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, with their name, contact details, and website information (so readers can contact you should they wish to do so).

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  • 02 May 2019 10:39 AM | Trevor Eddolls (Administrator)

    Written by Jane Pendry
    Anxiety in teens and young adults is on the rise.

    Why is it a worsening problem? And how can young adults manage and resolve anxiety related issues and flourish in our ever changing world?

    Frontal lobes in adolescent brains, needed for executive function, impulse control and judgement, are not fully formed in young adults. In fact neuroscientists agree that brain development continues until at least the mid-20s, and possibly until the 30s.

    Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

    The young developing brain is much more vulnerable to stress and anxiety than the fully developed adult brain.

    We know trainee adults need to work out the answers for themselves. But they are facing an unprecedented number of challenges and they need our support more than ever.

    It’s a Problem That Can Be Fixed
    Solution Focused approaches use skilled open questioning to help clients work out what they want and how to get there. For adolescents this feels respectful, supportive and empowering.

    As a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist, I know that even the most anxious adolescent can learn to manage their anxiety and take control of their thought processes.

    Young minds are more plastic than adult minds. New wiring and connections are being made and unmade all the time. So what has been learned and is unhelpful, can be unlearned.

    When Laura, aged 16, came to see me, with her concerned mother, she was terrified of travelling to school and back. She was tearful, and extremely anxious about walking down the street; even accompanied by her family.

    Yet, three sessions later, Laura was travelling to school on the bus, walking along her street at night, and even travelled to a music festival.

    These incredible results were due to the plasticity of her young mind.

    Why do young people get anxious?
    Anxiety triggers the production of stress hormones that make us take action; study harder, prepare more carefully for a meeting or presentation, or focus our attention on an important social event such as a wedding. But that’s a healthy level of anxiety. We can manage it and resolve it once the exam has been taken, the meeting is over or we are off on honeymoon.

    For adolescents, emotions are, as you may have noticed, WRIT LARGE.

    Frances Jensen M.D, and Amy Ellis Nutt in ‘The Teenage Brain’ explain what is different about the adolescent brain and what that means for managing anxiety and stress. Hormones impact on the teenage mind, and result in moodiness, impulsivity and sometimes poor choices. Jensen and Ellis Nutt add, - “… there is more at play in the teenage brain, where new connections between brain areas are being built and many chemicals, especially neurotransmitters, the “brain’s messengers,” are in flux.”

    This mind ‘in flux’ has some benefits. Teenagers see wonder and excitement in events and experiences about which middle-aged brains can barely muster a flicker of interest, from boy bands and Ariane Grande, to heavy metal and rave; from go-karting and paragliding to pink hair and Doctor Martin boots. Whatever their interests, their experiences, good and bad, are heightened. 

    When we are young, we see Romeo & Juliet as the greatest tragedy of two young lovers kept apart by warring families with tragic consequences. As an adult, remembering Romeo first loved Rosamund hours before he fell for Juliet, we know that the real tragedy is that this young love is a passing fancy founded on nothing more than pheromones, the thrill of climbing a balcony, and the frisson of the elicit.

    Jensen and Ellis Nutt go on to explain, “Because of the flexibility and growth of the adolescent brain, adolescents have a window of opportunity with an increased capacity for remarkable accomplishments. But flexibility, growth, and exuberance are a double-edged sword because an “open” and excitable brain also can be adversely affected by stress, drugs, chemical substances, and any other number of changes in the environment.” They conclude that these influences can have dramatic consequences.

    So we know a young mind is both open to learning and new experiences, but much more vulnerable to stress and environmental change.

