My phobia package is 3 sessions and I sometimes get asked why 3 when other hypnotherapists can do it in 1? Over the last 5 years I've tried and tested different approaches with clients here's what I've found and why I only offer a 3 session approach:
When people come to me with a phobia they've often had it for a long time, it feels beyond their control and it has a big impact on their life. I found with my clients a 1 session approach was too big a step for them to take in one go.
After their 1 session many reported feeling uneasy, like something was missing, causing them worry/anxiety and often over time clients filled that void with something else. e.g. they aren't scared of spiders any more but balloons suddenly become a problem. For me this isn't resolving a phobia and isn't getting the client the results they want. For a few client this 1 session approach worked well but for me those odds weren't high enough....I wanted to create a better experience and one which got better results.
So I did some research. I looked at overcoming a phobia from both the clients point of view and also from the 'how our brains work' perspective.......here's what my research showed me:
My findings for effectively Overcoming a Phobia
1) The first time you experience hypnotherapy your head ask a lot of questions, 'am I doing this right', 'is this how it's supposed to feel' etc.....you're so focused on doing it well that the techniques often didn't work as effectively.
2) The mind will not give something up unless it's happy to do so......the best convincer is your own evidence. If you (in real life) experience that it can be different and that the 'new' behaviour is better, it gives you confidence and the techniques which follow work even better.
3) You want to feel in control. You like to know what to do. It's as much about the conscious belief as it is about the unconscious. Practical tools give you back control and power. Even if the phobia was removed the practical tools help manage that strange feeling you get when you're doing something new.
4) Removing a phobia leaves a void, what do you put back in? We have to fill that void and refill the unconscious with new thoughts/behaviours and actions. There's only so much of this I can do in one session and it's often just not enough.
5) It's a joint effort.....I can only do so much, I have to teach you what to do so you can do it for yourself, out there in your life, in the situations you experience.
As you can see, to get you the best outcome and experience, there's a lot more to consider. I decided to do this effectively it had to be more than 1 session.
My 3 session package was the outcome from these findings.
1) The powerful intro - In this session you experience hypnotherapy, letting go of any thoughts and feelings that are holding you back and I help you start to feel like things can be different. I also teach a practical technique to regain control when anxiety strikes.
This session is designed to leave you feeling empowered, comfortable and back in control.
2) The phobia squasher - This session is the traditional hypnotherapy phobia session designed to reframe/change your phobic experience. I also build on what we started in session one with lots of encouragement and confidence boosting suggestions.
This session is designed to get rid of that phobia, once and for all.
3) The aftercare - This session teaches you how to refill the void with good new thoughts/actions and behaviour so you can continue after the sessions. Its also an opportunity to check in with you and make sure everything is going well and you have everything you need to be phobia free for good.
This session is designed to give you everything you need to have effective, long lasting results.
Since using this approach my results have improved dramatically. From following up with clients after their sessions I can say with confidence that pretty much all of them have achieved the outcome they wanted, I'm definitely going to stick to this approach. But don't just take it from me, Lisa was happy to share her story with you, click below to have a read:
Here's how I helped Lisa overcome her phobia of driving.
So that's why my phobia package is 3 sessions, in a nut shell.....it's because in my experience this approach gets better and more sustainable results.
If you, or someone you know has a debilitating phobia and would like some help, book a free Meet and Greet consultation with me and I'm always happy to have a chat.
Until next time
What Is A Phobia?
According to the dictionary a Phobia is 'a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.' (Dictionary.com)
For me it's important to make a distinction between a fear and a phobia because often I treat them slightly differently. In my world a Phobia is an irrational and extreme reaction to the said object, activity or situation. Many people fear something i.e. don't like it, but to me that's not necessarily a phobia. A phobia is when the reaction is subconscious (i.e. out of your conscious control) and far outweighs the severity of the situation.
How Do You Develop A Phobia?
In my experience there are three ways people develop a Phobia:
1) There was an incident - something happened which you found incredibly emotional usually when you were small e.g. your brother threw a spider at you or you got lost in crowded space etc. This may be something you remember happening but equally you may not consciously remember it because you really didn't think it was that important.
2) Learnt Behaviour - This one is something which you've learnt over time. You probably didn't like the object, activity or situation very much. Then whenever you did it again your anxiety grew. Then you started to feel anxious about being anxious...an so on. Now you're at a point where that evidence in your head is so big you freak out at just the thought of it.
3) Disassociation - This is slightly linked to 1) but differs because of it's origin. Our minds are amazingly clever. Sometimes if you're going through a tough time but for some reason you can't process the emotions of it at the time. e.g. a client had an utter melt down on a flight of stairs but up till that point had been absolutely fine with stairs. I found out her dad had died 6 months before that time but she had a very young child to take care of. Our minds try to 'help' us deal with our emotions by disassociating towards an inanimate or mundane thing. It was difficult to deal with the emotions of losing her dad but it could deal with emotions easier if it was directed towards a mundane flight of stairs.
