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Does Hypnotherapy Guarantee Results?

 

 

Seeing a hypnotherapist can seem like a big decision – I totally get that.  You’re investing your time, money and trust in someone you’ve never met.  Hopefully you’ve done a bit of research, so you know hypnotherapy can be very effective.  But you might be wondering if I can guarantee that I’ll solve your problem.

 

Can I give you a guarantee?

 

The honest answer is no, I can’t give you a 100% guarantee that I’ll give you your desired result.  But no therapist can, however well-qualified and experienced.  Every client is different, and some just won’t respond to a particular approach.  Part of my job is to tailor my treatment to your needs – if I do that correctly we’re well on the way to getting a positive result.

But you also have a part to play.  You need to be motivated to make a change.  That doesn’t mean you have to do all the work – there’d be no point coming to see me if that were the case.  But if you want to make a change in your life then you have to involve yourself in that change.  So if you come to me for help to stop smoking you have to really want to stop, not just come along because someone’s nagging you.  Or if you want to increase your confidence, at some point you have to go out and try your new confident behaviour.  Otherwise how will you know if it’s worked?

Working with your motivation

But the fact you’ve taken the trouble to read this means you’ve made a good start.  It suggests you want to make a change.  And wanting something means you’re motivated to get it.  So there’s an excellent chance that I can help you by building on that motivation.

My guarantee

While I can’t guarantee that I’ll solve your problem, I do guarantee that I’ll use all my training and experience to give you the best possible chance of success.  I’ll treat you with respect at all times, listen to you with empathy, and respect your confidence.  I aim to get results from the minimum possible number of sessions, so you’re not spending any more of your time and money than necessary.

And I guarantee to give you the best therapy experience I can.

Painless Positive Thinking

 

 

Positive thinking – what’s that all about?

You feel rubbish, and someone comes along telling you to think about three good things about your life.  Even better, they suggest, write them down in a nice shiny notebook.

Well you’ve got nothing to lose.  It might even help.  So you try it, and it’s not too difficult. You have food on the table, a roof over your head, clean water, a flush toilet, a few friends, and you can just about pay your bills.

It doesn’t stop you feeling rubbish though – now you feel guilty too.  What right have you got to feel like that when there are so many good things in your life?  You see news reports about children dying from starvation or disease in the Third World.  People closer to home are queuing at foodbanks.  Someone on Facebook tells you that you’re better off than 99% of the world’s population.

You must be selfish to still feel rubbish after all that.

But that’s not how it works.  You don’t feel bad because of what you don’t have your life.  You feel bad because of something that you do have in yourself.  And that’s not your fault – whatever it is, you didn’t choose to put it there.

Maybe you’re clinically depressed and there’s something wrong with the chemicals in your brain.  Perhaps your most vivid childhood memories are of arguments, anger and distress, so now you’re too scared of emotion to really feel anything.  Maybe someone  bullied you at school and now you’re stuck with low self-esteem and no confidence.

Whatever it is, the good things in your life won’t make it go away.  What they can do is make it feel a bit better, a bit more bearable.  In the darkness of despair those few positive thoughts can be like little flickering candle flames offering you light and hope.

So think about those good things in your life.  Collect them, keep them safe and use them to help you feel better.

Because that’s what positive thinking is supposed to do.  Not make you feel guilty.

Positive Thinking Made Easy

 

I recently heard from a friend who was having a bit of difficulty with positive thinking.  She’d been set the challenge of writing down three positive things about her life every day.  This was fine until she had a migraine and just couldn’t face it.

Various people tried to help.  One suggested that “I haven’t been stung by a wasp” could be counted as something positive.  But it’s not, is it?  It’s just a potential negative thing that didn’t happen.  I could spend hours listing the potential disasters that haven’t happened to me; while I’m very grateful for that fact it’s stretching things a bit to call it a positive thing about my day.

Someone else suggested, rather more helpfully, that if thinking of positive things was causing my friend stress then maybe she shouldn’t try to do it.  This is a valid point, but it really shouldn’t be a stressful exercise.  The whole point of thinking of a few positive things about your life is that it should be easy.  The trouble is we make it difficult for ourselves.

We think we should be coming up with things like “I love my career as an international top model.”  Or maybe “It’s great living here in my palatial home with my incredibly handsome/beautiful partner and our two perfect children.”  Or even, “Ever since I won the Lottery jackpot my life has been amazing.”

