Hypnotherapy Testimonials

Here are some more recent hypnotherapy comments from satisfied clients.  You can find even more on our customer feedback page.

I made it to Italy in a calm & relaxed way and quite enjoyed the flight. I'm hoping the positive feelings about flying stay with me. We're planning next year's holiday! Thanks for your help

(Phobia of flying - Chiswick practice)

 

I've lost 6kg since our last appointment in June and have been going to the gym regularly.  The sessions have helped me considerably and I can't thank you enough

(Weight Loss Hypnotherapy Kew)

 

Why diets don't work!

A vast majority of the population has probably tried some form of diet at some point in their lives, but the fact is, for most people, diets don’t work.  Now there are probably many people reading this now who will disagree, focussing on the likes of Weight Watchers, Slimming World and all those other diet based weight loss institutions out there.  And while these organisations may have short term success with their members, when you look a year, two years, five years or ten years into the future of those members, you often find that the weight loss they experienced through dieting is unsustainable, especially after the member stops going to the weekly meetings. 

Many of you reading this will have surely experienced for yourself, trying countless diets, your weight going up and down like a yo-yo, feelings of exhilaration one week only to be followed by despair the next, getting to a point where inevitably you stop your diet and then the weight piling back on, in some cases worse than before. 

So what’s really going on here?  Why do diets not work and is it possible for sustained weight loss over the long term?  Allow yourself to imagine for a moment, your life as it would be if you lived 10,000 years ago.  Your life would have been nomadic, constantly on the move, hunting and gathering.  Supermarkets and shops didn’t exist and there were no ways of storing food for any length of time.  Your trigger to eat was simply driven by hunger.  When your body needed food, it released the hormone to make you feel hungry, encouraging you to hunt and gather.  When your body didn’t need food,that hunger wasn’t present and so you had no need to hunt and gather.  Simply put, you ate when you felt genuinely hungry and stopped eating when you stopped feeling hungry. 

From an evolutionary and biological point of view, the human body has changed little in the last 10,000 years and we are still primarily driven by this hunger / full signal.  However, modern society has effectively disrupted this driver.  Just think of the concept of meal times.  Meal times are convenient in modern, structured society, but forcing the body to eat when it is not hungry is not healthy.  And forcing the body to wait for a set meal time when it is genuinely in need of food is again, detrimental. 

Now think for a moment about all those verbal messages around food given to children as they grow “think of all the starving children in Africa”, “You will be sent to your room if you don’t eat all that”, “Do you know how hard we work to put food on the table”, etc.  I’m sure you can name many more sayings around food from your own childhood.

And then there are the non-verbal messages.  Observing parents and peers eating a biscuit with a coffee or a bag of crisps with a sandwich.  Being given a lollipop when they go to the doctors, sweets or chocolate when they need comforting, ice cream as a reward for good behaviour, pizza or takeaways as a treat for working hard.  The truth is, by the time a child becomes a teenager, they have been exposed to countless verbal and non-verbal messages around food and eating.  What they should eat, when they should eat, what foods connect with what emotional state, what circumstances certain foods are allowed in, etc. 

So what does all this have to do with unsuccessful diets?  Firstly, diets teach you that you are only allowed certain foods in certain quantities and certain times.  This is not how the human body operates.  Factors such as activity, the weather, illnesses, emotional states, fatigue and even brain usage mean that we need different amounts of food each day.  Your body tells you what it needs and when it needs it.  It is important to listen to your body and respond appropriately, not to try and force a particular eating regime onto yourself which may not be in your body’s best interest. 

Secondly, forcing yourself to eat certain foods in certain quantities at certain times does not begin to uncover or reverse those negative messages you have been exposed to all of your life.  The truth is, your subconscious mind will always win out over your conscious mind.  So if your subconscious is convinced that chocolate is the best solution when you are feeling sad, you may be able to fight that impulse for a while, but ultimately, that conflict between your conscious and subconscious will wear you down and your subconscious will eventually win out.  It is here that hypnotherapy has the greatest impact, changing these negative messages at a subconscious level. 

