Saturday, December 4, 2010

Stuttering - A success story.

I was recently contacted by a gentleman that had suffered deeply with speech difficulties in his youth. He made a very good point. He said that generally one hears about how difficult it is to get over the problems, and systems for living with the issue. In reality we should try to find the cause, and get past it.

His point is very well made. In the article he sent me he tells his inspiring story, and I am very happy to reproduce it here, with his permission. In this case we can't take the credit for helping David overcome his stuttering. However in many cases we do indeed help, and have substantial success in this area. The following story is inspirational and will provide an interesting insight to those unfamiliar with the problem.

November 26/2010

Stuttering is with you all the time. The anxiety it produces is draining

Just like you I know about stuttering. I was a stutterer from age six to seventeen. I found the cause and my life changed.

As a child life was basically no fun. Particularly at school during reading when I was asked to take my turn to read a paragraph.
After stammering and stuttering for two minutes the teacher would thank me and ask me to sit down. What is wrong with me, why don’t my parents take me to a doctor to get healed? I was a shy kid and you would be too if you failed grade three, grade 8 and grade 10 because my head and emotions were so mixed up.

A life changing venture was about to happen, my parents sent me to a school for problem kids for two years to complete my high school education. It was there that caring teachers and a minister counseled students to resolve their problems. In my case I was encouraged to participate in a public speaking contest in front of 100 other students. I believed if I was ever going to beat my stuttering I was going to accept every challenge and open every door to make it happen. My speech was to be five minutes long, I knew If I could get the first word out and memorize the speech
my built up emotional energy would carry through to the judges.
Once my speech was written and memorized, on three occasions I set my alarm for 4:00 AM, went down four flights of stairs to the auditorium, turned the lights on and practiced my delivery. My starting to speak was very difficult so I used a technique to leave the choice of my first word to the last second, it worked. I won the contest which was a confidence builder to continue my goal of being able to speak freely. At the end of my second year I was president of the students council which required me to speak in front of the student body every week.

Every year a gold medal was presented to the “MOST IMPROVED”
Student at graduation; I received it. My life was turning around.

Let’s move forward to a period when I was happily married, twenty four with a young son. We were members of a church that offered counseling. During the counceling session I was hypnotized and regressed to understand and relieve past negative emotional experiences. After several sessions my anxiety level of speaking decreased, my confidence was higher and I no longer had a stuttering problem.

I was now working with IBM servicing machines which were the forerunners of the powerful mainframes we have today. I was hooked on being a better speaker, joined Toastmasters, bought books on making effective presentations and accepted every invitation .to speak at branch office functions. There was a request to send three Canadians to the united States to learn how to help IBM customers by running one or two day seminars at their business location. I did this for many years across Canada, Brazil, Hong Kong and other locations.

Life is so much better without stuttering. I believe my problem started as a young enthusiastic child when I was not allowed to verbally express myself. When I tried to talk at the dinner table I was told not now, later. After experiencing this many times I was afraid to talk and my stuttering started. It was not until I knew the source of the problem, relived the experiences, had catharsis to relieve the energy was I finally free.

Why am I writing this? To make me feel good, no I feel great. I am writing this to give hope to other stutterers that they may not have to live with stuttering. I have found little evidence that stutterers are having this problem fixed. They have had guidance as to minimizing their stuttering or they have felt comfort in associating with other stutterers, but where are the success stories of being able to successfully speak anywhere any time.

One percent of the population stutters. I think too much time has been spent in advising how to live with the problem instead of keeping an open mind to alternative methods to solve the problem.

Bold statements….what do you think?

David Lay


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Who can change their life?

On April 27th 1994 people changed. 30 million of them. South Africa elected Nelson Mandela as their president. Two years prior to this such an outcome seemed far beyond the hopes of the most optimistic reformer. And yet it happened.

Mandela once said, "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." On that day, a nation conquered fear. No one that was there will ever forget it.

I had met Mandela several times, and had dinner with Mandela, the amazingly dignified Walter Sisulu and Joe Slovo on one occasion in Bloemfontein in the run up to the elections. Ironically dinner with Joe Slovo consisted mostly of chatting about Manchester United - which seemed a little sublime as we were approaching what everyone assumed would be a bloody and violent election. At the time I was working with my close friend Charlene Smith, on the Sunday Times.

