R. came to Dr. Stone because she injured her shoulder so badly that her doctor wanted to repair her painful shoulder injury through surgery. R. was a forty something mental health care worker; through no fault of her own, R. injured her shoulder in an accident. R. was a skilled hypnosis practitioner herself; she had had advance hypnosis knowledge and training.
R. drew her pain scale from 9 to 1. For pain level 9, R. drew five red arrows to represent her pain’s intensity and movement. Note for this level of pain, R.’s pain traveled to her wrist. For pain levels 4-5, R.’s pain doesn’t travel as far or as intensely as it did for pain level 9. For pain levels 4 and 5, R chose a lighter color and she drew three arrows compared to five arrows for pain level 9. For pain levels 4-5, R.’s pain only traveled to her elbow, not to her wrist.
R.’s pain level 2-3 had an even lighter color, but more importantly the absence of arrows indicated R. was pain-free. Note that in pain levels 9 and 4-5, R. drew her hands on her hips, but in level 2-3 her hands were at her sides. R. also wrote the word, “possible” and “0” next to pain level 2-3 to indicate it was possible to experience no pain at all. R. drew a warm smile for level 2-3; for levels 9 and 4-5 R. sketched herself with a frown.
Dr. Stone asked R., “Is the symbol over your head at the last figure an infinity sign?” R. replied, “No, it’s a halo.” For the self-portrait underneath the halo, R. drew no arrows, her hands were again off her hips and her palms faced out as if they were in a position of prayer or surrender. Also note the changes in R.’s hair in the four self-portraits. For pain level 9, R.’s hair was very short; for pain level 4-5, R.’s hair was longer, but somewhat unkempt; for level 2-3, her hair was more curly and for the self-portrait underneath the infinity symbol, R.’s hair was neatly styled.
Because R. said she drew a halo over her head, in the next session Dr. Stone gave R. an angel pin to wear on her injured shoulder. R. was also in physical therapy; Dr. Stone provided R. with hypnosis programs to help R. visualize her physical therapy exercises and successful recovery. After three sessions, R. was able to alleviate enough of her pain that she was confident she was on her way to a full recovery. When Dr. Stone met R. several years later, R. said her shoulder fully recovered without surgery.