    The Stresses of a Changing World
    We also know that the world in which adolescents now live is changing at a dramatic pace. Let’s look at some of the challenges our young people face:

    There is the old ones – been there, done it:

    • Social anxiety; a desire to fit in and find your ‘tribe’
    • Sex hormones; the unspoken complexities of the dating game
    • Exam anxiety; choosing subjects, revising, university interviews
    • Career choices; thinking about careers, interviews, training and so forth

    And the new - thank goodness we have never had challenges to deal with:

    • Social media: air-brushed images and friends or celebrities with ‘perfect’ lives; cyberbullying and endless gossip; the sheer volume of tweets, and the constant flip, flip, flip of images and snippets of text.
    • Computer games; often highly addictive and stimulating; violent and highly realistic images may help process feelings, or over stimulate their young minds.
    • The internet: easy access to extreme and sometimes violent porn, hyper-sexualisation of some young people, which creates further anxiety in their social lives
    • TV: endless fascinating TV shows on all channels; when do you go to bed?

    Need I go on. You all know what the external stressors are because you see the impact on the young people you love and care about. Or you experience them yourself.

    Anxiety is a Natural State
    As a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist, my first free initial consultation focuses on how the brain works. 

    Anxiety is a natural state; a signifier that there is danger. For tribesmen living in a rain forest or a jungle, the danger will be real, present and physical; snakes, tigers, alligators. Tribesmen in these environments need to be on high alert. If they see an animal they know to be dangerous, they fight, flee or freeze. But when they respond to danger they are not using their intellectual brain. The responses to anxiety and fear all come from the primitive mind, which we know cannot innovate or create solutions.

    The Primitive Mind
    The pea-sized amygdala is the ‘flight, fight, freeze’ part of the mind. It is closely connected to two other primitive parts of the brain: the hippocampus that stores the patterns of behaviour, both helpful and appropriate, and unhelpful; and the hypothalamus, which regulates hormones in the brain. When the amygdala is responding to stress or fear, the hypothalamus floods the body with stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol, giving enough short term energy to take instant action.

    Now if our adolescents were living in the jungle, that would be hugely useful for their survival. But in our more complex modern world, anxiety can develop over time. Stressors, such as exams aren’t just related to the day the exam is taken, but impacted by many months of revision prior to the exam. Social anxiety isn’t experienced on the tribe’s festivals and holidays, but every day at school. Many stressors are experienced daily.

    Freddy, aged 17, couldn’t stop playing computer games. Some were violent; all of them had an addictive quality. His mother was concerned that his obsessive playing was impacting on his mental health, and on his future as he was not sleeping, nor studying for his A Levels. He became ‘wired’ and developed chronic sleep issues and, almost inevitably, chronic anxiety.

    When Anxiety develops over time, it no longer has any useful function. It becomes debilitating, and can lead to exhaustion, chronic depression and obsessive behaviours.

    What can we do about it?
    Nothing. That’s right. You can’t do anything.

    But your trainee adult child can do something. The good news is that the teenage brain is particularly plastic. Their young brains continue to make connections and they have the capacity to learn extraordinary quickly, whether academically, creatively or practically.

    Solution Focused Brief Therapy and Hypnotherapy
    As you know from the adolescents and young adults in your life, you can’t tell them anything. And that’s great for a Solution Focused Therapist as we don’t tell them to do anything.

    Nothing. De Nada. Zip.

    The great thing about Solution Focused approaches is that they don’t require the practitioner to dig in to the past or to ask lots of personal and penetrating questions, nor do they require the therapist to give any advice.

    “So how does that work then?” I hear you ask.

    We all know that lovely, warm, affectionate children seem to wake up one morning and turn in to mono-syllabic, uncommunicative, eye-brow raising teens that find parents just the most annoying, pointless and frustrating people on the planet. Just like Harry Enfield’s Kevin, for those of you old enough to remember.

    That makes young teens very hard to help. They know everything; you know nothing. Yet you see them suffer with anxiety about things they either don’t want to discuss, or can’t articulate.

    Instead of exploring ‘problems’ and looking for reasons, Solution Focused therapies and coaching turn that idea on its head.

