Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What happens when you leave a wallet in the street in Vancouver?

What happens when you leave a wallet in the street in Vancouver?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Be careful who you are taking advice from.

I think one of the most dysfunctional and disturbed, not to mention disturbing, groups of people I know are therapists. In their various forms and shapes we have a strange collection of therapy types out there, and equally varied therapists to go with each one.

One client came to me recently who had been seeing a therapist elsewhere. They had stopped seeing the therapist after showing up to their office to find it had closed, and that the therapist had been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility. While I would be the first to admit that my own stress levels sometimes get up there a bit, I don't think things have got quite that bad, yet.

The psychiatrist in the great 1983 movie, Local Hero, is not so far from being true to life. Coincidentally, he should also have been locked up. You can watch the entire movie above. It's worth every minute.
When I look through the feeds on my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts I can see a diversity of humanity that is truly eclectic. This may be quite a good thing, but it does come at a price. Let me explain that a little.

One of the problems with medical doctors is that they often have their personality trained right out of them. This lack of personality has problems of its own. However, in alternative healthcare,  often the 'personality' gets in the way. Somewhere in the middle is a happy medium.

My own feeling is that a therapist who has gone straight from school into therapy and counselling training has probably not lived life enough to be able to offer any meaningful advice to anyone. Like a politician who has never been anything but a politician, the therapist may be well trained as a therapist, but have no grounding as a person. They can recite the definition of ADHD very nicely, but have no idea how to buy a railway ticket in another country or deal with an aggressive co-worker - simply because they've never had to.

Equally, some very well trained hypnotherapists, who hold themselves up as experts, may be the last people you actually want to work with. I know several who claim expertise, but are overweight and smoke, and hold some political views that most would consider quite extreme. Now, this is a personal hobby horse, so let me declare that right out front. I do not believe a hypnotherapist who smokes should be advising anyone on their health. We would never hire such an individual at VHI, and I fail to understand anyone either offering, or taking advice from such a hypocritical position. And yet, when the subject is raised with therapists it is met with a defensive response and is described as being judgmental.


One great benefit of the online world is that we can research a therapist fairly easily. I strongly advise potential clients to take a wander through not only the therapists website, but also Google them thoroughly. If they have another job cleaning cars, you might want to know that. As for me, yes, I am a hypnotherapist and stage hypnotist. I also play guitar very badly, and love calligraphy. All of which probably helps me relate to my particular clients, and none of which I feel in the least bit awkward about.
You can probably see all sorts of strange things about me by clicking my Google authorship signature below. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Time to quit!

While Canada has a proactive approach to managing it’s smoker population, countries like Russia, Indonesia and East Timor have rates of more than 50% smokers in the adult population. In British Columbia we enjoy the more reasonable rate of 14.7%. In Alberta, among young adults this rate was recently measured at the disturbingly high rate of 24% (http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/2499.asp) – the highest in Canada.

Over the next few months I will be putting on a few quit smoking shows throughout western Canada. You can learn when and where here: http://www.supertrance.net/?page_id=276

Monday, December 9, 2013

Forget about how to work with an issue; work with the client.

Many times I see postings on forums asking if people have as script for - and then an obscure issue gets listed. It's as if the common issues are all contained in a giant book of scripts and anything else one can go out and ask the community of hypnotherapists at large and someone will have it. Every time I see this I am forced to wonder, is this really serving the client, and is it the correct approach to hypnotherapy?
There's no doubt, if one has nowhere else to start from, a script is better than nothing. However, that is virtually never the case. When training therapists I always hammer home the things that helped me as I was learning my craft. hief among those things is asking questions. A one does so one realises swiftly that in almost all cases one is not working with 'arthritis' or 'depression', one is working with Josephine Smith, or Danny Demitrio. 
I don't know where those names popped up from, but they are quite suggestive and to the point, They suggest a little bit of character and that, after all, is what we are really working with. Every client has a unique character, with individual quirks and details, and in almost every case that is where we are to find the solutions to what troubles the client.
I subscribe to the general ideas proposed by Samuel Hahnemann, the noted founder of homeopathy, when it comes to disease (if not actual remedy). His theory was that all disease goes to a root of about four disease types (miasms), and manifest themselves in a variety of ways. In the treatment of clients using hypnotherapy we are well advised to return to this simplistic but often accurate truth. 
We need to spend less time focusing on diagnostic terms, such as ADHD or 'shingles', and more time really learning our client. The pertinent question is not, 'are we dealing with ADHD?' but more likely 'What is happening with the parents?' or  'What does this child thrive at?' or 'When is this child at his most joyful?' 
When we really get to know what makes our client tick the therapy we should deliver becomes very obvious. In many ways this is a clear differentiation between how we operate and how the medical profession operates. While the medical profession takes a simplistic approach (set the broken arm and send the client on their way), ours has to be more all encompassing (teach a client that it's not OK to keep returning to a partner that breaks your arm every couple of months).
Our  objectives as therapists should be to bring the client to a state that is comfortable and allows them to experience their joy. With the use of hypnosis we're able to motivate changes in their beliefs and lifestyle that will achieve this result. So, forget the scripts. Focus on the client and you'll find your answer.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Insanity in British Columbia - where do you fit in?

