AfSFH Blog

Welcome to the AfSFH blog page!

Our blogs are designed to further the aims of the AfSFH, which are to increase public awareness about Solution Focused Hypnotherapy and its benefits, and to support our therapists and their clients.

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  • 01 Apr 2021 11:21 AM | Trevor Eddolls (Administrator)

    Written by Jane Pendry
    As a hypnotherapist, helping people with anxiety-related issues, I am often asked: “What are the most common fears and phobias you work with?”
    The answer is, indisputably, fears and phobias related to travelling.

    Note: although the ‘stay at home’ rule ended on 29 March, there are still many restrictions in place, which will be removed as we move into summer. However, many people are already planning to travel later in the year.

    Fears related to travel
    Fears related to travelling may be linked to everyday travel, or travelling overseas, which is even more out of our comfort zone.

    Travelling fears can include:

    • Fear of travel itself – hodophobia
    • Fear of flying – aerophobia
    • Fear of driving – vehophobia
    • Fear of being a passenger – amaxophobia
    • Fear of being ill – emetophobia, germophobia
    • Fear of insects – entomophobia
    • Fear of spiders – arachnophobia
    • Agoraphobia and Claustrophobia

    What causes these fears, what drives us to tackle them, and what can be done to resolve them?

    Above all, how do we get from the fearful place to here …

    Why do we create fears around travel?
    When we travel somewhere new, by definition we are out of our comfort zone. That makes us anxious.

    Photo by Ludovico Lovisetto on UnsplashAnd there are a host of other reasons why travelling becomes stressful.

    The most common reported causes in my clinic are:

    Becoming a Parent
    Being responsible for a vulnerable baby, and then driving with the baby in the car understandably can lead to heightened anxiety. This anxiety can develop into a persistent fear or phobia. I see a lot of young mothers with fear around driving.

    A lack of experience  
    Quite simply, if travelling is a new experience because there hasn’t been any opportunity to travel, it’s natural to be anxious and fearful. It may be that research and planning, practical knowledge, and skills will overcome those anxieties. However, when the fear feels overwhelming and debilitating, and it is stopping you from travelling, it may to time to seek help.

    Past trauma
    If someone has been in a car accident or in a particularly turbulent and dramatic flight, the fear of the experience can become embedded in the mind, creating persistent fear and anxiety, or a full-on flying phobia. This is a very common problem and quite easy to resolve.

    A build up of stress and anxiety over time
    Simply being very stressed or anxious makes anything that requires your focused attention, or any new activities, feel overwhelming. It may be that you are just stressed and overwhelmed in general. Then all you need to do is reduce stress and sort your sleep patterns, and travelling will once again become effortless and enjoyable.

    Phobias
    When fear of traveling becomes a phobia it’s called hodophobia.
    This phobia can manifest itself in many different ways, from procrastination and hesitancy, to avoiding travelling to any new places.

    Photo by Hanson Lu on UnsplashFor some people, the fear of driving or travelling on a bus can be so overwhelming, they struggle to a leave home at all. Such an intense fear or phobia can then lead to social isolation, generalised anxiety, depression, and even conditions like OCD.

    While some people’s fears are linked to specific modes of transport, such as planes or trains, others fear being a passenger in a car or driving.
    For many, fear of travelling is linked to another phobia such as agoraphobia (fear of wide open spaces) or claustrophobia (fear of small spaces).

    Self-limiting beliefs
    We carry with us self-limiting beliefs, often instilled from childhood. We believe things like: “I’m not good enough, I’m not clever enough, I’ll never be able to …”. We all have real physical limitations but many of these are in our mind.

    It’s all in the Mind!
    Being in a state of overwhelming fear moves people into their primitive minds, making it really challenging to manage all the organisation involved in travelling – checking-in luggage, going through check in, following security procedures, or dealing with delays.

    Every part of the journey becomes overly challenging.

    All of these issues are linked to how the brain works and how we move from the intellectual sensible part of the brain to the irrational primitive part when we are under threat. When that happens, we literally cannot think rationally, solve problems, or come up with new solutions.

    All of these fears can be resolved.

    The good news is that all of these issues can be resolved in most cases with Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.

    Motivations for Overcoming Travel Phobia
    Here are some of the many reasons people are driven to overcome hodophobia and related phobias.

    Family life
    We don’t want to pass our fears on to our children – we want to be able to drive them to school or after school clubs. A family wedding or funeral and other family gatherings mean we may need to drive longer distances – out of our locality and out comfort zone.

    Work and Career
    We need to travel to work or to conferences and training events further afield. We want to move forward in our career and that may require driving or flying.

    Holidays
    Our partner, our family, or ourselves would like to travel to new interesting destinations with confidence and without fear.

    Social life
    Our social life has become restricted and we don’t want to be socially isolated; or we just want to make new interesting friends.

    Overcoming your Fear of Travelling
    Whatever the reason we know that it’s relatively quick, easy and cost-effective to resolve irrational fears, phobias, and even traumas linked to driving, flying, or travelling overseas.

    Most fears related to travelling are the result of general anxiety or a loss of confidence. In this case a short course of Hypnotherapy resolves most travel related phobias.

    Overcoming Phobias
    Phobias are remarkably easy to resolve with Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.

    Photo by Wouter Naert on UnsplashI’m always amazed at how few people choose to resolve their phobias. Usually, they have simply adjusted their lives around their phobia. It feels part of who they are.

    When the phobia is shifted so quickly and painlessly, they are often astounded and wish they had done it sooner.

    Resolving Past Traumas
    We treat travel and phobias linked to traumas slightly differently. By literally ‘Rewinding’ the trauma and changing the way we tackle events, it’s possible to resolve the trauma completely.

    Reducing Anxiety Related Fears
    For any fear related to anxiety, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is usually the best approach. By calming the central nervous system and facilitating the client to change the way they think, act, and react at a subconscious level, hypnotherapy both reduces stress and anxiety and builds confidence and resilience

    Solution Focused Approaches
    All Solution Focused approaches focus on now and the future – the outcomes you want, NOT the problems you don’t want. So, with travel related phobias, clients are encouraged to create a vivid picture of how they want their life to be when their phobia or fear has been resolved.

    The Solution Focused Hypnotherapy works like this…

    I ask questions.
    Imagine this problem was solved for you, what would you notice?

    Will you be able pick up your children from school, to take the baby to hospital, or drop the children off to sleepovers?

    Will you go on holiday, travel somewhere really interesting, visit relatives overseas?

    Will you be able to go to a family event? What would it mean to you if you could? Why is that important to you?

    You create your Preferred Future
    The description of how things will be when you have resolved your travel fears and related phobias is called the Preferred Future.

    We want this to be as vivid as possible. Once you have defined the outcome you want, you are telling your subconscious mind what you want the outcome to be. Now your subconscious knows what you want, it can start helping you to get there.

    By shifting out of your negative problem-focused brain, and describing the wonderful vision of yourself driving, flying, or visiting somewhere new – and creating a vivid picture in your mind – you are already beginning to create that future.

    Scaling and Incremental Steps
    The Solution Focused scaling exercise involves measuring where you are on a scale between 0 to 10.

    We start with the idea that a score of 10 is your Preferred Future – the picture of how you want things to be.

    Let’s say your 10 is when you are inter-railing across Europe knowing everything is planned and feeling excited and joyful.

    Or your 10 might be simply being able to get in a plane, feeling calm and in control.

    Or your 10 might be driving down to the coast as naturally as you drive to the local shop.

    Where are you now?
    Once we have established what your 10 is, I ask:

    “If 10 is your Preferred Future, and 0 is as far away from that goal as possible… Where are you now?”

    You throw out a number. It’s subjective and instinctive.

    Perhaps you say 3.

    I ask, “Why are you a 3 and not a 0?”

    You reflect a little and consider all the things that are working well – things that make you believe you could successfully travel.

    Scenario 1: You have a passport, you’ve been in Europe before, you speak basic French etc. And together we explore everything else that’s in place that will help you reach your goal.

    Scenario 2: You can drive to the shops and work every day feeling relaxed, calm, and in control at the moment.

    The Miracle Question
    Then it’s the Solution Focused Miracle Question. It goes like this.

    “If you went to bed tonight, and a miracle has happened, and when you woke up you were 4 on the scale – that’s one step forward – what would you notice was different? “

    The idea is that you are starting to imagine and create that preferred future, one step at a time.

    Your preferred future is being manifested. You are making steady incremental changes that will take you to your vision of the ideal travelling experience.

    Hypnotherapy or Hypno-coaching
    The gentle, safe process of hypnosis helps you envisage and embed your preferred future, and trains your subconscious mind to be calm and in control in all circumstances, to confidently plan forward and to remain calm and in control.

