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Hypnosis Articles
 
 
 
Here are some interesting and informative articles I have written on various topics related to hypnotherapy. To subscribe to my blog click the following link: http://cshypnotherapist.blogspot.co.uk
To subscribe to the podcast click the following link:
cshypnotherapypodcast.blogspot.co.uk
 
Scroll down for the following: 
  1. Boost Self-Confidence 3 Week Online Course
  2. How To Overcome Fears and Phobias
  3. 3 Exercises To Boost Self-Esteem
  4. How to combat low self-esteem
  5. Seven secrets to achieving your ideal weight
  6. The secrets to achieving your New Year goals.
  7. Panic Attacks - I think I'm going to die!
  8. What is post natal depression and how can it be treated
  9. How I became a hypnotherapist
  10. Dancing chickens and gastric bands - a version of an article of mine which was published in The Hypnotherapy Journal
  11. Hypnotherapy for Brides to Be - published in Something Borrowed wedding magazine

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. Hypnotherapy is not guaranteed to be effective in every case. Any reliance you place on the information contained here is therefore strictly at your own discretion.

 

Boost Self-Confidence 3 Week Online Course



The perfect solution if you:

  • lack self-esteem
  • doubt yourself or worry about not being good enough
  • suffer from social anxiety
  • find it difficult to speak up at work
  • find big groups of people intimidating

While one to one, personalised hypnotherapy sessions are undoubtedly the best way to overcome self-confidence issues, sometimes money can be tight and it can be difficult to commit to a course of therapy in my clinic.

This digital course is the perfect, affordable alternative.

The Boost Self-Confidence course is set over three weeks. Each week you will receive an audio recording of a session, a hypnosis MP3 and homework tasks to complete.

 

The full course is £99 in total.

Click here to purchase. 

How To Overcome Fears and Phobias



How To Boost Self-Esteem


How To Combat Low Self-Esteem

 

"I spend ages deciding what to wear before I go out because I don’t want people to judge me negatively,” said one of my clients, in her first consultation.

 
She went on to say that she was worried about getting found out that she wasn’t really good enough for her job. She was also avoiding taking a course at work because she was convinced she would fail.

These types of worries, assuming people are judging you negatively, assuming you will fail or get found out, or telling yourself you are not good enough, are all typical symptoms of low self-esteem.
 
As a hypnotherapist low self-esteem is probably the most common issue I treat.
 

 
Although it is an incredibly common issue, people tend not to talk about it. My clients often worry that they are strange or different. However, feeling like this is very common. People also often assume that it is just the way they are and that they have to continue through life feeling this way.
 

 
However, you do not. There are lots of wonderful ways to boost self-esteem. Our self-esteem underpins everything else. As our self-esteem improves we feel less anxious, happier, more confident, more capable and generally a lot better.
 

 
So, how can you boost your self-esteem?
 

 
First of all notice the way you talk to yourself in your own mind. Do you say things like;
 
"I look fat.”
 
"I have nothing interesting to say. Everyone will think I’m boring.”
 
"I’m not smart enough to get a promotion.”
 
"I always mess things up.”
 

 
Now, think about your best friend or sibling, someone you care about very much.
 
Imagine saying these things to them. You wouldn’t, would you? If you wouldn’t say these things to a best friend, you should not be saying them to yourself. Treat yourself as your own best friend. Talk to yourself in your own mind in a positive way.
 

 
When we have low self-esteem we often put the needs of other people above our own needs. Low self-esteem is putting a low value on ourselves. A great way to put our own needs first, to increase the value we place on ourselves, and in turn to boost self-esteem, is to do something everyday just for you. This isn’t something you need to do or have to do. It is something you want to do. I know for me this would be to have some time to myself, reading a travel magazine while enjoying a coffee in a café with a gorgeous view.
 

 
When we suffer with low self-esteem we often focus on the negative things about ourselves. We discount the positive. For example, if you receive a compliment do you instantly deflect it? Do you dwell excessively on a small criticism? If so, then this will contribute to low self-esteem.
 
A great way to combat this is to write down three good things about yourself every day. These could be physical features of yourself you like, skills and talents you have, or things you have done well that day. Feel free to write more than three. At first this can be very challenging but it gets easier with practice and you will notice a huge difference immediately.
 

 
Now that you are recognising the good things about yourself, you can start accepting the good things other people say about you. If you used to deflect compliments, start accepting compliments with a simple "thank you.” As well as boosting your self-esteem it is kinder to the person giving you the compliment.
 

 


 
Low-self esteem is very common, although many of us are not aware of how common it is. It can be very debilitating but the good news is that there are lots of simple, practical steps you can take to boost it. If you would like further information simply email cs@cs-hypnotherapy.co.uk.
 
 

 

 

Seven Secrets To Achieving Your Perfect Weight

 

 

Many of us would like to be slimmer. As obesity becomes an increasingly common problem, we are more aware of the health risks associated with being overweight. As well as the health risks, there are the emotional problems associated with being overweight, such as:

 

feeling self-conscious about the way you look

 

avoiding social situation and new relationships

 

being unable to find any clothes you want to wear

 

feeling breathless and tired

 

worrying about being judged by others or being a bad role model to your children

 

 

We know that in order to lose weight we need to eat fewer calories and exercise more. However, we can often find it difficult to apply these strategies. Why is this? What stops you from losing weight and being your ideal size and shape? The problem lies within our own minds.

 

The good news is that these problems can be overcome and you can gain control of your eating habits, your exercise and ultimately your weight.

 

 

Over the years working as a hypnotherapist, helping many people to lose weight, I have discovered the following seven secrets to weight loss.

 

 

Secret 1 – Have a clear goal in your mind

 

People often say "I want to be slimmer.” However, without a clearly defined goal, it is difficult to ever achieve this. Make a specific weight loss goal and apply a time frame to it.

 

For example, "I am going to lose twenty pounds by July.”

 

We are much more likely to reach a goal if it is clear in our minds. A great way is to find a photo of yourself at your perfect weight, or else, a celebrity you would like to look like. Then, put this photo somewhere you will see it frequently. This helps to get the goal firmly embedded in your mind. In addition to this, write out your weight loss goal and read it back to yourself each day. This increases your focus and determination by a huge amount. Research shows that you are more likely to achieve your goal if you make it public. So, if you are comfortable with doing so, then tell family and friends about it.

 

 

Secret 2 – A simple way to increase your determination

 

If you are struggling to stay motivated, this technique is wonderful. It is best done in hypnosis but can be done without. First of all write a list of all the ways your life will be better when you are slim. Write as many things down as you can think of. Then, write a list of all the consequences if you do not lose weight. List all of the detrimental effects that being overweight will have on your health, emotions, relationships and everything else.

 

Once you have done that enter hypnosis or simple get yourself into a relaxed state. A free guide to entering hypnosis is available from my website http://www.cs-hypnotherapy.co.uk/Mp3download.aspx

 

Then really imagine your life if you do not make the changes. Make it as real and vivid as possible. Then imagine how good your life will be when you do lose weight.

 

 

Secret 3 – A diet that works for you

 

It is so important to have a diet that works for you. This sounds obvious, but often people just use the latest fad diet. Spend some time researching different diet plans. Notice the differences between them. Perhaps ask friends who have lost weight, which diet they used. It could even be worth working with a nutritionist to develop your perfect diet plan.

 

 

Secret 4 – Exercise you enjoy

 

There is such a range of exercise available. If you hate the gym, don’t plan to lose weight by going to the gym. Find an exercise that suits you. Think about what you like. Do you prefer being indoors or outside? Do you prefer to exercise alone or to go to classes? Also think about which exercises you can easily fit into your life. If you used to enjoy exercise, but have found that over the years you find it difficult to motivate yourself, think about how you originally started to like it. Then, follow that same path again.

 

 

Secret 5 – Identify which needs you are fulfilling

 

There are many reasons why we eat. Of course, we eat to satisfy hunger. However, we also eat for reasons such as:

 

Boredom

 

To be sociable

 

Comfort

 

As a reward

 

To feel happier

 

Tiredness

 

 

A good way to identify which needs food is fulfilling, is to keep a food diary. As well as recording what you eat, record WHY you eat. Once you have identified the needs you are satisfying by eating, you can find other ways of satisfying those needs.

 

 

Secret 6 – Changing ‘All or Nothing’ thinking

 

All or Nothing thinking is a very common negative thinking pattern among people who struggle to lose weight. A good example of this is when you are eating healthily for weeks and losing weight. Then you have some chocolate and think, "that’s it the diet is ruined, I may as well each another three bars of chocolate.”

 

Sound familiar? Lapses do happen. When they occur it is important not to beat yourself up too much. See each lapse in isolation and find what you can learn from it to stop it from happening again.

 

 

Secret 7 – Changing limiting beliefs

 

If you were asked why you are not your ideal weight what would your answer be? The following answers are all examples of limiting beliefs:

 
  • I’ve always been fat

  • I don’t have time to cook good food and exercise

  • I’ve had children

  • I will lose weight when I get more time

     

    Any reason you state as a reason why you have not yet achieved your perfect body, is a limiting belief. Limiting beliefs are usually false and not based on real evidence. Once you have identified these limiting beliefs you can find more logical ways of thinking.

     

     

    By applying these seven secrets you can greatly improve your chances of success. I can work with you on a one to one basis in my therapy centre, using hypnotherapy. If you would like a free initial consultation get in touch on cs@cs-hypnotherapy.co.uk or 07725255896. You can also download the Hypnosis for Weight Loss MP3 from my website http://www.cs-hypnotherapy.co.uk/Mp3download.aspx.

     

The Secrets to achieving your New Year goals
 

New Year is upon us and this is the time of year when we traditionally make resolutions and set goals. Frustratingly, we often fail to obtain these goals. How many times have you started a new year with good intentions to lose weight / find a partner / make more money / see friends more, only to find yourself back to your old habits very quickly?

I’m going to teach you how to reach your goals, whatever they may be.

First of all, buy yourself something to write your goals in. This could be a pretty little notebook or even just an app on your phone. Write down your goal for the New Year. Make it as specific as you can. Include precise measurements and time frames.

For example, instead of writing,

"I want to be rich,” write "I will earn £70,000 by the end of 2014.”

Or, instead of writing,

"I want to lose weight,” write "I will lose 1 stone by July.”

Once you have written the goals down, read them aloud to yourself twice a day. This might feel a little strange at first. However, by reading them aloud you are embedding the goals, in your subconscious mind, in two places. You’re embedding them in the part that processes visual stimuli (the writing) and the part that processes sound (the words being spoken aloud.)

This process, when repeated daily firmly embeds the goal into your subconscious mind.

By doing this you are focussing your mind on achieving your goals. Try doing this for just a few days and you will see the difference it makes. You begin to notice opportunities you had not previously noticed. You will also change your mind set with regards to your goal.

Research shows that people are more likely to stick to their plans when they have written them down. The same research also showed that people who make their plans and goals public are far more likely to achieve them. This makes sense. If you tell people what you hope to achieve then it adds an extra pressure. We also do not like to appear incongruent, either to ourselves or to others. Therefore, when we make a public affirmation we stick to it for fear of appearing false and untrustworthy.

If you feel comfortable doing so I recommend telling people about your goals and resolutions.

We move towards goals if we have a very clear view of them. Take some time to imagine you have already achieved your goal. Imagine you are rich or slim or confident, whatever your goal is.

Really enjoy this exercise. Take your time, close your eyes and imagine, in as much detail as possible, what life is like when you have achieved your goal.

What is the different and what is the same?

What do you see?

What do you hear?

