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.

AfSFH members can send in their blogs for publication to it@afsfh.com, with their name, contact details, and website information (so readers can contact you should they wish to do so).

For members of the public, welcome to the fascinating world of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy!

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  • 08 Nov 2018 4:13 PM | Helen Green (Administrator)

    Written by Tania Taylor

    Dementia is rapidly becoming the biggest killer in the world, with one person diagnosed worldwide every 3 seconds, and more than 1 in 3 people over the age of 80 will die with dementia. In the UK, there are currently 850,000 people living with dementia, and this figure is set to rise to one million by 2020.

    How can we help?
    We can start by learning the difference between the myths and the facts.

    Myth
    People with dementia are sufferers.

    Fact
    Some people living with dementia do feel that they suffer, and some people who support their family member or friend who is living with dementia may describe the person as ‘suffering’. However, ongoing research carried out by the Alzheimer’s Society recognises that people living with dementia, do not want to be disempowered by words or phrases such as “Dementia sufferer” or “patient” or “senile”. These are often outdated misconceptions that can leave people affected by dementia feeling isolated and disengaged from society. They are also terms that encourage society to disengage from people with dementia. They are words that make assumptions that anyone with the illness is no longer a person in their own right.

    Myth
    Alzheimer’s is worse than dementia.

    Fact
    Alzheimer’s is one form of dementia. There are over 100 different types of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease is the most commonly diagnosed type. There are three other types that are more common than most; Vascular Dementia, Frontal Temporal Dementia, and Lewy Body Dementia. Each type damages the brain in different ways, causing a variety of symptoms. The term Dementia is an umbrella term, used in relation to ALL types of dementia.

    Myth
    People with dementia have poor mental health.

    Fact
    Anyone can be diagnosed with dementia, regardless of their mental health. Dementia is also not classed as a mental health condition any more (although it used to be many years ago). Dementia is as physical as heart disease, stroke, or cancer. It costs the UK more money in care and support than all three of those illnesses combined. Dementia is caused by physical damage inside the brain. The physical damage occurs in different ways according to what type of dementia a person has.

    Myth
    People with dementia are always old.

    Fact
    There are currently more than 17,000 younger people living with dementia in the UK. The most common forms of dementia found in people under the age of 65 is Alzheimer’s Disease and Frontal Temporal Dementia. Some types of dementia do run in families, although this is fairly uncommon, it is more likely to run in a family if the person is diagnosed before the age of 65.

    Myth
    People with dementia can’t remember anything.

    Fact
    People living with dementia often have difficulty recalling recent events or memories. This is because of damage to the hippocampus and amygdala. However, not all people with a diagnosis of dementia will experience these symptoms right away. People with Frontal Temporal Dementia are more likely to experience a change in their behaviours prior to any damage occurring that causes problems with memory recall. Even when people do have symptoms relating to their ability to recall memories that are recent, a memory from the past is often quite easy to recall.

    Myth
    People with dementia can’t drive.

    Fact
    Dementia has a beginning, and a middle, before it reaches the end. This is one of the reasons the language we use surrounding dementia is so important. There is such a big misconception that dementia is someone at the end of life. I have known many people who have lived ‘well’ for years with a diagnosis of dementia. I have known people with a diagnosis of dementia who can and are able to drive. A diagnosis of dementia does not mean a person suddenly changes into a stigmatised object created by disempowering language in Society. When someone is diagnosed with dementia, if it is safe for them to do so, they can continue to drive.

    Many years ago, people living with dementia were more commonly diagnosed after many years of living with the illness. However, as we continue to reduce the stigma and raise awareness of the ability to live well after a diagnosis, it is becoming more common for people to receive a diagnosis much earlier. It is important to note that the number of years since a diagnosis, is not the number of years since the dementia began.

    Myth
    People with dementia can’t live alone or go out alone.

    Fact
    People living with dementia are absolutely able to live and go out alone. We also have a wealth of technology at our fingertips now that means people with dementia can stay at home, living well, for longer than ever before. Many people living with dementia may find that as time progresses and their illness worsens, they may find living and going out alone more difficult. This does not mean that as soon as a person receives a diagnosis, they suddenly have to stop doing all of the things that person enjoys.

    Myth
    Everyone with dementia has the same symptoms.

    Fact
    Even if you had two identical twins diagnosed with the same type of dementia on the same day, their journey with dementia will be very different. Why?

    The symptoms of dementia vary depending on where in the brain damage occurs.

    The symptoms affecting memory, affect the individual persons’ memories, and no two people have a life time of identical memories, even when two people experience the same event, their perception and recall of that event are different.

    The progression of dementia can be affected by other health conditions eg stroke, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure etc.
    The symptoms can affect a person’s personality depending on which part of the brain is damaged, and no two people have the same personality.