The enormous leap of faith, not by a few individuals, but by an entire nation as they prepared to step forward with a new world beneath their feet was beautifully captured in a song that reflected the moment, by South African Band, Mango Groove.

If South Africa, an entire nation, can overcome their fears, so can you.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stand still and die.

In 1991 I was a young press photographer working for Associated Press. I was sent into South Sudan to cover the war in the south. At the time conditions were thought to be hard, though no one really knew what was going on in the remote and poorly understood country.

After a tiny aid plane left me in Nasir, a remote town in the south east I walked toward Ethiopia - there being no cars, no gas, no money and most of all no food anywhere. I had a hunch that the instability in Ethiopia would have reprocussions in the border area. I walked with two Nuer tribesmen along the Sobat, a branch of the White Nile. The hauntingly empty landscape was remote but beautiful. We would sleep on the ground, under a shade tree and start our walking with the rising sun.

As we slowly moved east we woke one day to a sound that was a little like that of a football crowd. That day, instead of the empty flat land with scrub bushes and ant hills the only landmark, we were greeted with the sight of a slow mass of humanity snaking across the land towards us.
This was the movement of 120, 000 people, mostly women and children, walking out of Ethiopia (where President Mengistu had been deposed days before) and returning to the land they had left years before. Starved and dying they walked, and faltered and died on that mass exodus back into Sudan - a country ravaged by a viscous war of its own.

This was what the press later described as an exodus of biblical proportions. Each morning we would hear the sound of the Sudanses Air Force Antonov bombers, and run for cover as they bombed this sprawling mass of humanity, claiming that they were a rebel army. The bombs fell from about 10,000 feet. We could see them fall toward us, and there was literally nowhere to hide. You never forget the sound of the engines.

The death toll was enormous. And yet most people found their way to Nasir, where Unicef set up initially a tiny relief station, but what later became an enormous emergency response effort.
During that time I learned a bit about worry, and coping with disaster. I can remember seeing tribesmen walking naked, carrying only their AK47s. Clothing, the shame of their nakedness, embarrassment was all left behind. It became irrelevant. Pride is an expensive commodity.

These people had nothing. Literally, nothing. A mother would carry a child as best she could and move ever westward toward help, not knowing if there was food or when relief might arrive. The people became so hungry they would eat this coarse grass that grew in the hope it would give some nutrition.

Eventually, we learn what the important stuff is. Life is too short to worry about the other stuff.

In working on yourself you will start to reassess what’s important in your own life. Some of these things will be obvious. In other cases there will be a slowly dawning realisation that some value or idea that has always been ingrained in you is actually entirely irrelevant. Be prepared to change your mind - literally. There’s nothing wrong with changing your view - it’s how we adapt and change. It is in many ways our greatest strength. If we remain the same, we do the same things - we’ll experience the same results and often the same disappointments. All that changes is that it’s no longer a surprise.

We need to adapt. It’s what kept this species we belong to on top. And as my son so aptly puts it when he plays a Halo, “Stand still and die...”

Ironically twenty years later I was filling my car with gas at a gas station and a young man was doing the same at the next pump. I looked at him, he must have been about 20. He had the Nilotic features of the Nuer. I wondered, could it be possible? I walked over to him and asked where he was from. He replied in perfect English, ‘Burnaby... but my mother was from Sudan.”

I asked where abouts.

He replied, “Some tiny village in the south. A place called Nasir. I saw it on Google maps once.”

I love living in Canada.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Laughing Disorder?

Do you laugh in the face of danger? Do you tweak the nose of disorder?

This recent question came up - an my response is below.

Question: Is there such thing as a laughing disorder?

Okay this started when I was just a boy. My father and I would have serious conversations and all of a sudden out of nowhere, I started laughing. He thought it was funny at first but when it increased, he got so annoyed. Same with my mother. Years later, as a mature adult (age 21), we went to an event and all of a sudden I started laughing again. Now it's been happening like crazy. In class, romantic times with my girlfriend who I piss off a lot when it happens (and she thinks it's her fault). And also during public presentations, funerals, movies that are sad and everything. I am thinking of going to a hypnotist or something. I looked this up and it might be Pseudobulbar disorder which causes that. I need HELP!! I want to stop looking like a laughing freak!



It's not actually a disorder, though it's only a matter of time before someone starts calling it that. What you are experiencing is an anxiety response that triggers a laughter reflex. It's not that you find something actually 'funny', but that laughter becomes a mechanism triggered by anxiety.

