New Year, New Challenges

by David Lesser,

First published in the Hypnotherapy Journal
Issue 31, August, 2000

(The Newsletter of Association Qualified Curative Hypnotherapists –
a registered charity [No. 294512] which existed from 1985 to 2007)

An interesting start to the new Millennium (I am writing this in February).

The first new patient I had this year was an Asian lady who, her husband told me, would not talk to anyone except him.

He assured me that she had a good knowledge of the English language and would understand everything that I said but would communicate with me only through himself.  Actually, I had some doubts about her knowledge of English as nothing he said to her was in a language known to me but she did nod intelligently when I addressed her so I thought that I could possibly help by exclusively using IMR and not trying to get her to talk.

She certainly relaxed well but all the time she was praying.  There was not a moment when her lips were still.  Whether or not she was praying that she would be able to relax, whether to ward off my ‘evil eye’ or that I could help her overcome her problem, is still not known to me.

Has she found the ideal distraction technique?  All I know is that throughout the whole of the sessions she was praying and this prevented my words having any effect and I thus stopped treatment after her second visit.

My second interesting patient was one who had come to me in 1989 for treatment for psoriasis which covered him from head to foot.  He came about 15 minutes early while I was still treating my previous patient.  When we greeted each other he was delighted to point out to me that the letter he had sent to me ten years ago telling me how his life had changed since he had achieved a clear skin, was on my notice-board (I must check these things more regularly).

He kept telling me that he had been completely free from psoriasis for the past 10 years in spite of the fact this this (as is usual) was aggravated by stress and 8 years ago his wife had died and he had to bring up their young daughter by himself which had meant taking part-time odd jobs instead of the regular employment he had previously enjoyed.

He was immediately followed by a man who had come for anti-smoking treatment 9 years ago.  He had started smoking once again just a month ago and felt ashamed that he had started again as for the past 9 years he felt ‘as if I had never smoked in my life’.

Another smoker told me she had tried nicotine patches and chewing gum in her efforts to give up smoking.  The gum gave her mouth ulcers and the nicotine patches gave her such terrible nightmares that she had trouble sleeping for 3 or 4 weeks after she stopped using them.

She had no trouble giving up smoking although she came for a ‘just-in-case’ second session three weeks later. She reminded me of a lady who came for treatment last year to whom I refused the anti-smoking treatment because, every time she had tried to give up, she experienced panic attacks, with pounding heart, breathing difficulties etc.

I told her that I would only be prepared to deal with her smoking after we had corrected the panic attacks.  She went home to think about having treatment for her panic attacks and I have never heard from her since.

She is probably better off smoking and not experiencing panic and certainly I was better off without someone coming for treatment every day for the full month of aftercare.  Plus I have a clear conscience.

I then had a new patient who had been having hypnotherapy treatment for 17 years (yes – seventeen years) and sporadic treatment from a psychologist as well.

To date she had had only two sessions with me but, judging by the way she is responding, I see no reason why she should not have her treatment concluded within the normal number of visits.

My next new patient was a lady with a


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David Lesser has written 20 articles