    Once you have met one person with dementia, you have met ONE person with dementia.

    How can Hypnotherapy help?
    For many people after receiving a diagnosis of dementia, both the person diagnosed, and their supporter can experience heightened levels of stress, anxiety, periods of low mood, disruptions to sleep, and feelings of frustration. These are all areas we work with in people who have not been affected by dementia.

    Solution Focused Hypnotherapy works with a person to support them in identifying coping mechanisms that will work for them. Sessions can be delivered 1:1, with couples e.g. husband and wife, mother and daughter. Sessions can also be delivered for relaxation purposes in a group setting, for example a residential home, or a day support service.

    A person with dementia should be treated as we would treat any other client, but there are some areas we may give more consideration to. For example, a client with dementia may have a delayed ability to respond during a conversation, and so we must provide extra moments of silence to enable a person to respond. We never assume that we think we know what a person is about to say. We also need to consider our environment, is it dementia friendly? There are lots of low cost or free changes we can make to our sessions and our knowledge, to ensure that when we deliver a service to a person affected by dementia, we can do it well.

    Working with people affected by dementia is one of my most rewarding types of work. Why? Because when you are given a diagnosis of a terminal illness it can be devastating, especially when you are aware of the stigma and negative, disempowering portrayals in society. Being able to discover ways of coping that work the very best for you, and your supporter, is life changing, and can improve quality of life. Knowing I have helped to make a positive difference to a person’s final years of life, well, there is nothing more rewarding than that.

    Do you want to learn more?
    I deliver Continual Professional Development courses specifically around working with people who are living with a diagnosis of dementia and their supporters. I believe more people with a diagnosis of dementia and those who support them, should have Solution Focused Hypnotherapy as an accessible, meaningful, service to support them to continue to live well for as long as possible. I am also passionate about raising awareness about dementia, what it is, what it isn’t, and what valuable resources we can access to help us learn more.

    If you would like information about the courses I deliver you can email me and/or visit my website.

    If you are living with dementia, or are supporting someone who is living with dementia, and want to discuss whether Solution Focused Hypnotherapy would suit your needs, please get in touch by calling me on 07442 169 033 or emailing me. More information can also be found on my website.

    All facts and figures have been taken from www.Alzheimers.org.

    Tania Taylor
    Solution Focused Psychotherapist & Hypnotherapist in Milnrow village centre, Rochdale.
    Lecturer at the Clinical Hypnotherapy School.
    Tania.Taylor@live.co.uk
    www.Tania-Taylor.co.uk
    fb.com/TaniaTaylorHypnotherapy
    @TT_Hypnotherapy
    youtube.com/channel/UCos7z3Tc87AQoEIsAMwXxqg


  • 12 Oct 2018 4:18 PM | Helen Green (Administrator)

    Written by Sarah Stanley

    It’s always scary taking that first step. Whether we are moving on in our personal or our working lives, change can be difficult. I have recently faced a new challenge in my business – an offer to open a second clinic. My part-time clinic in Horley has suited me very well. I am used to it and able to fit my work around my young daughter. Do I really want to change this comfortable situation? Well, if I want to grow my business, I need to do this. And I am pleased to say that I feel ready for that next challenge.

    From Spare Bedroom to High Street Clinic

    I reflected on my professional journey so far and I remember vividly the even scarier decision to take up the offer of a part-time practice at the Carlton Clinic in Horley. Leaving behind my spare bedroom where I had been treating clients so that I could achieve my Solution Focused Hypnotherapy certification.

    I was very nervous but also very excited to be taking that next step. Committing to settling my 2-year-old daughter into nursery and opening my practice in a proper clinic! And having made that decision, the rewards have been amazing! Seeing clients succeed in overcoming their own challenges. Seeing clients regain a sense of purpose and confidence in themselves so that they can really enjoy their lives.

    The challenges we meet when running a business are not so different from the challenges we face in our personal lives. The same anxiety when you encounter something new, something different that you’ve never faced before, something you’re really not sure how to deal with.

    But I have learned that it’s not the events in our lives that create anxiety. It’s our response to those events. The attitude and the thought processes that we adopt.

    “If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you” Fred Devito

    Let me introduce you to the Mindset. You can have a ‘fixed’ mindset or a ‘growth’ mindset.

    Fixed Mindset

    The fixed mindset is the idea that our basic talents, intelligence and abilities are “fixed.” If we are not confident that we can do something, because it’s outside our normal sphere of activity, we become fearful. We don’t want to step outside our comfort zone.

    Growth Mindset

    The growth mindset believes that your talents and abilities can be developed and enhanced over time. So that you are open to life’s possibilities. Prepared to challenge yourself to try new things. New skills, new coping strategies, new ideas. Allowing yourself to grow.