Oddly enough you can see something similar in the ex president Jimmy Carter. He used to smile at inappropriate times quite often. During the Iran hostage crisis he was on TV in a press conference grinning like an idiot. Unfortunately this was because he had a propensity to smile as an anxiety response. You may be able to find some of those interviews on Youtube to see for yourself.

You can get over it quite easily by using any self hypnosis MP3 designed to address anxiety issues or panic attacks. They will help you dial down anxiety and as a result reduce the effects. You can find some good ones at (yes, UHD is owned by my company...)


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Working With Gambling Addictions

Gambling addictions are among the most difficult addictions to treat. Unlike many addictions, a serious gambling addiction may show few apparent signs to the people around the addict. With the easy availability of credit and the apparent respectability of casinos, gambling is a sad affliction that can decimate the life of an addict and their family. Our proven track record in this field is backed up with quality follow up and ongoing support.

Few gamblers accurately monitor how much they have spent, and how much they have lost during the night out. Only later do they really understand the cost of their habit.
While narcotics addictions are frequently accompanied by health issues, it would be wrong to think that gambling addiction differs from other addictions in this way. Many gamblers suffer depression, struggle with many aspects of moderation (such as binge drinking or eating), and suffer a higher than average rate of heart disease. Insomnia is also quit common among gambling addicts.

There are often social triggers associated with an addiction of this kind. 'My friends just want me to tag along... I won't actually spend anything..." The sense of belonging, the atmosphere and a secret pleasure of sharing guilt all conspire to seduce an addict further. In reality, when the stakes are high enough, there is no 'straight' game. There are no winners in the long run, except the house. It doesn't matter how good, or how smart the addict is. They will loose.

Do I have a gambling problem?

Take the test below. If you answer 'Yes' to seven of the questions, then you should seriously consider getting some help - either from us, or another agency.

Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
Did gambling affect your reputation?
Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
Have you ever gambled to escape worry, trouble, boredom or loneliness?
Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?

If you answer the above questions honestly, and find that seven or more generate a positive response, you should do a few things immediately.

A. Build a support network to get you through this.
You need to talk to someone you trust about this, and explain you have a problem. This is probably a family member or close friend. In the preparation to overcome your addiction, you will need support from people around you. Some people find it impossible to tell their spouse, because it may lead to marital conflict. If this is the case look for another supporter close to the family, in the knowledge that sooner or later you will have to share this with others in your family. In these early stages though, let's stop the financial pain and just get the process started. If there is no one else, feel free to contact us at 604 484 0346. Don't try to do this alone. Believe me, it's bigger than you are.

B. Try to visualise how you would like the outcome to look.
You didn't always gamble. Life before gambling was not so bad. What did you like most about it? How would your like you life to look, if you did not face the problem of gambling, or the associated worry and debt? Write down clearly the details you would like to see in your life. What matters most to you? Once you have this, share it with your supporter.

C. Next time you feel the need to gamble, phone or contact your supporter immediately.
Urges to gamble are as real as withdrawal symptoms from hard narcotics. Don't expect to be able to fluff through this alone. You will need a process. Vancouver Hypnotherapy is one of a series of possible support systems you could put in place. You could also try Gamblers Anonymous, or finding another therapist or counselor.

D. Start managing the stresses in your life better.
I always recommend clients who have a behaviour linked to stress or anxiety, to read Dale Carnegie's wonderful book, 'Stop Worrying And Start Living'. In many instances better stress management plays a huge role in the elimination of an addiction. You should also ensure you are eating three meals a day, and get at least two sessions of exercise (even if it is just walking) in every week. Don't make the mistake of underestimating the importance of this.

E. Be honest. Start accounting the full cost of your gambling over the past month.
You need to understand what this has cost you. List the absolute cost over the last month. If it is more than you are earning, you will need to put in place an arrangement where your partner or supporter starts managing your finances.

By this stage you can start getting a realistic idea of the impact of gambling on your life. It is a complex and viscious addiction. We are able to help clients that are prepared to work on this issue, and have done many times in the past.

Examples of addictions successfully treated by Vancouver Hypnotherapy include one gambler who quite literally gambled away her husband’s house, without his knowledge. He had put the property in her name many years prior to her addiction, as he wanted to set up his own business. With the misplaced idea that transferring assets to his spouse would insulate her in the case of a business failure, this appeared like ‘a good idea at the time’.

