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Stories and Metaphors, Diane Auld, HT,RCS
Here is a story that could be used during trance, for clients who tend put up emotional walls. Sometimes it may be that walls that were put up for a specific reason just stay up, out of habit. This story could help a client gain the insight that it may not always be appropriate to hide behind walls that were put up for a specific purpose.
My friend Robert and I are planning to go on a trip this February. We're going to go to the Winter Carnival in Quebec City. It's going to be very cold and snowy. We are both used to mild Vancouver winters. Given that Quebec winters are so snowy and cold, we decided that we would need to get some protective clothing to shield us from the harsh elements. We went shopping in several different stores and bought jackets and snow pants and big, black, warm boots. We both loved our boots immediately. They are so warm and big, and black and heavy. They're thick and protective and waterproof and have heavy-duty tread. They are warm and fuzzy inside. Wearing these boots, we felt protected from all the harsh outside elements. They could keep out snow and slush, and the heavy tread would prevent slipping on the slick winter sidewalks. We were both eager to try out our boots, wanted to wear them all the time.
The other day, Robert and I went to go shopping again. Even though it wasn't a very cold day, we put on our heavy boots anyway. We got in the car and headed out for the shopping mall. We'd only gone about a block when Robert suddenly realized that the big, heavy boots were making it difficult to drive. The boots made his feet too big to fit properly on the pedals. The tread was so heavy, he couldn't feel when his foot was on the brake, and when it was on the gas, and he couldn't feel the clutch properly.
When the first traffic light turned green, we lurched into the intersection and then stopped. The other cars behind us started to honk, and impatiently tried to drive around us. Robert frantically tried to control the car, but the heavy boots made it impossible. It took a long time, but we finally managed to guide the lurching car over to the side of the road. Robert was shaking and scared. He reached down and untied his new boots. They just were not made for driving. He had to take them off, and drive with just his socks on. The socks allowed him to feel which pedal was the brake, and which one was the gas. Robert realized that when he was driving, he needed the sensitivity to be able to feel things with his feet, so he should wear smaller and thinner footwear. The boots were perfect for snow and ice and harsh outdoor
weather, and he still liked the boots very much.  He realized he would have to carefully consider which footwear to use each day. Some days, when he
needed the protection against cold and ice, he would wear his big, heavy, black boots. But the rest of the time, he discovered that he would be much better off if he wore his more sensitive shoes.

Orca InstituteCanada’s longest-running Hypnotherapy school and BC's only PTIB and EQA designated Hypnotherapy school.  
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Hypnosis for Sleep.  Do Not Use While Driving or Operating Machinery.

This video consists of a few hypnosis inductions of different types blended together. As you hear the voices you might find that it is hard to listen to both voices at the same time. In hypnosis terms, this is called "confusion".The intent is to give the conscious mind lots to do.

At a certain point, the conscious mind gets overloaded and the subconscious comes more to the surface. The result being that relaxation begins to take over, and it doesn't really matter what the voices are saying. The person listening becomes much more focused on just letting go and relaxing. The images throughout the video also have a similar intent to keep the conscious mind busy so it eventually "throws in the towel and begins to relax and let go".

This recording contains binaural beats. Wiki: A binaural beat is an auditory illusion perceived when two different pure-tone sine waves, both with frequencies lower than 1500 Hz, with less than a 40 Hz difference between them, are presented to a listener dichotically (one through each ear)
Although for most listeners it's just something that helps them relax more deeply.

There are many approaches to helping people relax and sleep between comfortably in hypnosis. This hypnosis video is typically good for people who think a lot, especially just before they go to sleep.