But that’s not what most people’s lives are like.  And they don’t need to be.  Do you have a roof over your head?  Can you put food on your table?  Do you have access to clean water?  I’m guessing you’re answering “Yes” so that’s three positives straight away.

Do you have friends?  Family?  Someone to love who loves you in return?  Do you feel safe in your environment?  Do you have a job you enjoy and a bit of spare cash?  Maybe you can’t answer “Yes” to all of those but take pleasure in the ones you can.

Once you stop expecting positive things to be huge it gets much easier to find them.  Someone smiles at you in the street.  The sun’s shining.  You find £2.37 down the back of the sofa.  Celebrate the little things.  And recycle them – it’s great if you can think of three new positive things every day, but it’s okay to go back to some of your old favourites.

Positive thinking really doesn’t have to be difficult.

Walking Through Fire

About 20 years ago, to raise money for charity, I had a go at  fire walking.  Don’t try this at home – while it’s perfectly safe done properly you can get badly burnt.  I spent the best part of a day training, doing exercises that, at the time, seemed a bit strange.  Now, with an understanding of hypnotherapy and neuro-linguistic programming I can see what those exercises were trying to achieve.

It was supposed to be a huge confidence booster.  If you could take off your shoes and socks then walk boldly across a bed of burning coals you could do anything.  That was the theory anyway, and it made sense.

I did it successfully, and quite enjoyed it.  The sensation was a bit like walking across warm sand.  A doubting friend stuck his finger into the coals to test their heat.  He went home with a blister as a souvenir!

 

But it didn’t do anything for m confidence. Of course I felt proud of myself when I’d done it – but there were no lasting effects.  When I thought about that, I realised it was because I never doubted my ability to do it – I trusted my trainer and knew that if I followed his instructions I’d be fine.

I’m not knocking fire walking as a means of building confidence. It has an amazing impact on lots of people who try it. But if you believe you can do it from the outset, it’s probably not going to have much of an effect on you.

I use gentler ways of building confidence. You don’t have to face your fears in order to overcome them, although that can be very effective. I prefer you to overcome your fears so you can face them.  Using the pleasant sensation of hypnotic trance to access your unconscious mind, I can then work with it to release you from your fears.

 

What’s Your Mantra?

 

We all have a mantra.  It doesn’t have to be an arcane Sanskrit word that we’re not sure we’re pronouncing correctly.  It’s far more likely to be that repeated thought playing silently in our heads.  And all too often it’s negative.

I’m too fat.

Everyone else is better than me.

Nobody likes me.

But once you become aware of your personal mantra you can change it.  You can switch that negative message off and replace it with something more positive.  And when you do that it can have a huge impact on your life.

How to change your mantra

If you want to change your mantra, the first step is to identify the one you’re currently working with.  So take a bit of time to hear what your inner voice is saying to you.  Note that I said hear, not listen.  If there’s a negative message playing in your head you just want to identify it, not take it on board.

Once you’ve identified your negative mantra you’re in a better position to replace it with a more positive one.  Because once you’re aware of the negative thoughts you have about yourself you can identify the effect they’re having on you.  Then you can better identify the kind of positive thoughts you need in order to reverse them.

So if your mantra is I’m too fat you can replace it with I’m working to reach my ideal weight.  Or you might look at yourself coolly and realise you’re happy with your weight, in which case you could choose I’m fine just the way I am.

If your mantra is Everyone else is better than me you could perhaps identify something you’re good at and base your new mantra on that.  Or you could recognise that we all have good and bad qualities and simply opt out of competition – I’m as good as anyone else.

And if that little voice in your head is saying Nobody likes me you could think of someone who you know does like you and replace “nobody” with their name.  Or more helpfully, start by appreciating yourself – I love and accept myself – and start to notice how positively other people respond to you.

So just try it – change your mantra to change your mind.

Where Did Your Confidence Go?

No-one is born with low self-esteem.  No-one is born lacking confidence.  Have you ever seen a shy newborn baby?

You’re amazing

You spend nine months developing in a safe, warm environment where all of your needs are met.  You may not be aware of it at the time (I think the jury’s still out on that one) but you’re often talked to and told how much you’re loved by parents who haven’t even met you yet.

Then you’re born.  You come into the world and, at least for a short time, you’re the most important person in it.  Everybody wants to meet you.  Everybody wants to hold you.  You’re amazing!