    We all experience setbacks in our personal and working lives. A growth mindset allows us to focus on what we can learn from these setbacks and what we can do differently in the future. This encourages a positive attitude as we learn, develop and progress. You make a mistake. No problem. You learn from it and move on.

    A Growth Mindset = Success

    Carol Dweck, a world leading researcher at Stanford University, attributes success to having the right mindset.

    One of the most important advances in understanding how our brains work is neuroplasticity. Until the 1960’s we believed our brains were ‘fixed.’ Unable to change once we became adults.. We now know that our brains continually make new neural pathways and connections as we learn and adapt and experience new things.

    Solution Focused Hypnotherapy works with this understanding of the human brain to help people to change and to succeed. Whatever your challenge, with the right mindset – a growth mindset – you can make it happen! A Growth Mindset has enabled me to move my business forward. From my spare bedroom to a busy clinic in Horley, and now to a second clinic in Crawley.

    What Could a Growth Mindset do for you?

    Solution Focused Hypnotherapy helps you develop a Growth Mindset. So that you can face your challenges in a thoughtful, positive way and then reinforcing those positive messages through hypnotherapy. Helping you to feel more confident and equipping you to be successful in whatever it is that you want to achieve.

    Sarah Stanley – Solution Focused Clinical Hypnotherapist
    The Carlton Clinic
    07850995869
    www.sstanley.co.uk
    facebook.com/sstanleyhypno/

     


  • 04 Sep 2018 4:19 PM | Helen Green (Administrator)

    Written by Trevor Eddolls 

    With Migraine Awareness Week running from 2-8 September this year, I thought it would be a good time to look at how hypnotherapy can help people who experience migraines. Migraine Awareness Week is a campaign to draw attention to migraine, educate the public, and reduce stigma.

    So, what is a migraine? Basically, it’s a severe headache, which the NHS describes as: “usually an intense headache on one side of the head. The pain is usually a moderate or severe throbbing sensation that gets worse when you move and prevents you from carrying out normal activities. In some cases, the pain can occur on both sides of your head and may affect your face or neck.” Some people with migraine also experience nausea and vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound. And some people report seeing spots or flashing lights or have a temporary loss of vision.

    Like most medical terms, the word migraine comes from the Greek for half – hemi – and skull – kranion – through Latin and French to give us our modern word.

    If you do experience migraines, you are not alone. Well-known people who are migraineurs include: Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Cervantes, Lewis Carroll, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Sigmund Freud, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, Carly Simon, Whoopi Goldberg, and John Glenn.

    Many people experience what’s called prodrome, which is a sort of premonition or feeling that a migraine is going to occur. When this occurs, it gives sufferers an opportunity to take steps to reduce the pain they experience.

    Again, the NHS site explains: “The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but they’re thought to be the result of abnormal brain activity temporarily affecting nerve signals, chemicals and blood vessels in the brain.” They go on to say that: “It’s not clear what causes this change in brain activity, but it’s possible that your genes make you more likely to experience migraines as a result of a specific trigger.” It seems that there can be all sorts of triggers, including hormonal, emotional, physical, dietary, environmental, and medicinal factors.
    Some women experience migraines around the time of their period. Emotional triggers include: stress, anxiety, tension, shock, depression, and excitement. Other triggers include physical triggers such as tiredness or low blood sugar, dietary triggers such as dehydration or eating specific foods (e.g. chocolate); and environmental triggers such as flashing lights or strong smells.

    Anderson et al (1975) conducted a randomized, double-blind trial that compared a group of patients receiving hypnotherapy with another group receiving medications such as ergotamine and prochlorperazine. The hypnotherapy group had a comparative reduction in both the total number of attacks and the frequency of incapacitating attacks. In 2007, DC Hammond summarized the research available and concluded that hypnotherapy was a useful treatment for migraines.

    How can hypnotherapy help? Hypnotherapy can help in several ways. It can help with the pain and it can help with the triggers or causes of the pain. It can also help individuals to feel more confident in managing their migraines.

    The first step is for the client to find out – if they don’t already know – what triggers a migraine for them. If they can identify their triggers, then they can try to avoid them.

    For many people, as mentioned earlier, the triggers can be stress or anxiety or even depression. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (SFH) has a proven track record of helping people understand how stress affects their thinking, and it can help people to relax, feel more confident, eliminate the stress they are carrying around with them all the time, and make them better able to use their intellectual brain for decision-making and coming up with innovative behaviours. A relaxed person reports ‘feeling’ less pain than a tense person.

    Lack of sleep is another common trigger for migraines, and, again, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help people to sleep better.

    Another proven technique that people can use when they feel a migraine coming on (that prodrome) is to recall a time when they were feeling well and relaxed and in control. This visualization can lower a person’s blood pressure and their pulse rate (in the same way that remembering a time when they’ve felt frustrated or angry can increase blood pressure and pulse rate!). It can also reduce respiration rates. Again, a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist can help with this kind of visualization.