What do you feel?

What do you taste and smell?

Who is with you?

How do you know that you have achieved your goal?

This is a fun exercise so repeat it as often as you like.

The purpose of this exercise is to focus your mind on achieving what you desire. It also changes your mind set. As you really think of yourself as being a slim / rich / more organised person, you change the way you think and behave to fit with this new version of yourself. You will find that by doing this exercise you begin to think and behave in a way which is consistent with your goals.

Often, we start the year with big, ambitious goals. Of course, it’s good to aim high. However, very large goals can be daunting and sometimes it can be helpful to break down big goals into a series of smaller short term goals. For example, if your goal is to save a deposit for a house, perhaps break this down into bi-monthly saving goals.

One of the biggest obstacles we can face when trying to reach our goals is the fear of failure. Often, people avoid aiming high, because they think it is better to cruise along where they are, rather than aim for better and risk failing.

This is a ridiculous way to think. Often, the worst case scenario is simply a bruised ego and a few "I told you so” from other people. The risks associated with not fulfilling your goals are often not that bad. Whereas the potential benefits of achieving our goals can be fantastic. Do you find yourself fearing failure?

From now on adopt the new belief that there is no failure only feedback.

No failure only feedback is a great motto. Any time we encounter obstacles or make mistakes, we can use these as learning experiences. See any issues in isolation, a small lapse. Do not view any setbacks as proof that the goal is unachievable.

Whenever you do encounter an obstacle or setback, take the time to evaluate what happened and how you can do things differently next time. For example, if you are losing weight but one day eat a box of chocolates, don’t think "that’s it, my diet is ruined.”

Instead think about what triggered the chocolate eating.

Was it that you were sad / stressed / tired?

Did someone offer them to you and it was sociable to eat them?

Then think about what you could do differently next time.

As children, we learn how to behave by copying the actions of others. Many of us assume this learning process ends with childhood. However, this learning process, called modelling, continues through our adult lives. We can use modelling to our advantage.

Identify someone who has achieved the goal you are aiming for. It may be someone you know who has a good marriage or job. Someone who is slim and healthy. I’m sure you can think of someone you know who has reached the point where you would like to be.

Now, learn from them. Observe their posture, the way they act and speak. What do they talk about? How do they respond in different situations? If you know them well enough you can even ask them how they achieved it.

Imagine stepping into their shoes. Imagine thinking, acting and feeling like them. At first this feels very strange and fake. However, as you absorb the idea of being that better version of yourself, you change your thinking patterns to move towards where you want to be.

Sometimes we can put obstacles in our own way and subconsciously stop ourselves from reaching our goals. Think hard and honestly about this next question.

What are the disadvantages to achieving you goal or resolution?

If you stop smoking will you miss out on the social breaks at work?

If you lose weight will you receive unwelcome attention from the opposite sex?

Are you worried that having more money will make you a nasty person?

Sometimes we have beliefs which prevent us from achieving our goals. Firstly examine each of these beliefs to see if it is logical. It is illogical to think that simply because you have more money you will become a nasty person.

If your worry is logical then think about ways you can overcome the problem. Using the example of smoking, could you swap cigarette breaks for tea breaks at work?

The New Year is a great opportunity to set goals and make improvements in your life. What will your goals and resolutions be?

Increase your chances of achieving your goals by:

Making them specific and writing them down

Make them public

Vividly imagine you have already achieved them

Break the goal down into short term and long term goals

Embrace the fear of failure

Model other people

Identify any disadvantages of achieving your goal and find a way to deal with that.

Stay focussed and make 2014 the year you get what you want.

Panic attacks – I think I'm going to die!
 

The title "I think I'm going to die” might seem somewhat overdramatic. However, for a person experiencing a panic attack, this is exactly how they feel. Obviously, thinking you're going to die is utterly terrifying. Suffering from panic attacks is very debilitating. They can often strike with very little warning and are very traumatic to experience.