    Imagination and reality
    Your travelling dreams are becoming a reality. The subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between imagination and reality. So, by imagining your perfect journey or journeys, you are rehearsing that reality.

    Photo by ardito ryan Harrisna on UnsplashYou create a ‘pull’ motivation that’s so strong it pulls you forward to your desired outcome (rather than away from your fears which doesn’t work so well as a motivation). 

    Start where you want to end.
    You can do this exercise now.
    Write down the month and year you want to travel. Now write what you are doing in that day, in the present tense and in vivid first-person narrative (I am... not I will be) what you will be doing.

    Create your Preferred Future
    “It’s Summer 2022.  I am in a train going across Europe. I am visiting [list countries] and staying in mid-priced hotels with friends. I have a comfortable budget of £3,000 and am enjoying making new friends, seeing new sites, and learning the basics of new languages.”

    Now take a few minutes to close your eyes and imagine you are at this ideal destination. Ask yourself …

    • What am I be seeing?
    • What am I doing?
    • What can I taste, smell, touch?

    Make the sensations very real in your mind. Linger there for a while. How does it make you feel?

    You have created a vivid, experiential vision of your future. A vision so compelling you are motivated to get there.

    That is the power of your imagination.

    Planning ahead
    Realising this vision will, of course, take some effort and planning. But now you have a clear vision to keep you focused and motivated.

    Discussing your plans with experienced travellers and travel experts will help you work out what you need to do to get there: passports, flights, booking trains and hotels, ensuring you travel safely, know what to pack, and so forth.

    Envisioning your dream journey will give you the motivation to do the work that will get you where you want to go.

    Your Preferred Future is Happening Now
    Notice, we write the Preferred Future or Goal as if it’s happening right now … but it is dated in the future.

    Pin your Preferred Future on the fridge and look at it every day. Every decision you make with regard to travelling takes you closer to this vision and keeps your mind clear and focused on the outcome you want.

    Solution Focused Hypnotherapy to Help you Realise your Dreams
    Imagining your future in this vivid way, will likely just give you the confidence you need to create your travel dreams.

    However, if you need some support or help removing or managing your self-limiting beliefs, fears, phobias, or anxiety, then Solution Focused Hypnotherapy might be the answer.

    Through Solution Focused Hypnotherapy you can learn the right strategies to stay calm and relaxed wherever and however you travel. In no time at all, you will be able to stay calm and in control when traveling by car, train, or plane; travelling to friends and relatives, and travelling to far flung exotic countries.

    Good luck overcoming your travelling fears and enjoy happy travelling.

    Jane Pendry DSFH, HPD, BA Hons (London), PGCE (Cantab)Reg CNHC, AfSFH, ABNLP, ABH, IARTT
    Sense-Ability Hypnotherapy & Coaching
    35 Farm Close Road, Wheatley, Oxon OX33 1XJ
    p: 07843 813 883
    e: jane@sense-ability.co.uk
    w:
     www.sense-ability.co.uk
    f:
     fb.com/jane.pendry.9693
    t:
     twitter.com/Sense_AbilityUK



  • 01 Mar 2021 2:54 PM | Trevor Eddolls (Administrator)

    Written by Jane Pendry
    If you, or someone you know, suffers from OCD or obsessive ruminating, it’s likely that coronavirus, with the attendant barrage of press coverage, social media comment, and overwhelming pervasive presence, has made things worse.

    Luckily, obsessive thinking, ruminating or rituals can be overcome painlessly and relatively quickly with Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, SFH.

    By addressing what’s happening in the subconscious mind, SFH helps sufferers to free themselves from distressing and pervasive obsessions and habits, and the accompanying generalised anxiety that underpins it.

    What is an obsession?
    An obsession is when unwanted and unpleasant thoughts, images, or urges repeatedly enter a person’s mind, causing anxiety, unease, or distress. When obsessions, ruminating, and repeated unhelpful rituals begin to dominate your life, it’s time to seek help.

    Photo by STIL on UnsplashBy resolving these issues, clients can get their lives back on track: improve work performance and relationships, create enjoyable social lives, and start new hobbies.

    What is OCD?
    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD describes a condition where a person is overwhelmed by obsessive thoughts or compulsive and repetitive activities. When obsessions develop into pervasive OCD, all aspects of life are affected. The impact, of course, will be unique in every case but it’s likely that work, relationships, and friendships will be negatively impacted.

    How does obsessive thinking affect people?
    OCD, obsessive thinking, and ruminating, in varying degrees of severity, are very common. As our lives in the modern world become ever more stressful, our brains struggle to adapt to the increasing demands and challenges we face.

    If you, or someone you know, struggles with unwanted and intrusive negative thoughts, checks the front door is locked over-and-over again, has repetitive habits that bring no relief to anxiety, or has an obsession with germs and cleanliness, then every day is profoundly stressful.

    It’s important to distinguish here between increased hand-washing in response to government advice related to the coronavirus, and obsessive hand-washing that is out of proportion and out of control.

    We are all thinking more about our behaviour, and being more cautious. However, if you can’t ‘switch off’, obsessively watch the news, or frequently ruminate on what could happen or might happen, you have developed an unhelpful habit.

    When you manifest obvious damaging physical habits, eg your hands become red raw, or severely dry and cracked, or you start pulling your hair out, literally, you know you have a more serious problem.

    One effect of OCD is the constant worry that something terrible is going to happen. It’s exhausting.

    Over time, family and friends struggle to understand or give support. The long-term result can be social isolation and emotional torment, leading to generalised anxiety and depression.

    How does hypnotherapy work with OCD?
    Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is proven to help sufferers gently resolve these challenges by steadily changing perceptions embedded in the subconscious mind, and breaking the pattern of negative and repetitive thinking, and catastrophizing.

    It’s important to stress here that I, and other Solution Focused Hypnotherapists, do not diagnose. We respond to each client’s assessment of their own issues, however they define them.

    WHAT CAUSES OCD?
    The roots of OCD are founded in our primitive mind. Our hunter-gatherer subconscious mind sees the world from the worst possible point of view. It’s still primed to protect us from sabre-toothed tigers and warring tribes. It’s tries to do that by telling us to run, fight, or hide.

    In our modern times, our subconscious mind continues to try to protect us by obsessively trying to resolve things, order them, or create rituals we know make no sense. These negative patterns of thinking end up in our ‘stress bucket’, which over fills, and we can end up in a permanent state of stress and anxiety.

    Once stress pushes us to become constantly anxious, we are living in our primitive minds. When that happens, we are not able to think or act rationally. Perhaps some ritual or pattern of behaviour coincided with a good outcome, so we form an association and repeat the behaviour, even though our rational mind understands this makes no sense. Then the pattern of behaviour is repeated, modified, and becomes essential to our perceived survival.

    The good news is, if we had the imagination to create the problem in the first place, we have the imagination to reverse it.

    How can solution-focused hypnotherapy help?
    Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a gentle process that works by changing subconscious thought patterns, forging new neural pathways that promote healthy ways of responding to stress, and creating positive patterns of thinking, acting, and reacting.

    Using Solution Focused coaching and therapy methods, clients can envisage the behaviour and patterns of thinking they would prefer; and the various SFH methods are then tailored to help clients realise their preferred vision of the future.

    In our initial consultation, Solution Focused Hypnotherapists will explain how the brain works and how it creates obsessive thinking in the first place (and how common and natural this). After a detailed assessment, we discuss how we will work together to resolve the defined problem. We also provide a free relaxation recording following the consultation, which is an important part of the therapeutic process.

    Case studies
    Helen had an understandable fear related to death after a personal tragedy. She was partly haunted by trauma; and partly caught in a pattern of obsessive thinking and ruminating linked to that trauma.

    A series of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy sessions enabled Helen to reduce her anxiety to manageable levels, improve her sleep routines, and break the habits and obsessive thought processes that caused her to feel overwhelmingly anxious when her children left the house.

    Sometimes obsessions are related to a specific issue. Harry (not his real name) was obsessing over something that had gone wrong in his relationship some time previously. He couldn’t stop thinking and obsessing about past events.

    For Harry, Solution Focused Brief Therapy helped him create preferred patterns of thinking which he embedded over time through hypnosis, while working to reduce his overall stress.

    Harry explained, “I just couldn’t move on, even though the original issue had been resolved. It was like a stuck record going round and round on the same track… I couldn’t forget. Images of past events were intruding on my thoughts. I couldn’t sleep. I felt more and more anxious. My Solution Focused Hypnotherapist helped me to break the pattern of thinking so I could put the issue firmly into the past and rebuild my relationship within three sessions.”