    And, of course, the language that’s used can affect how painful the pain experienced can be. A person can try reframing their pain as discomfort. Even severe discomfort doesn’t hurt quite as much as severe pain. Using the word ‘experiencing’ – as in ‘experiencing pain’ – sounds less painful than saying ‘suffering pain’. Changing the language used can help.

    Lastly, Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy can help a person accept a condition and live with that condition as part of their life. To separate themselves from the condition (the migraine) that they are experiencing, and not be defined by it.

    People who experience migraines can find help with it in many ways by consulting a solution-focused hypnotherapist. And those people who don’t get migraines can become more aware of how they can affect others during Migraine Awareness Week.

    For further information and to find a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist near you, please take a look at the AfSFH website and professional register at www.afsfh.com.

    References:


    https://www.hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk/hypnotherapist-articles/migraine-how-hypnotherapy-can-help
    http://www.migraines.org/myth/mythgood.htm
    Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2007 Apr;55(2):207-19. Review of the efficacy of clinical hypnosis with headaches and migraines. Hammond DC et al
    Anderson, J. A., Basker, M. A., & Dalton, R. (1975). Migraine and hypnotherapy. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 23(1), 48-58.
    Kukuruzovic, R. (2004). Hypnosis in the treatment of migraine. Australian Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis, 32(1), 53-61.
    https://migraine.com/blog/what-is-a-migraine-prodrome/
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/migraine/causes/
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/migraine/symptoms/

    Trevor Eddolls
    iTech-Ed Hypnotherapy
    Chippenham
    Wilts SN14 0TL
    01249 443256
    trevor@ihypno.biz
    www.ihypno.biz
    @ihypno2004


  • 02 Aug 2018 4:22 PM | Helen Green (Administrator)

    Written by Sarah Stanley

    Have you ever felt anxious, fearful, lacking in confidence? Or low and depressed?

    If you have, you will understand how difficult it is to think clearly or to feel positive about anything.

    Here’s a message I received recently from a client who had an irrational fear of being alone at night:

    “Was just having breakfast after a perfectly lovely night’s sleep by myself in my flat. I quite often think ‘thank you Sarah’ and thought I would actually say it to you a year on. I am picking up my new puppy on Friday. Soppy as anything and totally incapable of protecting me from anything, which is fine these days thanks to you.”

    It’s always lovely to get these messages and it got me thinking about how Solution Focused Hypnotherapy enables people to make lasting, effective changes in their lives.

    The Solution Focused Approach
    When I first meet a client, they are often surprised and relieved when I tell them we don’t need to talk about the problems.

    It doesn’t matter how you got here. We don’t need to analyse it. We find solutions. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy. We look for strengths and positive moments.

    Above all we find your desire to change and to feel better.

    Using Your Brain to Bring About Change
    If you’ve worked with me or been to one of my talks, you will be familiar with my best tool – an explanation of how the brain works.

    This is such an important part of the therapy. When you understand how the brain works, and how negative thought patterns are created, you have a real advantage.

    This part of the therapy is a resource that I give to clients. They take it away with them, so they can tap back into it whenever life presents a challenge or an emotional difficulty.

    Yes, You Can Change!
    I firmly believe that each client who comes to see me has the ability to change and the necessary resources that they need to make that change. Solution Focused questions are used to direct the attention towards the present and the future, not to the past or problems.

    This approach allows the client to begin a process of envisioning what their preferred future might look like. And then to create small steps towards achieving that outcome.

    I remember a meeting I had during my training with my (exceptional!) tutor. The questions she asked allowed me to literally have that ‘light-bulb moment’. I was stuck. Between the challenge of my role as a mother and wife and attempting to set up a business. She asked me a simple question, “What difference would it make to you?” My response was easy, I want to go back to work and establish a working identity again.

    Her focused approach allowed me to come up with the solution. I decided to arrange child care every Tuesday and started practising in the Carlton clinic here in Horley.

    The icing on the cake
    Hypnosis. to me, is the icing on the cake.

    When we come up with goals and solutions, deep relaxation or trance is a very effective way of reinforcing that message to our subconscious.

    We possess something rather remarkable called the Reticular Activating System. Our brain’s Reticular Activating System can bring about change when we know what we want, and when we are focused on the desired result.

    This part of the brain is activated during hypnosis.

    Many clients just love to experience that time of deep relaxation. Some continue to attend monthly or ad-hoc ‘top-up’ sessions.

    Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a multi-faceted approach. Each element is equally important in helping you to find your solution and to create your better future.

