Monday, 25 June 2012

Does Hypnotherapy Really Work?

When I tell people I’m a hypnotherapist, they often ask “does hypnotherapy actually work ?”

For years within science, there were debates as to whether hypnosis existed or worked and sceptics often claimed that people in hypnosis were play-acting. But that has now all changed. In February 2002 the first conclusive scientific proof that hypnosis produces clear changes in the mind was presented by Professor David Spiegel of Stanford University School of Medicine in California at the America Association for the Advancement of Science conference.

Eight subjects were hypnotised and monitored using special scanning techniques called PET (Positron Emission Tomography) which measures blood flow to the brain.

Professor Spiegel said: “When people believe there is colour in the picture, their brains process the colour even if it isn’t there. They are not just telling you what you want to hear; the way their brains respond to the information is actually being changed. Under hypnosis, believing is seeing.”

Spiegel’s findings demonstrate that hypnosis has biological as well as psychological effects, disproving the cynics and supporting the application of hypnosis in a medical setting.

Spiegel said: “There has been a whole school of argument that hypnosis is nothing more than an exaggerated form of social compliance. This is evidence that they are not just telling you what they think you want to hear. They are actually perceiving things differently.”

For many of us, having scientific proof will help us to believe in hypnotherapy but there will be people who ask: “Is it all just a placebo?” With any therapy or drug there is always a placebo element to it – you believe that by taking this pill or receiving that therapy you will get better. By telling this to your mind it begins to happen. Hypnotherapy in that aspect is no different from any other treatment but it is also highly effective at changing the patterns we get into so that we can look at things in a new way and achieve our goals. Even the NHS has now recognised the benefits of hypnotherapy.

Look at other aspects in life where we are driven by our subconscious and the messages around us, such as in the media where the subliminal messages we pick up around us can influence our choices.

Marketers use branding to tap into our subconscious – take McDonalds for example. Their colours are red and yellow/golden, that’s because, according to the colour theory, these colours are known to subconsciously trigger hunger and/or induce excitement. These colours encourage guests to spend more and leave quickly, which is exactly what fast food restaurants want you to do. McDondalds has now started making the stores green, which is a colour we associate with health and the environment. As the world is becoming more conscious about the effects that certain foods have on our health and the damage we are doing to the planet, McDonalds is moving with the times making their fast food restaurants remain appealing.

Personally I have experienced many clients changing the way they look at a situation, their perception and becoming much happier people. I find my work so rewarding, seeing someone transform from the very first session full of anxiety to now enjoying life far more.

It is time to start working with your mind, take the first steps today to achieving your goals.

Click here to see what kind of things can be treated using Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP.

© EKTherapies

Monday, 18 June 2012

Sports Performance and Hypnosis, CBT & NLP

How can hypnosis, CBT & NLP help with sports performance? Do athletes really reach a point where their mind is stopping them from moving forward?

One of the key attributes of any top athlete is the ability to focus and perform at a top level of skill in every situation. Milton Erickson was a pioneer in the use of hypnotherapy methods in sports to improve focus. He worked with a number of top athletes, including the US Olympic Rifle squad and the shot-putter Donald Lawrence. In one story relating to a tournament golfer (Rossi 1988) Erickson was asked to assist in improving the golfer's consistency across all holes throughout a round. The golfer seemed to always play the first hole perfectly, and then deteriorate. The question for Erickson was: If you can play the first hole perfectly, then can you do as well on the next? He put the golfer in a trance and told him "You will play only the first hole, that is all you will remember, and you will be alone on the golf course." The golfer, needless to say, played an excellent round in his next tournament.

By taking the pressure out of the game the golfer, Rossi, was able to perform to the best of his ability throughout the whole tournament.

Similarly, anyone who has watched Jonny Wilkinson prepare for a kick will have noticed that he uses the same visual and physical ritual every time.

"He places the ball carefully, the same way that he has so many times before. Shutting out the cheers and jeers of the crowd, he stands up, and walks just the right amount of paces backwards. Then takes a single sidestep. But he is not yet ready. Standing with his feet a shoulder width apart, he clasps his hands in front of himself, staring at them for what seems like an age. Finally looking towards the posts, tilting slightly upwards, he pulls his head back just a little, as if the target somehow magnifies in his vision. He focuses, and there he sees her, sitting right in the middle, in the crowd, between the posts. Then he feels it; he knows that he is ready. And the rest is history." (Vile and Biggs - in Press)

For Jonny to reach this level of control he has practiced not only the physical preparation but also the mental too.