    Margaret and Fran (again not their real names) are two more clients who had more typical OCD-type issues. Margaret had a number of rituals she had to perform that dominated her life; Fran was trapped by patterns of behaviour and thinking linked to her generalised anxiety and a fear of germs. Both these issues were deeply embedded over a number of years.

    Both had sought solutions elsewhere for some years including CBT.

    It took a few weeks to change the patterns of thinking, acting, and reacting, however Solution Focused Hypnotherapy enabled Margaret and Fran to reduce the ruminating and obsessing habits, get their sleep habits sorted, and get their lives back on track.

    Margaret explains, “I went from obsessively checking I had locked the door, washing my hands until they were raw, and some strange meaningless rituals to ‘keep me safe’, to just getting on with my life. In just a couple of months, I stopped obsessively ruminating on what I’d done wrong or how I might be punished. I still check doors and ovens, but just once or twice, not ten times!”

    Margaret added that she has a tendency to feel anxious and that tendency tipped into OCD-type behaviours when she got too stressed. She now listens to her de-stress recording and has hypnotherapy every month to keep her stress levels down and her ruminating is kept in check.

    Solution-focused approaches
    We know that understanding what has caused your OCD, will not resolve the issue.

    Solution Focused Hypnotherapy focuses on your responses and behaviour now and in the future. We are not concerned with analysing the root causes of how the problem was created. The process works by helping clients to imagine incremental improvements through guided solution focused discussions, and gently embedding new preferred behaviours deep in the subconscious through hypnosis.

    The process starts by ‘emptying your stress bucket’ with deeply relaxing guided meditations, which are followed by suggestion-based hypnosis - no commands that the subconscious can resist - to gently ease the subconscious mind into healthier automatic responses.

    The initial consultation
    Fran had a serious and embedded problem linked to feelings of self-worth and childhood traumas. At the initial consultation, where we explored the nature of the problem and possible solutions, Fran explained: “I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure Solution Focused Hypnotherapy would work for me. My anxiety, constant ruminating, and obsessing about what I did and what people said or didn’t say felt like it was part of my personality and couldn’t be changed. But it was starting to affect so much of my life I was prepared to try anything.

    ”My initial consultation included a presentation on the neuroscience of OCD and obsessive thinking, which made so much sense and was so reassuring. Now I understood why I was thinking in the way that I was. I took a leap of faith and committed to the process. I’m so glad I did. I’ve got my life back.”

    Fran explains, “My obsessive ruminating was so bad it took me a month of therapy before I started to unwind and sleep well. Listening to my recording really helped me get to sleep. Once I’d broken the ruminating pattern at night, and was able to get to sleep and stay asleep, I started to make rapid progress with my ruminating habits and my obsessive thinking.”

    Therapy sessions
    At the beginning of each subsequent session clients are asked Solution Focused questions that move them to the part of the mind that creates solutions, and away from the problem focused anxious mind. Using scaling and detailed descriptions of the preferred future, in small steps, the client’s mind starts to imagine a more secure and stable future.

    The rehearsal room of the mind
    The imagination is the rehearsal room of the mind. Hypnotic trance, as induced by a Solution Focused Practitioner, is a very natural state of mind. We go into trance several times a day: when we drive, watch television, or walk the dog.Solution Focused Hypnotherapy induces the deeply relaxed trance state so that new, healthier subconscious patterns can be embedded.

    By focusing the mind on more positive thinking prior to entering the trance state, clients with OCD and similar issues are priming their subconscious mind to begin making positive changes, and to incrementally change the way they think, act, and interact. Clients go at their own pace, meaning the process is very unthreatening and gentle.

    Diagnosis or recognition
    You may or may not have an official diagnosis of OCD. You may just recognise traits or are concerned about a growing problem you want to tackle now.

    Solution Focused Hypnotherapists are not qualified to diagnose you. If you’d like a formal diagnosis, then please see your doctor on the first instance. However, regardless of any formal diagnosis, a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist can help you with any issues related to obsessing, ruminating or compulsions as defined and recognised by you.

    How many sessions are needed?
    The number of sessions to resolve OCD or obsessive thinking and ruminating can vary. It depends how long the condition has persisted and the intensity of the problem. We would discuss the number of sessions which may be needed in the initial consultation.

    Resources:
    OCD-UK
    https://www.ocduk.org/ocd-coronavirus-summary/

    OCD Action
    https://www.ocdaction.org.uk/

    Jane Pendry DSFH, HPD, BA Hons (London), PGCE (Cantab)Reg CNHC, AfSFH, ABNLP, ABH, IARTT
    Sense-Ability Hypnotherapy & Coaching
    35 Farm Close Road, Wheatley, Oxon OX33 1XJ
    p: 07843 813 883
    e: jane@sense-ability.co.uk
    w:
     www.sense-ability.co.uk
    f:
     fb.com/jane.pendry.9693
    t:
     twitter.com/Sense_AbilityUK

  • 01 Feb 2021 2:55 PM | Trevor Eddolls (Administrator)

    What is procrastination?
    Have you ever found yourself asking, “why do I procrastinate so much?” or “why do I keep putting things off even though I have so much to do?” Procrastinating is one of those things that we can all suffer from – even the most organised and driven of people procrastinate at one point of another.

    Photo from CanvaYou may have fast approaching deadlines or even have the opportunity to get important projects finished ahead of time, yet when you’re procrastinating, you put off these meaningful tasks or even avoid them because they feel difficult – deliberately looking for distractions such as scrolling though social media or answering unimportant emails.

    The problem is that procrastinating gets in the way of you following through on what you promised yourself you were going to achieve. It can leave you feeling in a downward spiral of negative emotions that only serves to cloud your judgement and prevents you taking action just when it’s needed. So, what can be done about it? Let us start by looking at some of the causes and discover what you can do to overcome procrastination.

    What is the main cause of procrastination?
    You may think that procrastination is simply a lack of motivation or self-discipline, or even laziness. However, in reality, there are a number of factors that can have a bearing on your emotions and mindset, which means you are far more likely to procrastinate and put things off.

    Essentially, you can think of procrastination as a battle between the two parts of your brain. The primitive limbic system and your intellectual prefrontal cortex. The primitive limbic system is concerned with your survival. Think of it as your ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ area of the brain. Your prefrontal cortex is solution focused, enjoys a challenge, and is involved with decision making. The more time you spend in that part of the brain, the more confident and determined you are to achieve your goals.

    So, when you overthink, for example having fears of giving a talk, worries about meeting project deadlines, negatively forecasting the future, or worry about what others may think, it all leads to some level of anxiety, which builds up gradually. As it does, your primitive brain steps in to help you survive and has a much greater influence of your rational thinking and determination. It encourages you to put things off, to think the worst, and do something that feels good instead – you procrastinate.

    Not only that, but it also encourages you to focus on all the negative aspects of you goals, such as how much work is involved, how will I start, I don’t have the right information, or am I good enough to get this done. This increases your stress levels further, which leads to further disruptions and stresses, making procrastination worse.

    So how can you put your intellectual prefrontal cortex back in the driving seat?

    Can hypnotherapy help you stop procrastinating?
    Absolutely, because hypnotherapy helps you reduce the stress and anxiety that can build up gradually and gets in the way of you taking action. As your stress levels fall, the more time you spend in your rational prefrontal cortex part of the brain, and so the more confident and determined you are to work towards and achieve your goals.

    Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a fantastic approach because rather than trying to analyse the cause of the problem, it will focus on what you want to achieve – so you can identify your plan and goals. It will then support you in taking small steps towards your overall aim by combining positive talking therapy with hypnosis at each session, so you feel more motivated.

    Does hypnosis work for motivation?

    Hypnosis can work for procrastination because your mind is more responsive to positive suggestions that are designed to be beneficial and help you change the unhelpful thought patterns that can cause procrastination. That way, you feel motivated and more determined to succeed. It creates healthy new habits and thought patterns that encourage a shift in perspective, so you feel more confidence, more productive, and more motivated each day.

    How can I stop procrastinating?
    If you’ve been putting things off, here are my top tips that will help you get started today and feel more positive about taking action:

    1  Be clear about your objectives.
    It may help to write down your goals. Remember, objectives that make you happy will be meaningful, ones that reflect your true aspirations and you’ll feel more motivated to achieve them as you move forward.

    2  Plan every day in advance
    Write down the actions you need to complete! Breaking objectives into small manageable actions will help you clarify the steps required.

    3  Remember the 80/20 rule and apply it to your day
    80% of your results will come from 20% if your efforts, so always focus your daily efforts on the most important deliverables first.