    We don’t worry about what caused the anxiety. We don’t need to know if the boy who caused the pain and despair is called Ryan, Brian or indeed, Romeo. We don’t need to know who said what to whom and when. We don’t need to know anything (although I am happy to listen when clients need to talk but it isn’t actively part of the therapeutic process).

    Exploring Best Hopes
    I ask specific questions that focus on, ‘What’s been good about your week’. These questions move a young client out of their primitive mind, and into their left pre-frontal cortex - the intellectual mind that searches for solutions.

    Through tears, and after a series of skilled questions, Laura said, “I want to be able to go to school on my own without feeling anxious. I want to feel calm and in control. I want to be able to see my friends and come home without being terrified about getting home.”

    You can imagine it much easier for her to focus on what she wanted, rather than what she didn’t want. Her subconscious mind began to create a picture of what was possible and what might be better, and the tears dried. She was not focusing on what was causing her distress. That’s the first shift in thinking.

    For Hamza, aged 19, he wanted to rid himself of his crippling social anxiety. He wanted to be able to go to the pub or parties without feeling his heart thumping in his ribs, and without finding it hard to breathe and feeling a hard lump in the pit of his stomach. Now that was a good description of what he wanted but it was still framed in negative terms.

    What did Hamza really want?

    I asked him to turn his thinking around, and a few questions later, this is what he said, “I want to look forward to going out with my friends. I want to be at ease and to not worry about what I am going to say, or whether I am liked or not. If I see a girl I like I want to be able to speak to her in a normal way…” Through further open questions, he was able to build a full, colourful, experiential picture of what he wanted.

    Now we were ready to make the changes Laura and Hamza wanted.

    Hypnotherapy: rewiring the brain the painless way
    Parents and their older children often have concerns about hypnotherapy.

    But I am not Derren Brown, or Paul McKenna. They use hypnotic techniques and are highly skilled. But they are entertainers. I cannot make your child do anything they don’t want to do. The trance state created through suggestions is similar to the dreamy feeling of watching an absorbing film or listening to a favourite album.

    The SF Hypnotherapy uses Ericksonian language, which is hypnotic language primarily centred around suggestions that can be accepted or rejected by the subconscious mind.

    After a brief relaxation script to help the body unwind and the mind let go, I deliver a script focused on walking down stairs to a room where ‘nobody goes but you’. This is an imaginary place where your son or daughter can ‘rehearse the person they want to be’. Once they are in a state of deep relaxation, similar to being absorbed in a book or film, they remain conscious and aware, but deeply relaxed.

    I then deliver tried and tested scripts focusing on creating firm boundaries, or being in control of their thoughts or whatever is appropriate to their circumstances.

    Patents are most welcome to stay in the session with their children and often enjoy and benefit from the experience.

    Prior to the first active session, clients listen to a recording of a hypnotherapy relaxation session daily to prime their minds for the tailored  hypnotherapeutic process. Usually we then have two to four sessions, sometimes more in the cases of OCD, embedded anxiety, sensory overload due to Aspergers’ or depression.

    So for Hamza, it took just the initial consultation and three hypnotherapy sessions before he was able to comfortably socialise. For Laura, it was three sessions in total before she was able to go back to school on the bus.

    Laura’s mother wrote the following, “I have had the experience of getting support from Jane Pendry, at Sense Ability, for Laura and I would highly recommend trying her approach to unblock issues. She has helped Laura feel more in control of her situation and reduced her anxiety to an appropriate level”

    “After two or three sessions each, Laura has had, what I would term as, a remarkable improvement. She now feels comfortable taking the bus to and from school every day.“

    For my client Tammy, her issues were more profound. She had been diagnosed with BPD and in her early twenties found she was unable to work full time, frequently felt dissociated and was often tearful and depressed. Ten months later she was a feisty mentally healthy young woman on her way to university. So the process still works for profound and embedded issues.