All three of these reasons can be just as easily rectified. A common misconception is that you've been that way so long you can't change it. The beauty of hypnotherapy is that you can access your unconscious mind and decide if that 'evidence' is helpful or not. So long as you actually want to change your phobia you can absolutely do it and life the life you want.
You don't have to take my word for it, here's how I helped Fiona overcome her phobia of flying.
If you'd like to know more contact me for a free 20 minute chat.
Hope that helps you understand more about Phobias and where they come from.
The truth is most people who suffer from low self-confidence and a lack of self-esteem don't have much trust in themselves. They find it hard to trust in their abilities, trust that they'll do something well, trust that they can work it out...........and without that trust there will always be fear.
That fear often manifests itself in a lack of confidence and a mindset focused on an inability to cope.
How do you build trust in yourself?
From my experience trust comes from learning about yourself and finally having the answers to why you do what you do or why you were hurt by something which was said. With this understanding suddenly it's no longer a guessing game, you understand yourself well enough to know why you made that choice and acted the way you did.
Once you have this you can begin to trust yourself again.
I approach every situation with this philosophy: People always do what they think is best given the information, resources and experience they had at that time. With this in mind you never make a wrong decision just a mis-informed one.
Learning your values and how you think is the key to unlocking your understanding. I've included these exercises/explanations in my free video series. Click the link here for those who want to have a watch.
Mistakes aren't always bad
OK so this may be easy to say and it doesn't change that horrible feeling you get when you've made one but it is absolutely true. Often our biggest learnings come from our biggest mistakes.
By making mistakes we help our brains refine how to do something well. Although mistakes feel tough, without them you wouldn't learn. No baby went from being carried to walking without falling down many times.
So stop trying so hard to not make mistakes, you're getting rid of your biggest learning tool. The secret is learning how to roll with them and I'll go into that next.
How do you manage your mindset whilst making mistakes?
So if mistakes aren't bad and we need them to grow, how do we continue to make them without the confidence demolishing side effects?
It's not what happens to you that matters, it's how you handle it that makes the biggest impact.
By using a technique called Reframing you can change the way you perceive any situation. A reframe is a language pattern designed which is an effective way of experiencing situations in a different way. Have a go..........Instead of saying, 'oh I'm rubbish' or 'I always get it wrong' or something along those lines.......reframe it to 'It's ok I'm learning' or 'I know enough about yourself I know why I did that'
By using reframing to change your language you take away the guilt, the disappointment and it's those that eat away at your confidence and trust in yourself.
Hope that helps. Let me know how you get on.
The true effect of Brexit
Today, right now, right this minute, what effect does it have on you????? The absolute truth in this moment, right here, right now is that nothing immediately has changed. You will still get out of bed, eat your breakfast and go to work......eat lunch.....do the dishes.........etc.....We still even trade with the same countries in the EU.......and it will take at least 2 years before that changes.
I know, I know this may be hard to take right now. We need time to take in the situation but don't let that overtake you with fear and anxiety. One simple thought can so often turn into a giant snowball of awfulness.
No amount of you trawling over the ifs, buts and maybes given your understanding of world trading and economics is going to help, the most likely outcome is it's just going to make you feel worse!!!
Our tendency to air towards catastrophe
With 5 times more negative receptors in our brains to each 1 positive one it is our natural human tendency to air towards the negative e.g. what are we going to lose, what is going to go wrong, what will be so awful that we just won't be able to stand.......never mind the EU decision this happens with everything we think about.
The truth is what ever circumstance you're working on is just as likely to have many good outcomes, new possibilities and opportunities, sure they'll probably be some downsides but often its no where near our 5-1 ratio we naturally perceive.
If we leave our brain unattended it will naturally amplify the negatives (the worries, fears etc) by 5 times!!! It's this that makes our confidence and calmness have a wobble.
How do I boost my confidence in times of uncertainty?
My biggest tip is to stand back and assess what is actually within your control? Can you physically do something about it?
- If the answer is yes, do it.
- If the answer is no....let it go because you could mull over it for the next 2 days and it won't have made diddly squat of difference. Only make yourself feel anxious and wound up.
When I do this activity with my clients every time we find that what's occupying their thoughts are 70-80% not in their control. There is absolutely nothing they can do about it yet it's occupying 3/4 of their brain!!!!
Here's how you do this activity:
This simple activity can get you back in control, lower anxiety and bring back a feeling of calm... Give it a go.