As her addiction set in, the bank extended a line of credit (secured against the house). In time the line of credit need to be renewed and extended further. It was not long before the delusion of addiction was overwhelming and the otherwise quite competent woman was making very seriously flawed financial decisions, and keeping them from her husband. The remortgaging of the house was one such flawed decision. Within two years the house, which had been bought and paid for by her husband’s small business, was fully owned by the bank.

Getting her addiction under control was far from simple. We managed, through a course of therapy and counseling. Explaining to her husband that the house he thought he owned, was in fact owned by the bank was a great deal harder.

We work on gambling addiction frequently. We are able to help if you are ready. Contact us for an appointment.

Monday, May 10, 2010

When a duck is not a duck.

I have a friend who told me a story of her childhood. It was a time she spent in Turkey, with a huge extended family. As a five year old she would ride around the local village on a beautiful grey horse.

A child of great privilege, she enjoyed riding through the village and around surrounding farms. She was greatly envied by the other children as she rode past them. A happier little girl you could hardly imagine.

When she would go to the city other members of her family would ask her how she liked the country life. She told them excitedly of the adventures she had on her wonderful horse. They would smile and probably laugh to themselves thinking those adventures were largely made up, although they weren't.

To be so young, to have a horse that was the envy of all her friends, and to ride through villages and hillsides so freely was a young girls dream come true. Her friends numbered not only the local kids, but also the calves, goats and sheep, not to mention the cats in the village which she would feed on fish caught from the stream nearby.

As she grew she became a very proud young lady and a confident one. She felt the world was at her feet and why wouldn't it be? She had all she could wish for.

Then came a day when she was talking about her horse and one of her uncles said to her, "Young lady, that's not a horse."

"Of course it's a horse, don't be so silly," she replied.

"No, my girl, look in this book. You see? It's a donkey.."

She looked at the picture, and sure enough it looked very much like her horse. In fact as she looked at pictures of horses, and compared them to her own, it pretty soon became evident that she had for the last three years been riding a donkey, and a pretty ropey one at that.

Her life did change a little after that. She would study the animal encyclopedia often and she became an authority on the animals about the village. While she kept it quietly hidden within, she decided not to trust people quite so freely.

She loved her donkey - but now he was 'just' a donkey. Something was lost that would never be regained, and some of the girls cousins would tease her about her 'horse'.

And then came a day when all the children were playing in an area far from the village, in an abandoned farm. There was a well there, and through some mishap a child ended up falling into the dark hole and down into the water. Such things had happened before, and this would not be the first child that drowned in an abandoned well. The other children ran back towards the distant village to try to get help. In the cold black water far below it was clear the frightened boy would not last for very long. He was already too weak to pull himself up on the rope that held the bucket far below in the well.

Calling down to him, she told the boy to tie the rope around his chest. She was far too weak to pull him up, but she called to the aging donkey, and he trotted over to the side of the well.

She took the rope from the well and looped it around her donkey's neck, and began leading it steadily away. This weight was nothing for the old, but still stout little donkey, and very easily the child began to climb up towards the light. In a few minutes he was standing beside the well, wet and frightened, but otherwise unharmed.

From that day on, no one teased her about her donkey.

You may be wondering what all this has to do with hypnosis. Well, quite a lot, actually. You see, when we use hypnosis all we do is slightly alter perception. The reality takes care of itself. And just as the perception for my friend was that she had a wonderful grey horse, it was sadly altered by the inconvenient truth that it was in fact a donkey. However, when it really came down to it, it was what she needed to get the boy out of the well.

Horse? Donkey? Who cares. It worked.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Moderating Alcohol Use

Many clients wish to reduce their alcohol consumption, though they don't want to go completely dry. Perhaps they work in a job which requires them to socialise, or they don't want to give up that glass of wine occasionally. Some simply want to reduce their alcohol use, because they realise it works against a healthy diet, and they'd lke to loose a few pounds. When a hypnotherapist assesses the client the key is to understand their alcohol use. Below are a couple of examples of types of drinker.

A. If the client is habitually using large quantities of alcohol there is a real possibility that they are an alcoholic, in which case reduction is unlikely to be effective. If on the other hand, there consumption is gradually increasing and simply needs to be staid, there's unlikely to be much difficulty in reduction. In either case a tested and proven method exists for managing the client.