    Sarah Stanley – Solution Focused Clinical Hypnotherapist
    The Carlton Clinic
    07850995869
    www.sstanley.co.uk
    facebook.com/sstanleyhypno/


  • 02 Jul 2018 4:50 PM | Helen Green (Administrator)

    Written by Silvia Boric Oakes-Wilson

    Despite often being told that it is beneficial to think positively, many of us struggle to do so. It is also often argued that it is what we do that counts, not what we think.

    What you think about, you bring about
    Being able to act differently to how we think or feel can definitely prove helpful in certain social situations. Sometimes, it may even save our life. Still, if what we present as the truth differs from our internal reality over a longer period of time, it inevitably leads to inner tension. This is because our thoughts trigger the same chemical processes as our actions.

    The best way to illustrate this is perhaps when we are attempting to do something relaxing but find it impossible because our mind starts racing. Sometimes these intrusive thoughts can become more and more intense to the point of actually making us nauseous or gasping for breath. Sound familiar?

    Your self-talk creates your reality
    In the privacy of our own mind we allow ourselves to think whatever we like, maybe because we do not know that our thoughts eventually become part of our belief system. Moreover, our negative thoughts accumulate and are stored; in hypnotherapy we call this collection of negative thoughts our “stress bucket”. So, if we dwell on negative thoughts, we encourage our body to produce a lot of stress hormones which, once our stress bucket is full, will turn into anxiety and start waking us up at night. It sounds like a vicious circle, doesn’t it?

    Words are alive
    But we can stop this impacting our health.The first step is to become more observant of our self-talk. Now if we remember that even water crystals change their consistency when talked to nicely, imagine what effect this would have on your own life? Everything thrives with love, and there is no better love than self-love.

    Practice can make it perfect
    Now, I know it may not seem easy to suddenly switch this polarity around, but everything is achievable with practice! You can start by rewriting your negative thoughts into positive ones as this will direct your thought energy towards how you want things to be. By training our mind to think positively, we are actually acknowledging the potential for improvement and instinctively steering our actions towards solutions.

    Every cloud has a silver lining
    Even in challenging situations, instead of just labelling them as negative, adopting a positive attitude will boost our resilience, help us to persevere in the most difficult of times and even reveal some hidden potential.

    Silvia Boric Oakes-Wilson
    Oakes-Wilson Hypnotherapy
    30 Alma Vale Road
    Bristol
    BS8 2HY
    07827 061637
    www.oakeswilsonhypnotherapy.com



  • 06 Jun 2018 4:55 PM | Helen Green (Administrator)

    Written by Debbie Daltrey

    We all blush sometimes, usually from mild embarrassment. All that happens is that our cheeks darken slightly, which soon passes. However for some people erythrophobia (the fear of blushing) creates overwhelming feelings of anxiety.

    Why do we blush?
    Blushing is actually part of our primitive flight-or-flight response. When we’re faced with our old friend the sabre-toothed tiger, a blush isn’t going to save our lives – but, it’s a sign that our bodies are producing adrenaline, which will. When we produce adrenaline, our blood vessels widen to create a better blood flow, and this is why our faces redden.

    Erythrophobia
    An erythrophobic may not physically blush any deeper than the next person (and some people go a really dark shade without ever worrying about it). The difference is that an erythrophobic is excessively anxious about how they’re perceived – it’s actually a social phobia.

    Erythrophobia creates a vicious circle: the more you fear blushing, the more you blush, and so on. People who don’t experience it can be dismissive (“it’s only your face getting a bit red”). However, for the erythrophobe, blushes create overwhelming anxiety.

    It’s not an unusual phobia, and it’s something that hypnotherapy can help with.

    Overcoming blushing in meetings: a case study
    I’ve recently worked with a client to help her manage erythrophobia. In every way, she appeared to be a confident woman, and with no fear of blushing in social situations. However, she had become scared of contributing in work meetings in case she blushed. This had led to a negative forecasting tendency: people would judge her, she’d be viewed as incompetent. You can see her thought trail. My client felt it was limiting her career prospects and so she came for help.

    The role of catastrophising
    My client was so anxious that she started to catastrophise, which means that she focused on the worst possible outcomes. To the anxious mind, the route from a blush to a work demotion is a clear and sequential one. The fact that her colleagues probably wouldn’t even notice a blush ceased to compute once her brain set out along a negative forecasting path.

    How hypnotherapy helped manage her erythrophobia
    We needed to set her along a new pathway, using a mix of techniques. We discussed ways to convert negative thoughts into positive ones, including solution focused questioning, which helps create a vision of a preferred future outcome (such as being confidently involved in meetings). We then used trance work to strengthen new perceptions and goal opportunities we had discussed.

