Below is a thank you note to Dr. Stone is from a fifteen-year old girl named Q. who was being treated for anorexia by a psychiatrist who supported her visit to Dr. Stone; Q.’s goal was to overcome her fear of needles and shots. Before Dr. Stone could introduce himself, Q. asked, “Can you hypnotize me to make me flap my arms and cluck like a chicken?” Dr. Stone replied, “I’m sorry I don’t do stage hypnosis.”
Q.’s session went well, and Dr. Stone thought her appointment was just about over. He suggested that she open her eyes and fully awaken. When Q. refused to come out of her trance, Dr. Stone asked her, “Do you want to wave your arms and cluck like a chicken?” She shook her head “yes,” and she flapped her arms and started clucking. Q.’s mother began laughing uncontrollably and left the room; unfortunately the mother did not realize the significance of her daughter’s chicken dance. Can you guess what Q. was communicating to Dr. Stone? Let me give you a hint. Why does one child call another child a chicken? Q. was using her non-verbal chicken communication to tell Dr. Stone that she was still afraid.
Dr. Stone continued with her animal metaphor by explaining Native Americans and their “power animals.” Dr. Stone said, “Native Americans identify with the power of bears, deer, eagles and other such animals. If you can have the power of any animal in the world, what animal would that be?” Q. said, “A shark.” Dr. Stone, replied, “Why choose a shark?” The girl opened and closed her mouth several times. Do you understand the significance of the girl opening and closing he mouth? Q. was being treated by a psychiatrist for anorexia, an eating disorder, and she opened and closed her mouth several times to demonstrate her reason for choosing a shark as her power animal. Q.’s eating disorder, the opening and closing of her mouth, her expressed fear of shots and needles and sharks lack of fear were all related through her non-verbal chicken and shark communication. Q. chose her power animal wisely because she had excessive amounts of fear, and sharks are renowned for having no fear.
Dr. Stone sent Q. a shark key chain that he wasn’t using. Note the border of bright, beautiful tropical fish on Q.’s thank you note; she was still using the animal metaphor, but instead of the chicken metaphor to communicate, “I’m afraid,” she used the bright colored fish to send a positive message. In the text, Q. wrote, “I got my shots like a good girl. It was a mental thing.” What a valuable lesson for a fifteen year old to learn. Q. learned that her problem was in her mind and that if she changed her thoughts, she also changed her feelings and behaviors.
The mother called Dr. Stone after hearing him on WGN radio. Q.’s mother said shortly after Q.’s visit with Dr. Stone, Q. no longer needed treatment for her anorexia. The mother said that Q. wanted to get a dog. Prior to her treatment with Dr. Stone, Q. crossed the street to avoid dogs. The story gets better. Through scholarships and loans, Q. put herself through college in 3.5 years. Q. is now in law school focusing on child advocacy and family practice law. Q.’s father abandoned her and her mother when Q. was a few months old, and whenever the father could, he mistreated Q. and Q.’s mother. Lawyers are often referred to as sharks. Through her practice of law, Q. who is now a woman is literally and figuratively becoming a shark. A word of caution to deadbeat dads; pay your child support and don’t mistreat your children or the mother of your children. There is one very courageous, determined shark attorney who will come after you if you do.