So, are you genuinely still interested in losing weight and keeping that weight off for the long term?  If so, stop listening to these fad diets and dieting organisations and start listening to yourself.  Allow yourself to become more aware of those negative and harmful messages you learnt around food as you grew.  And most importantly, teach yourself to tune into that genuine hunger and full signal from your body.  If you are genuinely hungry, eat slowly until you feel satisfied.  And once you feel satisfied, stop eating until the next time you feel genuinely hungry.

And if you are still struggling, why not look into how hypnotherapy can help you to break those negative messages and become more in tune with yourself once again.  You may just find that you’ve held the key to sustainable weight loss within you the whole time!

 

Sitting with your feelings (no matter how uncomfortable!)

There are many in society who believe that experiencing negative emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, jealousy, etc. is wrong.  They believe that those feelings are unhelpful and should be conquered through the use of positive thoughts, cognitive thinking and behavioural changes.  In fact, a lot of the concepts around Cognitive Behavioural Therapy are just that - using behavioural techniques to change how we think and therefor how we feel.   

However I've always been a great believer in sitting with your feelings and allowing yourself time to understand them and acknowledge them, rather than trying to chase them away and bury them.  Now I'm not saying to dwell on feelings or become immersed in them, but at the same time, not to block them out either.  I like to think of it as watching a lightening storm out of your bedroom window.  You are safe enough inside your house that you are not going to get hurt by the lightening, but at the same time, you are allowing yourself to see it and experience it (rather than shutting the curtains and hiding under your bed covers!)

The benefits of sitting with your feelings really hit home during a recent client session.  The client began by talking about their work, how they had lost their motivation and had become disillusioned with it.  They explained how they dreaded going to work and were desperately looking for some alternative.  A few days before the session, the client had spoken to their mother about their feelings.  The mother was very solution focussed, coming up with idea after idea after idea about the possible solutions, e.g. more training courses, ideas for new jobs, careers advisors, etc.  As my client sat and listened to her mother, she became more and more upset and more and more despondent.  She didn't want solutions, she just wanted to be heard and acknowledged.  She wanted her mother to be empathic and understand her feelings.  My client wanted to know that she was still acceptable and still lovable even if she was feeling this way, however her mothers problem solving response made her feel that she was unacceptable and wrong in some way, as if she was failing.  This made her feel much worse. 

Later in the same session with my client, I began to question whether she was using psychotherapy theories and cognitive reasoning as a way of avoiding or burying certain internal feelings.  She admitted that there were times when she was doing that, however believed that it was the right thing to do.  She believed that she could control her unwanted feelings through CBT techniques and other practical methods then it would make her feel better in herself.  I referred her back to earlier in the session when she had spoken about the discussion between herself and her mother and explained how I was hearing that exact same conversation going on within her.

One part of her, which we may call the Parent (in reference to Transactional Analyses terminology), was wanting to problem solve, using practical techniques to overcome her feelings.  However another part, which we may call the Child (also TA terminology), was yearning to be heard for what it was feeling, wanting those unpleasant feelings to be acknowledged, recognised and accepted. 

My client was quite taken aback by this realisation.  She had understood what it felt like to have her need to be heard and acknowledged ignored by the practical approach of her mother and here she was, doing exactly the same thing to herself. 

This understanding has since helped my client to sit with her unpleasant feelings for longer.  Most of the time, she finds they now disappear much sooner and stay away much longer.  I like to think of it as a small child trying to get it's mother's attention.  The more the child is ignored, the more it will interrupt and the louder and more demanding it will get.  However once that child has been heard and acknowledged, it is more likely to feel satisfied and not pester it's mother for attention for a while.

I am a firm believer in feeling your feelings, sitting with them and then choosing a course of action rather than just reacting which often reinforces negative beliefs and emotions.  I have found on countless occasions how accepting all feelings as being fundamentally "okay" and listening to them has provided great therapeutic insights and relief for clients.  So next time you experience fear, anger, sadness, despair, loneliness or any other negative feeling, why not give it a go yourself?  Rather than covering up and burying these emotions, try sitting with them for a while, tolerating the discomfort, learning from those feelings and really understanding that part of yourself. 

