There are probably as many methods in hypnotherapy as there are individuals working in the field. Subtle though the differences may be, one thing is certain: the therapist must feel comfortable in her/his own skin if the client is to gain maximum benefit. It can take a while to find one’s own niche; I was certified in 1982, and have coined something of a motto based on what I’ve found most helpful in the introductory stage: It’s no fun unless it’s fun! Word-play is a favorite, as evidenced by the title of this article, and as you may already know from my original songs. Humorous, helpful insights are everywhere, and, with apologies to all the highly skilled hypnotherapists around, with the word “hypnosis,” (besides being Greek to me) how could a self-respecting word-play fan possibly resist tailoring it to a more comfortable fit? Not with those three juicy syllables!

Self-Hypnosis

Results are actually perception shifts, and must be consciously chosen before being committed to the automatic pilot that is the subconscious mind. Analogies (parables) and music are two very powerful tools in pleasant self-hypnosis. They are my purpose for writing and recording such music, and the intention in writing my two books, Sing Yourself a Miracle, and The Parable of the Stars.

Symptom Substitution?

Freud introduced the theory of Symptom Substitution, which contends that the alleviation of one symptom (such as an undesirable habit) will likely be replaced by another, which simply substitutes for the vanquished problem. Not a very fun idea, is it? Because of its negative underpinnings, together with Freud’s inability to satisfactorily explain this phenomenon, the Symptom Substitution theory has been largely rejected in modern psychology. It isn’t very helpful to say such a theory is true without being able to say why it is true, and this is where Freud fell short.

Simpson Substitution

We will explore this further momentarily, but for now, let’s try a new, heretofore unheard of, hopefully amusing approach: substituting Simpson Substitution for Freud’s Symptom Substitution. In this concept we first consciously choose to identify with the Lisa Simpson personality if we suspect we have a bit too much “Bart” in us. Or-vice-versa-if we are fed up with emulating sweet little Lisa but can’t seem to help ourselves. I’ve always had a little Bart in me, which I’m happy with, but wouldn’t want any more than I have. A Homer makeover is not currently available, and please do not contact me if you are thinking of becoming an O.J. copy-cat.

A Course in Miracles

Just as Buddhism (and now also Quantum Physics) teaches that the world is illusory, yet can’t explain why we choose to live the illusion, so too did Freud’s Symptom Substitution theory only raise further questions. In the 1960s Dr. Helen Schucman, a psychologist at Columbia Presbyterian University in NYC, working with her Department Head, Dr. William Thetford, began compiling a three-volume set of books titled A Course in Miracles, that would give very clear answers to why we choose to live an illusion, and, at the same time, the purpose which Freud’s Symptom Substitution serves.

Buddhist and Freud Riddles

Here is a quick clue-a personal example that gives an insight into both the Buddhist and Freud riddles: I was talking with a Catholic Priest about smoking; he told me that he always gives up smoking for Lent, but smoked the rest of the year. My reply was that he was getting it all backwards; he should smoke during Lent and give it up the rest of the year. Why would I say that? I think he didn’t get it-perhaps later, if he thought about it, but not at that time. Another clue: what is the purpose for Lent in Catholicism? In that answer lies both the purpose for Symptom Substitution, which eluded Freud, himself, and also the reason Buddhism fails to give for choosing to live an illusion. Happy quantum leaps!

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