    From Anxiety to Calm and in Control
    There are many ways to help your older children with anxiety issues, including CBT, which is highly effective with a well-trained therapist who can tailor their approach to your child, and some hard work on their part. Counselling and more traditional talking therapies, and medication as a last port of call (to be avoided if possible), are all effective. But Solution Focused therapies are uniquely suited to help young minds create resilience and overcome anxiety related issues, without drugs, and with relative ease.

    The names used in this article have been changed to protect the identity of my clients.

    Jane Pendry

  • 01 Apr 2019 4:02 PM | Trevor Eddolls (Administrator)

    Written by Trevor Eddolls
    When you first visit a solution-focused hypnotherapist, you’ll be asked a little about yourself, and you’ll be asked what brought you here today, and, most importantly, you’ll be asked how you will know hypnotherapy has worked for you. The answer to that last question will, in effect, be your goal. It will be you doing something – going on a plane on holiday without feeling panicky, being able to visit the dentist, going for a whole day without a cigarette, enjoying a small piece of cake rather than a large one, etc. Hypnotherapy can help people to achieve their goals and to lead happier lives.

    Goals in life, according Erich Fromm (1976), can be divided into two categories or orientations. There are those with, what he called, a ‘having orientation’ (like having wealth and status) and there are those with a ‘being orientation’ (like self-actualization). He found that people with a being orientation goal are happier on average. That all sounds very good so long as you know what self-actualization actually means. Abraham Maslow came up with a hierarchy of needs. At the bottom of his triangle were physiological needs such as food, water, warmth, and rest. Once you had those, you could satisfy your security needs. And then move up to belongingness and love needs, and then esteem needs, and, finally, self-actualization. Self-actualization is the realization or fulfilment of a person’s talents and potential. It’s being creative and similar activities. So, those are the best kinds of goals to set yourself.

    Goals can also be divided into intrinsic and extrinsic goals. Intrinsic goals are all about doing or chasing something that’s personally meaningful to you. These goals fuel your core needs and wants, and they fit with your passions, interests, and core values as well as your relationships and your personal growth. Extrinsic goals help you achieve something outside of yourself. They are often about obtaining other people’s validation and approval or external signs of self-worth, eg becoming famous, earning lots of money, or seeking power over others.

    Now, Kasser & Ryan (1996) found extrinsic goals are associated with lower self-esteem, more drug use, and more TV watching. However, Oishi et al (1999) found that the important thing was not the content of the goal but how congruent it was with a person’s values. Congruent here means how well they matched.

    So, what are a person’s values? Values are the things that are important to us. Values form the basis of why we do what we do. And a person’s values can change during their life. Shalom Schwartz (1994) identified ten values that he thought could be found in all cultures. They are power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity, and security.

    Although goals are important to wellbeing (which is often used as another name for happiness), sometimes people don’t pursue them. Why? Ford & Nichols (1991) found that people may pursue goals that are less important, but urgent and attract more attention (like housework or events). Sometimes people fear that they won’t be able to accomplish something, so they don’t try. And sometimes people give up before achieving their goal because it’s just too hard to keep going.

    According to Lyubomirsky (2001), wellbeing is enhanced when people choose to pursue goals that are:

    • Feasible, realistic, and attainable
    • Being progressed towards
    • Personally meaningful
    • Highly committed to
    • Intrinsic
    • Concerned with community, intimacy, and growth
    • Self-concordant and congruent with their motives and needs
    • Valued by their culture
    • Not conflicting.

    So, if people set themselves goals, how can they be motivated to actually achieve them? Brown & Ryan (2004) had some advice for getting children to do their homework (or other tasks). They said to avoid rewarding, forcing, or cajoling children because this can lead to a lack of responsibility. They suggested that parents provide a meaningful rationale for an activity, make it more interesting, empathize with any difficulties that the child faces, and give plenty of praise. They say that parents, who support autonomy and who are interested and caring, help children to become self-motivated. I’m sure the thinking must also apply to a degree to adults.