Learn more about our training at:

Orca InstituteCanada’s longest running Hypnotherapy school and BC's only PTIB and EQA designated Hypnotherapy school. 
Call Now! 604-808-3703. Skype: orcas53
©Sheldon Bilsker, HT,RCC
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My younger brother died of cancer in his early thirties, and my mother died of complications involving cancer when she was in her eighties. And I have had the opportunity to work with many people suffering from that disease. In every case I am familiar with, and according to many medical experts, cancer has both physical and emotional aspects. The strength of each of these can amplify the other, and the healing of either of these can help to heal the other.
My brother had lung cancer. He was a heavy smoker and had a lot of stress in his life. In addition, he fit the personality profile observed in almost 1000 lung cancer patients by Dr. David Kissen of Southern General Hospital in Glasgow: before he was fifteen one of his parents died (our father); there were marital difficulties; and there were professional frustrations. Naturally, a very large number of people may have these particular experiences, but what Dr. Kissen considered significant was how many of the cancer patients reacted to them. Typically, they held in emotional expression and denied conflicts. This certainly described my brother.
My mother had lung cancer. She also lost her father before the age of fifteen, and had her share of marital difficulties and professional frustrations, too. And, she held in emotional expression and denied conflicts as well.
Similar relationships between emotions, experiences of loss or frustration, and all forms of cancer have been noted in many medical studies (two good sources for this kind of information, if they are still available, are Psychosomatics, by Howard R. and Martha E. Lewis [Pinnacle Books, 1975} and Who Gets Sick, by Blair Justice, Ph.D. [Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1988]).
The common thread of emotional response in all forms of cancer (and, I suspect, in all disease), is a frustrated desire to control experience in some way. There is a wide variation in what people are trying to control. Some are trying to control their own behavior; some are trying to control the behavior of others; some are trying to control past, present, or future events; some are trying to control it all. It is not surprising that cancer is often associated with symptoms of depression, but it not always clear whether the depression is associated with the cancer, or with something else that the person cannot control.
In my own experience with and observation of people with cancer, I have noted that the most successful recoveries seem to be strongly associated with major mental, emotional, or physical behavioral changes among the people with the illness. What is major for one person, of course, may not be the same for another. Some people get results from radically changing their whole lifestyle, while others get results from forgiving a longtime resentment. I know of one success where a woman left her family, took up a different religion, changed her clothing and diet, and moved to a different country. Maybe she needed all of those changes and maybe not, but overall it worked for her. I know of another person, a man, who simply stopped trying to outdo his father, and that worked for him.
My brother, however, didn't change his reactions or his life. And my mother, right to the very end, refused to give up grudges she had held for many years against many people. If you want to change something, you have to change something.
Whenever we try to control something by mental, emotional, or physical means, and whenever we fail to control it to the degree that we want, we increase the tension in our body. The more often we try and fail, the greater the increase of tension. Not everyone gets cancer because of this since the specific outcome of excess tension depends on so many different genetic, environmental, and mental factors, but I believe that healing the control issues can be of tremendous benefit in helping to heal cancer and, probably, everything else that needs healing.
The need for control is based on fear, and fear itself generates tension. Control, then, is merely a technique for trying not to feel afraid. Maybe a good place to start the healing process would be to stop trying to control fear, and do something to change the fear reaction, instead. 
It is an experiential fact that you cannot feel fear if your body is totally relaxed. However, even though there are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to relax, such as massage, meditation, play, laughter, herbs, drugs, etc., that does not always solve the problem. The real problem lies behind the tension, and behind the fear. The real problem is not even the idea that something is fearful. The real problem is that you feel helpless. When this problem is solved the fear disappears (not the common sense, just the helpless fear), the need for control disappears, and a huge amount of tension disappears. 
Fundamentally, what I'm really talking about is confidence, a kind of core confidence not related to a specific talent, or skill, or behavior, or experience, or piece of knowledge. Lots of teachers and lots of merchants offer ways to get this kind of confidence, and my own works contain many ideas about it, so rather than limit your possibilities by suggesting a particular technique, I'm only going to share a couple of Hawaiian words for confidence whose root meanings may point you in the right direction: 
Paulele - "stop jumping around"
Kanaloa - "extended calm"
There is no quick and easy fix I know of that will produce this kind of confidence. It takes internal awareness and one or more internal decisions, but even that will only work if it results in a different way of responding to life.
Learn more about Huna at http://www.huna.org
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Change your mind, change your reality. 

