An Introduction to The NCCH Team.
Hello I'm Amanda Joy The Director of Studies at The Northern College of Clinical Hypnotherapy I teach in our Newcastle centre and live online.
In my private practise I guide clients in developing strategies to ensure long-term term solutions for overcoming autoimmune disorders, addiction, abuse, trauma and PTSD.
Things have really developed at the NCCH so I thought I would give you an update.
I begin teaching in January 2020, I was so blessed to have a small group of amazing students, all who now have very busy successful practices. In March of 2020 I opened our supervision programme. This programme aims to support students whist they are training with us and after graduation too. It is also open to all therapists as our supervisors are all accredited and we are a CPD accredited centre of learning.
Whist training with us students receive an hour of one to one support each month. This may include, feedback on homework or progress, advice on setting up a hypnotherapy business, help with clients, advice on tools or techniques, guidance on referrals to other therapists or medical professionals, therapy and discussion on personal growth and development too.
Students are invited to attend 1 hour of one to one supervision each month but while training with us, can have as many sessions as they need. We aim to support our students in their development. Help them to review their client work so that they can deliver the best possible service to clients in a safe, ethical way.
We also run peer supervision and educational talks every month during term time. This is all free, and all are welcome to join.
We believe that supervision motivates and encourages therapists to reflect on and evaluate their case work, their approaches to clients, and their own developmental process as therapists.
The NCCH supports a goal orientated, solution focused approach to supervision. Our peer supervision is also just a wonderful way to network too.
I've a fantastic team of amazing therapists who have joined me in training people to become outstanding, world class Clinical Hypnotherapists.
We have Hypnosis training in Plymouth, Leicester, The Isle of Man, Harrogate, Teesside, Newcastle and Live Online.
Patti is based in Harrogate in Yorkshire and loves how Hypnotherapy can support clients to feel and act differently, enjoy their lives more and be more confident, happier and have more meaningful relationships with others. She specialises in anxiety and stress management and she would say that over 85 percent of her private practice clients come for support to help with anxiety or poor mental health.
Lisa is a Live Online Tutor based in Teesside and has a background in sports rehabilitation, mindset transformation, with both adults and children. She supports families, providing essential services as well as CPD for therapists.
Ian Mcclumpha is our Leister based Tutor, an EMMETT and shiatsu practitioner as well as practising other physical therapies he recognises and truly appreciates the mind-body connection.
For Ian Clinical Hypnotherapy is the missing piece of the jigsaw. He says "the mind controls everything we do, our behaviour, fears, phobias, habits, addictions and of course, the pressure of modern life is all reflected in our physical body".
Ian specialises in the use of the latest Clinical Virtual Reality therapy. This immersion in the virtual world is fantastic for relaxation or addressing fears and phobias, and a powerful addition to a hypnotherapeutic intervention.
Ali Marie Duff is our Isle of Man Based Tutor a Mental Health nurse and a fully qualified clinical hypnotherapist with over thirty years experience working within the mental health field.
Ali specialises in providing support for young peoples mental health issues, ranging from anxiety issues right through to school phobia and eating issues. She also works with adults for a wide range of issues, she also offers psycho education and coaching sessions regards neuro-developmental issues such as Autism and ADHD. Also, recently Ali specialised in sleep issues as for years she has had outstanding success in helping people gain good quality, natural sleep.
Ali has a wealth of teaching experience within the NHS and trained as a hypnotherapy teacher a number of years ago.
Sarah Reddan is our Live Online Plymouth based Tutor. Sarah is trained in various talking and body therapies and the host of 'Conversations with Sarah', a weekly wellness podcast sharing knowledge, stories of hope, inspiration, and awareness of therapies that support wellness & self-care.
Sarah loves that hypnotherapy "flips the switch on ways of thinking we may not have even realised we have, it supports us in creating the changes we want in life". Sarah has benefited from Hypnotherapy herself as well as supporting her clients to overcome phobias, support a self-care journey and create a mindset that supports building an aligned business.
She believes that "we all have untapped possibility that Hypnotherapy can support us in accessing and excelling in whatever we choose to do".
Dawn is our college administrator one of our graduates and she provides supervision too.
She helps people to get a better relationship with food, under eating or over eating, getting fitter physically and mentally.
She supports clients to release unhealthy behaviours, and is a pain management specialist. Her passion is in helping people relieve anxiety, generate new way of being and living to their full potential.
You can find out more and connect with tutors, supervisor's and CPD trainers via our website.
Looking for a therapist? You can visit out therapists directory.
Looking to improve your practice?
We now have a range of eLearning courses including
Parts Therapy and Spiritual Hypnosis with Roy Hunter.
We provide excellent training in hypnosis in Plymouth, Leicester, Harrogate, The isle of man, Newcastle and online as well as CPD, Supervision and eLearning. We are dynamically growing helping people to become world class
Clinical Hypnotherapists and
Bright Lights in their Community.
Superhero hypnosis peer supervision talk May 2022
Welcome to Superhero hypnosis.
What superhero were you as a child?
Write it down.
Who are your all-time favourite superheroes?
Write them down.
I loved She-Ra, The Hulk, Thunder Cats and Superman as I got older, I got into science fiction so characters like Dr Who, who can time travel and Jean-Luc Picard, who discovered ego state therapy well parts therapy via arkeological artefacts in space.
Still loving the sci-fi heroes, I think my all-time Favourite is Dr Strange. Originally being a brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon strange gets into a horrific car accident which results in his hands becoming damaged beyond repair. His hands being his tools he experiences great loss, depression and as western medicine fails him; he chooses to travel to Kathmandu where he is introduced to the ancient one.
She discloses the astral plane, other dimensions, and the multiverse. to him, she explains that the earth is protected by three sanctums’ one in New York one in London and one in Hong Kong.
He goes on a rapid healing journey or self-exploration before having to step up rapidly to fight Dormammu.
It wouldn't be Star Wars Day without discussing Star Wars and Psychology.
In Star Wars we see stories of the struggles that the characters have, to understand, and overcome, deep problems of identity, truth, freedom and the tragic or darker sides of life.
“I've become more powerful than any Jedi” says count Dooku in attack of the clones.
In Star Wars the dark side is more powerful than the light it's one of the reasons the villains like Darth Vader, Count Dooku, Emperor Palpatine and Kylo Ren are so intriguing.
Even though these characters might not exactly be worthy of our admiration their descent into darkness was accompanied by an increase in their powers.
Often negative emotions and experiences do have a greater impact on people than the positive ones.
In one classic study researchers interviewed three groups of people some who had won the lottery approximately a year prior to the interview.
Some who had experienced a serious injury as a result of a car accident, also… about a year earlier.
And a control group of people who had experienced neither outcome.
A full year then passed and the lottery winners didn't report being any happier than those in the control group.
The positive emotions that undoubtedly existed soon after the win had quickly diminished. On the other hand, the accident survivors’ negative feelings persisted.
In other words, negative events appear to influence people in a longer lasting way, more than positive ones, negative emotions seem to stick around longer.
Professor Roy Baumeister and his colleagues documented in the review of general psychology the phenomenon of dark being stronger or negative emotions being stronger than the lighter ones in numerous areas of life including the ways we learn, our friendships and even our most intimate relationships.
Negative interactions such as arguments, appear to have a more powerful effect on romantic relationships than positive interactions, like bringing home flowers.
In fact, on the basis of his longitudinal studies of married couples, researcher and couple’s therapist John Gottman has proposed that negative interactions are five times more powerful than positive one.
The dark side does have advantages Emperor Palpatine in revenge of the Sith even says “the dark side is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.”
In addition to the general idea that the dark is more powerful than the light, when people access the dark side of the force, they unlock specific powers that practitioners of the light side lack.
I'll probably never learn or be able to teach my clients how to shoot force lightening from fingertips, but research does show that darker emotions activate certain useful abilities within us that are positive.
In other words, negative emotions, negative experiences, traumatic events, while horrific and certainly unpleasant can also be very useful.
Anger can cause us to become violent and hurt other people, but it can also motivate us to fight peacefully against injustices.
Anxiety and fear can hold us back from taking necessary risks, but it can also lead us to take practical steps to protect ourselves and the ones we love.
Sadness can lead us to isolate ourselves and wallow in misery, but it can also lead us to reconsider our lives and ultimately make better choices.
As Palpatine so rightly said in revenge of the Sith “I can feel your anger. It makes you stronger, gives you focus."
Negative emotions focus our attention on possible sources of harm helping us to eliminate or avoid them.
The dark side can easily consume us, and as Yoda says in the Empire Strikes Back “once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume you, it will”.
But we know that this is not really how negative emotions work.
They are a normal and unavoidable part of life, at least in measured amounts, and it's not in our best interest to avoid them completely. Particularly as they do provide us with opportunities to grow, learn, and develop new skills.
I often say to my clients it's when they are in a dark place, and they feel trapped, that actually, they are like a seed in the earth covered in soil, it may be dark, they may feel like they're dealing with a heap of manure. However, they are in just the right conditions to germinate and grow and then they'll flourish and blossom as a result of the experiences they’ve had.
Counter-intuitively the best way to decrease negative emotions in the long run is to allow yourself to experience them in the short run.
Dark emotions can sometimes be useful, and these feelings don't have to consume us, it's helpful for us to provide a safe space, tools and techniques that enable our clients to accept the darker feelings to embrace them to feel them, they won't turn us to the dark side, they may even help us to tap into our inner Jedi powers.
As children when we play at being superheroes, we tap into the super versions of ourselves. Pretending to be these characters in childhood helps us to form our identities and with simple timeline therapy we can regress back and connect with these super versions of ourselves.
As we get older shouting thunder..thunder..thunder Cats Ho!
Or running about with a bath towel tied round our neck becomes a little more unacceptable we take our superpowers undercover, hiding our strengths under our mortal disguises.
One of the reasons I love hypnosis is that it engages the imagination it allows us to tap unto our superpowers.
Life often throws challenges our way, perhaps we need to have great confidence, take risks or have the ability to sit with those negative, painful emotions. Having a sense of our own inner strength can really be helpful.
Superhero hypnosis can help clients face challenges in life. Manage physical and emotional pain. Tap into their inner superpower, healing from trauma, Strengthening the ego and self-perception and supporting the immune system (Psychoneuroimmunology).
Let’s talk about Superhero Hypnosis and why its super!
With hypnosis we can step into Spiderman’s shoes and experience what it is like to be Spiderman, what it is like to shoot webs from our hands and swing from building to building.
Thinking about your favourite superheroes or villains what superpowers or abilities do they have?
How could these powers be helpful in therapy?
The superhero Metaphor
The superhero created or selected by the client is a symbolic metaphor.
As Ericsson suggested using hypnosis maybe a better way to work with clients, it avoids direct confrontation of their subconscious beliefs.
The use of metaphor especially via the representation of superheroes, or villains allows clients to express unconscious feelings, self-perceptions, and desires.
They can embrace and internalise desired traits and reject undesired ones.
Through the use of metaphors and indirect suggestion, deeper meaning can be conveyed and gained.
When a superhero is presented as a part of a story, the cause of the superpower, as well as how the hero lives, and their lives can bring a deeper message.
In some cases, you could use the superheroes characters and power as an anchor.
