Problems and Treatment Programmes
How Can Counselling and / or Hypno-Psychotherapy Help Me?
I work with clients - individuals and couples - in the way that they feel most comfortable. Counselling, psychotherapy and hypnotherapy skills can be used together, or individually, to free you from a broad range of emotional and psychological problems (I do not use hypnotherapy in my couples work but may use relaxation and visualisation techniques).
The aim is to understand, deal with and shed the undesirable feelings that prevent you from achieving all you dream of and from being the person that you can be. It is about finding meaningful alternatives to present unsatisfactory ways of thinking, feeling and behaviour that are holding you back and causing unnecessary distress. I can work with clients either short term or medium term, as appropriate. Please note I no longer offer very long term or non-time limited therapy.
The following gives a brief overview of some of the more frequent client concerns:
Please click on the following potential treatment areas for more information:
RANGE OF TREATMENTS:
The following list is by no means exhaustive; Counselling and/or Hypnotherapy can be used to relieve a wide range of psychological and emotional problems:
Yes, that dreaded word! A certain amount of stress is of course good for us, it is stimulating and motivating and can draw the best out of us. But how easily the balance can tip. Too much stress for lengthy periods can create havoc with our lives and our health.
Stress can hit the most easy-going of us at various times but we all have different ways of dealing with it. In many cases we don't actually recognise it as stress and we often don't know what the root cause of it is.
I lived for a long period of my life under self-induced stress. A workaholic who tried to maintain family, relationship and career as well as studying. The result of it was that I lost sight of who I was and I spent years feeling trapped, tired and suffocated. But much of what I was feeling was down to stress; I was so busy just 'being busy' and trying to be perfect that I had no time to consider my true needs. It took some time to look at my life and break out of the elements that created the stress, but I got there.
And now I feel able to assist others through periods of stress; whether it be work related, relationship breakdown, children, loss, or just juggling too much in your life. There is another way and there is light once you start to look at and deal with the root causes of your stress.
We can become anxious about a whole host of life events; going to the dentist, performing in front of an audience, going shopping, going for interviews, when in social situations, the list is endless. Many people say that they always have some underlying anxiety; sometimes they can control it and sometimes they can't. Sometimes we do not actually know what the cause of the anxiety is, it can be triggered in seemingly random situations. But if you have ever experienced or are experiencing extreme anxiety you will know how totally debilitating it can be. It can shut down your whole life and can lead to other fears and phobias.
I can work with you to identify the causes and triggers for your anxieties and help you to find coping mechanisms, the most likely cause, and a long term solution.
Fears and phobias
Helping clients to tackle their fears and phobias is a big part of my work. Most clients are perfectly sound of mind and have normal lives and occupations but they have, for whatever reason, an unreasonable fear of a specific 'thing' or event.
The definition of a phobia is a fear of something that has become so great that it impacts everyday life. For example; fear of swimming, fear of feathers, fear of flying, fear of death, fear of spiders, fear of the dentist, fear of mice and so on. Phobias exist for almost everything. I have even heard of a man who had a phobia of all vegetables; this may sound totally crazy, but it was very real to him and every meal time or visit to a restaurant was distressing. Through treatment it transpired that his phobia was linked to an operation that he had for Tonsillitis as a child the smell of the operating theatre had reminded him of the smell of vegetables. The operation had been traumatic and so the two things had become linked without him realising.
Social phobia is also fairly common; it is the fear of all or specific social situations. Some people with social phobia are for example: afraid to speak in public, cannot eat or drink in the presence of others, too scared to go for interviews or too scared to mix with other people. In social situations you may blush, tremble, stammer, feel your heart race, feel your stomach churn, sweat profusely and feel you cannot breath. The fears and the symptoms may differ for everyone and if not treated can get worse. It can lead to extreme anxiety and possibly panic attacks.
Using Hypnosis as a treatment has an incredibly high success rate; not only to eradicate the symptoms which is the number one aim, but also, if possible, to find the trigger that created the phobic condition in the first place. Some clients choose to do both whilst some are happy just to shed the undesirable feelings so that they can cope better with their everyday life.
