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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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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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.Read more »

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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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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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As part of the process of performing NLP, Hypnotherapy, and indeed any kind of treatment, there is one very important check that always takes place. It’s the ecology check.

Clients can come to a therapist for an incredible range of issues. In fact I would say that every client has a unique situation, that is supported by his or her own personal history. So a good therapist will always seek some further information before performing an ‘intervention’, rather than assume that one technique will always work.

For example a client may come to a therapist with a fear of dogs, and there are several excellent and powerful techniques for dealing with such phobias which are fairly general. However the therapist will want to be sure that the phobia is not in fact an ‘example’ of something else. Removing a phobia without some deeper understanding of the issues may result in a less successful outcome, or it may be successful but leave the client with the bigger issue unresolved, which may mean he or she will develop new ‘symptoms’.

Even more important than understanding the problem is ensuring that it is ‘right’ to get rid of it. This is what is meant by ecology.

This rightness, is something that can be judged on different levels, from whether it is right for the client, at that particular point in time, to whether solving the problem for the client has an impact on others around the client, and even to whether there is a global or moral impact.

Consider a fear of snakes for instance. A phobic response in this case might be if the client has panic symptoms even as a result of looking at a picture of a snake, or watching a snake in a sealed tank. And for some people, this might be a reaction they would rather not have because it embarrasses them, or because they feel it may be passed on to their children.

But is it really sensible to get rid of all fear of snakes in a client. Will being totally unafraid of snakes serve the client? What if they were to go on a safari and meet up with boa constrictor or a python? Without a reasonable amount of fear the client could put themselves in real danger. You don’t want your client wandering up to an anaconda offering it treats! It simply would not be ecological.

Hypnotherapy can be very effective in managing pain, such as childbirth pain, but pain is also an important part of the body’s warning system so a therapist would ensure that there were situations in which the sensations associated with giving birth can still be experienced by the client, perhaps as ‘waves’ or as discomfort.

An example of ecological considerations that might affect others could be a parent who has become separated from their children through marital breakdown. Such a situation can be agonising for that person and they may feel that they would like to stop feeling that deep love and bond with their child so that they can also suffer less pain and grief.

How would that impact the client in the future? How would it affect their children too? As time goes by perhaps the children would begin to wish to see the absent parent, and be deeply hurt that he or she had not made more effort to retain contact.

A therapist would probably not see this solution as ‘ecological’, though there may well be more appropriate forms of support that they could give, such as helping to channel the love an absent parent has into actions that support the children from afar, or motivating the absent parent to be more proactive in repairing the damage caused by the breakup.

One way that therapists may use to establish ecology for the client is the ‘pendulum’ test. The therapist will use the swing of a pendulum to give them contact with the unconscious mind of the client. Often the client’s conscious mind can find it difficult to analyse and assess the impact of dealing with what it sees as a major issue. Your unconscious mind knows what is right for you.

A pendulum test is a way of bypassing the conscious mind through ‘ideomotor’ reactions. I won’t go into exactly how this works now, but essentially the pendulum is able to indicate ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses directly, without the client’s conscious control. It’s a fascinating process that works without any hypnotic intervention.

Another more direct way to establish ecology is for the therapist to simply ask – ‘is it okay for your unconscious mind to make these changes today’? For many clients the answer is straightforward and the question seems almost unnecessary, but it is an essential part of the therapy.

So when you go to a therapist, expect to be tested. It may seem strange to be asked if you actually want the treatment that you have clearly signed up for, at some expense and having taken a very courageous step in seeking help in the first place. But however unnecessary it may seem, it is vital that you are comfortable with making that change.

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I have a passion for NLP, hypnotherapy and timeline therapy. I do not have a passion for cats.
They know this.
Cats have an ability to calm, to give perspective, to make a sometimes spiritual relationship with their owners – when they’re not vomiting over the bed or dragging a half-dead and bloody rodent around the kitchen.
I have two cats – (Yes… I know… why?) and when there is a need to use my home with clients, I am always careful to remove them to a place where they can’t bring their influence to bear on the proceedings. They seem to strongly disapprove of hypnotherapy. I suspect that this is because they know something far more effective than that – some sort of distant mind-control, and don’t want me stealing their thunder. In the early days my innocence assumed that the cats would merely give character and personality to the sessions. Maybe even, a cat-loving client might feel happier to share with little ‘Damian’ the ginger tom, purring in his or her lap.
But I soon learned the disruptive power of a ‘meow’. It’s great as a one-off break in state, but I can’t think of another use for it.
Even out of the immediate vicinity isn’t enough. Just as a client is reaching the early stages of trance there would be that insidious scritching at the door as little ‘mephistopheles’ decides purely coincidentally that he wants ‘in’. 
So on those home sessions, I’m sorry little ‘ripper’, but you need to be found a soft, safe environment, somewhere out of earshot, out of sight, and possibly with lead-lined 6 metre thick concrete walls.
But perhaps someone reading this has a different point of view?

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