The superhero in hypnotherapy becomes a powerful medium for focusing on learning new behaviours, skills and emotions within the subconscious.
Managing pain with Superhero Hypnosis.
Pain has been viewed as evolving from either physical or psychological causes (Fordyce 1976, Sternbach 1978).
The most recent DSM-IV-TR addition offers diagnostic criteria for a “real/organic” or “functional/imagery” basis for pain.
Sellick & Zaza (1998) Found that in randomised controlled studies of hypnosis in managing cancer pain, substantial evidence for improvement exists when nonpharmacological pain management approaches are being used.
A constructionist view was proposed by Chapman and Nakamura (1998) who suggested that hypnosis alters the learned pain experience by interacting with feedback processes that prime the associations and memories connected to pain.
So how does superhero hypnosis help people who struggle with chronic pain or pain responses?
In hypnosis the client can become dissociated from the discomfort. Individuals say they have significantly reduced levels of pain the discomfort is more tolerable and more controllable.
Certainly, when in deeper trance estates, the somnambulistic or Esdaile state, pain responses are lowered or even switched off altogether.
Gruzelier (1998) said that the interior cingulate cortex in conjunction with the frontolimbic inhibitory processes enables clients to suspend reality testing and critical evaluation (both conscious characteristics). In addition, the amygdala is inhibited, and the hippocampus is activated.
Suspending reality is exactly what we do when we become Wonder Woman, Superman or Jean Luc Picard. Hypnosis as a way of accessing The Super abilities of superheroes and enabling them to be experienced in a unobstructed cognitive and physiological manner.
Clients who experience pain, be it physical or emotional maybe more susceptible to hypnosis and induced superhero characteristics or qualities.
Clients who struggle with pain may even spontaneously move into an altered state of awareness and may rapidly enter trance as a means of escaping their pain (Araoz 1985).
Chronic pain has been shown to have both a physiological and psychological component. It has been shown to result in lowered self-esteem, hopelessness and despondency, which can be alleviated in part by hypnosis (Turk and Holzman 1986) via empowerment and pain management.
Acute pain is frequently associated with an increase in anxiety. This is when the patient is still trying to escape the pain and they’ve not developed neural pathways (Melzack and Wall 1986) or strong emotional associations to the pain yet.
If these associations and pathways can be circumvented by empowering the patient with super heroic levels of physical and emotional strength, the acute pain pathology may be prevented from becoming chronic pain pathology.
Anbar (2001) found that children with recurrent abdominal pain in the absence of an identifiable physiological cause, respond positively following a single hypnotic session.
Traditional approaches may utilise glove anaesthesia with transference of the pain off the body, or out of the body, and various forms of dissociation and suggestion.
Carlson, et al (2000) reported on the effectiveness of hypnosis in helping patients to reinterpret painful experiences and reduce negative associations.
Hypnotic intervention enables patients to experience the qualities of superheroes in overcoming a multitude of emotional and physical limitations.
They can alter their sense of self, and in doing so take on alternative qualities and traits either covertly, self-perceived limitations or overtly, habitual changes.
By becoming a superhero character, while in trance and maintaining the ability to callup on the character, via post hypnotic suggestion or anchoring, the person can at will, transform into the character regardless of the place and time. These helpful character traits can be locked in and become conscious known viable parts of the self.
Go to techniques that work well with the Superhero metaphor.
Example 1 The healing garden
Here clients enlist their own healing forces.
After induction and deepener, choosing the appropriate depth of trance for your client, I recommend somnambulistic or Esdaile state when working with clients with discomfort.
Set up the healing garden space it's tranquil and peaceful it's comforting and secure it's beautiful there are lots of colours smells and sounds and sensations.
It's often useful to have a fountain or water feature, suggest clients can feel some of the spray or droplets from the water fountain, create a relaxing space where clients can relax easily suggesting they let go completely.
Suggest that this garden is a healing place where many people before them have come to benefit from the healing powers of the holy men and women those who have been in this garden through the ages. Suggest that these holy men and women have been sent to this garden by an almighty power to attend all those who visit the garden especially those that are suffering.
In this metaphor the holy men and the holy women are your superheroes. Suggest that the client can hear a voice calling to them, calling their name, and that the sound is moving closer to them, then appearing in front of them is a being of light, a being of infinite wisdom sent to them from a power that transcends all.
Suggest that they can feel that power perhaps a gentle warming sensation flowing through the body perhaps the healer can touch areas that need healing all the time suggesting that there is a growing feeling of wellbeing, this feeling of wellbeing can then move through every cell, every muscle, every fibre of their being, calming their mind, stimulating their own natural healing forces, seeking out discomfort, soothing, relaxing, encouraging blood flow, carrying vital oxygen and nutrients through the bodies systems to every organ, richly suppling the bodies defence system, moving to seek out all intrusions, regenerating, stimulating, purifying, healing.
Example 2 The He-Man metaphor.
In the consultation you could ask what feelings, thoughts and actions would help them to heal, rehabilitate or have reduced discomfort.
Now you have a list of characteristics their superhero would need to have to reduce their discomfort.
Let’s say for example that these needs are:
For example, a young male client diagnosed with cancer, on multiple medications, experiencing a range of pain, some directly attributable to his illness, in addition nausea, and discomfort as a side effect of medications.
The client chooses their favourite character, He-Man. He-Man like many superheroes is fearless and strong all powerful and immortal.
Once in trance the client is encouraged to experience the transformation from Prince Adam, the ordinary character into He-Man the strongest man in the universe.
What's important here is to enable the client to identify their fears with the illness, cancer, and pain, in the mortal state (Prince Adam state) then be able to face them with a reduced amount of fear and pain, head on, in their superhero immortal state (He-Man state).
An interesting note He-Man’s nemesis was a super villain called Skeletor, with this client the illness had metastasized to his bones so that was where the battle took place.
In trance reality is suspended, the client can easily transform himself first into Prince Adam, then to He-Man, then as He-Man enters back into the body of Prince Adam and fights Skeletor (his cancer) while feeling less pain.
Pain becomes dissociated, dissociated from discomfort, which meant he could shake off his pain.
Sadly, in the real world Skeletor ultimately won the final battle but via hypnosis and superhero transformation the client was able to fight with less pain until the end.
The client will need to learn how to enter a trance state, so self-hypnosis is very beneficial.
Once in trance he can began to experience the feelings and sensations of being Prince Adam (or the non-superhero character) at this point it's important to engage all five sensory modalities sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell as well as kinaesthetic sensations in all experiences.
Once he becomes Prince Adam the client can then transform into He-man, he would raise his imaginary sword (his crutch) and recite ‘by the power of grey skull’ (you can anchor these phrases or install an anchor to activate the superhero state) and transform.
Now the client is He-man he can imagine he has been transported to a new world that existed inside the body of Prince Adam.
Trance states allow this to occur, clients feel no pain and defeat Skeletor time and time again.
The results were that bone pain and medication side effects are also diminished the client would raise one of his crouches and recite the transformation phase ‘by the power of Grey Skull’ and upon returning his crutch to the side of his chair he became He-man. For girls you could use my favourite She-Ra.
Here the metaphor works great to feel empowered, strong, fearless, immortal and pain free as well as it having a psychoneuroimmunology imagery approach.
Dissociation as a hypnotherapeutic tool when united with superhero imagery can allow for pain reduction and new ways of processing information as well as for experiencing events without actually being there.
In this approach the client is regressed back, using age regression to find their superhero. During the age regression they are reminded of how their mind and their body continued to heal them and take care of them even though they were too young to consciously understand.
When you were born your body and mind knew how to heal your wounds and fight infections…. you didn't understand but your mind did... and it took care of you… you needed to just allow your mind and body to do what they knew how to do… your mind and body took care of you… just as they will take care of you now…
The focus is on allowing the individual to trust their unconscious mind to allow healing and to support it. Suggestions could be based around the idea that the mind may remember (for adults) images which help them to feel very strong in helping them to heal.
These images or feelings may be real or imaginary or anything that your mind creates… but you know that you can allow these sensations to occur so that you can continue to heal…. Perhaps there is a character or memory which made you feel super (disguised indirect suggestion) in the past…. Take your time and see what your mind presents to you.
Superhero Hypnosis to help with trauma.
As you probably know (or if you don't check out last month’s peer supervision) hypnosis is great for treating trauma. The benefits of hypnosis are also very well presented in the literature.
Hypnotherapists create their own session plans, their own scripts, to work with their unique client. They generate a story, or a metaphor based on what the patient brings to each session, that aims to meet their needs.
In sessions it's often a matter of following, and leading, the client into their own internal representations of the trauma, that is most effective.
At these times calling on superhero images, can assist in helping the client feel, either safely removed from the trauma, or more capable of confronting it.
The client is asked to discuss what qualities they need in order to face a given task or trauma.
I then asked which superhero could be of the most help to them, this technique without the use of a superhero is often used in ego strengthening techniques.
Instead of getting in touch with their inner child, or the part of themselves that has been injured by the trauma, the client is encouraged to communicate with their inner superhero.
We can incorporate techniques that guide the client to tune in to their self-talk, often negative self-talk, this can then be investigated to determine the underlying language which is supporting or maintaining the trauma symptoms.
Using superheroes as role models is an effective way of developing resilience and healthy patterns of behaviour when facing fears and physical challenges.
Superheroes always get up, even when facing defeat or despair. Luke sought out Yoda to become a Jedi. Batman overcame the loss of his family to become who he eventually became.
The use of superheroes as a tool during hypnotic intervention is really good when your client can’t imagine accomplishing a particular behaviour or overcoming a particular emotion.
Hypnosis can be described as a state of focused internally directed experiential learning, as a result, I find it helpful when Clients have great difficulty spontaneously imagining symptoms reducing or the desired behaviour or emotion occurring.
It is difficult to have individuals imagine behaviours they have not engaged in, or which are so anxiety invoking that they are avoided at all costs, here the superhero metaphor provides a framework and/ or a method that the client can use to help guide them towards their solutions.
I would encourage you to use superhero imagery break away from sensible sessions, incorporate humour and fun.
Ericsson often used metaphor and symbolic imagery to bring about change in his patients, metaphorical superhero ego strengthening stories provide patients with patterns they can readily call upon.
Clients are guided to visualise their favourite superheroes and I’ve found that with adults and teenagers it's helpful to take a very nondirective approach (guiding and encouraging not leading) when doing this due to the sense of silliness that many patients experience at this point.
In the session clients are encouraged to envision a favourite superhero to experience the world via their extended powers and abilities.
We can use age regression to bring the adult back to their childhood, the goal here being to engage the adult in childhood memories.
We can disassociate them from the rigid adult beliefs, self-images and fears of looking daft, allowing or giving them permission to engage in fantasy, to restore their beliefs in their abilities, their superhuman powers that have been lost overtime.
My go to techniques for trauma with superhero hypnosis.
I like the three-phase intervention protocol for PTSD. Each phase is composed of numerous parts, but the three phases are impact, post disaster and recovery.
Let's look at impact.
It's important to make the PTSD sufferer feel safe, reduce the severity of the symptoms, and increase inner resources by boosting self-esteem and self-confidence.