B. Another type of alcohol user who looks for reduction, is the binge drinker. One of the key things here is to look for the pattern. Few binge drinkers start drinking alone - or do so everyday. More often they experience a social situation that moves from a recreational and healthy use of alcohol, to a point where the alcohol use becomes out of control and moves into a very unhealthy process. We use a slightly different approach with clients of this type. If the binge drinking client is female, it's definitely worth asking if they have ever been bulimic, as this can hold many clues to their relationship with alcohol.

When working with a client in the group A category we apply a simple test. A hypnosis session is given purely to establish a limit. The limit should be at about 60 - 70% of their general usage (but should exclude any spirits). The objective is a beneficial reduction, but one that is achievable. If the client is able to hold that limit and not exceed it for seven days, we have a client who we can work on reduction and moderation with. If they fail, they are likely alcoholic and we have to forget about moderation. If they wish to move forward it should be to eliminate alcohol, as they will never be able to control their drinking.

When working with a type B client we face some different challenges. Establishing a limit is irrelevant as they often go weeks or months between binges. Accurately assessing which type of client one is dealing with is important. Curiously, Alcoholics Anonymous categorizes both binge and constant use drinkers in the same way, as alcoholics. From the point of view of a hypnotherapist, we can work with them very differently. While one is alcoholic, the binge drinker (who may go months between binges) is 'abusing alcohol' but not really an alcoholic.

As such, at Vancouver Hypnotherapy (www.VancouverHypnotherapy.Org) we use the technical hypnosis solution, of looking for the triggers to the binge events, and then getting our client to recognise the situation, and alter their response to it. This is simply done using regression and an approach that motivates the client away from those 'risk' moments.

Our standard method for helping reduce alcohol consumption is based on removal of all spirits (hard liquor), and spacing each glass of wine or beer with an equal quantity of water. Reduction down to the level the client finds acceptable is then not difficult. This should be done over a period, reducing in easy steps and need only take three or four sessions.

In a study done in the UK (The 1,000,000 women study) it was shown conclusively that even 1 glass of wine a week increased the likelihood of cancer. While I doubt alcohol is going to come with a health warning anytime soon, that is a sobering thought.

I am not a zealot on this subject, although I have not drunk alcohol in 16 years. In my case, I had malaria while living in Africa, which toasted my liver and kidneys. I don't drink and to be honest it's probably a very good thing. To me it is literally a poison.

Feel free to contact me to talk about treatment methods, or if you are a therapist interested in our techniques, let me know and I can provide our treatment plans.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

If you can't trust Dr. Koczapski who can you trust?

Originally published on March 14th, 2010. For an update see the end of the post.

This is the true story of a young woman currently in the Concurrent Care Unit of Vancouver General Hospital. She's twenty two years old, and could be the sister or daughter of anyone on this list. Tonight she will not be going home to her mother. Instead she is in a seclusion room in the Unit, having been involuntarily sedated.

Confidentiality concerns prevent me from mentioning her name, however I am able to mention her doctor's name. Dr. Koczapski ordered her involuntary sedation. Now, a quick word about seclusion wards and sedation. A seclusion room is a room containing a mattress and nothing else. It has a small window for the staff to inspect the occupant. It is, within the corrections world, the equivalent of 'Solitary Confinement'. The patient may be let out at certain times at the discretion of a nurse.

Involuntary sedation is a questionable practice at best. There are strict rules about it's use, however the nature of a psyche ward being what it is, the overseeing doctor can use his discretion about it's application. It is not meant to be used as a punishment – and should only be applied if the patient is a risk to themselves or others on the ward.

In this instance the patient was requested to go to the common area, and when her visitor stepped out for a moment was apprehended and forcibly sedated. Obviously, if she was asked to be in the common area, she was not considered a risk to other patients. Instead she was herded into a seclusion room, stripped naked and sedated.

The patient in question is barely 120 lbs. Three nurses and four Paladin security guards were used to sedate the patient. The doctor (male) was present. Also present were outside contracted male security staff. When asked what the nature of their medical training was Dr. Koczapski was unable to tell me. This process was witnessed, however and the witness has agreed to provide an affidavit should it be necessary to do so. Paladin security guards are usually charged with the testing task of patrolling the car park. The nature of their medical training remains a mystery.

