by David L. with Robin Simons Calof ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 1, 1996
Freely reconstructed case histories from a Seattle hypnotherapist eager to show what he believes is the remarkable healing power of the unconscious mind. Calof, a student of Eastern philosophy, uses hypnosis as a form of communication. Simply stated, when a client comes to him with a problem, he induces a trance, speaks to the client's unconscious mind, and gives it suggestions that it then uses to solve the client's problem. In the title story, Calof helps a couple on the verge of divorce to understand each other's point of view by suggesting they role-play while in a hypnotic trance. Far more dramatic is his account of using hypnosis to enable a client to undergo five-hour facial surgery without chemical anesthesia. Calof's descriptions of his own discomfort in the operating room and of the surgeon's attitude toward his methods ring true. In one story, Calof contends that a client cured herself of cervical cancer by using imagery to direct her immune system to kill the malignant cells; skeptics will note, however, that other explanations are possible. Similarly, his account of an artist client whose progressive blindness was reversed during therapy lacks the kind of data needed to be truly persuasive. Throughout, Calof has reconstructed dialogue from memory, greatly condensed therapeutic sessions, and focused on the breakthrough moments. While this gives his stories more impact than straightforward case histories, it also makes him as the therapist seem unbelievably perceptive. Once the reader begins to question the hypnotherapeutic process, further questions about its amazing results are inevitable. Nevertheless, the two accounts in the epilogue of incidents in which Calof used self-hypnosis to overcome his own physical pain and fear of falling are credible demonstrations of that technique's well-established usefulness. May appeal to enthusiasts of alternative healing, but too weak to win over many mainstreamers.
Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1996
Page Count: 320
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1996
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