Waving A Magic Wand

I don’t often tell people I do hypnotherapy anymore.

Very few people distinguish between hypnosis and hypnotherapy ie hypnosis for a therapeutic purpose.

The explanation my first mentor used was that one was given Catholic approval by Pope Pius XII in 1956, and the other was not.

In casual conversations I got tired of the discussions about “Is that stuff you see on stage/TV real?” and “Can you make me cluck like a chicken / quack like a duck?”

[My current answers: “Almost always. Yes.” and “I’ve never met anybody who wasn’t already able to do that for themselves so I’ve never tried.”]

People who came in to see me would have all these magical ideas about what hypnosis was about. I didn’t mind the twirling fob watch, or “what if I do something I didn’t want to do” questions. The ones that bothered me were those that expected me to snap my fingers, put them to sleep, and have them wake up cured. The “wave a magic wand” idea.

A friend of mine was a counselor for many years and found a similar problem.

Fortunately he did a training class back in the 70s where they got him to make a magical wand out of a TV antennae and a coin. The coin was cut into the shape of a star and fixed to the top of the TV antennae, which was conveniently extendable for easy storage.

Since then every time a person came in wanting someone to “wave a magic wand so I can be cured” he would bring out his wand from his drawer and wave it around mysteriously with a few strange words and a tap.

Then he would ask them if they were cured.

When they said no, he would put the wand back in the drawer and say “Oh well, I suppose we’ll have to try something else then.”

He hasn’t been assaulted by anyone so far.

-Dr Martin Russell

5 thoughts on “Waving A Magic Wand”

  1. Having never really been to a hypnotherapist, are you able to hypnotize a person and take them back to a memory or series of memories?

  2. If you go back to a memory without using hypnosis it is called remembering, or nostalgia, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or some other name, depending on the context.

    Yes hypnosis can be used to assist people to remember, but one of my original trainers did a demonstration of deliberating implanting a false memory into someone for the Australian investigative journalism TV program called “Four Corners”. Fun to watch.

    Hypnosis and memory are very powerful but tricky topics.

  3. Thank you Dr. Russell. I do realize that it would be much easier to guide a patient when they are in their most receptive state, whatever that may be. Life is tricky when you don’t remember correctly too. How often are our memories actually factual?

  4. I don’t think “truth” or “fact” is a very useful concept. It’s always subjective at least in human terms.

    In practical terms when people have come to me for hypnosis to remember (or forget) I have more interest in their purpose in wanting this eg to win an argument with their spouse 🙂

  5. Pingback: Hypnotherapy: A Swinging Pendulum, Stare Into My Eyes Or Shall I Just Snap My Fingers? | Hypnotherapy

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