Emstart Personal Training

Here at West London Counselling, Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy services, we recognise that a healthy life is a direction rather than a destination.  For those interested in Weight Loss hypnotherapy or counselling, your weight loss journey may begin with us, but it's also a journey which continues long after our sessions finish.  We are proud to associate ourselves with Emstar Personal Training who can take your new found sense of health to the next level.  Please contact Aaron for details of a free consultation.

 

Emstar Personal Training

If you want to have more energy in your day, or dream of having a six-pack, a customised fitness program designed by me is tailored to your specific needs and your individual fitness level. You will receive full support every step of the way through your training. The combination of motivational support and exercise is a vital component to success with weight loss or increasing muscle tone.

I hold advanced qualifications in sport science, personal training, together with top industry accreditations. I am highly certified with 10 year’s of experience in the fitness field. I am a friendly, personable and well-educated professional who knows exactly how to get the best for you. Sessions are fun, varied and highly motivational - I guarantee that you'll certainly not get fed up of your workouts easily!

I can offer potential clients a free consultation so that we can discuss your goals and find out more about your motivations.

Why not find out what I can do for you today? Text me now.

 

Name:  Aaron

Position: Personal Trainer

Phone Number:  020 993 9731

Website: www.emstarpersonaltraining.co.uk

 

QUALIFICATIONS

BSc Sports Science Degree

Lever 3 Personal Trainer

Level 2 Gym Instructor

Level 2 First Aid

 

SPECIALIST AREAS

Core and abs Training

Muscle Building

Total Weight/ Fat Loss

 

FUN FACTS

I have met Frank Bruno and trained with his coach at a special sporting event.

I was taught by some of the same lecturers as Audley Harrison at Brunel University.

    

Dealing with Passive Aggressive Behaviour

What is passive aggressive behaviour and how can you cope with those who express their anger indirectly?

Are you around someone on a daily basis who is passive aggressive?  Is it a friend, colleague or family member who is becoming increasingly difficult because of their indirect ways of expressing anger?

It can be incredibly frustrating dealing with someone who is unhappy, but refuses to talk about it directly. There are, however, several ways to better handle the situation and maintain your cool. 

What is passive aggressive behaviour? 

Passive aggressive behaviour is where someone indirectly expresses hostility and anger via stubbornness, procrastination, and unreasonable behaviour.  They will try to keep their feelings inside, but end up giving out mixed messages and will deliberately try to make things difficult for others.  Although these actions may be more subtle and underhand, they can be much more destructive – greatly affecting friends, family and colleagues. 

Strategies to help you cope 

When dealing with someone who is passive aggressive, it is important to be aware of their behaviours and approach them in a neutral and composed way. These individuals are looking to push your buttons.

The following steps are key:

  • Don’t take it personally – It is important to remember that the anger harboured by someone who is passive aggressive stems from their life situation and background. Therefore it is not your responsibility. It is very likely you are just the most convenient person for them to take this anger out on.
  • Moderate your response – When dealing with passive aggressive people, aim to stay as calm and composed as possible – keeping your voice steady and your language neutral.
  • Empathise – This may be tricky but can disarm someone who is passive aggressive. Reflect their suppressed feelings – making it clear you recognise they may be frustrated and that this may be difficult for them to deal with.
  • Be direct – If someone is being stubborn and deliberately refusing to do something, be very clear and assertive about what you expect from them. Keep everything factual and avoid emotion. Level-headedness is your best defence against passive aggressive behaviour.

Fear of change

While there are some people out there who relish change and embrace new experiences, for many of us change instils a feeling of fear which can manifest in angry, destructive or self-limiting behaviours. 

Humans like security and certainty and we are generally creatures of habit. The idea of breaking our habits often leads to anxiety, which is why many of us don’t change until the discomfort of our situation becomes greater than our fear of change e.g. someone may only make a real and concerted effort to lose weight after a heart attack or similar .

Many of you reading this will have faced the situation of wanting a new job.  You may be unhappy in your current role, feeling undervalued and underpaid, and yet at the same time, something prevents you from looking for a new job.  This is often fear of the unknown.  In your current role, you may not be happy, but you know what you are unhappy about and you have become used to and prepared for that unhappiness.  Thinking about trying something new often brings with it that uncertainty which you can’t prepare for.  A well-known saying is: 

“The certainty of misery is preferable to the misery of uncertainty”. 

