Hypnotherapy and Life Coaching can help women with all of these issues:

Pathways to Health
Stress and Anxiety
Life Transitions
Go Alcohol Free
Children’s Hypnotherapy
Menopause
Hypnotherapy for Menopause

Menopause

alcohol therapy

Getting off the roundabout of self destructive behaviour

One of the most common experiences that my life coaching and hypnotherapy clients talk about is a feeling of being out of control and – even when they are aware that certain behaviours are self destructive – they find it very difficult to break the patterns.

Whenever we engage in any self-destructive and addictive behaviour – such as drinking – there’s a sense of a loss of control. The other day, I was on a roundabout. It was one of these roundabouts with tons of lanes – and I was in the wrong lane. I ended up having to go round the roundabout twice before I got into the right lane (side note – I get confused driving sometimes, especially if I’m stressed – getting treatment for a driving phobia is what originally encouraged me to seek hypnotherapy treatment!). Anyway, back to the roundabout with all the lanes, and while I was on it, in the wrong lane, I felt like I couldn’t get off it. It felt like I was being controlled by the roundabout.

When we engage in self-destructive behaviour, such as drinking, it can feel like we’re on a roundabout and that we’ve lost some control. Imagine that somebody says or does something hurtful to you, just as you’re pulling onto the roundabout. Despite knowing which exit you want to leave at, you’re suddenly confused – you’ve forgotten which exit you need to take for your own good. You’re on the roundabout and you’re being pulled to the wrong exit – a route which is taking you away from where you wanted to be. Being on the roundabout feels scary and out of control.

Let’s retrack to the beginning. You knew which exit you wanted to take but something happened on the roundabout which affected you, so instead of taking that exit you went round a couple of times and then went off the wrong exit.

Let’s imagine that your drinking cycle is like being on a roundabout. You wake up in the morning and resolve that you will stay sober today, no matter what comes your way. You’re resolved – no matter what anyone might say or do to you, and no matter how hard your day is – to take the roundabout exit that says ‘sober’. But, at some point between leaving your destination and taking the ‘sober’ exit, something happens so that you choose not to take the ‘sober’ exit. You stay on the roundabout. You figure you’ll either get back to the sober exit or take another exit, which will probably take you back to the sober destination…or maybe it won’t…eventually you take the exit which leads to ‘alcohol’. Let’s face it, as soon as you dithered about taking the ‘sober’ exit, even though you had some vague idea you’d end up at the sober place, there was a likelihood you would end up taking the ‘alcohol’ exit.

It’s very easy to get thrown off track while you’re on the roundabout, just as it’s very easy for your resolve to stay sober to get thrown off track because of the events of the day. It’s easy to let your emotions take over from your logical brain. So how do you stop it happening and make sure you take the exit that you need to?

1.       Resolve which exit you’re going to take – which exit will enable you to follow your desire to stay sober?

2.       Identify the point at which you might get led away from taking that exit. Is it early on in your day, or later. What specific situations will make it more likely that you don’t take the sober exit? Will it be something that a particular person says or does? Will it be a particular time of day? Identify these circumstances which are bound to crop up and which may easily mislead you BEFORE they happen.

3.       Be aware that taking that exit might be hard – but you can do it. You’ve identified it’s the exit you want to take. It might take some effort to stick to that exit, but you need to resolve to do it, no matter how hard.

4.       Be aware of what happens if you don’t take the correct exit. Take a moment or two to think about the consequences. What happens if you let yourself lose control, be misled and end up on a route you really don’t want to take?

5.       Remember – humans are creatures of habit. It’s far easier to take the old exit that you’re used to taking, but it’s also very possible to take a new exit – it just requires effort and resolve.

6.       Finally, once you’ve taken that new exit, see how good it feels to have reached your desired destination for the day. How much better does it feel to have chosen to be in ‘place sober’ than to have been dragged to ‘alcohol junction’?!

 Hypnotherapy and life coaching can help you not only to identify self-destructive patterns, but to break them. Sometimes just having the support of an independent life coach or hypnotherapist can be enough to help make sure you take the right exit for you.

A-Z of hypnotherapy and life coaching – Depression

My ‘D’ in my A-Z of hypnotherapy and life coaching is depression. Depression is a horrible condition to live with and it affects so many of us. Thankfully, people are more open in their discussions about depression and awareness has increased greatly, but there is still so much misunderstanding around the condition and treatment options tend to be limited.

Many of hypnosis and life coaching clients who suffer from depression talk describe it in terms of having a very physical, as well as mental, effect. Depression isn’t just feeling sad. It can slow people’s ability to think and express themselves. It can cause major lethargy and deep fatigue. People can feel achy and lose, or gain, their appetite. Depression also tends to be accompanied by distorted thinking and this type of thinking often feels like a critical voice on your shoulder, telling you that you are wrong, and bad, and that you should feel guilty.

People with depression have often suffered trauma in their earlier lives at a time when they may have internalised messages about not being good enough, or feeling abandoned or unloved. We’re still learning about genetic and biological causes of depression which may be linked to serotonin levels and inflammation. It’s likely that in many cases there may be a mixture of genetic predisposition/ biological reasons for depression and that there is also a link with early life traumas.

The majority of current anti-depressant medications tend to be Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and include Prozac and Citalopram. They work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. Whilst they do improve many people’s depression, they do come with side effects and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) advises that medication is prescribed in conjunction with talking therapies for the treatment of depression. Unfortunately, waiting lists for talking therapies tend to be lengthy and it can often take months to see a therapist on the NHS.