And it gets better.  You smile.  Has anyone ever seen a more beautiful smile?  You learn to raise your head and look around.  “Wow – he’s looking at me.  Isn’t he a clever little boy?”  You clap your hands and splash around in the bath.  “Isn’t she cute?  Isn’t she the cutest little thing ever?”

And better still.  You take your first steps and you might as well be an Olympic athlete.  You say “mama” and it’s received like the world’s best TED talk.  Every tiny stage of your development is celebrated.  And so it should be – you really are amazing!

Maybe not quite so amazing

But it can’t last.  The crowd gets tougher.  You have to try harder to impress.  Suddenly you have to do more difficult stuff.  Like talk in full sentences.  Read and write.  Get your head around long division.  Not only that – you have to be good at things.  Who knew that was part of the deal?

Before you know it, you’re getting criticism.  Some of it’s delivered constructively by people who know how to bring out the best in you.  But far too much just has the effect of making you feel like you’re not good enough.  Your confidence and self-esteem start to slide.

It gets worse

And people stop being nice to you.  Not all people – lots of them still think you’re wonderful and make that crystal clear.  But some people don’t like you.  That’s not your fault – no-one can be universally popular – but it doesn’t half feel like it sometimes.  And don’t forget the people who go around be horrible to you just because they can.  They can really sap your confidence.

But you ARE amazing

Really you are.  When you think back to that tiny baby who couldn’t do anything, then look at who you are now – isn’t it incredible how far you’ve come?  We all deserve to be proud of ourselves.

You deserve to be proud of yourself.  Because you really are amazing.

You Can Make A Difference

Sometimes it’s easy to think that you’re too small, too unimportant, too insignificant to make a difference.  And when you feel that way it can help to lower your self-esteem.

But we can all make a difference with the smallest of actions.  You might know the story of the starfish on the sea but it’s worth remembering.  And if you’ve never heard it before it’s a useful lesson.  It’s based on the writings of an American called Loren Eisley – this is my version.

 

The Starfish Story

In a seaside town, there lived an old man who used to go down to the beach to take his morning walk.  One morning, after a very stormy night, he walked along the seashore and was amazed to sea hordes of starfish washed up on the beach.  As far as the eye could see, in every direction, the beach was covered in starfish.

The man walked on, sadly reflecting that the starfish would surely die.  Nothing could be done to help them.  Further down the beach, the old man noticed a little girl approaching.  Every so often she would pause, and as the old man and the little girl drew closer together, the man could see that the girl was stopping to pick something up and throw it into the sea.

“Good morning,” the old man called as the little girl drew close enough for them to speak.  “Do you mind if I ask what you’re doing?”

The girl looked up and smiled, saying, “I’m throwing starfish back into the sea.  The storm must have washed them up onto the beach and they can’t get back by themselves.  If no-one throws them back they will die.  Wouldn’t that be a shame?”

The old man replied, “But there must be thousands upon thousands of starfish on the beach.  You can only save a few of them.  What difference can you make?”

The girl bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it as far as she could into the sea.  Then she smiled and said, “Why don’t you ask that one what difference I can make?”

 

The truth is you can – and do – make a difference every day.  When you smile at a lonely person, when you say a few kind words to someone who feels beaten by life, when you offer a helping hand.  You don’t have to do anything huge or dramatic to change someone’s world.

 

 

Don’t Apologise For Being You

Too many of us go around constantly putting ourselves down.  We find it necessary to apologise for existing in a world full of people who are far more important.

Well I have news for you.  You are important.  Yes – you, sitting at your computer reading this.

How do you answer when someone asks you what you do for a living?  Do you say, “Oh – I’m just a cleaner” or “Nothing special – I’m a teacher”?  Do you look down at the floor and mutter something about working with computers?  Or look sheepish and apologise for being a stay-at-home mum?

The fact is, it doesn’t matter what you do – doctor, lawyer, Indian chief – you are not what you do.  You are so much more than that.  You are the product of all your experiences and everything you have learned from them.  You have a lot to offer the world, you just haven’t realised it yet.

A Message From The Movies

We are all important.  When I think about this, it reminds me of the film “It’s A Wonderful Life”.  If you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend you take a couple of hours to sit down and watch it.  It’s generally thought of as a Christmas movie, because the action takes place around Christmas, but you can watch it any time.