    I set my client “homework”. As well as listening to the audio I gave her every night, she was to focus and reflect on her successes at work each day. This positive focus strengthens neural pathways and encourages more of the ‘solution behaviour’ for example, the desired thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

    At the start of our sessions, we would discuss progress in the week since we last met. One day she replied “I’ve been in meetings, this week, and it was fine”. I asked her how she knew she was fine, and her answer was wonderful: “Well, I didn’t even think about me. My focus was on the meeting and I was so engrossed in the discussion that it was natural just to join in.” We built on that, setting realistic weekly goals. She’s now finished her therapy programme, and is happily contributing to meetings and getting the recognition she deserves.

    Click here to find a solution-focused hypnotherapist near you who can help you with phobias.

    Debbie Daltrey – Solution Focused Clinical Hypnotherapist
    Great Minds Clinic
    07724 855395
    www.greatmindsclinic.co.uk
    hello@greatmindsclinic.co.uk
    facebook.com/greatmindsclinic/
    @greatmindsclini


  • 02 May 2018 4:57 PM | Helen Green (Administrator)

    Written by Nicola Griffiths

    I’m frequently being asked if it matters if “I drop off to sleep during hypnosis”, or “how the brain can change by listening to a download when I’m asleep”? So I was delighted to see a recent bit of research on sleep, by Researcher Sid Kouider, which proved that I had for the last 10 years been answering the questions correctly!

    Using both MRI and EEG techniques, Kouider looked to see how humans process information, both consciously and unconsciously, and his studies demonstrated that during sleep the brain does not switch off, instead it is actively engaged in reviewing and storing memories.

    We already know how REM sleep works, that the brain is busy moving information from the emotional, primitive mind to the sensible, intellectual mind. How this happens is now being discovered and reported by Koudier in his work. During the pre-REM stage of sleep, not only can the brain extract meaning from acoustically presented information, but it can also prepare a response and come to a decision – all whilst we’re asleep!

    I recall some years ago a psychiatrist telling me that “If we relax before going to bed then we get a better night’s sleep”. Well my response was “No surprise there then”! Yet it constantly surprises me how people put themselves through the mental wringer of The News (whether on TV or radio), a thriller, or some such negative experience and then complain of insomnia.

    So next time someone says “Sweet dreams”, take it literally and think positive thoughts as you drift off. It’s far better to be processing good stuff than bad, therefore pick up a good non-frightening book, listen to some relaxing music, or better still, watch a good episode of old-fashioned comedy – my favourite at the moment is Yes Minister (By Jove they knew how to write a good comedy back then).

    Nicola Griffiths DHP, HPD MNCH, SFBT Sup (Hyp).
    Clinic Proprietor / Senior Lecturer / Clinical Hypnotherapist
    Cirencester Hypnotherapy & Health Centre
    84 Dyer Street, Cirencester, Glos GL7 2PF
    01285 652449
    www.cirencesterhypnotherapycentre.co.uk
    info@nicolagriffithshypnotherapy.co.uk


  • 03 Apr 2018 4:58 PM | Helen Green (Administrator)

    Written by Helen Rogers

    There’s no denying that smartphones and technology in general have made life a lot easier in some ways. It can also pave the way for stress, anxiety and insomnia.

    Research has suggested that the average person checks their smartphone up to 10,000 times per year – which works out at around 28 times per day.

    In this post I’m going to talk about the link between anxiety and digital distraction, and share some tips on how you can reduce your over reliance on technology.

    Why Technology Can Cause Anxiety and Insomnia

    A study by Anxiety UK found that regularly using technology increased anxiety, especially with regards to social networking. The behaviour of many of the participants became more negative and involved comparing themselves unfavourably to other people and finding it hard to switch off and relax. And if they couldn’t get online to check emails or social media, almost half of the the respondents experienced a spike in their anxiety levels.

    The study concluded that people who are prone to anxiety can find that technology acts as a catalyst that results in their anxiety becoming overwhelming.

    One of the reasons that technology can become addictive is the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) when you’re not online.

    Another factor is that we find it so hard to step back from technology. Researchers have suggested that we get a surge in dopamine levels every time we get a notification. Dopamine is linked to rewards and even addiction, especially if we expect the message to give us pleasure.

    “Blue light” from technology is another issue associated with technology and is linked to sleep problems in particular. It reduces melatonin levels, which means it’s harder to get to sleep and stay asleep causing insomnia.

    What to do about it

    Here are some of my tips for reducing digital anxiety:

    Turn off notifications: most of the time, you check your phone because it pinged. If you set notifications to silent, you might still feel obliged to check “just in case”, especially to begin with but this is likely to happen less often because your attention isn’t being drawn to your phone whenever a notification sounds.

    Check in every so often: if you can’t shut yourself off from your devices altogether to begin with, wean yourself off them bit by bit instead. Set an alarm to go off every 15 minutes and give yourself an opportunity to check in online for a brief minute or two each time it goes off. The idea is that you can gradually get used to going longer between check ins until you feel able to go up to an hour or two.