An important note of sense
This activity does not work if you're still seething about an event. If you've had an argument, just received some news or had an interaction which didn't go your way you need time to process, scream, shout and be angry.....there's nothing wrong with that.
Only after that has subsided do you do this activity!!!! Only then will you be able to get the benefit from it.
So no matter what is causing you to feel less confident your fears and anxiety will be driven by the possibilities of the unknown and our natural human nature to amplify the negatives. I've shared with you my simple activity to free up 3/4 of your brain space, imagine what you could do with that!!!
I hope you've found this useful and whether it's the uncertainties of Great Britain or a build up of expectations in your life, remember to be in the here and now, the future is unknown, confidence never blossoms when you hang your hat on uncertainties. Confidence grows when you finally become comfortable with 'it's ok to not have all the answers.'
Always happy to help
Until next time
So today I'm going to share with you my one free, easy and most effective technique to take back control when anxiety strikes.
Don't let that title put you off, I pride myself on bringing simple sense to complex things and I'm no neuroscientist so I'll write this in a way which makes sense to you and me.
But I hear yourself asking, why the hell do I need to know about neuroscience, just give me the technique...............understanding this is important........here's why:
Because once you understand it, it's not scary any more and when I share with you my technique it will then make complete sense as to why it works and why it's so effective. Understanding squashes fear, and fear fuels anxiety. Without the fear, anxiety doesn't exist.
OK so here we go............in its simplest form we feel an emotion/thought and it triggers our brain. Signals are then sent via hormones and chemicals to tell our bodies what it needs to do. Those signals are sent to your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which is responsible for regulating your organs and it switches certain things on (Sympathetic Nervous System) and other things off (Parasympathetic Nervous System).
We all absorb the world through our senses so when we see/hear/feel something as being a 'danger' our brain and body automatically responds. It prepares us to fight, flight or freeze. Here's just some of the symptoms of that preparation:
These are just a few examples, you can read more in this blog I wrote about Anxiety because there are lots more.
When this process is triggered in a situation which is not really what it's designed for we call it Anxiety.
Your body is preparing you to fight/flight/freeze from a tiger and you're sat in a chair, stood on a pavement or in a crowd or waiting to give a speech.
So what's my one, amazing, easy and free technique??
Here's my free easy and effective Anxiety technique.
The next time you feel your heart start to race. Right at the beginning when your head starts to swarm and you feel a little sweaty do this.........
A few tips to make it even better
- You can keep your eyes open or closed, it doesn't matter.
- Use all your senses, whatever you like to make that breath the best it can be, you might like colours, temperatures, shapes, soothing feelings. If it helps, great.......do that!!!
- Do it for as long as you need but often even just a few of these breaths can restore calm.
Why does this work?
Breathing like this balances your ANS (Autonomic Nervous System) and takes back control of all of those organs. Once you do that the hormones and chemicals stop getting pumped out and your brain can return to it's normal state. This technique also takes your focus completely away from being anxious. Anxiety starts in the head, this changes your focus to being in your body and doing something productive rather than letting the thoughts and feelings escalate.
Many of my clients have found that this techinque gives them back control and instead of Anxiety controlling them, they finally get control over it. Give it a try.
Interested in knowing more about how your brain works and more techniques for overcoming Anxiety I've put together these free videos to give you more help, watch them here.
You are not broken!!! Anxiety is normal
So throw away your thoughts that you are somehow broken or stupid. Your body and brain is doing what it's designed to do, just not doing it very effectively. Try this easy, free and effective technique and start taking back control.
Let me know how you get on in the comments below.
Until next time
What is 'relaxing'?
Ok so first lets deal with the cultural expectation of what relaxing is. Often when we think about people relaxing we think of someone zen like, sitting looking like they're doing nothing, maybe you've heard of mindfulness, thinking in the moment or maybe you think about whale music and the whole yoga pose thing?
However, this either doesn't interest you at all, it's your idea of the most boring task you could think of or you've tried it, just seem to think about all the things you 'should' be doing and your mind just questions constantly if you're doing it right.........which doesn't feel very relaxing to you!!
The truth is that this is only one type of relaxing and some people relax in a completely different way.
So, if you're stressed out and running around like a loony, it's probably going to be hard to sit still and just relax. The art of relaxing is a learnt behaviour just like everything else, if you haven't experienced it before your brain will find it hard to create. If this is you or someone you know telling them to sit in a quiet room, close their eyes and chill out just isn't going to work. If you think you can't 'relax'......that's not true.....you just relax in a different way.
