Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Xmas brings to mind CHARLES DICKENS, who brings to mind A CHRISTMAS CAROL, which brings to mind a frail TINY TIM, son of BOB CRATCHIT, the abused and underpaid clerk of EBENEZER SCROOGE, the cold-hearted miser who despises Christmas.  Dickens has also brought to mind the most pleasant and plump, MR. PICKWICK, the ugly and repulsive, URIAH HEEP, the waif, OLIVER TWIST, and the meddlesome and self-important petty bureaucrat, MR. BUMBLE. 

In the spirits (pun intended) of Charles Dickens and of the coming New Year, I shall proceed to offer a toast to myself with some very personal, but now very public, resolutions for 2016. Keep in mind, dearest reader, less than ten percent of New Year’s resolutions are successfully kept by those who make those promises to themselves.

Also keep in mind that New Year's resolutions are really just taking a personal stock of one’s life.  Lose weight, eat right, exercise more, spend less … these are the stocks and self-mands to date, of everyone, it seems.  

Also it seems that the gluttonous guilt of Christmastime is likely both motivational and de-motivational at the same time in relation to prompting resolutions.

I think, most appropriate, prerequisite to this resolutionary endeavor, a preamble of my privileged and devil-may-care life to date.  Never one to be nebbish (nibbish though, pun intended), I shall sashay write away and flummox my readers accordingly.

  • SWIMMER: I’ve no more aquatic resolutions that I want to accomplish.   
I’ve always been natatorial; more specifically a sandy beach bum.  When I was a child (pun unintended) my dad, in the summer months, would take me and my preferred friends to Clearwater Lake north of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. At Clearwater Lake my friends and I swam in the reeds, caught bull frogs, and ate fat greasy hamburgers and paper trays of oily French fries.    

In adolescence, my buddies and I would drive to the golden perch-filled Lac Pelletier, just south of Swift Current. At Lac Pelletier we swam, drank ice-cold pilsner beers, and flirted with glistened girls in string bikinis, gorged on grilled hamburgers with raw onions and French fries drowned in vinegar and ketchup.    

In emerging adulthood, I resided at Regina Beach, a small resort town on Last Mountain Lake north-west of Regina, Saskatchewan.  At Last Mountain Lake I took my kids swimming off Fisherman’s Point, ice-skated on the frozen lake in the winter, fished all year long, and every summer we ate home-style sirloin burgers and coleslaw.

During my university years I was an English major and Physical Education minor.  The Bachelor degree is deceptive because the only Physical Education classes I took were swimming:  Swimming 110 (Introductory), 210 (Life-saving), 310 (Instructor’s), and 410 (Coaching).

One winter I studied Scuba at Cariboo College in Kamloops, British Columbia.  Every winter weekend involved an outdoor dive at Scotch Creek, Shuswap Lake.  That winter I completed my National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) certificate.

My cousin, Craig, immediately following my NAUI flipper kicks, enrolled in the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) course.

For years afterward, Craig and I dove in various prairie lakes (Saskatchewan and Manitoba) and even did a Pacific stint one Christmas.  Craig and I used to do the open-water checkouts for the novice divers at Prairie Divers, a Regina dive shop.  Prairie Divers would supply us with free air (for pay).  Cousin Craig and I were members of the very first Scuba Bronze class (Royal Life Saving Society).

After scuba training I taught snorkeling at the YMCA for a decade and decided that diving with just a mask and snorkel was healthier and less problematic (technically) than diving with scuba tanks.

  • RUNNER: I’ve no more running resolutions that I want to accomplish.
I became a runner right after reading The Complete Book of Running by Jim Fixx.  For a variety of reasons, that book became my bible.  I suppose this is kind of along the punch line, He used to be a Methodist, but now he is a runner.  (I laughed at this joke a long time ago.)  Well, I never was a Methodist, but I certainly was a runner. 

For about a decade I used to run 10 miles a day, six days a week.  In my forty’s I toned it down, running just three to five miles a day, 10 miles every Sunday. Running has been very good to me.  For seven years my job consisted of having young offenders in a running programme to improve their lives whilst incarcerated.  I even wrote my Master’s thesis, One Hundred Days at the House of Concord, academically re-living this experience. 

Now I run just three miles around Wascana Lake each morning in summertime and in wintertime I substitute my running with Jacob’s Ladder.  (Try it – You’ll hate it.)

