• Sammie’s Weight Management Journey

    Sammy has decided to immortalise her Weight Management Journey, warts and all, through her blog.  Sammy has decided to undertake the 5-Step Weight Management Process as well as attending weigh-ins at her local slimming club.  In her blog she speaks frankly and openly about her feelings and how she is taking to the therapy I provide.

    Sammy has only completed two of the five steps so far, so is nearer to the beginning of her journey rather than nearing the end of the beginning, i.e. having completed the 5 steps.

    So far, she has started to successfully change her eating behaviours and habits for the better, started to address cravings.  In particular, her comments on hypnosis and EFT can be found by clicking the links.  Please do have a read.  You will see that, as with any weight loss, there is a healthy amount of scepticism and a fair dose of negativity, but this is completely normal.  The one thing the sub-conscious mind detests is change.  Through necessity though, this is exactly what the programme is designed to do.  So it comes as no surprise that the mind can throw in things like “I told you so” or “sod it, you’ve not done as well as expected so you might as well have that bottle of wine”.

    Overall Sammy is taking very well to the therapy and certainly not throwing up any surprises.  All the emotional and core issues that the slimming clubs seem afraid of will be dealt with in the coming sessions, so stick with it Sammy!  Despite what your sub-conscious is telling you, you are doing really well!

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  • No Smoking Day – Wednesday 9th March 2011

    So it’s that time of year again.  Tomorrow is time for National No Smoking Day.  The establishment’s attempt to whittle away a few more smokers into the world of healthy living.  Yet another day in the year, along with New Year and birthdays that we attempt to give an excuse or rationalisation to giving up the habit.  Lets face it though, why do we need an excuse to give up on a certain day?  Why not just do it?  Having a nose through the No Smoking Day website, offers abound of the various ways and suggestions of assistance to give up the filthy habit.  We even have Duncan Bannatyne of Dragon’s Den fame introducing this year’s campaign.  Following on from yesterday’s post on technology I’ve even stumbled across an article on a study on stop smoking smart phone apps and the question do they really work?

    Of course, being a hypnotherapist, the smoking issue could be considered as one of my “Bread & Butter” issues that I am asked to address more than anything else.  In truth, it comes in fits and starts.  Sometimes I get a month with quite a few clients asking for this, but then I can go for a few months without one new stop smoking client.  Typically, anyone coming to see me for this issue has tried a range of interventions in the bid to give up the evil weed.  As usual, hypnosis is the last resort with the client having tried everything else first.  Yet hypnosis remains one of the most successful and the most natural way to quit the habit!  Of course, the other interventions have their successes but typically come with a range of other considerations.  For example Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs) (inhalers, gum, patches et al) are fine for gradually weaning you off the drug, however, still require you to put a highly toxic substance into your body and by itself does not deal with the psychological aspects of the habit which the client has taken years compounding.  Here’s a small fact for you;  If you refine the nicotine in JUST ONE cigarette and inject it, it WILL kill you!  Sobering thought!

    So what can you ask yourself when you are considering the right way for you to quit the habit?  Well one thing I always ask of such a client is do you want to or do you need to?  The “need to’s” are always less successful as they are the ones who have been nagged by their GP or family members.  They may have even noticed worrying symptoms in themselves or seen a close family member or friend die and formulated the simple phrase “I need to stop smoking” in their mind.  But this need is usually at odds with the part of them that still likes the habit, for whatever reason, and wants to smoke.  In my experience of assisting a lot of people to quit, the “want” will nearly always win through.  The people that have phrased it “I want to stop smoking” already have a head start!  They have a firm goal set and the desire to achieve it!

    What else?  Honesty.  What is stopping you from giving up?  Every client I see for this issue will eventually answer one thing.  FEAR!  Quite simply a fear of being deprived.  Smoking has been their “friend” for many years.  It has helped them through a plethora of stressful situations or has been a way of gaining acceptance into a particular social group.  Typically they are focused on losing this rather than focusing on all the things they gain from not smoking.  Things like being able to taste and smell better, not reeking of stale smoke, increased libido (come on gents, you like the idea of that one) and overall better health.  Fear is a very strong emotion, but hypnosis can achieve this “re-frame” with relative ease.

    Leading on from honesty, is acceptance.  As with any substance addiction, one must accept they are addicted in the first place so that they may then address this addiction.  In fact, nicotine is more addictive than heroine!  It’s just not as physically demanding to come off of.  Without exception, the smoker has chosen to smoke the first few cigarettes.  Beyond that, it is an addiction, end of story.  So accept it and addressing it will be far easier.