Panic attacks or Panic Disorder is a discrete period of intense fear that brings on a physical reaction. It is linked to anxiety and phobias and is a reaction caused by the irrational fear of a situation, often the fear of having a panic attack is in itself enough to bring one on. So the fear and negativity of thought can actually attract the situation. Panic attacks are a loss of control, normally for a very short period but it is this lack of control that the client dreads. There are often fears of feinting, breathlessness, dizziness or behaving in a strange way that you believe will bring unwanted and embarrassing attention to you.
Panic attacks are treated in much the same way as fears, phobias and other anxieties. I will work with the client to eradicate the symptoms and the fear of the symptoms. But it is also useful to get to what is the cause of the panic disorder so that we can understand why they appear and to prevent further re-occurrence in the future.
Grief, Relationship Loss and Bereavement
Grief, loss and bereavement can come in many forms and it's effects will be unique to each of us.
Grief and loss may be through the death of a loved one, a pet, a miscarriage or the loss of a relationship. It may even be that grief and bereavement can come through a change in life pattern, examples include: being made redundant, reaching a new milestone in age, moving to a new area or your children leaving home. Loss can be the end of anything that has been meaningful and important to you.
No one could possibly describe the trauma and life changing impact that losing a loved one can bring. Grief from loss goes through many stages, do any of these feelings ring true?
I can work with you through the different stages that you will experience. You may just need someone to listen to you and be there for you until you are strong enough to stand alone again.
If you want to learn self-hypnosis techniques for relaxation and for coping, I can help you with these too.
Problems with sleeping
For most people, insomnia or a disturbed sleep pattern is transient; it manifests at times of stress, duress and big changes in your life. It can also be triggered by diet, alcohol, difficult working shifts and many other reasons. But maybe in days, weeks or months, sleep patterns return to normal and the period is soon forgotten.
But long term insomnia or ongoing bouts of insomnia can take over your whole life and once patterns of sleep are broken, they can sometimes be difficult to correct quickly.
But hypnotic and therapeutic techniques can establish the root cause of the problem and can correct those disturbed patterns so that you can return to deep, restful and healing sleep.
Problems with Eating
We may use food as an emotional weapon, whether we realise it or not. Whether we over eat, snack, binge, crave chocolate or under eat, it may well be to cover an emotional problem such as our self-worth, our unhappiness or our self-image. Some people actually over-eat when they are happy! It will be different for everyone and every problem.
I can work with you to look at your eating patterns and your issues with food and identify the root cause if this is necessary. For some it may just be a case of learning how to change the way they view food and to break unhealthy patterns.
Treatments range from straight forward techniques to longer term, more in-depth work if needed. So it might suffice for you to have help in changing or controlling your current patterns. But for some, deeper therapy may be needed to understand how they use food emotionally/behaviourally and the issues their eating habits are masking.
I do not deal with more complex disorders such as Bulimia or Anorexia but I can refer on or provide an alternative specialist contact.
If requesting hypnotherapy for weight related issues, I will only work with clients who are prepared to work with the emotional issues that under-pin their behaviour. I will not wave a magic wand but I will work with you to understand the potential root cause/s of your weigh/eating problems so that you can change your eating patterns and the way you view food, permanently.
Mild to Moderate depression
For many people, they are plagued by occasional or even ongoing bouts of feeling down, feeling the blues or even feeling depressed. This can be caused by a million and one things, it is different for everyone. With today's very pressurised world, stressful jobs, redundancy, difficult relationships, competitiveness, cost of living, and pressures over the way we look, it is hardly surprising that depression is more prevalent. It is easy for self-esteem and confidence to be battered or for stress to take over and inhibit the way we function.
Through a range of therapeutic techniques together with skilled counselling, you will have the support to give you back your self-value and belief and learn how to think in more self fulfilling ways. The aim is to enable you to move through and out of depression and prevent it's return.
(In most cases I can work with you if you are on prescribed drugs but this can be discussed in our initial consultation. But if taking any prescribed anti-depressant medication, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor so that they are aware that you are also considering complimentary ways to tackle your condition. In my experience, most doctors are very open to the use of complimentary therapies to assist you to get back to full mental and physical health).
Couples and Individual Relationship difficulties
I specialise in relationship therapy with couples. This is a very specialist area and I have undertaken advanced training and qualifications in couple therapy and psychotherapy.
Most of us are surrounded by various relationships in our life and we can be deeply affected and compromised by any of these relationships. Many problems and behaviours actually stem from dysfunctional relationships with, for example:
Understanding childhood experiences and traumas and their impact
I find that so many of our problems, issues and patterns of behaviour, stem from our formative years and the values, beliefs and attitudes that we have grown up to believe. This is so frequently the case whether we recognise it or not. And these issues and patterns can repeat themselves over and over again, especially in relationships.
It never ceases to amaze me that, for example, a phobia, a relationship problem or lack of self-esteem can, in some cases, be linked to a client's upbringing or a significant happening in their past. For example, it could be due to our relationship with our parents, siblings, carers, a person in authority, a traumatic event, or some form of bullying. There are so many possible reasons.
Some of us are aware of difficult or abusive upbringings but have not wanted to confront them for fear of what they might find or whether indeed their memory is real or accurate. But looking at the past, to whatever extent required, can be beneficial to you. It can heal the pain and the ghosts that still lurk, and enable you to get on with the rest of your life with a new understanding.
This is a deeply rewarding part of my work, helping clients to face and heal the difficulties of the past so that they can improve the quality of their life in the here and now and the future. Sometimes we cannot forget events but we can start to look at them now in a different way and 'reposition' them. We can get to understand that as a child/young adult we had no responsibility for what happened to us. We can learn to embrace, love and nurture our 'inner child'. We can gain perspective, context, and understanding so that the healing can begin.
Sometimes I find that illnesses that we have in later life can be linked back to past events, stresses or how we value and feel about ourselves. Sometimes an illness can improve by just understanding what might have triggered it, or contributed to it, in the first place.
Working with our past traumas and experiences may take longer than the average therapeutic programme as it usually involves a number of exploratory counselling and/or hypnotherapy sessions to uncover the relevant information. This work has to take place at the pace and depth suitable for the client. I will never fast track a solution when dealing with such potentially sensitive issues. The programme will depend on the nature of the past trauma or events.
If also choosing hypnotherapy, please be assured that hypnotherapeutic techniques are perfectly safe for exploring and regressing to the past if necessary. Your sub-conscious mind is ultimately your protector and it will not reveal or release anything that you are not ready or prepared to deal with. It is my role to keep you safe.
Regression is also an area that I particularly specialise in; though emotional and often intense, it can be enriching, cathartic and gratifying work for the client.
Emotional pain can be totally numbing and unbearable; it can impact all aspects of someone's life. But when caught up in the rawness of emotional pain it can be hard to function or see past it into the future.
It may be current pain caused by grief, problems in a relationship, bullying, lack of love/self-love, or many other debilitating or sad circumstances.
Emotional pain can also be due to occurrences and events in a client's past that will not go away, it remains, festers and prevents you becoming the person you want to be and deserve to be.
Sometimes your inbuilt defence mechanisms will have protected you and even disguised the original cause of the pain and you are just left with the symptoms that are triggered with certain events.
Whatever your pain, through a combination of counselling and/or hypno-therapeutic techniques, I can work with you to understand and heal your pain so that you can start to breath again and live your life to the full.
Clients often talk about feeling totally 'stuck'. Their life is OK, they have a wonderful family, a really good job and a comfortable home, nothing really to want for in particular. But they feel empty and unhappy, have difficulty functioning and with no idea why; they seemingly have no real reason to feel this way, especially in the eyes of others. They describe it as discontentment and a yearning for 'something' but I can not put their finger on what that something is.
We can work to look at your life, what makes you tick and just what the blocks to moving forward are. Many of the reasons for feeling stuck are based on fear; fear of rocking the boat, fear of changing jobs and making a mistake, fear of putting one's own needs before others, fear of failure and fear of not having enough money. Fear after fear.....
If you recognise these feelings; feelings of being blocked or trapped, perhaps in a relationship or a job for example, I can work with you to identify what is holding you back. We will work together to build your self confidence and self-belief so that you too can make the changes within you to live your dream and totally change your life and lifestyle for the positive.
