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

prestwick

My ‘E’ in my A-Z of life coaching and hypnotherapy is ’empathy’

When you go for hypnotherapy or life coaching, a good hypnotherapist or life coach will always convey empathy towards you. Experiencing empathy during hypnosis is an integral part of the therapeutic process.

Before we go any further, it’s useful to know what is meant by ‘empathy’ as opposed to ‘sympathy’. Sympathy is when we feel sorry for someone else. If you’ve experienced difficulties, it is quite likely that your friends and family will be sympathetic towards you. Experiencing sympathy from loved ones can show you that they care about you and are sorry that you’re going through a tough time. But it can also be disempowering. If you are continually sensing that people feel sorry for you, you can begin to feel that you have failed somehow or have become a victim.

A good hypnotherapist or life coach will not display sympathy towards you, they will display empathy. First off, some clients who are thinking about hypnosis or life coaching have the idea that – because they are paying someone to help them – that the therapist doesn’t care about them. This is completely untrue. The vast majority of people who choose to become therapists do so because they have experienced difficulties in their own lives and they may well have experienced the benefits of therapy before choosing to train in that field themselves. These are people who care about other people’s well being. And hypnotherapists and life coaches want to do their best job by you. We’re all human and will be deeply moved by our interactions with clients.

So, back to empathy. A good hypnotherapist or life coach will not be doing you any favours by displaying deep sympathy towards you. By doing so, they may simply reinforce some unhelpful beliefs you hold about yourself. But they will convey empathy – they will let you know that they care about you, and that they really want to know about your experience. A good therapist will never pretend they are the expert in your life. They’re not. You are! They will work very hard to show you that they’re trying to understand your story. They will make sure you realise that you are a precious human being – because you are. And they will reveal themselves to you as being human too. This isn’t about over-sharing on the therapist’s part – it’s just about being approachable, accepting and revealing to you at times when they have been affected by what you have shared with them.

Experiencing empathy in this way is a wonderful experience. You become part of a shared experience with your hypnotherapist or life coach, a person who has no agenda, or pre-conceived ideas and who isn’t so tied up in caring about you that they can’t let you grow. Sympathy can sometimes end up being a control mechanism – empathy is the opposite. A truly empathic therapist will always be there, right beside you, supporting you without telling you what to do, and relating their own feelings and experiences to the process.

As you experience this empathy, you will feel valued and heard and you will begin to grow emotionally in a way which you may never have experienced before.

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.

Seeing the dolphin – how life coaching & hypnotherapy can change perspective

A few days ago, after a busy day at work, I saw a dolphin in the wild. I should point out that I’m lucky enough to run my hypnotherapy practice and training school in Prestwick, on the west coast of Scotland, a few minutes from the sea. Apart from the occasional seal, and an abundance of sea birds, I haven’t seen any other sea life out there before. That night, the calm, mirror-like sea’s surface was broken by the movement of a dolphin, rhythmically making it’s appearance as it made it’s way south. I’d been feeling tired that evening, and had some non-work related stresses going on, and suddenly I felt rejuvenated. I walked as fast as I could, following the dolphin, feeling more energised and excited each time I saw its fin and smooth body appear and disappear.

 I’ve seen dolphins before, once in the wild swimming beside a boat I was on, and in captivity. And I was lucky enough to sea a whale of the coast of Shetland, but this particular sighting of the dolphin, unexpectedly, in the town where I live made a huge impact on me. Metaphorically, it reminded me that, although our worlds can become tied up with routine, seeing the same faces, doing the same things and sometimes feeling that our worlds are small and closed in, in fact there is a huge world out there. Just in that small stretch of water which I could see, there is so much life. I don’t know where that dolphin was heading, but possibly to places I’ve never been to. Metaphorically, seeing the dolphin reminded me of the vastness of life and how small and inconsequential those little issues I’d been facing that week really were.

 When I’m working with you as a hypnotherapy or life coaching client, whether from my office in Prestwick or via Skype or Zoom, part of my role is to help shift your perspective. It’s very easy to allow our worlds to become small and to focus in on each and every negativity. Maybe someone was nasty to you at work. Or your finances are stretched this month. Or your business isn’t bringing in the clients you wanted. Whatever it is, by focusing in too much on what’s not going right you can risk getting very caught up and end up feeling that NOTHING is going your way. As a hypnotherapist and life coach, I will help you to see the bigger picture. I’ll help you to recognise that although things might not be exactly the way you want them to be, they’re not overwhelmingly bad either. When you get a bit of distance from your problems – with the help of a life coach or hypnotherapist – you can develop a far healthier perspective. From this healthier perspective, you can begin to focus on potential solutions. You know that expression, ‘you can’t see the wood for the trees?’. Well, that’s what I’m talking about here – giving you the distance to see the wood (the bigger picture) instead of being so caught up in the trees that you can’t see a way out.