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Hypnotherapy / The Secret of Happiness
« Last post by hypnokaren on 22 October, 2008, 06:06:58 PM »
 There's been a lot of guff written about happiness in recent times. On the one hand, you've got the positive thinking gurus peddling their often simplistic fast track to deep joy and on the other you've got the doom-mongers telling us we're richer, healthier and unhappier than we've ever been.

Despite being somewhat cynical about the way happiness is regarded as the panacea for all ills, I confess to being part of the industry which promotes it as a life-affirming goal. Some see happiness as sentimental dream or fleeting fantasy. But I realise through my work as a hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner that it is possible to create a happy state of mind and spread a little of this magical ingredient.

What makes you happy is only relevant to you. A loving partnership and strong friendships are more highly prized than material things by most of us. It's a given that happiness is not necessarily about millions in the bank, a yacht on the Med or any of those affluent trappings. Many are the tales of how lottery winners lose their friends, community, identity and even their loved ones over arguments about new found loot.

There's no question, cash equals freedom of choice. More to the point, earning it equals a healthy sense of self worth which no trust fund kid will ever know (hence the less than life-enhancing addictions that often fill the gaps in their lives).

In a wealthy western culture, few of us go hungry or lack material goods. The poorest and most disadvantaged have access to housing, healthcare, education, the welfare state, iPods, mobiles and flat screen TVs.

What makes the starving happy is a good meal. It takes more than that to sate an emotionally starved but nutritionally nourished appetite. Whilst not life-threatening, such a condition undermines energy, motivation and focus, impairing the ability to set and achieve goals. High flyers in both primitive and technological societies often start out the hungriest and succeed simply because they try harder.

So it seems that the old fashioned Protestant principle of good old hard graft leads to a very secular kind of satisfaction. And being a bit peckish is no bad thing. It makes those little snacks in life so much more tasty. In this indulgent era of comfort and excess, those who make an effort and choose energy over inertia, those who curb their appetite enough to truly savour all that is plentiful and those who take the time to nurture their loved ones are the winners in the happiness stakes.
See for information about hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner Karen Martin.  She is a confidence and weight control specialist who is also in great demand in Tunbridge Wells, Kent and surrounding areas by sufferers of conditions including anxiety, addictions and phobias. A member of The National Council for Hypnotherapy, she has also trained in CBT.
NLP / The Big Picture
« Last post by hypnokaren on 22 October, 2008, 12:53:17 AM »
If, every day, we take positive action towards achieving our goals then our motivation and sense of achievement grow, fuelling our confidence and making even the wildest of dreams possible. Each small step has a cumulative affect on our progress. And creating a vision is the key to ensuring the steps we take are heading in the right direction.

One of the new buzz words in self-help and business motivation circles is NLP, an acronym for the rather sinister sounding 'neuro linguistic programming'. Well, as an NLP practitioner, I'm here to tell you it's not sinister and it's not rocket science. Very simply put, NLP is a collection of techniques aimed at realising visionary goals by harnessing the most dynamic and positive beliefs and behaviour we can muster.

As individuals, we mostly tend to jog along doing what's required. Moaning about what's wrong with our lives is a bit of a national pastime. Turn that attitude on its head and suddenly life can become a whole lot rosier. A good starting point is what I call 'the big picture' game. It uses all our creative powers and is a lot more fun than the usual 'what, where' when, why and how' list-making process of determining goals and strategies.

First, get a big blank sheet of heavy duty paper and stick it on a wall at home where you can see it and easily reach it. Get a stock of coloured marker pens and put them out of reach of any toddlers or budding graffiti artists in residence. You can now create your own unique 'big picture' over the coming days, weeks months or even years. It can include

pictures, lists, graphs, maps, symbols, codes or magazine cuttings - anything which speaks to you of its purpose. A good starting point is to draw a picture or write down details of your ideal life, incorporating all your dreams and aspirations. Make is as bold and strong as you can and include as much detail as possible, maybe putting a date on it some time in the future.

Around this image, which will become clearer in your own mind as you consign it to paper, add information about the things that are important in your life. Include details of your values and beliefs, what makes you happy and fulfilled, your likes and loves, your skills and qualities. Consider the goals and milestones which will bring you nearer to your ideal life. Put these down and you will see more clearly how your own resources can best be used to achieve these aims.

Now, you can do all this in a mad half hour scribble or create a masterpiece over a lifetime. You're aiming for what advertisers call a 'storyboard', which they use to give clarity to the sometimes crazy concepts that form campaigns to sell anything from socks to soap powder. The storyboard brings together the best ideas from creative brainstorming sessions. Along the way, new ideas emerge, old ones get thrown out, every angle gets covered, each obstacle is overcome. A new campaign is formulated by using these powerful imaginative forces to create a vision of success. Start your 'big picture' today and you will soon discover what the advertisers' have long known, that creating a strong positive vision is a short-cut to making your dreams reality.

See for information about hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner Karen Martin.  She is a confidence and weight control specialist who is also in great demand in Tunbridge Wells, Kent and surrounding areas by sufferers of conditions including anxiety, addictions and phobias. A member of The National Council for Hypnotherapy, she has also trained in CBT.
Hypnotherapy / Hypnotherapy for Childbirth
« Last post by hypnokaren on 22 October, 2008, 12:52:06 AM »
Incredibly, there is a way to reduce anxiety during pregnancy, experience comfortable childbirth without any pain medication and minimise the risk of post-natal depression. And it's available to every single mother-to-be at minimal cost.

