego, a personal unconscious, and a collective unconscious.  For the general understanding of this essay, I shall dance over three concepts, CONSCIOUS, UNCONSCIOUS, and SUBCONSCIOUS.

“Un” and “sub” are two common English prefixes.  “Un” means the opposite of or not (“unlikely” for example) and “sub” means below something else (“submarine” for example). 

And so “unconscious” means not conscious and “subconscious” means a state somewhere below awareness.

“Subconscious” exists similar to the way “cognition” exists.  Subconscious is an abstract, a concept.  I do believe subconscious brain activity is real, but subconscious thought, I think is not.   I believe subconscious brain activity to be real in the same sense that cell construction and repair within our bodies is continuous and real.  I do believe that stuff is continually churning in our minds, that there are things always on our minds, that the backdrop of our brains is ever kinetic.

For whatever my words are worth (talk is cheap), we do know lots about the conscious mind, and we know zeroth about unconscious anything.  And so for the purpose of this particular writing, I shall acknowledge only and refer only to the Id concepts of both Freud and Jung, and that Id being the conscious mind.

In (my) hypnotherapy practice, I care only about the conscious mind.  I do not believe the unconscious and subconscious concepts to be of any importance in my method of best practice.  I believe that my clients have to be fully conscious, even while in their states of trance, to positively imagine and employ any benefits hypnotherapy may have toward changing their lives.

Here is a thumbnail sketch of what my clients experience during a regular hypnotherapy session:


This is the reason why the client is seeking hypnotherapy. During this initial part of the session, clients candidly disclose why they are seeking hypnotherapy.  I must mention that hypnotherapy is more often than not, the last therapy resort.  Most my clients have sought other therapists with other theories for their maladies, before finally embarking to hypnotherapy.


I employ a variety of inductions, all of which to solicit client relaxation.  One of my favorite inductions is simply the cap-a-pie (head-to-toe) countdown, during which I remind the client to relax, relax, relax, and to breathe deeply and rhythmically.


Oftentimes a deepening (trance) is required.  Whenever this is the case, the client and I have initially discussed such an imaginary place before the induction count-down.   


This is the way the client wants to behave.  This is the imagined circumstance that client wants to enact in certain situations.  For example, this alternative history script represents exactly what the client will now be doing instead of smoking, overeating, and enduring another sleepless night.


It is during this particular script that I engage the clients in conversation, asking them specific details of what they are doing in these imagined positive circumstances.  Having the clients provide the thicker details, I think, further reinforce and cement into their minds the desired behaviors.

And to close the exchange I simply count down … three … two … one … and then a fillip (finger-snap) and … voila … the client is out of the trance and back into reality!

Talk is cheap and is so cliché.  In most things with regard to quantity and quality, you get what you pay for.  In MY private hypnotherapy practice TALK IS STEEP!

Marching in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week: 


Sunday, April 15, 2018


RICK STECIUK is my very close and very philosophical friend (see my blog entry, THE PHILOSOPHER’S PIPE: WHEN A FELLER NEEDS A FRIEND posted June 29, 2013).  Factoid:  Rick was there at the very beginning when I started writing this blog.  My very first entry, TIME: AN ESSAY ON THE HUMAN PERCEPTION OF TIME (March 20th, 2010) was Rick's suggested topic!

“It is the client who knows what hurts, what directions to go, what problems are crucial, what experiences have been deeply buried. It began to occur to me that unless I had a need to demonstrate my own cleverness and learning, I would do better to rely upon the client for the direction of movement in the process.” – Carl Rogers

From the start of my counseling career, whether providing Reality Therapy (Choice Theory) or Solution Focused Therapy or Cognitive Behavior Therapy and even Hypnotherapy, I have always told my clients that as a therapist I never, ever give advice, and that the solutions to their problems are always within themselves.  Reflecting upon this Rogers quote (above), I guess I have been a Rogerian (Person-Centered) therapist all along. 

And then when I do a re-read of the five principles Carl Rogers stated as necessary for a good life (accepting all experiences, an existential lifestyle, a trust in one’s own decisions, an increase in freedom, and being creative and adaptive without necessarily conforming), it is a confirmation of sorts that I am, indeed, a Rogerian.

No matter my bent, the skinny of therapy is that if you are not wholly comfortable with how you are, then you need to make a change.  It is a simple matter of becoming the person you imagine yourself to be.  And it is never too late to change anything in your lifestyle.

It is not in our best mental health interests to have a mismatch between our inner selves and our outer selves, least of not the reflections of our outer selves.  The wider the gap between our inner and outer self, the more likely the mental in-congruence and dissonance we experience.  As a therapist, I can certainly and only help you to reflect upon the changes needed in your life to increase your happiness while decreasing your disdain.

Reflect upon what you are doing now.  Do you believer fame and fortune are the prerequisites for happiness?  Do you believe a carpe diem lifestyle is the guide to happiness? 
A guide to the beginning of a Hollywood ending demands continual reflection and pragmatic implementation.  How can we cultivate positive change in our lives and what is the cost of doing so.