 

The sufferer often has a racing heart, palpitations, sweating, feelings of breathlessness and intense fear. They think they will faint, have a heart attack or die.

 

They worry about losing control and begin to develop a fear of having a panic attack. Or they might worry that they are going crazy.

 

So what causes panic attacks? There are many theories about this but I will discuss two of the most common ones here. The first is that panic attacks are caused by a physical problem, possible an imbalance of chemicals in the body. The second is that panic attacks are caused and prolonged by distorted thinking patterns, also called cognitions.

 

If we explore the biochemical theory first, that is that panic attacks are caused by a chemical imbalance. There is evidence to support this theory. It's possible that the levels of the neurotransmitter GABA-A are imbalanced within the limbic system of the brain, in people who are prone to panic attacks. The limbic system regulates our "Fight or Flight” response. Our "Fight or Flight” response, when turned on, causes the symptoms seen in a panic attack, such as a racing heart, fast breathing, blood being diverted away from the brain to the muscles etc.

 

Most of the evidence to support the biochemical theory of panic attacks came from the fact that panic attacks can be induced in laboratory experiments by injecting people with sodium lactate. However, in experiments, only those people who suffered from panic attacks in everyday life, suffered a panic attack. Those that had never suffered from panic attacks, or who had recovered from panic attacks did not have a panic attack in experimental settings.

 

If there is a physical cause for panic attacks then logically we should treat them with medication. Xanax (an anti-anxiety drug) is commonly used to treat panic attacks and can reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks. The fact that this drugs works at alleviating panic attacks lends support to the notion that panic attacks have a physical cause.

 

Unfortunately taking Xanax does have side effects including drowsiness, weight changes, sleep problems and dizziness.

 

When an individual stops taking the drugs the relapse rate is disappointingly high. When the drug is stopped, panic rebounds to where it was before therapy for about half of the sufferers.

 

So let's look at an alternative theory, that panic attacks are caused by distorted thoughts. This theory, ‘The Cognitive Theory', proposes that panic attacks are caused by the individual misinterpreting the symptoms of anxiety as something more sinister and leading to a vicious circle of increased anxiety.

 

When we become anxious our sympathetic nervous system kicks in, initiating our Fight or Flight response. This causes our heart rate to increase, our blood pressure to increase, our breathing to quicken etc. Instead of recognising these symptoms as signs of anxiety the sufferer interprets them as something else.

 

For example, they interpret the increased heart rate as a sign that they are having a heart attack. Or they interpret the fast, shallow breathing as suffocation or choking. Thinking you are dying or suffocating, understandably leads to increased anxiety, and the problem perpetuates itself.

 

This theory explains why only those people who were already prone to suffering from panic attacks, had a panic attack in the experimental settings.

 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), that is, helping the sufferer to understand how their thoughts about their symptoms can, in turn, cause the symptoms has been proven to be very beneficial for treating panic attacks. When cognitive therapy has been tested in controlled experiments, 90% - 100% of patients were cured after receiving cognitive therapy. This is a wonderfully high success rate. [1]

 

 

Using cognitive therapy, which is part of the hypnotherapy package I offer, these thoughts and reactions can be changed. I also teach relaxation techniques which are hugely beneficial if my client begins to feel nervous.

 

Nobody should suffer from panic attacks unnecessarily. If you would be benefit from hypnotherapy to alleviate panic attacks, or if you know someone who would then do get in touch on:

 

http://www.cs-hypnotherapy.co.uk/or 07725255896.

 


[1] D Clark, "Anxiety States: Panic and Generalised Anxiety,” in K. Hawton, P. Salkovskis, J Kirk,and D.Clark, eds., Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Psychiatric Problems: A Practical Guide (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 76-77

 
What is postnatal depression and how can it be treated?
 
Having a new baby is a life changing event. Feeling emotional and tearful in the first few days after a baby is born is known as the baby blues and these feelings usually subside in a few days or weeks. However, at least 10% of women go on to develop postnatal depression (PND), often when the baby is between four and six months old, although it can emerge at any time in the first year.
 