    When it comes to motivating ourselves, there’s intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is the natural, inherent drive to seek out challenges and new possibilities. Extrinsic motivation comes from external sources. Ryan and Deci (2000) came up with four different subtypes of extrinsic motivation. They were:

    • External motivation occurs when we feel driven by outside forces, performing an activity either to obtain a reward or to avoid a punishment. People do things because they have to.
    • Introjected motivation is based on self-control, acting in order to avoid guilt, pressure, and anxiety. We do something because we would feel guilty if we didn’t.
    • Identified motivation is where we do something because we can see why it’s important (even though we may not enjoy it).
    • Integrated motivation is where we do something because we fully subscribe to the values underlying our behaviour, which have become part of ourself.

    As mentioned above, autonomy is important for intrinsic motivation because when we are free to choose our actions, it’s easier for us to appreciate the reasons for performing them. If we’re compelled to do something, then it becomes harder to internalize the motivation. And that’s why offering rewards for activities that should be internally motivated can undermine performance and achievement.

    So, when deciding on goals for ourself, it’s important to bear this information in mind in order to be happy and successful at achieving our goal. Make sure the goal is intrinsic rather than extrinsic. Don’t give yourself rewards for tasks that you want to accept need to be done. Try to make the goal a self-actualizing one. And try to match it to your values.

    Trevor Eddolls
    iTech-Ed Hypnotherapy
    Chippenham, Wilts SN14 0TL
    01249 443256

  • 05 Mar 2019 1:46 PM | Trevor Eddolls (Administrator)

    Written by Georgia Riley
    Here is a brief account of how a sixth month hiatus turned into building a successful business as a hypnotherapist. It all started while I was writing my dissertation for my degree in 2018...and I began to panic. However, not the usual panic of an individual with perfectionist traits mid-way through their final year of university. No, this was the onset of panic when I realised that I was going to have 6 months off soon, before continuing onto a master’s degree. I wanted to maximize this time off, and kept thinking - what I could do to better myself during this time? 6 months is too much precious time to waste. And so, the Google searches began.

    Before I knew it, I had opened the lines of communication with several training programs. I was then booked in for an online interview with a hypnotherapy training centre in Manchester. After my interview with two wonderful lecturers and a great deal of research into the course, I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I fell in love with the concept and values of this therapy. In February 2018, I began my hypnotherapy training and started my journey onto what has become a truly life changing experience.

    Following my university graduation in July, I was already half way through my hypnotherapy training with a registered business, seeing 12 weekly clients under regular supervision. Although accepted onto a masters degree, by the time September came around I was moving into a new, bigger therapy room so I had to think long and hard about my options… and it was then that I made my decision to become a hypnotherapist full time. And by November, I was a fully-qualified hypnotherapist

    It was through the training centre that I came across the CNHC and the importance of becoming a registrant to be recognised as a practitioner that stands up for standards in the industry. I then stepped out in the big wide world of business and I have absolutely no regrets. The endless hours of hard work, the money, the sacrifices have paid off and I love it!

    I continued to use every spare minute wisely to promote my new venture. I joined the CNHC’s Local Champion’s programme and I have been busy walking the streets hand delivering invitations, leaflets, posters, pens, etc. I have taken the time to approach and talk to other businesses, schools, advertising agencies, newspapers, cafes, doctors and local people. And I have been successful approaching a local newspaper as they recently published an article about my work with CNHC as a Local Champion.

    I currently run one-to-one sessions, wellbeing groups and provide talks for many different establishments from my local council, to schools and to the local rugby team. These talks and workshops involve teaching about the brain and how to use our mind to the fullest benefit to live a positive and happy life. My recommendation to anyone thinking about their career is to not wait for it to find you, find something you are passionate about and go out and make yourself a success!