Whether it is a desire to quit smoking or a desire to lose weight, remember that desiring change is not doing change.  Desiring is easy, changing is challenging.  Anything will get in the way of making change.  As I wrote (this epiphany) in my Master’s thesis:
 It’s always easier not to (simply fill in the blank for any desired outcome).

There is always a strong reluctance to change routines.  One could easily think that changing routines takes first a mental (conscious) effort then an actual physical effort.  However, my Reality Therapy trappings have convinced me that effecting real change begins with doing, rather than thinking about doing.  The skinny for such is along the line, don’t think, just run up and kick the ball.

And what price do people pay for not changing their lives?  As stated earlier, the wider the gap between the imagined and desired life and a person’s unimaginable and real life, the more likely the mental in-congruence and dissonance.  If a person wants to be different but is not willing to change behaviors, then a life of general frustration will prevail.

Changing your habits will change your thinking and ultimately change your lifestyle.  Doing same ol’ same ol’ will always result in same ol’ same ol’.  Keep doing what you’re doing will get you what you’ve always got.  If you don’t like what you’ve got, then start doing in a different fashion!

It is never too late for change.  Become the person you long to be.  Start breathing the life of the being you want to become.  If you want to be a non-smoker, be a non-smoker.  It you want to get skinny, get skinny.  Change will occur especially if a person believes that a life change is necessary, or rather fears that a life change is necessary.   

Another quotation from Carl Rogers:  The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination.

Hmmm.  I’m thinking that direction is for the right brain thinkers and destination for the left brain thinkers.

A direction is abstract; a destination is concrete.  A direction is hypothetical, philosophical, and transcendental; a destination is particular, precise, and tangible.

And this brings me to explaining my snappy title for this blog.  Direction, like life, is a trek.  Trekking is kinetic; one can get energized while trekking.  

And regular readers of this blog know that existential dread seems a running theme in my writing and having an existential lifestyle is, not coincidentally, one of the five tenets Carl Rogers stated that is necessary for a good life. 

To be flummoxed with existential dread is typically prompted by mid-life crisis, that time in life when one realizes that for the most part, we tend to embark on middle-class misadventures, rather than authenticity and self-actualization.

When one has decided to make a change of direction in lifestyle, such directions can be rather accursed.  For example, drinking six or seven glasses a water a day can be a capital pee project.   Being hungry most every day in appreciation of gastric discomfort is not comforting.  And resisting food, especially junk food, allows for no salivating moments of gluttonous joy.  And my last (and most personal) example:  Doing pull-ups and roll-outs and battle-ropes are brutal to endure during a workout but are truly valued at the end of a workout.

Where you are is where it’s at.  Trekking toward your skinny or sobriety or wherever demands self-discipline and toil.  And you may have to retire your claque of sycophants to get there.  For example, if either skinny or sobriety is your destination, to shred your body and sharpen your brain you’ll need to symbolically toast a good-bye to your pub tribe.  Any person not enhancing or helping with your positive changes needs to be jettisoned.  (Ridding yourself of those who encourage your negative behaviors will be your initial angst and biggest chore.  Factoid: In the addiction industry, friendships among druggies are sometimes referred to as drugships.  This is based upon the notion that these social relationships have only one thing in common, the negative addiction being the only glue keeping such relationships together.  Change -- it ain't easy!)


Sunday, April 1, 2018



When it is 19 degrees below zero I am (inside) at the Centennial Market portrait busking.  I used to fancy myself as a brutto tempo busker but in real time and season I am not.

My theme today is: Talk is cheap -- Action is steep.   

And I can thank Marty Nemko's doctored version of HOW TO DO LIFE (31/03/18) for the inspiration of sorts.  Marty is regular contributor to Psychology Today daily blogs.  (And, Marty, please forgive me as I adjust your words to suit my argument of things to forget when truly wanting to be a planetary busker.)

  • Forget about your passion.   Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you” (Oprah); “I would rather die of passion than of boredom” (Vincent Van Gogh); “Chase your passion, not your pension” (American motivational speaker, Denis Waitley).  Yes, there are yogis and rishis, artisans and idealists among us, who are doing their own thing.  Such people are more romantic than pragmatic.  Such persons who are succeeding economically are the exceptions rather than the rule.  I like to think I am an aficionado when it comes to busking.  However, having children is the game-changer.  Once you have children, and those children attend public or private schools and grow into their middle class brand values, your wallet needs to comply and will be emptied.  I cannot imagine having raised my children on my monies from writing and busking.  Alas without any regret, I joined Corporate America and had a middle-class misadventure lifestyle. 

Here is what I now know:  Following your passion ought to be your hobby, not your job.  If your passion becomes your job it’ll be along the line, I used to like hiking until I joined the army!

  • Forget about the interest inventories. Strong Campbell Interest Inventory (SCII) and the Myers-Briggs come to mind and … what a laugh!  Interest inventories are those testing instruments that purportedly measure a person’s preference for work activities.  Methinks the designers of these inventories have determined that we are simply mugwumps waiting for our career epiphanies.  My imaginary book, “Choosing a Career for Dummies” would be better than any interest inventory available to date.  (I’ve just googled my imaginary book and cannot help but notice that Carol L. McClelland beat me to it.  She has published, “Your Dream Career for Dummies.”)