    So to all the soon to be non-smokers out there, however, you choose to again be that non-smoker, on whichever day you choose to do it, I salute you!

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  • Technology Assisting Wellbeing

    In the Breakfast News this morning was a lovely story of a man in the early stages of having Motor Neuron Disease.  He’s found a piece of software that he is busily recording his voice into so that when the unfortunate time comes where he is unable to articulate speech and requires the aid of speech synthesis, his family will hear HIS voice, and not some electronically mutated “Stephen Hawking” voice.

    His child is still a toddler but will be remembering the sound of his father’s voice.  For the child alone, it will be so important to be able to communicate with his father and hear his voice coming back to him.  But for the family as a whole it will be emotionally amazing!  Receiving such a diagnosis in any family unit can be emotionally soul destroying and stressful.  Motor Neuron Disease is particularly cruel as the family has to go through the heartache of seeing the one they love deteriorate before their eyes.

    This small piece of technology will bring small comfort in the great scheme of things, but its a comfort that will have a huge bearing on the emotional wellbeing of the family.  Well done the BBC for once bringing a positive piece of news to the morning breakfast instead of the usual drone of negativity.

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  • Children – Spending Time with Them

    In Breakfast News this morning was an item regarding spending time with our children.  We must spend at least 15 minutes per day giving our children our undivided attention.

    Is it just me or is this a bit of a “non-news” item designed to fill in or pad out the time?  I don’t pretend that I am the perfect parent.  I don’t think anyone can, after all when our nearest and dearest were born, they did not come with an instruction manual!  But, I would have thought that giving time to our children would be common sense.

    Our children learn from us.  They look to us for security and we provide for them in their early years.  So it would seem common sense to me that a child which is constantly told “in a minute… in a minute” will start to distance themselves from their parents, even disassociate from the relationship completely.  Whereas a child who is given the attention will feel nurtured and included, moreover they will feel loved.  Now I know that in this fast paced busy world in which we live, we can all find ourselves saying those well worn words “in a minute”, but as long as that is what you really mean and give the child the attention later that’s fine.  Frankly I feel that 15 minutes may not be long enough.  Imagine being the child thinking “Oh! Brilliant it’s time for my 15 minutes now!”

    That said, however, looking at the amount of clients I’ve had, past and present, who’s issues have been born in their childhood, perhaps the parents of today DO need to be told this little nugget of parental wisdom and it is in fact a news item.



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  • Truth & Honesty

    Combine the words truth and honesty with that age old question “What if” and wonder what sort of a world it would be if everyone where incapable of telling fibs or being dishonest.  What if everyone could only tell the truth?

    Well for a start I think my client load would hit the floor very quickly!  Recent conversations and reading an article in a magazine whilst waiting for a physio appointment yesterday has brought this field of thought back into my mind.

    In therapy, complete honesty is something which I ask for from all of my clients.  It makes it very difficult for me to help someone if they cannot be honest about their issues in the first place.  Of course, some clients find this rather difficult but soon discover that if they open up and can be honest with me about what is troubling them then things progress a whole lot quicker.  For example, I often hear a smoker say “I’m not addicted”.  Rubbish!  Of course they are.  You choose to smoke the first few cigarettes, for whatever reason.  However, after that, you are quite simply addicted!  Once the smoker can accept and be honest that they are addicted, then the subsequent therapy takes hold a lot easier.

    Leaving therapy aside for a moment, what if you can be completely honest and truthful with your partner?  They wouldn’t ever be looking for hidden agenda.  They wouldn’t be suspicious if you’ve had a run of late nights in the office.  They wouldn’t have a twinge of doubt when you say “You look gorgeous in that dress darling and no your bum doesn’t look big in that”.

    Taking a wider look at it, what if you are completely honest with your boss?  Would he have to think “He’s just saying that because he’s angling for promotion” any more.  Here’s a big one, What if Governments where truthful and honest in their business.  Would the Cold War have even happened?  Would we have gone to war with Iraq the second time having believed the intelligence that they had weapons of mass destruction?

    Of course, the premise of everyone only being able to tell the truth has held a certain fascination for many years.  It’s the subject of comedic films and just recently it was featured in an episode of Hustle where one of the con men, having hit his head, suddenly found himself debilitated by only being able to tell the truth.  It has a more sinister side in the tales of spies and espionage from the time of the Cold War and before.  We hear of mystery concoctions being  injected so that someone will only tell the truth under interrogation.  Frankly though, research has shown that information obtained in such ways can be less than reliable.

