hypnotherapy blog

Why I became a Hypnotherapist

Posted by on Feb 6, 2017 in Blog, Hypnotherapy Blog | 0 comments

My Journey..

Sometimes its nice to know a little bit more about someone than just their qualifications. For those who might be interested here’s my story of how I became a hypnotherapist.

Born in 1972 I grew up in the pretty Cathedral City of Lichfield. I enjoyed a happy uneventful childhood. My brother and I were brought up by our parents who were both teachers. School holidays were spent in our little caravan with bunk beds and gas lamps somewhere in The Malvern Hills or near Scarborough. I still recall how great fish and chips in Scarborough are! From the age of 7 I was lucky enough to go horse riding every Sunday with my father who still rides weekly now aged 75 years young.

It was in my teenage years that I found myself suffering from anxiety and long term anxiety led to bouts of depression. With little understanding of why this was happening to me or who to turn to compounded by a teenage broken heart and exam pressures I ended up in hospital having attempted to end my own life.

I will to this day never forget the kindness of one particular nurse in A&E her words “I understand” transformed how I felt in that moment. Her empathy and kindness were a catalyst for change. I was lucky enough to get the psychological help I needed. A course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy completely retrained my thought processes from anxious and negative ones to much more rational and positive ones. This has given me such mental resilience and positivity and I have been fortunate to enjoy good mental health and wellbeing for the whole of my adult life thus far.

Looking back it was that moment with the nurse that had ignited a desire to work with people in a therapeutic environment. That desire combined with a real curiosity about how the mind works, why it goes wrong and what we can do to address that led me to the next step of the journey which was arriving at Sussex University to study Applied Psychology in 1994. I worked hard and left with a BA Hons 2:1 in 1997.

I had planned to go on to become a Clinical Psychologist but plans change and after I left Sussex had a brief stint in sales earning some much needed money. In 1999 I bought a one-way ticket to India with my partner (now husband) where we worked our way across and around Asia, Indonesia, Australia, North and Central America finally returning home in 2002 after an epic 3 year adventure (that I plan to repeat when I retire!)

Having had a seriously long time to ponder the meaning of life and what to do with it I realised hypnotherapy was my calling. I studied a Diploma of Hypnotherapy upon my return and the rest as they say is history. Being a hypnotherapist is my dharma I am very lucky to have found a job I love so much that it doesn’t feel like work.

So, if you are suffering from anxiety rest assured “I understand” and I want you to know it doesn’t have to stay that way. The mind has a huge capacity for change and with the right information, help and tools you can experience relief from what you are going through. The first step of the journey is asking for help. So what are you waiting for? Give me a call or email me and arrange a free consultation. Im always happy to help.

Best Wishes Helen 07970 262612

How does hypnotherapy work?

Posted by on Feb 2, 2017 in Hypnotherapy Blog | 0 comments

How does hypnotherapy work?

As a hypnotherapist this question still fascinates me every day as I try to understand exactly what it is that creates changes in people. Hypnotherapy works in many ways and there are many techniques but I will not be covering these in this article it is the actual mechanics of hypnosis as such that I will be discussing here.

To understand how hypnotherapy works first we must ask ‘what is hypnosis?’ Often I explain to clients that hypnosis is a deep state of mental and physical relaxation and focused awareness that we call ‘trance’, you are in control, can hear all that I’m saying to you but the subconscious mind is more open and receptive to those suggestions that you receive in that state. This is true but what exactly is it that is going on inside the brain to make this happen?

I have read a number of times that the brain waves change in a state of hypnosis. Brain waves change from Gamma, an active state of high cognitive functioning through Beta which are also fast brain waves in our active alert state then slowing into Alpha waves which occur when we are more relaxed. Hypnosis occurs in Theta state, this is a slow calm relaxed state which allows us to access the subconscious mind. Delta waves are the slowest, those of deep restful sleep. In most hypnotherapy sessions I see people moving through these states usually resting somewhere between alpha and theta and sometimes slipping down into delta.

