I hear ya Jerseykevinm, I have a story similar to this one as well.
My old training partner had a huge mental block when it came to pulling 4 plates for the first time. So one day I told him to leave the training room and I'll set up his weight for him. He leaves, the bar was loaded already with 385~ish (usual plate setup). I strip it down to 315 and then put it up to 410 by adding in 10's, 5's, 2.5's in no particular order on either side so that when he came back down ready to lift, he couldn't count the weight on the bar. He pulls the weight no problem, got a pr, and finally graduated to 4 plates.
I've actually seen this work on more than one occasion, both when the plate loaders did it on purpose and on accident. The mind is a great thing, but it can hinder as much as it can help.