Stories have been told since humans began to talk. Their purpose can be everything from simple and light to meaningful and profound. Milton Erikson, probably the foremost medical hypnotherapist of our time, used metaphor or stories to access the unconscious mind in order to help people make changes in their behaviour. Indeed, metaphor itself can often do just that. It seems to by-pass the conscious mind, even when the receiver is in a ‘normal’, non-hypnotized state. As an integrative medical doctor I am always looking for ways to help patients that are more natural and non-toxic than some of the modern medical approaches. A while ago, a friend happened to mention that her 7 year old daughter Julie had a bed-wetting problem. I wondered if a story would help because there is a strong link between mind and body in this condition. The muscle that controls the flow of urine is under unconscious control, and therefore any ‘behavioral’ approach must address the unconscious mind to be effective.
I composed a story called ' Calico Cat and the Waterworks' and much to my amazement the child stopped wetting her bed within a few days, and the condition has not recurred. Originally, I had thought that because this story was written especially for Julie, that it would not work for others. However I have found that to be untrue, since a few other children about the same age have responded well. I was so pleased with these results that I faxed the story to some colleagues. A few days after sending the fax I got a return fax from the secretary of one of my colleagues. She said, "I hope you don’t mind, but I read your story. I have been getting up every night to urinate for 2 years. After reading your story, I have slept through the night for the first time in years!
Stories can help us by accessing the unconscious mind which may be the source of the problem. ' The Boy from Two Worlds' is another story that might help chronic bed-wetters. The third story was composed for a child with seizures and is called 'Jenny and the Magic Clown' . The structure of the stories is such that the parent makes a connection to the child’s unconscious just by reading the story at bedtime on a regular basis. The story can certainly do no harm, and at the very least is pleasant to listen to. Parents should read the stories in a natural way, slightly emphasizing the boldface phrases. Even if the child does not appear to be listening, read the story to the end. Then sit back and wait for the change to occur!
I would be most interested in hearing from the parents who have tried this, and I can be contacted through www.arfe.ca. Of course, a Family Physician should be consulted first if any medical condition has not previously been investigated.