"The key to cognitive motor learning lies in elucidating the way in which learned skills are represented in memory." (Annett 1995)

Often it is the mental processes that make the difference between two athletes; the ones that let the pressure or their own doubts creep in will struggle to be as successful as the athletes who stay "in the zone" (focused).

Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP can teach you the techniques to stay focused and to achieve your goals, either within sports or in life, helping you to realize your potential and to focus on where you want to be.

© EKTherapies

Monday, 11 June 2012

How does Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP work together

Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP are powerful therapies in themselves but used together they give you the chance to look at your challenge from lots of different angles, giving you the best chance to have the tools you need to become the person you want to be.

To understand how these therapies can work together, I think it is good to have a general understanding of them as individual therapies first. There are many descriptions for what Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP are and some of them are very technical in depth. Rather than setting out a long technical explanation I am going to explain them in nice easy terms.

What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a way of quieting the conscious mind so that you can talk to the subconscious mind. Sometimes even though consciously we want to do something if we don’t have the subconscious mind thinking the same thing then the outcome will always be the same even though consciously we want something different. By talking to someone’s subconscious you can help the internal thought process to be working towards what they want and not still on the old auto pilot. Allowing our subconscious to take over (on autopilot) is something that we do on a daily basis, like when you "zone out" for a while. There are lots of different ways to get a person into trance (a relaxed state of mind where you can speak to the subconscious), it depends on individual characters and expectations, but rest assured almost everyone can be put into a trance.

What is NLP?

NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), the fundamental dynamics between your mind, language (internal and external) and how the programing of them affects our body and behaviour.

Neuro – the neurological system regulates how our bodies function

Linguistic – language, the words we choose to use to communicate with others and ourselves

Programming – the models/links of the world we create (learned behaviour)

Once you understand the mental programming then you can use the power of words and imagery to help someone change their neurological path and therefore produce different behaviour.

What is CBT?

CBT (Cognitive behavioural Therapy) focuses on the ‘here and now’ to help you feel better. Through talking you challenge negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Instead of focussing on the causes of your distress or symptoms in the past, it looks for ways to improve your state of mind now.
With all of these therapies the client remains in control with the therapist helping the client to make the change they are looking to make. You will leave the session with the tools to continue the work started in the sessions and develop into the person you want to be.

Hopefully you now have an outline about these three therapies. As I said they work very well by themselves and often I end up using only one with a client as that is what they respond to best. The great thing about being able to use all three is that I can give my clients the best chance to achieve their goals because if one therapy doesn’t work so well for them then I can use another.

I tend to use a combination of all three therapies, using CBT to ask clients questions that challenge them to see a different way, NLP to help integrate the mind with their new thought pattern and Hypnotherapy to tie the three together and help make sure the subconscious is working in the same direction and not still on the old track.

To find out what kind of things can be treated with this powerful combination click here.

© EKTherapies

Monday, 4 June 2012

Happy Jubilee Weekend

Happy Jubilee weekend! Whatever you did over the weekend I hope you found time to enjoy the Jubilee celebrations. The Royals have a way of dividing opinions, but personally I love to see the pomp and ceremony that Britain does so well. I love watching the UK sparkle, and feeling people coming together with big smiles on their faces, as we enjoy a long weekend full of celebrations.

I know that not everyone had these four days off, so if you’re one of the ones working I hope that the Jubilee spirit is still with you, helping you to have enjoyable work days.

Queen Elizabeth has been 60 years our Queen. She is the second longest reigning monarch; Queen Victoria reigned for 64 years. Queen Elizabeth has shown many strengths and has been a wonderful role model for the country. I admire how the Queen has put her job, the role of being Queen, first and has never shown the strain it must put on her and her family at times. She carries herself with such decorum and positivity, never moaning; she is a true British symbol. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are steadily learning the role from her and I hope will keep up the Queens’s positive energy and tireless commitment to her country.

I feel very proud to be British. With the Olympics around the corner it is wonderful to see England celebrating through these tough times of recession. It can be so easy to just look at our struggles but we have a chance to show the world that we can be united together.

© EKTherapies