A superhero movie recently trumpeted this message. A counselling hypnotherapist sat in the movie theater all dinner plate eyes at the transformation of well, just EVERYTHING on the screen. I’m that hypnotherapist and I was watching that movie as a story filled with metaphors, symbols, mind and magic and boy was I entranced by it all! Oh my gosh! This was IT on multiple levels. This was what I did with hypnosis, what I had been and was currently going through, This spoke to me as only stories and metaphors, and suggestion can! I was a kid in a candy shop! My unconscious mind was jumping up and down, doing backflips and somersaults. Guy goes through a traumatic and totally out of the blue experience that laid waste destroying his expected career trajectory, his whole life and outlook/worldview. His experiences changed him and who he really was, a very different life. He found his greatness in his adversity. He thought he was one thing and that the world was only one thing, so it was for him for a long time. Then something huge happened-a very unexpected experience shook all that up and it turns out everything is really really different from how it was before. Yet all along really was there all along. Hidden in the open. Like the unconscious mind. Like neuroplasticity. Sounds like, smells like, looks like magic but actually-it is science and art. Maybe that is our “magic” after all. Science and art. It sure is our mind and reality. The superhero drew golden light sigils upon the air with his mind to change reality, we craft words and thoughts upon the spaces within us, with our mind, and change reality.

Wikipedia defines it as:

Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity and neural plasticity, is the ability of the brain to change throughout an individual's life, e.g., brain activity associated with a given function can be transferred to a different location, the proportion of grey matter can change, and synapses may strengthen or weaken over time.

Research in the latter half of the 20th century showed that many aspects of the brain can be altered (or are "plastic") even through adulthood. This notion is in contrast with the previous scientific consensus that the brain develops during a critical period in early childhood and then remains relatively unchanged (or "static"). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity



    There is a woman in Toronto who changed her brain and is teaching others to do the same and even more. Her name is Barbara Arrowsmith and her challenges growing up were quite daunting. She couldn't understand what she read. She sometimes read a sentence many many times and still never sure she understood it. Something others take for granted like reading "take the book and place it the desk" It meant nothing to her. She was 26 before she could read a clock. The effect it had on her confidence and self-esteem was tremendous. 


    Her story is inspiring. Many children and adults carry shame over their hidden difficulties in learning or doing certain things that they keep hidden. Getting by with compensating for whatever it is they just can't do. For me it is math. For the person who interviewed her, it is reading maps. Maps make no sense to him, as fractions and long division are a mystery to me. 


   Not being able to do these things caused her tremendous pain and cost years of frustration and tears. She has a photographic memory-visually and auditory. She used this ability to compensate for not being able to reason in certain areas even through college.  In fact, it was in college during a science class that she decided that she needed to figure out a way to address and change how she learned directly. Without compensating for it.


   She worked hard to discover how she could change what too many neuro-scientists at the time said was impossible as an adult.  She did it and she has a school in Toronto, The Arrowsmith School where she teaches others how to change their own brains. Some have struggled with learning disabilities their entire life. Others are still very young her students cover the entire human lifespan from kids to senior citizens. She said that she does it so others don't have to go through what she did. Overcoming her deficits didn't change her feelings of lack of confidence and self-esteem overnight built up over such a long time. That healing took longer but after a while, it happened for her.


    I love that she changed, healed, and now guides others to change and heal themselves. I think we can heal and help others with their challenges without having first experienced those exact same issues but there is something about someone who has been there that gives hope and confidence a boost. A validity born of motivation, concentration, and belief.


   An interesting thing to note is she doesn't only help others bring their cognitive abilities to average-she teaches her students how to bring them to as advanced a level as possible for them. To excel. That has got to be a huge huge boost to people's self-esteem and confidence.

