Chapter 4   -  Spoon Bending

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"Partly true," Dr. Harmon agreed. "Being drunk is an altered state. An altered state simply means you are, for a period of time, by-passing your self-critical mind. Everyone goes into altered states regularly. Sleep is an altered state. Dreaming is an altered state, as is day dreaming. Focusing and concentrating on a book, a movie, or a televised event to the degree that you become emotionally affected, or feel like you are there, is an altered state. Tell me, Clarissa, have you ever been driving your car and suddenly recognized you have no conscious memory of the last several blocks or miles?"

    "Oh yes, I have!" Clarissa exclaimed.

    "Well, that was a hypnotic state. Your subconscious mind was driving the car, while your conscious mind was occupied elsewhere. While it´s nice to know the subconscious can do that, it is far preferable to have ALL of the mind focused on driving. Which is why some part of your mind brought your conscious mind back to the driving. Another way to explain the hypnotic state is to compare it to the state of mind just before entering sleep. For instance, are you ever deeply relaxed and just about to fall asleep when your husband enters the room?"

    "Yes," Clarissa agreed.

    "When that happens, are you more likely to rouse yourself and talk to him or to ignore him?"

    "Sometimes, if it seems important, I´ll wake myself up and talk to him. Other times, when it isn´t important, or I feel too cozy to talk, I´ll ignore him and go to sleep."

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    "Exactly. You are at a level of mind that is accompanied by deep physical relaxation, but you are still sufficiently aware of your surroundings to make choices and determine your best actions. We would call that an alpha level of awareness. Most clinical hypnosis is done in that level. You are aware of your surroundings, but you feel so involved in what is happening inwardly, you ignore outside distractions. If something were to occur around you that caused you to become nervous or alarmed you would bring yourself right out of hypnosis. It truly is a self-controlled, aware state."

    "What about people who use hypnosis in place of anesthesia when they´re being operated on, are they aware?" Clarissa asked.

   "I´ve done a great deal of medical hypnosis, and I can assure you, very few people want to be aware during their surgery. I give them suggestions for going deeper, into what we call hypno-sleep. Not a good state of hypnosis for giving suggestions other than being unaware and blocking pain."

    "Do people always remember what happened in hypnosis afterwards?" Clarissa questioned further.

    "Most people are aware what is happening while they are in hypnosis," Dr. Harmon answered. "What they will recall later is up to them. If they give themselves the suggestion they won´t recall the session afterwards, or the hypnotist does, then they might accept that suggestion."

    "That´s scary," Clarissa said. "You won´t give me that suggestion will you?"

    "No professional would give you such a suggestion, Clarissa, unless you asked for it, or the information being sought was beyond your ability to handle consciously. I don´t do that to my clients. If they are not ready to know about something consciously, then there is little use in bringing it up. I find it is much more healing and transforming for people to work at their own pace and comfort level, not mine. If you hear me making such a suggestion, bring yourself out of hypnosis immediately. Agreed?"

    "Agreed," Clarissa answered readily.

    "I also tape the sessions," Dr. Harmon told her. "You can take the tape with you, to be certain there is nothing on it of which you don´t approve. If there is, you either talk to me about it, or you cease seeing me. It´s that simple, Clarissa."

    "Good. You know, I bought a hypnosis tape once. After the first time, I could never stay awake. Or I was so deep, I never heard anything. Which one was it?"

    "If you were sleepy, you probably slept. Other times, your conscious mind, knowing nothing unexpected would be said on a tape, might have given itself permission to check out. Whether you were in a level, or stayed at a level, where suggestions are more readily accepted, is difficult to determine."

    "I think I wasn´t," Clarissa complained. "At least I didn´t get rid of any weight."

    "Perhaps you have a subconscious block to losing weight, Clarissa. In that case, a weight loss tape is more likely to irritate than help you. Or your subconscious mind will simply take you into sleep or deeper levels of hypnosis where it can ignore the suggestions."

    "How can you tell what level a person is in when you hypnotize them?" Clarissa asked.

    Dr. Harmon laughed. "Experience. Are you planning to become a professional hypnotist in just one session, Clarissa?"

