The therapist was located above a bike repair shop in a strip mall. With the fee he was charging, I would’ve expected him to be in a high rise downtown. There was no elevator, only a set of steep stairs to the top floor. The outer door had a hand written paper taped to it with the message “walk right in.” So I did. This led to a small waiting area with two threadbare comfy chairs, a coffee table, and a few magazines on top. There was a jug with lemon water and paper cups, again with a handwritten note saying “help yourself.” Two landscape paintings were above each chair. The room felt a bit cool and I could see there was no heat registers but a small electric fire that was unplugged. I thought this therapist was not exactly splashing out on his office space; the fees must be going somewhere else.

The door opened and a middle aged Indo-Canadian gentleman came out.

He extended his hand out, which I took. His grip was strong but gentle and warm.

“Hi, I’m Deepak. Please call me Dee.” Deepak was tall with black curly hair, tinged with some grey, large dark eyes, and a brilliant white smile. He clearly uses white strips, I thought.

He led me to a larger room. There was one wall completely covered with a mural; rainbows; the sun; dogs running with children; a beach with dolphins swimming in the water; a snow scene with a snowman and a man sitting cross-legged, most likely meditating, and a woman cooking in a kitchen.

“Wow, that’s some mural,” I said, admiring it.

“Thank you. My kids designed it when they were little. I had it done by a patient who is a very good artist.” Dee motioned me to sit. There was a fabric couch on the opposite side of the mural and another threadbare comfy chair opposite. There was a bookcase with lots of books, presumably self-help books, a small fridge with a kettle and some cups on top. Boxes of tea were also there; ginger, chamomile, peppermint, and roasted dandelion (yuck).

I turned and looked at the other wall. There were photographs of India I presumed; wildlife plus a few diplomas. Deepak had a master’s in psychology, certification in Hypnosis, and was a Reiki master. A jack-of-all-trades, it seemed. There were some big cushions on the floor and a giant teddy bear in the corner. Next to it was a smaller version. I wasn’t sure why, but all of these accessories made me feel at ease.

Dee gave me some time to take in my surroundings before he spoke.

“Well, Beth, before we talk about what you have come here for, I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself.”


“Would you like some tea? I’m going to have some.”

“No, thank you.”

Dee put the kettle on and put a camomile tea bag in a mug.

“I studied psychology in UBC; I spent a few years in India under a guru’s guidance; spent some time in Europe studying hypnosis, and then came back here. I became very interested in Energy work and decided to learn Reiki. So I have a mixed bag of tools which I like to use with clients. There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all, so I work with you and we determine together what would help you the most.”

Obviously, Dee was a “new age” healer, which didn’t bother me, but I didn’t really believe in all that stuff, so I wasn’t sure he could help.

“I can see by your face; you’re skeptical?”

“Was it that obvious?” I laughed.

Dee didn’t say anything, but smiled and drank some tea.

“Okay, so I’ve talked about myself; let’s hear your story.”

“Well, I had an accident and I was in a coma for three months…my brother died. He died in the car crash.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. That’s a very traumatic experience. I’d like to start at the beginning, if you don’t mind. Where you grew up, what your relationship is with your mother, father; how you did in school; what kind of friends you have? It’s important to look at all the facets of your life.”

“Well, I guess I, first of all my mother is dead; she died when I was 21 and my brother was 19. We didn’t know our dad, he left when we were small; I think I was two or three and my brother was still a baby. We didn’t know much about our dad as my mom wouldn’t talk about him and he never wanted to see us apparently, so…well, that was that. My mom was a good mom, but it was tough for her bringing up two kids on her own. There was no other family members around. It was just the three of us for a long time. My mom worked in a department store; we didn’t have a lot of money, but we did okay.” I shrugged and stopped for a minute.