Surprised? Well you may be even more surprised to discover that it's not a new development but a simple therapy that has been around for centuries. This miracle cure for all the modern-day trials of childbirth was pioneered by Dr Grantly Dick-Read, the founder of the National Childbirth Trust no less. He was a leading proponent of the use of hypnotherapy in labour when he wrote 'Childbirth Without Fear', originally published in 1933.

Inspired by the good doctor, the HypnoBirthing movement gathered pace in the US in the latter part of the 20th century. Created by hypnotherapist Marie Mongan, it provides a structured training programme for practitioners as well as books and CDs offering practical advice and information for expectant parents.

Extensive research, mainly in the US but including some small studies in the UK, demonstrates without exception the many benefits of hypnosis in childbirth. Despite this and the fact that there are a growing number of hypnotherapists trained to support maternity services, HypnoBirthing is not available within the NHS.

Midwives in Scotland who dipped into their own pockets to pay for hypnotherapy training earned numerous testimonials from happy parents for their trouble. But, as is the case with the majority of alternatives to drug-centred treatment, the medical establishment is reluctant to acknowledge hypnotherapy as a valid treatment for any kind of condition. And this is even though a study conducted back in the 1950s gave it sufficient credibility for the BMA to recommend that hypnosis techniques should be taught to all medical students. Needless to say, the recommendation was never taken up.

However, the National Childbirth Trust is a testament to parent power, proving that sizeable numbers of us would prefer to keep medical intervention in childbirth to a minimum using safe, simple, tried and tested methods. On the whole, our heroic midwives support this aim and we are fortunate indeed to have all the technology NHS budgets can afford to provide life-saving treatment when things don't go to plan. That said, if you do a straw poll of any number of mums in your acquaintance you'll find an unsettling number pale at the memory of their labour and, if pressed, will reveal something traumatic about the birth of their cherished little ones.

In fact, I'd describe my own two experiences of childbirth as harrowing to say the least and believe they would have been very different if I had the knowledge I have since gained as a clinical hypnotherapist.

So let me explain how hypnotherapy helps mother and baby, making the job easier for attending midwives and ultimately reducing complications and subsequent costs. Dr Dick-Read rejected the need for pain relieving drugs during childbirth on the grounds that pain was principally a product of preconceived fear and tension. He called it the 'fear-tension-pain' syndrome and believed that women who were properly prepared could control labour pain themselves without having to resort to medication.

Our innate fear of childbirth is a belief derived from cultural conditioning. There are non-westernised cultures where it is considered normal for babies to be delivered without pain. But, for us, the term 'labour' automatically conjures up thoughts of pain and struggle. And we relate hospitals to sickness and death, not life.

So, two evocative negative images already exist deep within our psyche, in the subconscious, where thoughts and beliefs gathered through a lifetime are deeply embedded. It is this part of the mind where hypnosis does its work and where hypnotherapy can begin to transform the birth experience by dislodging negative conditioning.

Contrary to popular belief and a mystique cultivated by stage performers, hypnosis is no more extraordinary an experience than day-dreaming. It is a trance-like state between waking and sleeping which we frequently go into quite naturally during the course of a day. What is exceptional about hypnosis is that it enables us to access the subconscious part of our brain and change our way of thinking through imagery and suggestion.

We cannot consciously 'unthink' long held beliefs any more than we can learn not to read any more. We cannot, through sheer force of willpower, decide not to feel pain. But hypnosis enables us to overcome fears and focus our attention away from pain to a degree that makes it possible to block it out completely.

This is powerful stuff so it's worth stating loudly that no-one can be hypnotised against their will or be forced whilst under hypnosis to behave or think in a way they do not wish to. The act of becoming hypnotised is, in effect, self-hypnosis, whether induced by a therapist, by listening to a CD or simply by relaxing and using well-practiced techniques. This alone reduces tension and creates a feeling of well-being and calm.

Ante-natal hypnotherapy sessions enable pregnant women to fine tune this natural ability. With the guidance of a clinician, anyone can learn to use what is described as the 'hypnoreflexogenous protocol' to create a 'conditioned reflex'. Put simply, it is possible through hypnosis to prepare emotionally to remain in control of and respond confidently to the physical process of childbirth. So, women giving birth can overcome the 'fear-tension-pain' syndrome using self hypnosis to achieve the best possible outcome in their given circumstances. There are even examples of caesarean sections being carried out using hypnosis alone as anaesthetic. But this is at the extreme end of the spectrum of uses of hypnosis because of the degree of preparation required for a patient to undergo any kind of surgery in this manner.

All you have to do is Google 'HypnoBirthing' or 'hypnosis and childbirth' and you will find numerous clinical studies revealing to varying degrees, but nonetheless quite staggering, statistical success stories. Time after time you will find evidence of considerably shorter labours, particularly for primigravid women, with the first stage reduced by three hours or more. Typically, twice as many women using hypnosis require no pain medication and the majority delivery spontaneously without any surgical intervention. Interestingly, though perhaps not surprisingly, higher Apgar scores are recorded for 'hypnobabies'.