Here is what I now know:  I suck at career counseling and I always tell this fib to clarify my stance on such counseling, I used to be in Engineering until I met Sonya, and now I’m a dancer.

  • Forget about that job with status.  Jobs with status are for narcissists, not for those seeking authenticity.  Never mind the competition for such status is, in cliché fashion, fierce.A job with status is a job with a recognized and enviable professional standing.  Examples of jobs with low status are clerks and line-cooks, servers and house keepers.  Examples of jobs with high status are the chief executives and corporate managers, the ilk of physicians and psychiatrists.If status jobs were listed in a linear measure, buskers would be quite left, right next to the beggars plotted on the extreme left.   Successful artists, be they portrait painters or rock stars would be plotted quite to the right.  As in any standardized curve of accomplishment, the beggars to the extreme left and the artists to the extreme right would be not significant in the stats.  Saying this, however, rejecting the status quo of perceived career choices on any linear scale is certainly not to abjure the important aspects of anyone’s occupation. I’ll offer one more example to continue this not-to-seek status argument.  Here is what I know now.  A job with a non-government organization (NGO) will pay less than a government job, but here is the benefit. 

Here is what I now know:  As a counselor or therapist with an NGO has far less paperwork, and can spend way more vis-à-vis in-the-ditch with clients.

  • Forget about being an entrepreneur.  Owning and managing your own business has a rather attractive connotation until the reality of working for yourself sets in.  Running your own business seems ideal until you realize the more you work the more you make.  And I must mention that marketing at the front end doing the billings at the back end are horrible chores -- job fodder for scriveners, not therapists.  I’ve often described myself as being a social entrepreneur when out busking.  When I guitar busk in Canada I always have my Schizophrenia Society of Saskatchewan (SSS) sign on display in my open guitar case.  Here is the deal.  I am busking for cause, because, I offer pro bono counseling services for those clients referred through the SSS.  Also, whenever the SSS needs musical entertainment (for example, the annual $100 per plate fundraiser dinner, aside from always famous key note speaker, I am the unknown but prime performer).

Here is what I now know:  I am delusional and I rationalize accordingly.


  • Forget about ageism.  I’d like to close with the last bastion of prejudice in the American workplace, ageism.  Ageism need not be an impediment, or rather, ageism is not an impediment.  Lack of competence and drive are the real impediments to lack of quality and production.  Two advantages of hiring older workers are that these people often know more of want they want in life (in my workplace I’ve only wanted to be a really good counselor these past couple decades) and they often have great work ethics (when compared to those emerging adults who are seeking the highest bidders for their professional wares in high and ripe economic times). Choosing a career is more often than not the career choosing you.   As a young adult I was a laborer until I got a university degree in English literature, and then I became a high school English teacher until I got a master’s degree in Psychology, and then I became a counselor.  And now I’m a hypnotherapist and a … busker.  Not-so-strangely I’ve a passion for both.
 Here is what I now know.  It has taken me until middle-age for me to realize the execution and the limits of my passion. 

I was walking the market in Nelson, British Columbia, and could only notice the buskers.  There was an accordion player, a karaoke wannabee, and a guitar player.  The accordion player had one hundred and fifty bass keys of talent; the karaoke guy had no talent; the guitar busker was meh.  Not-so-strangely, I was attracted to the notion of being busker and had to decide whether to hug an accordion or pick a guitar.  I know how to play the accordion (I took lessons for eight years), but guitar busking is so very cool. 

I liken accordion busking to busking with bagpipes … somebody stop the insanity!  Here is my out-of-character joke for this entry and by no means is this a negative comment toward my friends who play accordions and bagpipes.  Note that I'm apologizing in front of an insult.  If a person is standing on a tenth floor balcony having an accordion in the left hand and a set of bagpipes in the other and … that same person drops both instruments over the balcony at exactly the same time and … keeping in mind the rate of falling is 32 feet per second2 … will it be the accordion or the bagpipes to hit the pavement first.  And the answer is “Who cares … as long as both instruments hit the pavement.”

While busking in Limerick, Ireland I borrowed a guitar from Michael Payne, a hypnotherapist I met by chance when asking for directions.  Receiving local directions from Michael changed the direction of my life.  Michael was an online-trained hypnotherapist who had been plying his practice for thirty years.  In conversation after divulging to Michael that I, too, was trained in hypnotherapy, academically trained in graduate school at my university, Michael convinced me that I, too, could become a hypnotherapist.  I love Michael.  He’s intelligent and witty; he’s personable and a fitness fanatic (he has a weight room next to his office), and … he strums a guitar.

A busker is a street performer for which a passer-by can make a voluntary donation.  With my guitar and harp or my didge and clave or my sketchpad and pencil my evil plan is to be a planetary busker.




And here are those marching in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week: