Posts Tagged ‘Metaphor’
Mildred, a fifty-five-year-old woman, was referred for therapy after the death of her husband of 29 years. She finds herself immobilized, unable to make decisions about the slightest facet of her life. Mildred describes herself as depressed about her inability to solve problems. She is unable to leave a job she didn’t feel was challenging; undecided whether to sell her home or keep it, frustrated because she wants to change banks and doesn’t have the energy; bewildered about what to do with her old, but wonderful dog; and concerned because her children want to borrow money for a down-payment on a new home. In as much as she has always been self-sufficient, she finds the inability to make a decision or take any action debilitating to her self-confidence and lifestyle.
Mildred appears confused, lethargic, mildly depressed, and in need of some motivation to move her forward with her life. She describes herself as “helpless” because of her inability to make decisions. → Read more
Ericksonian Integrative Medical Institute of Orange County Orange, CaliforniaEstimated Reading Time: 3 minutes, 36 seconds
We are often presented with a patient who complains of what appears to be mild depression or general fatigue. Both of these terms have significant overlap, and in reality they may be difficult to distinguish. Fatigue may actually lead to depression or visa versa. About 25% of the general population will experience a symptom profile consistent with fatigue and/or depression. The symptoms can be insidious. They gradually build up into what feels like concrete blocks, impeding health, or compromising resilience. After a while these symptoms may become familiar to patients and a level of resignation may appear. “Maybe this is just who I am.”
We as healers use our tools to intervene, be it CBT, hypnosis, or other forms of psychotherapy. But try as we may, for a specific patient we may reach a ceiling (and sometimes not a good foundation) with our treatment. We all have had such a patient for which our typical interventions do not appear adequate. We discuss with the patients their motivations, tap into their environmental and social systems, or refer them for medication consultation. And yet it still feels like an uphill battle. → Read more
I am from Argentina, and my first encounter with hypnosis was watching Tusam, a stage hypnotist who swallowed glass and put a dog in trance.
I was the executive director of MRI when we added Ericksonian hypnosis to our international externship program. Dr. Eric Greenleaf became our teacher. Later, after leaving MRI, I consulted with his institute. I translated courses and trances, but I had never been in trance. Hypnosis scared me. → Read more
Frigid rain peppers hard blackened snow. You continue to season my thoughts.
When I saw her in the waiting room last March I knew the lymphoma had recurred. She’d aged. Her shrunken profile barely stirred the air as she walked into my office. Undaunted, she wanted to write more of her memoir. As a Registered Poetry Therapist, I offer healing trances through spontaneous free writing and bibliotherapy, as well as hypnosis.
I met Abby several years ago in my poetry therapy group. To continue the work she began then, we agreed to meet in my office, unless the chemotherapy was debilitating, in which case we’d met at her home. → Read more
I begin all my treatments with the question: “What would you like to change today — and why?” The client M.T. answered, “I want to quit smoking because it’s bad for me.” (I find this is a staple answer for most people who are asked the same question.) I normally follow my question with a destabilization technique. This is intended to simultaneously create an increase in motivation to the point where the clients are almost demanding to be treated. It also brings about a state of confusion during which, taken aback momentarily, clients will look for coherence anywhere and therefore accept any suggestions they can understand; a little bit like clutching at a straw.
My response to M.T. was spoken quickly so he wouldn’t have a chance to analyze my words. I said, “So what? We’re always doing things that are bad for us! We don’t exercise; we don’t eat enough fiber; we don’t drink enough water; we don’t get enough rest; we load ourselves with stress, and we can change all those things whenever we want to.” → Read more
It was September 2001. Diego, a young boy, told his mom that he was not hungry because his tummy was full. All of a sudden, he doubled over in pain. Upon medical examination, they discovered Diego had a five-pound tumor beside his stomach. The tumor was a Rabdomiosarcoma, an aggressive, fast-growing form of sarcoma.
Diego’s life changed dramatically. No more school, no friends. Lots of new words to learn: cancer, biopsies, chemotherapy, catheters, radiotherapy, metastasis cells, surgery, etc. Diego was confused, angry, sad, worried, and very scared. → Read more
Milton H. Erickson Institute of Western Australia
In Erickson’s work I learned about treating clients as individuals, listening to their metaphors, and utilizing their resources. I also found permission to be bold, take risks, and venture beyond the restrictions of theory. However, as I have discovered many times over, my clients are my best teachers; Pat was one.
Her physician’s referral letter said she suffered severe insomnia following hospital admission for minor surgery twelve months earlier. Pat, a middle-aged ethnic Chinese, said, “I’ve lost my soul.” Previous therapy failed to bring relief. According to her metaphor, a person’s soul leaves the body when asleep and, if not reunited, can cause both physical and emotional distress, including insomnia. → Read more
This is about a dream and an image. The client, Lydia, is dreaming about her youth in Mexico and when she tries to talk, worms come out of her mouth instead of words. In the dream, Lydia’s father sits and chats with his mother, Lydia’s abuela. Mother and son have sought refuge from the implacable midday Jalisco sun by setting their chairs in the shade, close to the doors that open into the bedroom where Lydia, her brother, and her sister are having their siesta.
The girl’s bedroom doors have been left ajar and the snuffling, groaning sounds of incest leak out, suspended in the parched, salt-laced ocean of summer air. Lydia’s grandmother and her father shift slightly in their elaborately carved, ladder-back chairs. Their conversational hum rises in volume, seeming to absorb sounds produced by Lydia, her younger brother, and her older sister, as each is molested in turn by their uncle.
Juanita was a 31-year-old Marriage and Family Intern who had twice failed the oral examination for her license. She wanted hypnosis to reveal sabotaging herself so she could pass her orals. We would only have time for one session.
Juanita had no prior experience with hypnosis. I asked to get in touch with the body sensations she experiences when she was in the oral exam. She was able to do this easily. I then had her focus all of her attention on this feeling. I had her imagine that she was inside her body, inside that feeling and then I asked her to turn the feeling or sensation into a room so that when she was inside that room, she was inside the feeling. I then asked her to imagine a doorway at the end of the room, a doorway to an elevator. I had her get in the elevator and imagine it going down as she went back in time, back to a time in the past when she had the same feeling. When she got there the elevator door would open and she would share with me the contents of what she became aware of.
Note: Joe was not a “usual” client. Highly motivated, in therapy at exactly the right time, he believed life was good, and the therapy fit his paradigm perfectly. Even though it is not common that everything works so well, the concepts and ideas used in this case can be useful in many situations.
Joe walked into the office with a diffident yet paradoxically firm attitude. A handsome 32-year-old, he had never had a long-term relationship. He used to start out just fine, he said, but after having sex a few times, he would lose his erection half-way through. As time went on, he would lose his erection more quickly. Now he couldn’t even get one at the beginning of an encounter. Worse, he was starting to choose people who were not his type, who drank too much or had no ambition. He was sure the two problems were related.