What is clear from research findings is that hypnosis is a safe and effective way to decrease the perception of pain whilst increasing your ability to manage the sensations of labour. With plenty of practice, it is possible for some women to use self hypnosis to eliminate pain completely and experience only pressure during contractions. While not all of us can achieve this, we are all capable of decreasing our perception of pain and increasing our coping skills. When tense, anxious or frightened, our bodies create a 'fight or flight' response.

Animal research shows that, if threatened by predators, mammals will flood their bodies with 'fight or flight' chemicals to stop labour so they can get themselves and their babies to safety. This was also demonstrated during the Blitz when it was noted that women in labour would stop when air raid sirens went off only to start again after the raid was over. In a normal environment, the 'fear-tension-pain' syndrome can create the same response, leading to prolonged labour, greater foetal distress and lower Apgar scores.

Conversely, self hypnosis creates a state of deep relaxation whilst fully aware, totally relaxed and in control. It generates feel-good endorphins, making it possible to maintain energy levels throughout the physically demanding process of childbirth. And the benefits don't stop there. Research reveals that mothers who deliver under hypnosis overwhelmingly report positive feedback on the whole experience. Complications are fewer and more pregnancies go to full-term. Partners are more engaged as they are involved in maintaining the right conditions for hypnosis to do its work and they do not have to experience seeing the mother of their child in extreme distress. Postpartum, these mums recover more quickly and are less susceptible to post natal depression.

Given all this evidence, it is my passionate belief that all parents-to-be should at least be made aware of the incredible power of hypnotherapy and have the opportunity to experience the advantages for themselves.

See for information about hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner Karen Martin.  She is a confidence and weight control specialist who is also in great demand in Tunbridge Wells, Kent and surrounding areas by sufferers of conditions including anxiety, addictions and phobias. A member of The National Council for Hypnotherapy, she has also trained in CBT.
Hypnotherapy / Killer at Work
« Last post by hypnokaren on 22 October, 2008, 12:51:11 AM »
No one is immune from an invisible killer which stalks silently through every office, factory floor and work-place. It doesn't discriminate against age, sex, race or occupation and its grip tightens as the social and economic pressures of 21st century life increase.

An epidemic of stress-related illnesses has driven unprecedented numbers of the population to bail out of the workplace. Countless others resort to antidepressants to help them face the day. So, just what is going on in this age of unparalleled prosperity and comfort?

Heart disease, stroke, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, crohn's disease, psoriasis, allergies, insomnia, depression, anxiety and even cancer can all be triggered or aggravated by stress. It compromises the immune system and symptoms like exhaustion, muscular tension and an increased heart rate all put tremendous pressure on the body. Health is further undermined by mood swings, poor eating habits, lack of exercise and an inability to concentrate, which all take their toll on emotional well being.

Most employers now recognise the commercial benefits of keeping employees happy and legislation goes some of the way towards offering protection from stress factors like overwork and poor working conditions. But corporate culture often demands long hours and there is no such thing as a job for life any more. Add to that our 'buy now pay later' credit-funded lifestyle and you have a recipe for stress overload.

On the one hand, stress gives us our drive and motivation to get out there and achieve our potential but too much of it has the opposite effect. Once there is a gap between our ability to cope with stress and the amount of pressure we are under, problems appear overwhelming, confidence shatters and performance goes into meltdown. Job security is compromised, relationships suffer and habits can easily turn into addictions.

Ask around among friends and colleagues and you will find this grim scenario is all too commonplace. Being in a job which doesn't make the best use of your skills, working for a company which doesn't provide adequate training and being given too much responsibility causes stress (too little causes boredom which is also stressful). And so do 'toxic' companies where bullies thrive and staff are motivated by fear. It only takes one or two insecure, unsupervised personnel in key positions to make the working day an absolute misery for their colleagues.

Throw into the mix poor internal communication and exclusion from relevant decision-making and a business could be severely compromised by de-motivated under-performers missing targets. And, of course, the most talented will get out quick, adding the expense of high staff recruitment costs to the burden of failing productivity.

So whether you're a credit-crunched boss or debt-laden worker, workplace stress is unremitting torture, with days spent in frustration and despair often followed by broken nights of sleepless worry. I see many examples of this in my hypnotherapy clinic at Helios in Tunbridge Wells, people with different jobs, different issues and experiences seeking solutions to their distress. They share the same sense of hopelessness in many guises, varying from nail-biting or teeth-grinding to the heart-pounding terror of panic attacks or gut-wrenching urgency of IBS.

Their recovery can be rapid with the use of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) strategies and techniques. These can take the form of coaching in methods of dealing with a difficult manager, honing communication skills to deflect bullying behaviour, setting goals for career development, building confidence and encouraging assertive behaviour. All these changes become embedded in a positive mind-set with the support of hypnosis.

My final job before becoming a hypnotherapist was at a big publishing firm. I was bullied by a mediocre middle-manager in a dead-end job whose career had peaked many years before. He took great pleasure in humiliating and undermining me at every turn. I didn't deserve this treatment and did nothing to invite it. I carried out my duties to the best of my ability but it made no difference.

He was vile to me and if I bumped into him tomorrow I would shake his hand. This nasty piece of work gave me the drive and impetus to take the plunge into a completely different career, to take a risk with no guarantee of success. I may never have done so if I'd been in a nice cushy number with supportive colleagues.

Now, my work is inspiring, fascinating, challenging and stimulating. The job satisfaction is immense when I am able to help those who come to me achieve positive changes. My nemesis is still a mediocre middle-manager in a dead-end job.

See for information about hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner Karen Martin.  She is a confidence and weight control specialist who is also in great demand in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and surrounding areas by sufferers of conditions including anxiety, addictions and phobias. A member of The National Council for Hypnotherapy, she has also trained in CBT.
NLP / Wedding Balls
« Last post by hypnokaren on 22 October, 2008, 12:48:34 AM »
 It's not just the bride who suffers from pre-wedding nerves. All she's got to do is turn up on the day looking ravishing whereas the groom, best man and father of the bride have to stand up in front of a sea of faces and deliver flawless, witty and memorable speeches.

"It comes as no surprise to learn that most of us would rather stick pins in our eyes than speak in public," said clinical hypnotherapist Karen Martin. "It takes real guts to calmly and confidently stand in front of a room full of people and hold their attention. And a skinful of Dutch courage can make the ordeal even worse," she added.

Sweaty palms, an upset stomach, the shakes and a pounding chest often accompany the dread of public speaking and, when it comes to weddings, can ruin that special day for the sufferers.

"For the majority of speakers at a wedding, it's the only occasion in their lives when they have to play to an audience. Even those whose work sometimes puts them in the spotlight can suffer the jitters," said Karen.

Easy solution

"Fear of public speaking is the most common social phobia and symptoms can appear weeks in advance, building up as the big day approaches. But there is a solution for sufferers. Hypnotherapy is excellent for calming anxiety and building confidence. When combined with powerful Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques, it can effectively transform the whole occasion into a positive experience," she added.

NLP is widely used as a business tool to train executives to give presentations to their colleagues and customers. "These days in the workplace it's no longer enough just to know your stuff, you need to convince everyone else that you do as well. In these situations, the treatment is pretty much the same as for the wedding speaker. It also works well for those who have been stuck in the same job for years because they've been too nervous to attend job interviews.

Complete change

"What always amazes the people who use NLP to overcome their fear of public speaking" said Karen, "is how easy it is to dispel the nerves and completely change the way they feel about the task in hand.

"Any kind of performance anxiety can easily be escalated and become overwhelming. The more at stake, the more catastrophic we can imagine the experience to be. This kind of mental rehearsal stores up a whole lot of stress and often sets us up to fail. But it is possible to transform disaster into success using a number of techniques to remain calm and confident on the big day including 're-framing', or turning round negative thoughts, and 'modelling', copying the style and presentation of a great speaker.

"These are just a couple of examples of the many and varied ways in which NLP can enable us to be the best we can possibly be," she added.

See for information about hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner Karen Martin.  She is a confidence and weight control specialist who is also in great demand in Tunbridge Wells, Kent and surrounding areas by sufferers of conditions including anxiety, addictions and phobias. A member of The National Council for Hypnotherapy, she has also trained in CBT.
Hypnotherapy / What's Your Poison
« Last post by hypnokaren on 22 October, 2008, 12:47:23 AM »
Whilst it's true that most of us are a long way off needing to take the 12 steps programme, a goodly proportion of the adult population of this country unwind at the end of the day with a glass of something.

And that's not just the occasional day but most if not every day. So what's a bottle of wine between two? Nothing to worry about surely? But it's surprising how easily that can become a bottle of wine each. Or more. Every day.

If you're feeling a sense of sheepish recognition as you read, bear in mind you're not the only one. We're not talking about the insidious binge drinking culture which defiles our town centres every weekend but a quiet revolution in drinking habits behind closed doors throughout the land.

These are the ordinary drinking habits of ordinary people with jobs and kids and mortgages and responsibilities they take very seriously. This revolution is measured in the media by occasional articles about our wine consumption overtaking other European countries, booming off-sales and declining pubs. Clearly, we're enjoying drinking far more at home than we could legally if one of us was driving to the pub. And at a much lower cost too.

But the cost to the health of the nation is not quite clear. The biggest generation of boozers since the 18th century gin riots has not aged sufficiently to succumb to alcohol-related diseases in epidemic numbers.

Maybe it's time to examine what's going on here. Drinking is an integral part of our social life. It's how we have fun, chill out, celebrate and occasionally fall over. It reminds us of our youth when we didn't have a care and could put away 15 pints of snakebite on a Friday night and still want more on Saturday. It's a reward, a treat, an antidote for all life's woes. No wonder we don't want to stop.

At risk of sounding like a complete party-pooper, now might be the time to take individual stock of the flipside of all these wonderful benefits. Hands-up if you're too fat even though you eat healthily. Tick that box if you're always knackered in the morning. Ask yourself how much quicker you could pay off the credit card bills if you cut out weekday drinking. And here are a few more awkward questions: How's your sex life lately? Do you sometimes forget how you spent the latter part of the evening? Are you often irritable and unproductive a work? Do you lack energy to get off the sofa at the weekend?

If any or all the above makes uncomfortable reading, here's the good news. Drinking every day is an easy habit to change. If you need any incentive, just a week or two unlashed is enough to experience the benefits. I speak from experience as a lifelong party animal who could take on a touring rugby team pint for pint. I've got my mojo back. There's joi in my vivre. I'm nice to children, dumb animals and call centre employees. And it didn't take 12 steps to do it.

Being a hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner is helpful as I can give my subconscious mind a good talking to or use any number of creative visualisation techniques to change patterns of behaviour if ever my drinking should get out of hand. I have helped numerous clients turn down the desire to tipple any time any place any where. And some of that good advice must rub off on me too.

Here are my ten top tips for cutting back:
Alternate a glass of alcohol with a glass of water
Only drink on alternate days
Pour half measures or use smaller glasses
Take smaller sips and put your glass down between times
Don't drink at all on one, two three or more weekdays
Don't drink at home
Only drink on social occasions
Just have one glass of wine with an evening meal
Don't bulk buy or stockpile
Just stop

Lets face it, savouring a glass of fine wine, refreshing beer, mellowing scotch, Summery Pimms, sublime gin and tonic with ice and a slice, or whatever your poison is, is one of life's great pleasures. And it's possible to enjoy this great tradition without becoming a lush, lager lout or mean drunk in your own living room and ruining your future health and happiness in the process.

See for information about hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner Karen Martin.  She is a confidence and weight control specialist who is also in great demand in Tunbridge Wells, Kent and surrounding areas by sufferers of conditions including anxiety, addictions and phobias. A member of The National Council for Hypnotherapy, she has also trained in CBT.
Hypnotherapy / A Nation of Losers
« Last post by hypnokaren on 22 October, 2008, 12:46:22 AM »
As levels of obesity go off the scales we are becoming a nation of sad losers. In a typical dieter's lifetime it is possible to lose the equivalent of your entire body weight several times over. And the tragedy is that, in order to do so, we are repeatedly piling the weight back on again.

Adding insult to injury is the perception that those who struggle with their weight are somehow morally inferior to slimmer counterparts, as if strength of character can be judged by tape measure. Compounding the misery is the belief that we must suffer the prolonged deprivation of a diet programme in order to achieve our ideal body weight.

The social and cultural attitudes surrounding obesity are a unique kind of cruelty. We are surrounded with the most delicious and bountiful choice of flavour-enhanced food ever known to mankind which food manufacturers spend billions on exhorting us to over-indulge in. But the same media which advertises excessive consumption damns those who do with obsessive coverage of lollipop-headed celebrities, portraying them as ravishing icons of starvation as a lifestyle choice.

This is not a political rant but an observation of how difficult it is to feel happy in your own skin, whatever your shape or size. It's no wonder that teen eating disorders are becoming more widespread with cases emerging of middle-aged sufferers of anorexia and bulimia.

Everyone has their own unique relationship with food based on a complex combination of nature and nurture. An emotional connection with food is established from birth with feeding always accompanied by comforting cuddles. From an early age we have clear personal tastes and quickly learn that our eating behaviour can be a means to achieve control, win attention or gain rewards. Then there's our appetite and individual physiological response to the nutrients we consume. Another variable is how active we are. Some people simply enjoy moving around more than others.

In an age of consumer abundance, all these factors lead to an almost inevitable epidemic of excess. We've literally forgotten how to listen to the signals our very efficient bodies give us when we need refuelling or when the tank is full. Many overweight people rarely experience hunger, eating before the pangs begin, except when suffering the discomfort of constant starvation on the latest fad diet. And instead of stopping when full, many of us are conditioned by the ration-book generation of parents and grandparents to 'waste not want not' and be grateful we're not 'starving Africans'.

A lot of this unhealthy, self-esteem sapping behaviour is habitual and seated deeply within the subconscious, outside of our conscious control or rational powers of reason. Thus it is easy to be overweight, believe you don't eat very much and be genuinely baffled as to how this could have come about.

The process of deconstructing misleading beliefs and expectations starts with our emotional state. Many people think they can only be happy when they are thin when, in fact, creating a happy, positive and motivated state of mind is the first step towards a slimmer waistline rather than the end result.

It is then possible, using the 'modelling' principles of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), to start thinking, feeling and behaving like a person with a healthy body and lifestyle. NLP is a powerful force for change which enables people to see their world differently and work towards realistic goals using all the skills and resources available to them. Applied to weight control objectives, it provides the vision to break the painful and destructive feast-famine cycle of binge-dieting.

Hypnotherapy helps by accessing the habitual hardwiring within the subconscious mind which creates the compulsion to overeat. New eating patterns and a routine increase in physical activity which take into account personal preferences and lifestyle choices can be easily assimilated on a permanent basis. It's this that is the key to long term weight control. A combined programme of hypnotherapy and NLP provides the awareness, desire and capability to stay slim for life.

See for information about hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner Karen Martin.  She is a confidence and weight control specialist who is also in great demand in Tunbridge Wells, Kent and surrounding areas by sufferers of conditions including anxiety, addictions and phobias. A member of The National Council for Hypnotherapy, she has also trained in CBT.
Hypnotherapy / Dreaming of a Good Night's Sleep
« Last post by hypnokaren on 22 October, 2008, 12:45:08 AM »
One of life's great pleasures and necessities, you can't beat a good night's sleep. Most people suffer from insomnia at some point in their lives. In fact, more than half of us will have trouble sleeping in the course of any given year.