The aim is to improve emotion regulation, increase tolerance to distress, achieve a state of calm, a state of mindfulness, with control over the body.
A superhero that comes to mind that could be relatable or useable is Iron Man.
We can see Tony Stark using avoidance, changing the subject when Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) discusses with him the continuing dangers he will face as a superhero.
We see Tony Stark avoiding sleep as much as possible, to escape from his night terrors. When asked to sign children’s pictures about the battle of New York City, Stark has to leave the building to get his emotions under control, all relatable signs of anxiety and PTSD.
Stark had developed PTSD after a fight against Loki and his minions in The Avengers and we can see his struggle with anxiety attacks.
Stark constantly fears the day he will let down those he loves, and he deals with it by retreating from them, He begins to build as many Iron man suits as he can.
Each suit (and there are several) are a protective armour. They enable travel, they are portable suits known as a suitcase suit and they assemble around Starks body.
Covering each part of the body with a portable protective armour is a very useful metaphor. Many of us have used a protective bubble or a protective white light. We suggest that people surround themselves with a protecting white light or a bubble of protective energy, this shield metaphor prevents you from absorbing negative things from around you. The idea of all a light shield may be incorporated as a protective layer that covers your entire body or your aura depending on the beliefs of your client.
An energetic light shield or a suit of armour will bring about sensations of safety, security, comfort, energy boosting, fortification of your energy, protection from external forces getting to you. This kind of bubble or armour is robust, and clients could be guided to enable it to filter out specific information.
Secondly when a feeling of calm and safety has been achieved, we move to phase two.
The post disaster phase, this allows for a re-evaluation, a reappraisal of the traumatic, memories. The success of this phase does depend on the willingness of the subconscious mind to tolerate the discomfort of reviewing the memories and it can take a few weeks until the subconscious mind feels comfortable enough to release the critical information.
This could be better accessed and viewed if supported by a superhero or if in a suit of armour or as the superhero themselves.
We can help our client to understand what they didn't have in that space, we can hold their hand, we can guide them, we can release the trauma, and we can disassociate, we can empower them in this moment we can do this as the superhero or with the assistance of the superhero.
In Phase three the PTSD sufferer is out of the other side of the PTSD and into recovery here our aim is to help the client apply their new knowledge and new insight. Perhaps any new skills that you know they may have gained that enables them to better understand themselves and provide them with the tools to prevent a relapse.
They can take what they’ve learned from the superhero and apply it to their lives.
A client who was into Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was struggling to speak about a sexual assault, opened up when discussing episodes of Buffy.
In Buffy the vampire slayer, Buffy the teen hero, experiences traumas of her own. When Buffy told her friend Spike the vampire, “everything I feel, everything I touch, this is hell”, the client reported that this was exactly how she felt every day.
Overtime with the help of seeing parallels between Buffy’s fictional experiences of overcoming traumas and living well after traumatic events, and her own reality, the client was able to understand that her thoughts weren't always accurate. She began to understand how to change her thoughts and adapt her behaviours and her mental health began to rapidly improve.
Superhero hypnosis ego strengthening and self-perception.
People often come for hypnosis to help get rid of specific symptoms or to stop certain habits. However, for some clients, to do this effectively we need to explore past issues that have resulted in damage to their sense of self, their self-perception in relation to others or in relation to the unhelpful thoughts, feelings and behaviours they seek to stop.
For these client’s ego strengthening is a really helpful tool it gives the client the opportunity to examine or see things from a different perspective, to connect with alternative-selves and to experience, not just verbalise helpful ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ scenarios.
Clients can also question those negative internal mantras or negative self-hypnotic statements which may be damaging themselves or their self-definition.
This experience may teach clients how to reframe these negative thoughts and feelings and mantras into more positive statements more positive mantra's more positive images.
Ego strengthening is a process by which in hypnosis clients develop knew self-empowering definitions, in an experiential multi-sensory manner they get to try on new ways of being new personas and discard old ones that eventually no longer fit.
You may or may not know but I work with people struggling with substance misuse, many times, I've worked with a client that hasn't got a role model to draw upon. So, when attempting to create a knew personality and new definition of themselves or a new persona it’s a real challenge. Role models have either been absent or discarded, so superhero characters often fill these voids.
Other examples of this are the children or adult clients who have convinced themselves that they cannot do something, for example, speak in public, go live on Facebook, or stop smoking. They have perhaps defined themselves in a negative way, ‘I am fat’ or ‘I am ugly’ for many of these people they are unable to visualise themselves as anything different from their current self-definition.
Superheroes provide ideal archetypes for some of these personalities both positive and negative, eventually for some individuals the ‘as if’ becomes the ‘I am’.
Superhero hypnosis and Psychoneuroimmunology.
And its simplest form psychoneuroimmunology (needed to tap into my inner Jedi to say that) is the way of communication between the psyche, the mind, the central nervous system and the immune system Yang (2000).
Pain is a factor which in and of itself may promote immune suppression.
Stress is a second factor which has a profound effect on immune system functioning.
Stress reduction has been shown to promote immune system functioning and improved prognosis in disease processes (Sali 1997)
Hypnosis has been extensively utilised in pain control and stress management as well as indirectly addressing the immune system enhancement and disease processes. Bressler (2004) Points out that most people do imagery all the time primarily by worrying.
Since psychoneuroimmunology can be represented by three dimensions, the psyche, the neurology and immunology hypnosis can be used as an intervention that can positively impact any of these dimensions.
We can use superhero imagery Through the psyche to indirectly strengthen the immune system, or to attack disease processes, find imagery associated with healing.
Imagining Pacman scouring the lungs cleaning up cancer cells as well as carcinogens like tar and nicotine.
Superman freezing or burning out destructive tumour cells.
Atom Ant can shrink to molecular levels and repair damaged parts of the body.
These healing images have been written about for many years including Ericsson Rossi and Rossi in 1986. The restorative powers of the body can be massively enhanced through imagery.
Your Pacman character could munch his way through the body chewing up cancer cells.
Or you could get people to imagine Superman asking:
Can you see his red Cape?
and the big S on his chest?
Now you see Superman, can you imagine using one of his wonderful superpowers of flying through the sky?
I wonder if he will fly to the right first all the left.
Which way is he flying?
Superman often fights villains.
As you see Superman, I wonder which villain he will come upon?
What happens when he meets his villain?
Can you see the villain?
Now does Superman defeat the villain?
Which of his superpowers does he use?
He used his heat vision.
What happens?... it shrinks… good… do you know how it shrinks? Good… you are shrinking it by burning it up.
Using superheroes in hypnosis with children is easy and a useful tool.
Children embrace the opportunity to become superheroes in hypnosis because it feels so real.
We do need to be careful and responsible about our use of hypnosis and post hypnotic suggestion when working with children. We need to make sure that they don't attempt superhero feats like flying, in ways that will put them in danger, as Spiderman learned “with great power comes great responsibility”.
Using superheroes with adults is no different, I think the main barrier to successful therapy here is the therapists fear of looking daft and not the patients concern, which prevents many hypnotherapists from using superhero metaphors or using superheroes in hypnosis.
I have found that some adults do feel uncomfortable with this technique to begin with but the light heartedness of incorporating their favourite superheroes from childhood, often puts them at ease. This can be really helpful especially if they have fears of the therapy session being painful, heavy, serious or traumatic.
As we become adults the ability to alter physiological functioning via cognitive processes such as hypnosis becomes increasingly valuable. The use of superhero imagery can significantly enhance that process. Even the geriatric population were young once and had more prowess than they currently possess.
The opportunity to return to youthful fantasies is both psychologically and physically empowering. Suggestions of increased powers, pain control or functioning with anchors or superhero figures as cues associated with their prowess enable them to return to those bygone days building self confidence and trust in the powerfulness of hypnosis and its ability to enable them to become a Man of Steel a Wonder Woman a Jedi knight or even Vader himself.
Sometimes ask therapists we need every possible implement on earth or from space no matter how vague or fictional or silly to help our clients when I'm facing a situation that's overwhelming or daunting, I can simply close my eyes and use the force.
May the force be with you.
Many people worry that their own mental health challenges could stop them from becoming a therapist.
Your struggles are welcome at The NCCH as we know that many of the best therapists have battled with their own emotional challenges.
Liz Rotherham is one of our amazing graduates, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003, this dramatically changed her life. Now she is supporting others going through similar challenges.
We all face challenges in this world and Liz is passionate about encouraging people and hopes that no matter what they face they can and will get through it.
Liz is one of those people who you can't help but get enthusiastic around, she's a passionate lady who spreads positivity. Passionate about improving mental well-being and breaking the stigma of mental illness she teachers’ Mental health First Aid.
A graduate of the Northern College of Clinical Hypnotherapy, an accredited clinical hypnotherapist, Angelic Reiki healer, holistic therapy coach and qualified mental health first aid instructor she aims to bring peace love and harmony to the world through natural powerful therapies.
Liz is on our recommended list of CPD providers.
We believe Mental Health First Aid is a useful continuing professional development course for all therapists.
The past two years have brought about multiple mental health challenges. People are struggling every day with their emotional and mental wellbeing.
One in seven people say they are simply struggling to cope, having come out the other side of a pandemic, we are now experiencing concerns and worries of war. The worry and stress of an uncertain future, anxiety about money, concerns about going from home, to back into the office, home schooling and back to school, the impact of physical inactivity, poor nutrition, the effects of a strange time of social contact and loneliness. The last few years have really caused people to experience detrimental effects on their physical and mental health.
If you are looking for a continuing professional development course this is one, we highly recommend. After training you will be able to better spot the red flags, confidently assess your clients’ needs and direct them, or signpost them to the right help if hypnotherapy or the therapy that you offer is not suitable.
Enjoy this month’s Hypno Geeks Episode 5
These are my talk notes and below is a copy of the video.
In a fraction of a second, our lives can be utterly devastated by the forces of trauma, and loss can swallow us whole, trapped and lost we become hopeless and frozen by terror and feelings of helplessness.
While some people are able to recover from trauma by themselves, many individuals are not. 10s of thousands of soldier’s and refugees experience extreme stress and horror of war. This is where most of my work has been dedicated as I have worked alongside volunteers in Calais and Dunkirk assisting at the refugee camps there and my brother was very badly affected by PTSD after he came home from the war in Serbia.
Then there are other devastating occurrences, of rape, sexual abuse and assault.
Many of us however, have been overwhelmed by much more ordinary events such as surgeries, invasive medical procedures and traumatic births. In a recent study of orthopaedic patients 52% were diagnosed with full on PTSD following surgery.
Other traumas include falls, serious illness, abandonment, receiving shocking or tragic news, witnessing, or reading about violence, getting into a car accident.
Many experiences that we lived through in our childhood cause trauma, parents going to work, feelings of abandonment, punishment and violence in the home are all potentially traumatising. The inability to heal from such events, or to be helped adequately can lead to PTSD along with a mix, a myriad of physical and emotional symptoms.
Trauma informed care involves a broad understanding of traumatic stress reactions and common responses to trauma. As therapist’s it's really useful for us to understand how trauma can affect our clients and our selection of therapeutic interventions.
All traumatic experiences can lead to PTSD, psychiatrists in the USA eventually came up with the term PTSD and it was officially recognised in 1980 by the American Psychiatric Association in the third edition of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.