    "No," Clarissa laughed. "But what if I can´t be hypnotized, what then?"

    "All mentally stable people can be hypnotized, if they trust the process and the hypnotist. Sometimes, if they are afraid of what they will find in hypnosis, they will resist the hypnosis. But you seem like you are eager to find your answers. I don´t think we´ll have any problems. No doubt you´ve been in hypnosis many times. You know, your minister, whether he realizes it or not, is using hypnotic techniques in his services."

    "Like what? I can hardly wait to tell him!" Clarissa responded, grinning.

    Dr. Harmon walked over to his book case and took down a book. "Here," he said, handing it to Clarissa. "Give him this book. He´ll realize for himself the songs, sermons, prayers, and other religious rites and rituals most religions use are powerful hypnotic techniques. They often lead people into highly suggestible states of mind. Of course, his suggestions are presumably good ones his flock doesn´t mind following."

    "Except about putting more money in the collection plate, maybe," Clarissa responded, laughing.

    "That reminds me of Amy Semple MacPhearson," Dr. Harmon mused. "A woman evangelist, she started her ministry by standing on street corners preaching to the people. She would shout and rant and rave. She MOVED people. The mind is very open when it´s being stimulated and excited. She´d always scold everyone as the collection plate was being passed around with, ´I don´t want to hear the jingle of change, I want to hear the rustle of bills!´ She managed to build a large expensive temple with those collections and created quite a following for herself. And this was in the middle of the depression!" Dr. Harmon shook his head. "Shows how powerful suggestion can be. Something which advertising people know and use."

    "Well, shouldn´t that make me nervous about hypnosis?" Clarissa asked worriedly.

    "It should make you discerning, Clarissa. You would never trust the care of your body to someone you didn´t trust to know what he or she was doing, would you?" Clarissa shook her head. "I´ve trained hundreds of hypnotists and hypnotherapists," Dr. Harmon began, but Clarissa interrupted him.

    "What´s the difference," she asked, "between hypnosis and hypnotherapy? I´ve always wondered."

    "Hypnosis is the induction of, or being in, an altered state of mind. That simply means the conscious level of mind is more passive, even when it is present, and the subconscious levels more accessible. There are hundreds of methods and techniques of hypnosis. I believe in using methods that do not shock, tax, force, or traumatize the mind or the body in any way. I find that much more effective in the long run."

    "What about guided imagery and visualizations," Clarissa asked. "Are they as healing as hypnosis."

    "I didn´t say hypnosis is healing," Dr. Harmon corrected Clarissa, "hypnosis accesses information found within the deeper levels of mind and spirit. That knowledge allows for the kind of release and understanding that brings true healing, by which I mean permanent healing.

    "Guided imagery and visualization are often used as means of inducing hypnosis, or as hypnotic suggestion within the hypnosis. Speaking the language of the subconscious mind, like guided imagery and visualizations, is very powerful. It´s even more powerful in hypnosis, when the subconscious is front and center. Of course, even in hypnosis, the mind can resist suggestions presented in any form. Hypnotherapy is working, in the subconscious levels of the mind, with subconscious blocks and resistance. It seeks to help convince the mind to change or heal itself of thoughts, emotions, will, and beliefs that are no longer helpful or desirable."

    "I see," said Clarissa. "Is it similar to psychotherapy then?"

    "I find hypnotherapy to be more effective," Dr. Harmon answered. "It´s certainly faster, in most cases. Especially when used with NMR. One is able to go directly to the source of whatever is blocking or resisting healing and change. Naturally, professional therapists do have a great advantage when they add good hypnotherapy training to their skills. That is, if they can remain open minded and resist the temptation to try to make clients and patients fit a pre-conceived model or theory. People are similar, yet each person is unique. The real test is having the patience to let people find their own answers and effect their own transformations. That is the only way to really discover how the mind and spirit work."

    "Okay, I think I´m ready for hypnosis, Dr. Harmon," Clarissa said. "How about you?"

