Blog Archive

A27. Dreaming of a House Dec 21st, 2015

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.  Thus, I felt that DJ/Larry and I had completed...

A26. Another Synchronicity of Events Dec 14th, 2015

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.  While I only had to contend with driving back and forth from work, my wife had to spend a...

A25. Guided through Life Dec 7th, 2015

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.  While in medical school I joined the University’s Jewish organization and began to read regularly from the Bible. As...

A24. Finding my Spiritual Self Nov 30th, 2015

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.  In parallel, I also had experienced examples in...

A23. Return of a Friend Nov 23rd, 2015

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.  Further, I wondered how it came to be that DJ experienced his transition around a phrase in the book that seemed to be a “throw-away”...

A22. The Role of a Leader Nov 16th, 2015

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.” He showed me the passage from the book that triggered his transition:  “For a while I went on a little walk...

A21. What happened? Nov 9th, 2015

I looked out my office door at 4:59 pm on Sunday, December 23.  And precisely at 5 pm DJ walked down the darkened hall towards my office.  (For some reason, no one else was seeing patients at that time.) “DJ!” I exclaimed with some relief.  “You made it!  Where have you...

A20. The Transition Nov 2nd, 2015

I waited eagerly for an e-mail on December 21. The world did not end.  And there was no e-mail. There was no e-mail on December 22, either. DJ was scheduled to return to see me at 5 pm on December 23.  That morning one of my earlier afternoon patients cancelled, so I thought...

A.19 The Day Before Oct 26th, 2015

We met in the late afternoon on the day before the transition.  DJ reported that he had asked the part of him that was going to undergo the transition to help prepare him.  However, he only received an answer the day before. “I found out that the transition will not be...

A.18 A Transition Rather than an End Oct 19th, 2015

Our conversation had taken on a very profound turn.  “Are you sure your subconscious said you are going to die in two weeks?”  I asked. “I asked him that.  And he told me that I wasn’t going to die physically, but rather this will be a metaphorical death.  A part of...

A17. The End of the World Oct 12th, 2015

During the six years after DJ learned about hypnosis he continued to use this technique on a regular basis in order to calm himself during stressful situations.  He especially enjoyed interacting with his subconscious through which he gained a lot of insight throughout the years.  Therefore, it was not a...

A16. Hypnosis for Self-Awareness Oct 5th, 2015

When DJ returned a month later he reported that he no longer developed shortness of breath.  He said he had practiced going to the beach in hypnosis on a nightly basis for 3 weeks, and used the fist technique to calm himself before running.  He added, “I also used my...

A15. How Do We Know Hypnosis Really Happened? Sep 28th, 2015

DJ had just returned from his first formal hypnosis experience. “What happened?” I asked. “I was on the beach!” exclaimed DJ.  “It felt really real.” “How long were you there?” “It seemed like a week!” “On a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means you feel completely relaxed, and 10 means you are very...

A14. Putting Together the Power of Words and Images - Part III Sep 21st, 2015

“Are you ready to experience hypnosis?” I asked DJ. “Absolutely!” “Great!  Go ahead and make yourself comfortable,” I instructed.  He adjusted himself in the cushioned black chair upon which he was sitting, and put his head back. “When you’re ready, imagine your beach, and you can describe for me what you are experiencing.”“Do...

A13. Putting Together the Power of Words and Images - Part II Sep 14th, 2015

“Do you like relaxing?” I asked DJ. “Sure!” he replied. “So, I am going to teach you a relaxation exercise that involves putting together words and images.”  He looked at me intently. “You get to imagine going to a relaxing place of your choice.  It can be a place you have been,...

A12. Putting Together the Power of Words and Images - Part I Sep 7th, 2015

“First, I would like to teach you about the power of your words,” I told DJ when we met again. “This is a physical example, and so you get to stand up and face me.”   We stood facing each other. “Are you right handed or left handed?” I asked. “Right handed.” “So, put out...

A11. A Boy with Shortness of Breath Aug 31st, 2015

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...

