Being in this profession, or maybe just like in any other professions, we meet very interesting people in very interesting ways.
Fred is such a young man. He is in his late 20’s, a computing and mathematical genius. His written and spoken skills are precise, scientific, articulate, and illustrative. He told me he has taken some courses in NLP (Neuron-Linguistic Programming) when he showed up. And I could see that he certainly knew how to do his thinking. His “problem” was more on social skills, or it seemed.
Fred has found a formula or something – I never managed to fully understand it. What I did understand though, is that he never needs to work for a day. The invention, should I say, has made him millions of dollars. Even though he came from a modest Asian family, money has become the easiest thing in Fred’s life.
Initially Fred came to see me for his “indecisiveness” for something very specific (Or “the fear of failure” as he would exaggeratedly say.) After one session, I could feel his clarity. And he said he probably didn’t need any more sessions on that. Somehow he still paid the 5-session package. Maybe just because he could, or wanted to feel generous? I didn’t know, and I didn’t question. Fred was in a very clear state when he decided to do that, and I certainly didn’t need to second-guess his decision for him.
Seven months passed and I didn’t hear from Fred. I started to take out his file and file it.
Then one evening, Fred found my online calendar link and scheduled himself in for an 8pm appointment.
I wondered what had become of Fred, and was eager to see him again. Some clients do impress me in my memory more than others. I’d seen Fred once, but I remembered him clearly.
Fred showed up, and told me his girlfriend just broke up with him and he needed a closure. In treating this “heart broken” man for two more sessions, I could see how Fred suffered from overthinking just on anything. Two sessions later, Fred continued, quite regularly now, to book his appointment and show up.
After all, at the beginning of the year, months ago, he was right by buying a 5-session package.
One of Fred’s challenges is that he doesn’t have an “identity” – something like job title that he could present in social settings. “Everyone is something, a teacher, an accountant, a lawyer, you are a hypnotherapist… I can’t tell people because I have nothing to tell.”
“So what do you do about it?”
“In the past few months, I kept applying for government part-time jobs, police assistant, city hall, ICBC… I don’t like to work full-time. I don’t need the money… But I have been rejected. That really hit me hard on my confidence.”
“So you don’t need the money, but you need a job title to present yourself in a social gathering, that was the motivation to for you to apply for governmental part-time jobs?”
“Yeah.” Fred looked at me, “Of course.”
I asked him. “Do you happen to know Albert Einstein?”
“Yes. Who doesn’t?”
“Exactly, who doesn’t? He has died many years ago, before you were born. But is he known as a police assistant? A clerk at city hall, or in an insurance company?”
“No. He was known for his formula.”
“You know, Fred, you have a formula that was implemented already. And it has brought you wealth. You are closer to Albert Einstein than your friends who are working in police, city hall or ICBC.”
“That makes sense,” Fred’s eyes brightened, “But… One day I’ll have kids. In school all the kids talk about what their dads do. My kids can’t say anything. ”
“But kids can sort that out themselves pretty smartly.”
“How so? I need to provide.”
“You will provide pretty nicely, will you not?”
“Yes I will. Whatever they want, they will have. But I don’t have a status for them.”
The same agony. I was in disbelief. But the problem was real for young Fred.
“How about this one,” I leaned over, “Your child in school, let’s say, a boy or girl?”
“Okay, a boy.” I continued, “All the kids are talking about what their dads do for a living. It all goes well. Then it comes to the turn of your son. He just looks around, and says, ‘Actually, my dad plays. He just plays. And that’s how he provides us.’ And all the other kids stop right there. They look at your son, and they take a deep breath – ‘You mean?’ they ask your son, ‘your dad, he doesn’t work. He simply plays, like us, and he makes money and he provides?’
‘Yep.’ Your son says.
‘Wow!’ All the kids look at your son in admiration, “you mean, your dad doesn’t have to go to a job that he hates to go, he doesn’t complains about how hard the work is, he doesn’t have money shortage. He just plays, like… us?’
‘Yep.” Your son says.
That’s how your son becomes the star of the day.”
Being an excellent hypnotic subject, Fred looked at me, eyes diluted, half smiling, and said slowly, “I actually… can picture that… very well, right in front of me.”
It’s interesting how our maps of reality are all so different, and how the maps of reality can be so out-dated comparing with the reality. Years ago, after a successful career back in China, I left it and came to Canada. Upon arriving, I met some new friends who were also from China. From them I learned how difficult this country was for new immigrants. Somehow I set my mind on that idea (It was hypnosis really), and started to look for the lowest paying office jobs.
Thankfully reality would have it that I’d be laid off by those jobs and would search for other ways, which took me on different journeys. And eventually found this fun play of mine in which I heal with language – That’s how I see myself as a hypnotherapist.
Fred was still in his nice trance. I let him absorb it all before I brought him out and asked him, “Where were we? What was your problem again?”
“None. No. I don’t have one.”