  • SOCCER COACH/PLAYER:  I’ve no more soccer resolutions that I want to accomplish. 
When my boys were young I coached lots of soccer; some of the teams included the Classics (sponsored by Coca Cola), RTO Crunch and RTO X (sponsored by Rent-To-Own), the Scorpions (unsponsored), and AEK (sponsored by Uplands Pizza in Regina).   
I started out in the recreational leagues and finished in the premier leagues.  I was an educator, so achieving a level-four National Coaching Certificate was only an effort in time, not so much thought.  When my kids became adults and no longer interested in the sport, I did play a bit of men’s league soccer but … didn’t enjoy playing as much as coaching.  These days I’ve no interest in local soccer.

  • PUBLISHED AUTHOR:  I do promise to write more.
During my graduate days (salad years according to Dylan Thomas) I wrote a book on guidance counseling in a high school.  My prof said it was good enough for publication and so I sent it off to the University Press in Toronto.  It was published, A Wishbone Epistolary (1985), and I earned approximately a thousand dollars in royalties.  A few years ago I wrote, The Creek, published by America Star, and I’ve yet to make a dime.  Strangely, The Creek took years to write; A Wishbone Epistolary took just a weekend.  In my cupboard I’ve still two copies of A Wishbone Epistolary; of The Creek, I’ve nary a copy.

I still dream of being a free-lance writer, you know, a real writer who writes for a living.  I do make time to write entries for my blog (225 to date) but ... (excuses, excuses).  I do hope I succeed in this resolution.

  • UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR:  I hope to continue to be awarded contracts as a Sessional Lecturer.
After teaching for 22 years at the university, I’m seriously considering PhD studies this spring (in Hypnotherapy, of course).  And note to self, it’s about time! 

  • HYPNOTHERAPIST:  I hope to continue to attract clients. 
I’m quite optimistic about my Alternative History Hypnotherapy (AHH), with very few readers sharing my interest.  I know this by looking at my readership logs.   And I’m seriously considering taking my hypnotic skills to the street this coming summer when on buskation.

  • HOCKEY PLAYER:  I plan to play shinny at least one evening per week all winter long.  

Last winter I played until Frosty melted.  I’ve played in hockey leagues all my life, playing out my career with the Vanguard Eagles, Notekeu Hockey League (NHL), and the Swift Current Indians.  These past few winters I’ve been playing shinny on outdoor rinks without equipment, save for skates and a hockey stick.  I’ve decided that playing hockey on an outdoor rink is the purest way to go.  I love it and the rink is just a five minute walk from my apartment. 

  • BUSKER:  I hope to continue to attract consumers. 
Ah lummy busking … I love busking!  This summer I plan on busking and busking and busking, the lodestone of my recreational activities, with my guitar and harpoon, or with my pencil and sketch pad, or both, and this coming summer, too, with my street hypnotherapy schtick.

And that’s that, aptly ending my essay with winter shinny and summer busking, the two whiz-bang sea changes in my middle-age misadventures.
  • FactoidAbuzz, devil-may-care, flummox, lummy, and whiz-bang ... all of these words were coined by Charles Dickens, all of which were employed in this essay.

To everyone, and especially my son, Travers, and his girlfriend, Sila, who’ll be celebrating New Year’s at Champoluc in the Italian Alps: 


Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Hypnosis has been the Rx for quitting smoking without the withdrawal symptoms, supposedly accomplished by allowing direct access to the unconscious, thereby overcoming any conscious resistance to alleviate the cravings.  Hypnosis has been the Rx successful weight loss, also without the cravings.  Hypnosis has been the Rx to get a good night’s sleep.  Hypnosis has been the Rx to take the edge off longstanding phobias, fear of flying and fear of public speaking being just two examples. Purportedly, hypnosis has been the Rx for the ridding of warts and the numbing of pain in childbirth.  And Hypnosis has even been the Rx to dislodge deeply buried memories.  (Factoid: Taking a subject back in time to mentally re-experience/recreate the past is referred to as hypnotic regression; whereas, taking a subject back in time to mentally re-experience a past life or incarnation is called hypnotic past life regression.)

All of the above scenarios are technically, hypnotherapy, a psychotherapy specifically employing hypnosis, and since it is hypnosis, an altered state of consciousness is fundamentally necessary.  But is it really an altered state of consciousness? Or could it be just a state of crisp and clear consciousness?

