Sunday, May 6, 2018


My CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week includes only my portrait busking consumers:
A not-so-funny thing happened on my way to my usual buskspot at Value Village.  Two Saturdays ago, to my surprise and dismay, a busker named Eugene was strumming in MY SPOT.   A couple of days previous I’d been chatting with Eugene, the busker, when he was busking downtown.  Regrettably, I had arrogantly mentioned that I frequently busk at Value Village, and that I had received permission from the mall manager to do so.  And so to have him nick my pitch caused me concern and even anger.


Factoid:  Eugene told me that he lied to the mall managers, stating he told them he gives to the charity at his church.   

I was twisted, to say the least.

And just yesterday, another busker, not Eugene, but Pete, was strumming in MY buskspot.  A quick chat with busker Peter revealed that Eugene had tried to muscle him out of this spot, stating that he (Eugene) had exclusive rights to busk at this spot in the mornings, and that Neil (he mentioned me by name) had exclusive rights to busk at this spot in the afternoons.  Yikes, yet another lie from Eugene.  Pete didn’t budge, and he suggested that Eugene take his gripe up with the manager.

Factoid:  Busker Eugene is a liar.  Busker Eugene, in my arrogant judgement, was totally in the right.  Eugene’s madcap gesture toward Pete was untoward.

Factoid:  In the Buskerhood, whoever arrives first gets the buskspot.

Factoid:  In the Buskerhood, a polite and business chit-chat on time allotment for each ought to take place.  In real buskerhoods there is professional etiquette.  If another busker wants your spot, play only for a couple of hours and then move on.

Factoid:  I was twisted only because of my arrogance.  I believe that I, unlike buskers Eugene and Pete, am not a dreg.  I believe that my cap-a-pie garb of a long-sleeved white shirt with a collar, my faded blue jeans, and my polished work boots, sets me not just apart, but significantly above, any other buskers.  I believe that I strum better, stand better (Eugene and Pete are sitting buskers – I always stand tall), and in both a precise and general sense, present better.   

I am not a humble person.  I am not a humble busker.  I promote my own fanfaronade.  I am a busker espousing bluster.

My latest epiphany on busking is that I should never take a buskspot for granted.  And knowing this, both Eugene and Pete have every right to busk in MY spot.  Getting twisted over my imaginary ownership of that buskspot at Value Village was good for me.  Internally I was angry; whereas, externally I was calm, even offering a free portrait for Busker Pete.  As you can see at the header of this particular blog entry, Busker Pete took up my offer.

And so then I decided, to overcome my false sense of entitlement, and focus on portrait busking, should such a situation re-occur.  Both Saturdays I’ve sketched people.  Sketching is not as profitable as guitar busking, but it is more philosophical, which very much suits my nature.  Also, guitar busking, has for me, become a perfunctory performance, thoughtless really.  Sketching someone gives opportunity for a much deeper visit, more intimate, more client/consumer-centered so to speak.

My point for this story is that I chose positive action over negative thinking.  I did something, rather than twist over nothing.   Buskers Eugene and Pete contribute to my personal bildungsroman.

BEHAVE denotes a way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially towards others
To become the person you want to be it is important to behave like the person you want to be.   

Hmmm … thinking about hypnotherapy (one of my usual themes), all persons (clients) come with issues that they perceive detrimental to their imagined lifestyle.  It is this imagined lifestyle people perceive that brings them to therapy.  These people are not happy and they believe fixing specific personal issues will enhance their general happiness.

Fixing a recurring problem proves always to be a difficult endeavor.  Controlling one’s own behavior demands self-control.  Self-control, oftentimes referred to psychology as self-efficacy, is the capacity to regulate thoughts, emotions, and behavior.  (My personal skinny on this:  Controlling one’s thoughts is practically impossible, but whether or not to behave on these thoughts is totally possible.)
Self-control is associated with perceived autonomy and autonomy is frequently presented as akin to free will or free choice or to put in psychology speak, self-efficacy. 

Fixing one’s life flow is necessary to express one’s free will.  For a boost of self-efficacy one has to fix the negative patterns of behavior, including the feng-shui of one’s timetable.  Free flow is necessary for a free spirited and smooth life. 

Controlling such behaviors as addictions is definitely related but a somewhat different matter.  Controlling addictions also involves controlling one’s sociability.  Social measures clearly indicate that behaviors are important judgements.  Camaraderie determines behavior.  Druggies hang out with druggies and jocks hang out with jocks, singer-songwriters hang out with singer-songwriters.

BELIEVE means to accept that something exists.  A belief is a trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something

If you don’t know where you’re going any road will take you there (a familiar adage).  We are born into a world in which we are all on a road to somewhere.   For the delusional and decided among us, that somewhere is real.  For the realists among us, that somewhere happens to be nowhere, except perhaps by our personal design.

Some of us believe in the higher powers of destiny and creation; whereas, some of us believe in the higher power of money and authority.  All of these powers, I BELIEVE, are almost conspiracy theories. 

“Squirrel!” (is the modern term for announcing a slight shift in topic).  Hmmm … Actually I prefer to call it a shaggy-dog conversation but …  

First I’ll contest the belief in the higher power of destiny and creation.  Things happen for a reason and only God knows why.  And the kindergarten question, “Who made God?” along with the Nietzsche answer, “God is dead,” explains pretty much everything.

Next, I’ll dance over the belief in the power of money and authority.  The adage, the love of money is the root of all evil, has that religious Christian connotation of good and evil.  What is good and what is evil is a determination of social values as directly related to humans, which is fine.  For anything inanimate, this adage does not apply.  The world is neutral.  Cliffs do not care who jumps off them, and sticks and stones do not care who throws them, being just two examples.

Religious conviction aside, there reasons why people believe in conspiracy theories.  For psychological reasons whatever, one’s belief in a half-baked tall tale quite the contribution to a person’s desire to be unique and to know things that others don’t know.  Knowing such secrets makes them feel special and different.  An even simpler explanation for why people believe in conspiracy theories is they just make us feel better. 

Factoid:  We feel better imagining that our lives have purpose, rather than believing that our lives have no purpose, other than to procreate and continue the species.  What fun is that!  By evolutionary design such a purpose can be unloads of fun (pun intended), but then that can brings the abuse of power and authority and the #MeToo moments and movements.
For me, existentialism solves the behavior and believe question; however, rather than the yikes-and-what’s-the-point-if-that’s-all-there-is existential dread, I propose a yippee-and-I-can- do-whatever-I-want existential determination.

Meanwhile back at the ranch: 

In patronizing fashion … Don’t ruminate, act.  It’s better to actually do rather than think about doing.  If something is pestering you, do something about it.  And once you have done as much as you can to improve or change your situation, then stop.  Do not resort back to second guessing and overthinking the “what if’s” and “should haves” of the situation.  Such ruminations lead only to anxiety and bitterness.  Things you “should have” done are never-ending think traps. 

Do reflect and not regret upon your actions!

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!)