We can see that there are changes occurring but we would all enter these different states of brain wave activity without necessarily being in a state of hypnosis. We are all familiar with daydreaming for example which is a natural state of trance that occurs.

I want to look further still at what is happening within the areas of the brain during hypnosis. It is only recently that we have been able to consider this and measure this as modern technology has advanced and especially the use of MRI scans to look at brain function. Recent studies by David Spiegel at Stanford discovered there were 3 hallmarks of the brain under hypnosis. It is the first two of these that are relevant to my practice and which I will discuss here. The first is that there is a decrease in activity in an area called the dorsal anterior cingulate, part of the brains salience network. This means you are so absorbed in hypnosis you’re not worrying about anything else. Secondly, they noted an increase in connections between two other areas of the brain, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the insula. Spiegel described this as a brain-body connection that helps the brain process and control what’s going on in the body.

The first change would account for the intense mental relaxation and calmness experienced during hypnotherapy . It is this deep mental calmness that can be used to overcome anxieties. If you can tap into that calmness even for just a short while you know it is possible and this is incredibly useful for facilitating positive change.

The second change in brain activity could help to explain the mechanism of how hypnotherapy can be used to affect physiological states. Hypnotherapy has been shown to be effective for lowering blood pressure, relieving IBS, changing the pain response and a myriad of other physical conditions. This new finding may well help us understand how this happens.

So apologies if that’s all a bit technical but I love science, I love knowing how things work and why things work especially the mind. I’m glad science is taking hypnotherapy away from the myths and misunderstandings that stage hypnosis has brought to it and is moving it to where it should be at the forefront of psychology.

One last point though before I finish this look into ‘How does hypnotherapy work?’ We have looked into the ‘hypno’ part of hypnotherapy but how about the ‘therapy’ part. Here I refer not to the techniques used once someone is in a state of hypnosis but rather simply the conscious talking part of a session. That being the trusting, open, non-judgmental space that is created. The space that is held so the client can talk through the issues that have brought them here. Talking through things increases awareness which in turn helps people understand their thoughts and feelings in relation to the problem. It is often this part of the hypnotherapy session that is as valuable and effective in creating positive changes than the hypnosis part itself. This great combination is what Hypnotherapy is and how hypnotherapy works.

I hope you found this interesting. I welcome your thoughts and questions. Best wishes Helen

5 things your hypnotherapist should always do

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 in Hypnotherapy Blog | 0 comments

5 things your hypnotherapist should always do

It’s really important when choosing and working with a hypnotherapist, to ensure they are delivering what you both expect and behaving in a professional and ethical manner. This is the approach I take with clients in my Brighton & Hove hypnotherapy clinic, and so I decided to put together a checklist of 5 things a good hypnotherapist should always do when working with you.

1) Set a clear goal of what you want to achieve and a plan of how to get there

This is really important as this forms the basis of the work done together during the hypnosis sessions. You both agree and understand what you are working towards, what a good end result looks like and the steps you will take on your hypnotherapy journey to get you there.

2) Ensure they are the right hypnotherapist to help you

Hypnotherapists are not miracle workers of course and cannot always be skilled in all areas. Some specialise in working with certain challenges more than others. A good hypnotherapist will ensure they posses the skills required to achieve the changes you desire. And if they don’t, they should willingly refer you on to colleagues that can help more effectively.

3) Keep everything confidential

This is a must since the relationship between you and your practitioner is about trust. If your hypnotherapist has discussed your sessions or issues with anyone else stop working with them! If there was ever a way to fail as a hypnotherapist, this is it. It may have taken you months or even years to work up the courage to approach your hypnotherapist for help – they need to respect your personal and private details and remain professional at all times. This is why you should ensure your hypnotherapist is fully accredited and qualified.

4) Be happy to talk about their training and qualifications

It’s so vital to ensure your hypnotherapy sessions are conducted by someone who is fully qualified and a member of a professional body. Don’t be afraid to ask your hypnotherapist which professional bodies they are affiliated with, what qualifications they hold and to see certificates if you feel you would like to.

