Human Trinity Hypnotherapy and Kissing Frogs
Chaplain Paul G. Durbin, Ph.DThe foundation of my work in hypnotherapy is based upon what I refer to as the human trinity, thus - Human Trinity Hypnotherapy. Whether you are a Christian or not, you would probably know what I meant if I referred to the Holy Trinity: God, the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
I also believe in the human trinity. Each of us is a trinity within himself or herself. I am a trinity, you are a trinity. We are made up of body, mind and spirit. We are physical, emotional and spiritual beings. These three aspects of our being are so different and yet so integrated that one part of our human trinity cannot be affected without having some effect on the other two. If you have a physical problem, it affects you emotionally and spiritually. That does not mean that if you are sick physically, you are also sick emotionally and spiritual, but that they are affected. A person with an illness may grow emotionally and spiritually as a result of the illness. It may be for good or bad but all three are affected. If you have an emotional problem, it affects you physically and spiritually. If you have a spiritual problem, it affects you physically and emotionally.
Accepting the theory of the human trinity, one understands that life is more than just being alive mentally and physically. To illustrate this, I would like to share two of my favourite stories which I use often. If you have heard me tell these stories before, remember that repetition is a learning tool both in and out of hypnosis.
An aeroplane doesn't cease to be an aeroplane when it sits in the hanger or takes off along the runway, but its true nature becomes apparent only when it is airborne. Similarly, a person is a human being even when he or she is functioning only on the physical and psychological planes, but one shows his or her essential humanness when he rises to the spiritual dimension. A man asked his three daughters how much they loved him. The oldest of them replied that she loved him more than all the gold and silver in the world. The father was noticeably pleased with her answer, threw his arm around her and thanked her. The second daughter responded, "I love you more that the most valuable jewels in the world." The father was pleased with her response so threw his aims around her and thanked her. The third and youngest daughter said, "I love you better than salt." The man was not especially elated with her remark and dismissed it lightly as an indication of her immaturity. Nevertheless, he put his arms around her and thank her.
His wife, their mother, overhearing the conversation, left salt out of her husband's next meal. As he ate, he was thus confronted with the deep meaning of his youngest daughter's remark. She was saying that he was the flavouring and spice of her life. Developing the spiritual aspect is to life what salt is to food.
The spiritual dimension gives flavour and seasoning to life. When one is functioning on all levels (physical, emotional and spiritual), life is more productive and healthier.
I consider myself to be very fortunate for I am a hospital chaplain who is a certified hypnotherapist and Director of Pastoral Care at Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital in New Orleans, La. I have full support for the use of hypnotherapy in my pastoral ministry by both the Administration and Medical Staff of our hospital. I receive many consults from our doctors for both inpatient and outpatient hypnotherapy. I am consulted for smoking, weight control, stress management, personal problems, and pain management. Most of my inpatient consults are for pain management and most outpatients come to stop smoking.
There are many approaches to hypnotherapy. I admit that I have learned something from many schools of hypnotherapy and some of each may be found in how I use hypnotherapy. Regardless of what you call your particular activity in hypnotherapy, we are all frog kissers.
Do you remember the fairy tale about a frog? Once upon a time there was a frog but he wasn't really a frog. He was a prince who looked and felt like a frog. Only the kiss of a beautiful young maiden could save him but since when do cute girls go around kissing frogs? So there he sat -- an unkissed prince in frog form. Though the situation seemed to be hopeless, miracles do happen. One day a beautiful young woman grabbed him and gave him a big kiss right on the lips. Crash -- Boom -- Zap! There, he was kissed -- a frog before, a prince after.
As hypnotherapists, our calling is to symbolically kiss frogs. We kiss frogs not with our lips but by listening to them and then by using suggestion, imagery and healing stories to help people make changes in their lives. The mind, conscious and subconscious, is greatly influenced by suggestion.
Stop for a moment to consider the power of words as one means of conveying suggestion. By words, the preacher proclaims the Good News of Faith. By words, the politician conveys his agenda. By words the sales person sells his goods. By words, the teacher teaches. By words, thoughts are imparted from one person to another or from one generation to another. There are words that make us laugh and words that make us cry, words that bless and words that condemn, words that wound and words that heal. The old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." is a false statement.
By understanding the suggestibility of the client, you help establish rapport, which is very important. Some people respond better to direct suggestions, while others respond best to indirect suggestion. Most of us can respond to both direct and indirect suggestions but generally have a preference for one or the other.