Prior to this, it had been called various things, including shell shock in World War One, and combat fatigue in World War Two.
It has been acknowledged that an event does not have to be extremely traumatic for a person’s brain to respond by creating symptoms that we would recognise as PTSD.
Events such as natural disasters, road or rail accidents, or violent attacks or even if the person was not injured and was simply an onlooker, or a first responder, these events can be imprinted on the brain as trauma too.
Signs and symptoms of PTSD (NCCH students have access to several psychometric tests and Likert scale self-report questionnaires designed to assess the symptoms of PTSD in the resources).
Signs and symptoms will vary from person to person they may manifest differently in children and adolescence. The most common effect of PTSD is known as re-experiencing, this is where the person vividly relives parts of a traumatic event, these moments of reliving are involuntary, unwanted, intrusive, and can cause overwhelm, these take the form of:
repetitive and distressing situations, images and sounds
physical sensations for example pain, sweating, nausea and trembling.
There can also be Avoidance and numbing.
Emotional avoidance it's often a reaction to trauma. A definition of avoidance is: actions designed to prevent the occurrence of uncomfortable emotions such as fear sadness guilt and shame.
It may also include avoiding certain places, people or activities, listening to music that reminds the person of the trauma, or talking to people about the incident. Avoidance may be useful in the short term to gain temporary relief, however long term it may exacerbate the symptoms of PTSD.
There is often hyperarousal.
A person with PTSD often experiences heightened anxiety due to a heightened sensitivity to external stimuli and events. They are in a state of increased sympathetic activation of the nervous system, and this can lead to:
increased pain sensitivity
increased cardiac output
heightened startle response
shallow, rapid breathing
Other issues related to trauma and as a result of unresolved trauma, the knock-on effects to the mental and physical functions of the body can include:
substance of misuse
stomach and bowel issues
dizziness and Vertigo.
If we are seeing these conditions in our therapy rooms it’s a good idea to find out if a traumatic event is at the root of these responses, reactions and behaviours.
What’s happening in the brain when people experience traumatic events?
The main Brain areas involved with the stress response include the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex.
Traumatic stress can be associated with lasting changes in these brain areas too, With increased cortisol and norepinephrine responses to subsequent stresses.
PTSD can be understood as the failure to extinguish learned fear.
Both the amygdala and the hippocampus don’t function normally in a client with PTSD.
When a person experiences a traumatic event, adrenaline rushes through the body, and the memory is imprinted into the amygdala, which is part of the limbic system the old parts of the brain (involved with behaviour and emotional responses).
The amygdala holds the emotional significance of the event including the intensity, and impulse of the emotion.
So, if you're ion a scary place but it’s not life threatening for example on a rollercoaster, the sensory information being processed is fear, speed, stress and excitement, none of it life threatening.
The amygdala can read the emotional significance of the event as a fun ride, which you'll be off in just a few minutes.
The amygdala stores the visual images of trauma, as sensory fragments. This means the trauma memory, is not stored like a story, it’s stored as fragments of the story, and by how our five senses were experiencing the trauma at the time it was occurring.
The memories are stored through fragments of visual images, smells, sounds, tastes, touch or feelings.
Consequently, after trauma, the brain can be easily triggered by sensory input.
So, reading normal circumstances as dangerous.
for example, a red light is no longer a red light now, it's a possible spark, a barbecue had just been a barbecue, now, it sounds like an explosion.
The sensory fragments are misinterpreted, and the brain loses its ability to discriminate between what is threatening and what is normal.
The hippocampus is a part of the limbic system of the brain too.
The hippocampus is responsible for the ability to store and retrieve memories.
People who have experienced some kind of damage to their hippocampus may have difficulties storing and recalling information.
Along with other limbic structures the hippocampus also plays a role in a person’s ability to overcome fear responses.
Many people with PTSD experience memory related difficulties for example, flashbacks.
These memories may be vivid and feel as if they are happening right now or yesterday.
For some, memories may be vivid and always present.
People with PTSD have been found to have smaller hippocampi this indicates that experiencing ongoing stress as a result of severe and chronic PTSD may ultimately damage the hippocampus making it smaller.
People with a smaller hippocampus maybe more vulnerable to developing more severe cases of PTSD following a traumatic event.
The front part of our brain known as the prefrontal cortex is the rational part, its where consciousness lives, processing and reasoning occurs, and the bits of the brain where we make meaning of language, when trauma occurs people enter into a fight, flight, or freeze state which can result in the prefrontal cortex shutting down.
The brain becomes somewhat disorganised and overwhelmed because of the trauma, while the body goes into survival mode and shuts down higher reasoning, language, and language structures of the brain. The result of the metabolic shutdown is profound imprinted stress response.
Trauma will affect different brains differently, and people differently at different stages in their life, simply as a result of the of the stage of development they are at, their age, and the stage of development at which the trauma occurs.
I like to think of the amygdala as the part of the brain that's always on the lookout. During a traumatic event the amygdala takes in more information. Imagine this information as being a collection of books, the bigger the trauma the more fragments of sensory information, the more books.
For me it's like when you smell smoke all of a sudden you start sniffing looking around and your amygdala is taking in much more information than usual it's gathering more books.
The prefrontal cortex doesn't like books, it's not a reader so when large quantities of books start to arrive it shuts down.
The hippocampus is like the library, where all of the books go to be processed, timestamped, and then stored and recalled when necessary.
However, when they amygdala shows up with a massive quantity of books the hippocampus simply can’t process, timestamp all those fragments of sensory information, all these books. So, they left on the counter, unprocessed and not time stamped. The result is that the fragments of the traumatic event may continue to impact our clients, as if the event was happening right now, and the stress response continues on.
What’s happening in the body when people experience traumatic events?
Let's look at how animals release trauma. When an animal for example a gazelle is chased and caught by a lion,
We've all seen those natural earth TV shows, no doubt we are impressed by the lion, however many of us find ourselves cheering on the gazelle hoping that it is able to escape.
If the gazelle is lucky, and does escape, we will notice that the gazelle shakes, quakes, it tremors, it's this tremoring and shaking that brings the gazelles body back to homeostasis.
Musculoskeletal tremors are a common neurophysiological phenomena experienced before, during, or following stressful or traumatic events. These are what we know as, or called, enhanced physiological tremors.
These tremors are generally perceived as a pathological expression of stress and are included in the diagnostic criteria in a number of psychological illnesses such as panic attacks, social phobia, generalised anxiety disorder, and PTSD.
Doctor David Berceli Who developed tension and trauma releasing exercises, recognised the homeostatic and therapeutic value of tremoring.
TRE is a self-induced tremor that is believed to discharge physical tension mitigating the experience of extreme stress.
Doctor David Berceli noticed that's children in extremely stressful situations naturally shake and tremor, after severe traumatic experiences and many adults tremor too.
However, tremoring is not something that is sociably acceptable behaviour, we suppress, and stop the tremoring, and if you are in the back of an ambulance, you may even be restrained.
Doctor Peter Levine developed somatic experiencing as a body-based therapy to process and release trauma. In his book “Waking the tiger: healing trauma,” Levine notes that animals can be observed shaking to release tension and stress.
Our nervous system has evolved a hierarchical structure and the more advanced systems shutdown in the face of overwhelming threats leaving brain, body and psyche to their more archaic functions.
The autonomic nervous system regulates bodily process including:
and sexual arousal
It does this with two opposing functions, known as up regulation and down regulation.
Upregulation increases the energy available in the body.
Downregulation decreases it.
When the body experiences stress or traumatic events, the autonomic nervous system elevates and effects bodily functions.
In stressful situations the nervous system releases adrenaline and cortisol as a part of the fight flight freeze response. This speeds up the heart rate and gives the body a burst of energy and strength to respond to the perceived threat.
The body can also overreact to stressors particularly those people who struggle with PTSD. A constant level of anxiety as a result of work or family pressure takes a toll on health.
Deregulation is what is needed to bring energy levels back down, lowering heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure.
This brings the nervous system back to neutral and re-sets bodily functions, tremoring and shaking the body can help ease an over stimulated nervous system and calm the body back down.
Shaking therapy is something we can recommend to our clients it can be performed seated or standing the client simply focuses on particular parts of their body and shakes it out.
We may see shaking happening when treating clients, we often refer to this shaking as an abreaction.
The client simply needs to be supported, nurtured and guided through this intensely strange shaky experience. We must remember never to stop an abreaction or touch our clients whilst they are abreacting.
For many therapists this shaking can be overwhelming, I recommend when working with clients who have experienced trauma, you have a laminated sheet at hand, with some generic supportive nurturing direct and indirect suggestions, ready to grab so that you can maintain a calm, nurturing disposition, and guide the client through this deeply beneficial experience.
After the abreaction has subsided a combination of direct and indirect suggestions could be delivered, that reinforce the positive benefits of this experience that they've just had.
What are the long-term impacts of trauma?
Initial reactions to trauma can include exhaustion, confusion, sadness, anxiety, agitation, numbness, dissociation, and physical arousal.
Indicators of more severe responses include continuous distress without periods of relative calm or rest, severe dissociation symptoms, and intrusive recollections that continue despite a return to safety.
Delayed responses to trauma can include persistent fatigue, sleep disorders, nightmares, fear of recurrence, anxiety focused on flashbacks, depression, and avoidance of emotions, sensations, or activities that are associated with the trauma even remotely. The constant release of cortisol and norepinephrine can continue to damage the brain and the hippocampus making our clients more vulnerable to stress and anxiety.
Go to techniques for Trauma and PTSD.
Our objective is to create deeply calming physical and mental states that transform feelings of fear and helplessness. We do this by bringing an awareness of the physical body’s sensations.
Our Client needs to be helped to develop an awareness and mastery of their physical sensations and feelings. A progressive muscle relaxation or autogenic relaxation can bring about a deeper awareness and connection to their body and a feeling of control. If I can tense a muscle, I can relax it.
Since time began, people have attempted to cope with strong negative terrifying feelings of fear, by participating in things that contradict perceptions of and feelings of fear and helplessness.
For example, religious rituals, acting and theatre, dancing, listening to music, meditation even ingesting psychoactive substances.
Many will benefit from the use of integrative and holistic methods such as yoga, Tai chi, exercise, drumming, music, shamanism and body orientated techniques.
Many people find these methods very helpful they are relatively nonspecific and don't deal with the core physiological mechanisms and processes that allow human beings to transform terrifying and overwhelming experiences and heal.
We should not underestimate the benefit of simply inducing trance, relaxing the body and creating inner sanctuary spaces.
During hypnosis the amygdala is less active, this contributes to changes in the autonomic nervous system, the body goes into parasympathetic dominance. Your heart rate slows down, your breathing slows, and your blood pressure remains low.
This produces and sustains the experience of relaxation and is why hypnosis is so wonderful to use with anyone who has experienced trauma.
The relaxation that occurs enables the mind to reprocess thoughts and behaviours and trigger emotional processing.
When in trance the hippocampus is able to process heightened information, so if there has been a lot of information (information overload, a busy mind, shock or trauma) it can help you to regulate emotions, process memories and information much better just by being in trance.
So, Being relaxed and in trance may also help prevent or reduce dissociation following exposure to a traumatic event.