    4  Be prepared before you begin
    Make sure you have everything needed to complete your work, such as tools, materials, and equipment. It also helps to prepare your work space, making sure it is clutter free and clean. It can make a big difference to how you feel before you begin working.

    5  Motivate yourself into action
    Look at the positive aspects and seize the day as a challenge. Focusing on solutions rather than the problem leads to optimism that will help you find the creativity you need to succeed.

    6  Celebrate your achievements
    Take time at the end of each day to reflect on what you have achieved rather than what you haven’t. Be kind to yourself, and recognise what has gone well or what you’re grateful for. It will help you feel calmer and think clearly about the next steps.

    7  Get professional support
    This will help you to manage and reduce your stress levels so you can stay on track and in control. For example, hypnotherapy helps you reduce the stresses that get in the way of you taking action and helps you take small steps towards your goals, so you feel better and more motivated.

    Help to stop procrastinating
    Solution-focused hypnotherapy can help with many emotional and physical conditions, which are made worse by or caused by some level of stress or anxiety (including insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression, fear, panic and much more), without the need to analyse past problems.

    Andrew Major
    Andrew Major Hypnotherapy
    Integral LIFE Centre, 44 High Street, Bagshot, Surrey GU19 5AZ
    p: 07464 682 389
    e: info@andrewmajorhypnotherapy
    f: https://www.facebook.com/amajorhypno
    t: https://twitter.com/amajorhypno
    i: https://www.instagram.com/andrewmajorhypnotherapy

  • 15 Jan 2021 9:14 AM | Trevor Eddolls (Administrator)

    Written by Trevor Eddolls
    With the arrival of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID19 vaccine just before Christmas, the UK population divided into three groups. The first group were keen to get the vaccination as soon as possible in order to get on with their lives. The second group were people who just don’t like needles and, even though they probably want the vaccination, were not going to have it. And the third group were described as the needle hesitancy or vaccine hesitancy group. These are people who can't decide about having the vaccine, perhaps thinking that it’s not safe. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists this group among the top 10 threats to global health. The Wellcome Global Monitor survey, looking at 2018 data, found that, in France, one in three people believe that vaccines are not safe. In the Ukraine, just half of those surveyed trusted vaccines. Other surveys found that only 15 percent of people in Russia are willing to get vaccinated as soon as possible. In the USA, the figure is 59 percent. A YouGov survey in the UK found 80 percent of people are willing to have or already have had a coronavirus injection. The number of people against vaccination seems to be growing around the world.

    Photo by Karolina Grabowska from PexelsWith the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine now also being given to older residents in a care homes and staff in those homes, as well as people over 80 and frontline health and social care workers, let’s look at that second group. A 2003 survey by Nir et al entitled “Fear of injections in young adults: prevalence and associations”, published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, found that 3.5 to 10 percent of the general population have needle phobia anxiety disorder.
     
    For those of you who like this kind of thing, trypanophobia is the name given to an extreme fear of medical procedures involving injections or hypodermic needles. You may also hear it called aichmophobia or belonephobia, which really mean fear of sharply-pointed objects.

    How do you know if you have needle phobia? According to Anxiety UK, if you can answer YES to the following questions it is likely that you do. During the last 6 months:

    • Have you experienced a marked, persistent, and excessive fear of needles?
    • Has exposure to needles almost invariably provoked an immediate anxiety response in you?

    To complicate matters, it seems that there are four types of needle phobia.

    • Vasovagal is where people fear the sight, thought, or feeling of needles or needle-like objects. This leads them to faint (vasovagal syncope) because of a drop in blood pressure. The condition starts with momentary high blood pressure and a fast heart rate (a fight-or-flight response) followed by heart rate and blood pressure both decreasing enormously at the moment of injection. In some cases, worryingly, the drop in blood pressure caused by the vasovagal shock reflex may cause death.
    • Associative is where a traumatic event causes the person to associate all procedures involving needles with the original negative experience.
    • Resistive is where a person doesn’t just fear needles or injections but also being controlled or restrained.
    • Hyperalgesic is where people have an inherited hypersensitivity to pain (hyperalgesia). So, the pain of an injection is unbearably great. Usually, some form of anaesthetic helps these sufferers.

    And, some people experience more than one kind of needle phobia.

    Needle phobia is unusual for a phobia in that it is a direct cause of death in many documented cases – and probably the cause in many more undocumented cases because of all the people who avoid medical and dental treatment because of the condition.

    So, how can solution-focused hypnotherapy help?
    Firstly, your hypnotherapist will tell you that a fear of needles is not uncommon and tell you that the people giving the injection will be perfectly used to seeing people with your particular fear. So, they will recommend that you tell the clinician at the beginning that you don’t like needles – it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Telling the staff means that they are better placed to help you. They will be able to answer any questions you have and put you at ease.

    If you have fainted in the past, the clinicians may suggest that you lie down while they give the injection. I expect that the other techniques suggested by your solution-focused hypnotherapist will mean that doesn’t happen this time, but it won’t do any harm.

    For people with associative or resistive types of needle phobia, solution-focused hypnotherapy can help by emptying a person’s metaphorical stress bucket – helping them to feel less anxious about some things and more confident about other things. For them, techniques such as rewind – where a person plays a video in their mind of an unpleasant event – really works. And they play the video forwards and backwards, faster and faster, even with added silly music, until all the emotion associated with the event is gone, and they no longer fear it. This works well, and is combined with a reframe – where a person imagines, so often, how they would like to behave in a situation that previously they had found scary, that when they next encounter the situation, they behave just how they imagined they would.

    Even with hyperalgesic needle phobia, relaxation and bucket emptying help reduce the sensation of pain that a person feels. Emla cream is often used at the surgery to numb the pain of the injection.

    But with vasovagal needle phobia, relaxing won’t help if a person is going to naturally lower their blood pressure so much that they faint. So, how can solution-focused hypnotherapy help this group?

    The most successful technique seems to be the applied tension technique. With this, a person can increase their blood pressure back to normal – so they don’t faint. Here’s what Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital suggest that people do:

    1. Sit down somewhere that’s comfortable.
    2. Tense the muscles in your arms, upper body, and legs, and hold this tension for 10 to 15 seconds, or until you start to feel the warmth rising in your face.
    3. Release the tension and go back to your normal sitting position.
    4. After about 20 to 30 seconds, go through the tension procedure again until you feel the warmth in your face.
    5. Repeat this sequence five times.

    If you can, practise this sequence three times every day for about a week, before being vaccinated.

    It’s suggested that if a person gets headaches after doing this exercise, they don’t tense the muscles in their face and head. Also, people should be careful when tensing any part of their body where they have any health problems.

    Although people with vasovagal needle phobia don’t want to relax and lower their blood pressure during the vaccination, they do want to be relaxed when travelling to get the vaccination and when waiting to be vaccinated. Your hypnotherapist can help with that with some of the following techniques.

    Breathing techniques such as 7-11 breathing or square breathing are ways of breathing slower and relaxing. You can watch your abdomen rise and fall rather than your chest. Your hypnotherapist will show you how to do these techniques.

    Your therapist may suggest that you smile! Research by Pressman et al published in 2020 in the journal Emotion found that smiling could reduce needle pain by 40 percent. They reported that “the Duchenne smile and grimace groups reported approximately 40% less needle pain versus the neutral group”.

    So, what’s a Duchenne smile? It’s the one where you not only lift the corners of your mouth but also lift your cheeks and crinkle your eyes at the corners.

    Your solution-focused hypnotherapist will also suggest that you use distraction techniques. This is a way of focusing on something else and not keep thinking about the jab! Your hypnotherapist will have given you a download or CD. You can listen to that as a way of relaxing before being called in. Or, you can listen to music that reminds you of dancing like mad in the mosh pit to your favourite band. Or you can choose music that takes you away to distant destinations.

    You can remind yourself of a holiday or family party and step through the events that happened in real time. You can picture the scene in vivid colour with everything bright and in focus. You can imagine the events are taking place on the largest cinema screen ever. You can listen again to sounds with crystal clarity. And you can feel again those feelings that you experienced at the time.

    Or you can lose yourself in a book. Or you can focus on a game on your phone.

    CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) uses an exposure technique to help people get used to something they were originally fearful of. If you think that this is the sort of thing you like, Anxiety UK has published a self-administered behavioural exposure program in a PDF called “Injection Phobia and Needle Phobia: A brief guide”, which you can find here.