“I did well in school; I’m a special needs assistant by the way. I love my job, but my brother always struggled. I think he had a learning disorder. I helped him with his schoolwork, so he got by. He graduated but didn’t know what he wanted to do. And then my mom died. That’s when he went off the rails. Got mixed up with the wrong people; started using drugs; gambling. It got too much for me, so I kicked him out.” I started to cry.

Dee passed the tissue box over and I grabbed a couple of Kleenex.

“I, I shouldn’t have done that, ya know, I should have stuck with him. I just didn’t know what to do. I was struggling myself.”

“There are always should haves that can haunt us for the rest of our lives. What you have to remember is that you did the best you could do in the circumstances. Your mom did the best she could do in her circumstances and your brother, although it was not good for him, did his best or what he thought was his best in his circumstances.”

I nodded not trusting myself to speak.

“Tell me about your friends.”

“Uh, I have a few close ones. I was always reluctant to let people get too close. I guess I was afraid they’d reject me, just like my dad.” God, did I just say that?

“You don’t know if your dad rejected you or your mom didn’t want him around you. Maybe he wanted to be in touch, but your mom didn’t want him to. These are situations you don’t know the full story,” Deepak said gently.

“I never thought that and I’ve never admitted that rejection thing before. I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing. Anyway, I have some friends and I like my job and I have a sort-of boyfriend.”

“Sort of?” Dee raised his eyebrows.

I laughed, “I’m not getting along that well with him now, which is part of why I’m here, but he’s a really nice guy, a good guy; he stuck with me all through the coma, but I’ve changed; everything’s changed since then.”

“Okay, tell me what’s changed.”

“I crave cigarettes all the time, even though I’ve never smoked; I drink whiskey; I like going to bars; I like to work out at the gym; I…I like women.” Oh shit, I said it. I can’t take it back now.

“I see.” Dee looked thoughtful. “Are these characteristics of your brother?”

“I, I don’t know, I guess so, yeah, he smoked, he drank; not sure it if was whiskey but probably; he was well-built, so I guess he went to the gym, and yeah, he liked girls…what are you saying?”

“I’m not saying anything yet, I’m just getting all the facts. What do you remember about the accident?”

“Not a lot. My brother was driving the car and he was going too fast. I asked him to slow down and that’s all I remember. Then I woke up three months later.”

“What do you think about hypnosis?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it.”

“So you’ve never been hypnotized?”

“No, no, never.”

“What would you say to some hypnosis now?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I’m nervous about it.”

“I can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do, but it will help to get to your subconscious level; find out what happened in the accident; hopefully find out why you’re exhibiting these behaviours.”

My heart was beating like crazy. I felt flushed. I was scared, but I did want to figure out why I was like this.

“Okay,” I smiled weakly.

Dee pulled out a yoga mat from behind the couch and unrolled it on the rug. He took one of the pillows and placed at the top of the mat.

“Let’s get you to lay down on this mat with your head on the pillow. Take off your coat and shoes. I’ll be covering you with a blanket as well.”

I did as he asked, but I could feel myself trembling. Dee gently covered me with a blanket.

“Do you feel warm enough?”

“Yes,” I said, but I was shivering.

“One more thing; do you like teddy bears?”

I smiled. “I guess so, why?”

He took the smaller teddy bear and started sweeping off invisible dirt or something.

“I’m brushing off any old energies from previous clients,” he said and he gently placed the teddy in my hands.
“This will make you feel safe. Best to keep your hands under the blanket with the teddy to keep you warm. I’m also placing some stones at your feet to ground you.”

It was all mumbo jumbo to me, but holding the teddy did feel nice.

Dee closed the curtains. He placed a Kleenex sheet over my eyes and then an eye shade. It smelt like lavender.

“Before we begin, I’d like you to tense all of your body at once for ten seconds and then release. Ten…nine…eight…seven…” Dee counted backwards as I tensed up.

“Now release and take a deep breath in. Tense up again for ten seconds…”

We did this a few more times and I could feel myself relax a bit more.