Both hypnotherapy and life coaching can really help if you are experiencing depression. Hypnotherapy can help you address the roots of earlier trauma, and, whilst you are in a state of hypnosis, you can be helped to comfort your younger self and to release the guilt, resentment or anger which may still be contributing to your depression. When I am working with hypnotherapy clients who have depression, I work with them in a gentle way, encouraging them to make connections with what happened to them when they were younger with how they are dealing with life currently. When you have depression it is easy sometimes to blame yourself and to think there is something wrong with you, that you are somehow damaged or ‘not right’. Revisiting some of the reasons you might have become depressed is not about attaching blame to your early caregivers, or about developing an unhealthy obsession with your past. What we are doing is trying to give you an explanation, to show you that you are a perfect, precious human being. During hypnotherapy, I also encourage clients to find some way to comfort themselves and to work through those earlier experiences so that they don’t keep cropping up in the guise of unresolved issues.

Hypnosis can also help with depression by helping you to accept the positive comments of the hypnotherapist, in contrast to focusing on those negative voices in your head (which maybe originated with the voices of people who were influential in your past). During hypnosis, you enter a more imaginative, creative, and accepting state of mind. We discuss some of the negative ideas and voices that you have got used to listening to, and question – how accurate are these voices? What would you like to believe? From an adult perspective, what is the real situation? I help clients, using hypnotherapy, to challenge their unhelpful beliefs and change these to more helpful – and realistic – thoughts and beliefs.

Hypnotherapy is also wonderful for depression because it is such a lovely, relaxing experience which allows the mind and body to rest and replenish.

Life coaching can help you if you are depressed by encouraging you to set achievable goals, and to focus on the process of working towards those goals. What is often more important than reaching a specific goal is sticking to those things that you know will help you move forwards and this is especially true of depression. There are so many things you can do to help yourself, such as maintain a good routine, eat healthily, avoiding coping mechanisms such as drinking and drug taking, and taking care of yourself. Life coaching will help you stick to these measures. It will help you identify a process which is right for you, and stick to that process. Depression can feel like tunnel vision sometimes, especially on a really dark day. Life coaching will help you see the bigger picture, and working with a hypnotherapist or life coach will mean you have their support so that, even if the depression is tricking you into thinking that you’re not making progress or that everything in your life is crap, your therapist will be there beside you to help quieten the negative self talk which is so exhausting.

When I working with my hypnotherapy and life coaching clients, I don’t guarantee that they will be cured from depression, but I can assure them that both hypnotherapy and life coaching will help shift their perspective, will help them adopt more supportive behaviours and that they will have the tools and strategies to deal with their condition in a far more effective way.

Why am I addicted to alcohol? And how life coaching can help

Many therapeutic interventions to help people stop or cut down their drinking focus on behavioural issues, such as setting clear goals around drinking, finding replacement behaviours to drinking and focusing on a future without drinking. Whilst all this is very helpful, I also think it’s important to ask the question, ‘Why am I addicted to alcohol?’. Because if you don’t ask this question – and work through getting to an honest answer – you’re going to still have the same underlying drives which caused you to drink to excess in the first place. No matter how good your strategies to stop or cut down your alcohol consumption are.

 

The simple answer is, alcohol is an addictive substance. And, of course, this is true. Alcohol tricks the brain, leaves the body craving and fools the mind into wanting more and more. Anyone can, in theory, become addicted to alcohol. But not everyone does. So what else is going on in terms of addiction?

 

When I first went for therapy, I didn’t specifically go about my drinking and, in fact, I was in denial about the level I was drinking and the impact it was having on me. I went about my anxiety, the fact that I was holding myself back in life and my poor coping mechanisms. What emerged from my wonderful life coaching and counselling sessions was that…I didn’t really like myself, and I didn’t know how to cope with life. Drinking allowed me to be more sociable, to keep going when I felt like dropping and to hide the pain and hurt I felt around certain people and situations instead of being able to assert my needs.

 

Why was I addicted to alcohol? Certainly there was the physical addiction – when you’re hung over, groggy, fatigued, aching muscles and everything else that accompanies drinking, the one thing you want more than anything else is a drink to (temporarily) sort you out. But I was addicted to it as a coping mechanism. I was psychologically addicted as it quickly and effectively solved my problems for a few hours.

 

With my life coaching clients, I spend some time looking at why they became addicted in the first place and why they continue to be addicted and I make sure we move away from simply focusing on alcohol as an addictive substance. Addiction of all kinds, including alcohol, is strongly associated with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) (see here https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/ace-questionnaire for ACE questionnaire). Having a higher ACE score is clearly linked with higher incidences of alcoholism. If you experienced adverse effects in your childhood, you are significantly more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol later in life.

 

So what to do with that knowledge? The past is past…Except that it’s not really – not if its still informing how you act in the present. Not if your coping mechanisms and choices are guided by things which happened in your childhood. By examining what happened in your past, you are able to make the links, to discover that you’re not a bad or weak person, and to realise that your actions today have been influenced by what happened to you much earlier in life. It doesn’t mean you’re apportioning blame or saying, ‘’Well, I had a crap childhood – no wonder I drink these days!”. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s about taking control, identifying the factors which contributed to your drinking addiction, working through any issues which may have started in your past and which continue to drive your drinking. My work with my life coaching clients is always more effective once we have done this type of deep work which means that looking to a future is based on much more solid foundations.