Despite its prevalence, PND is often very difficult to talk about. The new mum often feels that she should be ecstatic about having a new baby and there are a lot of social pressures to appear delighted, even if the mother feels very low. New mums also worry that talking about PND, or feeling depressed, means they are a bad mother.

There are many potential contributing factors to PND. Fortunately, there is also a lot of help and practical advice available, which you can use to feel better.
 

Childbirth itself is an incredibly traumatic experience for some women. Many women need support and help after the birth, to come to terms with it and recover from the trauma. However, it is usually assumed that once the baby is born the mother will forget all about childbirth and be completely joyful. Talking about your birth experience can really help. The NHS does offer a counselling service for women suffering from Birth Trauma.

The Birth Trauma Association http://www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk/also offers some practical advice. In addition to these resources, there are some great techniques I use as part of my hypnotherapy practice, which minimise how significant the event appears to the mother. By using these techniques I can cause the trauma of the birth to have a much smaller impact on the mother.
 
Many women also find breast feeding very challenging to learn. Again, there is a lot of social pressure on women to breast feed. If she struggles to breastfeed, a woman might feel as though she has failed in some way, or is a bad mother. Once again talking to your midwife or health visitor can help. They will be able to put you in touch with breastfeeding counselors (in the Bournemouth area at least) who will visit you at home and help you. Some women put so much pressure on themselves, that if they do not live up to their own high expectations, they feel very disappointed with themselves, which can lead to depression. It's important to see setbacks in their true perspective and not to magnify them.
 

There are many physical elements which can lead to PND. The hormonal rollercoaster a new mother's body has endured could lead to PND. Lack of sleep can also be very debilitating. As can recovering from a difficult birth or a caesarean section. Looking after a new born baby, especially if they sleep badly or cry a lot, is very stressful for new parents. Learning relaxation techniques will really help throughout this phase of parenthood. Hypnosis is a very relaxing state to be in, so listening to hypnosis CDs and learning relaxation techniques are very useful.

Also don't be afraid to ask for help. Friends and family can often take the pressure off you by helping to look after the baby.
 

Some new mothers also find it difficult to adapt to their new role. They might feel a loss of their own identity. A new mum might also feel lonely and isolated, if caring for her new baby makes it more difficult to catch up with friends. Again, talking about the problem can help. Check out mother and baby classes in your local area. These classes are a great way to meet other women who are in the same position as you and can provide valuable social support.

The causes of PND are complex and can vary massively from woman to woman. If you are suffering from PND or know someone who is, the most important thing is to talk about the problem and ask for help. GPs and health visitors can provide you with a range of help and resources. Talking therapies such as counselling or hypnotherapy are also fantastic for working through the issues and giving you the tools and techniques you need to recover. As part of the hypnotherapy I offer I incorporate a lot of cognitive-behavioural therapy, which is recommended by the NHS for PND. The NHS online also provides useful information on the following link: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Postnataldepression/Pages/Introduction.aspx
 

There is no reason to suffer unnecessarily.

If you would like any more information about how hypnotherapy can be used to treat postnatal depression please do get in touch.
 
 
 
 
 
How I became a hypnotherapist
 
I often get asked how I got into hypnotherapy – it is quite an unusual career after all. Understandably, people can feel concerned about hypnotherapy. They often associate the whole field of hypnotherapy with what they see on TV - stage tricks and past life regression - when actually, this is not what hypnotherapy is about.
 

In fact, my own dad thought I was pursuing a calling as a clairvoyant when I started this career!

 
So, how did I get into it?
 
Well, I've always had an interest in psychology and biology, particularly the mind/body interaction. I did a degree in Biomedical Sciences, specialising in how the brain and mind work. However, I ended up working in investment banking, after university, a job completely unrelated to my degree.
 
Some years later I had a very difficult birth with my first daughter. I'll avoid too much detail here that would cause women to cross their legs and men to cover their ears, but suffice to say I was not keen to repeat the experience.
 
