A11. A Boy with Shortness of Breath

After I used hypnosis with patients for a number of years, I started lecturing widely about the benefits of such therapy and publishing about my experiences in the medical literature.  As a result, my colleagues began referring patients to me specifically for a hypnotic intervention.

 

One such patient was DJ, who was sent to me when he was 12-years-old with a complaint of shortness of breath during running.  DJ’s complaint was a common one for patients who came for care at our Center.  He explained that he usually developed trouble breathing during competitive races, but not during practice.  He said that his shortness of breath seemed to be caused by difficulty during inhalation, and sometimes he even developed a loud noise while breathing in.

 

DJ had been tried on a number of different asthma and allergy medications but they were unhelpful.

 

I recognized those symptoms, as they tend to affect almost 2 teenagers a week who are newly referred to the Pulmonary Center.

 

“I suspect your symptoms are the result of vocal cord dysfunction.  This condition occurs because your vocal cords and your voice box close when you are trying to breathe in, and this makes it difficult to breathe.”

 

DJ appeared to be listening carefully.

 

“Often, vocal cord dysfunction occurs when people are stressed psychologically.  In your case, you may be pushing yourself to perform as best you can and during competitive situations.”

 

“That is true,” said DJ.  “How is this fixed?”

 

“Well,” I replied.  “As you’ve found out, asthma and allergy medications do not help.  The way to fix this is to use your imagination to help relax your vocal cords.  I can teach you how to do that. This method can be called hypnosis.  What does the word hypnosis mean to you?”

 

“Do you mean you’re going to dangle a watch in front of me?”

 

I smiled.  “I did try that once, but I got tired from holding it up.  No, I am not going to do that again.  You see, you can use hypnosis to calm yourself through use of words and imagery.  What you need to understand is that hypnosis is in your control.  You cannot be hypnotized by anyone else.  If you follow my words you will become hypnotized, but only because this is something you are doing to yourself.”

 

“So, what do I need to do?”

 

“Let’s plan to meet next week in order for you to learn how to use hypnosis to help with your breathing.”

 

“Sounds good!”

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A27. Dreaming of a House

I had expected to have several more sessions with DJ in order to continue our post-transition work. However, we met on only two other occasions to discuss his career development path, and then he felt he no longer needed to return.

A26. Another Synchronicity of Events

After living in Syracuse for a number of years, my wife said that she was tired of the difficult winter weather there, which affected the city nearly half of each year.

A25. Guided through Life

During the summer prior to medical school I met with the Cantor at my parents’ synagogue and asked him to help me to continue to learn how to chant from the Torah.

A24. Finding my Spiritual Self

The amazing events with DJ reinforced ideas and feelings about life that I had been developing for a couple of decades. Thus far I have shared how my involvement with the world of medicine helped instruct me about how life can work.

A23. Return of a Friend

During the following two weeks until DJ’s next appointment with me, I kept thinking about the remarkable lessons that DJ and his subconscious were teaching.

A22. The Role of a Leader

DJ brought a copy of “Dharma Bums” to his next visit with me two weeks later. “You were right!” he exclaimed. “The part about the paths was not in the book.”