Whatever it is, this state is brought about by hypnotic induction.  With no standard procedure and certainly no standard script, the hypnotist will SUGGEST – the subject will COMPLY, and this is hypnotic induction.

Actually any exchange, whether it be quaggy or rigmarole or otherwise, between the hypnotist and subject, has been defined as hypnotic induction; induction being a synonym for a session. Every hypnotic induction, no matter the method, that interaction between practitioner and client always involves the social process of having the client take on the role of hypnotic subject.  Always, the hypnotic subject is a willing participant, taking on the role of which involves a willing suspension of disbelief of the client’s limitations.

For more than 200 years since Mesmer proposed his animal magnetism theory, hypnosis has struggled for scientific credibility (See The Trouble With Hypnosis, K. Harary, March 1st, 1992).
Whatever it is, hypnosis is a certain state of consciousness; and one wherefore, some people are better at entering than others. Factoid:  Fifteen percent of the population is highly hypnotizable.  Factoid:  Twenty-five percent of the population is not hypnotizable.  Factoid: Sixty percent of the population, then, can, if they so choose, reap the benefits of hypnosis.

Yet another factoid:  Those clients seeking hypnotherapy are not of the hidebound, rather they are the chopfallen and therefore they are already highly motivated to change their behavior.  I should also mention that those who are seeking hypnotherapy have to have a certain faith in the provocateur of the process.  The amount of faith determines the amount of progress.

Whatever hypnosis is, it seems to beget an altered state of mind that eludes current means of measurement.  (The key word is measurement, a word NOT used in qualitative theory.)  Hypnosis is a qualitative/subjective state … such as love and joy and hate and pain are for the most part, subjective, therefore qualitative.  Such abstract states are exceedingly difficult to measure through quantitative means.

This I know:  A successful hypnotherapy session has more to do with eloquent and descriptively thick language, than with hypnotic protocol.  Creating a picture state of mind, a metaphor so to speak, is the basic strategy of hypnosis. A metaphor is a figure of speech that identifies something as being the same as some unrelated thing for rhetorical effect, thus highlighting the similarities between the two. For a person afraid of flying, the hypnotic metaphorical suggestion could be a comparison to riding in a car.   For pain, the metaphorical suggestion could be the expressions of warmth and pressure.  For fear of public speaking, the suggested metaphor could be for the subject to imagine, rather than banquet guests, addressing a group of new beer buddies.  Even the idea of hypnotic age regression is a metaphor.  Nobody really regresses to an earlier age; memories are not literal, they are imagined.  Nobody actually re-lives any moment suggested.

(Hmmm … it could very well be that hypnosis is simply a metaphor for selling ourselves short of our own intrinsic mental capabilities.  If this is the case, then hypnosis has to be the ultimate psychic sales pitch, a pitch that is so persuasive that we deny the existing powers within ourselves to heal ourselves, instead preferring to rely on the curing powers of a Svengali-like hypnotherapist such as myself.)

And this, too, I know:  For hypnotherapy to work, hypnosis has to create for the client, an alternative history; one that is thick and vivid enough to positively distort into a healthier history yet to come.  This is my self-described ALTERNATE HISTORY HYPNOTHERAPY (AHH).  This is what you get when you seek hypnotherapy from me, an opportunity to create your own future history …

In the ethos of Reality Therapy mixed with ALTERNATE HISTORY HYPNOTHERAPY …


Marching in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week are two hockey players and a pot-bellied pig, all of whom billeting at my hockey fanatic friends, LAURA AND DARCEY FLEISHHAKKER.  In marching order they are elite National Hockey League prospects, Sam Steele and Jake Leschyshyn (team mates on the Regina Pats), and Daisy Mae.



Sunday, December 13, 2015


Alternate History (AH) is a genre of speculation fiction which alters historical events and sets stories within worlds created by those changes.  The only rule required of writing a successful alternate history is that the changes must be reasonable and the outcomes plausible (John Farrier, January 2014).   

Two such examples of alternate historical novels are Man in the High Castle (Philip Dick), about a totalitarian, fascist imperial world, the consequence of World War Two extending to 1947 and being won by the Axis powers of Imperial Japan, Fascist Italy, and Nazi Germany; and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (Michael Chabon), about a temporary settlement for Jewish refugees set in 1941 Alaska, just previous to Israel being destroyed in 1948.   