A10. On the Road to a Better Life Aug 24th, 2015

For much of my career as a pediatric pulmonologist great strides were being made in our fight against cystic fibrosis.  Several new discoveries had extended the average life span of patients with cystic fibrosis to 30 years by the late 1990’s.  Fifteen years later as a result of even newer...

A9. The Power of Negative Words Aug 17th, 2015

Sometimes words might have an unintended harmful effect.  To evaluate the health of my patients’ lungs, I often ask them to undertake lung function testing.  As part of this procedure patients are instructed to blow out as hard and as fast as they can into a mouthpiece which is connected...

A8. The Power of Positive Words Aug 10th, 2015

The field of pediatric pulmonology involves taking caring of patients with many different lung problems.  Many of the patients I have taken care of have asthma.  Fortunately, my work with these patients provided me with the opportunity to help people become completely healed.  Caring for patients with asthma is very...

A7. Dialogues with Henry Aug 3rd, 2015

I met Henry during my second month of residency.  He was a blonde, tall, thin, 15-year-old who was in the hospital because of his cystic fibrosis.  Henry was hungry for attention because his family rarely visited him in the hospital.  I was happy to spend time with him, and to...

A6. Overnight my Signature Becomes Important Jul 27th, 2015

Medical training after medical school continues within a residency.  I decided to pursue training in pediatrics because I had always enjoyed working with children, and I felt that helping a child allowed for improvement that could impact a lifetime.  Additionally, I felt ambivalent about helping adults whose behavior led to...

A5. Questions about Healing Jul 20th, 2015

My questions regarding the limits of medicine continued as I neared completion of my medical school education.  I recognized that I had received outstanding training to employ many tools of modern medicine.  But what would happen if I was deprived of these tools?  Wouldn’t I be worthless as a physician?...

A4. Lessons from the End of Life Jul 13th, 2015

On a cold, snowy day in January, 1982, I received a telephone call from Larry’s mother. “I’m sorry to have to call you,” she said. I held my breath. “Larry died yesterday,” she continued.  “It was awful.  He suffered so much.  No one told me it was going to be this bad.” I didn’t...

A3. Encountering the Limits of Medicine Jul 6th, 2015

Larry came to visit me from California during my second year of medical school.  He was proud to tell me that he had received his driver’s license, and that he was thinking about a science-related job to take after high school. Larry had grown thinner over the years and coughed frequently...

A2. From Squirrel Monkeys to Medical School Jun 29th, 2015

Toward the end of my third year in college at the University of California, San Diego, I was struggling with a decision regarding a career.  I was working towards completion of degrees in psychology and biology: Psychology because it was fun for me and seemed intuitive, and biology because I...

A1. My First Pen Pal Jun 22nd, 2015

“Hi!” said the thin young boy, who appeared to be approximately eight years old.  “I’m Larry.” “Hi Larry,” I replied.  It was my first day as a volunteer with the Child Life Program at the Children’s Hospital at Stanford.  Because I very much enjoyed working with children, I had wanted to...

Epilogue II: E-mails from Beyond? Jun 15th, 2015

As part of my hypnosis work, I was privileged to work with Pam, a young lady with anorexia nervosa.  I met Pam when she was 17-years-old, when she was referred to me for help with her anxiety.  Pam was quite matter of fact about her eating disorder, and had been...

Epilogue I: Thoughts about Our Role in the Universe Jun 7th, 2015

As I gained experience in interactions with the subconscious of patients, my views regarding its role have evolved greatly.  For example, from my extensive interview of Paul’s subconscious (blog 27) and Jared (blog 37) the subconscious appears to have a different perspective on life than does the conscious.  Further, the...

The Migraines with a Mission Jun 1st, 2015

“I have had bad migraines for the past three years,” explained Sarah, a 12-year-old who was referred by a pediatric neurologist.  “But last year they got really bad.”  “How often do you have these headaches?” I asked.  “Basically every day.” “How long do they last for? “They can last all day, but usually they...

Back from a Sleepy Future May 25th, 2015

Thus far this blog has reported events during my first two years of using hypnosis.  In this week’s edition, in order to complete Brian’s story arc I would like to share a story from 16 years after he first learned to use hypnosis. Over the years, Brian continued to use hypnosis...

Contagious Health May 18th, 2015

Brian continued to use hypnosis on a regular basis for many months.  Not only did his behavior greatly change following the insight he gained for hypnosis, but I noticed that his mother’s behavior also changed.  Brian’s mother, who always accompanied him to our Pediatric Pulmonary Center, was usually quiet and...

Theodore Roosevelt and the Patient with Cystic Fibrosis May 11th, 2015

I have shared several examples in this blog about patients who gained insight from my discussions with their subconscious.  I realized that patients could benefit from improved interactions with their subconscious on their own.  Therefore, I started teaching some patients about a hypnosis technique through which a patient learns to...

Another Glimpse into Eternity May 4th, 2015

As part of my work as a pediatric pulmonologist, I took care of patients with cystic fibrosis whose lung disease progressed to the degree that their lives were in danger.  Jared was one of these patients who developed a severe episode of coughing up blood from which he almost died. ...

Anxiety Relief in 30 Minutes Apr 27th, 2015

I first met Lori in the spring of 1999 when our pediatric oncologist referred her, for help to control her vomiting which was associated with chemotherapy.  Lori was a 20-year-old student at a school of environmental science, who had been diagnosed as having leg cancer six years ago.  She had...

A Bridge to Heaven Apr 20th, 2015

Three months after Paul’s death I attended an hypnosis workshop sponsored by The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.  In one of the sessions of this workshop we were to practice helping patients deal with traumatic events.  With a particular technique, patients are encouraged to recall a traumatic event, consider what...

Love Songs Apr 13th, 2015

Ian’s subconscious asked to share a love song so that Ian would become aware of it: Oh and in your eyes I seea part of meand it sets me free Not a worry todayjust gave my heart awayto you Now the world is all around menow that you’ve found methat’s alI have to...

Feelings of Well Being Apr 6th, 2015

Several months later I again met with Ian.  He was so much more relaxed than when I first met him.  He reported that he was attending school on a regular schedule: He arrived at 7:30 am along with all the other students, and completed his school day in the early...

Another Poet Mar 30th, 2015

Over the subsequent week Ian had five pain-free days as he regularly employed hypnosis.  I congratulated him on the great improvement in his symptoms.  Ian was very interested in learning other uses for hypnosis.  One of the skills I taught him was how to allow his subconscious to type.  Ian...

Dave Matthews Concert Therapy Mar 23rd, 2015

Ian’s mother accompanied him to our Center.  Ian was a tall, thin young man who told me about his story with an occasional bemused expression.  Since he was 3-years-old Ian developed recurrent abdominal pain.  He had undergone multiple tests including unpleasant radiological investigations, studies of his upper bowels and lower...

My Brother's Keeper Mar 16th, 2015

I met Steve when he was 14-years-old and terribly abusing his asthma medications.  Once I explained to Steve the risks inherent in taking his medications inappropriately (including sudden death), he began following my instructions carefully, and quickly his asthma came under control.  For two years he joined our asthma education...

Why Hypnosis Might Not Help Mar 9th, 2015

In my first year of using hypnosis with patients, approximately a fifth of the time patients indicated to me that hypnosis was not helpful for them.  It is important to share these experiences because they illustrate examples of why hypnosis might not work. *** Howard was a 15-year-old with asthma and shortness...

A Cough Named Bob Mar 2nd, 2015

Scott asked about “somnambulism.”  (His word!)  I explained to him that this is the ability that some people have with hypnosis that allows them to act without being consciously aware of their actions.  In fact, I pointed out to Scott that “somnambulism” means to sleep walk.  I asked him if...

A Life Derailed by a Cough Feb 22nd, 2015

Scott was a lanky 14-year-old referred to me by another pulmonologist for hypnotherapy.  When Scott was 3-years-old he began to develop coughing whenever he had a cold.  This coughing was especially pronounced in the fall.  Administration of an oral asthma medication helped his coughing.  Scott’s coughing problem generally improved as...

Touched by an Angel? Feb 16th, 2015

I called Paul’s family on the following day.  “I am so very sorry to hear what has happened,” I said.  “We meant to call you,” said his mother.  “But there has been so much on our minds.”  “It’s okay,” I said.  “When is the funeral going to be?” “The day after tomorrow,” she...

The End of a Battle Feb 9th, 2015

Poetry and Hypnosis Feb 1st, 2015

n early March, 1999, I met with Paul for further work with hypnosis.  He complained that he was not feeling well, because during the previous several weeks he had had inexplicable vomiting.  He had been evaluated by a gastroenterologist, who could identify no physiologic problem.  When I suggested to Paul...

Putting Pain in it's Place Jan 26th, 2015

A month later Paul again ended up in the Emergency Department after developing an allergic reaction to something he ate.  This time, because of his problems breathing he developed an air leak around his heart and under his skin in the upper chest.  This condition was very painful, and he...

Tasty Hypnosis Jan 19th, 2015

In the fall of 1998 Paul began experiencing increased allergic reactions.  It was unclear whether this was due to his ingestion of milk products, or whether he had developed new allergies.  He tried using hypnosis to control his allergic reactions, which usually involved mild breathing difficulties, but was unsuccessful.  I...

When Confidence Spills Over Jan 12th, 2015

Peter returned two months later in order to be monitored for his asthma, as well as to learn more about hypnosis.  He reported that use of hypnosis helped him very much with lacrosse.  Within four days of his last visit to our Center he was promoted to a better position. ...

The Power of the Imagination Jan 5th, 2015

Thirteen-year-old Peter who came to see me because of his asthma, told me that he was very afraid of blood tests.  He explained that needles caused him a lot of pain.  Since I have been working with hypnosis, I have come to realize that patients who suffer a lot of...

The Elite Runner Who Could Not Compete Dec 29th, 2014

As part of my role as a pediatric pulmonologist, I directed a pulmonary function outreach program through which our respiratory therapists take portable equipment to pediatricians’ offices, where they check children’s lung function as requested by their physician.  As part of this program, one of my respiratory therapists tested Jackie,...

Hypnosis in a Medical Crisis Dec 22nd, 2014

Paul often talked about his plans for his life.  He wanted to help people.  I suggested to him that perhaps his teaching me about hypnosis was part of his role in life.  Paul agreed. As we worked together, Paul and I realized that we were both learning a lot about how...

The True Nature of Captain Hook Dec 15th, 2014

On another hypnosis “adventure” I suggested to Paul that he imagine meeting a fictional character.  Paul chose Captain Hook.  I commented this might be “dangerous.”  (I wondered why Paul would want to interact with such an unpleasant fellow such as Hook.)  Paul said he did not mind.  Therefore, from his...

The Shadow’s Depth Dec 8th, 2014

I asked Paul’s subconscious whether it was ready to talk more about the “shadow’s depth” that he had written about.  “Do you remember?  You said that you would have ‘more later’”? He wrote, “I want to finish that poem now.”  A poem! I thought.  I didn’t realize he was writing a poem,...

Through a Tunnel Dec 1st, 2014

Paul was fascinated by his ability to do hypnosis, and looked forward to learning more about how his mind works.  As I learned that I did not need to be directive in helping Paul do hypnosis, my instructions to him became vaguer and vaguer.  For example, one day when he...

The more I learned about hypnosis in that first year, the more exhilarated I became. Here I was dis Dec 1st, 2014

Paul was fascinated by his ability to do hypnosis, and looked forward to learning more about how his mind works.  As I learned that I did not need to be directive in helping Paul do hypnosis, my instructions to him became vaguer and vaguer.  For example, one day when he...

Bedknobs and Broomsticks Nov 24th, 2014

The more I learned about hypnosis in that first year, the more exhilarated I became.  Here I was discovering new facets of the human mind that I never realized existed.  I was reminded of the movie “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.”  In that movie, Angela Lansbury plays the part of an apprentice...

Expressing Emotions through Writing in Hypnosis Nov 17th, 2014

“Paul,” I said on one occasion.  “Would you rather allow your subconscious to write instead of speak?” “I’d like to write.” “Do you want to be hypnotized first?” “Yes.” “How do you want to be hypnotized?” Paul said he wanted to go to the lake.  “So go to your lake, and let me know when you’re...

Moving from Recipes to Creative Hypnosis Nov 10th, 2014

Paul and I continued to meet through much of 1998 to work on hypnosis.  Even though I knew he was an outstanding hypnosis subject, I was always impressed and amazed by what he was able to accomplish at each of our sessions.   I came to better understand what happened in...

Tips about Hypnosis by the Lake Nov 3rd, 2014

As my work with hypnosis progressed it became clear that I would benefit from finding a mentor with whom I could review my progress on a regular basis.  A number of individuals recommended that I look up Dr. Ellen Cook-Jacobsen, a psychiatrist who used hypnosis at my Medical Center until...

You Don’t Like the Taste of Your Medication? So Change the Taste! Oct 27th, 2014

Monica, a thin, blond, 9-year-old young lady, came to my Center because of her asthma.  Once I finished evaluating her, I recommended that she begin therapy with an inhaled medication.  “This medication comes in two flavors,” I explained to her.  “Yucky, and mint yucky.  Which would you like?”  Monica giggled nervously. ...

Better Breathing in Outer Space Oct 20th, 2014

As I continued to learn about hypnosis with Paul, I began applying what I learned to help treat other patients of mine.  Quickly I came to realize that many patients benefit from application of hypnosis to various issues in their lives.  Their stories illustrate several ways that hypnosis can be...

About Hypnosis for Professionals Oct 13th, 2014

This week’s blog addresses health care professionals who have an interest in hypnosis.  My story about my patients' adventures with hypnosis will continue in next week’s blog. Learning hypnosis by reading about it may not work because the person who is trying to facilitate hypnosis is likely not to know what...

About Hypnosis Oct 6th, 2014

I think it is important to stress that I encountered and learned about hypnosis in an unorthodox fashion.  I want to share with you some of what I have learned, in the hopes that you will be inspired to find applications for hypnosis in your own life and for people...

Hypnosis and the Subconscious Sep 29th, 2014

Paul was very interested in knowing what had happened when he was seven years old and needed to be placed on a ventilator for the first time.  When I obtained the hospital records for him from that year, he continued to have many unanswered questions.  So he learned to use hypnosis...

My First Teacher of Hypnosis Sep 22nd, 2014

In order to help my patient, Paul, I asked around my Medical Center whether anyone there practiced hypnosis.  I could identify no one.  I went to my local bookstore, and purchased a couple of books about the subject.  I learned that hypnosis has a long history.  For example, in the early...

My First Encounter with Hypnosis Sep 15th, 2014

When Paul returned the following week, it was one of those days with a clear blue sky that seems to extend to the heavens.  It was much too nice of a day to meet inside the small examination room in my clinic.  So I suggested to Paul that we talk...

When the Smell of Cheeseburgers Caused Asthma Sep 8th, 2014

A year later, in the spring of 1998, Paul returned for an appointment at the Pediatric Pulmonary Center.  Earlier in the year Paul’s asthma had been under control.  I had adjusted his inhaled medications, and his asthma had been giving him very little trouble until the last few weeks before...

Was This Faith Healing? Sep 1st, 2014

A week later I received a phone call from Paul’s mother.  “I didn’t know who to call,” she apologized, “but Paul has been having an awful lot of pain at the site where the tube was in his chest.  Not only that,” she continued, “He’s been complaining that it’s difficult for...

A Patient With a Lot on His Mind Aug 25th, 2014

I met Paul in our clinic where he was sitting with his parents.  Paul and his mother appeared to be nervous.  As he rose to meet me, Paul grimaced but nonetheless extended his hand to me in greeting.  I shook his hand and noted that it was clammy.  I looked...

How Life Can Pivot Quietly Aug 18th, 2014

Many times in life big things start from small events.  Sometimes, different resolutions of small events can lead to very different courses of life.  One such small event in the spring of 1997 fell into this category of being pivotal in my life as a physician. I was in my small...