your unconscious mind brain with words based on the unconscious and what it does

When you hear professionals, such as hypnotherapists and Neurolingistic Programming (NLP) experts talk about your unconscious mind, you can be forgiven for glazing over a little. What exactly is the unconscious mind? What’s the difference between that and the subconscious? What does it do and why does it do it?

Therapists and the like may naturally put great emphasis on the importance of understanding why we do things and understanding our unconscious. For many though, the bigger question could be ‘what is the point of an unconscious mind in the first place? If it creates so many problems for us, through creating phobias, anxiety, OCD and so forth, wouldn’t we be better off without it?’

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anger issues - a picture of the incredible hulkAnger issues are among the most common themes that come up when working with neurolinguistic programming (NLP) clients.  Often when I meet someone for the first time, clients will be concerned that they are having angry outbursts or feel pent-up feelings of anger. They can’t understand why this is happening. Small things, which you would not normally find more than slightly  irritating, take on an inappropriate level of emotion.  The tendency to lose your temper can lead to difficulties in your relationships, social life, and also at work. Clients have found themselves Read more »

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There can be many ways in which we can be uncomfortable about our bodies. The most common, perhaps, is when we become aware that we are not that particular size, or weight that we ‘should’ be.

That ‘should be’ can come from lots of sources. It may be a standard we believe is set by our society, our friends, the media. It could be a measure our parents have handed down to us, unintentionally or intentionally, by trying to manage our food intake – ‘don’t eat too many cakes or you’ll get fat’.

You may be someone who has experienced those patterns of putting on the pounds and then intensively dieting and exercising to lose them again, only to find that a few months later you are back where you started or worse! Alternatively you may have just always been ‘big’ in comparison to others and feel that there is nothing you can do about it.

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teddy bear on a cold winter day.Most people have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the condition that is believed to occur during the months of short days, when we are less exposed to vitamin D and this, in consequence, results in low mood or even depression in the Winter months. It’s a definite thing and there are various ways you can help yourself if you have this condition – daylight lamps, vitamin supplements, or just going away to somewhere sunny (I personally would advocate the last of these if you can afford it!).

There are lots of reasons why we can feel more down and less motivated in the Winter however, and while I wouldn’t rule out SAD, I do think that the awareness of this condition can steal some of our power. There are several very common influences on our mood that tend to occur more commonly at this time of year:Read more »

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questions-1151886-640x480 stock exchange freeWhen you first enter my office in Haywards Heath I always ask you two important questions.

Whether you are seeing me for a free appointment, or an intensive one-day breakthrough session, or even if you have begun a series of regular sessions, the first is:

‘Why are you here?’.

It’s not a surprising question in itself, and probably likely to glean more useful information to me as a therapist and coach than ‘What’s your shoe size?’

Usually, though not always, my client will tell me Read more »

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AeroplaneFew things recharge your batteries more than a holiday There are many wonderful places to visit in the UK, but the sometimes unreliable weather means that many of us choose to spend some time abroad.  It can be wonderful to relax by the sea in a sunny location, or take part in exotic and thrilling activities such as water sports, climbing, ski-ing or just exploring the culture and traditions of a new place.

For many though, the attraction of the holiday is jaded by the prospect of the journey there. So many people suffer to a greater or lesser extend with fears and phobias around travel, and probably a fear of flying is the most common.

Those who experience ‘aerophobia’ are often at a loss to explain how it began in the first place.  Sometimes they can recall a specific bad experience, such as flying through turbulence, that made them nervous or fearful at the time. Other people know roughly when it started, but not why. Often it may have been at a time of more general stress in their lives.  It could even have been caused by drinking too much alcohol while on a flight apparently!

but they know rationally that such experiences are uncommon, and besides, they remind themselves, they got through it ok.

