Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Open to Interpretation

(This blog was originally posted on June 23, 2016)

“Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel
about what you know.” – Jim Rohn

The sentiment in the quote above is very similar to a saying that the late hypnotherapist, Alex G. Kappas, Ph.D., used to tell his students when explaining (mis)communication. Here is the quote: “I know you believe you think you understand what I have just said; but I am not sure that what you heard is not what I meant.” Are you confused? Don’t worry about it; the play on words is intentional and meant to illustrate his point: effective communication is equally a matter of expression interpretation. When the message or “point” of that communication is missed or misunderstood, all sorts of chaos can ensue.

For example, in the recent episode of Game of Thrones: “Battle of the Bastards,” a particularly nasty character warned his estranged wife that he would always be a part of her. Like other devoted fans of the show, those words set off a number of alarm bells in my mind. “Could Sansa be pregnant? After everything that horrible man put her through, could she really be carrying Ramsay Bolton’s baby?” I was alternately horrified and sad for her.

Then I took a deep breath and decided not to second-guess the implications of Lord Bolton’s warning. First of all, the plot of GoT is nothing if not a mental chess game. I, for one, have no intention of spending a year wondering about Sansa Stark’s state (with child or not) like I fretted for eight months whether Jon Snow truly died in last year’s season finale. (Spoiler alert: he did not.) I reminded myself that emotional suggestibility makes it more likely to read/interpret a hidden meaning into a statement like that. Author George R.  R. Martin and the skilled filmmakers, script-writers and directors who have brought his best-selling books to celluloid life know how to create action and scenarios that seduce readers and viewers, taking us with them into their fantastic worlds.

Conversely, one of the series co-stars (Liam Cunningham, “Davos Seaworth”) reportedly told the Huffington Post that his interpretation of Lord Bolton’s warning was more likely a literal statement of fact than foreshadowing the birth of his heir. Cunningham explained that Bolton wanted Sansa to know that while their time together was fairly short, she would always remember and feel how he tortured her and these memories would continue to torment her. If you have read the books and/or watched their video incarnation on HBO, you know exactly why his words would be true. 

Having said that, in keeping with Dr. Alex Kappas’s instruction and the guessing-games and mental gymnastics Game of Thrones subjects (pun intended) its fans to, the true meaning of this statement truly is up for inference and interpretation. And a little (or a lot of) imagination.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit
© 2017