    So to the question can you lie under hypnosis?  Some of the drugs aforementioned where labelled hypnotics, rather distastefully I think.  But this is a question that is often asked of me and one which is often debated amongst hypnotists.  My answer (and this is my view you will understand) is that someone under hypnosis will tell you what they believe to be true.  It all rests on belief.  It doesn’t matter if what they say is true or not, it is what they believe to be true.  So I suppose the simple answer is that people will always tell the truth under hypnosis, but their version of it.  Whether that version is the truth or has some other meaning is another question coloured by their perceptions of the world, their reality and their experience.

    Who said the world is a simple place?

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  • Failure – Is There Such a Thing?

    The short answer to this question is:- NO!  There is no such thing as failure, only FEEDBACK!

    Another NLP pre-supposition but one which we would all do well to be mindful of.  As you will see on the front page of my website, I mention that we all have goals in our life that sometimes we strive to achieve yet never seem to get there.  Are we failing?  Only if you do not learn from your mistakes.

    Goals can be well formed thus making it relatively easy to achieve them, or they can be set up in a way that dooms us to failure right from the start.  I mentioned the SMART principle in another post.  To have SMART goals i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed greatly increases ones chances of success.  But ask yourself, how do you react to failure?  Do you roll over and think “Well I won’t try that again”?  Do you dwell on the whole thing and remain in a negative state about it?  Clearly these behaviours have nothing whatsoever to do with successfully achieving what you want.  Those that can be flexible with their own behaviour (also the subject of another post), learn from their mistakes by examining the feedback their behaviours have produced and set about their goals in a different way WILL ACHIEVE THEM.

    So you see there is no such thing as failure, only the feedback, the examination of which can lead to the alteration of one’s own behaviours that ultimately leads to success!

    My mother used to have a saying which, in later life, I realise has a lot of meaning. “To make a mistake is forgivable, to make it twice somewhat dubious, but if you haven’t learnt from that and make it again, then that’s downright stupidity!”  Wise words!

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  • Networking – Make it work for YOU!

    I’m straying slightly off the normal material for my blog this morning and I’m going to talk about networking.  I’ll be attending the Carrington Business Lunch today, a networking event that takes place once a month in Bournemouth.  I’ve heard many people comment “networking isn’t for me” or “I doubt the sort of people at these events would be interested in me”, so is networking really for you?

    Quite a number of books have been published on the psychology of the whole networking thing but the simple answer is; Networking is for everybody! No matter what you do or how you do it, networking can work for you, BUT you have to work at it!  When attending one of these events, you have to open your mind and accept that you are NOT networking or marketing yourself to the people in the room on any given meeting.  You are networking to their networks and you are raising your profile in the locality of that network.  I have no doubt that you have all heard the premise of “6 degrees of separation”, in that any one person is only 6 steps away from making the acquaintance of anyone else in the world.  I happen to think this is more or less true.  This premise makes the world a mind bogglingly small place.  So what does one do at a networking event to get noticed?  Obviously, to network to an individual’s network you must ensure you stick in their mind.  Moreover, what you do needs to be memorable for them.  Here’s a few do’s and dont’s:

