The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners.

by Bob Burns

So this gentleman (a well known psychologist and clinical hypnotist), who I have just picked up from the airport to come and spend a few days with me in the therapy room is now standing in my living room, sniffing, rubbing his eyes and showing me the mild rash as he now tells me he forgot to mention he is allergic to cats!  Cassie, just stands at his feet meowing, screaming for a hug. And you can see that my guest is genuinely an animal lover. But necessity is the mother of invention. So…  we threw the cat into the…. look that’s a joke okay???!!! Cassie is indeed our very best friend and family member, just as your cat or dog will be to you. But I could see we had a slight challenge on our hands.

The good news would be that over the next few days we would be in my therapy room in town, away from Cassie, where I could keep my boy safe. Unsniffing and unrubbing as all good psychologists should be.

48 hours later my visitor (who has been a friend and colleague for some years now) had witnessed with me some excellent Swan sessions. Pain leaving, depressions and anxiety lifting, weight being lost and nicotine kicked out.

But on day three HE very bravely took the bull by the horns (or the cat by the tail, as you do) and said it would be great to see if we could use The Swan to communicate with whoever was in there and strike a deal to stop this infernal allergy. I smiled and nodded my head enthusiastically thinking to myself,“This man will be dead inside the next couple of hours!” But like a good professional I showed nothing, remember my family motto: ‘Snekarios estas Besteerio’ which roughly translated means: ‘Sneaky is Best!’

So, we finished for the day, went back home, ran into ‘The West Wing’, shutting out a screaming Cassie who was now actually in love with the psychologist, and went to work. The Swan is truly a beautiful protocol and indeed I do love watching the sheer art of many of its users and the gracefulness therein. Each and every session can and will be different of course and it’s always a pure joy to watch it being used on a large group at the same time or indeed during a workshop with several operators using a slightly different nuance, touch, feel, voice etc as The Swans begin their Dance.

He was a good subject. Great twitch, turn, wave, and beautiful YES and NO signals. Indeed we were a hair’s breadth away from getting ‘direct voice’ in the very first session (an area we cover in the workshops). In this particular case we got a part that claimed to be indeed my psychologist himself when he was 12 years old. Lo and behold the age he was when a cat had jumped up on him and scratched him, setting off the whole process. So, we got contact and confirmation of who we were talking to, real or imagined. It is worth remembering here that in Swan work we are not remotely interested in the thoughts of the client. They can be positive, negative, think it’s going to work or yawning with boredom. That is not our concern and we find time and time again that that has no bearing on the outcome. This is NOT an ‘ideomotor’ happening like some less experienced therapists have been prone to believe.

The next step is to find a willingness to let go of the causes of the past which affect the present. To see if we can literally at times,‘cut a deal’. The ‘wee fella’ we had made contact with was simply lovely. This 12 year old got it that he was 12 years old back then but he can now allow the man that he is to step forward. Yes, he understood that the dreamers are indeed the saviors of the world, but only when they ‘wake up’! And that that’s what was happening here. We were waking up this ‘sleeping giant.’ There is a part in all therapy of this type where the therapist has to get it completely right or all can be lost. WE don’t just ask the part to fix it. Sure, that can happen but with a little nuance, touch and train of thought we can sharpen that cutting edge into:

“And I was wondering, could you…..?”

“And if you could, would you like to…?”

“And if you could and you would like to is there any way you would consider doing it right now…?”

“Then in that case please go ahead and completely change it, much to their surprise!”

There of course will be a whole lot of room in there for individual touch, flair, substance etc but the interesting thing of this session was that just as I was about to ‘DO THE DEAL’ by asking the 12 year old to fix it, the intellectual 40 something year old man in the chair, with all the experience of years in the therapy room suddenly interrupted me by saying, “And tell him I do not want him to say YES unless he is going to do it NOW!”

“Bugger!” I thought. He’s not gonna’ make this easy for me is he?”

But I actually liked it and can honestly say that since this happened (over a week ago) THIS is now my stock closing statement. And it rocks! I really love how it totally throws the client in the chair! Neither they nor whoever/whatever I am addressing see it coming. And the reaction is always very strong.

We got a YES, followed by a raised hand to confirm the deed had been done and as crazy as this sounds my man jumped up immediately and went looking for Cassie, seriously. It was as though all her Christmases had come true as our visitor rubbed his face in her belly and kissed her over and over. I have to say I truly admired him. And the outcome…..? We both got to witness along with my wife the fact that he had no itching, no sniffing, no eyes running and no rash. WE have film of all of this which will be edited and hopefully I will get approval to show the fascinating clip on future workshops. I should very quickly add that later Cassie suddenly jumped onto her new found friend and… her claw scratched him (Sod’s Law!). The interesting thing was that everything was fine and he continued to pet her with no effect, yet the very wound where her claw went had just a trace of a rash around it, which went away very quickly. I have to say that I don’t know why or what this was but I can guess on the possibility of what I refer to as an echo?

Anyway, this is the fascinating case of: The Psychologist, The Cat and The Swan.  I can’t wait for our second session!

We’re quite fascinating creatures, aren’t we?

Bob Burns is a Clinical Hypnotist, who mentors and teaches his methods live in his therapy rooms in Montrose, Scotland and teaches many hypnosis workshops throughout the world including March 30, 2016 at the ACHE Pre-Conference. Click here to learn more and register:


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