    Filter your emails: one of the biggest causes of digital distraction is the number of emails that come through in the average day and the compulsion to check them as soon as a notification pings. Setting up your emails to filter only the most important emails directly to you and arranging for the rest to go into folders to be viewed later can significantly reduce the amount of notifications you receive. You can then set time aside to view the less important emails rather than feeling compelled to look at them there and then.

    Limit “blue light”: With “blue light” being a problem for sleep, you don’t want to have too many devices in your bedroom or be active on them at the wrong time. Switching off devices at least an hour before bedtime limits the amount of “blue light” that you’re exposed to just before you go to bed. “Blue light” can affect the quality of your sleep, which can increase anxiety and encourage low mood – especially if you’re prone to worrying and negative thoughts. If you’re not currently affected by anxiety, insomnia can make you more likely to develop it.

    Try a digital detox: a short term digital detox can have a lot of benefits for your emotional wellbeing, including helping you to concentrate better, sleep better and be less stressed. Doing this for too long may not be that realistic if you need to stay connected for work but if you can do a digital detox for even 24 hours, it can help your mind to switch off. Even a couple of hours of digital detoxing on a regular basis can be great for your mental health.

    Hypnotherapy for Anxiety

    If this advice doesn’t help to reduce digital distraction, hypnotherapy could help.

    Hypnotherapy has a great success rate in treating stress and anxiety and can also help to break the habit of checking devices all the time.

    It can help you to get to the bottom of why you check your devices so much and provide tools and solutions to deal with the trigger(s) in different ways. You may not be consciously aware of what is behind it but emotions can often play a bigger role than you think.

    Take the first step towards reducing technology-related stress and anxiety by contacting your local solution-focused hypnotherapist.

    You can read the original blog here.

    Helen Rogers BA(Hons) DHP HPD MNCH(Reg)
    Lower Ground Floor, 5 College Fields, Clifton BS8 3HP
    and
    10 Harbury Road, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4PL
    07915 093588
    helen@helenrogers.co.uk
    www.helenrogers.co.uk/


  • 05 Mar 2018 5:00 PM | Helen Green (Administrator)

    Written by Elizabeth Newton

    Thousands of people are stopping smoking every month and the good news is, you can too. Here are 10 things you perhaps didn’t know about smoking. All the more reason to make today the day YOU decide to quit for life.

    1.     We smoke as a result of both brainwashing and chemical addiction.

    2.     It is not as addictive as we are led to believe. Some scientists estimate the addictive element (nicotine) is only 10% addictive.

    3.     Most people who are hooked as adults disliked the taste of that first cigarette when they were adolescents.

    4.     There is evidence to show that substitutes for smoking, eg gums or patches, actually make stopping harder and pangs seem worse.

    5.     Cigarettes kill hundreds of thousands of people. This is more each year than heroin kills.
    stop smoking

    6.     The UK government makes £8,000,000,000 per annum out of nicotine addiction.

    7.     Smoking affects the brain’s feel-good chemicals. Regular smokers are up to 80% more likely to be diagnosed as clinically depressed than non-smokers.

    8.     Smoking is not a relaxant. It is a stimulant. Increasing blood pressure and putting extra strain on the cardiovascular system.

    9.     Smoking increases the chance of contracting 14 different types of cancer. (Not just the lungs)

    10.Cigarettes contain cyanide, lead, mercury, and carbon monoxide.

    Click here to find a solution-focused hypnotherapist near you who can help you to stop smoking.

    Elizabeth Newton – Clinical Hypnotherapist
    HPD, DSFH, AfSFH (Reg)
    Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex CM24 8AA
    07951776608
    Elizabeth@freshleafhypnotherapy.co.uk
    www.freshleafhypnotherapy.co.uk
    twitter @freshleafhypno


  • 05 Feb 2018 5:01 PM | Helen Green (Administrator)

    Written by Trevor Eddolls

    Too many people decide that they want to make a change in their lifestyle and use the New Year as a way of making the required change. Or that’s what they plan to do. And sometime in January, too many people find that they haven’t succeeded in giving up alcohol, losing weight, stopping smoking, going to the gym, or whatever, and go back to their old lifestyle once more. So, how can people make and keep their resolutions?

    Firstly, many resolutions fail because:

    ·        They are based on what someone else (or society) is telling you to change rather than what you feel you want to change.

    ·        They are too vague.

    ·        You don’t have a realistic plan for achieving your resolution.

    The goal should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound).

    There’s evidence to suggest that a person’s chances of success are greater when they channel their energy into changing just one aspect of their behaviour. So, it’s recommended that people make only one resolutions rather than lots.

    It seems that humans are driven by ‘loss aversion’, ie people are more motivated to recover a loss than they are to make gains. So, resolutions should be worded to recover something lost, eg an old hobby or a former level of fitness. They also must be realistic. Also, people are more likely to keep resolutions if they can see them as being somehow important to other people, according to Dr John Michael, a philosopher at Warwick University. Making resolutions public can help people keep them because the fear that people will think worse of them if they don’t see them through adds to their resolve.