Because I believe in the importance of an individual's suggestibility, I have everyone who comes into my office for counselling fill out the John Kappas suggestibility questionnaire which will generally give an indication of their dominate response. Our suggestibility usually comes from our primary care giver (usually our mother). If the child experiences his mother as saying what she means and meaning what she says, he will usually be more responsive to direct suggestions. If the verbal and non-verbal parts of her communication do not express the same thing, the child begins to search for the real meaning. They begin to look for the implied meaning rather that what is actually said. Balanced suggestibility comes when in certain areas, the mother is consistent in what she says while in other areas, and she gives conflicting messages.
I tend to be close to the middle with a slight dominance for direct suggestion, for when my mother told me to do something, then I should do it. If she told me not to do something, I knew she meant it. There was a cause and effect. Mother laid down the law and I followed it or I reaped the consequences. On the other hand, mother could be indirect in her request. She might say to me, "Paul, don't you think you should go visit Mrs. Smith. She is sick and she gave you a Christmas present last year." Now that sounds like I have a choice but I did not. She meant for me to go see Mrs. Smith and if my answer to her was "No.", she would let me know in no uncertain terms that I was to go.
The use of imagery with suggestions intensifies the suggestion and makes it more effective. Jonathan Edwards said, "The ideas and images in men's minds are the invisible power that constantly governs them." The wise old man of Proverbs once wrote, "Whatever a person thinketh in his heart so is he." (Proverbs23:7) Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." and "Imagination is your preview of coming events."
One of the characteristics of the subconscious mind is that which is expected, good or bad, tends to be realized. The most effective imaging is that which communicates with the subconscious "in the heart". The mental picture you hold of yourself is what directs and controls you. You can use your imagination to improve yourself or destroy yourself. The subconscious mind seeks to meet your deepest needs, expectations, and desires.
A point to remember, the subconscious cannot tell the difference between a wish and a fear. The subconscious interprets a fear the same as a wish. Fear negative expectation) is our greatest enemy. Faith (positive expectation) is our greatest ally. Jesus in Mark 11:14 seems to be saying that imagery with prayer cause the prayer to be more effective. "Therefore I say unto you that anything whatsoever you desire, when you pray, believe ye have received it and you shall have it." Until there is an image in the mind, there can be no reality. All great inventions began with a thought in the mind. The inventor was able to visualize the invention before he could bring it to reality. The same is true of great music, great writing, great living. If you want to change your life, your lifestyle, your habits, you must change the image that your mind holds. When working with a person for weight control, I have the person imagine or visualize themselves the size they want to be, as if they were that size and to imagine stepping on the scale and being their desired weight. I request that they do this each night just before going to sleep and each morning just after they wake up from sleep.
I should point out that imagery and day-dreaming are different from one another. Imagery motivates one to accomplish that which is visualized. The day dreamer is satisfied with the dream and is not motivated to accomplish the goal. Imagery is not wishful thinking but hopeful expectation of what is desired with the motivation to believe it to reality.
In addition to direct suggestion, indirect suggestion, and imagery; I often tell a story to bring home a point or to allow the client hearing the story to come to his/her own meaning of the narrative. Jesus often spoke in parables or stories which still bring to mind vivid pictures which tell us something important about life. The parables can have a different meaning to us at different times in our lives.
Healing stories can motivate us, cause us to recall some memory from the past and to embrace new ideas in the present. Stories can be used to sidestep some of the resistance to new ideas and actions that direct suggestion may create. To illustrate the use of suggestion, imagery and healing stories, I share with you a session with an 11 year old who I shall call "Ned."
Ned was referred to by a psychologist. Ned, his mother and father came to me in December. Ned had not spent a full day in school during the entire school year. He had spent time in a psychiatric hospital without any change in behaviour. He had cried all the way from his home in Mississippi because he was afraid that he was going to be admitted to the hospital. While Ned was taking a suggestibility questionnaire, his mother was in my office talking to me about the situation. When Ned finished the questionnaire, I told him that he could have either or both of his parents with him and he asked for his father to be with him. I said to Ned, "You don't want to be here, do you?" "No sir." he replied. "I can understand your not wanting to be here for you are uncertain what will happen. I can assure you that you will not be admitted to the hospital and you will return to Mississippi with your parents today. I want to talk to you and explain something about hypnosis so that you can see that it will be a very pleasant experience. Ned said that would be OK. "First, I would like for you to tell me in your own words why you are here today." He told me a story similar to his mother's account. I asked if he were afraid of his teacher or of any of the students at his school and answered, "No." I asked if I could show him something and he said, "Yes." I picked up a paper sack from my desk drawer. I removed a block of wood with a nail standing in the middle of the block and took out six nails. I asked Ned if he thought I could balance all those nails on the one standing in the middle of the block. I told him that I could not tie them together or magnetize them so they would stick together. Ned did not think I could balance the nails. I put them together in the appropriate manner, picked up the nails and they balanced on top of the nail in the block. Ned was impressed. I concluded the balancing act with the statement, "As I could balance the nails which looked impossible, you can learn to do something which seems impossible to you, such as going and staying in school. (Why was all this done? To establish rapport and to give helpful suggestions for the removal of the problem.)