Self-esteem/self worth/self value
It saddens me that low self esteem and self worth is responsible for so many problems that clients bring. Lack of self-worth can destroy so many situations and opportunities
How do we go from being a baby/young child who does not ever doubt their self-worth to being a person who feels unworthy and unlovable to one degree or another? The truth is that over time we can have our self-worth knocked out of us as we are growing up and developing; - resentment, criticism, and guilt are the most damaging of patterns and if we are told enough that we are stupid, need to improve, have bad dress sense or whatever our families and peers told us, it is hardly surprising that eventually you come to believe it.
Therapy involves understanding where these feelings have come from, correcting mistaken beliefs and learning self acceptance and self approval. When we can accept who we are, life starts to work and anything becomes possible.
Why is it that our confidence can sometimes be in abundance and at other times it is just snatched away from us seemingly without rhyme or reason?!
For some, confidence is something that they feel they have never had, for others it is something they feel they have lost. It may affect their life profoundly; holding them back from having meaningful relationships, getting the job they aspire to, being able to communicate in social gatherings, standing up for themselves, taking risks, and so on. For everyone the cause and impact of lack of confidence is different.
Therapy involves establishing the root cause and then building and instilling more consistent self-belief and self-confidence. Sometimes therapy can be a matter of a few sessions, but for others, confidence may be just one of many linked feelings and behaviours that take a little longer to explore.
I can also work with you on very specific 'performances' that require guaranteed confidence (and maybe also the need to reduce anxiety), such as:
There are so many possible reasons behind lack of motivation. Some examples include:
Again, through counselling and if desired, hypnotherapeutic techniques, we can look to identify the true cause and move you through this stage to get back your motivation and proactivity.
I am always amazed at how rife bullying really is, not only amongst innocent children but also how this can continue into work life and other areas of life. I personally knew a wonderful young boy who very recently took his own life because he was bullied. He was lively, fun, interesting and different and that is why he was picked on. But frequently youngsters who are bullied take the effects of that trauma into adult hood where it can play havoc with their self-worth and self-esteem. It may also induce feelings of inadequacy, shame, and powerlessness. And often these feeling then lead to further bullying in the work place or within relationships. Examples of workplace bullying include humiliation, put-downs, unfair treatment and verbal abuse.
So whatever age you are, if you are or have been the victim of bullying, I can work with you to get your self worth and inner strength back so that you can shine again.
Here is a useful organisation for more information for young people: www.bullying.co.uk
Abuse - sexual and physical
If you have been sexually abused you are not alone. 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys under the age of 18 are the victims of sexual abuse. All sexual abuse is damaging and it does not stop when the abuse stops. If you were abused as a child you are probably experiencing long-term effects that interfere with day to day functioning. However, it is possible to heal and to thrive. But deep healing does not happen unless you consciously choose it and that can be a frightening thought. This is an area of therapy that requires time and understanding. I always work at the client's pace - safety and trust are paramount in this work.
Many forms of abuse are obviously cruel. Emotional abuse is more subtle often going unseen. Although emotional abuse does not leave visible bruises, it is seriously damaging to your self-esteem.
Smoking Cessation (takes just 2 sessions)
Almost every smoker would rather be a non smoker! But the main obstacle to becoming a non-smoker is addictive thinking; I can't..., I must..., I've got to..., just 1 more..., I need....etc But being addicted is not actually your fault, nicotine is a drug and so it is, in reality, a drug addiction. The withdrawal and the physical effects of quitting are the hardest. The reasons TO smoke, e.g., helping to deal with stress can be more powerful than the reasons NOT TO smoke, such as; knowing that your health and wellbeing is at major risk!
The good news is that statistically, hypnotherapy as a treatment programme DOES WORK and the success rate is incredibly high. Hypnotherapy gives you back YOUR POWER. Together with your will and desire to quit, Hypnotherapy empowers you to move more easily through any withdrawal symptoms. It is these symptoms that often impact the success of other 'quitting' methods.
You may have seen advertisements for 1 hit hypnotherapy sessions; - for many, 1 session is all that is required. However, my approach is to design the Hypnotherapy treatment around YOUR INDIVIDUAL NEEDS and so my 2 session approach is tailored to your unique case.
The first session: involves a counselling session to understand your history of smoking and the part smoking plays in your life. It will also entail some practice hypnotherapy and the chance to learn tools and techniques that will empower you to quash the craving.
The second session: will be a pure hypnotherapy session to enable you to stop smoking permanently and start your new life as a non-smoker. This will be designed around you as an individual.