    There are three steps in the self-administered behavioural exposure hierarchy:

    1. Relaxation – which could be by practising progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, or meditation.
    2. Constructing an anxiety hierarchy or ‘fear ladder’ – where a person writes down a list of all of the situations related to needles that they fear, arranged in order of difficulty.
    3. Pairing relaxation with the situations detailed in their hierarchy – where a person climbs the ladder (by thinking about or acting out each step) from bottom to top, exposing themself to the fear for a tolerable amount of time before taking time to relax.


    Whatever type of needle phobia you experience, it’s worth contacting a solution-focused hypnotherapist to help you overcome your fear and benefit from the vaccination against the Covid-19 virus.

    Trevor Eddolls
    iTech-Ed Hypnotherapy
    Chippenham, Wilts SN14 0TL
    p: 01249 443256
    e: trevor@ihypno.biz
    w: ihypno.biz
    t: @iHypno2004
    i: ihypno2004
    f: fb.com/iHypno2004/

  • 04 Jan 2021 9:25 AM | Trevor Eddolls (Administrator)

    Written by Jane Pendry
    Can hypnotherapy help children and adults overcome picky or fussy eating issues?

    Photo by cottonbro from PexelsJunk food, packed with sugar and salt, is notoriously addictive and feeds our natural cravings for salt and sweetness. Stress and trauma can lead us to choose these sorts of foods over others. Sometimes the textures, smells or tastes of particular foods can become unappealing in childhood because of negative associations laid down in childhood.

    We know picky eaters are not usually getting the variety of food they need to have healthy minds and bodies. That’s where Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can be helpful in helping ease you into healthier eating patterns without creating distress.

    How long does it take to create a new habit?
    According to the healthline website, “It can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic.”. That sounds like a long time, but much of it depends on the client’s age, the length of time a bad habit has been ingrained, current levels of stress and anxiety and the support of friends and family.

    Solution Focused Hypnotherapy speeds up the process of forging new, heathier habits and makes the process of embedding them painless and relatively easy.

    Can hypnotherapists work with people of any age?
    It’s often when people reach their 20s that they decide they want to address their picky eating habits. These bad habits were formed in childhood and have become embedded. Sometimes something traumatic happened and became associated with certain food types. It may be as simple as having parents who themselves had limited diets, and an awareness of health and fitness leading them to want to eat better and be more healthy.

    Usually bad habits are related to choosing foods that are sweeter or saltier. Children and teens naturally crave sweeter foots and dislike bitter foods as their taste buds develop. We are all primed to seek out sweetness as our ancestors had to be motivated to search for, pick and dig for sweet fruits and vegetables. When the craving for sweet or salty food dominates, and becomes associated with emotional comfort then we have laid the foundations for picky eating and food issues.

    Naturally, fussy eating may then lead to other health problems linked to either under eating, or over-eating the wrong kinds of high fat, high sugar foods that lead to obesity and related health issues.

    So picky eating and overeating are linked more to the emotions associated with food than the food itself.

    Basic understanding of good nutrition
    It helps to have a basic understanding of good nutrition. But in order to move forward it might help to take one step at a time and simply break the negative associations and explore different foods to wider food intake.

    I treat weight loss and picky eating in a similar way. We explore the emotional associations linked to various foods, food habits, eating habits, eating times and sleep. By supporting clients to frame visualise incremental changes in their eating habits, we can work together to make those changes at the pace of the client. There’s no sense of force or unrealistic or achievable goals. The clients set the goals, which often become more ambitious as they become more confident. But they always come from the client; not me.

    How do we work together to resolve a fussy eating issue?
    We start by keeping a weekly record of what has been good and better. We begin by asking:

    • What do you currently eat?
    • What would you like to try to eat this coming week?
    • What would you absolutely refuse to eat at the moment?

    The phrase ‘at the moment’ is very important. No habit is embedded for every and there is always an opportunity for change. However, there may be some foods that never appeal – as is true for all of us – but client find they can still increase the variety of food they eat while feeling comfortable that their absolute ‘red lines’ will not be pushed too far.

    Hypnotherapy reduces the anxiety of trying new foods. If appropriate, we work with Rewind Trauma Therapy and hypnotherapy to change traumatic associations and dull triggers so the client can make new, healthier and more enjoyable associations. By reducing stress overall and improving sleep, clients feel more able to try new foods and create new associations – step by step.

    Sometimes progress is rapid; sometimes it takes time. The pace is set by the client taking the pressure off them to find a quick solution.

    It’s particularly important that the client is motivated to make the change themselves rather than feeling pressured by a friend, partner or parent. Solution Focused approaches – which keep you firmly anchored in the present and future and involve no analysis or digging into the past – ensure the client remains in control of the process at all times.

    How long does it take to resolve the issue?
    Firstly, the client needs to determine what success looks like. What are their best hopes for the process? Is it to eat a wider variety of foods? Is it to eat almost all food types? Is it to overcome a dislike of specific named food stuffs?

    One the client has determined a frame of reference for success, we might expect to work together for 4 weeks to 12 weeks, depending on the nature of the issue. Often, we work intensely together for the first few weeks and take stock of where the client is on their journey. In short, we take it session by session.

    Does hypnotherapy work with children?
    I can work with children over 10. Often this involves working the parent too, ascertaining whether the parent is putting too much pressure on the child, or has issues with food themselves. As hypnotherapy sessions are absolutely tailored to the individual the nature of the issue, and possible solutions would need to be discussed with the parent and child, along with safeguarding issues.

    If you have a child who is a fussy eater, it’s very important that mealtimes don’t become a battle of wills involving coercion, force and shame. I can help parents create a healthy eating environment. Eating meals at the table as a family, where possible, is helpful as is modelling healthy eating. Avoid using sugary or salty foods as rewards as this creates unhelpful associations which will create lifelong unhelpful habits.

    What does healthy eating look like?
    Healthy eating involves eating a variety of food types: protein, complex carbohydrates, vegetable and fruits. Scientists have explored the relationship between sweet, salty and fatty foods and how these create addiction-like effects in the human body and brain including the relationship between losing self-control, over-eating and subsequent weight gain. So sugar and salty snacks is often a good place to start.

    We keep nutritional knowledge very basic at this stage. The aim is to change habits and break negative associations. There is plenty of information out there about healthy eating and many nutritionists who can help with specific nutritional needs for sports performance, or to reduce symptoms in the case of chronic illness.

    How can parents help children who are picky eaters?
    Always offer the healthy option first and have plenty of fruit and vegetables to hand. Avoid buying cakes, biscuits and sweets until habits are broken. If they aren’t in the house, they can’t be offered. Our taste for sugar and sweet things does change quite quickly, once our body becomes more regulated. The whole issue of sugar and its impact on our bodies is, in itself a complex one.

    Firstly, parents need to educate themselves on the impact of refined carbohydrates and sugar on the system, including behaviour. Sugar is highly addictive. The NHS page at the bottom of this piece outlines some basic information.

    Sugar is associated with all sorts of health issues, from diabetes to dementia. It also impairs our cognitive abilities and self-control.

    The biggest piece of advice is to avoid using affirmations that link bad foods to behaviour, things like; “If you are good you can have some cake”. This sets up bad eating habits for life as bad foods become rewards for good behaviour! Equally avoid blame and shame, such as “There are starving children in Africa. Eat up.” Whether the comments are positive or negative, linking reward or shame to eating may create unhelpful associations which are difficult to shift.

    Stick to the mantra; “Eat what you can; leave what you can’t. Just do your best.” The same applies to adults trying to change habits. Just trying a new food type might be a step forward to start with.

    How does Hypnotherapy help?
    Hypnotherapy is simply working with your subconscious mind to support you to make new and healthy habits. We work with hypnotic suggestions, which do not involve direct commands which the subconscious mind can resist. Using guided meditation to help you get in to a deeply relaxed state, I then add in these suggestions, many of them in your own words, to create a state of relaxation, create a healthy sleeping and eating pattern and to create new positive associations with new food types.

    We can get you back to healthy patterns of eating in a relatively short time, and these changes will be embedded for the future improving your health, wellbeing and maybe even your life expectancy! 

    Jane Pendry DSFH, HPD, BA Hons (London), PGCE (Cantab)Reg CNHC, AfSFH, ABNLP, ABH, IARTT
    Sense-Ability Hypnotherapy & Coaching
    35 Farm Close Road, Wheatley, Oxon OX33 1XJ
    p: 07843 813 883
    e: jane@sense-ability.co.uk
    w:
     www.sense-ability.co.uk
    f:
     fb.com/jane.pendry.9693
    t:
     twitter.com/Sense_AbilityUK

    References:
    https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-it-take-to-form-a-habit#takeaway
    https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-does-sugar-in-our-diet-affect-our-health/

  • 02 Dec 2020 4:54 PM | Trevor Eddolls (Administrator)

    Written by Katherine Finn
    I appreciate that even for those of us who usually look forward to the festive season, 2020 continues to challenge us – requiring us to compromise and adapt our hoped-for plans. But does this mean we are also forced to lower our expectations and restrict our opportunities for creating and sharing the magic of Christmas? I suppose it depends on what ‘Christmas’ means to you.