   When I first went to university in the 80’s Introductory Psychology classes, biology, anatomy, human development classes taught what was commonly believed to be true at the time. That neurons don’t grow, and that once an area of the brain is disrupted, injured, damaged, or otherwise undeveloped/malformed it is gone forever, cant regrow, that what you had at birth was what you would have throughout your life, that there was a small, all too brief window of opportunity when you were young in which you could learn languages, develop talents and abilities and if you missed that window-you missed the train so to speak to ever learn and develop those things and more. Research and better brain imaging proved that this wasn’t true at all. In reality, our brains can and do grow new neurons throughout life. Our brains can and do grow pathways around damaged areas. Old dogs can and do learn new tricks. All the time.

   Not only does this make sense in keeping with what we do commonly see happening around us in our experiences, it has been verified in studies and research. More so every day across the world. 
    Ask yourself-in what ways can you take your highly malleable brain  & using the art and science of what you do as a counselling hypnotherapist, make some magic in your client's lives?

Change your brain. Can you imagine?!  All the possibilities!
Lisa Brown is a student at Orca Institute.

Orca Institute is Canada’s longest running Hypnotherapy school and BC's only PTIB and EQA designated Hypnotherapy school.  
Call Now! 604 808 3703. Skype: orcas53



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In 1983 I was diagnosed as having Melanoma Carcinoma, a potentially lethal form of skin cancer. Needless to say, it came as a shock. It was more the word though. The word seemed to have so much power, “Cancer”. My immediate response was that Cancer was something which happened to other people. Not me. However, it was a surprisingly short time I began to accept that it was I who had Cancer and started my journey discovering the healing power of belief and hypnosis.

In retrospect, at the time, I had a complete belief in my own ability to heal myself. I still hold that belief, but admittedly it has become a bit tainted over the years. It is not the pure unadulterated belief which I had back then. Sometimes I wonder if what I did would be as effective if I was in the same situation now. I don’t know. In my two years (of a 30-year practice) of working with clients who had Cancer, I have witnessed many healings which I believe were due to, or enhanced through belief in our own power (or a “higher power”). I also found that sometimes my clients would “heal into death”. That might seem like an odd thing to say but I have witnessed incredible healing as some of my clients were preparing to die. I have seen very few examples of the type of a peaceful state exhibited by clients as they were dying. A cynic might argue that it was the drugs but I saw and felt something far beyond the drug response in my opinion. I believe there is much we can learn from moments like these.

As Ram Das has said, “if nothing happens after you die, then why do so many people do so much growth when they are dying?”. I don’t know the answer to that one either. The one thing I do know is that everyone is different and responds differently to treatment, whatever the type of treatment. When I work with someone I always encourage them to create a method that they feel would work most effectively for their individual situation. Sometimes my clients would look at me incredulously as if to say “this is what I’m paying you for, so you can tell me I should do this myself?” My answer, verbally or non-verbally was always “Yes I’m here to support you, not do it for you”. I can’t do it for you. I do not have that power”.  What follows is my personal experience with Cancer. 

I had just moved from Montréal to Vancouver but in that short time, I had taken courses in a variety of alternative and/or complementary fields. I had studied hypnotherapy in Montréal and had a small client base there so I was I was eager to get started with my practice in Vancouver. Then I got Cancer. The realization came that everything else I was doing in my daily life had to be put on hold. Within eight days of seeing the oncologist, I was in the hospital. The Melanoma was almost directly over my heart and there was a concern that it would spread quickly. Afterwards, I learned that another month and I probably would have been dead. It was decided that surgery was needed as soon as possible. My surgeon was great. She explained to me in great detail what would happen in the procedure as well as post-surgery.