    "I´m ready if you are, Clarissa. How about nice, relaxing sounds in the background? I have tapes of ocean waves, a country stream, rain, a water fall, birds, and a gently lapping lake. What appeals to you?"

    "The ocean. I love the ocean."

    "Good. Then the ocean it is. Would you rather be in, on, or beside the ocean, Clarissa?" Dr. Harmon´s voice was soothing and relaxing, as Clarissa leaned back comfortably in her chair.

    "Beside it, lying in the sun and feeling its warmth on my skin. I can almost imagine it already," Clarissa said and closed her eyes.


    Dr. Harmon proceeded to deepen Clarissa´s level of relaxation with suggestions of listening to the soothing sounds of the waves, as well as the soothing sound of his voice blending with the waves. Then he gave suggestions of allowing the conscious mind to drift into a more passive state of awareness, thus permitting her own powerful subconscious mind to shift forward.

    Clarissa´s eyes rolled up briefly beneath the lids. Her breathing deepened considerably and the beat of the pulse in her neck was very slow and steady. She had entered a good working state of hypnosis within two minutes of beginning the process.

    "Good, Clarissa," Dr. Harmon complimented her. "You are really doing very well. Now your powerful subconscious mind can signal me without you even having to speak. Soon, a finger or a thumb will begin to move for a ´yes´ signal. That´s it right there," he said approvingly, as Clarissa´s right index finger lifted slightly. "Good, now let your subconscious mind move another finger or thumb for a ´no´ signal." This time the left index finger moved. "Very good, Clarissa." Dr. Harmon´s voice continued to soothe and reassure Clarissa.

    "Now, take a deep breath, Clarissa, and as you do, you will find yourself moving deeper into this pleasant state of deep relaxation. Imagine now, that you are standing in front of a large chalkboard. Move your ´yes´ finger when you are there, Clarissa." As Clarissa´s ´yes´ finger moved, Dr. Harmon continued. "Very good, Clarissa. All of the thoughts and feelings of today, of grown-up Clarissa, are written on that board. When you are ready, Clarissa, imagine you pick up a big eraser and wipe away all the thoughts and feelings of today. Just take your time and do it now, Clarissa. When that board is all clean and clear, just step on through it. You step on through to the other side. Move your ´yes´ finger when this is so, Clarissa." After a moment, Clarissa´s yes finger moved slightly.

    "Very good, Clarissa. Now deeper within your subconscious mind and deeper you step back in time. Ten, as you breathe in, your body begins to grow smaller again. Nine, the arms and legs grow shorter and smaller. That´s good, that´s fine, Clarissa. Eight, deeper and deeper within this comfortable state. Seven, six, and five. Good, Clarissa, you are doing wonderfully. Four, letting go more and more. Now three, and free to be three years old. Three year old, Clarissa, can you hear me speaking?" The ´yes´ finger moved. "Very good, Clarissa, tell me where you are. Just speak right up, Clarissa. You can do that. Tell me where you are."

    "I feel like I´m a little girl," Clarissa said softly. "But I´m also aware I´m sitting in the chair, listening to you. I don´t know if this is working."

    "Of course, it is working," Dr. Harmon reassured Clarissa soothingly. "Just tell me, Clarissa, if you be three like you want to be, where would three be now, little girl?" [Note: The improper grammar "you be three" was used to catch the attention of the reasoning mind which allowed, in that brief instant, the little girl to slip in. The rhyme was for the auditory little girl.]

    "On my grandpa´s lap," Clarissa blurted in a little girl´s voice.

    "And what is grandpa doing?" Dr. Harmon asked.

    "He is talking and rubbing my shoulder funny." Clarissa began to squirm in the chair.

    "Is it a funny kind of funny?" Dr. Harmon asked. "Does it make you laugh?"

    "No. It´s a bad funny," the little girl answered. "I want to get down, grandpa."

    "Do you get down, Clarissa?" Dr. Harmon asked gently.

    "No, grandpa says to ´stay here a minute.´" Clarissa imitated grandpa´s voice. "He never gets to see me, he says, and he likes me in his lap."

    "Do you like it in his lap, Clarissa?"