For some, the mere thought of not being able to get to sleep gives them insomnia. For others, sleeplessness is a debilitating symptom of wider conditions like depression, stress, anxiety, chronic pain or the menopause. As any new mum with a hungry or colicky baby will tell you, lack of sleep makes you crabby, forgetful and miserable. Simple things can seem difficult as both brain and body become overwhelmed with exhaustion.

We know that there are different levels of sleep and that REM sleep, or the 'rapid eye movement' state in which we dream, is important for our mental health. Sleep deprivation is a recognised form of torture as well as a fast route to madness.

Insomnia is both the cause and effect of many common maladies of modern life. Lack of sleep can be a trigger for emotional breakdown as well as causing accidents and impairing performance. As a symptom it exacerbates the associated condition, perpetuating the downward spiral of, for example, depression or anxiety.

Sometimes, insomnia is simply the result of a broken routine. Jet lag, night shifts, traffic noise, a snoring partner, a cold or a fever are common factors. There are as many cures as there are causes of insomnia and it can often be overcome without resorting to medication. But it is still important to see a doctor to ensure there are no underlying health issues to be dealt with.

Hypnotherapy is often seen as a last resort after all else fails when, in fact, just going through the process of learning self-hypnosis is a big step in the right direction. As we fall asleep and wake up we enter 'hypnogogic' and 'hypnopompic' states of hypnosis quite naturally. These are brief phases where brain function changes during the transition into deeper sleep states.

Once in hypnosis, subconscious patterns of disrupted or disturbed sleep behaviour can be adjusted with the help of a good practitioner to suit the lifestyle and expectations of the most long-suffering insomniac.

The key to success, whatever method used to bring and end to the distress of sleepless nights, is to find a practitioner who will assess individual circumstances and treat accordingly rather than offer an arbitrary catch-all remedy. It is important to bear in mind that, even after putting up with the misery of sleep loss for years, it's never to late to do something about it.

There are a number of practical 'sleep hygiene' measures which help re-establish a healthy pattern.

Set a schedule: Go to bed at a set time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Disrupting this schedule may lead to insomnia. "Sleeping in" on weekends also makes it harder to wake early on Monday morning because it re-sets your sleep cycles for later awakening.


Try to exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day. Daily exercise often helps people sleep, although a workout soon before bedtime may interfere with sleep. For maximum benefit, exercise about 5 to 6 hours before going to bed.

Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol:

Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, which acts as a stimulant and keeps people awake. Sources of caffeine include coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, non-herbal teas, diet drugs, and some pain relievers. Smokers tend to sleep very lightly and often wake up in the early morning due to nicotine withdrawal. Alcohol robs people of deep sleep and REM sleep and keeps them in the lighter stages of sleep.

Relax before bed:

A warm bath, reading, or another relaxing routine can make it easier to fall sleep. You can train yourself to associate certain restful activities with sleep and make them part of your bedtime ritual.

Sleep until sunlight:

If possible, wake up with the sun, or use very bright lights in the morning. Sunlight helps the body's internal biological clock reset itself each day.

Don't lie in bed worrying: The anxiety of being unable to fall asleep can actually contribute to insomnia. Distract yourself with a book until you feel sleepy.

Control your room temperature: Maintain a comfortable temperature in the bedroom. Extreme temperatures may disrupt sleep or prevent you from falling asleep.

Replace an uncomfortable or old bed:

Saggy, lumpy beds can aggravate back pain as well as keeping you awake.

Block out noise:

Wear ear plugs if you live in a noisy street, flight path or your partner snores.

Turn it off:

Keep televisions and computer games and out of the bedroom if you want to unwind.

Herbal solution:

If you have trouble falling asleep night after night, use a herbal remedy to break the cycle.

See your doctor:

If you always feel tired, there may be an underlying medical condition which needs treating. Tiredness can be an early symptom of a variety of illnesses.

Learn self hypnosis:

A good hypnotherapist will teach you a variety of relaxation techniques to enable you, with practice, to fall asleep quickly and sleep soundly through the night. They will also help you cope which any contributory factors like stress or anxiety.

See for information about hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner Karen Martin.  She is a confidence and weight control specialist who is also in great demand in Tunbridge Wells, Kent and surrounding areas by sufferers of conditions including anxiety, addictions and phobias. A member of The National Council for Hypnotherapy, she has also trained in CBT.
« Last post by Paul Howard on 21 October, 2008, 11:16:52 PM »
By C. Devin Hastings, hypnotist and diabetic

"I'm sorry to tell you this, but you have diabetes. Here is a prescription for the medications you must take."

The patient walks away from the doctorís office with a number of feelings: Anguish, confusion, anger, denial and in many cases a deep, sometimes hidden sense of despair and hopelessness.

This patient has just become part of a largely preventable epidemic. How can the hypnotherapist assist a person with diabetes?  We do this by helping them to positively alter their motivational/behavioral structure.  Doing so will greatly increase the diabeticís chances of more successfully managing and perhaps, improving their condition. At the very least, we can help a person with diabetes to make small but significant behavioral changes thus probably preventing some of the more horrifying consequences of diabetes. 

Diabetes is a conditionónot a disease.  This means that the person with diabetes has choice because a condition is controllable whereas a disease is devastating.  Our job is to help the diabetic client to find their personal power over their condition.

