The ‘Sanity Check’

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A tool for the ‘Shirt Pocket’

<p>6 Tool for the shirt pocket from <a href=”″>Elizabeth Jones</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


Listen to Bruce Llewellyn, a newly retired Social Worker who has worked in rural Alberta as well as within a University setting.  In this audio interview with John Wilson he talks about his experience and the value he places on the Tool the Heimler Scale of Social Functioning and in particular her the ease of using the scale in different settings

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The ups and downs of life

Marie Kruger talks about the fact that the scales show how in the variation of day to day experience, there reassurance to the client from Elizabeth Jones on Vimeo.

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Reflections – adoption and HSF

Marie Kruger is a practicing social worker and Human Social Functioning practitioner in South Africa.  This is part of a series of interviews by John Wilson of Online Events on the use of Human Social Functioning in different situations.

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Making Connections

imageDavid Collingwood Bell writes:

On 21st October I am being interviewed as part of the online events programme intended to promote a wider recognition and understanding of HSF and I have agreed that the theme for me will be the connection between HSF and hypnotherapy. After all, hypnotherapy has been for many years my profession and, as an HSF trainer, all of my graduates so far are hypnotherapists or hypno-psychotherapists.

If it was not for Professor Heimler, I may not have followed the hypnotherapy route at all. It all started as a result of my attending a course on Human Social Functioning led by John Heimler back in the late 70s/early 80s on the recommendation of Geoff Myers, a leading HSF practitioner at that time. I had decided to switch from the world of education to that of therapy and it was John Heimler who encouraged me to think about the use of hypnosis in therapy. As I look back through my notes, scribbled at that time, there is much emphasis placed by Heimler on our having both a conscious and an unconscious mind together in the same individual. Through his teaching I learned the importance of using the unconscious in order to evoke and use the unique storehouse of inner resources beyond reach of the conscious mind in order to achieve therapeutic goals. He may not have formally been a hypnotherapist but he certainly introduced me to the notion that through hypnosis one could more easily enter the world of the unconscious and help a client to engage, for instance, with happenings in the past or speculate more easily upon the future. I recall some difficulty I was having in allowing my more rationally trained mind to use my imaginative side in connection with an exercise related to the Dialogue. John took me aside, told me that I was trying too hard, which was preventing the imagination to work, and proceeded to lead me into a relaxed state through the use of guided imagery into a special place. So my very first experience of the hypnotic trance, which allowed me in this instance to find the wise person, who knew all about me and with whom I was able to have a dialogue, was with Heimler. Of course, as we all know, one of the key features of the Heimler method is the use of imaginative techniques, which allow us to evolve different ways of feeling, thinking and creating a new phenomenal world around us.

So what particular techniques developed by Heimler can you identify that have their parallel in the practice of hypnotherapy?

In what ways does the ethos of HSF connect with how we relate to our clients? Those of you whom I have had the pleasure of training to become hypnotherapists will no doubt understand why it is that I incorporated the study and practice of HSF into your training as hypnotherapists. There is so much synergy between hypnotherapy and HSF, especially in relation to the Ericksonian approach.

What other key features of HSF fit well into the practice of hypnotherapy/

With what type of client and condition do you find the Scale particularly useful?

My answers to the questions posed above will form part of my ‘chat’ online on 21 October. I wonder how well your answers will match or perhaps extend mine.

One last thought, however, before ending this blog, in relation to working with the conscious and the unconscious mind and the synergy between the Heimler method and hypnotherapy. HSF places much attention on ACTION. Achieving good results with a client in a trance does not mean that the client will benefit from it in the ordinary waking state. There has to be an integration of unconscious learnings with conscious learning. Unless the client is able to go forth and DO something about it, he or she is likely to still have the problem. There always needs to be a dialogue, an integration, between the unconscious and conscious in order for therapy to be successful. Now that is both Heimlerian and Eriksonian!

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Perspectives? by Hazel Bowes

manhattanAs we drove from JFK airport through Queens, rising above the rooftops was this astonishing skyline, subtly coloured, flat, like a theatre backdrop. Manhattan painted against the azure of the late afternoon haze.

You’ll find that most photographs show the Manhattan skyline edged up against water….the Hudson or East Rivers. But to see it against the surrounding normality of ordinary buildings makes this world centre of commerce and western affluence even more surreal. Beautiful in its own way.

Once on the pavements of Manhattan, among the buildings, block after block of reflectively covered glass repeat the patterns of banks, stores, hotels, newspaper publishers, broadcasting media houses. The Rockefeller Centre – not just a building but a whole block of mainly Art Deco-styled edifices endowed by J.D. Rockefeller or his wife Adeline form a hub dedicated to 20th Century culture. Adeline used her husband’s millions to subvert his capitalist expansion from profits generated by the oil industry by supporting left-wing, even Communist artists and craftsmen and especially the Sculpture Garden of the Museum of Modern Art, hosting works by Henry Moore and Jean Miro.

As I wonder to myself about Adeline and her motivation and because now I write this as part of our BASF blog, balance and perspective enter the drama. I wonder what her HSSF scale might have looked like? Were her contrapuntal statements an effort to shift the balance from the extreme capitalist, albeit philanthropic endowments of her husband? Was her expenditure on the arts (and particularly left-wing, modern and controversial, even shocking works at that,) her personal attempt to find greater satisfaction among the frustrations of unimaginable wealth her husband had accumulated through his commercial ventures?

How do we help people achieve this balance motivation and perspective on a more mundane level, I wonder?

p.s. We were in New York…Manhattan actually and Washington to celebrate my 70th birthday last week!

Hazel Scott Bowes

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Flag up?

flag - take it down“I’d just like to flag up…” …it may be a difficult issue, a concern or something that feels important – the sort of problem that we may deal with in counselling or in discussion with friends: something that concerns us and perhaps we might need to deal with later. Over the last couple of weeks we have been reminded of the power and symbolism of flags. We heard of the horrific shooting, at a prayer meeting, of members of a black congregation in Charleston in South Carolina by a deranged, polarised young white guy whose hatred is symbolised by that Confederate flag. Some years ago when visiting that area, I had the opportunity to go to a former cotton estate with its lovely colonial house, set in beautiful gardens and also its accommodation for the slave workers – hot tin-roofed shacks. One or two of the former workers were still alive at the time we visited and certainly their families were still around. The huge differences in living conditions, working hours and the lack of personal freedom were starkly outlined as we absorbed their life experience in the earlier part of the 20th century. The flag that was flown on so many flagpoles and civic buildings in that area of the Southern USA, signalled the pride and identity for some but, not so far beneath the surface, also division, polarisation and hatred for others. Sometimes our own “flags” highlight such issues in our own lives and we need to be willing to revisit our “flagged up” issues and maybe even take the “flag” down and turn it to good.  John (Eugene) Heimler, who gave us the Human Social Functioning method, had many reasons to hate but he used his experiences for good, in a similar way as we have seen the members of that Charleston church

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