Communicating with Oranges!

In my work as a Hypnotherapist I see clients of all ages, currently my youngest client is 6 and my oldest is 86. Isn’t that wonderful?

I work with a lot of children and young people, helping with all sorts of conditions and problems from pain management, selective or picky eating, anger, anxiety and so on. Depending on the age of my client and the agreement of both parent and client, the parent waits outside my therapy room. Of course for younger children the parent is in the room, I ask them to sit quietly and just out of  the eye line of their child.

Over the years I have been in practice, there’s one conversation that almost always happens. 

My young clients will make a statement about their problem and the parent will say:

“I didn't know that, you’ve never told me”

My young client will reply that they had either told their parent and felt they hadn’t understood, or that they had wanted to say something and didn't know how to explain properly. Family life is busy, sometimes we just miss things, they get lost in the day to day routine. Of course some children won’t have the vocabulary yet to be articulate about the way they feel, we can still listen to what they are not saying, all we need to to is ask.

A lawyer friend who works in mediation told me this story, which I think illustrates this perfectly.


A brother and sister are playing in the garden, one of them has an orange and they are arguing loudly about who should have it. 

Their arguing gets louder and louder and more heated. Their Father is in the house trying to work and he starts to become frustrated at their shouting. After a while he storms out into the garden, grabs the orange, goes back into the house, slices the orange in half and gives his children half each.

Both the children start to cry, making more of a racket then they were before.

Furious, Dad says “Why are you crying, I’ve given you what you wanted’

“No, you haven’t” says his daughter “I wanted the peel to make an orange cake”

His son says “I wanted the juice for a drink”


So with a little communication, by the whole family, everyone could have had what they wanted. Juice, peel and peace and quiet!

“What do you want” - that question would have worked almost like magic wouldn't it?

I have used my younger clients as an example to illustrate this, simply because that’s what I hear so often in my therapy room. My adult clients are very rarely accompanied when they come to see me, I wouldn't be surprised if their families also said “I didn’t know that”

Of course, not all problems can be solved as simply as with the orange, however, taking the time to really communicate, listen or ask a simple question, ask for help, ask how you can help, ask what do you want,  that can really can make such a difference.