    "My name is not Clarissa, it is Clari," the little girl retorted, "Who are you?"

    "I´m here to help you get down, if you want to," Dr. Harmon answered smoothly.

    "Oh, please, help me get down. I don´t want grandpa to rub my arm anymore." The little girl´s voice was tearful.

    "I can help you, but you have to help me, too, Clari. Can you do that?"

    "I´m just a little girl," Clari protested.

    "But a very smart and brave little girl. Do you think you can be smart and brave and let me help you get yourself down, so you can go play?"

    "I guess so," Clari agreed, after sighing with a three-year old´s exasperation.

    "Good. What is grandpa talking about as he rubs your arm, Clari? Listen very carefully."

    Clarissa cocked her head. Then she said, in her little girl´s voice, "He isn´t talking now. He is thinking bad thoughts."

    "How do you know they are bad, Clari?" Dr. Harmon asked.

    "They make my tummy hurt," she answered.

    "Is he still rubbing your arm?"

    "Yes," Clarissa moved her left arm as though she were trying to jerk it away.

    "What is he thinking, Clari? You have to listen to his thoughts now. I know you can do that. You are really a very smart little girl. You have to listen with the part of your mind that knows what grandpa is thinking."

    After a few moments, Clari said crossly, "I dunno what he´s thinking."

    "Well," Dr. Harmon began, but Clari interrupted excitedly.

    "Oh, wait. I do know. My mind told me he´s rubbing my arm and thinking about sex."

    "Do you know what sex is, Clari?" Dr. Harmon asked.

    "It´s what he is doing with grandma in his mind. My mind says that´s sex. He´s rubbing my arm and thinking of grandma´s soft, soft skin on their wedding night. That´s what he´s thinking," Clari said decisively. "I want to get down now."

    "Okay, Clari, does anything else happen here on grandpa´s lap that we need to know about?" Dr. Harmon asked.

    "No. But my tummy still hurts," Clari complained.

    "Yes, and we´re going to fix that right now. Why do you think your tummy is hurting, Clari? Think carefully now, your tummy needs you to help it."

    "Well, I think grandpa´s thoughts worried me and I worried my tummy," Clari said.

    "Do you think when grandpa won´t let you go it worried your tummy even more?" Dr. Harmon asked.

    "Yes," Clari declared with a toddler´s decisiveness. "My tummy thought he was hurting me."

    "Was grandpa hurting you, Clari?" Dr. Harmon asked her.

    "No. My grandpa was thinking about grandma. He wasn´t hurting me." There was a short pause. "Do you think he was hurting grandma?"

    "Do you think grandma was hurting, Clari?"

    "No. She liked grandpa rubbing her," Clari said. "You know what?"

    "What?" Dr. Harmon asked.

    "My tummy ache is almost gone. You fixed it."

    "No," Dr. Harmon corrected her. "I just helped a little bit. It was your self that fixed it. And I bet if you send lots of love into your tummy right now, it will be all better. Why don´t you do that now, Clari?"

    "Okay. I did it. My tummy is all better," Clari said triumphantly. "I´m going to get down now."

    "Good," agreed Dr. Harmon. "Tell your grandpa you have to get down and go play now."

    "What if he won´t let me?" Clari asked. "He´s bigger than me."

    "Yes, he is, Clari. And you can do anything you want with your mind. You can make yourself strong as you want to be. You are so smart; I bet you can figure out right now how to get down from your grandpa´s lap. Go ahead and do that, Clari."

    "There," Clari said after a moment. "I kissed him on his nose and told him, ´I have to get down right now, grandpa. I will sit on your lap again later.´ He laughed and let me get down. I´m very smart. I did that myself," Clari bragged.

    "You are very smart, Clari," Dr. Harmon agreed. "You just keep sending yourself lots of love. The grown up you will send you lots of love, too."

    "Okay. I´ll help her play. She needs to play more."

     "Yes, she needs to play more. Good-bye now, Clari, have fun," Dr. Harmon replied. "Now, Clarissa, I am speaking to the wonderful, grown up adult you. Your mind was mistaken about what happened with your grandfather. He was thinking of your grandmother and sex, not you. Can you let go of the idea he molested you now?"