    Georgia Riley BSc, MBPsP, DSFH, CNHC, AfSFH, NCH, NBMP
    Solution Focused Hypnotherapist & Modern Psychotherapist
    01704 601010
    0743 2154 586

  • 01 Feb 2019 12:02 PM | Trevor Eddolls (Administrator)

    Written by Jane Pendry
    When I say I am a Hypnotherapist, people joke, in a mock serious tone,: “Look in to my eyes, not round my eyes, in my eyes”. Sometimes they refer to the snake in Disney’s Jungle Book, making suitable hand gestures  to induce black and white spirals in my eyes. Others ask me if I’m going to make them ‘Bark like a dog” – to which I usually reply jokingly, “Not unless you want me to” (by the way, I can’t actually do that).

    The first thing to know about hypnosis is that there are many different ways of inducing it. For therapeutic reasons, in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, my own school of training, hypnosis is a state of trance where clients increase focus and reduce peripheral awareness that enables them to access their subconscious and make changes to the way they think and feel.

    Ivan Tyrell of The Human Givens Institute explains how hypnosis can be potentially a cause for good, or a cause for harm. You might be intrigued to hear a hypnotherapist say that hypnosis might be a cause for harm. But let’s be clear what I mean by hypnosis and in what context.

    Tyrell explains, “Unfortunately, something mysterious often attaches itself to talk about hypnosis, especially amongst those who style themselves hypnotherapists, as if practitioners who use it have highly specialised, even esoteric, skills – indeed, some seem to encourage that belief.”

    As a hypnotherapist, I feel it is important to address people’s fears, and to be honest about the potential for harm. This potential is why qualified hypnotherapists spend so many months training, use tried and tested scripts, and in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, use suggestions not directions.

    Trance is a commonplace experience
    The first thing to understand about hypnosis is that the experience of trance is very common place. We move in to a trance-like state quite easily and regularly. There is nothing mysterious about it. Hypnotic trance is a state in which we are both focused and deeply relaxed, for example when we are watching an absorbing film, driving along the motorway or playing a sport at which we excel. Trance is a pretty ordinary and every day state.

    The Human Givens Institute clarifies what the state of hypnosis is in their considered opinion.:  “…hypnosis is not a state of consciousness at all; it is any artificial means of accessing the REM [Rapid Eye Movement period of sleep] state. Thus hypnosis is a process, separate from the trance state that it induces, and its effects are no longer mysterious because this can account for all phenomena associated with it.”

    So that clears that up.

    This trance like state can be induced by a number of things: drugs, sudden shocks, rituals involving music or clapping, charismatic preaching, unexpected touch, sexual experiences, a beautiful sunset, particular breathing patterns, mindfulness and meditation, being asked to recall specific memories. In fact, any stimulus that arouses strong emotion while paradoxically creating a deeply relaxed state that lowers emotional arousal, can induce trance.

    Dreaming is the deepest trance of all.

    Trance states are powerful catalysts of change
    The Human Givens Institute issues a word of warning. The trance like state is powerful. It can be used for harm or good. Solutions Focused Hypnotherapists are insistent that the state of hypnosis they induce is natural and safe. It’s natural because it is induced through the open and suggestive nature of Ericksonian hypnotic language, and not by using any tricks, shocks or mind control. And it’s safe because Solution Focused Hypnotherapists undertake 450 hours of training, and commit to ongoing Continuous Professional Development. We are also governed by the Code of Conduct laid down by the Association of Solution Focused Hypnotherapists (The AfSFH) and are fully insured and governed by ethical guidelines. I am a full member of the AfSFH.

    Most professional hypnotherapists belong to professional bodies and have been thorough trained in the same way. Any therapist who is a member of the National Council of Hypnotherapists (The NCH) will be equally well trained and will follow its Code of Conduct.

    Hypnotherapy is not hypnosis
    Hypnotherapy is not hypnosis. Hypnotherapy is a therapy that uses hypnosis to benefit people in a controlled, disciplined, supportive and safe way. The NCH defines hypnotherapy as the, “…application of hypnotic techniques in such a way as to bring about therapeutic changes.”