Cautions and Contraindications.
PTSD often goes undiagnosed by the medical profession and even in the psychological community.
Common examples of undiagnosed people with PTSD can be adults who as children grew up with parents who were violent, or alcoholic, a home where there was lots of yelling, fighting, and bullying in the household.
Perhaps a person who was physically, emotionally or sexually abused during their formative years, most likely has grown up and has developed with symptoms of PTSD, having never had the symptoms recognised and diagnosed.
Hypnotherapy is an evidence-based treatment that can effectively treat the symptoms, as well as the underlying causes, hypnotherapy can be a powerful treatment for PTSD because of the similarity between hypnotic phenomena and the symptoms of PTSD.
Hypnotherapy does provide controlled access to memories that may otherwise be kept out of consciousness.
Hypnotherapy can provide:
immediate installation of powerful stress reduction techniques, these techniques can be recorded so a person can replay these recordings and practise these exercises and techniques every day.
Hypnotherapy can help identify the triggers that the person who has PTSD experiences, so that they can gain more control in their life.
Once we recognise these triggers, we can work to help reduce their reactions.
Hypnotherapy can assist in identifying situations and individual memories, of all previous stressful events that may be adding fuel to the fire of PTSD.
Hypnotherapy can help consolidate the memories into a more organised storage system in the subconscious so that the memories become less intrusive and less powerful.
We may be the first therapist that they've come across to recognise the signs and the symptoms of PTSD so we may need to refer them to a GP.
Hypnotherapy is not contraindicated when treating stress, anxiety depression, or PTSD, However, we must not work with clients in trance if they are experiencing suicidal ideation.
We must not use hypnotherapy if we feel the client has psychosis or a personality disorder, if in doubt, refer to their GP, and get consent, permission or an agreement to work with the client, from the clients GP.
We need to work cautiously.
Although we aim to reframe the experience, and usually the aim here is to change negatives into positives. In re-framing we must not dismiss the experience as the client remembers it.
It's more useful to recognise what they needed in that moment and bring that into the memory of that moment, and recognise the inner strengths the client accessed, to survive that traumatic experience.
We must not attribute blame, when the therapist has the potential for the inference of blame, for example, “this experience was not your fault” This is a common form of reassurance but it could potentially backfire, the client may already believe that it wasn't their fault and we could potentially be installing some additional negative ideas.
We need to mindfully listen and be aware of our own built-in biases we need to be careful not to pursue things that fit what we've learned most recently. Or have our own experiences colour the choice of techniques or suggestions we are using, keep our language clean.
We must work with caution so that their experience is not ignored or lost. for example, the recollection “my teacher shouted at me again, called me stupid, and then hit me”,
We have several emergent themes here 1. the teacher 2. the fact that shouting occurred 3. the fact that this wasn’t the first-time shouting occurred 4. the name calling and 5. the violence. Which one of these does the therapist address 1st.
We must we aware to not avoid that which is uncomfortable to talk about and instead stick with the stuff that we find safe.
Hypnotherapy for PTSD.
If there is a physical or emotional symptom there is almost certainly an underlying set of emotions that need to be discharged.
Clinical hypnotherapy cannot erase the traumatic events that a post-traumatic stress disorder sufferer has witnessed or been subjected to but can make it easier for a person to live with the memory of those events. Clinical hypnotherapy is a gentle but powerful tool which can change the way the memory is stored and the way it affects the body and the mind. It can give a voice to the lost parts of the self, the parts that were hidden away or shrouded in negativity as a means to survive.
While in a hypnotic state a PTSD sufferer can clearly experience the moment when their view turned negative and can begin to change any distorted beliefs and reclaim parts of their personality which were lost.
One of the primary goals of clinical hypnotherapy is restoration of the self to bring the different parts of the ego back together, some of which have been suffering for some time.
What techniques or metaphors could you use to restore the self and bring the parts of the ego back together?
Broken jar metaphor.
It aims to restore the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual balance in the body, to enable the client to visualise a happier, healthier future and a happier, healthier, more joyful life. The necessary healing process really can be generated by and take place within their own mind. In short hypnotherapy can give the brain the tools and experiences it needs to re programme itself for better functioning and diminish discomfort.
What techniques could you use to bring balance to the mind and body?
Apposition of opposites.
It can help the trauma survivor develop new coping skills related to their specific unique symptoms, these may involve emotional regulation, cognitive restructuring, relaxation and mindfulness techniques and Psychological education about symptoms and issues related to the type of trauma the individual experienced.
All hypnosis techniques are designed to neutralise the emotional connection to the root cause of the traumatic event. In most cases after a full discussion on how the PTSD sufferer feels and what physical symptoms they are experiencing and an examination of the key events in their life to date.
The clinical hypnotherapist will begin by teaching their client relaxation and calming techniques. I recommend that we use autogenic relaxation and progressive muscle relaxation.
For most PTSD sufferers it's been a very long time since they have felt relaxed or calm and even though it sounds quite easy this part of the hypnotherapy process can be the most difficult to achieve but the therapist has many different methods and tools that can help even the most agitated over stressed mum. We are able to still their body and their mind and enable healing to begin.
Relaxation itself is a potential counter to PTSD as it boosts inner feelings of safety and decreases environmental anxiety, lessens intrusive thoughts, and fosters re involvement in activities. Every single person on this planet is hypnotisable but it's true that some might take a little bit longer to hypnotise just to allow your clients the time that they need.
I recommend that you work 1 to 1 with them so that you can give clients who've experienced trauma and who are struggling with PTSD that space that they need to really enable them to get into a lovely deep hypnosis.
I like the three-phase intervention protocol for PTSD. Each phase is composed of numerous parts, but the three phases are impact, post disaster and recovery.
Let's look at impact.
It's important to make the PTSD sufferer feels safe, reduce the severity of the symptoms, and increase inner resources by boosting self-esteem and self-confidence.
The aim is to improve emotion regulation, increase tolerance to distress, achieve a state of calm, a state of mindfulness, with control over the body.
We enable clients to take control of their inner dissociation so that it only happens when the person wants it too, for healing purposes and generally to change behaviour in reaction to stress.
Secondly when that has been achieved, we move to phase two.
The post disaster phase, this allows for a re-evaluation, a reappraisal of the traumatic, memories. The success of this phase does depend on the willingness of the subconscious mind to tolerate the discomfort of reviewing the memories and it can take a few weeks until the subconscious mind feels comfortable enough to release the critical information.
For clients who can’t recall the specific traumatic memory I recommend that we use a technique called the Watkins bridge. We follow the emotion, we follow the stress, we follow the physical sensations, we follow the negative internal voice, and we allow the subconscious to guide us back to the root cause, to that moment it all began. Perhaps a specific moment that was the trigger. Once we've got really good rapport with our clients, we're able to guide them back to this moment and at this point we can then reframe this horrific memory.
We can give our client what they didn't have in that space, we can hold their hand, we can guide them, we can release the trauma, and we can disassociate.
If the client had an incredibly traumatic experience and we feel that revisiting that might be too much we can use the three-step rewind technique where we know what the memory is but we don't actually see it and we use a desensitization process, possibly doubly disassociated so that client doesn't have to see or experience the memory again and this is usually my go to.
In Phase three the PTSD sufferer is out of the other side of the PTSD and into recovery here our aim is to help the client apply their new knowledge and new insight. Perhaps any new skills that you know they may have gained that enables them to better understand themselves and provide them with the tools to prevent a relapse.
Direct suggestion can be used to relieve anxiety and panic attacks by the sufferer telling their subconscious mind that they will no longer react to stimulation in the same way or need the same habits to support behaviours.
Direct suggestion can reduce the negative behaviours around the post-traumatic stress disorder
Anyone who has gone through a traumatic experience and has post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms will arrive at the office of the clinical hypnotherapist feeling pretty bad about themselves.
You know when they arrive at the first session, they often feel quite weak, they often feel guilty, they are certainly having issues with confidence, and may be worried about how they are responding or reacting to life events. Ego strengthening techniques allow the client to identify the parts of themselves which are strong, which have always been strong, lock in that resource to the subconscious mind, so whatever they had to tap into, whatever inner resources that they used to get through those negative experiences, courage, self-belief, perseverance, resilience, or all of those things. If you bring in an awareness of those inner strengths to the clints session, that will really help the healing. It directs positive energy towards healing. The subconscious mind allows the client to become fully aware of what negative direction their life might take if the power of their mind is not harnessed now to understand and resolve the internal conflict that they are feeling.
Establishing a safe haven.
One of the most important techniques in clinical hypnotherapy is establishing a safe place within one's own mind, a place where the client can feel secure, not at risk. As clinical hypnotherapy sessions progress, memories and feelings can become overwhelming. A clinical hypnotherapist process is to guide, but just as a subconscious mind is adept at hiding information deep within its recesses it's also capable of creating a refuge, a sanctuary, a special place, a sacred place, a safe space that one can retreat to in times of need.
The Watkins bridge.
The Watkins bridge regression simply means taking a person back in their own mind to explore memories and emotions to find out what is making the subconscious overwhelmed. PTSD people may remember an event of which they had no conscious memory before or they may actually revisit the event that they believe is causing the PTSD. When the human body is under threat it has three distinctive responses: fight, flight, or freeze. A major component of healing trauma is giving the clients the ability to complete the action they were not able to do when their trauma originally occurred. Clinical hypnotherapists encourage clients to move their bodies, to stretch, to reflex their body or to give themselves emotionally what they needed in that moment that they didn't have at that time of trauma. Someone to hold their hand, to say those words of encouragement to themselves.
One of the most effective clinical hypnotherapy methods is known as revivification which means the person relives the traumatic experience, which appears to be causing such dramatic repercussions of their everyday life, while in hypnosis.
At Ottawa hospital a revolutionary new PTSD treatment involving virtual reality headsets is placing PTSD sufferers in virtual situations similar to what they have experienced to help them relive and re-examine exactly what happened to them, but in truth the mind does not need a virtual reality headset to achieve exactly the same thing.
Even if a person cannot clearly remember what happened the fractionated version is lodged in their subconscious and by using clinical hypnotherapy it can be accessed and laid bare.
PTSD symptoms can be provoked in a person to stop them remembering or dwelling on what happened.
People may feel too scared to re-examine what happened or see it again in vivid detail or they are specifically trying to escape the memories they have of it. Clinical hypnotherapy can go a long way towards insulating a sufferer from their upsetting memories while still allowing them to gain the insight they need to move on.
Cinema technique is one method of clinical hypnotherapy where the person vividly recalls a memory but with the isolation of seeing it in the third person, without any associated emotions. The subconscious mind is encouraged to put such barriers in place and protect the equilibrium of the individual.
Here a compromise can be sought with the subconscious mind to release the information but at the same time keep a protective shield in place an installation method as with the rewind technique a PTSD sufferer is encouraged to remember the traumatic event or events which are being played out in their dreams and in flashbacks they are given several suggestions on how to reduce the impact of the memory.
When the subconscious is most receptive to suggestion, they are asked to turn the memory into black and white and add a grainy filter to the images. They may be told to imagine themselves in the projection booth of a cinema watching their event play out on a cinema screen but they're standing behind a screen or wall.