Although I wasn’t thrilled that at least two lymph nodes would be removed at least I wouldn’t be losing any muscle. In deciding to have the operation I also chose to do everything possible to stimulate my body's own immune system. Since there was some question of the cancer spreading, using hypnosis I started visualizing my healthy cells being protected. I breathed in deeply while imagining a white light surrounding all of my healthy cells. I mobilized an army of PAC men (1983 reference) seeing them devouring all unhealthy cells moving them swiftly out of my body. After that, I breathed in Pink energy to enhance healing. I began seeing the upcoming operation as totally successful. That night after the operation I had a very vivid dream. I have heard that this is common after an operation but what amazed me is not just the vividness but the effect. After the dream, I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt that the cancer did not spread and I was fine. I hadn’t talked to anyone, but I knew. 

The next morning I awoke and although experiencing some pain as a result of the skin graft for the sites on my chest, I was secure in the knowledge that all was well. The situation I was in became a challenge for me. The skin graft from my thigh to my chest was left partially open to drain. The pain and discomfort was getting worse, so using hypnosis I visualized an orange colour surrounding and penetrating the afflicted area. Although not disappearing, the pain or rather my perception of the pain had definitely subsided.

That night the nurse arrived with some morphine. She proceeded to get very flustered when I refused the shot. Over the course of the following few days’ pain killers of various sorts that had been reserved for me were piling up and I became the centre of great controversy among the staff, especially when it was discovered that I was using hypnosis. I started getting visits from Doctors, nurses and social workers, all of whom expressed a healthy curiosity about what it was I was actually doing. My favourite person in this group was probably the Social Worker who in no uncertain terms let me know that “hypnosis was the work of the Devil”.  She seemed to have a genuine interest in saving me but I guess I just wasn’t ready for that at that time. Being in a shared room and getting a bit bored I began to teach two other patients self-hypnosis. One of them even refused a painkiller or two. He told the nurse he was using self-hypnosis for the pain. I kept practising self-hypnosis and visualizing myself getting healthier. 

Shortly after my stay at the hospital, it was recommended that I see a physiotherapist. I could only lift my extended arm about 1 inch above my waist. The graft would have to stretch. The physiotherapist said it would take six months of therapy before I had full movement in the arm. I told her it wouldn’t. In six months tennis season would be over, at least outdoors. Three weeks later I had 100% movement in my arm. Using hypnosis and visualization I imagined my arm going higher than it actually was each time. On the other hand, maybe my arm was going as high as I was imagining it but just not in this reality. I’ll leave that for another article.

If I had believed the physiotherapist it would've taken six months (possibly exactly six months). A Harvard University study was conducted in which they chose 10 cancer patients and taught them self-hypnosis hypnosis. After recording their white blood cell count the researchers had their patients use their self-hypnosis and visualize their white blood cell count increasing. This method was practised every day for five days. Each day the patient's white blood cell count increased significantly. Medically, this was considered impossible. Although it was a small study the possible implications are interesting. Many people know, or at least have heard of someone who has overcome what seemed like insurmountable odds to achieve success. Hypnosis is an ability we all have which is just as natural as sleep, although it isn’t a sleep state.  It can be very a very effective tool in opening the doors to the power within each of us.
Sheldon Bilsker, RCC,HT  Orca Institute is Canada’s longest running Hypnotherapy school and BC's only PTIB and EQA designated Hypnotherapy school. 

Call Now! 604 808 3703. Skype: orcas53
©Sheldon Bilsker
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Over the years many aspiring hypnotherapists and students have asked me about hypnotherapy legislation or lack of relating to their ability to practice in their location. This issue can be quite complex considering that each province and state is responsible for making its own legislation. In part 1 of this article I’d like to focus on legislation in British Columbia, Canada. I’m starting here not just because I am based here but also because of the interesting history and progression of dedicated practitioners to create new and innovative legislation in the province relating to counselling in the broad sense of the term [hypnotherapy included].
A Brief History
In 1997 the task group for counsellor regulation was formed. Their mandate was to determine if the various stakeholders in the counselling field in BC should come under the umbrella of the Health Professions Act. Their decision based on a variety of factors was not to take action at that time. It was disappointing but only enhance the willingness of the stakeholder groups to move forward.
Core Competency Profile
A task group was formed in various projects were worked on including the counselling therapists competency profile, an important document outlining all of the minimum core competencies for an entry-level counselling practitioner. This was significant in that it was possibly the first time regulation was proposed in the counselling field which did not include an academic degree requirement. Hypnotherapy practitioners for the most part applauded the core competency profile. However, the next and hardest step would be to convince the BC government to effect legislation based on this proposal.
 Fact BC
FactBC (Federation of Associations for Counselling Therapists in British Columbia]’s is a Society of professional associations that represent counsellors and therapists practising throughout BC. It was formed in 2014. Our Group the International Association of Counselling Hypnotherapists has recently applied to be a member of FACT BC.
Through FACTBC we are hoping that future legislation relating to hypnotherapy and counselling in general is not far off.