    "Oh, yes. I´m so sorry I thought he hurt me," Clarissa said, her voice quivering.

    "You were a little girl, Clarissa," Dr. Harmon spoke soothingly. "A little girl named Clari. At three years old, you had so many more fun things to do than sit on grandpa´s lap and read his mind. You felt the sexual energy around his thoughts and that energy hurt your tummy. Later, when your mother told you about sex, your little girl mind remembered that energy and connected it with what mother was telling you about sex. Your emotional mind connected your grandpa and his sexual energy with you, because it had felt grandpa´s sexual energy before. You understand now how that happened, Clarissa, so you can let go of your old thoughts now about that, can´t you, Clarissa?" Clarissa´s yes finger rose. "Good, now be there with mother now. Be with mother on the day she is telling you about sex, Clarissa. Indicate when you have located that time and place."

    "I´m there," Clarissa said softly. "My poor mother is so embarrassed. I hate to see her so uncomfortable. I feel uncomfortable myself. My tummy is hurting, too. Isn´t that interesting!" Clarissa exclaimed. "I forgot that. My tummy started to hurt when I started thinking about my grandfather."

    "Now you know why, Clarissa?" Dr. Harmon asked.

    "Yes, I know why," Clarissa said, and laughed. "I can hear the three year old in the back of my mind saying, ´send love to your tummy´. So I am."

    "Good. Now, help your mother tell you about sex, Clarissa. Let your adult self help your teenager self help mother."

    "´I know about sex, mother,´ the teenager me says. My mother looks surprised. I tell her, ´It´s very beautiful. I know you and father have sex, and I´m glad. It´s very good for you to know that father loves you and wants you to feel pleasure.´ My mother is blushing, so I say, ´Don´t feel embarrassed, mother. Pleasure is wonderful to feel. I want my body to feel pleasure with my husband someday, too. My body can do that.´"

     "Yes, Clarissa," Dr. Harmon says, seeking to reinforce her own directives to her subconscious mind, "your body can feel pleasure. Sexual pleasure is very natural and good. You find your body relaxes easily when it is touched lovingly. You think of the ocean waves, Clarissa, and you relax easily and comfortably when your body is lovingly touched. Your body easily feels and reacts to loving touch. You speak to your partner easily and comfortably about exactly the way your body likes to be touched and held. You learn about your body, Clarissa. Slowly and lovingly, you learn the kinds of touches your body likes. It talks to you, Clarissa. It lets you know what feels good. As you feel that feel good feeling, your body reacts just as it was made to do. All of your pleasure centers feel all that wonderful feeling your Creator gave you to feel with loving touch. Yes, your body moves into perfect balance and knowing and you flow with the knowing, Clarissa. You flow with the inner glow of the healing feeling of love. That loving feeling you share with your partner fills you with a warm and pleasant sensation that relaxes all the muscles of your body. Your body relaxes and enjoys. Relaxes and enjoys. Waves of pleasure, as your body relaxes and enjoys." Dr. Harmon repeated the suggestions for relaxing and enjoying the sensations of her body several times.

    "Now, Clarissa," Dr. Harmon said, "step back on the other side of the chalkboard again, when you are there, move your ´yes´ finger. That´s it. On the chalk board are the old thoughts you had about sex. Erase those thoughts now, Clarissa, and move your ´yes´ finger when you are done. Good. All the old programming about sex is gone. On the board now, write, "Sex is pleasurable for me every time I want it to be". Write that down now, Clarissa. Under that write, I relax and enjoy." Good. Subconscious mind, the new programming about sex is on the board, do you see it?" The ´yes´ finger moved. "Very well. Sex is pleasurable now when Clarissa wants it to be. She relaxes and enjoy. You are a very powerful part of her, subconscious mind." The ´yes´ finger moves. "Make this happen for Clarissa, is this understood?" The ´yes´ finger moves.

