Effective treatment for Anxiety, Habitual and Obsessive Behaviours, Depression, Phobias, Insomnia,
Weight Loss, IBS and other conditions related to Mind/Body interaction

Everyday life can often present challenges that can sometimes overwhelm us. It can be a
juggling act to balance family life with work commitments and continue to feel
good about ourselves and the things that we do. Sometimes, our expectations are
overambitious and exceed our physical abilities and striving for success can
come at a cost.

When stress gets its hold on us and becomes a chronic stress, it can cause a range of
debilitating conditions as a result of the effect of adrenaline and cortisol on
the body’s immune system. When the mind preoccupies itself with anxieties and a
lack of positive focus the vicious spiral of negative emotions can affect
sleep, the digestive system, can cause headaches, skin and eating disorders. A
lack of motivation and energy may also be apparent, depression can manifest
itself as well as many forms of inflammation.

 It is a skill to retain equilibrium when we are responding to all kinds of stress and it is so easy to be self-critical and
feel a sense of underachievement. Looking after ourselves is essential for our
wellbeing. The more we look after ourselves, the more we have the capacity to
look after others and, as mums, we do have many others to look after.

How incredibly empowering it would be to have coping strategies in order to lead to
a fulfilling and a happy life. I believe that we can achieve the best in ourselves
by being actively engaged with what is meaningful to us as individuals. By
best, I don’t mean achieving perfection, but rather actively striving to have better
experiences and enjoy life, sleep peacefully at night and to wake up in the
morning feeling excited about a new day. Events in our lives will continue to
happen and sometimes we can influence these and sometimes not. What we can influence
is the attitude that we have towards them.  This way of thinking has helped me materialize
many of own personal my goals. I truly believe that these skills can be learned
so today I am helping others to achieve their goals and I think I have the best
job in the world!

I would therefore like to introduce to you a pathway to tranquillity and a way of creating
strategic coping mechanisms that create a support network of healthy positive
processes day in, day out.

Hypnosis

Far from the widely believed media portrayal of mind control and myths that circulate to
make good TV entertainment, hypnosis is an incredible therapeutic tool. Hypnosis
is a state that we all experience consciously to some extent. When you drift
into a thought and your focus is internal – a daydream state – you are
experiencing a form of trance. This is when the limbic system of your brain is
consolidating information and laying it down in long-term memory stores. This
is an automatic process and we do not ‘choose’ to enter it. On average, it
happens every 7 minutes but the length and depth vary. It is a state that
happens within each person and although it can be triggered by interactions, it
cannot be externally controlled; trance is a subjective experience and
therefore the control is always within self.

Hypnosis, as a state, can be practised and developed, just like any other states such as
confidence, empathy, care.* The hypnotic state can be consciously experienced,
with awareness of thoughts and emotions. These ‘active’ trance states are very
effective in treatment. We do not use deep trance states in most hypnotherapy
treatments because these don’t allow the patient to utilize consciousness. In
therapy we mostly use light to medium trance states in order to allow our
clients to learn from their own processes.

Hypnotherapy

In hypnotherapy treatment the focus is on the positive aspects of experience and the
therapist will guide the thoughts and emotions towards the strengths and
resourcefulness of each person as these will often not be realized consciously**.
It is important to know that every part of this therapeutic interaction
requires an internal validation process by the client. For the treatment to
work, it has to be validated and agreed with. If the information is not
validated by internal self-belief, it will be rejected. For example, if I say
that the best ice cream flavour is strawberry, you have absolute right to
reject it. Your experiences and preferences may be different and if so, you
would reject mine.  In all interactions
amongst humans there is this internal check about the validity and
meaningfulness of information. Hypnosis is no different. It is a part of our
everyday life and all interactions. In sessions we may focus on whatever
experiences are wanted to be improved by the client and these are always
self-selected by the client. This focus may for example be on confidence in
specific social interactions or every-day eating habits or motivation to
achieve desired goals. The hypnotherapy technique allows for the process of
self-validation to actively resource from the client’s own experiences.