They can be told to Fast forward it in reverse. As the client gets more acquainted with a memory, as they get desensitised to the traumatic effect of that memory, as they watch the film from the auditorium, eventually stepping into the film themselves and reliving the experience but with a number of repeated runs first.
PTSD sufferers have reported that rewind therapy has greatly reduced the number of flashbacks they have experienced and, in some cases, stopped them altogether.
It seems the process of playing and replaying the events diffuses their power to do harm in the body and mind and gives the subconscious the outlet it requires.
I use a combination of rewind therapy and the mobile phone technique here the client accesses the memory as a video on their mobile phone, they are watching themselves using the mobile phone.
With this technique they are not able to see the video but they can see themselves watching the video. They know when the video has played from the beginning to the end, they know when that movie is over, they know when the traumatic incident is over.
Once the client has watched themselves watching the traumatic movie several times (and have become desensitised to the event) and they can see that the person watching the movie has begun to get bored. The effect of the traumatic incident has become less they can then associate one step and become the watcher of the movie.
When that again has become less traumatic, they can then step into the movie and re-experience it with less pain, or they can choose to simply delete it or store it in an archive without having any knowledge of the movie without seeing it, without experiencing it.
Once stepping into the movie, they can step into the movie as an observer and actually bring into that what was needed at the time, a hug, a love, some care, some words of encouragement and that memory can be reframed and re felt.
Whatever trauma has happened to cause the PTSD whether it was poor medical intervention, whether it was a lack of support, while a person feels angry, bears a grudge or just feels so helpless about a situation that anger is literally routing them to the event.
When asked if they can forgive the perpetrator or the person, they deem responsible for causing the trauma most PTSD sufferers will answer absolutely not.
This means they will dwell on the situation repeatedly and that anger towards that person will heighten. That pressure will continue to reinforce the distress caused by the traumatic event and unfortunately will continue to anchor them to that experience.
It's essential to remember that forgiveness doesn't excuse the behaviour of the perpetrator, but forgiveness prevents their behaviour from destroying our hearts from destroying life any further.
There are key points when working to heal PTSD. We need to remember the absolute power of relaxation, we need to remember that just believing that we can be healed can actually heal us, drugs are not always necessary, belief in recovery is always the strongest factor for success in building self-esteem. Believing you can do it, believing you deserve it, and believing you can get it. What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.
It's a very good idea for clients with post traumatic stress disorder to regularly practice self hypnosis too.
Thank you for reading or watching you can reach me via email and book supervision at
Anyone who has flown on an airplane and listened to the flight attendant before take-off has been cautioned what to do in the event the oxygen masks fall from the ceiling.
Put on your own mask first before trying to help someone else.
Self Care is a principle that applies directly to any therapeutic work. If you’re gasping for air, you can’t help other people.
Therapists who neglect their own mental, physical and spiritual self-care eventually run out of air, they can not effectively help their clients because all of their energy is going out to the clients and nothing is coming back in to replenish their energy.
Although most therapists are familiar with self-care many find it a challenge to put the concept into practice in their own lives. Therapists who ignore their own needs will find their outlook on the profession going quickly downhill.
This months Hypno Geeks is a reminder to take care of ourselves and a great opportunity to introduce you to Sarah Reddan one of our new Tutors.
Last night I held our Monthly Peer Supervision, and the topic was smoking cessation.
I have a six steps programme I teach so I went over my six steps programme and looked at how we can combine smoking cessation counselling with Hypnosis.
When Clients first started smoking it probably didn't come easy. They probably felt pretty awkward about it at first and it was a conscious habit that gradually took a hold of them. Maybe they used to tell themselves that they could stop smoking whenever they wanted to and that they certainly weren't addicted.
But the longer they smoked the more difficult it was to say no to cigarettes until they were smoking when they didn't even want one, when their throat hurts or when it tastes foul.
Stopping smoking with hypnosis is the reverse of that process. Once your client has stopped, they will find that the longer they go without a cigarette the easier it will be to continue as a non-smoker.
There may be odd times when they still think about smoking, but they will be thinking of it in a different way - and a thought of a cigarette is not a craving - it is simply a thought.
After a short while they will find that their food tastes different, they can breathe easier, they will smell fresher, and their mind will become more lucid and clearer. Even their circulation will improve, and they’ll have more confidence in themselves because they know and feel in control, instead of being controlled by an addiction.
Never underestimate the benefits of stopping smoking.
This month I was asked to prepare a session about working with children.
These are my Teaching notes, happy to share:
Intro think about what children have experienced and how challenging life has been for children.
We love teaching our students how to work with Children.
Children have the most amazing imaginations, and they love visualisation.
Up until the age of about 10, children have little distinction between reality and fantasy and can often create wonderful and fantastical scenarios which can be utilised in hypnosis to help a wide range of issues and challenges.
Between the ages of 10 and 12, the Conscious Critical Faculty starts to develop. This acts as a filter between the logical part of our brain, the conscious mind, and the emotional part, the subconscious.
Hypnotherapy relies on switching the conscious mind off for a while and accessing the subconscious, which is the part of our brains where deep-seated emotions and behaviours are rooted.
The participation of parents is important too.
Anxious parents, especially if they have a close bond with their children, can often cause anxious children. They pick up on that anxiety, even if it’s unspoken. Talking things through with parents, offering advice on how they can support their child, both emotionally and practically, is essential in all areas of children’s counselling and hypnotherapy.
Parents often get confused and overwhelmed by the options of therapy available, its can be a challenge to discern between serious mental health problems and more common behavioural issues. Children and young adults respond well to hypnotherapy. They are both imaginative and open minded, they are open to guidance and embrace change.
It's also frustrating with the lack of NHS help available, and if it is available, the extended waiting times for treatment makes this option often impractical. Hypnotherapy is recognised as a treatment option by the National Health Service (NHS) and the Professional Standards Authority (the UK Parliamentary regulator for healthcare), and year on year, more parents are turning to hypnotherapy to help their children overcome behavioural problems, increase confidence and tackle anxiety.
I always have a parent or guardian in the room when I work with children in both the initial interview and during hypnosis. If I can get the whole family there I will.
It's a matter of giving the child a sense of safety. Safety is an essential ingredient for success with hypnosis, so the child most feels safe enough to completely relax. A parents presence contributes to that sense of safety for the child and it's really important for the child to feel very safe with the therapist it's also important for the parent to know that they can observe that their child is safe in my hands so when the parent and child come into my therapy room they'll often find two chairs one comfy chair for the child to sit in I call that my hypnosis chair or my magic chair I might have a blanket and a pillow and possibly a stuffed animal or a toy and I have lots of polished stones crystals nearby that children tend to the like the look of and bring about a sense of fun and wellbeing. Working on zoom I might have a cool background.
The question here is what if the parent is the main source of the child stress. Any parent who's willing to bring a child to my therapy room and pay me for doing something that's not traditional such as hypnosis is willing to do whatever it takes to help a child usually these parents don't fit the profile of an abusive parent. They may be stern, strict or in be creating impossibly high expectations, but they're generally also concerned and loving.
usually, there is an element of stress relief I am providing with the child. The parent is also going to need to learn that they need to change too. So.. may really benefit from experiencing any relaxation therapy intervention that I'm providing.
The stress a child is experiencing is also the stress a parent is experiencing, and the family is also experiencing it too. So, working with the parent present gives them an opportunity to engage and change as well.
Parents are often very focused on what I'm doing with their children so they essentially will be in a light hypnotic state themselves and if they're open to the positive suggestions that I'm giving the child it'll often help the parents too.
If I'm working and I find that the child is unwilling to respond to a question, if they appear uncomfortable following my instructions. l will ask if there's something the child wants to speak to me privately about and if that's the case all then I will ask if the parents would be willing to just step out for a moment while I talked the child in private this is never really happened for me.
In my practise more recently I was working with an older child and having a parent there was a little intrusive but because I was working on zoom I felt it was OK to work with this teenager with parental consent alone and was able to chat at a more deeper level.
Having a parent as an observer gives me an advocate who can report on the session to any other medical practitioners involved. Especially if parents talking with the doctor about the hypnosis it helps doctors maintain their confidence in my work another parents will probably hear about the process and possibly even consider bringing their child to see me or work with me.
Another reason why I have a pair with me in the therapy room is that many of my clients a vulnerable or are teenage girls and as a society we've been rocked by revelations about abuse that has happened within religions within different associations adults that were supposed to be safe have taken liberties with children. So, it's for my own protection that a parent is always present. While I strive to be the safest person my clients ever encounter, I am well aware that many truly good innocent people have also been falsely accused of inappropriate behaviour with children. So, no matter the age or gender of the child I will only work with them if a parent or other responsible adult is willing to sit in on the session.
IF A PARENT GIVES CONSENT FOR THE THERAPUTIC PROCEDURE, BUT THE CHILD DECLINES, THEN THE CHILD’S RIGHT TO REFUSE OVERTURNS THE PARENT’S CONSENT.
Hypnotherapy can help children with:
Habits including thumb-sucking
Nocturnal enuresis (bed-wetting) and Encopresis (soiling)
Nightmares, and other sleep disturbances
Eating issues, food aversions, and choking
Anxiety and stress
Fears and phobias
Problems associated with learning difficulties
Milton Erickson the founder of modern hypnotherapy had a solutions focused approach when working with children to help manage change their feelings and their behaviours. He understood that each of his patients including children knew what they were seeking, He also knew that they had the solutions within themselves and the power to change, but they needed to overcome the natural resistance to change.
What I love about working with children is that they automatically link up stories or metaphors and literal happenings so that when they hear them, their minds very quickly understand what is meant.
If a child listens to a story the areas within their brains which are responsible for emotions are also activated, for this reason children will be very much engaged with the story.
They will engage more with the story then they will often engage with factual information.
Children tend to remember stories for a longer period of time they tend to remember stories longer than they remember facts because stories tend to hold more meaning for them. When stories are told with the intention of changing the way a child thinks or behaves or does things the story becomes a therapeutic metaphor. Whether you're a hypnotherapist or any other type of therapist parent or teacher using metaphors stories can really help maximise a Childs potential for change.
What are your favourite childhood stories?
What makes a good metaphor?
A good metaphor will symbolically represent the Childs challenge or problem and offer a solution in an indirect manner.
Because it's indirect the child has to become actively involved in the process of making sense of it and deciding whether parts of that metaphor or that story relates to them.
If the story is fun and engaging includes the things a child loves or is interested in, it will bypass any conscious resistance and sink very well into the unconscious mind where it will be thought about reflected on possibly for a period of time even if the child doesn't understand the metaphor or thinks it's not relevant their unconscious mind will keep going over it until some Connexions are found with their own situation.
Often, we present children with solutions, the solutions, may be presented to them from a parent, teacher, or a trusted adult but if the solution is discovered by themselves, if the solution is their idea, it's so much more likely to lead to successful positive change.
Once you are happy the child wants to be involved. Always try to gain answers to the following types of questions during your consultation process:
Are they into a certain sport? If so, what team?
What is their favourite TV program? Which character do they like best?
Do they have a computer or games console? If so, what games do they play and
what is the objective of the game?
What is the best subject at school? What is the worst?
Do they have a favourite celebrity?
Who are their best friends? Why them? Names?