What can we do to help this very serious medical condition? 

The first thing we can do is to help our client to find a more emotionally stable state of mind.  We can hypnotically coach our client to use deep, calming breathing exercises. When most people are diagnosed with this condition it feels as if the carpet has been pulled out from under them.  They are usually emotionally crippled.  Whenever they start to think about ëtheir conditioní they become breathless with fear and despair.  Their body is simply reflecting their state of mind.  So getting them to relax using hypnotherapy is a good starting point.

As stated previously, diabetes is a largely preventable epidemic.  This is so because most diabetics are obese.  Obesity is preventable.  Here is an interesting fact: approximately 90% of all persons with diabetes are overweight.  It is a clinically proven fact that if a person reduces their weight to healthy levels, then the chances are very good that the diabetic symptoms will melt away along with the fat.

Look at the facts concerning how most Type 2 diabetes gets started: ìOvereating and obesity trigger increased insulin secretion from the pancreas, resulting in the additional storage of fat in the tissues.  As weight and insulin secretion go up, the body eventually develops a resistance to the effects of insulin, and diabetes occurs.î Peter A. Lodewick, M.D.

I want to strongly emphasize that our impact as hypnotherapists can be tremendous simply by helping people to permanently and safely get rid of excess weight.  However, there is one very important thing that clients must realise obese persons not diagnosed with diabetes are still good candidates to have insulin/blood sugar issues. 

ìIf you are overweight or tend to gain weight easily and are also addicted to carbohydrates, it is vital for you to understand that your body responds differently to high-carbohydrate foods than do the bodies of those who do not exhibit these tendencies.  It is the bodyís response to these foods, especially when they are eaten frequently, that leads to the excess release of insulin that may be keeping the client on a weight-loss merry-go-round.

This means that even if the client has not been diagnosed with diabetes, their body may have an inappropriate response to high carbohydrate foods.  Therefore, even a bagel may cause them to suddenly release too much insulin leading to a low blood sugar.  Instinctively then, the client reaches for food to feel better.  This is a vicious cycle.  Or, if the client refuses to give in to their ëfood cravingí then a low blood sugar can lead to possibly dangerous consequences. 

Key to understanding the preceding is knowing what insulin is and what it does. Insulin is produced in the beta cells of the pancreas.  It is a very powerful hormone that the body uses to control the use, distribution and storage of energy.  In this case, think of energy as sugar. Another way to remember insulinís function is to think of it as a ëkeyí.  This key opens the doors to the cells in order for sugar to be transported out of the blood into a cell where the sugar is then used for energy.  This is why ëblood sugarí levels are so important.  If they are too high or low, it is dangerous

Letís look at a definition of diabetes.  Simply stated, diabetes is a condition identified by chronic, high  blood sugar levels (mostly due to insulin resistance). Normal levels of blood sugar for a person who has not eaten for at least 8 hours are between 70 and 110 mg/dl (milligrams of sugar per deciliter of blood).  After a person eats the highest their blood sugar level should be is 180 mg/dl.  3 hours later their blood sugar should be at or below 110 mg/dl.

Unsafe blood sugar levels occur because of a dysfunction in one or two body mechanisms. Either there is a deficiency or complete absence of insulin production and/or the body is unable to use existing insulin effectively.  The bodyís inability to effectively use insulin is known as ëinsulin resistanceí.  Adipose tissue (fat) creates insulin resistance.  There are many other reasons for insulin resistance but the ëbiggestí one is obesity. 

Types of diabetes are classified in 3 categories: Type 1, Type 1.5 and Type 2.  Roughly 5% to 7% of all persons with diabetes have Type 1.  This kind of diabetes is the result of a partial/complete failure of the beta cells in the pancreas.  Remember, the beta cells produce insulin.  This lack of insulin results in the need for a person to take shots of insulin. 

Type 1.5 is called Mature Onset of Diabetes in the Young.  This is relatively rare and occurs in only 2-3 % of the diabetic population.  Typically, it appears in persons under 40 who are not overweight.  It appears to be due to insulin resistance for reasons other than obesity. 

Type 2 diabetes is the most common.  As mentioned, about 90% of the diabetic population is Type 2.  Almost every Type 2 is overweight.  The excess weight causes insulin resistance. 

Now, letís get to what you can now do.  By the way, the knowledge you have learned so far makes you more educated about diabetes than most diabetics!  This will help you to assist the diabetic client because knowledge is power and your job is to empower your client. 

So, letís talk about marketing and your first line of approach to helping your client.  The first thing you can do for the diabetic is to give them S.U.G.A.R.  Sounds crazy, doesnít it?  Actually this is a ridiculously easy way to remember your initial approach when asked what you can do for a person with diabetes.

Please note that an essential component of effective marketing is to have a good ëelevator pitchí.  If you were to get on an elevator with a stranger and they ask you what you do, you have about 30 seconds get their attention and persuasively explain something about what you can do for them. 