When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I was very anxious about the birth. I was on a one woman mission, to persuade the medical profession to get an epidural anaesthetic put in at six months pregnancy, and to leave it there until I had a baby. Needless to say this mission was unsuccessful. A physiotherapist I was being treated by, seeing the desperate panic in my eyes, recommended hypnotherapy to me. I didn't really know anything about hypnotherapy, and didn't have high expectations but I was willing to give it a try.
 
Well, it changed my life.
 
After just one session I had changed from being the "get the epidural ready now” lady to feeling relaxed, excited and confident about the birth. When the big day came I was so relaxed and the techniques worked so well that the birth was easy and I became an instant convert to hypnotherapy.
 
My friends and family were also amazed at the difference in me.
 
Around the same time in my life I was very stressed at work. I had a demanding job with high pressure to meet targets. I'm sure many of you are familiar with that sensation of feeling that you are drowning in your workload and fearing what will happen if you can't do it all. I began to use hypnotherapy to help with stress and once again I found it fantastically effective.
 
I was such a big fan of hypnotherapy and had really benefitted from it in my own life. I wanted to share this fantastic therapy and make hypnotherapy my career.
 
So, after extensive research, I found the best hypnotherapy school in the UK and embarked on learning. I knew that the workload would be massive and I was prepared for a hard slog. And I was right, the workload was massive, but I found the subject of hypnotherapy so fascinating that I enjoyed every aspect of the training. Yes, I am a geek, and stand up proudly as a hypno-geek.
 
Since qualifying and working as a successful hypnotherapist here in the South West I continue to love my work. It's fascinating and so rewarding to see so many people changing their lives for the better.
 
 
 
This below article is a variation on an article of mine published in The Hypnotherapy Journal this Autumn.
 
Dancing chickens and gastric bands
As both a previous client of hypnotherapy and now a qualified hypnotherapist I have always been acutely aware of the complex relationship between hypnosis and its portrayal in the media.
 
 
I was flicking through the women’s magazine Top Santé recently and was delighted to stumble across a magazine article discussing hypnotherapy and comparing it to other alternative treatments. This magazine article took a very educated, objective view of hypnotherapy. This particular article discussed treatments for a fear of flying and compared hypnotherapy with two other alternative therapies. The two other treatments were TFT and NLP (which I am also a practitioner in). It’s so refreshing to see the wonderful field of hypnotherapy reaching the modern media for the correct reasons. This particular article described techniques, which are commonly used by hypnotherapists as a successful treatment for phobias. What was even better about this article was that the author reported a significant improvement with her phobia. Finally! Hypnosis and hypnotherapy are being recognised and rewarded for the right reasons.
 
 
 
Unfortunately the image of hypnotherapy is not always as accurate as it deserves to be. I still so frequently hear the question "Will I be made to dance like a chicken?” Of course no client would ever be made to dance like a chicken. Even if there were some therapeutic gain to this (which is highly improbably) when in hypnosis you are always in full control. Although, of course, I do understand why some clients ask this question.
 
 
 
The connotations of the word hypnosis and by association, hypnotherapy are currently greatly influenced by the history of stage hypnosis. Stage hypnosis is still a popular form of entertainment, often performing in theatres and clubs. More modern forms of stage hypnosis are also performed on the street. In particular, I’m sure many of us remember, that in the 1990s the appetite for stage hypnosis among the public grew to such an extent that ITV began broadcasting The Hypnotic World of Paul McKenna which was hugely popular.
 