“Beth, I would like you to start breathing a bit deeper and more slowly. Fill your belly with your breath and let out all the air until you feel depleted. And again…once more…now breathe normally…I am going to take you on a journey. I want you to fill your mind with these images and place yourself there. If at any time you feel unsafe, let me know by raising your hand and we will stop. You are in charge of this journey and you are safe and in control.”

Deepak’s voice was soft and melodic. I was thinking that I could fall asleep.

“You are in a beautiful meadow with tall grass and wildflowers. There is a path that you can walk on and I’d like you to walk on it. The sun is out and you can feel the warmth on your face and the back of your neck. It is just the right temperature. You look up to see the blue sky and some fluffy clouds. You’re walking along the path and you see some flowers in the distance. What are your favourite flowers, Beth?”

“Pansies,” I say, not recognizing my breathy voice.

“There are pansies up ahead, all different colours, and you stop to admire them. There are birds flying overhead. What kinds of birds do you like?”

“Hummingbirds, robins, little sparrows…”

“All your favourite birds are flying just above you and singing sweetly. Up ahead there is a bridge. It’s got a wooden walkway with a secure rail all along the bridge length. You will be walking on that bridge. Step on the bridge, Beth. Start walking across it; you are in the middle of the bridge now, and when you come to the end of it, you will be back with your brother in the car.”

The relaxation I felt was slipping away and I was getting scared.

“I’m scared,” I said out loud.

“Press the teddy close to you. You are in control. I’m with you. Go to the end of the bridge.”

I kept walking despite my fear. I stepped off the bridge and I could see myself in my car. I could see my brother at the wheel.

“Tell me what you see, Beth.”

“I’m in the car, Chris is driving. He’s laughing. I’m laughing. He told me a joke. It was a silly joke, but when Chris laughed, it always made me laugh…he’s going faster…slow down Chris, slow down, you’re going too fast…stop the car; stop the car…” I’m really scared, I raise my hand…

“Okay Beth, you are no longer in the car, but back on the bridge, going back to the field.”

I’m running across that bridge; running through the fields; I’m squeezing the bear with all my might.

“I’m going to count to three and you will be back in this room on the yoga mat…you will open your eyes on three…one..two…and three.”

My eyes opened. I could feel the mat beneath me. I took off the eye mask. The poor bear was squashed beneath my hands.

“Just take your time and get up slowly; only when you’re ready.”

It took me a few minutes before I sat up. I felt I was glued to the mat. Deepak went out of the room and brought back a cup of lemon water for me to drink.

I drank it quickly. I felt dehydrated.

“Do you remember the journey?”

“Yes,” I said. “I got scared when the car was going faster. I couldn’t stop him…”

“That’s fine. You went across the bridge and you got into the car with your brother. What was it like to see your brother again?”

“Nice, but sad.”

“It is very sad because that’s the last time you saw him on Earth.”

“I can still smell his gum. He chewed peppermint gum around me, to hide his smoking. I’d forgotten about that until now. The joke, the joke he told was about a guy who was in AA. He asks the bartender for two drinks and he pours the first one all over the bar; he then downs the second one; he does the same thing again. The bartender asks why he pours the first drink all over the bar and then drinks the second one. The guy says that in AA, they tell me to avoid the first drink…” I laugh. “See, I told you it was silly.”

“But you remembered some things. Do you find that okay?”

“Yes, I think so but I’m not ready to go further, not yet anyway…” I have tears in my eyes.

“You’ve done well and whenever you’re ready to go further, let me know.”

“But it still doesn’t explain my weird behaviour,” I said.

“Not yet, but it will.” He flashed those pearly whites and I believed him.

“Also, it would be helpful if you could write down your dreams about your brother and bring them in so we can discuss them.”

“Sure,” I said. I would let him know when I felt like I could go further with the hypnosis.


For all installments of “Brotherly Love,” click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Part 1