    Photo by Anton Scherbakov on UnsplashPerhaps if 2020 does have a silver lining, it’s the opportunity we’ve had to re-evaluate, prioritise, and appreciate the simple things in life – an ‘attitude of gratitude’ for the things and people we can sometimes take for granted. Plus, our constant attempt to focus on what we can influence and our recognition of the benefits in doing just that.

    We’ve been asked repeatedly to practise thinking, acting, and interacting in a positive way – despite the pandemic – and what better time to reflect, acknowledge, and celebrate your personal strengths and the qualities that have helped you through this testing time?

    Christmas may not be ‘normal’ this year, but perhaps you can utilise your skills to create a different recipe using the ingredients you have to hand. Let’s take back control with our imaginations, our creativity, our sense of humour, and our values – all of which are priceless, yet can be gift-wrapped to share with others at no expense. Small acts of empathy, kindness, and compassion can make a big difference, and they can bridge a physical gap allowing us to reach out and connect with one another. And it doesn’t stop there – there’s often a wonderful ripple effect and you’ll notice a rewarding bounce-back, which, in turn, gives you a lovely boost.

    Solution Focused Hypnotherapy helps you to combat feelings of anxiety, frustration, and low mood and gives you the tools to find your way into the best mindset possible – so that you can cope better, whatever the situation. Solution-focused hypnotherapists work on the premise that “problem talk creates problems, solution talk creates solutions” (Steve de Shazer). Using your imagination to your advantage is therefore key because neurons that fire together wire together and map new neural pathways in your brain for your thoughts, feelings, and behaviour to follow.

    You can start now by putting any frustrations, stresses, or worries gently to one side and instead visualising what you wish for this Christmas – concentrating on what is possible and within your reach

    I hope you enjoy a peaceful, relaxing, and healthy Christmas.

    Katherine Finn
    BA (Hons), DipSFH, Reg AfSFH, CNHC, NCP
    p: 01403 597726
    e: katherine@kfhypnotherapist.co.uk
    w: https://www.kfhypnotherapist.co.uk/
    f: fb.com/KatherineFinnHypno/
    i: instagram.com/katherinefinnhypno/

  • 02 Nov 2020 11:41 AM | Trevor Eddolls (Administrator)

    Written by Jane Pendry
    Linda learnt to manage her chronic back pain with Solution Focused Hypnotherapy. And there’s plenty of clinical evidence that endorses her experience.

    Regular listening to a relaxation recording every evening, together with a series of six tailored Solution Focused Hypnotherapy sessions, helped Linda change the way she experienced pain. As a result, Linda was able to access physical therapy to help the underlying cause of her back pain.

    Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels“I was sceptical about hypnotherapy”, Linda explained. “My back pain was caused by a sporting injury many years ago. It seemed to be getting worse. Pain killers weren’t working very well. However, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy with Jane has made a real difference. I had been taking many more pain killers than I should, and now I only take them occasionally. I am in control of my medication, I get out more, I am more connected to friends and family, and do more exercise. All of which seem to have further improved my physical health and reduced my experience of pain. I am less depressed, isolated, and irritable too.”

    Linda’s pain didn’t miraculously disappear. It subsided to manageable levels. She was able to engage more in everyday activities, which created a virtuous circle of thought and action that reduced the experience of pain, and often enabled her to forget about it altogether.

    What causes chronic pain?
    Pain is sending a message to the brain that we need to take action – for example taking our hand out of the fire, or rubbing our nettle sting with dock leaves!

    Chronic pain however has no such useful biological function. When pain becomes persistent it becomes more complex. Pain research indicates that there are psychological, physical, emotional, and neurological elements to pain.

    Photo by Karolina Grabowska from PexelsChronic pain falls under anaesthetists for historical reasons, but in reality, medical science doesn’t fully understand the pathways of pain, and cannot completely resolve the issue with medication. In other words, conventional medicine is not always helpful for chronic pain.

    The NHS Chronic Pain page explains: “The brain and the nerves inside the spine make up the central nervous system. The spinal nerves carry messages from the body to the brain to tell it what's going on.
    “Short, sharp and well localised pain is known as acute pain, which is transferred to the brain via A-Fibres.

    “When pain is persistent and not localised, for example the experience of burning, aching or throbbing sensations, we refer to it as chronic pain. Chronic pain signals are transmitted via C-Fibres.

    “In short: A-fibres are fast transmitters and take precedence over C-Fibres, so acute pain overrides chronic pain. We may have chronic terrible back pain but if we burn our hand, the intense localised pain overwhelms the chronic persistent pain.”

    The Pain Gate Control theory hypothesises that some C-Fibres transmit signals from the brain down the spinal column. When inhibitory neurons are excited by neurotransmitters (eg serotonin and noradrenaline) they can produce endorphins and enkephalins which act as a ‘pain gate’.

    So, Pain Gate Theory looks to ‘close a gate’ on the pain signal. A relaxed positive state of mind encourages the production of serotonin, the naturally produced chemical that helps us cope with life. Serotonin can, in turn, interrupt pain signals received in the brain.

    How Does Hypnotherapy Help ‘Close the Pain Gate’?
    Simply, pain pathways can be blocked to ‘close the gate’ on pain.
    Hypnotherapy, and the Solution Focused practise that works alongside it, helps to create the steady flow of chemicals that help block pain. Many medications, including some anti-depressants work in a similar way. Only with hypnotherapy, there are no side effects or potential addictions.

    The sympathetic nervous system influences whether pain signals are sent back up the spinal cord to the brain. Neurotransmitters linked to stress hormones can increase the experience of pain. Any therapies that support the parasympathetic nervous system help to counter the activity of these neurotransmitters. That might include massage, reiki, medication, mindfulness and of course, hypnotherapy. In short, it’s important to stay relaxed and to manage your stress.

    Photo by Fa Barboza from UnsplashSolution Focused Hypnotherapy focuses on calming, relaxation techniques that change the way pain is experienced and perceived. Solution Focused Brief Therapy focuses the mind on the positive elements of the present and future. Rather than convince you your pain doesn’t exist – it undoubtedly does – Solution Focused thinking helps you focus on habits and behaviours that will ease pain, reduce stress, and relax the nervous system to reduce awareness of the sensations.

    All hypnotherapy helps to create a steady flow of serotonin, which helps to interrupt pain signals received by the brain. Hypnotherapy can train the brain to refocus attention on more pleasant scenes and experiences that produce the right chemical responses that help to ease the pain.

    For Linda, the sound of the ocean, the feel of sand, the warmth of the sun were all soothing experiences that took her away from her pain. Regular sessions and listening to a relaxation recording all helped her reduce her experience of pain.

    Clinical Evidence on Hypnosis for Pain Management
    Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, and other forms of hypnotherapy, even self-hypnosis, have been proven to be a viable therapy for pain management.

    The earliest case reports describing hypnotic strategies for chronic pain management were published in 1950s; biofeedback technology was also helping to create similar physiologic states that reduced pain. A number of studies followed looking at hypnosis for chronic pelvic pain, fibromyalgia, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis confirmed those findings.

    Hypnosis is also shown to improve sleep and reduce stress; two factors that can exacerbate the experience of pain.

    As opioids* for chronic pain management have become contentious, concerns related to effectiveness, safety, and abuse have evolved over decades, the medical professional is seeking effective alternatives.

    Research conducted by the University of Utah* explored three different therapeutic interventions (meditation, hypnosis, and pain coping education) over a year. 244 patients who had reported experiencing unmanageable pain as the result of illness, disease, or surgical procedures took part.

    Those who received a hypnotic suggestion intervention experienced an average 29% reduction in pain, even though sessions were short (15 minutes) and couldn’t be tailored to the patient. This clinically significant level of pain relief is roughly equivalent to the pain relief produced by 5 milligrams of a drug called oxycodone. In this study, mindfulness resulted in a 23% reduction in the experience of pain, and the education intervention just 9%.

    Results from a study by the University of Greenwich* support those findings. Although some patients are more responsive to hypnosis than others, researchers found that therapeutic benefits exist across groups. Researchers’ findings detailed that pain levels fell by over 40% for patients who were described as being highly responsive to hypnosis and by 29% for those who were considered as only moderately responsive.

    Gary Elkins, Marp P Jensen, and David R Patterson in their article Hypnotherapy for the Management of Chronic Pain* reviewed controlled prospective trials of hypnosis for the treatment of chronic pain.