    • Do pick the right network for you and your business.  There are many networks out there and some will suit you better than others.  Likewise, some are more expensive than others.  If possible have a look at the sorts of people attending.  Have you got something they might want?  Most networks will allow you to attend once or twice as a guest i.e. without membership, so go along and test the water.
    • Do look at the format of the meeting.  Most networks are broadly similar but look for places where you can be different or market yourself in a memorable way.
    • Do remain mindful that you are networking to everyone’s networks, not just the people in the room.
    • Don’t be afraid.  Don’t be that person standing in the corner afraid to say anything to anyone.  Everyone is there for the same reason, to market themselves.  So introduce yourself every chance you get!  If you see someone being that “afraid person”, introduce yourself and bring them in to any conversation you might be having or start your own.
    • Do leverage your time.  Don’t stick with one person or group of people.  Make a bee line for the new people in the room.  It’s pointless marketing yourself to the same people meeting after meeting.  They should know what you do if you’ve met them before, so if they have business for you they will find you.  Move on and make new acquaintances.
    • Do be interested in what other people do.  Okay, it might be you have no need of their services, but remember someone you know might.  If you make yourself interested in what they do, they are far more likely to be interested in what you do.
    • Do share good news!  Especially in these austere times!  Everyone loves a story of success.  So share it!  Even to the point of standing up in front of everyone and telling them.  Not only will it give people cause to remember you it will inspire them too!
    • Do put yourself in their shoes.  Think to yourself  “If I were him (or her) what can I say to make me memorable?”  Of course there will be times where there is no way you would gain a client because you are so different.  For example, an investment consultant is hardly likely to be interested in the latest line of lingerie, but remember, his wife might be!
    • Don’t be downhearted if you do not get new business straight away.  Keep going, it will come!
    • Do collaborate.  You are bound to come across others that are in a similar or even the same business as you.  For the similar ones see if you can find common ground where you can help each other or come up with a joint initiative.  For the same ones, don’t see them as competition.  Clients/customers will often make a decision on whose services to use or products to buy simply based on whether they like them or not.  But, one of you will hopefully get so busy you can’t take on the extra work, so collaborate and refer them to the other guy!  I can almost guarantee they will reciprocate at some time in the future.
    • Do give a little.  If you have some way of helping someone you’ve met at an event then do it.  Whether that be a golden nugget of advice or perhaps you can offer a small service or favour in some way.  Give these things with no expectations and again I could almost guarantee it will come back to you.  After all, you’ll be remembered as “that kind bloke who….”
    • Do above all, enjoy yourself.  Enjoying the event will come through in your body language and make you more approachable.  Nobody really wants to talk to the guy who has a face that appears to have been slapped by a fistful of wet weekends.
    • (Added after the meeting) – Make sure you have enough business cards.  Never miss an opportunity to give them out, even if you don’t think that person will ever contact you, they will possible pass

    Reading back through the above,  I feel sure that both you or I could probably add to the list but it’s a good start.  I’m certainly going to enjoy my lunch today and if what I have said here has inspired you to give it a try and you’d like to come along to Carrington as a guest, drop me a line through the contact page and I’ll get you an invite!

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  • Behaviour & Positive Intention – Good or Bad?

    Yes okay, this is another NLP Pre-supposition in that ALL behaviour (negative or otherwise) has a positive intention.

    Take smoking for example.  It would certainly seem strange that such a negative action/behaviour is supposed to have a positive intention.  How the hell can the act of inhaling poisons into your body be positive I hear you all cry!  Indeed, I would agree with you.  The result on one’s health are very negative, but its the intention that I am talking about here.  Consciously the mind is agreeing with all the anti-smoking media and knows damn well that smoking is bad for you and less than a good idea.  Sub-consciously, however, an addiction is present and certainly a habit has been set up.  Ignoring this addiction and to a lesser extent the habit leads to a plethora of negativity and the sub-conscious playing all sorts of tricks on us to get us to give in and have that cigarette.  Therefore, the behaviour of smoking has a positive intention in that it is fulfilling a need.  The behaviour is staving off the craving and the negativity that we know will come if we ignore the urge to light up.  That’s why any therapist will tell you that in order for us to successfully assist a smoker in giving up, they must first accept they are addicted!

    Another example would be in the area of Weight Management.  So often I have a client that is desperate to lose weight but cannot seem to control their eating behaviours.  All too often the set-up for these behaviours lay in their past where they may have turned to food for comfort in negative situations or they binge because they are, for whatever reason, hiding behind their weight.  Again, consciously we can appreciate that eating the wrong foods at the wrong times is going to do nothing for our expanding waist line.  We know damn well that having the whole chocolate cake instead of just a slice is not going to do us any good and will probably lead to us beating ourselves up over it into the bargain.  But if sub-consciously the  behaviour has been set up that eating the whole of that chocolate cake is going to comfort us after a particularly negative situation then the positive intention can again be shown.

    Quite simply, it seems that the sub-conscious is unable to look at results.  It just doesn’t follow that smoking that cigar or over-eating has bad results for us.  It leaves that up to the conscious mind and only focusses on it’s intention.  With the conscious being the weaker part of the mind, I think you can guess which wins every time!

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  • Connectedness – Do we Really Need to be Connected the Whole Time?

    I’m not talking about being connected with ones feelings or the feelings or others here.  That’s a subject for another post.  What I’m talking about is the perpetual need for human beings to be connected to one another through the use of today’s technology, mobile phones being the top perpetrator.  I’ve observed and commented on this before in polite conversation, but a couple of good examples have occurred recently that’s brought the whole thing back into my field of thought.