Mental healthcare in BC got of to what might at best be called a shaky start. Here's short account of the first reported incident relating to mental health in this, the most beautiful of Canadian provinces.

In 1850 British Columbia recorded its first case of insanity. A Scottish migrant who had recently arrived on a ship, assaulted Dr. John Helmcken, the local doctor at the jail in Victoria.
From 2.bp.blogspot.comThere is something wholly unsurprising about a Scotsman getting off a ship and promptly hitting someone. This may be a sad comment on my own deep seated prejudices, but the fact remains. I like Scottish people. I even like bagpipes. I used to spend every Christmas on the Isle Of Skye. As a result I can picture the scene with crystal clarity.
A man stumbles down a gangplank onto the quay in Victoria harbor.
He turns to a stranger, and says,”Fok, mahn, where the heel am aye?”
A helpful passer-by says,“Canada.”
“Wha?” says the new arrival and then punches him in the face.
It didn’t happen quite like that, but you get the general idea.
The response to this was to place the Scot on a ship straight back to Scotland, where it was suggested he may feel more at home. Whether it was felt he would be more at home among the Scots because he was insane, aggressive and belligerent, or just Scottish is not clear. Either way the approach was effective. Anyone who has seen Glasgow on a Saturday night after a Rangers and Celtic game would understand that all three groups would find Scotland the natural place to settle down.
Oddly enough the man he assaulted, Dr. Helmcken, went on to play a leading role in that other stronghold of insanity – politics. He represented Esquimalt and was elected Speaker, in the first House Assembly of Vancouver Island. He later became the first president of the BC Medical Association. One might say that mental health was set on a collision course with orthodox medicine from its earliest roots in BC.
Insanity in BC then appears to have been totally eradicated (according to the history books) until when in 1864 an infirmary for women was opened in Victoria, and included a small section for ‘female lunatics’. A handful of women were accommodated.
In 1873 Victoria stepped down as the capital for mental health, and The Provincial Asylum For The Insane was established in New Westminster. A Victoria asylum was closed and its 36 residents rehoused in New West. It was probably felt that with the governmental seat becoming established in Victoria, the local quota of lunatics was quite high enough.
New Westminster then began its long domination of the mental health scene. The hospital was renamed ‘The Provincial Hospital For The Insane’ (a catchy name, if ever I heard one) in 1897, and by 1899 the population had already grown to over 300. Chief among the causes of ‘insanity’ psychiatric literature listed ‘heredity, intemperance, syphilis and masturbation.’
Housed along with the patients were physically disabled children. There were reports of overcrowding and inadequate care; mental health in BC was probably on par with what it was at the time in most parts of the western world.
There were times when mental healthcare in New Westminster was considered very advanced. The development of Riverview (earlier named Essondale) came on the scene in the 1930’s and Coquitlam began to take over. In New West a large asylum named Woodlands stood overlooking the Fraser for many years, and was recently torn down. It has been replaced by some very modern apartments and town homes, all located within a stones throw of Memorial Gardens. The residents seem oblivious to the history of the area, and the fact that they are living by a series of graves which are the final resting place of numerous mental patients who died in the hospital, and their remains went unclaimed. It struck me as being the kind of thing one may want to know about, before buying the half million dollar properties.
Right from the time our Scottish friend slugged Dr. Helmcken in the teeth, mental health care in BC has been on a collision course with the medical establishment. Both poor relation and ugly sister, this branch of the family of health care in British Columbia has been underfunded, poorly staffed and largely misunderstood. One friend commented to me that the seeds of East Hastings denial were sown on that fateful day in 1850. Bummer.
Extract of The Devils Hypnotist by Rob Hadley