Unlike other treatments that occupy themselves with intellectual processes,
hypnotherapy uses a state of relaxation and clarity of internal focus to create
emotional change that, in turn, help with cognition and rational thought
processes. Many have called this a bottom up approach. It is the only therapy
that accesses the long-term behavioural patterns within a relatively short
period of time as its primary focus is on physical relaxation. The relaxed body
creates a relaxed state of mind; a crucial element to form a long-term habitual
changes. To understand this more clearly, habitual behaviours and long-term
memories are laid down in a part of the brain that is called the hippocampus,
one of the centres of the limbic system which together with the amygdale and
hypothalamus is often referred to as the flight, fight and freeze part of the
brain. Our physical survival depends on these responses and these are not
choices of behaviour but are protective mechanisms that keep us safe against
threats. These may be real in our environment but also imaginary. This isn’t a
logical part of the brain but a part that scans the environment as well as our own
thoughts for threats. This can cause a vicious circle of negative emotions and
behaviours. Real or imaginary, if a limbic part of the brain senses a threat,
it will respond in any way it can to protect the self and it has habits to tap
into as its resource. This may be by reaching for sugary treats or for a glass
of wine. The limbic part of the brain is a pleasure seeker and dopamine is the
neurotransmitter that drives us towards pleasurable activities. These may not
always be logical and rational but will provide a short-term relief. ‘Survival’
can for example also be ‘ensured’ by blushing, loss of temper or withdrawing
from social interactions. Hypnotherapy treats habitual patterns by creating opportunities
to establish new neural networks by engaging with the best possible outcomes.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy can be combined with most other styles of treatments. I have been trained in
several therapeutic approaches and use a combination of these with my clients. At
the centre of my treatment is a Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT). SFBT is a
neuroscience-based process that encourages the activation of rational thoughts
in order to give the intellectual part of the brain the coping tools it needs
to deal with stress. Clients themselves establish realistically achievable
goals recognizable by them as an achievement. This is a step by step process,
helping the client to create the best possible future expectations. I am able
to practice with clients conscious processes that give them the tools they need
to help themselves. These are personal as well as social tools, such as
relaxation techniques, creative thinking and self-resourcing from own
experiences, visualizations etc. ***All aspects of the treatment focus on resourcing
from the very best of each person’s abilities. Most treatments last between 4-7
sessions. Phobia treatments are only 3 sessions, which is usually all that’s
needed. When a client leaves the treatment, they don’t just feel better but
they have long term strategies and know how to implement them. This is the same
for confidence building, presentation skills, exam success, improved
relationships, insomnia, eating habits, self-esteem and so on. The whole
process is guided and nurtured and it evolves naturally. There is no
expectation other than making each experience the best that it can be. The solution
focused process is neuroscience-based and allows for activation of rational
thoughts that give the intellect the coping tools it needs.

Each client measures they own outcomes and processes using a progress chart. In this way
they also measure the effectiveness of the approach that is used for treatment.
Hypnotherapy is for wellbeing, hypnosis is a state of internal calmness and
resourcefulness whilst SFBT gives intellect effective planning and
self-reflective processes. It is good to know that we can look after our minds
as well as we look after our bodies. I would be happy to welcome you to my
clinic at Integrated Health in Sevenoaks. Please look at my website for more
information www.lovetofeelgood.co.uk.

Hypnobirthing

My colleague Gabrielle Nicholls is a specialist on Hypnobirthing. Gabrielle is a
qualified midwife and a hypnotherapist. Please contact her if you would like to
find out more. www.zenbirth.co.uk/gabrielle

* Dr Zeig, Hypnosis as elicitation approach

**Dr Erickson, Application of hypnosis within psychotherapy

*** Dr Rizzolatti, Learning by observation and the function of mirror neurons