There are many times in this space when we speak to the great applications of the work of the unconscious mind using hypnotic technique. However, there are also cases when one needs to know when a specialist of the mental health system is required. Recently, I met with an old client of mine who fits into this category. His is a special case given the complexity of what we were dealing with, something that became more clear as we continued our work together.
I received a phone call from this very forthcoming individual about his fears of being prosecuted for his “flashing behavior,” something he had done for many years, feeling that the woman that he flashed “got off on it as much as he.” His thinking was if this one person in particular who he was flashing in the apartment across from his didn’t enjoy it, why would she be looking at him as he did this behavior?
He was also very concerned at the time, that as a self-employed person, he was one morning sitting at his desk in his office, where there was a French door. He thought his secretary may have seen him as he masturbated in front of the computer there at the office at this early hour. It gave him pause to recognize how out of his control his behavior had gotten. He explained that he would spend up to seven hours a day in this activity, unable to keep up with the work that his clients had entrusted him to complete in a timely manner.
Interestingly enough his wife of a couple years knew of this sexual issue of his and accepted him for who he was. She was a professional in corporate America doing fine financially for herself. Her main issue at the time was that she wanted to start a family and my client was not at all interested in that idea. He said that he wanted to concentrate his energy on his business which was his own baby. He was just not ready to have a family and yet they were in their early 30’s with his wife feeling the biological clock running down.
We did the work that was necessary to help with the sexual compulsions. About six months after the main work was done, I received a call from this client stating that he was in a mental hospital, as he was speaking of government officials tapping his office because some information he had that they wanted. It was a bizarre story of paranoia that came across. I spoke to his wife briefly who was with him in the mental hospital, she being very clear headed and grounded as she was dealing with this situation with her husband. He was being treated for manic depression with a mood stabilizer and a anti -psychotic to calm the paranoid thoughts. This treatment worked well for him.
We continued our work together until it was complete. About 6 months or so later he had me come down to his office, about an hour ride away on a Saturday. This was an opportunity that I relished because I wanted to see the set up of the office and hear what he had on his mind. He told me of an idea he had to do something in the area of economics using his vast engineering skills. His general demeanor was one of great enthusiasm for his idea, though the exact idea isn’t one that I can recollect at this time, it was of grandiose proportions, and yet I felt given his great intellect, he may be able to pursue it or something like it, though also realizing that I was dealing with a person who was in a hypomanic state of mind. This meeting happened in the spring of that year.
During the summer of that year I got another call from this gentleman. He was feeling very down, very unhappy with the way his life was going. The business wasn’t doing that well, and though he and his wife decided to divorce for the reason sited above, their relationship was one of friendship. His ex was there for him.
He presented in my office speaking of being very depressed, not wanting to live any more not having anything to live for. I was taken aback at the time, allowing him to tell me what was going on. I contracted with him for safety and checked in with him weekly for about 6 months to keep a check on his emotions. He was doing fine on his medication and under the care of his long time psychologist who knew that he was seeing me for the sexual issues that she couldn’t help him with according to him.
About a year later we met again, this before I left for my three month sabbatical, he wanting to see me before I left on my great adventure abroad. At that time we had a cordial conversation, enjoyable enough, and nothing of any consequence relative to his mental health status came up. He was very glad to have been able to see me before I left for I didn’t know if I were coming back here to the States to live given my own physical health issues back then. I was working on making sense of my own life.
Recently this gentleman sent me a linkedin message saying that he “had an idea that was running around in his brain” that he wanted to speak to me about. He explained that he knew that I was a person who was interested in the mental health of others given my business of hypnosis. He emailed me the basic premise of how he thought we could integrate computer technology in the administration of mental health especially to poor kids who couldn’t afford the steep cost of decent mental health observation and care. It was an interesting concept so I invited him to come and talk to me about it. I was in no way prepared for what became before me.
First he was emotionally detached from me in a way that never was before. Before there was always an emotional warmth that he generated. This time there was zero affect in this area. Second, as he was telling me of the ways in which he wanted to be able to discern fear as it was felt and observed through an EEG application, he felt we could help kids, who like him were suffering in fear. You see as a kid, he told me he had to hear his mother scream at the top of her lungs in Italian that she wished to be dead. He was about 12 years old when this began, she herself a manic depressive. All through our conversation whenever he tried to speak of her tears would try to come out and he would be very upset with this physical response to his emotional pain. He would lightly bite his knuckles as a way to ground himself back to the present no longer in the emotional pain as he worked to tell me more about his idea. He had told me during our conversation that he needed to ground himself with me as we were talking by looking in my eyes. It felt weird to allow this, though I knew him well enough to take him at his word for he never played any games with me, ever. He told me that he was hearing voices in his head, for the past 2 ½ years, it beginning around the last time I saw him and was getting worse as the illness progressed. He didn’t want to be reliant on medication for the rest of his life, and wasn’t taking any presently, though he was thinking about it based on what his psychologist recommended. I did tell him that there were certain cases when this was indeed the correct path to take. He had told me the medication did quiet the voices but slowed down his mind. I told him that going on the medication was probably a good idea and to just be careful that he used the psychologist as his advocate if needed to use the least amount of medication to do the job, so that he wouldn’t have to feel “slowed down”. He replied that he didn’t trust the doctor to listen to him, however he would give my idea some thought.
Durning this last meeting he shared with me that though his sexual behavior was much better than previous to our work together he felt there was space for improvement. I asked him what was going on in that area. He told me that he was looking at the internet for ½ hour to an hour a day. He was no longer seeking out other women, he was no longer flashing – the only thing that was a bit bothersome was that he was attracted to younger girls and he knew that this was not okay – working diligently to not look at these sorts of photos. When I heard this I was overjoyed because he had not only improved to what is within the “normal” behavior patterns for a male, he had done so with all these complicating factors involved. He didn’t see it quite this way, though he was happy with the overall progress he was making and still working on himself. Nothing wrong with that as he continued to tell me that there would always be aspects of himself that he would need to work on. I replied that we all have areas that continue to need work as we go through life.
We lay hypnotists, have to be very careful in how we address the issues of our clients. It is very common for a person to present with more than one issue, especially if they are coming in with mental health issues. In this case this particular client had not one but developed a second chronic mental health issue that requires the expertise of a licensed mental health worker. I didn’t know of his major mental health issues upon his starting of his work with me, however over time with the various communications it became obvious that I had a much more serious and complex situation here than what was originally presented. I would also like to note that the only thing I treated this gentleman for was the sexual compulsion and the issue of allowing his wife the option of being in a relationship with someone who wanted to give her kids instead of ignoring that part of his life as he was pursuing his own dreams. This was not fair to her and he needed to address it directly with her which he finally did leading to the divorce.
This case points to the deeper understanding that we have our areas where we can help people, even very ill people allowing for them to do the work that they need to with that of the licensed professionals, as we do the other work that perhaps the licensed professionals are not as capable doing. Do realize that as long as we respect the work of one another, miracles can happen. I consider the release of the sexually inappropriate behavior despite the complex underlying mental health issues of this case to be a miracle. This especially given the excuses given to me of men who haven’t got all these other mental health issues telling me why it is that they can’t afford to make the time or monetary investment in their own healing. To them I say, they lack the fearlessness of this particular client who was willing to address everything that he needed to, to no longer be at risk legally with his behavior of the past even with the complications of his underlying mental health issues. I totally respect this gentleman’s determination to deal with what his life as put forth while I would like those of you who know that your own situations are much simpler, to do what you can to take care of yourselves. This client did it, so there is no reason that you can’t do so as well with the proper professional to help you.
Do I have a Sex Addiction? Now What?
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