Transcript of 2nd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Peter Hossfeld, Monday, January 13, 1997 at 10 am.

Mr. Hossfeld: Hi Charles.
Dr. Balis: Hi Pete, how are you doing? Having any more of those strange out-of-body experiences lately?
Mr. Hossfeld: You can sneer all you want, but astral projection is an important part of a lot of people's spirituality, including mine.
Dr. Balis: I wasn't sneering, I just asked you about something you said was troubling you. It seemed like the most concrete symptom you were feeling, so I mentioned it. Would you rather talk about something else?
Mr. Hossfeld: I don't think you give much credence to anything that doesn't fit in your predetermined pigeonholes, so you end up treating things which you don't understand at all like they were symptoms of some disease. Actually, these are the best parts of my day, when they happen. Sure they trouble me; but maybe I need to be troubled.
Dr. Balis: So what does happen? Could you describe one of them for me?
Mr. Hossfeld: You're not going to laugh at me, or try to explain them away as some kind of short-circuit in my brain?
Dr. Balis: I'll try not to prejudge you if you'll do the same for me, okay?
Mr. Hossfeld: Sure, it's a deal. Look, I guess I'm being a little defensive; I just don't want any more mockery about this. I've taken plenty from my friends already, believe me. Let's clear the air: I don't do any drugs, I hardly ever drink more than a beer or two, I've never been committed to a mental hospital, and I've never been abducted by aliens. But sometimes I seem to slip into a parallel universe.
Dr. Balis: I promise not to mock you, that's not what we do here. But we can't rule out anything at this point that would help us understand what's really going on. So, could you go into a little more detail about this? I want to hear exactly what happens, minute by minute.
Mr. Hossfeld: Okay. Just the other day I'm sitting in my cubicle trying to do my job, coding in C++. Sometimes my mind gets restless, I guess, and goes somewhere else. Suddenly I'm going down a road in the countryside; It's a glorious day, there's flowers everywhere, and butterflies, and birds singing. I see a valley in front of me with trees, and an old bridge across the end of it. And I start seeing these luminous beings. It's hard to describe them: like pure energy with human shapes. They sort of glide down the road towards me, and one of them passes right through me, and it's this incredible rush--like an orgasm through my whole body. And then I snap back to reality, and I'm sitting there staring at a computer screen again, and some of the guys around me are giving me funny looks.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. You know Pete, this sounds like it could be a dangerous condition we're talking about here. If you don't have any control of when these things occur, you could have a car accident or something. I'd like to order a series of tests, just to rule out the chance of this being epilepsy, a brain tumor, or a hormonal imbalance.
Mr. Hossfeld: Damn it! I knew I was wasting my time talking to you. I thought I told you, this is the best thing happening in my life. If I want anything, I want to figure out how to go there more often, and stay longer. I want to meet those glowing people--I think I really could communicate with them if I had more time. Don't you see how important this is? I'm crossing over to the other side; I'm making contact with the spirit world. How many people have done that? It's an awesome responsibility, and I don't want to blow it. If this is caused by a hormone imbalance, then unbalance me some more! I'm trying to understand this and deal with it; I'm not trying to cure it.
Dr. Balis: But for me to understand it, I've got to see what it's not, as well as what it is. This could be the first stage of something that might get much worse. I really must insist on some medical tests. It could be that this is a perfectly benign phenomenon, and all we need to do is try and interpret these experiences, and I'll be happy to do that with you. But I told you I'm a medical doctor as well as a psychological counselor; and there are some very serious conditions that can start out by presenting symptoms like yours.
Mr. Hossfeld: Did it ever occur to you that most people who have mystical experiences don't go to doctors about them? This has been going on for thousands of years, and people everywhere are better off because of it happening. I told you last time that I was looking for meaning in my life; now when it looks like I've finally found some, you want to chop it out. I should have known better.
Dr. Balis: I'm sorry you feel that way. But I don't see why you shouldn't want to know all the facts about your condition, whatever it is. Nobody is going to force you to have surgery or take any drugs against your will, but if you don't know what's going on, you won't be able to evaluate your options. For some reason, you decided to consult me, and I'm giving you the benefit of my advice. Get the tests done and we can at least see what we're not dealing with. We might be looking at something that's life-threatening, and it's my responsibility to do what I can to save your life. Once that's out of the way, we can talk about the spirit world all you want, all right?
Mr. Hossfeld: Yeah, I guess. But when I came in last week I was just getting my first glimpse. Now it's starting to unfold, and it's so beautiful; I don't even care if I'm dying, if this is where I'm going. To be one of those incandescent souls...
Dr. Balis: Well let's find out first. You will go in for the tests?
Mr. Hossfeld: Yeah, I just said so.
Dr. Balis: That's great. Now after you had one of these spells, how did you feel?
Mr. Hossfeld: That's not the great part, I guess I felt a little hung-over.
Dr. Balis: Headache?
Mr. Hossfeld: Sort of.
Dr. Balis: Sweaty?
Mr. Hossfeld: Yeah.
Dr. Balis: You said it felt like an orgasm all over. Did you have an actual orgasm?
Mr. Hossfeld: Uh huh, but that was the least of it, really. It was a total body experience; my genitals just went along for the ride.
Dr. Balis: I understand what you're trying to say, but it is significant none the less. I'm going to order MRI scans of your brain, as well as some blood work and electroencephalograms. I'm glad you came in, and you really need to follow up on these tests. You are on the company health plan, so there shouldn't be any problem with costs.
Mr. Hossfeld: It sounds like you think this could be really serious.
Dr. Balis: That's what I'm trying to convey. I'm going to see if we can't get them scheduled right away. Some of these things are best caught in time, and a few weeks can make a difference.
Mr. Hossfeld: What do you think is wrong with me?
Dr. Balis: I told you I wasn't going to prejudge you, and I don't want to jump the gun. Let's get the results and take it from there.
Mr. Hossfeld: What did you say--epilepsy, brain tumors? Oh my god. You don't really think that's what's happening, do you?
Dr. Balis: Probably not. I'm not trying to scare you, but any time there's a periodic loss of consciousness, especially with the autonomic systems involvement you mentioned, we have to check you out. Don't worry, knowing what you're up against is half the battle.
Mr. Hossfeld: There it is, everything's a fight. That's Western medicine in a nutshell. There are places I can go where healing is based on cooperation with the body, not war.
Dr. Balis: It was just a figure of speech, Pete. Anyway, we're out of time. Wait a second and I'll write out the orders for those tests, okay?
Mr. Hossfeld: Okay.
Dr. Balis: There you go. I'll make sure we schedule an appointment to discuss the results as soon as they're available.
Mr. Hossfeld: Yeah, well I'm going to go to a psychic too. They can zero in on this stuff amazingly fast, and they've got more experience in dealing with the spirit world too.
Dr. Balis: Just get the tests done anyway. I'll see you next week, probably.
Mr. Hossfeld: See you.
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