I will continue to post updates as I get them, here.

Sheldon Bilsker, RCC,HT  Orca Institute is Canada’s longest running Hypnotherapy school and BC's only PTIB and EQA designated Hypnotherapy school.  Call Now! 604 808 3703. Skype: orcas53
©Sheldon Bilsker
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Many prospective students looking for hypnotherapy training might not realize that hypnosis is a fairly broad term.  There are a number of approaches in using hypnotherapy, but generally, there are two schools of thought, the Direct approach and the Indirect approach.  Most people are familiar with the direct approach.  It typically entails a hypnotherapist giving a subject or client, a series of suggestions.  For example, close your eyes and breathe deeply. An indirect approach however is meant to be much more subtle and the language becomes much more unique.
Using an "indirect approach", a therapist might comment, "isn't it nice to know how deeply relaxed one can feel simply by taking it deep breath and letting go." From this phrase and similar phrases we begin to discover a new language, for the subconscious. 
One may ask what the intent is in using this approach. Why not just tell the client to relax deeply? There are clients who prefer this direct type of approach more than the indirect method, but there are many who do not for a wide variety of reasons. The most popular reason people tend to give for not preferring the direct approach is that they feel like they are being, albeit nicely, ordered to do something or to respond in a specific way. In fact, not all, but many people prefer to feel autonomous and choose their own experience and using language which is unique to them allows for this autonomy. 
As one might guess, because of its subtlety, for most students, the indirect approach is more difficult to learn, but once mastered can be very rewarding. We have Dr. Milton Erickson to thank for this unique approach in the field of hypnotherapy though there are many cultures historically which used and are still using variations of this method. In fact, one can make the argument that any culture or society which uses stories to teach and disseminate information are using this approach. 
From this perspective it doesn't seem so new. We begin to realize that most if not all, have used indirect phrasing much of our lives. We are really accessing something we know instinctively but are now learning to use this unique language through a therapeutic modality. The purpose of utilizing stories and metaphors with a client is to allow them to go on a journey of their choosing. 
As a student learns they begin to develop phrasing for the client’s sub-conscious. This is why we use "open ended phrases "such as, "I wonder", "I'm not going to suggest", "isn't it nice to know", "I really don't know what your experience will be ", "what is time.....anyway" etc.  These generalized and open ended statements allow the client to expand on the implications of what is being said. However, it is not just saying phrases that elicit each client's unique response but just as importantly it is the way it is said. A master story teller is very much aware of this and utilizes tone, rhythm and timing to draw out from the person, verbally or non-verbally, direction on where to go next.

A good definition of these phrases, as mentioned previously, is language for the subconscious or as Erickson referred to it, the unconscious. The premise of this statement is that our subconscious responds and communicates differently than our conscious mind and therefore it needs a different language which relates to feeling and experience rather than intellect. How to put all of this together to be truly effective is one of the lessons that all students will learn with enough practice.
Sheldon Bilsker, RCC,HT  Orca Institute is Canada’s longest running Hypnotherapy school and BC's only PTIB and EQA designated Hypnotherapy school.  Call Now! 604 808 3703. Skype: orcas53
©Sheldon Bilsker 2018.
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