The Gift of a Knife

Brought to you by Creative Healing for Youth in Pain's Parenting Blog

Dr. Rebecca Cherry, MD, MPH
December 26, 2023 / 3 mins read

My daughter asked for a knife this year as a holiday gift. At least, I thought of it as a knife. It was a "Swiss army" style pocket knife, the kind with multiple blades.

My daughter has carried a pocket knife for years. She is adventuresome, and independent, and does not limit herself to other people's well-meaning expectations. I am grateful to her, for instance, for introducing me to the quick-drying pants I wear just about every morning to walk the dog – which she found in the men's section at Target. It did not even occur to me to look there.

When I asked her for a little more guidance about the knife she wanted, she again broadened my perspective. She does not think of it as a pocket knife. She thinks of it as a "multi-tool." Over the years, she has used a blade in multiple situations when she was out and about. But even more often, she has used the screwdriver head of a multi-tool. She or her friends have had a literal "screw loose" (or the opposite) and she has been able to jump in and address the problem. Other tools have been useful in other situations.

Hypnosis is the same kind of multi-tool, I realized. It is natural to focus on one important use for it, like pain management. And it is perfectly legitimate to use hypnosis for pain management alone. That's like using a single blade of a pocketknife. The single blade may completely meet your needs. But at the same time, hypnosis is useful for so many other situations, like habit change, anxiety, and athletic performance. Once you realize what it is that you have in your pocket, you might find yourself pulling it out in a wide range of circumstances – like having a multi-tool with a blade, a screwdriver, a can opener, and a wire cutter.

Once a person learns how to use hypnosis, they have a multi-tool they will carry for the rest of their life. It can't be lost or confiscated by TSA. Sometimes, they might forget that they have it with them – but once they remember it, they will find it right where it alwayswas, with just the tool they need.