Sometimes – a nice surprise shows up

Frances Ha

Sometimes – a nice surprise shows up

If you have a Netflix account, you likely already know how the service gives you suggestions for additional viewing. You finish a film, and three options show up on the screen while the movie that is wrapping up [in a reduced size screen that magically appears].
Or maybe you see all these categories that show up on your home page – apparently Netflix engineer have invented a Terry algorithm – sending stuff just for me, or a fellow with my viewing inclinations.
Frances Ha showed up in the category “Critically Acclaimed” – and I’d seen it popping up in other suggestion areas, too, so – I clicked play. Details about the movie are here:

Frances is 27, and aspires to be a professional dancer in New York City. She works, sort of, as an understudy in a less-than-staggeringly-successful dance company. And she tries real hard; maybe too hard. She’s exuberant, but just can’t seen to pull it together. Sometimes drink too much, spends money impulsively, and [right up to the last scene of the film] has no permanent address. Oops – spoiler.

Frances is a dreamer, a wild dreamer. I like that about her, but that goes along with a painful tendency to stretch truth until paper-thin, and to embellish the connections she has with people until everyone in the room knows it’s just a story about a story.
Did I mention that I know President Obama? Yeah, well, we don’t actually stay in touch much – but he and I use the same brand of syrup on our pancakes, and we’ve both been to Chicago. Close enough, eh?
So, as I watched Frances move through one crisis after another, I got to thinking about staying and leaving. How do you know when to stick? When to move along? When to find a new destination? Can you hang in there long enough to see where your assets and resources are – where your calling is? Can you keep your authenticity – or do you have to change all the way down to your chromosomes?
Sweetly, as all little, charming, touching films try to do – success and some of the answers emerge. Frances eventually finds hers, too. She gets a little more focused, and a wee bit more practical. She takes a little guidance from her old dance company director – and comes on board at the company to help on the administrative side. And teaches youngsters in the evening. Her feet on on the ground, it seems. She knew when to get things done. Just like the lyrics tell us in the closing credit song, Modern Love, from the great David Bowie. Get the lyrics here.
Extra credit available if you can guess what scene made me cry. What’s your guess?

Hypnosis is not always your best next move

I got a call today

Well, actually, my assistant took the call. She’s worked with me for over 10 years, so her ear is tuned to hear the questions of callers with great sensitivity – and that sometimes results in the call being forwarded on to me. It gives me a chance to answer questions, ask a few myself, and to sort out whether the potential client’s needs match my skills. 
My assistant is so good at this that she typically sets up most callers with an appointment – but never hesitates to hold off on that with callers whose questions fall outside the typical. The calls that grab her attention are those revolving around the use of clinical hypnosis.
The caller today wondered if I might help her with memory and recall for her college classses.
Not a bad idea, in general – but sometimes the details are critical. The caller explained that she’d been a good student in the past – but she was struggling to study and recall anything lately. She’s decided that it was time to make a career change, and had enrolled in a local school to prepare for a career in healthcare. But, why – she wondered – can I not remember anything that I read, even immediately after closing the book. “I study for long stretches of time, take copious notes in class, and read and highlight all my assignments as they are given. So, why am I nearly flunking out at this point? Can hypnosis help me?”
My caller was especially eager to know – as she had no insurance that would be applied to the cost of services. She was, it seemed, asking for a bit of a guarantee. Given the circumstances, perhaps I would have done the same thing!
Could I ask a few questions? Sure, she said.

Critical details

I’m going to leave several details out, so as to not inadvertently reveal too much identifying information. Suffice it to say that this is a busy, stressed young parent with an extra helping or two of personal responsibility. She’s tapped into appropriate community resources, but she is tired all the time. And depressed. And anxious enough at bedtime that it’s hard to sleep.
She’s been taking a standard dose of an anti-depressant, and a tranquilizer at bedtime to get to sleep. A quick inquiry of a medication database on my smartphone revealed that one of the top side-effects of the anti-depressant is “somnolence” – a state of near sleep, by one definition. Oh, and I was told at a conference that tranquilizers of certain classes [benzodiazepines] have a potential of interfering with a person getting into deep stages of sleep. You can sleep – but not get a quality rest.

What to do

I suggested that the caller save her money, but make an appointment with the doc who prescribes that anti-depressant. He needs to know how you’re functioning, I said. Maybe re-think the medication. Or, refer you on to a psychiatrist who can sort this out with his or her specialized knowledge base.

Fundamentally, this is an example of how a well-intended solution to a legitimate problem gets applied – and then goes off-trail over time. Unrelenting stress leads to depletion and poor functioning. We receive anti-depressants and tranquilizers. Sometimes, these medications are life savers – they can work for some without degrading our awareness or ability to sleep well. But that is not always the case. My caller was ready to add another intervention on top of the others already in place. Not necessarily the best idea, I thought.

Hypnosis would have potentially helped with anxiety reduction, but not really gotten to the most important aspects of this person’s situation. In this situation, it seemed likely that the caller would only be coming for a session or two – and that would have yielded another setback for her. Going back to her doc, and sorting out the treatment that is already under way is sometimes the best move.

Need more information about hypnosis?

Great! Here’s a good place to start – the public section of the website from the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis – where much of my training originates.
More questions? Give me a call at 402-334-1122