5) Follow up with you after the sessions

After your hypnosis sessions are finished, it’s important that your hypnotherapist follows up with you, both to understand if things have improved and to offer support where needed. It’s not a treat and run situation – a good hypnotherapist will always stay in touch after the programme is over. They should also ask for feedback from you which is an important step in learning and refining their practice.

Get in touch with me now and take a bold step towards being free from your worries.

Helen Brooks is a qualified Senior Hypnotherapist and treats many challenges including a specialism in smoking cessation. Helen treats clients in Brighton & Hove, at the Tree Of Life Centre. To read more about Helen click here.

Top 10 ways to prepare yourself to stop smoking before starting your hypnotherapy programme

Posted by on Sep 28, 2015 in Hypnotherapy Blog | Comments Off on Top 10 ways to prepare yourself to stop smoking before starting your hypnotherapy programme

 

Many people are using hypnotherapy to help them stop smoking – it’s popularity as a treatment is growing, mainly due to its amazing success. I have had a lot of experience with smokers and using hypnotherapy to help them quit – it’s kind of my forte and I love seeing the happy, healthy results of my work with such clients.

 

It’s all about breaking the smoking habit

 

hypnotherapy to stop smokingQuitting smoking is a huge challenge – my clients are often trying to break years of habit-forming behaviour and that takes time. A lot of this deep-seated behaviour is subconscious and this is where hypnotherapy and hypnosis really comes into its own. The subconscious mind recognises all those times of day when you reach for a cigarette. It knows all those associations when you just have to smoke – maybe with a glass of wine, when you’re reading the paper or out with smoking friends. With hypnotherapy, you can directly communicate with your subconscious mind to break these associations and stop smoking – forever.

 

10 ways to prepare you and your body to stop smoking

 

If you are considering using hypnotherapy to stop smoking, it’s a good idea to prepare   your body and mind for the challenge. Before hypnosis, your mind needs to be open to change and you also need to become more conscious of your cigarette habits. These small behavioural changes will help to break smoker habits long term.

 

1) Use the other hand to hold your cigarette when you smoke – this will feel a little strange, like writing with the other hand – but it makes you more conscious of your smoking.

2) If there is a strong association with having a cigarette and drinking tea, coffee or wine, then smoke before or after the drink – not with it. This will help break the habit.

3) If you always have a smoking place, then smoke somewhere else. For example if you smoke at the back door, do it at the front door instead.

4) Turn a smoking place into a non-smoking place. It’s fag-free – so do something else there, like read the paper.

5) Note down on a scale of 1-10 how much you wanted that cigarette and also how much you enjoyed it. You might see how the two don’t tally up.

6) Once you have your hypnotherapy appointment date booked tell people you are stopping smoking. This gives you a focus and helps others to support you too.

7) Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You may be surprised at how easy you find it to quit smoking when you start hypnotherapy but you may still need some support and advice along the way. Remember your therapist wants you to succeed – they are always there to help and support you.

8) Believe in yourself – you have the ability to make this change to become a non-smoker.  Before your hypnosis session, remind yourself of all the other things you have achieved in your life, even though some may have been difficult. Passing an exam, getting a new job or promotion, learning to drive – there will be lots if you think about it. You can do it.

9) Focus on what becoming a non-smoker will do for you and also your family. When you have kicked the habit and stopped smoking, you will be fitter, healthier, better off financially, more energetic and free from the inconvenience cigarettes can cause.

10) Decide in advance that, once you have stopped smoking, you will give yourself a reward. You will absolutely deserve it. Why not put aside the money that would have been spent on cigarettes and treat yourself to something – a gym membership, some new clothes or even a holiday.

 

The next step – a hypnotherapy programme for stopping smoking

 

The above top 10 tips will help you to prepare for your hypnotherapy programme which will be especially designed to help you quit those cigarettes. During hypnotherapy sessions, you and your practitioner will look in detail at your smoking habit, your motivations, any previous attempts and any fears you may have. This will then form the basis for a tailor-made set of hypnosis sessions that will take you on the journey to becoming a non-smoker.