    Hypnotherapy can help clients overcome negative perceptions of themselves, low self-esteem, obsessive thoughts about people or things. Some people experience irrational fears of animals or insects, or even objects such as buttons, and hypnotherapy is the ideal therapeutic approach (along with NLP) to overcome these often disabling conditions

    What can Hypnotherapy help you with?
    For those that suffer from a wide variety of distressing feelings such as panic attacks, social anxiety, shame and guilt, anger or feelings of not being good enough, hypnotherapy is more effective than drugs and psychotherapy. Hypnotherapy can also help people overcome bad habits, from smoking to nail-biting. In all these cases, these positive results come with no side-effects.

    Hypnotherapy can help you with a huge range of issues: weight control, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, stress related illnesses, anxiety related disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, sleep issues, self-esteem issues and specific things such as panic attacks, exam stress and performance anxiety.

    So if the idea of World Hypnosis Day piqued your interest, do your research. Look for a Hypnotherapist who is trained with an accredited body, fully insured and a member of an appropriate Professional Association. Then you can be assured that the hypnosis you will experience will be safe and you will remain in control of the process.

    No tricks, no mind control, no manipulation, just a supportive therapist helping you to make the changes to your own subconscious without stress, and no side effects at all.

    Jane Pendry

  • 02 Jan 2019 1:51 PM | Trevor Eddolls (Administrator)

    Written by Trevor Eddolls
    I love being a hypnotherapist and helping people achieve their goals, and one of the things I enjoy is talking about the brain. I am often surprised by how common some brain misconceptions are. So, I thought I’d start the year by debunking some brain myths that I hear.

    People are left or right-brained
    There are two hemispheres to your brain and people think that left-brained people are analytical and logical, and right-brained people are creative and expressive. The truth is that certain types of task and thinking tend to be more associated with one hemisphere or the other, no one is fully right-brained or left-brained. In fact, the corpus callosum connects both sides pf the brain and information passes between them all the time. So, people use all their brain.

    People use only ten percent of their brains
    We use all the areas of the brain perform some type of function. PET and fMRI scans show that much of the brain is being used even during simple tasks. Why would evolution create a brain so big that 90 percent of it wasn’t used? If we did use only ten percent then brain injuries to the other 90 percent wouldn’t have such a significant impact.

    The brain is hard-wired
    Brain are organized in a standard way, and some parts are specialized for certain tasks. But neuroplasticity shows that parts of the brain that normally have one function, can, instead, be used for a different function, eg following a brain injury.

    Brain damage is permanent
    In fact, a person's ability to recover from brain damage depends upon the severity and the location of the injury. The human brain is plastic! Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change throughout an individual’s life, including after an injury.

    Adults can’t grow new brain cells
    In 1998, a Swedish team showed that new brain cells form in the hippocampus, a structure involved in storing memories. In 2014, another Swedish team found that the striatum, a brain region involved in motor control and cognition, produces new neurons throughout life. Neurogenesis is the name for creating new brain cells.

    People see the world as it is
    We aren’t passive recipients of external information reaching our brains through our sensory organs. In fact, brains actively search for patterns (while at the same time ignoring any details we aren’t expecting. We have only a limited amount of attention that we can pay to anything – hence why multitasking ends badly. How we see the world is not just built of objective observations layered together in a logical way, it’s also driven by expectations and interpretations.

    People learn best when the teaching style matches their learning style
    Tests in 2006, at the University of California, found that students didn’t perform any better on a test when given instructions in their preferred style. Similarly, a 2009 review paper found no studies upholding the claim that teaching and learning styles should match. It’s best to use repetition, testing, and spacing out learning sessions.

    Humans have the biggest brains
    A human adult brain weighs around three pounds and is about 15 centimetres in length. Sperm whales have the largest brain, weighing 18 pounds! An elephant’s brain is around 11 pounds. Could it be that humans have the largest brain size in proportion to body size? 'Fraid not. The animal with the largest body size to brain ratio is the shrew – its brain makes up around 10 percent of its body mass.