For older children and teens, what social networks do they use?
Once you have built a basic picture of their lives, this will allow you a much closer rapport: Whatever they love, you instantly love. If you don’t have a clue what their talking about, then do your research and be genuinely interested as they educate you on the topic.
Once you have left the consultation, it’s time to find out as much as you can about their interests.
It is quite common that you will be invited into a world that you knew nothing about, which is fine, as long you do your best to find out. Any information you gain will fill up the “rapport bucket” and pave the way for a more effective hypnotherapy session.
I have become quite the Spiderman expert and I am not bad at Minecraft breathing…
What if a child is hard to get to know/open up?
It is actually rare that a child will not be shy during the consultation and even early hypnotherapy sessions. But it’s a challenge that’s easily overcome – get props.
Get yourself to your local bargain shops and create a box full of things like:
Colouring books, Crayons, felt tips
Small plastic animals
Interesting backdrops (if on video conferencing)
Use your imagination! It gives the child something to focus on and whilst they are distracted in this way, they are much more likely to interact with you in relation to the game. This opens doors for informal chats about the information you really need to know.
Hypnotherapy with children takes a very different form to that of adults, particularly the induction that’s needed. It is common that when working with a child that little or no induction is required. This is because children naturally have very vivid imaginations, which means that they are very susceptible to entering a hypnotic trance. This was certainly the view of Milton Erickson. However, I suggest a basic induction that is designed to stimulate the imagination right from closing their eyes.
Many Hypnotherapists have misconceptions about how children go into hypnosis. The vast majority of our experience of working with clients involves them been “relaxed” while hypnotised.
Relaxation is not required to hypnotise someone. E.g. you’re not relaxed while driving a car or responding to a stage hypnotists suggestions.
Also, most of our clients while in therapy sit motionless and silent throughout a hypnotherapy session, unless we instruct them to do something or say something.
SO, REMOVE THE MISCONCEPTION THAT WHEN HYPNOTISED YOU ARE RELAXED, MOTIONLESS OR SILENT.
It is VERY common that a child will want to move and “interact” with their imagination. Similar to how they play with their toys, or how we subconsciously make hand gestures.
Expect children to be chatty and ask questions about your suggestions. This demonstrates CO-OPERATION. The child is not resisting. They only resist if they refuse to co-operate. So just go with it and you will find it a naturally enjoyable experience for yourself too.
When deciding on which induction to choose. Here are some ideas for child inductions. But just use them for ideas and think of your own to suit the child you are working with.
4 Fun Mindfulness Activities and Exercises you can do.
Mindfulness is about single tasking (we don’t teach kids to focus but we demand it)
One easy way for children to dip their toes into mindfulness is through the simple method of body poses. To get your kids interested, tell them that doing fun poses can help them feel strong, brave, and happy.
Find somewhere quiet and familiar, a place they feel safe. Next, tell them to try one of the following two poses:
The Superman: this pose is practiced by standing with the feet just wider than the hips, fists clenched, and arms reached out, stretching the body out as long as possible.
The Wonder Woman: this pose is struck by standing tall with legs wider than hip width apart and hands or fists placed on the hips.
While you’re on the subject of superheroes, there is a fun and easy way to introduce your kids to paying attention to the present.
Instruct your kids to turn on their “Spidey senses”, the super-focused senses of smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch that Spiderman uses to keep tabs on the world around him.
This will encourage them to pause and focus their attention on the present, opening their awareness to the information their senses bring in (Excite Media, 2017).
This is a classic mindfulness exercise, packaged in a fun and easy to understand format that kids will find no difficulty in trying out.
Spiderman breathing is also one of my favourite mindful breathing techniques.
Spiderman 5 mins
Who likes Spiderman?
Let’s help ourselves to feel better by doing some Spiderman breathing.
In for 4, exhale quickly and blow out all those bad feelings. If you like you can imagine that webs are flying out of the ends of your fingers and as the webs fly out so do all those bad feelings. Listen to the sound of the breath coming out of your mouth really quickly and use the sound to help get rid of those bad feelings.
The Mindful Jar
This activity can teach children about how strong emotions can take hold, and how to find peace when these strong emotions come up.
First, get a clear jar, like a Mason jar, and fill it almost all the way with water. Next, add a big spoonful of glitter glue or glue and dry glitter to the jar. Put the lid back on the jar and shake it to make the glitter swirl.
Finally, use the following script or take inspiration from it to form your own mini-lesson:
“Imagine that the glitter is like your thoughts when you’re stressed, mad or upset. See how they whirl around and make it really hard to see clearly? That’s why it’s so easy to make silly decisions when you’re upset – because you’re not thinking clearly. Don’t worry this is normal and it happens in all of us (yep, grownups too).
[Now put the jar down in front of them.]
Now watch what happens when you’re still for a couple of moments. Keep watching. See how the glitter starts to settle and the water clears? Your mind works the same way. When you’re calm for a little while, your thoughts start to settle and you start to see things much clearer” (Excite Media, 2017).
This exercise not only helps children learn about how their emotions can cloud their thoughts, it also facilitates the practice of mindfulness while focusing on the swirling glitter in the jar.
Mindful Bodies breathing 5 mins
There are a couple very important things that help us be mindful.
Get into a comfortable seated or laying position
(If students are at their desks, have them all move their chairs away from their desks and turn them toward the front of the room. Explain that they can do this each time you have mindfulness. Remind them each time until it is a habit).
The first thing that will help us during mindfulness is to let our bodies be very still… let’s try that?
The second thing automatically happens when we get still… what is the noise like in here right now, when you get still? Yes, it gets very quiet.
Now we have still bodies and quiet bodies. That’s what we’ll call our mindful bodies. Now, let’s close our eyes and just sit like that for one minute.
Your eyes can be closed or open if they are open find a nice spot on the floor or wall in front of you to look at.
Now relax your shoulders. Relax your eyes and eyebrows. Relax your jaw. neck and shoulders, arms go really relaxed….. down to the tips of your toes.
Shoulder roll mindful breathing to prep for the story 5 mins
In this exercise, we will breathe in and bring our shoulders up to our ears, as we breathe out we will roll our shoulders back and down. (Model for students.)
We can do shoulder rolls throughout the day to relieve tension. Shoulder rolls also help us get comfortable and focused in preparation for any other mindful breathing exercise
Induction sleepy bodies 5 mins
Now do you remember what it feels like to go to sleep?
Wait for response.
Yes, that's right. And it can feel very good to drift off to sleep, doesn't it? And your body really likes to go to sleep because it feels so good.
So, let’s think about your toes. Your toes can go to sleep. Your toes know how to go to sleep. Let them go to sleep now and tell me when your toes have gone to sleep.
Now your feet send them to sleep… have they gone to sleep? Good
Very good. You are all doing so well!
Now let me know when your calves/lower part of your legs are asleep.
Now let your upper legs go to sleep. Sleepy, sleepy legs. Have your upper legs gone to sleep yet I wonder are your legs nice and sleepy and asleep.
Now your whole legs are asleep. Very sleepy legs. Nice and heavy…just sinking into the floor now.
Now let your bum (bottom) go to sleep. Sleepy, sleepy bum (bottom). Has your when your bum (bottom) gone to sleep?
And your tummy…sleepy, sleepy tummy.
Yawn to encourage your child to feel sleep...
Take the time you need and send your tummy into a deep relaxing sleep.
Pause for response.
Now your chest. Let your chest go to sleep. Sleepy, sleepy chest. Very comfortable. Breathing easy. Tell your chest to go to sleep breathing nice and easy (big sigh).
Pause for response.
Now let your shoulders go to sleep. Heavy, sleepy shoulders. And now your shoulders have gone to sleep.
Pause for response.
And your arms. Now let your arms, all the way down to your hands and fingers go very deeply asleep. Sleepy, sleepy arms. And now your arms feel lovely and relaxed and asleep.
Check the children by lifting their arms and giving lots of praise.
See how heavy and sleepy your arm is now!
And your neck. The neck needs to have a very nice sleep now. Sleepy, sleepy neck. Tell your neck to go to sleep
Pause for response.
And your head. Your face…your cheeks…your forehead…your eyebrows…your mouth and jaw. Your mouth has been busy all day and now needs a nice rest, so let your mouth go to sleep and as it gets sleepier and sleepier it slows right down…right down (i.e. if the child is chatting) so tell your mouth it is time to sleep. Do that in your mind now.
And your eyes. Sleepy, sleepy eyes.
Yawn for effect.
Heavy, sleepy eyes. When they are very sleepy they can’t even open…just let them get heavy and sleepy now.
Repeat until the eyes close – if they are slow to close, tell the child directly to close the eyes... just close your eyes now.
Or tell your child to keep the eyelids open as long as he or she can keep your eyes open as long as you can...your heavy, heavy eyelids, just keep them open, just try really hard to keep them open, and the harder you try, the heavier they get, just try to keep them open, and at some point you can't keep them open any longer and they they will need to close and just let them close, but for now, just keep them open as long as you can.... Keep going until the eyelids close.
Pause for response.
And your ears. Sleepy, sleepy ears. You can hear my voice but your ears get sleepier as your whole body gets so, so sleepy now...so...so sleepy. So as you go sleepier now you have pleasant dreams...pretty dreams in your head...you can tell yourself in your mind “I have happy dreams…I have happy dreams…I have happy dreams…”
And now you are feeling so relaxed and calm I can talk to the part of you that is always listening.
I want you to use the power of your mind and create, make a place where you feel really good.
A place where you feel really confident
A place where you are in control
A place where you feel really happy and peaceful
A place that is very relaxing
Now really feel this place. Listen to all the sounds. Really look around and enjoy this wonderful place you have created.
This is your special place it’s a place where you can feel calm it’s a place where you will always be safe.
This is your special place and the only sensations you can feel here are really good ones.
This is a magical place
Where magical things can happen
And you can have anything you want in this special place
Toys games any possessions
Anything you want anything at all you can simply put it here
And every time you come back here to this special place you will feel 10 times more relaxed 10 times more confident 10 times happier and relaxed.
So go and explore this amazing place you have made.
It’s your special place and remember you can have anything you want here
It’s a magical place
And the only sensations you can feel are good and happy
And you can have anything you want here
Toys games possessions
Anything you want at all
Now I am going to stop talking for a moment so that you can go and really enjoy your special magical place.
Now its time to wake up
I am going to count from 5 to 1 and when I get to 1 you’ll all be wide awake and full of energy feeling really good inside.
Well-done everyone remind them that they can go back to their special place anytime they like and each time they go back it will feel more real and will be more relaxing.
Once upon a time there was a boy, he had the same name as you and even looked just like you. He had the same hair and the same colour eyes. He was even about your age.
However, this boy was different, special as he was a scientist. He worked in fantastic top-secret laboratory so fantastic and so secret he could only access it from a top secret place with the power of his mind.
He needed to use the magic words; I am sure you know what they are.
And he needed to count from 1 to 10 very slowly. Once he had his eyes closed he could enter into his fantastic laboratory.
Let’s go to the fantastic laboratory and have a look around.
Close your eyes and say the magic words. Not out loud just inside your mind.
Now let’s count very slowly, with eyes closed from 1 to 10 and when you get to 10 you can step inside your fantastic laboratory and have a good look around.