Thus, the scenario goes like this: Youíre on an elevator and someone notices your nifty looking NGH badge:

ìWhat does that badge youíre wearing mean?î 
ìOh, I am a proud member of the National Guild of Hypnotists.î 
ìYouíre a hypnotist?  Does that stuff really work?î 
ìYep.  In fact, one of the more interesting uses for hypnosis is in helping people with diabetes.î 
ìReally?  My best friend has diabetes.  What can you do to help her/him?î
ìThe first thing I do with their doctorís approval is give them S.U.G.A.R.î  (You now really have this personís attention because you sound crazy.  Crazy people are interesting.)
ìSugar?  I thought that was the worst thing for a diabetic!î
ìActually, S.U.G.A.R. is an acronym for the first thing most diabetics need.î
ìO.K., Iíll bite.  What does it mean?î
ìS.tress U.nderstanding and rid of A.nxiety by R.elaxing.  You see, it is medically proven that the more stressed out a person with diabetes is, the worse their condition can get.  As a hypnotist, I am a Stress Management Consultant and a Motivational Coach.  I help them to understand their condition and then I help them to take control by reducing stress.î
ìWow.  Yeah, he/she sure is freaked out about being diagnosed with a disease.î
ìWell, tell your friend that they have a lot more options than they know.î
ìYeah, okay.  Hey, do you have a business card?î
ìAh, gee, no but can I write down my name and number on a napkin?î 

The acronym S.U.G.A.R. is designed so that even if youíre nervous, you only need to remember the first two words to cue you on what you can do.  Stressóyou can reduce it.  Understandingóof how reducing stress is medically proven to help diabetics.  Bear in mind that when most people are upset, they usually reach for comfort food and usually for too much of it.  So, you let the potential client know that as they feel less anxiety, they feel more calm.  Feeling calmer they have less interest in overeating and are less likely to grab those foods that are harmful to them. 
Hypnotherapy / Is Psoriasis an angry mans game?
« Last post by Paul Howard on 21 October, 2008, 11:04:02 PM »
For nearly 10 years I'?ve been using hypnotherapy to help clients with Psoriasis.  I have noticed three particular personality traits that seem common to most clients I see.  But more of that later:?
When I first started working with clients who had Psoriasis, I conducted a study into the effectiveness of hypnotherapy on the condition.  Initially I didnít expect too much, however the results were staggering. 
Before I started I spoke at length with a psychiatrist and a psychologist, neither of whom believed there was any mind body connection to the condition, and therefore hypnotherapy would have no effect on Psoriasis. 
In fact I recently worked with a psychiatrist with Psoriasis and even he didnít believe that the mind could have any effect on the condition, yet he came to me for help with his Psoriasis.
Once started however, each client in the study had to commit to seeing me for up to 12 weeks, and they had to have a PASI form completed by their GP at the beginning, and 3 months after the start of the study.  (A PASI form is simply a method of recording the severity of the clients'? Psoriasis.  It measures coverage, thickness and redness, which gave a benchmark before the work began.)
A number of the GPs poured scorn on the study, stating quite clearly that their patient was wasting their time.  An interesting thing for them to say, given they had no solution and very little help to offer at the time.  Some of them had to eat their words. 

The participants in the study were all treated free of charge and none were paid, unless the GP charged to complete the PASI form, and then only their costs were covered.  There were other conditions, such as for the past year they had not used any drug treatments for their Psoriasis, (apart from moisturising creams), prior to the start of the hypnotherapy study.
During the study it came to my attention that there were three distinct personality traits that many of the participants shared.  The most significant being anger.
The anger was very common.  I would say over 90% of the participants had this deep routed and very noticeable anger.  However, the anger was surprisingly not always about the Psoriasis.  Sometimes the anger was directed towards themselves, as if they had done something so wrong that the Psoriasis was a kind of punishment.

However when clientís anger was directed at themselves, or more specifically at their skin and its condition, they will say things like ìI hate my skinî with such vehemence and distaste, which is not helpful to any therapeutic intervention, so obviously needs to be dealt with.  On these occasions I would utilise of some kind of release or forgiveness intervention. Often forgiving themselves and their skin is very difficult for the client, so I would allow plenty of time for this part of the therapy, as it is crucial to the overall well-being and de-stressing of the client. The skin is the largest organ in the body and as such it is not surprising that any underlying anxiety should manifest itself through the skin. Until the anger is completely released the client has no chance of becoming calm in their mind.
The belief that they had done something wrong and hence deserved their Psoriasis is of course a fictitious belief.  Generally most of them have had a perfectly normal life; although there was nearly always some drama or trauma in their childhood that helped to form a significant portion of the hypnotherapy work that was done during the study. 

It is my belief that eradicating, lessening or coming to terms with this anger is an important part of the change needed to affect the Psoriasis. Any intervention that does not take this issue into account is doomed to fail.

I will cover the other two personality traits in future articles. These are the "I'm not good enough" belief structure, and the "Victim's" belief.

Brief Hypnotherapy study results.
28% achieved a 95% reduction in their Psoriasis.  A further 29% obtained over 50% reduction.  43% saw little or no reduction at all.  However ALL participants in the hypnotherapy study reported a completely different attitude to their Psoriasis.

Paul Howard has been specialising with Psoriasis for nearly ten years. He has trained many hypnotherapists around the country to treat Psoriasis effectively. He works at The Surrey Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy in Wallington, Surrey, UK. He can be contacted via the website at He is also the Marketing director for The National Council for Hypnotherapy - The premiere governing body in the UK.
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