 
 
I am not in any way dismissive of stage hypnosis. I think this is a fascinating field and studying it provides great insight into human psychology. Stage hypnosis has also done a great deal to increase the profile of hypnosis and hypnotherapy as a whole and keep it in mainstream consciousness. Individuals such as Derren Brown invoke so much interest in the subject of hypnosis, that people cannot help but be interested in finding out more about this fascinating subject. However this can be a double-edged sword in terms of how hypnotherapy is portrayed. Although shows such as Derren Brown’s make more people aware of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, they also give the impression that you will somehow lose control in hypnosis, which of course is simply not true. However, articles such as the one I mentioned earlier from Top Santé are fantastic at portraying hypnosis and hypnotherapy in a fair and modern light. As a hypnotherapist I think it would be brilliant to see more such articles in modern mainstream media. There are already a lot of signs that this is already occurring. I’m seeing more and more articles on the internet about procedures such as Hypnotic Gastric Bands. I hope this is a trend that will continue and more people will be introduced to the wonderful world of hypnotherapy.
 
 
 
I will be interested to see how that complex and inter-dependent relationship of hypnotherapy and the media will continue to evolve over the next few years.
 
 
 
My below article was published in Something Borrowed Magazine in Autumn 2012.
 
 
 
Arranged the cake? Bought the dress? Calmed the nerves?
 
 
 

Although your wedding is something to feel exhilarated and excited about, it's also very common to feel anxious, worried or stressed. Sometimes this can manifest itself as a general feeling of feeling stress. Some people suffer from insomnia or full blown panic attacks. Perhaps you are finding yourself getting very snappy and turning into the dreaded "Bridezilla!” If these feelings sound familiar to you, rest assured that this is perfectly normal. As a hypnotherapist, working in Dorset, I've seen my fair share of anxious brides-to-be.

In among all the excitement of writing guest lists and looking at dresses there's also many aspects of organising a wedding which can make people feel anxious such as:

The stress of organising such a big event

Hoping everything will go to plan

Being the centre of attention

Fear of flying to your honeymoon destination

Making a speech

Although hypnotherapy is widely associated with weight loss it's also a fantastic treatment for any anxiety related issues. The good news is that there are a few, easy to learn, self-hypnosis techniques that you can use to alleviate anxiety.

Here is a technique, which, when practised regularly, really helps to increase mental calmness and tranquillity:

The Safe Place Technique

1) Get yourself into a nice, quiet, relaxing place where you won't be disturbed.

2) Close your eyes and simply concentrate on your breathing

3) With each breath, imagine yourself becoming more and more relaxed. As you breathe any worries simply melt away.

4) In your mind bring yourself into a place where you feel completely safe, relaxed and at-ease. It could be a real place or somewhere you've designed in your own imagination.

5) See, hear and feel all the details of your safe place and with each detail that you notice, become aware of your increased relaxation.

6) Practice regularly and you'll soon be able to bring yourself into your safe place of relaxation whenever you need to.

The Safe Place technique is really good to lower general levels of stress and anxiety. However, if there is one particular aspect of the wedding, perhaps walking down the aisle or making a speech, which is really worrying you then the Specific Situation technique is a fantastic one to use.

The Specific Situation Technique

1) Identify the specific situation which causes you to worry.

2) Get yourself into a nice, quiet, relaxing place where you won't be disturbed and close your eyes.

3) Imagine tensing all the muscles in your face, don't actually tense them just imagine tensing them.

4) Now imagine all the muscles in your face relaxing. Really allow them to relax to a greater level of relaxation.

5) Repeat in turn with the muscles of your neck, shoulders, arms, hands, back, stomach, legs and feet.

6) Notice how relaxed you now are. Then take a big breath and as you breathe out allow yourself to relax even more deeply.

7) In this state of relaxation imagine being in the situation which causes you to worry. Really put yourself there and see, hear and feel everything around you

8) Continue to concentrate on feeling completely relaxed.

9) If at any stage you start to feel anxious, allow the image of the specific situation to drift from your mind, and concentrate again on tensing and relaxing muscles.

10) When you feel completely relaxed again, take yourself back in your mind to your situation.

11) Repeat as many times as is necessary so that you feel deeply relaxed when you think about your specific situation.

I hope you find these techniques useful in ensuring that your wedding day is romantic, happy, and of course, anxiety-free!

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