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Posted - 12/21/2009 :  10:41:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A client I have not talked to for over two years recently contacted me. She had written the story of our session then and it was recently published. If I had any say, I would have removed the "therapy" references.. I do not use that term in my practice. I've copied the un-edited story below:

"I got control of my anger at a late age and in an unusual way. When I was 40 years old, I walked into a Southern-California emergency room and took a four-year-old girl away from her mother.
My early adult years were dominated by grappling with the fallout from my mother’s mental illness and addictions. After years of therapy, I was defiantly proud that I’d mostly avoided becoming the person I was raised to be. But I was confused by one persistent failure: I was still in the grips of the nicotine addiction I’d learned from my mother. After another unsuccessful try at quitting, I finally found myself in a hypnotherapist’s office.
The therapist asked me to describe my withdrawal symptoms. “Anger,” I’d said. “Uncontrollable, biting, sniping anger.” A week or so of nicotine withdrawals would unleash my inner monster, and she’d practically eat my friends for a pack of ultra-light 100s. When he asked about my emotional life and family relations, I resisted. I was done with that, I told him. “Sooooo done. I’ve dealt with it.” A quiet laugh wrinkled his shaved scalp and he scribbled on his note pad.
Finally the therapist talked me down, slowly and methodically, into a hypnotic state, and I felt like I was on a conveyor belt spinning in reverse. I saw myself as a defiant teenager, an awkward middle-schooler, a quietly compliant grade-schooler. Eventually, I saw myself perched on a steel examining table while my mother told a distracted E.R. doctor that I had a dangerously high fever. She wanted the doctor to admit me to the hospital, Now! The doctor barely concealed a yawn as he pointed out that I was slightly warm, but there was no high fever. Well, of course, my mother insisted. She had put me in a tub of cold water to reduce my fever. “Isn’t that right, sugar-cookie?” she pleaded to me in a sympathetic, baby-talk voice. I saw her face move closer to mine, smelled the stale smoke in her breath, and mutely nodded.
Behind the compliant nod, my four-year-old mind tried to reconcile my mother’s story with what I’d seen and felt that evening since she had placed me in a tub of steaming water. She’d shushed my whining while beads of sweat percolated from my upper lip and my legs and tummy turned red like a sunburn. I glimpsed my rosy bottom in the bathroom mirror as she plucked me from the water and swaddled me in an itchy wool blanket. I’d cried, hot and constrained, while I struggled to free my arms and legs. Minutes later, she was shouting at the woman behind a glass-and-wire-mesh partition, demanding to see a doctor immediately.
Living through it again, this time from the hypnotist’s chair, I felt my body shake from the release of four decades of suppressed anger. That E.R. doctor was just the first of many who could have helped but didn’t. My mom would later act out fantasies that I had asthma, fainting spells, bipolar disorder, and even deafness. Doctors, teachers, school counselors, and piano teachers would all discover that she was lying, but they’d never call her a liar. I cried in the therapist’s chair. “Nobody ever told her she couldn’t do that to me!”
“Do it now,” I heard the therapist say, still with a hint of a smile in his voice. But I didn’t understand. “Pick up that little girl,” he said, “and get her out of there. You raise her.” My throat softened and I fell quiet. I walked to the tiny toe-headed child, and she looked up at me. We didn’t say goodbye to anyone; we just walked out. When I left the therapist’s office that day, I was a non-smoker. I’ve never had another cigarette."


Patrick Glancy, CI, BCH

Edited by - patrickg on 12/21/2009 10:42:00 PM
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