    Memories are precise, detailed, and persistent
    When a significant event happens, people remember exactly where they were, what they were doing, who they were with, and what they saw or heard. But like all memories, they decay over time. Each time a memory is accessed, details are lost and other information is added. That’s why eye-witness accounts vary so much.

    Brains are like computers

    So goodbye myths about the brain. Hello neuro-scientific facts.

    Trevor Eddolls
    iTech-Ed Hypnotherapy
    Chippenham, Wilts SN14 0TL
    01249 443256

  • 13 Dec 2018 5:02 PM | Trevor Eddolls (Administrator)

    Written by Andrew David Jamison

    I had just finished my Mental Health Nurse training. I had always found myself having difficulties dealing with crowds and in speaking in public, but the training had helped me come out of myself so to speak. Never would I have thought I had anxiety. I distantly remember, soon after qualifying, doing a bit of painting for my dad – painting an old garage door bright red. From nowhere, the thought of having a stroke hit me. Blind panic ensued and that was the beginning of anxiety sowing its seeds, taking control of every aspect of my life for the next 10 years. It was a horrendous time for me, regular trips to the accident and emergency department thinking I was on the verge of having some catastrophic health condition. That and the effect on my career and relationships as anxiety took hold, getting its roots into every part of my life.

    It took me a year of reading self help books, of digging deep before the tide began to turn. I found myself pushing hard to interact with people, to keep myself active, and to have positive thoughts. Solution focused hypnotherapists will recognize those three actions, core to the client helping themselves. I had always had an interest in hypnosis. During my training, I carried out research projects on it, and had read all about its therapeutic properties. I can remember believing that hypnotherapy would help my anxiety, so I blindly picked the first hypnotherapist in the phonebook. I did not research what type of hypnotherapy they practiced, I just went along. Don’t ask me to tell you what he did, but the gentleman genuinely helped me and from that day forward, along with all I had worked on myself, I turned a corner. Looking back now, I was practicing the 3 Ps (Positive thoughts, Positve actions, and Positive interactions), and the hypnosis helped my anxiety and emptied my stress bucket.

    Fast forward to September 2017, having completed my social work training and a few other degrees. Anxiety dictating my life is in the distant past and I now want to begin helping people who were in my situation. So, I decide to get a formal qualification in Hypnotherapy, even though I have been helping friends and family for a few years. I find myself sitting in CPHT Belfast on the first training weekend, with Mr Brounger and Mrs Griffiths (our inspirational tutors on the Hypnotherapy Diploma). The first weekend we covered the initial consultation and all the wonderful theory on how the brain works, how anxiety is created, and, more importantly, what we can do about it. I sat spellbound. That David Newton is a genius, I thought. All this theory was years of me reading self-help books distilled into a few A4 pages.

    So, I qualified, and I’ve been working with the public steadily since then. I find myself working predominately with anxiety, and I feel drawn to it. I have witnessed some remarkable results from applying Solution Focused Hypnotherapy and just applying what we have been taught. This stuff works, and it works wonderfully well.

    Andrew David Jamison
    07846 382 768

  • 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.

    People with dementia are sufferers.

    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.

    Alzheimer’s is worse than dementia.

    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.

    People with dementia have poor mental health.

    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.

    People with dementia are always old.

    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.

    People with dementia can’t remember anything.

    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.

    People with dementia can’t drive.

    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.

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

    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.

    Everyone with dementia has the same symptoms.

    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

    Tania Taylor
    Solution Focused Psychotherapist & Hypnotherapist in Milnrow village centre, Rochdale.
    Lecturer at the Clinical Hypnotherapy School.

  • 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


  • 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

    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.

    Trevor Eddolls
    iTech-Ed Hypnotherapy
    Wilts SN14 0TL
    01249 443256

  • 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

Registered Office:
8-10 Whiteladies Road Bristol BS8 1PD


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