    The Researchers explained, “The findings indicate that hypnosis interventions consistently produce significant decreases in pain associated with a variety of chronic-pain problems. Also, hypnosis was generally found to be more effective than non-hypnotic interventions such as attention, physical therapy, and education.”

    Why CHOOSE Solution Focused Hypnotherapy?
    Solution Focused Hypnotherapy provides the benefits of hypnotherapy, proven through scientific evidence to reduce the experience of chronic pain. In addition, the Solution Focused questions that keep clients focused on what is good, better, or improving every week, also moves people towards managing their own general wellbeing and finding new solutions to reduce stress, increase activity, and enjoy activities more.

    With Solution Focused Hypnotherapy you retain your agency – that is you are in control. You are in a light to medium trance, but you are not completely ‘out of it’ or out of control.

    Jane Pendry DSFH, HPD, BA Hons (London), PGCE (Cantab)Reg CNHC, AfSFH, ABNLP, ABH, IARTT
    Sense-Ability Hypnotherapy & Coaching
    p: 07843 813 883

    e:
    jane@sense-ability.co.uk
    w:
    www.sense-ability.co.uk
    f:
    fb.com/jane.pendry.9693
    t:
    twitter.com/Sense_AbilityUK

    *References:
    Medical issues should always be directed to a fully qualified doctor and people with chronic conditions and any on-going type of pain should, if they haven’t already done so, see their GP in the first instance.

    Hypnosis, even when conducted by a trained accredited practitioner, isn’t for everyone. Some people are resistant to the idea, others object on the grounds of personal belief or have serious psychological disorders. It’s important, in the case of chronic complex or mental illnesses that practitioners contact the relevant medical professional to ensure that any complementary treatment is appropriate. Where hypnosis is not advised, clients may like to consider the biofeedback, meditation or mindfulness.

    Hypnotherapy for the Management of Chronic Pain, Gary Elkins, Mark P. Jensen, and David R. Patterson

    University of Utah Research

    University of Greenwich Research summary from the Nursing Times

    Opioids and the Treatment of Chronic Pain: Controversies, Current Status, and Future Directions by Andrew Rosenblum, Lisa A. Marsch, Herman Joseph, and Russell K. Portenoy details issues, controversies and benefits related to opiods and pain management.

    Nursing Times article on the pain mechanism.

  • 01 Oct 2020 8:30 AM | Trevor Eddolls (Administrator)

    Written by Caroline Smith Mclean
    Many of my customers recently seem to be showing more of an interest in the Law of Attraction (maybe not a coincidence??) and it’s been extremely interesting for me as I personally am a huge believer myself.

    Law of Attraction And the great news is that solutions focused hypnotherapy works even if you are a believer, or NOT... everything we do is backed up by science and/or research, so, it suits both non-spiritual, more logical thinkers and those who are big believers. (Personally, I’d say I’m a bit of both… I like my spiritual beliefs to be backed up with some kind of science/evidence!)

    What is the Law of Attraction?
    For those who believe in it, the Law of Attraction is a universal law, similar to that of gravity that is working all of the time. It is a belief that our thoughts or emotions are being brought into reality (both good or bad) – often without us even realising it.

    Law of AttractionYou may have heard some quotes similar to these:
    “What you think you become. What you feel you attract. What you imagine you create.” – Buddha

    “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right.” – Henry Ford

    “You create your thoughts, your thoughts create your intentions, and your intentions create your reality.” – Wayne Dyer

    “Where attention goes energy flows. Where intention goes energy flows!” – James Redfield

    The belief is that everything consists of energy (vibrations, even the Beach Boys sang a song called ‘Good Vibrations’) and, therefore, our thoughts create our reality. You may remember a time when you were thinking about someone and the same day they sent a message to you, or called?

    Law of AttractionI have always been a very imaginative thinker and remember so many times when I have allowed myself to daydream and imagine things that later became reality... and this was before I even knew what it was. This includes homes and even finding cash on the floor randomly! (We are great at imagining when we are children.)

    Now I use the Law of Attraction intentionally, and use methods and techniques to attract customers, circumstances, money, etc into my life!

    And hypnosis is one of the most useful tools I use!

    How does solutions focused hypnotherapy help with the Law of Attraction?
    One of the most important parts, when using the Law of Attraction, is that your thoughts create your reality. During our sessions, one of our aims is to get you focusing more on the ‘good things’ and create a more positive-thinking program running in your brain. And this equals more positive situations/circumstances.

    THOUGHTS… BECOME… THINGS!

    To use the law of attraction intentionally, it’s important to set ‘intentions’ or ‘goals’. And during the ‘miracle question’ part of our session, not only do we set intentions or goals but we get really clear on the emotions of how we will feel once that has been achieved, which is super powerful in the law of attraction.

    And lastly, the actual hypnosis or trance part of the session taps into our subconscious brain and helps to get rid of any limiting beliefs that might be holding us back, and in fact helps to plant helpful and supportive beliefs. The trance also helps us to feel calmer and more in control. (Solution-focused hypnotherapists refer to this as ‘emptying the stress bucket’ so we can enjoy life more.)

    What can you start doing if you want to use the Law of Attraction?

    • Start visualising – using the power of your imagination to think about how you want things to be rather than how you do not want them to be.
    • Be grateful – I write a daily gratitude list. What we focus on we attract, therefore by thinking about what we are already grateful for we attract more of these things!
    • Use hypnosis to tap into your subconscious mind and change limiting beliefs into more helpful ones.
    • Do things you love and have fun – you must have heard of people being ‘high vibe’ or ‘positive vibe’ doing things we love or having fun keeps us in this state!
    • Act as if – play make-believe, talk, act, and think as though the things you want have already materialised. This is fun anyway!
    • Set intentions – you cannot receive whatever it is you want if you do not know or have not been clear about what it is! Write that stuff down with a pen and paper. ‘It is my intention to have three new ideal customers by the end of this week!’

    Caroline Smith Mclean
    Caroline Smith Mclean Hypnotherapy
    Winterbourne, Bristol
    p: 07843010421
    e: info@carolinesmithmcleanhypnotherapy.com
    w: https://www.carolinesmithmcleanhypnotherapy.com
    f: https:/www.facebook.com/carolinesmithmcleanhypnotherapy

  • 01 Sep 2020 9:21 AM | Trevor Eddolls (Administrator)

    Written by Sarah Stanley
    Imagine if there was a pill that would make you healthier, smarter, and happier! A pill that made you age more slowly and even improved your memory! I think there would be a pretty long queue, even if you did have to stand 2 metres apart!

    Photo by Dominic Sansotta at UnsplashBut is there another way to achieve these fantastic outcomes?

    We human beings are complex beings. To function at an optimal level, a number of things are needed. Nutrition, sleep, meditation, continuous learning, stress reduction, and human connection all play a part.

    But there is one overwhelming factor that keeps us functioning at our best, and that is movement.

    The Brain-Fitness Connection
    Dr Ratey MD Harvard has established himself as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the brain-fitness connection. He says:

    ”Movement moving your body, moving the muscles, pushing yourself to do something more than you did before, boosts our capacity for focus and learning and lifts our mood, not unlike taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin”

    Exercise is proven to be one of the most effective ways of regulating our emotions.

    Exercise can:

    • Reduce stress and anxiety
    • Promote good physical and mental health
    • Optimise our cognitive function and our ability to learn and process

    Reducing Stress and Anxiety
    Physical activity is nature’s way of preventing stress. Exercise can ward off the negative effects of chronic stress and even reverse them.

    Studies show that people who add physical activity to their lives become more socially active, increasing their confidence and helping to build social connections.

    The recent government report from ‘Moving Communities’ shows that the growth of group exercise in the UK has provided much needed social connection and feelings of togetherness, which are so important in reducing loneliness.

    Improving Your Health. And Looking Younger!
    Exercise increases your heart rate, which means more oxygen is pumped to the brain. This increases the plasticity of your brain and encourages the growth of new brain cells.

    By increasing blood flow, sending more oxygen and eliminating waste, exercise also helps to keep skin healthy and looking younger. Plus, you get all the benefits of increased muscle tone and flexibility, and improved sleep quality.

    And of course, exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight, reducing the risk of developing certain types of cancers, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

    It is also likely that your diet will improve as you become more physically active.

    Boosting Your Brain – Improving your memory and cognitive function
    For me, the most exciting benefit of more exercise is the activation of BDNF.
    What is BDNF? BDNF is ‘Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor’. Otherwise known as fertiliser for the brain!

