Published Articles
Hypnotherapy – Homeless Improvement with Best Friend Therapy ™
By Dr. Steven E. Roth DMD., CHt, CMT
                 Around 2 years ago, I was at McDonald’s late one afternoon when I first met Frank. He was near the front door begging for money. Because of the appearance of his clothes and his personal hygiene he looked as if he had been on the streets for quite some time. To me, a dentist, the most striking thing about Frank, was the fact that he was missing a front tooth. From my professional experience I know the importance of a smile, and how it affects a person’s self-esteem.
                 I have always had an interest in learning how a person gets to the point of being homeless and living on the streets, and because of this concern, I usually interview a person before I offer any money. And that is exactly what I did with Frank, although I must say that in his case I did feel some “divine inspiration” to help him beyond a simple monetary contribution. As he approached me and asked for money I asked him how he got into this situation. To my surprise, he was very open to telling me his story. He had move to the Miami area from Georgia a few years back after losing his job.
                 I gave him $100 and my business card and told him to come by the office and we’d see what we could do. A couple days later, he showed up at my Dental Practice (www.relaxandsmile.com) and I had some clothing articles gathered for him.
                 I invited him into the Dental Operatory with the intention of restoring the smile that he had missed for the last 15 years. I performed cosmetic bonding to replace the missing tooth and the entire procedure was done in 45 minutes.  
                There was immediately a big change in how Frank saw and felt about himself, so much so, that the next time he came by the office, he looked like a different person. His hair was combed and his hygiene was much improved. To further help Frank, I helped him get a job as an assistant to a handyman. He stopped drinking and the first couple weeks he was doing fine. But within a month – like a lottery winner who returns to poverty - he went back to drinking and was not showing up for his job.
                When he came to the office again, I realized that he still wanted to improve his life, and I asked him what would possibly be the main thing that would help him. He said he missed his family and wanted to return home to Georgia. I got him a bus ticket to go back to Georgia so that his family members would help him get back on track.
                I left him at the bus station an hour before the departure time and we said our good byes. The next day I “coincidentally” saw him in downtown Miami…. he had never left! I was really disappointed and told him so by saying – “God bless you Frank, I wish you well but we’re done,” and I walked away.
                A month later Frank appeared at my office again with $40 in his hand. He wanted to repay me for my previous help and try again to stop drinking. He had received the money from a government agency I had directed him to. I refused the money, but decided to give Frank one more chance. This time instead of working on his outer smile and appearance, I wanted to help him at a deeper level. I asked him if he was open to being hypnotized. Because of the positive relationship that we had developed he trusted me and agreed.
                After putting Frank into a hypnotic trance, I decided to speak with a part of his subconscious - or alter ego as Freud would describe it - that was “Frank’s best friend”. I have been using this therapy since I conceived it a few years ago during a session to help someone overcome an addiction to alcohol. The patient stopped drinking at once because it improved self-esteem 100%. I call it Best Friend Therapy and it derives from a well-known technique called Parts Therapy.
                Upon connecting to Frank’s “best friend” I asked that part of him to tell me why he felt so fortunate to be Frank’s best friend. His answer was that Frank has a good heart, is kind and never means any harm to anyone or anything. I then asked his “best friend” to give him any suggestions that would help him in his life. His “best friend” responded by speaking directly to Frank: “You need to stop drinking and go back to your family so that they can help you and eventually you can help them.”
                I woke Frank out of his trance and he had a light in his eyes that wasn’t there before. He left my office full of confidence and hope. The next day he came back into the office and said Dr. Steve – I’m ready! I said ready for what? To go home to my family he replied.
                Once again, I took him to the bus station, bought him a one-way ticket to Thomasville, GA and sent him on his way to his new journey. I told him to keep in contact and gave him all the information to reach me.
                I heard from him several months later, and he told me that he had stopped drinking, had his own place after living with family at first and had a part-time job. He has been sober now for more than a year, and he still calls me from time to time.