I asked him if he had seen the "Wizard of Oz" which had been on TV a few nights before and he had. I shared with him the first time I saw the "Wizard of Oz" and that since then I had learned some important lessons from the movie. I first saw the movie many years ago when I was in seventh grade in Avenger, Texas. We got a whole afternoon off school to go to the local movie house to see it. You remember the story of the tin man who wanted a heart, of the cowardly lion who wanted courage, of the scarecrow who wanted a brain, and of Dorothy who wanted to return to Kansas. The Wizard convinced each of them that they had what they wanted. They believed the Wizard and their wish became a reality. The Wizard turned out to be just an ordinary man with extraordinary ability to engender belief to help people change their lives by changing their beliefs about themselves. The three who believed had many opportunities to show their newly discover talents. The scarecrow became brilliant, the tin woodsman became kind and helpful, and the lion was fearlessly courageous. They knew they could do things because the Wizard had told them so and they believed him. You have within you the solutions to your fear of going to school and you can release those fears if you believe you can.
Instead of tears running down his face, there was a smile. I talked to him about hypnosis being a very relaxing experience in which he could use his imagination to help him make the changes in his life which he desired.(I made that statement as indication that he was in control and would make only changes which he desired to make.) I asked him if he would do an experiment with me and he said he would like that. I did the "taste the lemon" exercise and "hand heavy, hand light" exercise. He was impressed with the results of these exercises so I asked him to open his eyes and he did. I asked him to stand up and he did. I ask him to stand on his head and he looked at me as if I was crazy. I quickly said, "and you would not stand on your head if you had been in hypnosis. You follow my suggestions until I gave you a suggestions which seemed foolish to you. The same is true when you are in hypnosis."
I asked him if he was willing to use hypnosis to help him overcome his fear and he said, "Yes." I asked him to sit on the recliner and he did. His mother told me that he like going on boat rides with his dad on the canal near their home. I asked him if he would like to go on an imaginary boat ride with his father and he nodded "Yes." I told him he could keep his eyes open or he could shut them. He closed his eyes. I developed the imagery of the boat ride and he felt tired so he could lie down in the boat because his dad would be keeping the boat on course. I proceeded with a progressive relaxation exercise using the movement of the boat for deepening. I followed with a desensitization exercise by having him lift a finger at the first feeling of fear, then taking a deep breath and blow the fear out as he exhaled.
I went step by step from waking up in the morning, getting dressed, going to school, walking to the schoolhouse door, going to the class room, teacher beginning the class, and went through the school day with the beginning and ending of each class until finally returning home in the afternoon. I went over each area until there was no finger signal of fear.
I concluded the session with the story of the Green Dragon, which I adapted from Lee Wallas's book, Stories For The Third Ear . (I use this with adults as well as children after desensitization. I also have a stuffed Green Dragon about a foot high which I show them after coming out of hypnosis which has always brought a smile to the face of the adult or the child.
"Once upon a time, there was a little boy (If a girl or woman, I change the sex to a little rich girl.) who was very, very rich. He was so rich that he had a special room with all his toys and treasures. Now you would think that he would be a very happy little boy but such was not the case. Actually the little boy was very sad because although he had many toys and many treasures, there was one thing that spoiled everything for him. Sitting in the corner of the toy room was a large green dragon. This dragon never seemed to take its eyes off the little boy. No matter what the little boy was doing, whenever he looked up, there was the green dragon watching him. This would spoil his fun, for he was very much afraid of the dragon. He was afraid that the green dragon would someday attack him. As a result of worrying about the green dragon, he felt so very, very unhappy. Some days he would dance and play very hard; he would whirl around, laugh very loud, and talk a blue streak in the hope that he could forget about the dragon in the corner. But no matter how loudly he laughed, how hard he played, or how fast he danced and whirled and jumped; when he stopped, he would look in the corner and there would be the green dragon still staring and looking very, very dangerous. The little boy would begin the day playing with his toys, happily trying to forget about the green dragon, and each day he would end the day sitting quiet and sad with tears running down his face.