Typically, the AH genre is mostly militarily bleak and gritty; it is for history buffs who quite enjoy the imaginary and detailed aspects of the dark and dystopic.  To apply such a notion to hypnotherapy, the change in history must offer a brighter and more positive result than the pattern of past conditions.

ALTERNATE HISTORY HYPNOTHERAPY (AHH) is my positive application of the new story-line the client wishes to enact.  For example, a client wanting to quit smoking will, through AHH, will adopt a partially new lifestyle that does not include smoking.  Every human being has the trait of suggestibility.  It is the client who holds this important factor to be hypnotized; it is the client who wants to quit smoking or wants to get thin or wants a good night sleep.  Everyone has the tendency to respond sometimes to suggestions.  Under hypnosis, this tendency is artificially increased by the technique of the hypnotherapist.  The power of suggestion and the tendency to respond to that suggestion is what hypnotherapy is all about.  SUGGESTION IS EVERYTHING.

SUGGESTION IS EVERYTHING.  Hypnosis is not sleep.  Hypnosis is a state of trance.  Hypnosis is a state of increased suggestibility.  Hypnosis is a mix of prescribed suggestion and auto-suggestion.  Hypnosis is a form of automatism; it is the perfect state of automaticity.

ALTERNATE HISTORY HYPNOTHERAPY (AHH) will always work provided the following client-therapist conditions are met:

  • The client has to be candid about the current state of dysfunctional affairs.  The client has to tell it like it really is.  If the client is smoking two packs of cigarettes a day or drinking a case of beer every day or howling all night at the moon; all of this and even more has to be disclosed to the therapist.  Failing to acknowledge and admit exactly what conduct is troublesome for the client means only failure for the hypnotherapy results.

  • Clients have to reckon with the facts that their acts do not have just singular consequences.  Every dysfunctional act is in concert and discordance with those people surrounding them.  Whether they are family members, workmates, or playmates, their dysfunctional actions have caused enough personal concern and social embarrassment to lead them to hypnotherapy.

  • Clients have to realize that once they’ve altered their current actions to create their new history, that other actions, too, will change.  For example, a client who quits smoking will inevitably quit coughing and could end up running marathons.  Clients who quit drinking will inevitably meet teetotallers and java maestros who prefer coffee shops over pubs.  Clients who lose a few pounds may decide to become fitness fanatics or even fitness instructors.

  • Clients who cease their problem afflictions may, too, be delusional, expecting their entire lives to change in the most positive regards.  Clients who conquer negative addictions by latching on to behaviors regarded as more positive, will without a doubt  experience a positive part-time change, but this part-time change may or may not attribute to their whole-life happiness. One does get more attractive (literally and metaphorically) through successful hypnotherapy but … the entire world will not be donning sunglasses to adjust to the glow.  Rising from the hoi-polloi and transforming to the highfalutin will not happen suddenly.

  • Clients need to create for themselves histories that are detailed explicitly.  These new histories need to go where the alternate history realistically supports, not necessarily where the client wants them to go.  For example, clients who are in constant tipple need to quit drinking completely, not just cut back or sip socially.  I say this because when a client who is always drunk finally comes to hypnotherapy for help, the new history will not allow that client to be part-time drinking.  Clients who are prone to alcohol addiction need to create realistic, not romantic and delusional, non-drinking scenarios. 
Clients participants of AHH need to understand outcomes that are positive and plausible.  Human beings have a built-in elasticity factor.  Any connections and movements toward an old habit will always result in resuming to a former self or state.

Most clients attending AHH suffer an abulia.  This inability to make a plausible outcome, to create a new plausible history, is the result of long-time suffering of the malady that prompts the hypnotherapy.  Hypnotherapy is a client-therapist collaboration.  It is up to the therapist to guide and help the client create the new historical path onto which the client wants to set foot.

Here is the skinny (outline) of my typical hypnotherapy session with a client:

CONCERN: (This is the reason why the client is seeking hypnotherapy.)

 (I employ a variety of inductions, all of which to solicit client relaxation.)

ALTERNATE HISTORY HYPNOTHERAPY is not for the Quixotic.  No reputable therapist in any discipline will assist their clients in the foolish pursuit of impossible ideals.  Thaumaturgy (the performance of miracles) is not my notion hypnotherapy.   

Ravens for too much drink or for too much dessert or for too much nicotine can be suppressed, but only if the ravenous ones are open to create personal alternate histories that are plausible. 


Marching (skating, rather) in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week: