The Balinese music chimed its off-key serenity and filled the therapy room with an expectation of pending calm.
Byron watched his client’s chest rise and fall. He knew that after this many hypnosis sessions he could just tap her shoulder and say ‘sleep’ but he decided to go through the full induction; if nothing else it gave him time to think.
‘And, as you allow your breathing to slow I want you to notice that your subconscious mind is conscious of your conscious mind, and as your conscious mind drifts away, your conscious mind allows its consciousness to slip, and drift deeper, as your subconscious mind becomes conscious and nothing but calm and depth is conscious to your conscious mind.’
Byron allowed his voice to move slowly and deliberately from one word to the next. Pregnant pauses gave emphasis to the words. His tone was calm; his voice deep. And, as he used the hypnotic, confusional language, to distract and calm Emily’s inquiring mind he wondered what the hell he was thinking hypnotising his self-confessed stalker.
‘Allow your mind to sink deeper and drift within and, now, as you imagine a set of stairs in front of you, I want you to notice that, in a moment, as you take each step down, you’ll double and triple your level of calm and sink still deeper.’
Byron wasn’t sure what he was doing. Well, he did know, he was hypnotising by number, which was something he could do in his sleep. He’d been doing this for ten years but, in all that time, this was by far the strangest situation he’d found himself in.
‘But, she is just so attractive’, he mused as he started counting down. His gaze shifted to the summer dress with its pretty pink flowers polka dotted against the cream background. What was he thinking? She was ten years his junior. He was in a position of power. Yet she had approached him with the idea.
This wasn’t right. This should stop this now. But he carried on counting down. The serenity on Emily’s face, the slightly open mouth, relaxed breathing and slumped shoulders told his experienced eye that she was in a deep state of trance.
‘Eight sessions,’ he thought to himself. Where would his reputation go if people knew he had dragged out a simple confidence issue for eight sessions?
But then Emily had just requested more and more sessions. First they were for her supposed confidence issue, though she had never come across as anything other than being in total control. And then he kept going because she ‘loved the feeling of relaxation’ and then her name just kept appearing in his diary.
He watched her breathe, so calm and relaxed, her eyelids fluttering slightly as if in the midst of a dream. His own eyes dropped to the buttons on her dress. He could see the lace of her bra and knew that an extra fastening must have been deliberately undone just before she entered the room.
‘I want you to imagine that place now, the place you have been to many times before. That place deep in your mind that allows you to relax, to dream, to feel more, and experience more, in perfect calm and safety. Now, when I tap you on your arm three times I want you to find yourself in your special place.’
Byron tapped and then watched for the subtle nod that let him know that his client was in her special place.
Over the weeks they had explored this concept, this peaceful setting where he had slowly built up a level of control that he knew would allow him to request anything he wanted.
‘Anything I want’, he thought to himself. What was he doing? Ten years of practice and he’d never behaved inappropriately with a client. He smiled as he wondered if this was mostly down to him usually working with rotund woman who were desperate to shed a few stone. It wasn’t, he’d had attractive clients before, vulnerable too, just like Emily. But was he really taking advantage? She wanted this and no money was involved.
Byron hadn’t moved his hand from Emily’s arm. He could feel the warmth coming from her body; his fingers prickled.
In that moment his mind darted to the first reading of his estranged wife’s letter. The pleasure she took in telling him that it was his best friend with whom she was having an affair and how useless and limp he was. He’d read the letter dozens of times and he was still impressed by the sheer number of swear words she’d managed to cram onto the page. He’d found this unexpected coming from a primary school teacher whose normal conversation revolved around carol practice and summer fairs.
Even though their relationship had been dead for years he had never actually expected it to come to such a complete end. He really believed that couples stayed together for the kids: that’s what TV had led him to believe, even his two evil brats, but it appeared not. At least they went to live with her.
Byron picked up a black binder and flicked past the smoking script, the weight loss script and a script dedicated to the fear of bird’s legs. Eventually he found the one labelled ‘passion’ and began to read.
‘I want you to notice, now, that your lips are starting to tingle. There is a gentle heat building inside you, let it grow.’
Was he really doing this? He couldn’t believe that he’d agreed. This wasn’t ethical; though surely ethics come more into play if there was money involved. And she wasn’t paying him for this session and it was Emily who had sent him all the links on erotic hypnosis.
‘I just want to be controlled,’ she had told him. He had explained about the boundaries hypnotherapists have, but after the seventh session the emails had started. She started to taunt him, asking how good a therapist he really was. She wrote, ‘if you are any good at all can you do the following?’ The following were a series of links to erotic websites which talked about how hypnosis can add a new dimension to domination and control.
He still did not like to admit to himself that he had only given in when Emily started sending erotic pictures of herself. He didn’t want to admit that he was so easily led by his privates so he had told himself it would be a social experiment.
‘I want you to allow that warm feeling to make its way down from your lips, around your chin and down your neck…’
Byron was looking forward to saying the word breast, he was excited, energised.
‘Now allow that warmth to move down further….’
Emily opened her eyes, sat up and said, ‘no, I just can’t do it. What’s going on with your voice? Are you trying to be sexy? It’s creepy.’
Bryon hadn’t noticed his voice change. He knew he had a hypnosis voice, but it was the same one he always used.
As if reading his mind Emily said, ‘it was okay before, but I could hear something in your tone when you started the erotic stuff, lust, or something freaky.’
Emily stood up as she spoke and put on her jacket.
‘I’m disappointed this didn’t work. I thought it would have gone better. Perhaps I should have found someone who’d had more practice.’
Byron wasn’t sure what to say; this wasn’t the reaction he was expecting.
Now as she made her way to the door he realised just how stupid it was to arrange to meet Emily on her dinner hour. The middle of the day, when his receptionist was there; he had let Emily talk him into it, she had found it sexy, challenging and risky. Stupid!
‘Thanks for nothing,’ she said as she marched across the waiting room. She let the exit door slam behind her.
‘Mr Finch, if you’ve finished early,’ the receptionist said, ‘could you see Mrs Harper? She got confused about her appointment time and has been waiting a while.
Byron didn’t take his eyes away from the exit door and only registered the request with a nod.
Mrs Harper pushed her bulk out of the waiting room chair and ran her fingers through her faded locks.
As she walked past him she looked down at his crotch and said ‘Oh Lord, that’s the first time a man has stood to attention for me in years.’
‘I’ll be right back,’ Byron said and ran off to the loo. He wasn’t sure if he’d ever return.
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