One day, a friend came to visit the boy. The friend looked around the room with his eyes opening wider and wider and said, "Oh, what wonderful toys." He ran around; picking up this toy and that toy and playing and clapping his hands, but the little rich boy felt anxious and worried. He kept glancing at the green dragon. Suddenly, to his horror, he saw his friend run over to the green dragon and sit astride the dragon's back. The little boy cried, "No don't do that!" His friend responded, "Why not? this is fun." The little boy said, "He is such a fierce and ugly dragon. Surely, he will harm you. I am so afraid of him." "Ho, ho, ho," said his friend, "Look at this." He turned the dragon so the little boy could see and down the back of the dragon was a long, shiny zipper. The little boy did not know what to make of it. He watched with eyes wide open, still trembling with fear. The friend said, "Shall I unzip it?" The little boy replied, "I'm not sure. I am afraid." His friend said, "Nonsense!" and unzipped the dragon. When he did, the whole dragon suit fell down. What do you think was there? The little rich boy himself or rather that part of him that was so afraid of what he did not understand. Instantly, the little boy realized that the green dragon was just an extension of himself. He had been afraid of his own fears.
The little boy began to laugh and his friend joined him in his laughter. The little boy could laugh because he realized that now he was freed from his fear of the green dragon. Now he was happy. He played with his toys and had fun with his friend. He realized that he no longer needed to be afraid of the dragon because he had come to understand his fears and release them."
I continued with Ned in hypnosis - 'Now I wonder if you might feel a smile coming over your face today as you release your fears. You have slain your dragon and have been released from your fears and if is it so, you begin to smile. You may try to hold the smile back but the harder you try, the bigger the smile becomes. Ned began to smile. I gave him some self-confidence suggestions and said that he would experience a cycle of progress as day-by-day, he had more and more confidence in himself'. I then counted him out of the hypnotic state and suggested that he would feel very good about himself. He asked, "If I need to, can I come back to see you?" and I responded, "Yes, of course." He went home much happier than he was when he arrived at my office.
To those who oppose hypnosis on religious grounds, I remind them of the words of Jon Baptist Van Helmont , "Hypnosis is a universal agent and it a Paradox only to those who are disposed to ridicule everything and who ascribe to the influence of Satan all those phenomena which they can not explain." Hypnosis is a valuable tool to help people improve their lives.
By using Human Trinity Hypnotherapy, the physical, emotional and spiritual are highlighted to help people improve themselves. If you listen to the broadcast of a baseball, football, or basketball game, you have surely heard the announcer say, "It's a brand new ball game." If you are a sports fan, you know the announcer means that the game has been tied. It is like starting over again. The past is still there, but we can begin again where we are. In a baseball game, if a team ties the score in the sixth inning, they do not go back to the first inning to start over again for they keep playing from where they are. So it is with life, we begin were we are. With hopeful expectation and new faith comes a brand new ball game.
Though hypnosis is not a magic cure for all our problems, it can be a powerful tool to help us live a more abundant life. I conclude this article with one of my favorite healing stories.
The Eagle And Chickens With Two Endings
A man found an eagle's egg and put it in the nest of a barnyard hen. The eagle egg hatched along with the brood of chicken chicks and eventually grew up with them. All it's life, the eagle did what the barnyard chickens did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked, cackled, would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air. Years passed and the eagle grew into adulthood. One day he saw a magnificent bird high above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful air currents with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.
(First ending) - The eagle looked up in awe. "What's that?" he asked. "That's an eagle, the king of birds." said his neighbor. "He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth-we're chickens." So the eagle lived and died a chicken because that is what he thought he was.
(Second ending) - The eagle looked up in awe. "What's that?" he asked. "That's an eagle, the king of birds." said his neighbor. "He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth-we're chickens." The eagle went through the day thinking of the eagle flying high. The next day the eagle went down to the pond and saw his reflection in the water. He began to test his wings, flying further and further each day. After a few weeks, he was flying high and gliding just as if he were an eagle. He noticed that he looked a lot like an eagle. He realized that he was an eagle. With that thought, he flew above his past and his environment.
KEEP ON KISSING FROGS AND FLYING HIGH LIKE AN EAGLE!
Influences contributing to the development of Human Trinity Hypnotherapy:
Alfred Adler's Contribution to Human Trinity Hypnotherapy; Viktor Frankl's Contributions To Human Trinity Hypnotherapy; Dr Maxwell Maltz's and John Powell's Contributions To Human Trinity Hypnotherapy; The Bible's Influence on Human Trinity Hypnotherapy; Carl C. Jung, Sigmund Freud Authors biography.
Chaplain Paul G. Durbin, Ph.D