The Case of Sleeping Beauty (Part 2)
By: Celeste Hackett
(Names and details have been changed to protect the privacy of my client. Please read Part 1 first, so you can get the needed back ground information to understand this case.)
I arrived at a giant house. The doors must have been 20 ft tall. I felt like Dorothy at the gate of the Wizard of Oz. A pretty, tiny, dark haired lady, made seemingly smaller by the size of the doors and looking nothing like a wizard, invited me in. I could see she had been crying and after inquiring I learned she was, as I suspected, the Mother who had called me on the phone.
Once in the house Mom led me ominously to the living room. There on the couch, intertwined in a fluffy pink Barbie comforter, was a very pretty young girl, eyes closed, sort of moaning and sobbing in what appeared to be some sort of emotional anguish. Her head and shoulders were thrashing back and forth. Her Father knelt beside her stroking her arm. Her Aunt caressed her beautiful shimmering black hair, all the while talking soothingly to her in an effort to calm her down. The love and deep concern in their eyes made my heart ache.
The living room was not only quite sprawling, with very high ceilings and loads of empty space, but as I moved over to her I noticed there were no window coverings or carpets. The only furniture in the room was the small sofa, coffee table and a chair, so when the girl cried the sound echoed and bounced all about the room.
After observing for a few seconds I walked over and stood near her Father. I knew I was expected to do something, so I leaned over the girl and began to address her, “I’m the hypnotist” I said, gently, “I’m here to help you”. At that the beauty let out a blood curdling wail as if I had assaulted her! Shocked, I jumped back, my eyes as big as saucers. I followed that very professional response by high tailing it as fast as I could to behind the safety of a nearby wall.
After awhile I composed myself and motioned the Mother over to me. I asked her if she would see if the girl would allow me to speak to her alone. Her Mom had said she would give one word answers, or at least nod “yes”, or shake her head “no” when questioned. This stage of crying and thrashing “sleep” was the only time she was responsive at all. Her Mother went over to her and returned, with an affirmative that I could talk to her alone. With that, all of the adults left the expansive room to go into the kitchen which was partially open to the living room, but seemed a mile away.
I again approached the young girl. She continued to thrash, cry and moan. I really didn’t have a clue as to what to do with her at first, but before long I got an idea. The complaint was that she slept for days (see part 1). As I said in the earlier part 1 of this article people will do some pretty strange things so as not to feel and move through their feelings. I thought it could be possible this little girl was sleeping to escape from a negative emotion.
But what was the crying stage about? After the sleeping stage, when nothing could wake her, she’d move, for an hour or so, to the crying stage where she would, well, cry. After a bout of crying, along with some thrashing or moaning she’d sleep again. What I thought could be happening was that she was waking in the hopes her emotional pain was gone, but since the feeling hadn’t been resolved she’d begin crying again. The crying would tire her ou,t and she’d fall back into deep sleep. Besides being young, she was a quiet, shy girl, by all accounts, so it was possible she had no skills to really express herself or get her needs met any other way. Instead she would just feel overwhelmed and overcome with emotion.
The last stage was waking. She would wake up eventually, after several days of sleeping (with intermittent crying), looking apparently fine, as if nothing had happened. I thought what might be happening was that through her crying she would, over the course of several days, release her feelings enough so that she could eventually feel good enough to get up and be functional. She would act as if nothing had happened because, I speculated, she was embarrassed or shy. She had always been a very good girl according to her Mother. Perhaps she didn’t want to cause further trouble, so she behaved as if her “problem” was all over and no longer a concern or maybe she just felt better and really did think the issue was resolved.
In light of the many clients I’ve seen, and the many creative ways I’ve observed them resisting and denying their emotions, this idea seemed the most plausible one. If this was the case, I decided, she’d be able to wake up once again, when she had released her negative feelings and the sooner we did that, the sooner she could wake and get back to school and her life. So, leaning heavily on the words of Cal Banyan, “Human emotion when fully expressed doesn’t last very long”, I began. “I can see you are in a lot of distress. You must be hurting a lot. I know everyone wants you to stop crying and feel better, but I think they are wrong. I think you need to feel as bad as you possibly can right now.”