If you suffer from a fear of flying you may know rationally that flying is one of the safest means of travel, statistically speaking. Air accidents tend to get more coverage in the news simply because of their rarity. Despite being able to make rational judgements, many people have found that the phobia grows worse over time. It can also be a source of embarassment to those who experience it and you may be worried about the effect it has on others, especially if you have a family. Children often learn phobias from their parents.

How do you get a phobia?

A phobia is a learned response.  Our unconscious mind is programmed to keep us safe.  It does this very effectively and can often learn from a single experience. One of the most powerful negative emotions from which your unconscious mind can learn is ‘fear’.  If you find yourself in a fearful situation the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response is activated and you become acutely aware of the circumstances that caused this. Your unconscious mind then protects you from having that experience again by putting you into ‘fight or flight’ mode whenever the situation seems likely to arise. This very important learning process remains with us throughout life, and it is beyond our conscious control.

What can you do about a fear of flying?

Some people have lived with phobias like this for most of their lives and believe that it is just the way they are, but anything that can be learned can also be unlearned, and there are many options out there that can help.

It is true that you can take calming medication to deal with the anxiety at the time of a flight and doctors sometimes prescribe this. There are also herbal remedies which some people swear by.

Many airlines, such as British Aiirways, Virgin and Easyjet are conscious of the impact that a flying phobia can have on their business and so offer courses to help you overcome your fear of flying, often including an actual flight experience in the programme.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is believed to help by exposing sufferers to flying in a progressive and safe way to help manage the mind’s reaction.

I have found that neurolinguistic programming, which uses the imagination and does not require any direct exposure to a flying experience can often really make a difference, especially when followed up with some hypnosis and Timeline Therapy.

The important thing to remember is that while this problem may not go away by itself, it is often curable and you can look forward to really enjoying the whole holiday experience again.

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Woman sleeping naturally

One of the most common side effects I come across when I deal with clients, whether over the phone, or face-to-face, is that many of them are really struggling to get a deep natural sleep every night.

I completely get it, because I used to have that problem myself.

You know how it feels when you Read more »

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discarded cigaretteWe all know that there are a plethora of solutions and approaches to smoking cessation – from smoke aversion to nicotine replacement, from hypnosis to acupuncture.  Naturally the scientific world, Government health organisations and charities are very keen to study the various approaches and pin down exactly which ones are the most effective.

There are a host of studies, and the outcomes vary slightly from one to another. Hypnosis, which is my favoured approach, (although I combine it with cognitive behavioural therapy and neurolinguistic programming) comes out quite well overall, usually significantly higher than nicotine replacement for example.

But I have to admit that there is something that consistently out-performs all the other techniques!
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Green traffic lightI was talking to a friend the other day – let’s call him Jim.  He’s always asking me about what I do and seems really interested in the coaching and hypnotherapy. He’s even begun to pick up a few books on neurolinguistic programming (NLP).

Jim’s a mechanic by trade – something he fell into by chance after leaving school and has been doing ever since – for twenty-three years, in fact. He’s also a great guitarist and an amazing cook.  Not that he would agree with that appraisal because one of Jim’s issues is his confidence and self-belief. That’s also why he is still a mechanic I suspect.  Because he ‘believes’ that is the only thing he can do and he’s ‘confident’ doing it.

But on the other hand, like so many of us, he knows that there can be so much more.

Just not yet.
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close-up of surgeon performing gastric band operationPerhaps the most radical approach to weight-loss is the surgical implanting of a Gastric Band (or sometimes a ‘Ballon’) that physically reduces the size of the stomach. This naturally leads to the patient having a reduced appetite and gradually losing weight
The intervention is not without considerable risks.

The risks of gastric band surgery

A television programme on Channel 5 on Wednesday 16 October 2013 highlighted some extreme cases where weightloss surgery had a serious and in some cases, potentially fatal, outcome. To be fair, only one of those cases was a gastric band operation, but it is still a scenario everybody dreads.
The process, which involves surgically installing a Read more »

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