Counseling Theories — Week One — Hypnosis for Warts


Theories III Photo

Being holed up in our passive solar Absarokee house made an interesting venue for blasting off this semester’s University of Montana Counseling Theories class. I’m mentioning passive solar not to brag (although Rita did design an awesome set-up for keeping us warm in the winter and cool in the summer using south-facing windows and thermal mass), but to give you a glimpse of our temperature-related passivity: we have no working parts (as in air conditioning). And I’m mentioning holed up because we’re in a stage 1 air pollution alert from California smoke and consequently weren’t able to use our usual manual air conditioning system (opening up the windows in the night to cool off the house). Our need to keep the windows shut created a warmer than typical room temperature and, based on my post-lecture assessment of the armpits of my bright yellow shirt, yesterday just might have been my sweatiest class since 1988, when I was teaching at the University of Portland, and started sweating so much during an Intro Psych class that my glasses fogged up. In case you didn’t already know this about me, I’m an excellent sweater. You haven’t seen sweat until you’ve seen my sweat. Top-notch. The sort of sweating most people only dream about. I’d rate myself a sweating 10.

Aside from my sweating—which I’m guessing you’ve had enough of at this point—the students were pretty darn fantastic. Attendance was virtually perfect, which, given that everything was virtual, exceeded my expectations.

Speaking of expectations, because I’m teaching online via Zoom, one thing I’m adding to the course are a few pre-recorded videos. Yesterday’s pre-recorded video featured me telling my famous “Hypnosis for Warts” story. My goal with the pre-recorded video—aside from letting my students see me and my yellow shirt in a less sweaty condition—was to break up the powerpoints. I could have told the story live, but instead, I clicked out of the powerpoints, told my students we were going to watch a video, and then showed a video of myself . . . telling a story I could have been telling live. I thought I was hilarious. However, mostly, the sea of 55 Hollywood Squares faces just stared into the sea of virtual reality, and so I couldn’t see whether the students appreciated my pre-recorded video of myself teaching strategy. I know I’ve got too many “seas” in that preceding sentence, but redundancy happens. Really, it does. I’m totally serious about redundancy.

Back to expectations . . .

One of Michael Lambert’s four common factors in counseling and psychotherapy is expectancy. He estimated that, in general, expectation accounts for about 15% of the variation in treatment outcomes. But, of course, treatment outcomes are always contextual and always variable and always unique, and so, as in the case of “Hypnosis for Warts,” sometimes the outcome may be a product of a different combination or proportion of therapeutic ingredients. If you watch the video, consider these questions:

  • What do you think “happened” in the counseling office with the 11-year-old boy to cause his eight warts to disappear?
  • Do you think the therapeutic ingredients that helped the boy get rid of his warts were limited to Lambert’s extratherapeutic factors, relationship factors, technical factors, and expectancy factors (his four big common factors) . . . or might something else completely different have been operating?
  • What proportion of factors do you suppose contributed to the positive outcome? For example, might there have been 50% expectancy, instead of 15%?

Here’s the video link to the Wart story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FR4PyTcsKw

That’s about all I’ve got to share for today. However, if you happen to know of some nice 1-5 minute theories-related video clips that I can share with my students, please pass them on. I’d be especially interested if you happen to have video clips of me, but relevant videos of other people would be nice too. Haha. Just joking. Please DON’T send video clips of me. My students and I—we already have far too much of the JSF video scene.

Be well,

John SF

8 thoughts on “Counseling Theories — Week One — Hypnosis for Warts”

  1. you do crack me up John. I wish I was in your class this semester!

    On Tue, Aug 25, 2020 at 2:48 PM John Sommers-Flanagan wrote:

    > johnsommersflanagan posted: ” Being holed up in our passive solar > Absarokee house made an interesting venue for blasting off this semester’s > University of Montana Counseling Theories class. I’m mentioning passive > solar not to brag, (although Rita did design an awesome set-up for kee” >

  2. Hello John, I don’t remember why I signed up this listserv. Whatever the reason today’s email was worth all the uninteresting or irrelevant emails. I am retired faculty working on suicide prevention grants in Fort Belknap. Today we likely had our 2 completion in the month of August (search and rescue have been out since 5). I needed your email.

    Thanks,

    June Ellestad (work email june.ellestad@ftbelknap.org)

    On Tue, Aug 25, 2020 at 2:47 PM John Sommers-Flanagan wrote:

    > johnsommersflanagan posted: ” Being holed up in our passive solar > Absarokee house made an interesting venue for blasting off this semester’s > University of Montana Counseling Theories class. I’m mentioning passive > solar not to brag, (although Rita did design an awesome set-up for kee” >

    1. Hi June,

      First, thanks for the very important work you do in Fort Belknap! Second, I’m so sorry to hear of the recent suicide deaths; there’s so much tragedy. I hope you’re able to take good care of yourself and I’m happy to hear that you got a little relief from my blog post. I wish you the best and hope you’re healthy and well!

  3. You seemed cool and comfortable! No sweat noticed in zoom land. The humor in the text and class makes learning much more fun and engaging. Thank you!

  4. To provide feed back on the “pre-recorded video of self” strategy: It was fine. I’m not sure I see the need for it (since it was basically just the same setting and format as the rest of our lecture), except that you might use it again for other purposes beyond this class session, or that you might have learned a new technology skill from trying it out. It certainly didn’t have any negative impact on the lecture, though.

    Otherwise: I wonder if “what makes therapy work” differs for different clients in different contexts?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s