    It’s also important to plan for what you want to achieve, identify any obstacles that you’ll meet, and identify ways round them. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, suggests thinking of New Year resolutions as New Year plans. He suggests that rather than setting a far off goal, eg running a marathon, it’s better to set an immediate plan that you can start straight away. So your marathon goal might begin with the goal of running half a mile every Monday morning, and building on that.

    Duhigg suggests breaking down a new habit into its three parts: a cue, a routine, and a reward. For running, a cue could be just putting on your running kit, even if, to begin with, you don’t go running. And then you get a reward, which helps your brain to establish the behaviour. These small steps can then build up to running a marathon.

    Implementation intentions is a technique that uses an ‘if-then’ structure. So a resolution might be to run half a mile on Monday mornings. The implementation intention could be: “If it’s Sunday night, then I will set my alarm 30 minutes earlier, so that I have time to run”. The rule is to identify the situations related to the cue in order to find the ‘ifs’ and link them to appropriate responses to make the ‘thens’. A recent study by Chris Armitage, professor of health psychology at the University of Manchester, found that 15% of smokers who formed implementations stopped smoking, compared with 2% of those who did not.

    One of the obstacles that people face, for example with running a marathon, is that running a mile may be OK, but they still have to run 25 miles more. A 2012 study published in The Journal of Consumer Research found that focusing on the smaller number in reaching a goal kept people more motivated. So, instead of looking at the big number left to get to a goal, look at what’s already been achieved. Later on, when that goal number is much smaller, focus on what little remains to achieve the goal.

    It’s interesting to note that a study by Marion Fournier, a lecturer at the Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, found simple habits form more quickly in the morning than in the evening. Researchers believe this may be to do with levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which tend to be highest when we wake up. Apparently, cortisol elevation changes the mechanisms in our brain, blocking the prefrontal cortex, resulting in a behaviour becoming habitual.
    Gabriele Oettingen, professor of psychology at New York University and author of Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation, suggest that people shouldn’t daydream about their future success because they’ll have less actual success. She suggests that it’s better to look at what obstacles are in the way and how to get over them – Oettingen calls this technique WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan):

    ·        Wish – what do you want?

    ·        Outcome – what would the ideal outcome be? What will your life look like when you hit your goal?

    ·        Obstacle – you know yourself. What will try to stop you? What has sidelined you before?

    ·        Plan – how will you get around it?

    Similarly, Gretchen Rubin, the author of Better than Before, suggests it’s crucial to avoid listening to the excuses that make our habits falter, such as the false choice loophole, eg you can’t go for a run tomorrow because you have to do X. Recognizing them in advance can make them less powerful, when you realize you’re doing it, you’re much more likely to resist.

    And should your New Year plan be flexible or rigid? In a 2015 study, researchers paid two groups of people to go to the gym for a month. Group 1 was paid if they started a workout within a two-hour window they chose in advance. The second group was paid whenever they went to the gym. The result after a month was that group 2 was more likely to stick with the gym habit. So be flexible with your new habit.

    In contrast, Prof Neil Levy at the University of Oxford suggests making detailed resolutions is important. For example, “I’ll go to the gym on Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings”, is more likely to be successful than simply saying “I’ll go to the gym more”.

    And treat everything like an experiment. If something doesn’t work, then treat that as more data for what will finally work. Remember Edison took 200 (in some versions 1000) attempts to develop a working light bulb. Treat any failure as a temporary setback rather than a reason to give up altogether.

    For a New Year’s resolution to be successful, it needs to be as easy as possible. A study showed that people who travelled 8km to the gym went once a month, whereas people who travelled 6km went five or more times a month. “That 2km makes the difference between having a good exercise habit and not. That is how our habitual mind works – it has to be easy.

    And be kind to yourself. For many people, according to Dr Jessamy Hibberd, a clinical psychologist, the biggest obstacle to new habits is self-criticism. Study after study shows that self-criticism is correlated with less motivation and worse self-control, in contrast with being kind or supportive to yourself, as you would to a friend – especially when confronted with failure.

    Whatever you set as your goal, solution-focused hypnotherapy can help you to achieve it.

    References:
    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/dec/29/experts-guide-making-keeping-your-new-year-resolutions
    https://www.nytimes.com/guides/smarterliving/resolution-ideas
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42353226
    https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Healthychristmas/Pages/NewYearresolutions.aspx

    Trevor Eddolls
    iTech-Ed Hypnotherapy
    Chippenham
    Wilts SN14 0TL
    01249 443256
    trevor@ihypno.biz
    www.ihypno.biz
    @ihypno2004


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