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

therapeutic boundary

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.

Boundaries in therapy – A-Z of therapy terms

In my A-Z of therapy terms, boundaries is my ‘B’. Creating healthy boundaries is as important between you and your therapist or life coach as it is between you and other people. But, unless it’s something we’re looking at in therapy, it’s often something we never think about.

Why are boundaries important between you and your hypnotherapist or life coach? Well, the therapeutic relationship is designed to be a ‘safe space’ – almost removed from your usual daily concerns and relationships. It is specifically set up to foster an environment of empathy and understanding, a non-judgemental space where you take centre space. The focus is on you. Think of how different this is to your usual relationships with friends and family, where – even if they’re great human beings – people jump in with their own opinions and jostle with you to be heard. Friendships are very different to therapeutic relationships and maintaining healthy therapeutic boundaries is one way to create and maintain that therapeutic relationship. The boundary should be designed in order to define that relationship as being unique and separate from your other relationships – otherwise your therapist or life coach will just end up taking on the role of your family or friends.

What would a healthy therapeutic relationship look like? You may well be given a confidentiality statement and/ or contract which clearly defines the relationship (although not all therapists used signed forms) and the relationship will be demonstrated by your therapist. Confidentiality is a key element of a therapeutic relationship – your therapist will not discuss anything you say with anyone else (except with a supervisor, in which case identity is preserved) unless they believe you or someone else is in danger or you are involved in certain illegal activities. Your therapist will also ensure that your contact hours and type of contact are kept to what has been agreed. For instance, if you have booked one session per week, you will not be encouraged to phone your therapist at random times throughout the week. If you meet out and about in the supermarket, your therapist or life coach will not engage in conversation with you – this is to preserve your anonymity and also to allow them to get on with their shopping! You will also be required to turn up for appointments at the allotted time and your therapist will have some system in place for charging you for the full appointment or proportion of your fee if you fail to attend.

All of these measures are there to help you become independent of your therapist, to maintain your responsibility, to preserve confidentiality and to ensure that your therapist or life coach isn’t suggesting they are your ‘friend’ which breaks down the structure of the therapeutic relationship.

What is a healthy boundary between you and your friends and family? Well, firstly, I prefer the word ‘healthy’ to strong. I sometimes feel that ‘strong’ implies that the boundary is there to shut out other people, whereas a good, healthy boundary can hold out what is negative or unwanted but it also let’s in what is good and desired. Some people have very ‘strong’ boundaries which are more like a crab’s shell than anything else and which don’t allow themselves to escape the boundary or to let others in.

A healthy boundary will allow you to decide who or what is allowed to be a part of your life. This can cover behaviours and people. And the great news is – it’s entirely up to you to decide what that boundary will look and feel like! When I’m working with clients, I spend some time asking them to experience what their boundary feels like and what they have to do to create a boundary which will work better for them. Creating your boundary is such a unique and personal experience and there’s no right or wrong.

A healthy boundary will allow good experiences in. It will allow you to say no to people or things which you believe are damaging to you. It will allow you to acknowledge and protect yourself from difficult past experiences and prepare yourself for future experiences. If you consistently come into contact with a person who manipulates you or treats you badly, or who makes you feel bad about yourself, a healthy boundary will allow you to confront that person in the hope that they will change or to cut yourself off from that person. If someone repeatedly violates your boundaries, you have the option to remove yourself from that relationship.

Unhealthy boundaries are poorly defined. They offer little protection from other people or behaviours. For instance, let’s say you have a family member who treats you with no respect, who is rude or aggressive to your face and who gossips about you behind your back. An unhealthy boundary would mean that you might continue to have contact with this person and put up with their behaviour without confronting them because you ‘don’t want to rock the boat’. It could be that you are in a relationship with someone who bullies you or puts you down in public. An unhealthy boundary would allow you to accept their behaviour and to stay in this relationship. You might have an unhealthy boundary with your own behaviours. Are you drinking or eating junk food, despite wishing to pursue a healthier lifestyle? If your boundaries are weak, you will find it hard to say no to these behaviours. Perhaps you’re working so hard there’s no time for yourself, but you lack the strength in your boundary to decide what is wrong or right for you.

Having a healthy boundary allows for openings which can show your vulnerabilities. Asking for help when needed – letting other people into your boundary – is a strength which can provide the learning, nurturing and love which you might have been missing if that boundary was too hard and fast in the past.

Life coaching can help you identify what your boundaries would look like if they were really working well for you. I spend time with clients helping them create a good, healthy boundary and then work with them so that they are operating from within that wonderful, healthy, creative, supportive space.