These feelings are very primal and instinctive.  For primitive man thousands of years ago, doing anything new or unknown could bring dangerous consequences, e.g. leaving the protection of the forest to hunt animals could leave you vulnerable to an animal attack yourself or eating an unknown berry could result in poisoning. 

This instinct is also reinforced through learnt behaviour.  As children, we are taught about the world around us and often allowed to feel safe in familiar surroundings but made to feel cautious and wary in unknown and unfamiliar situations, e.g. don’t talk to strangers, don’t leave my side, don’t go there, don’t do this, etc. 

So what can we do about it?  Consciously recognising the feelings is a fantastic start.  All too often, people feel an unpleasant feeling and react automatically to distance themselves from that feeling as quickly as possible.  Often this automatic reaction is unhealthy, limiting and reinforces the original belief that there is something to be worried about.  So instead, simply allow yourself to sit with the feeling.  Resist the temptation to get rid of it and just be interested in the discomfort and view it with curiosity.  Allow yourself to become aware of the feeling and understand the message it is trying to communicate.  This increased level of understanding and awareness will not make the feeling disappear, but will allow you to tolerate and control it, allowing you to make those changes you desire in your life.

Curiosity is not about what is right or wrong, it is about a greater understanding of yourself.  The more you allow yourself to be curious about your feelings and the thoughts and beliefs which accompany them, the greater control you will have over them.  

Eat your way to a happier life!

We are all used to hearing that food cannot make you happy and that eating is just another way of burying your feelings.  However, eating the right food is an essential component to feeling emotionally and psychologically balanced. 

When people begin to feel low, anxious and depressed, they tend to opt for meals and snacks which are quick, easy and usually very unhealthy.  This is partly through to a lack of motivation and energy and partly as they tend not to care about their wellbeing to the same extent whilst in this state.  The lack of essential vitamins and minerals then tends to compound the low emotional and physical state.    

Whilst researching this on the Internet, I found that many websites purely focused on the different types of vitamins and minerals we should be getting each day.  Most also gave advice on which particular foods you could get these from, however what was lacking was interesting, exciting and quick recipe guides. 

I have a love of cooking and so began to think about ways of incorporating these healthy, mood balancing foods into everyday life.  I wanted to develop simple but effective recipes packed with the essential elements which anyone could create, even if they were feeling low, anxious or depressed.  And that is exactly what I am going to do!

So keep tuned and in the coming months, I hope to be adding some tasty posts to my blog!

Transactional Analysis - An introduction

Transactional Analysis or TA as it’s commonly known, is one of my preferred therapeutic approaches.  Over the coming blog posts we shall look at some of the core concepts of TA psychotherapy including:

  • Life Positions

  • Ego States

  • Drivers

  • Injunctions

  • Strokes

  • Rackets

  • Games

  • Life Scripts

I will only be giving a brief overview of each concept, but if you would like to find out more, I recommend the following books: 

Ta Today: A New Introduction to Transactional Analysis - Ian Stewart, Vann Joines

An Introduction to Transactional Analysis: Helping People Change - Phil Lapworth and Charlotte Sills

The main theraputic approaches part 3 - Behavioural Therapy

The focus of behavioural therapy is isolating and changing unwanted behaviour in the here and now.  They are not interested in the past or what has gone before, just what is happening now.  It is believed that as behaviour is something learnt, it can be unlearnt and then relearnt in a different way. 

Behavioural therapies take a very logical approach to treatment using more of the thinking part of the brain rather than the feeling part.  Treatment often involves practical exercises and the setting of homework for the client.  Below are some of the main areas which a behavioural therapist may concentrate on during treatment:

  • Changing words and phrases from negative to positive, e.g. rather than saying “I hope I won’t be late” (which has the negatives of won’t and late), saying instead, “I hope I arrive on time”.  Both mean exactly the same thing, but one is a more positive way of saying it.  Talking positively forces you to begin to think positively and thinking positively helps you to feel positive.

  • Challenging assumptions, e.g. a male client is struggling to find a girlfriend and makes the statement “women only go for guys with huge muscles”.  The therapist would encourage the client to take a poll, survey or questionnaire in a public place to test their assumption so they could get a rational and balanced view point rather than their current skewed assumption.