IF YOU REALLY WANT TO GIVE UP SMOKING THEN YOU CAN AND WILL!
There are so many varied reasons why clients come to me to help break a habit. Just some examples that I can work with are as follows:
Weight release/Body Image
No matter how beautiful others tell us we are, or how they tell us our bumps, lumps, spots, etc. do not matter, it is how we feel about ourselves and how accepting we are of ourselves that is most important.
Or it may be the opposite, others maybe always criticising our appearance or image and this is why we feel so inadequate. This may be past or current criticism.
Unless you have self acceptance and self love, unless you feel worthy and 'good enough', you will always struggle to see the good that others can see. And if others are critical, self acceptance will allow you to shut out their comments; you will know that it is THEIR problem and not yours!
I can work with you to understand where your feelings about yourself stem from and help you to see your own beauty and worth, it is there; it just may need unlocking.
See also 'Problems with Eating' above.
Stage Performance/Sports Performance/Achievement
These may sound like totally different problems, but in my experience, the root causes of client's issues with any 'performance' problem are very similar.
Of course every client has different reasons for not feeling as though they are reaching their full sporting potential or their full acting/dancing/singing etc. potential. Therefore a hypnotherapy programme is designed and personalised to each client. Making the treatment totally unique to the client vastly improves the success rate.
Reasons for needing assistance may be because of some of the following:
Fear of Public Speaking is in fact very common, even for some television presenters, actors and politicians!
It is something that I suffered with on and off for many years; it was not a matter of not being confident of my subject matter, for me it was a concern about what people would think of me if I went wrong or forgot some of my lines, so it was more about self-belief and fear of rejection or appearing stupid! And this is the sort of things that clients say all the time.
For me continual practice was the answer. I moved into a job where I had to present and speak continually and this slowly built my confidence. But it was the hard way! Now in recent years I have taught and lectured in Hypnotherapy and Counselling part time -something I never imagined I could do in years gone by.
But hypnotherapy can really fast-track change to make fear of public speaking a thing of the past. This is particularly helpful for clients who find that public speaking is a big part of their job. But also for clients who would love a particular career or hobby (e.g. acting) but fear the requirement to present or speaking to an audience as part of that job.
Pain Control and Self-Healing
So many of us live with physical pain everyday of our lives - migraines, back pain, arthritis, IBS, and other acute or chronic problems. Hypnosis is incredibly powerful in the treatment of many illnesses. It works particularly well as part of a programme of conventional and complementary techniques. Conventional medicine will always have its place and I support the need for drug control and medication where it is necessary. I also recommend that client's inform their doctor if they are interested in hypnosis as most doctors are nowadays in favour of self-healing and complementary treatments.
Hypnosis and hypno-healing are used to explore the links between emotions and physical pain and discomfort. Hypnosis can be used in several ways:
Hypno-Birthing - Pain control for giving birth
When I was pregnant I taught myself self-hypnosis techniques to see me through the birth. The delivery of my first child had been quite a shock to me and the second time around I was determined to look for ways to make the ordeal as painless as possible and avoid pain control drugs. To my amazement it worked and my second child was born with ease, it was a really enjoyable experience!
Since then I have now had formal training in self hypnosis and pain control techniques and I have used them for other illnesses that have given me pain or discomfort such as; headaches, stomach upsets, etc. It always works - sometimes taking pain away completely and sometimes taking away the edge and rawness so that it is manageable.
But if you are looking for a natural birth with no or minimal drug intervention, please contact me to learn pain control and relaxation techniques in preparation for the delivery of your precious baby.
And a Broad Range of other Personal Problems.
If your concern does not seem to be picked up above then please do contact me and we can look at your issue or situation and discuss a suitable therapeutic programme. If I am not able to deal with your concern then I can usually recommend a specialist who can be of assistance to you.
Telephone Counselling and Online Counselling:
During the C-19 pandemic, I have been using more telephone and on-line counselling (eg., Zoom, Skype). I am happy to work in this way going forward for clients who cannot, for whatever reason, get to my practice, or who want to have a mix of face to face and on-line therapy.
Seminars and Workshops:
Because my practice is very busy, I am currently not undertaking workshops or seminars.