That male non-medical staff were used is a gross indignity committed on a helpless young woman, traumatised by the experience. That the doctor was unable to describe the nature of their training was equally worrying. As a professional contracted in the care of a patient, his lack of knowledge of the background of people on his ward is somewhat like having a baby sitter you don't know look after a child. This young woman, who could be anyones daughter or sister, was exposed to a gross invasion of her privacy at a time when she was at her most fearful and vulnerable.

I am not going to detail the history of this patient, however I will say I did see her as a client at some point. At that time she was functional, working and pursuing her studies diligently. She was involuntarily certified at VGH Concurrent Disorders Unit on February 22nd, 2010, and subsequently put on Epival.

Her dosage was increased following her forced sedation. One effect of the high dosages is the dysfunction of her eyes – one now constantly wanders. She is incoherent. She is unable to function effectively. While no existing addiction was in place prior to her being certified, she was offered was offered MDMA on March 8th, whilst in the ward. Dr. K was informed of this by the patient on March 9th.

On March 11th I was made aware of the situation regarding the MDMA, and asked Dr. K precisely what action he had taken after being informed of the presence of MDMA on the ward – supplied by a patient – I have his christian name and will provide it to anyone interested. Dr. K would not respond to the question. This suggests that no action was taken – however if he is able to show documentary proof that written instruction to his staff, or some other form of action about the issue was taken, I would gladly publish it here. I am interested in the truth. I would like to see what he did to safeguard the patients in his care on the ward. There is additionally the question of whether or not Dr. K reported the incident to the police. If not, why not?

Asked if he thought her condition were improving, he inexplicably said 'yes'. She now has an epival addiction, is traumatised by her brutal treatment and is possibly using MDMA. Her eye function is reduced, and her overall health is substantially worse. No one has thought to address the question of drug interaction between her high doses of Epival and her use of MDMA.

The BC Mental Health Act states, under section 8 paragraph A, “(a) that each patient admitted to the designated facility is provided with professional service, care and treatment appropriate to the patient's condition and appropriate to the function of the designated facility” Failure to provide 'appropriate' treatment can result in immediate release (Section 32, para 2). The unsupervised use of street drugs, the inappropriate use of untrained opposite sex staff easily satisfy the term 'inappropriate' care.

Now the tragedy of this story. This is the sad punchline. Actually, the safest place for this patient is probably in the Concurrent Care Unit. She is a sick woman. She belongs in care. Her family cannot pay for private treatment, and few treatment centres would take her even if they could. And so we are left having to trust the Dr. Koczapski's of the world with the care of those less fortunate than ourselves. And that really is a tragedy.

Perhaps you'd like to ask Dr. Koczapski about the nature of his treatment. He can be reached on:(604) 875-4139 during office hours. They are quite happy to take a message for him outside of office hours.

Alternatively you can email him on:

Please forward this email to anyone you feel should know. This could, after all be your daughter or sister.

----- Post Script ----

Our client was granted a two hour pass about two weeks after this blog post was written. She left the facility to get a coffee at a nearby Starbucks. Immediately on leaving the hospital she hailed a taxi and made for the US border. That was five years ago.  She now runs a very successful company in Los Angeles and is thriving, no thanks to the treatment she got at VGH.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The 100th Monkey -

The 100th Monkey: Fact and Fiction - By Dr. Norman Allen

I came across this and found it interesting. Dr. Allen is a noted homeopath as well as practicing a broad range of other modalities. His writing is a joy. He can be found at The following is one of many interesting and well researched pieces he has written. I have edited it for use on

I think it was Lyall Watson who coined the term "the 100th monkey".

Koshimo Island: In the 1950s, in order study the behaviour of macaque monkeys on Koshimo Island, some Japanese ethologist ( footnote "ethology" is the science of behaviour. Konrad Lorenz, he whom the greylag geese followed, was the father of ethology, the study of the natural behaviour of animals, mankind included ), left out food, yams, on an observable beach to draw the monkeys there. So they weren't exactly observing behaviour in the wild, but they thought it would be the next best thing. Certainly it was convenient, and it turned out serendipitous. The monkeys started to frequent the beach where the food was left, and then one day one of the monkeys, a young female the ethologist's named Ito, started to wash the sand off of the yams. Soon other young females and juveniles of both sexes started to imitate her, and gradually the behaviour spread through the colony. The older animals, and adult males in general, did not learn the new behaviour. (footnote:Max Plank, the father of quantum physics said that new theories don't become established by convincing the old academic order, they outlive them.) So we see the same pattern in the spread of innovation in man and in monkeys.

