Always Clearing His Throat

Case #388. From the training manual, On Becoming a Professional Hypnotist

He Cleared His Throat Too Much

Date: 1983. Place: Salt Lake City.

Bill, as you will find with many clients, began his habit as a form of self-protection. Bill was the owner of a small but well-known franchise. His complaint was his habit of clearing his throat every five seconds or so. It was disturbing to his customers.

I taught him to use self-hypnosis to relax. I was focused on one thing only. I extracted his promise that, no matter what, he would do exactly what I asked him to do.

He promised that he would follow my instructions precisely. In return, I promised that if he did, his problem would be gone in less than a week.

What were my instructions? First he described how his normal day went—what time he arrived home, who was there and what he did at that time. He said he arrived home about 5:00 p.m. every day. He then watched the news and read the newspaper as his wife fixed dinner which was usually ready at six o’clock. He was alone for about half an hour.

I instructed him to turn off the TV, put the paper down and intentionally clear his throat every ten seconds for that whole half hour. When he looked a bit surprised, I asked him if he truly wanted to stop clearing his throat.

He said “yes” and I repeated my directions, “…then, do it…and you need to do it again the second night. Then, do it again the third night, at which time you won’t need to worry about clearing your throat ever again.”

Bill was back in my office one week later. He stated that he had not cleared his throat since the day after his first practice.

The back story on Bill was that when he was younger, his first job was to deliver bread to Mom and Pop grocery stores. He was very shy, so when he would ask to be paid for his deliveries, Mom would direct him to Pop in the back room. Pop always had his head in the books, so Bill stood by the door and cleared his throat ever so slightly in order to get the man’s attention. And, with that, the rest is history.

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