Monday, September 28, 2015


In graduate studies it was Adler, Adler, and more Adler.  During the 80’s, Adlerian psychology was the preferred counseling theme delivered and studied at the University of Regina.  Most of my fellow students seemed to appreciate Adler’s notion that all human behavior has a purpose, but I didn’t.  I remember my arrogant-sarcastic-self thinking duh and really throughout every lecture.

Generally Adlerian counseling does have merit, disregarding the Freudian client couch in favor of a chair, being one example.  But that’s as positive as it gets for me.  The Adlerian method was always lean in to show that you are listening to your client, and then continuously repeat every client expressed line … What I hear you saying is thatsuch and such and so on. 

I thought Adlerian psychology was client coddling to the point of ridiculous for my impatient personality.  And upon reflection, methinks it wasn’t the theory that I disliked, it was the specific professors who delivered the theory – professorism so to speak. (I’ve just coined this word … Professorism (noun) … prejudice or discrimination based upon the personality of the professor.)

Then along came Doctor Ron who introduced me to the counseling theory of William Glasser; that being, Reality Therapy (now called Choice Theory).  It was only Dr. Ron, from the whole lot of the Education Psychology faculty) who embraced Reality Therapy.  The tenet of Reality Therapy, everyone behaves according to the four basic human needs of love, power, freedom, and fun, sounded intriguing.  Glasser’s counseling is somewhat along the  line of … Yes, I believe it when you say you’ve had a crappy life but … what’s that got to do with how you are now?  At one point in my academic life I really did like this approach, so much so that my thesis was based upon Glasser’s notion of Positive Addiction.  Alas, I’ve long since abandoned William Glasser,  and I remember exactly the time that I did so. 

In 1994 William Glasser was lecturing in Regina and I went to see him.  At the time the movie, Four Weddings and a Funeral, starring Hugh Grant was playing in the theatre.  William Glasser’s entire lecture was based upon analyzing each fictional character in the movie according to his love-power-freedom-fun theory.  Lame, lame, lame, I thought at the time … and still, too, today.

And then I reflected that William Glasser’s greatest attraction for me, Positive Addiction, was based upon his imaginary notion of how long-distance runners behave. Glasser admitted he was not a runner himself, yet based the Positive Addiction premise, running is the hardest but surest way to Positive Addiction, on a quick and unscientific survey of respondents who read Runner’s World magazine.  Yikes!  I was a long-distance runner at the time (and still am) and this epiphany blind-sided me.  William Glasser really did not know what he was talking about.  (Not so strangely, I still believe in Positive Addiction theory – I just don’t believe in him.)

When I was doing contract counseling I was introduced to the Systems Theory; that is, everyone involved (especially when it comes to family) is responsible for the  maladaptive behavior of any of the members, and turn, everyone is also responsible for the rehabilitation of that maladaptive member.   

Another epiphany … the Systems Theory was the therapy of choice for Catholic FAMILY Services.
From a therapist’s viewpoint, I found it ethically difficult to treat everyone, especially when everyone except the one who was starkly really needing the treatment, may not even participate in the mending.

I also did contract counseling for an agency that focused only on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  Cognitive Behavior therapists insist changing maladaptive thinking changes behavior.  That could very well be but … what if the client is not a thinker or … what if your clients cannot think clearly enough to reflect upon their behaviors.  More specifically, how can a therapist think that a client suffering in the moment with a mental illness or an addiction can be introspective enough to participate in this cerebral aspect of the counseling process?   

HYPNOTHERAPY (for a second time) came into my life a couple of years ago when I was guitar busking in Europe. (See my blog:  THREE CITIES, THREE GUITARS:  MY EUROPEAN BUSKATION, posted August 10th, 2014.)

Slinging my own guitar to busk across Europe seemed too clunky and costly, and so I borrowed guitars along the way.  One of the people lending me a guitar was MICHAEL PAYNE, a HYPNOTHERAPIST, in Limerick, Ireland.  That chance meeting with Michael Payne changed my counselling life. 

Here is the story:  We were driving around in Limerick, Ireland looking for directions to leave the city to hike the Cliffs of Moher.  On one of the downtown streets in Limerick we had stopped the car to approach a couple of fellows smoking cigarettes on the bottom step of THE HYPNOTHERAPY CENTRE.  Whilst attempting to receive some verbal directions (it so happened these two smokers were drunk, too drunk to think, never mind advise), Michael Payne came out of his office to the rescue.  After giving us directions, we kindly thanked him, and motored off.

The next day I phoned Michael to thank him and he invited me to tea.  Our phatic chat gained some depth when I queried him about his hypnotherapy practice.  (I had studied Hypnotherapy for a couple of semesters as a graduate student and for reasons whatever, had long dismissed it.  Reflecting on this, as I have so far on the Adlerian and Reality therapies, I discarded it mainly because of professorism – he didn’t know his stuff.)  Anyway, before leaving Michael’s hypnotherapy studio, I had drawn his portrait (I also did some portrait busking that summer in Europe) and then … I borrowed his guitar for a couple days.

The skinny of this essay in facts and factoids:

FACT:  ADLERIAN counselors are too coddling, never ever wanting to upset their clients with the sometimes stark reality of their situations.  REALITY therapists are too rigid, never ever acknowledging that external interferences could, indeed, be detrimental.  SYSTEMS counselors blame everyone, their tactic being to accuse all the external interferences (those within close proximity to their clients) as being the problem.  COGNITIVE BEHAVIOR therapists are too delusional, thinking that all their clients have the same sober thinking capacities as their arrogant counseling selves.   

FACT:  The traditional therapies such as Reality Therapy (Choice Theory), Adlerian Therapy, Systems Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are all, as is Hypnotherapy, very client-centered, and this is a good thing.

FACT:  The traditional therapies, including Reality Therapy (Choice Theory), Adlerian Therapy, Systems Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, typically involve a client-counselor relationship stretching to at least a half dozen therapy sessions (or more), and this is a bad thing.

FACTOID:  The traditional therapies, because they so stretch to at least six sessions, means more monetary remuneration for the counselor.

FACTOID:  HYPNOTHERAPY can sometimes need only one session (when it comes to quitting smoking), and therefore only one session of monetary remuneration for the counselor.  And, accordingly, if a second session is necessary, it is Annie Oakley (in other words … on the house)!

It could be that because I prefer to be slinging a guitar and strumming on the sidewalk rather than performing on the stage, that I compare being a practitioner of hypnotherapy as being like a guitar slinger of psychotherapy.  Saying thus, I am reminding myself that in my woolgathering world of the perfect private counseling practice, I would choose to perform street hypnosis whilst busking, the only payment being whatever the client decides to toss into my guitar case.

This notion of busker counseling may be too seriocomic (even tragicomic) to present as anything except that of a cheap shill but … I AM A BUSKER.
And I’ll not deny the factoid, that I am actually a mercenary therapist, who believes that people who are willing to pay out of pocket for therapy, are more willing to participate in their therapy than those who are not willing to pay.  But … to compare my notions to all the other types of counselors I’ve just criticized … the big difference is … There’s nary a wimple in hypnotherapy … there is simply an introductory conversation betwixt client and counselor about the client’s particular itch, then a transfix to hypnosis.   As a hypnotherapist I’m not in the client-counselor relationship for the long scratchespecially when that CLIENT IS A ZOMBIE!

(Wait a minute … where did that come from!)

Marching in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE today … the ZOMBIES who had gathered on the Downtown Square, one of my favorite places to guitar busk … but not today!




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