    Attending the excellent Olympic Selection Event Volunteer Training on Saturday, the trainer asked for mobile phones to be switched off, or at the very least put onto silent.  I’d already done this, it’s only polite after all and saves the embarrassment of having to fish your phone out when someone calls you at the most awkward time.  Having already done it, however, gave me the chance to have a look at some of the horrified faces around the room that this trainer was actually asking people to “drop off the grid” for a day.  Through observance of body language, I could actually see it made some people feel uncomfortable as they grudgingly set their phone to silent.  God forbid someone might have called one of them to ask which sort of bread they should be buying on the weekly shop.

    There are those that utilise this connectedness in a social way.  Smart phones have made it so much easier to connect to the likes of Twitter and Facebook which seems to fuel a fundamental need within us to send and receive all manner of tweets, texts and the like as to exactly what we’re up to at any given time in the day.  Of course the signature brevity of things like Twitter have given further rise to these things almost taking on their own language.  Being able to cram as much information as possible into the few characters that you’re allowed.  This started with being able to “Txt 1 another on ur fone lol”, but certainly has grown onto the social media aspect.  This is fine in context, but when school children are being marked down because they start using it in their school work or even worse start speaking it, is it such a good thing?  I’ve heard many kids say “LOL” to one another in reaction to a joke or funny situation.  LOL meaning “laughs out loud”.  Surely it would be better to express yourself by laughing and smiling rather than just saying “LOL”.

    But I digress.  It seems that this need for being connected falls into two distinct categories.  There are those that need to stay connected for their employment, and those that feel they need to stay connected purely on a social level.  There is, of course, the cross over between the two.  Business has woken up to the power of social media as a marketing tool.  For example, the moment I hit “Publish” on this post, not only will it post on my blog but it will also bomb-burst to the Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  So I suppose this could be a third category.

    So is all this “Connectedness” a good thing.  As with all things I feel it has it’s advantages, certainly in business, but I do also feel that it must be tempered with a modicum of moderation.  I and many of my peers no doubt, have been asked things like “Can you help my son, he’s addicted to Facebook” or similar.  Using the tool for the good in ones business or to catch up on the gossip of dear Aunty Flo is one thing thing.  But, we must be careful that it doesn’t take over our lives.  Personally I find being asked to switch my phones off rather liberating.  It gives me the excuse to actually concentrate on doing something else and forget about the rest of the world for a little while.  Everything will still happen without me, whether I know about it or not.

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  • Inclusion and Acceptance

    Driving down to Weymouth & Portland this morning to attend the 2012 Olympic Selection Event Volunteer Training Day, I found myself, as one often does, not really listening to the radio but my mind wandering to other things.

    So now having arrived an hour early and sat in McDonalds having a coffee (curse of having once been a squaddie, I can’t be late for anything),  I find myself with a jumble of fairly random thoughts that I’ll try to put down in some sort of order this morning.

    I pondered the question that has been asked on a number of occasions.  Why did I volunteer to assist behind the scenes with the 2012 Olympics?  It was certainly the top question when I attended my initial interview.  Of course there’s always the chance that I might be in the main stadium in London for the opening or closing ceremonies thus negating the need to buy myself a rather expensive ticket for what will probably be the biggest party these islands have seen for many years.  But looking at the sheer numbers of volunteers required across many locations, I think the chances of that are pretty slim.  When asked the question by my interviewer, I found myself stating, quite honestly, that ever since childhood I have said that if ever this particular circus comes to town I want to be a part of it.  After all, we will never see this again in our lifetimes and to be a part of something so big will foster stories I can tell my grandchildren!  What was it the organisers called it? The biggest peacetime mobilisation of manpower ever.

    So thinking further from my reasons to volunteer, it got me pondering the human need for inclusion and social acceptance.  The need to feel a part of something.  It’s a need we all have I think, even someone labelled “a loner”.  Indeed anyone withdrawing socially attracts further scrutiny.  Other people ask why.  Social withdrawal is a symptom in many mental disorders, PTSD for example.  One of the most notable switches in social acceptance over the years is the smoker.  Once socially acceptable to the point that you where nobody if you didn’t smoke, now the smoker is shunned.  A social pariah, the smoker must squirrel himself away outside the pub, away from the social group while he or she indulges in their addiction.  This switch, of course, has come from our increased knowledge of what smoking does to us, but it has certainly taken on an exclusion from social groups for those that still indulge, further fostering an embarrassment almost.  I think out of all the people that ask me to assist them in this area, this reason to give up ranks in the top three at least.

    Well, with those thoughts I must leave you to go and include myself with the rest of the volunteers and start my training.

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