Hearing this she screeched again and this time I yelled right along with her, “YES! Feel as bad as you need to feel right now! And as you get all those feelings out you’ll feel much better!” The cry arose from what appeared to be the depths of her heart as I continued cheerleading her with such things as “That’s it!” and “Again!” I did my best to match her in tone and volume sometimes praising her with, “You are doing great! You are really getting your feelings out now! Those feelings have been in there so long waiting for a safe place to come out! Don’t stop! Keep it up!”
After a while, I put a pillow on her lap and said, “Awesome now let’s get your feelings out even more! Make a big fist”, I picked up her arm and curled her hand into a fist. “Now put that feeling in the pillow!” I hit the pillow with her fist a few times to show her what I wanted her to do. She continued to strike the pillow and cry after I let go. I kept up the encouragement with sentiments such as, “You really have some lungs! I am so proud of you! Doesn’t it feel so good to let it out?” As I said that she nodded her head and kept hitting the pillow and crying loudly.
About 15 minutes into this I noticed she was beginning to slow down, so I said, “Good work, let’s take a break for a little while”. She sighed, panting a bit. Her eyes still closed. I noticed a bit of perspiration on her forehead illumined by the light from the wall of windows.
At this point I started talking about anything she might find interesting. I hoped to get longer answers from her. I said things like, “Justin Bieber really isn’t all that cute.” And “Do you have a dog? Do you like dogs? What kind?” She began to talk just a little bit as one glazed eye barely opened and looked at me.
After a while I had her “find that feeling that hurt so much” and express it again. When I coached her this time the feeling was much less intense. It wasn’t long before I had her rest again, engaged her in more conversation and listened with delight as I began to get more lengthy answers.
Long before we started this, I had made a decision that I wasn’t giving up until we got somewhere. Among the circle of hypnotists who do this sort of advanced work, we pride ourselves in being very persistent. I train all of my students in the same vein. We believe in relentless uncovering and overcoming and staying with whatever work necessary until it’s done. The word failure doesn’t even enter into our vocabulary. I think the young girl sensed that and if for no other reason, but pure surrender, when I asked her to sit up, she did as asked, along with offering me the gift of opening her incredibly beautiful doe-like eyes.
“Welcome back to earth life,” I gently teased. “How do you feel now?”
She answered shyly, smiling a little, “I feel better.”
“So what do you like to do around here in this big ole house?” I asked
“Oh, awesome, where are your poems?”
“In my room.”
“Would to show me your room? Would you share a poem with me?”
She nodded, stood up, and began to walk to her room, still wrapped in the pink comforter. We passed the family in the kitchen; their mouths wide open with amazement at the progress we had made in just a few minutes.
Once in her room, she shared her artwork and her poetry with me. After admiring her creativity for a while, I began to talk to her about her feelings. I explained how feelings are meant to be resolved and how if we deny them they can go subconscious and cause problems. I told her that I thought that was what happened to her. She could see how that was a possibility based on how I explained things to her with a hand out on feelings that I gave her.
I also told her that I’d like to do some hypnosis sessions with her in my office, so that her problem wouldn’t come back. I asked her if she’d like that and she said she would. I said I’d set up the appointments with her Mother. I also asked her if she felt she could remain awake for the rest of the day and she said she thought she could.
After leaving her room, I met with her parents and Aunt in an office near the front entry. I explained what I thought had happened in terms of emotions. Her Father was especially supportive, and as the women seemed to look to him for his approval they agreed that the idea made the most sense of anything they’d heard of yet. We set up appointments for 5 sessions and I got a check in advance for all of them.
I was about to leave when the doorbell rang. The Aunt left to attend to it. After a few moments she returned with a police officer in tow. It seems the local police had gotten a call from the neighborhood UPS delivery man, who upon hearing all the screaming and crying was afraid that there was something terrible happening in the house! The police officer asked to see me and the little girl to make sure she was all right. Once he was satisfied he left. I followed him out to my car. Outside, I was surprised to see four more police cars for back up!
We never actually did a hypnosis session during this home visit, so I didn’t charge the family. Also, I knew the work wasn’t really finished. We had not uncovered or resolved the cause of the problem, but had only drained it of its power for the present moment. In the next installment the power of hypnosis will uncover the root cause of the case of this sleeping beauty. I hope that you find this story as fascinating to read about as I found it to experience in real life. Also, I’d appreciate you sharing this with family and friends who might be interested.
Thanks for reading!