  • Challenging negative feelings.  When talking about positive and negative feelings, we do not mean happy and sad feelings, but productive and unproductive feelings.  E.g. a feeling of guilt is a negative, unhelpful feeling as it encourages a person to withdraw, wallow in self-pity and sink lower.  However a feeling of remorse is a positive feeling.  Remorse encourages a person to recognise loss and mistakes and yet take responsibility for their part in those things.  Taking responsibility then allows the person to move forward and improve their lives.

  • Challenging internal thoughts and beliefs.  Encouraging a different thought or belief to a particular situation to produce a different response.  E.g. if someone fears a snake, it is not the actual snake which produces that fear, but their own thoughts and beliefs about that snake.  If you can encourage the client to recognise and change those thoughts and beliefs, then the outcome can be different.  E.g. rather than believing the snake will bite them, believing that the snake is harmless, may produce a feeling of excitement rather than fear. 

The most common behavioural therapy is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which is often used in organisations such as the NHS.  Behavioural therapies tend to be a much quicker form of treatment, sometimes lasting only 6 weeks, which has made it very popular for people and organisations who have time and money restrictions. 

Although very popular, many other branches of psychotherapy and counselling are critical of a pure behavioural approach as it fails to take into account or resolve the original cause of the issue.  E.g. for a male client who struggles to find a girlfriend, behavioural therapies may help him with techniques to improve his confidence to ask a girl out, however they won’t deal with the underlying reasons as to why he lacked the confidence in the first place.  If the client had suffered emotional or psychological trauma in their past which caused the confidence issue, this problem could resurface in the future in a different, possibly more destructive way. 

A pure behavioural approach can often be compared to a sticky plaster.  It can cover up and hide a wound, but that wound is still there and still needs healing. 

I believe that CBT techniques are valuable, but more appropriate to be brought in during the latter stages of treatment with another approach, after the underlying issue has been explored, brought into awareness and worked through. 

How effective is hypnotherapy?

Hypnosis has received a lot of negative publicity over recent decades.  The entertainment industry has led many to believe that hypnosis is all about making a fool of yourself; being brainwashed or losing control.  They make the hypnotist seem all powerful at the expense of the participants dignity.  However hypnotherapy is completely different.

Whilst it still relies on the same basic principles and techniques, hypnotherapy is focused on helping people to overcome various issues in their lives.  But even in this healing environment, the debate rages on about how effective hypnotherapy is.  Can it really help people or is it simply a placebo?

From my vast experience in hypnotherapy, I have seen first hand that hypnosis can be very effective at treating a wide variety of issues, however there are conditions which need to be met.

  1. The cause of the issue either needs to be a pure habit (e.g. something is done only because that is what has always been done) or the cause has been identified and has been consciously acknowledged and dealt with through counselling / psychotherapy.
  2. The client must not have anything unresolved which may be continuing to affect them.
  3. The client needs to want to change
  4. The client has no medical conditions preventing the change
  5. The client is able to relax comfortably
  6. The client is able to hear and understand English

All these points are very important.  If one of them is not met, it can result in treatment failure.

I have personally encountered clients in the past who did not meet all these criteria and have seen how difficult it is to treat them effectively.  Often, we have to switch to a psychotherapy / counselling route to begin with so both the client and I can gain a  better understanding and awareness to the issues involved.

In my opinion, if a client meets all 6 criteria above and if the hypnotherapist is suitably trained, qualified and competent, hypnosis is highly effective.

As a word of warning though, currently there are very few laws and legislations governing who can call themselves a hypnotherapist.  In theory, you could just read a book on it and set yourself up in business with no proper training or experience.  Although these people cannot harm you with their hypnosis, they are often nothing more than con artists, taking your money and damaging the reputation of genuine hypnotherapists.  A properly qualified therapist will be able to prove their qualifications and will be a member of several societies.  A reputable hypnotherapist will also often provide free or discounted initial consultations and certain guarantees, e.g. a free top up session, money back if you can't go into hypnosis, etc.  So for the best chance of success, make sure you go with a properly qualified therapist.