    BDNF is a powerful little protein that stimulates the production of new brain cells and strengthens existing ones. It helps to increase the size of the hippocampus, an area of the brain that plays an important role in memory and learning.

    Low levels of BDNF can be associated with depression, anxiety, and memory and brain degeneration. Therefore, it’s not surprising that BDNF is a popular ingredient in mood elevating drugs.

    In order to increase our production of BDNF by natural means, we need to stimulate the cells. And research shows that the best way to do this is to establish a regular exercise routine.

    As little as 30 minutes intensive exercise three times a week can significantly increase brain function. For example, power walking, cycling, or running.

    This is a great starting point achievable for most of us! But, if you want to maximise your brain’s potential, add a skills-based exercise. The brain wants to learn. If we don’t challenge it, atrophy and shrinkage can set in.

    Skills-based exercise strengthens and expands neural connections. The more complex the movements the more complex the brain connections. Ratey 2010, states that skills-based exercise will activate areas of the brain areas that:

    “control balance, timing, sequencing, evaluating consequences, switching, error correction, fine motor adjustment, inhibition, and of course, intense focus and concentration.”

    Skills-based exercise includes dance, tennis, football, and boxing! If you prefer something more gentle, try yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates.

    If you are struggling with a mental health issue, exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing. But if you can find the motivation to take that first step, the benefits can be really powerful.

    As with any new goals, the best advice is to start small. Build your fitness slowly. Walk before you run. Find an activity you enjoy and make it a regular part of your routine. One of the best things about physical activity is that there are many options. You just need to find the one that suits you.

    And get support if you can. Someone to share your challenges and achievements with. This can be a great motivator and help to keep you on track.

    Get in touch with a solution-focused hypnotherapist if you need help getting started with, or sticking to, an exercise routine.

    Sarah Stanley
    Sarah Stanley Hypnotherapy
    https://www.sstanley.co.uk/
    sarah@sstanley.co.uk
    07850 995 869
    https://www.facebook.com/sstanleyhypno
    https://twitter.com/StanHypno
    https://www.instagram.com/sarahstanleyhypnotherapy/

     

  • 02 Aug 2020 12:03 PM | Trevor Eddolls (Administrator)

    Written by Trevor Eddolls
    As a solution-focused hypnotherapist and psychotherapist, I’ve been hearing more-and-more people mention that they have been feeling lonely lately. If that applies to you, you are not alone.

    It’s clear that a more-than-usual number of people have been feeling very lonely during their period in lockdown. For some people, like many elderly people, it was because they were on their own for many weeks. For others, there may have been people around them, but they weren’t the ‘right’ people or doing the ‘right’ things. Some people may miss one particular person, such as a spouse, sibling, or best friend. And others may simply wish to be part of a wider social network that they could interact with.

    Photo by Inzmam Khan from PexelsBut how common is loneliness generally? A 2018 report from the Office for National Statistics found that:

    • In 2016 to 2017, there were 5% of adults in England who reported feeling lonely ‘often’ or ‘always’.
    • Younger adults aged 16 to 24 years reported feeling lonely more often than those in older age groups.
    • Women reported feeling lonely more often than men.
    • Those single or widowed were at particular risk of experiencing loneliness more often.
    • People in poor health or who have conditions they describe as ‘limiting’ were also at particular risk of feeling lonely more often.

    It works out that there are more than 900,000 people aged 65 and over in the UK reporting feeling lonely all, or most of the time.
    According to de Jong-Gierveld and Raadschelders (1982), Duck (1992), and others, there are two levels of loneliness: chronic and transient. For people who are chronically lonely, their experience of loneliness is persistent, often extending to many years, and doesn’t change with what the person is doing. It looks like the cause of the feelings is internal. They may feel the intensity of the loneliness vary over time, but it is always there. Transient loneliness, as its name suggests, is experienced for short periods of time, and is usually the result of a specific situation.

    Courtney and Meyer (2020) published in the journal JNeurosci their findings that loneliness alters how the brain represents relationships. They suggested that the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) (near the very front of the skull) maintains a structured map of a person’s social circles, based on closeness. People that struggle with loneliness often perceive a gap between themselves and others. This gap is reflected by the activity patterns of the mPFC. Courtney and Meyer used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine people’s brain activity while they thought about themself, close friends, acquaintances, and celebrities. Thinking about someone from each category corresponded to a different activity pattern in the mPFC. There was a different pattern for the self, for the social network (both friends and acquaintances), and for celebrities. The closer the relationship, the more the pattern resembled the pattern seen when a person is thinking about themself. These brain patterns differed for lonelier individuals. Activity related to thinking about the self was more different from activity related to thinking about others, while the activity when thinking about others was more similar across social categories. In other words, lonelier people have a ‘lonelier’ neural representation of their relationships.

    Loneliness is definitely not good for you. For example, social isolation and loneliness:

    • Have a negative effect on the activities of daily living of older peoples, including a person’s ability to perform the normal daily activities that are required to meet their basic needs, fulfil their usual roles, and maintain their health and wellbeing.
    • Impact on health-related physiology, eg blood pressure and reduced immune functioning.
    • Lead to poorer sleep quality.
    • Are associated with a greater risk of a person being physically inactive and smoking (both health-risk behaviours).
    • Lead to lower self-esteem and limited use of active coping mechanisms.

    Loneliness and social isolation affect physical health. For example, loneliness:

    • Increases the likelihood of mortality by 26 percent.
    • Has the same effect on mortality as the impact of obesity, and cigarette smoking and substance-dependency.
    • Increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke.
    • Increases the risk of high blood pressure.
    • Is a risk factors for the progression of frailty.

    In terms of mental health, loneliness:

    • Puts individuals at greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
    • Increases an individual’s risk of depression.
    • Is predictive of suicide (in older age) or self-harm.
    • Is associated with poorer cognitive function among older adults.

    Studies have shown that adolescents who are lonely may be more likely to use drugs or alcohol and become sexually active at an earlier age than their peers. Lonely teenagers are also more likely to engage in risky and unsafe sex or exhibit aggressive behaviour.

    Things that can lead to feelings of loneliness include:

    • The loss of a loved one
    • A sudden breakup
    • Single parenthood
    • Retirement
    • Moving to a new area or going away for college
    • Health problems that limit a person’s ability to socialize
    • Surviving abuse.

    The distress associated with loneliness can be significant and may lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. People who are shy, experience social anxiety, or are reluctant to take social risks, and they may be more likely to describe themselves as lonely and may have difficulty forming lasting and satisfying relationships.

    It should be remembered, that while many people who feel lonely are physically alone, not everyone who is alone feels lonely. Some people simply choose to have few social connections. If a person chooses to be alone, they may well enjoy and welcome the solitude.

    One of the issues with loneliness is that many people are reluctant to admit it – they feel that it is a sign of weakness. The obvious solution to feelings of loneliness is go to out and meet people, but that can be hard. Obviously, during lockdown that was very difficult!

    So, what can people do to stop feeling lonely? The charity Mind offers some suggestions:

    • Take it slowly – go somewhere where there are other people, but you’re not expected to interact.
    • Make new connections – join a class or volunteer.
    • Try peer support – try a befriender service or join an online community, eg Elefriends (https://www.elefriends.org.uk/).
    • Try to open up – reach out to someone or share a post on social media.
    • Try talking therapies – like hypnotherapy or CBT.
    • Social care – The Care Act 2014 places general obligations on local authorities to promote wellbeing and to prevent social care needs from arising.
    • Be careful when comparing yourself to others – people only post on social media and tell you about the high points in their life. It may not be like that.
    • Look after yourself – get enough sleep, eat healthily, get some exercise, get outside, spend time with animals. And avoid drugs or alcohol.

    When you visit a solution-focused hypnotherapist, we can help with any issues associated with loneliness such as depression, anxiety, or anger issues. We can help people to sleep better. We can help you to relax. And we can suggest that you treat any attempts to socialize as experiments. If an attempt at socializing, eg joining a badminton club, doesn’t work, then the information you get from the result of that experiment can simply help you when you plan your next experiment, eg join a bridge club (or whatever). The result doesn’t reflect in any way on you personally. And the very fact that you are able to share your inner thoughts with your hypnotherapist, may very well make it easier for you to talk to any new people you meet.

    Loneliness is a big problem, and it, in many ways, is a hidden problem. The good news is that solution-focused hypnotherapy can help.

    Trevor Eddolls
    iTech-Ed Hypnotherapy
    Chippenham, Wilts SN14 0TL
    p: 01249 443256
    e: trevor@ihypno.biz
    w: ihypno.biz
    t: @iHypno2004
    i: ihypno2004
    f: fb.com/iHypno2004/

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