1 -2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 and stepping into your laboratory 10.
It’s a large and beautiful room, full of funny little noises, a number of curious silver instruments sanding on spindle-legged tables, whirring and emitting little puffs of smoke. A tall shelving unit with what seems like millions of bottles all different shapes and sizes all filled with liquids and potions of all different colours.
There seems to be a control room area with lots of levers and buttons and a desk with flashing lights and dials.
Go and have a good look around your laboratory and if you like pick things up, examine them, smell them and read the labels on the bottles.
And when you have had a really good look around, I’d like you to find a spot where you can work as today we are going to be mixing potions and making a simply marvellous medicine.
When you have found that spot and you are ready.
We switched off the camera here and came up with lots of metaphor ideas.
University clinical trials in the US the UK, and in Australia, have supported the effectiveness of hypnosis for menopause symptoms and can be an effective alternative to HRT. Baylor University Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory found that hypnosis could reduce hot flushes by as much as 74%. Research has also supported the effectiveness of hypnosis for menopause symptoms so it not surprising that many of my students a d graduates are keen to supported women going through this transitional phase of life. This month I'm delighted to have Tracey Alport on the podcast. Tracy is an occupational therapist as well as someone who works with the subconscious. She supports mid-life women who experience stress, overwhelm, pain and hormone problems, helping them to reflect, rebalance, relax and restore, so that they feel energised, rejuvenated and ready to enjoy life to the full Hypnotherapy is a safe, calming therapy that can help women better manage uncomfortable symptoms of menopause. The hypnotic state is a natural state of mind that creates an environment within the brain that alters the way information is processed. It can also help women change their physiological and psychological responses to menopause.
How to market your therapy business with Amanda Joy and Sibi from The Northern College of Clinical Hypnotherapy.
I have been podcasting on my Wednesday Wellbeing show for over 100 episodes now. I felt inspired to create a new podcast for therapists or those training to be a therapist. I wanted to highlight specific topics, therapeutic approaches, tools and techniques.
for My first episode I'm delighted to be joined by Clinical Hypnotherapist, and expert in Parts Therapy, Rachael Leonard from the Hypnotherapy Relaxation Clinic.
Parts Therapy is the idea that our personality is made up of lots of parts from our subconscious. These parts have come into being as a result of learning. The goal of parts-therapy is to help people have all the parts of the self ready to show up when needed. It's also particularly useful for someone who is experiencing unresolved trauma.
Parts therapy also resolves internal conflicts, and in my experience has helped so many clients who've failed to respond to other traditional techniques. This person-centered approach empowers clients to resolve their inner conflicts for themselves.
Watch as we chat Parts Therapy www.thenortherncollegeofclinicalhypnotherapy.com www.hypnotherapyandrelaxationclinic.co.uk
Hypnotherapy for stress management.
In these uncertain times most of us are feeling a little more stressed that usual.
Why do we get stressed?
Our brains have evolved to help us survive. When we feel threatened whether its something new, a challenging situation or that we are simply just feeling more stressed than usual, our brains fire off hormones like adrenaline and cortisol which increases our heart rate, our breathing becomes more shallow and gets faster and our muscles feel tense.
This is the ‘fight or flight’ response, and it serves us by giving our bodies the ability to either run away or fight. Nowadays we aren't fighting lions, tigers or bears (oh my!!) but our brains still have this survival feature. In our modern life we experience different situations and circumstances that our mind interprets as a threat.
So, when your manager emails you with a tough deadline. Your brain still goes through the motions to prepare you to ‘fight or flight’, but instead of fighting your manager or running away from your desk, it’s more likely that you’ll stay sat at your desk.
Those stress hormones are still flooding round your body making you feel stressed. This feeling often dissipates rapidly, but when life is challenging and we are experiencing multiple stressors regularly, we can begin to feel in a constant state of stress and start to develop stress symptoms.
So how can stress effect you?
Stress can affect us in multiple ways. It can cause strong emotions, mental and physical symptoms too. Some of the ways you may feel stress emotionally include:
These negative feelings may change the way you behave and interact with those around you.
Some of the ways you may feel mentally stressed include:
These feelings may well impact on your day-to-day life and over time, stress can lead to mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
Some of the ways you may feel physically stressed include:
• Tension in your muscles
• You may get headaches
• You may feel dizzy or lightheaded
• You may have problems sleeping
• You may be tired more than usual
• You may experience changes in your appetite
These feelings can make you feel very unwell and may require you to take time off work to recover.
How hypnotherapy can help.
Hypnotherapy aims to break negative thought patterns and responses to stress and instead provide you with healthier reactions. Your therapist will work with your subconscious, the part of your mind that works automatically and is responsible for those fight and flight responses.
Your hypnotherapist will help you enter a state of deep relaxation. When you’re in this blissful calm state, your subconscious is more open to suggestion. The hypnotherapist will then make helpful suggestions supporting your mind and body to respond to stress in a better way.
Results happen rapidly quite often after just one session. Responses to therapeutic intervention will depend on your individual circumstances and the depth of work needed.
Often hypnotherapists will also teach you self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques. You can use these techniques after the sessions are over and we will leave you with a brain and body training audio. You can keep using your audio to reinforce the sessions and transformation process.
All our graduates are highly skilled in helping you to feel calm, relaxed, stress free and more confident in yourself. Our graduates are listed on our find a therapist page.
The hardest part is often asking for help, do feel free to get in touch with any of our graduates. They'll offer you a consultation and life can start to feel more confident, comfortable, calmer and more in control again.
Lockdown has given many of us time to reflect on our lives and our careers.
Many of us have been unable to work remotely and some of us have lost our jobs altogether.
Many of my colleagues and friends who work in the care industry or therapy world are really thinking about how our post lockdown lives will be.
Many of my friends, family members and clients have been able to work from home. Many have no desire to go back to their pre lockdown lives.
Perhaps you’ve been unable to work or lost your job and you’re looking for a more rewarding, meaningful career, something that gives you the life you desire.
The other day I was chatting with a friend who has just loved spending more time with her family, her children and her husband.
She shared with me that she was feeling stuck. She longed to do something that continued to give her more time, doing the things she loves, but needed to feel that whatever she chose also brought stablity and security for herself and her family.
In times like these, if change is going to happen, it needs to bring with it a good income. It needs to be crisis proof, family friendly and elivate your life.
We want to thrive not just survive.
Clinical hypnotherapy has been transformational for me, in my work, career and my personal development. It's been transformational in my lifestlye and my bank account too.
All this while loving such rewarding work and most importantly, helping others too.
I'm so grateful I trained in Clinical Hypnotherapy as I've been able to work remotely, supporting many who have been are alone or struggling throughout the pandemic. I love working in person but have seen outstanding results during lockdown and via working online, this job is crisis proof.
We now have training centres across the North of England and our training is also available online.
I'm really excited as I've a fantastic team of amazing experienced therapists who are joining me in training people to become outstanding Clinical Hypnotherapists.
The course is packed with techniques and gives trainees a good deal of knowledge about psychology, psychotherapy and neuroscience as well as the latest in NLP and Hypnotherapy tools and techniques.
The course includes business planning and marketing so that when students graduate they are ready to go! Our graduates feel really confident and have had loads of practice. Some of my current students have been working remotely during lockdown and have an established client base already.
Socially distanced in person training is beginning in September. Training centres are in Harrogate, Darlington, Hartlepool, Newcastle and online training is also available. Should we need to return to just online training we can do that too.
I have 10 places available in each location for the Foundation in Clinical Hypnotherapy.
The Foundation course is just £100 and gives students membership with The CMA, the ability to get insurance to practice, and offers the opportunity to see if Clinical Hypnotherapy is really for them.
If students love the Foundation Course they may be selected to go on and complete the full accredited Diploma training program.
I offer a pay as you go system for the Diploma training so that it's not a huge financial challenge for those who aren't earning or are on a low income.
Working as a therapist may be something you've never considered as you believed it would need years of expensive training.
You don’t need a doctorate or a degree to reach multiple people who need your help.
I'm continuously amazed at the results I see in my private practise and now I'm blessed to see my students having extraordinary results too.
I'm looking for caring compassionate people who want to help and support others.
At the NCCH we provide friendly, professional Clinical Hypnotherapy training, supervision and CPD.
We not only help you to become an outstanding therapist. We aim to support you to unleash your potential, a whole new world of freedom, meaning, and abundance.
Imagine the life you desire, then let us teach you the skills to powerfully help others whilst gaining a life you currently only dream of.
Welcome to my passion.
Trapped in the house with a cupboard full of food is for many of us a real danger!
With the impact of social distancing and the lifestyle changes occurring perhaps the extra stress, anxiety or worry being created is leading to comfort eating. Perhaps some old bad habits around eating are popping up.
It may be tempting to ease your anxiety with your favourite comfort foods, but emotional eating can hurt you physically and mentally.
With Hypnotherapy we can powerfully help with weight management.
As a therapist trained at the NCCH you will learn how to empower your clients and help them get in control or back on track.
Clinical Hypnotherapy helps to empower your clients to eat less or more. Our aim is to work with clients to create a bespoke package that brings balance to their lifestyle, permanent and sustainable change.
I am sure many of us have been on a diet, the first 3 letters of the word DIET describe how restricting food makes me feel!
I know all too well about being overweight and unhealthy. Just a few years ago before I trained as a Clinical Hypnotherapist and then went on to use hypnotherapy on myself, I was a size 28. I could barely walk up the stairs without getting out of breath.
I tried everything, milkshakes, a handful of pills and supplements as meal replacements, slimming groups, and crazy crash diets and multiple detoxes. Each time I failed, I ate more, gained more weight and more frustration.
I got to the point where I hated how I looked, how I felt and that, caused me to eat more of the wrong things.
Hypnotherapy helped me to get a better relationship with food and now I eat what I want, when I want and I listen to what my body needs.
When you study at the NCCH we provide you with a massive toolbox to help people just like me or others who are struggling with under or over eating. One of the things that I do on a daily basis now is mindful eating.
Mindfulness is simply paying attention in a focused way. It involves being present in each moment so that you can appreciate and enjoy every moment.
A good example of not being mindful (I was guilty of this) is when we eat. If I ate whilst watching TV or when I was rushing, I was only barely aware of the physical sensations of the food entering my mouth, let alone my thoughts feelings or emotions. Usually I was thinking of at least 100 different things and not really enjoying the moment of eating.
Mindful eating is when we are purposefully aware of eating, we are consciously being aware of the process of eating. Chewing, tasting, swallowing. We are deliberately noticing the sensations and our responses to those sensations.
We’re noticing the mind wandering, and when it does wander we purposefully bring our attention back, back to the delicious food we are eating.
Now, when I am eating mindfully, I am also grateful for my food, grateful about where it came from and how it came to be on my plate. When we are feeling thankful there is no room in our minds for negative thoughts. This means I no longer comfort eat and when I do eat chocolate, I really enjoy it!
I challenge you to have ago at eating mindfully this week. Have a go together with friends or family and if you have time just for fun have a go with the Raisin meditation below.
Happy mindful eating!
Five minutes daily for at least a week. Evidence suggests that mindfulness increases the more you practice it.
HOW TO DO IT