Some time later the ethologists started leaving rice on the beach. Again a young female, a niece of Ito, came up with an innovation. She scooped up a handful of rice and with it, inevitably, some sand. She took this down to the water with which she was familiar from washing yams. She threw the handful of rice and sand onto the water. The sand sank, and she skimmed the rice from the surface. Again the behaviour spread gradually through the troop as young females and juveniles of both genders copied it. (footnote: actually, wasn't she being a bit dense - she was treating the granular rice like a solid yam. Stupidity can be a mother of invention)

The ethologists also saw a behaviour which I call "the Tyrant's Option".

The Tyrant's Option: The dominant males did not copy the new behaviour, but they'd go into the water when the other monkeys were busy separating rice from sand, and they'd exercise the Tyrant's Option: they'd take what they wanted. They’d wait for another monkey to throw the rice onto the water, and skim the pickings.

The Tyrant's Option - force and threat of force - has been a winning strategy till now. Now with the scale expanded to a global locust plague, the option is running out.

Watson’s "100 Monkeys": Some time in the 70s Lyall Watson was travelling through Japan when he heard, or misheard, someone talking about Koshimo Island, and he elaborated from this a beautiful fiction which he named the "100th monkey". His fabrication was this:-

The yam washing "pre-culture" spread gradually through the troop as young animals learned it by watching and imitating their brethren, until... until a certain mass was reached and then the knowledge spread explosively, reaching everyone. One autumn day, Watson says, the critical point was attained. "Let's say 99 monkeys had learned the behaviour," he said. When the 100th monkey learned it a "critical mass" was passed and now, suddenly, all the monkeys started to show the behaviour. It became part of their collective unconscious/conscious, not only on Koshimo Island, but all over Japan! The idea is that when enough individuals repeat a particular thought pattern, that pattern is facilitated for the whole species. We'll come back to the concept, but first let's look at the data.

In fact in the period in question, autumn '69, two new animals learned the behaviour bringing the total of creature displaying the behaviour from 36 to 38, and there was no subsequent acceleration in the acquisition of the pattern. Nor did it spread to the mainland, to other troops. Though it might have, for the ethologists observed one of the Koshimo Island monkeys, an adult males, did move to the mainland where he joined a new troop. He stayed for four years, and then swam back to the island.

The whole 100th monkey story was a fiction, and Watson did not take the trouble to read the data, to get the story straight, though it's published in readily accessible journals. Oh well: never let the truth stand in the way of a good idea.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Understanding the nature of disease.

I work with addictions and eating disorders mostly. It’s a fairly tough area of hypnotherapy, because you can see immediately how effective treatment is. It either works or it doesn’t. There’s not much in the way of a ‘grey area’ if your client is still using cocaine.

I am fortunate enough to have studied homeopathy as well as hypnotherapy. As a result I have the benefit of several different views on the nature of disease. When we look at the cause of conditions in Hypnotherapy, we can learn a lot from our colleagues on the homeopathy side of the fence.

The system of homeopathy which I studied had quite a lot to say about the nature of disease. While orthodox medicine treats disease generally symptomatically, most hypnotherapists know that we should look for the actual causes. Under this regime, treating bulimia is best treated by managing the sources of anxiety, rather than simply force feeding and preventing purging. One system works, the other simply doesn’t.

So, in the case of bulimia – it is best managed by managing the anxiety – the word ‘bulimia’ is almost superfluous. It’s just a label describing the illness, not a diagnosis. It’s a description and does nothing to help us find the cause.

The hereditary nature of some diseases is quite extraordinary. The actual disease (there’s little point giving it a name) can manifest in many forms. I have a client whose grandfather was alcoholic, her father suffered a rare form of arthritis, she is alcoholic, and her children both suffer that same rare form of arthritis. While I know many might find this hard to swallow, my belief is that they all suffer the same disease.

The arthritis is caused by an immune deficiency disorder. The actual disease is manifested in her father and her children by a suppression of this immunity, caused by the way they manage stress. She, and her grandfather, managed stress with the use of alcohol. So the disease is more to do with the actual cause (poor stress management) than simply alcohol or arthritis. Far fetched? I don’t think so.