The secret is to start with where you are and understand how you think. If you are stressed out or you're an analytical thinker you need something to occupy your conscious brain, something repetitive, mundane and simple. When your conscious is out of the way being kept busy, your unconscious can relax. Examples of things you may find relaxing are:
- Washing the car
- Chopping wood
- Doing a jigsaw
- Doing the housework e.g. hoovering
All repetitive, simple tasks. And whilst your 'busy' your unconscious mind can wander. This is also a form of relaxing.
Listening to music can also be incredibly relaxing but what type of music eases you into peace is completely up to you.
The whole idea of relaxing is simply slowing down......slowing down your brain waves, easing stress and tension, so long as you are doing that......you are relaxing.
How this works in a therapeutic setting
I've been working in this field for 5 years and I haven't had a single person yet who hasn't been able to 'relax' in my chair. So how do I do it?? Firstly I find out about you, what you currently find relaxing and how stressful life is at the moment. Secondly, I pick an approach which matches. Some people love relaxing in the bath some people like relaxing by going out on their motorbike. I have lots of different approaches I find one that will suit. I have to start with where the person in the chair is and then lead them into slowing down in a comfortable and easy way.
How can I relax at home?
My biggest advice is to stop thinking that in order to 'relax' you have to be a zen like, buddhist equivalent. This type of relaxing a) Suits some people and not others b) Takes time, first your brain has to know what relaxing feels like before it can create that feeling in a range of situations. That doesn't mean you can't do it, it just means you have to learn how. Here's my simple technique for doing just that........
Here's my approach to the perfect relaxation:
1) Find out what you find relaxing
2) Do that and allow yourself to enjoy it....often
For some people this is enough, they're happy they can relax and enjoy it and that's good enough.
But if you'd like to access this same lovely feeling anytime, anyplace and anywhere........read on.......
3) When you begin to get good at relaxing however you're doing it in step 1, start to realise what relaxing feels like, looks like and sounds like for you. Make a mental note of the things you notice.
4) Now find somewhere quite and just imagine you're doing that thing, instead of actually doing it and focus on all those things you mentally noted in step 3.
Bingo, now you can achieve the same sensations of relaxing anywhere, anytime, anyplace by just imagining something. This can take a little bit of practise but it's worth it. The more you do it the more your brain will find it easy.
What's your thoughts about relaxing? Any comments, observations etc feel free to add them to the box below, I'd love to hear from you.
Happy relaxing. See you next week.
Where does Anxiety come from?
For some people the cause of their anxiety is something known e.g. the stress of moving house, having surgery or going through a particular difficult time. For others it appears to come out of the blue and happen randomly. I'll explain later why that happens.
It's all to do with your fight or flight response which is a series of bodily functions designed to keep you safe. Once upon a time this system was perfect for dealing with tigers and other predators but these days we use the same system for what we 'perceive' as danger.
Whilst this system is perfect for dealing with tigers it's not so great for dealing with deadlines, money worries and difficult conversations (just some of the 'dangers' of modern day life.)
Think about it.....your body is preparing you to fight a tiger but your sat on a train, in the office or stood talking to someone.......your body is filling you with adrenaline, your heart is pumping faster but you can't run or fight.
Anxiety is a perfectly good system being used in the wrong way at the wrong time.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Symptoms can include (taken from Anxiety UK):
Some of the most common psychological symptoms (the thoughts or altered perceptions we have) of anxiety are:
How come I can feel Anxious but don't know the cause?
For some people the cause of their Anxiety is unknown or it can come on suddenly for no apparent reason. Here's why:
Think about yourself like a cup. You put some water in and its fine, you put in more and it's ok, you put in more and it starts to get hard to carry, you put in some more and it overflows.
This analogy is just like a human, sometimes the last thing is just the element which tips the water over the edge. You could be doing something quite small and insignificant but your mind/body has had enough and anxiety flows out as the cup can't take any more water.
Your brain is much more cleverer than you think. Sometimes it will choose a time to overflow because you are around people who love you, or because its a particular place which plays on your biggest fear or when you can't escape so you can't get distracted. It knows what you need and whether you like it or not it will make you deal with that overflowing cup so you can get back to living life.
And anxiety takes a lot of energy too, so afterwards you often feel exhausted.
Can you overcome Anxiety?
Absolutely yes!!! There are lots of tools and techniques which can help you overcome anxiety. Just knowing that your Anxiety is normal and you are functioning normally will start to make it feel much better.
I hope this helps, until next time
PS. If you're looking for more help with Anxiety have a watch of my free video series, it explains how your brain works in much more detail. Click the green box at the top to have a watch.
PPS. Here's what a lovely client said about the videos because I don't expect you to take my word for it.
"Thank you for the free videos, I had no idea that they would help me as much as they have done so far! I've been suffering with anxiety for a few years now. I now understand why I've been thinking about the things that have been on my mind and I'm working on how I can change it." JD