    "Good. Now, it is time for Clarissa to return to full conscious focus. You hear my voice clearly, Clarissa. As I count to five, you open your eyes on five, feeling alert. One, breathing out the old and in the new. Two, breathing in vibrant feelings of health and joy. Three, free to be healthy, happy, and in perfect harmony. Good, wiggle the feet now, Clarissa. Four, coming up more and more. Stretching the arms. Good, now clearing the eyes, Clarissa. The whites of the eyes are clear and bright. Good, now five. Eyes open. Good stretch. High energy and vitality."

    Dr. Harmon checked Clarissa´s eyes to be certain they were not bloodshot. As with sleep, the whites of the eyes become bloodshot in hypnosis because the relaxed capillaries fill with blood. When he was certain she was indeed out of hypnosis, he asked, "Would you care to do some NMR to check on any of the information we found?"

    Clarissa looked at him. "You know, I really didn´t think it was working because I could hear you and knew I was here, sitting in the chair. But when you said it was working, I just went with it. I heard myself talking the whole time, but it was as though I was listening to some one else. Part of me was thinking I was making it all up, but another part argued why would I make such a thing up?"

    "What do you think now?" Dr. Harmon asked.

    "Well, I guess I might pretend to be a little girl to please you, but it didn´t feel like I was pretending. Nor was it a story I would make up." Clarissa shook her head. "No, I didn´t make it up. It felt too real. Will the NMR tell if I made any part of it up?" She asked.

    "Yes, what would you like to check, Clarissa?"

    "How about this: I pretended to be three years old for Dr. Harmon." Dr. Harmon said ´hold´, and pulled the leg. The muscle response was weak, indicating a ´no´ answer.

    "I didn´t think so," Clarissa remarked, thoughtfully. "Now check this, I still believe I was sexually molested by my grandfather." Again, the muscle response was weak, indicating a ´no´ response to that statement. "Great, it worked!" Clarissa exclaimed. "You did it!"

    "No, you did it," Dr. Harmon corrected her. "I just guided you where you needed to go to do it. Now let´s check and see if there are any other thoughts or beliefs that stand in the way of your enjoying sex, Clarissa. NMR indicated there were no further blocks or resistance at the subconscious level to the enjoyment of sexual pleasure.

    "The important thing now, Clarissa," Dr. Harmon cautioned her, "is to believe and reinforce the new programming until it becomes automatic. It took you awhile to build the old programming. Give yourself time to imprint the new changes. You might even invest in a tape of waves to help you relax."

    "I´ll just remember sitting here in the chair, listening to your voice and the waves," Clarissa said. "That ought to do it."

    "Whatever works," Dr. Harmon agreed, smiling. "Slow down your breathing as you relax and tell yourself: Relax and enjoy. Relax and enjoy."

    "I will," Clarissa promised. "I know this worked. I feel different. Is that odd? To feel different after one session?"

    "No, it´s exactly right. You´ll do just fine, Clarissa," Dr. Harmon assured her.

    "I will be back, though, Dr. Harmon," Clarissa said. "I want to know a lot more about myself. Maybe I´ll even do some past life regressions."

    "What?!" Dr. Harmon feigned shock.

    "And channeling my Higher Self," Clarissa said laughing.

    "Good," Dr. Harmon said, standing up to shake Clarissa´s hand. "And I have a spoon bending class coming up next week. Do you want to attend?"

    "Why?" Clarissa shrugged her shoulders. "I can travel in time and change the past. I can read minds. I can talk to my body and it can talk to me. Bending spoons and walking on fire? Child´s play."

    Dr. Harmon laughed. "Remember, for twenty to thirty minutes after hypnosis you are very suggestible. So continue to think and speak powerful thoughts."

    "I will," Clarissa promised. Smiling broadly, she left, shutting the office door behind her.

    Dr. Harmon moved to his desk to finish his notes on Clarissa´s session. He was confident they had found the roots of her subconscious resistance to sexual pleasure. It was clear, also, she now held powerful expectations of positive change. He had no doubt her body would respond positively to sexual pleasure now that the blocks to it doing so had been eliminated. Smiling, he closed Clarissa´s file. Yes, she would be back, but not for sexual abuse.

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