It tells the story of George Bailey, one of the good guys in the small town of Bedford Falls, New York.  All his life, George has put other people first, ignoring his own needs.  We follow George’s life until one Christmas Eve he finds himself standing on a bridge contemplating suicide, believing he has ruined the lives of everyone around him.

At this point, Clarence Oddbody, George’s guardian angel, is despatched in an attempt to save him.  If he is successful, Clarence will be awarded his wings and become a fully-fledged angel.  Initially, he distracts George from his suicidal thoughts by throwing himself into the river and appearing to be in danger of drowning.  Good guy that he is, George jumps in and drags Clarence to safety.

But this is just a temporary fix – in order to change George’s view of himself, Clarence has to resort to more devious measures.  He shows George a vision of a timeline in which he never existed.  In this timeline, George’s brother Harry died in a childhood accidentvbecause George wasn’t around to save him.  In turn, Harry does not grow up to be a Navy pilot and shoot down a kamikaze plane headed for a troop transport.  And control of Bedford Falls comes into the hands of local miser Henry Potter.

Horrified by all this, George begs for things to be restored to the way they were.  His wish is granted, he abandons his suicidal plans and the story ends happily.  Oh – Clarence gets his wings!

So the point is – none of us knows how different the world would be without us.  We all matter and we all need to believe that.

So don’t apologise for being you.  Get out there and claim your place in the world.

Don’t Be Invisible

When you have low self-esteem it’s very tempting to try to be invisible.  You don’t feel as good as other people, or as worthy of attention, so you shrink back and try to hide.  You make yourself seem small and hope that people won’t notice you.

And, generally speaking, it works.  You’re waiting at a busy bar, shop or fast-food outlet.   There are lots of other people there, all of them more important than you.  So you shrink back, don’t make eye contact, smile patiently at the floor or pretend you haven’t decided what you want yet.  Nobody notices you until eventually it quietens down and you get served.

Does that sound familiar?

Does it feel good?

I’ve done it myself and it didn’t feel good.  It just made my already low self-esteem feel worse.

So one day I tried a different approach.  It was New Year’s Eve, I was out for a meal with a group of friends, and I went to get drinks from the restaurant bar.  There were several people clustered around waiting to order from the two harrassed-looking staff.  I felt myself starting to shrink, trying to be invisible, falling into the old familiar pattern of behaviour.

Then I stopped myself.  I wasn’t going to do this anymore.  I moved my feet a little bit apart to give myself a firmer grounding.  Stood up straight and tall.  Imagined my whole frame broadening and taking up more space.  And smiled at the busy bar staff as they flew backwards and forwards with drinks.  I was visible.  People could see me.

And sure enough, I got to place my order when it was my turn.  And I did a little happy dance inside.

Sometimes it feels hard to push yourself forward a little bit, to just make people notice you.  But you deserve to be seen.  You’re as important as anyone else and if you act is if that’s true you’ll start to believe it.

So stop being invisible.  Make people see you.

Stop Making Comparisons

If you want to feel better about yourself, maybe you should stop making comparisons with everyone else.

There are about seven billion people on this planet today.  The sad – but also liberating – truth is that some of them are better-looking, more intelligent, and more talented than you.  Whatever it is you think you’re good at, there’s almost certainly someone out there who is better at it.

“Hang on,” I hear you crying, as you splutter on your tea.  “I thought this was supposed to make me feel good about myself.”

And so it should.  Because once you realise that making comparisons is a loser’s game you can stop doing it.  You don’t need to be better than anyone else, just the best version of yourself that you can manage.

Take a look in the mirror.  What you see in there is you, and it’s all you’ve got to work with.  So don’t compare it unfavourably with some media-created image of the perfect human being.  Find the things about yourself that you really like – if you’ve been reading this blog there must be some by now.  Maybe you have nice eyes, or good skin or lovely thick hair.  Pay yourself a compliment instead of comparing yourself with your friend who seems to have it all.

Remember there’s a lot more to you than the outside.  Think of all your positive qualities – are you kind, thoughtful, funny?  What do your friends and family love about you?  Celebrate those things instead of worrying about your perfect sibling.

And so what if lots of people are better at chess, baking, abseiling or whatever your particular interest might be.  You’re better than you were when you started – look at your own personal progress instead of regretting that you’re not a world champion.

Be the best you can.  Do the best you can.  And be proud of yourself and your efforts.