 

From my experience, I don’t end the hypnotherapy programme when the client has stopped smoking. Since this is a challenging and life-long change, I always offer support in the weeks afterwards and indeed if there are relapses, a quick hypnosis session can work wonders to remove any lasting associations.

 

For more information on my Hypnotherapy for Stopping Smoking programme click here or contact me for a free initial consultation. The Addiction Helper helpline may also be worth exploring if needed.

All hypnotherapy sessions are held at the Tree of Life Centre in Brighton & Hove, though I work with clients from Worthing, Eastbourne and all over East and West Sussex.

2 most important ways to overcome anxiety

Posted by on Jul 7, 2015 in Hypnotherapy Blog | Comments Off on 2 most important ways to overcome anxiety

hypno eyes v1Don’t let anxiety get the better of you, there are many ways that you can help yourself.  A good hypnotherapist will not only use hypnosis techniques to assist in your recovery but should also give you the tools to help yourself to overcome anxiety.  I call this the belt and braces approach and it is what I use with my clients.

 

 

 

 

1 Breathe. When we are anxious our breathing changes and becomes more rapid and shallow and often we breathe through the mouth.  When we breathe through the mouth we only inflate the top of the lungs which is connected to the sympathetic nerve fibres that activate the fight or flight response.  When we breathe through the nose we inflate the entire lung and lower lobes that that connect to the parasympathetic nervous system.  this calms the body and slows the heart rate. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.

 

2 Relax.  Yes I know that is exactly what you can’t do when you feel anxious so you need to practice and practice and practice.  We might think we are relaxing when we watch telly with a glass of wine but what we are really doing is distracting ourselves. Proper effective mental and physical relaxation is so much more. Clients are amazed at how relaxing hypnotherapy sessions are.  This is because the brain waves change from Beta down into Alpha which is relaxed and thenTheta which signal a very deep state of relaxation or hypnosis.  Go and visit the App store on your phone and download a myriad of free relaxation apps then take 15 minutes a day to listen to these and relax deeply. This relaxation practice will enable you to then relax at will when you really need to, and in the process will reduce and combat stress and anxiety.

5 Tips for finding a Hypnotherapist

Posted by on Jan 7, 2015 in Hypnotherapy Blog | Comments Off on 5 Tips for finding a Hypnotherapist

helenbrooksFinding a hypnotherapist can be daunting since there are so many of us these days! Read below for my top tips on finding a hypnotherapist that is right for you…

1. Personal recommendation is always best. Someone tried and tested saves searching for a good hypnotherapist.  These days you can ask friends on facebook for recommendations and usually they or their friends will come up with a name or two that you can follow up.

2. Check that the hypnotherapist is suitably qualified. All the different letters after names can be confusing even to myself a qualified hypnotherapist. A Degree is excellent but most hypnotherapists don’t have one. A Degree is not necessary to become a hypnotherapist so a good way to check is by ensuring they are a Registered member of a professional hypnotherapy body and have completed the necessary training to assist with your problem. Check out their About Me page.

3. Do they offer a free initial consultation? A course of hypnotherapy is an investment in yourself that you want to get right.  Any good hypnotherapist should offer a free initial consultation.  It is as important for the therapist to assess if they are the best person to help their client as it is for the client to find out about the hypnotherapist.

4. Did  they talk or listen? At your free consultation did the hypnotherapist mostly talk or did they mostly listen? A good hypnotherapist is interested in you and what you want to achieve and a good therapist listens more than they talk.

5. Do you like them? In my opinion it is vital that you feel comfortable, listened to and understood.  It doesn’t matter how much experience or how many qualifications the hypnotherapist has,  you have to feel at ease and that on some level you like the hypnotherapist you are working with for the therapeutic relationship to be truly transformative.

I hope you find these tips useful. Helen

Hypnotherapy to help stop smoking

Posted by on Dec 1, 2014 in Hypnotherapy Blog | Comments Off on Hypnotherapy to help stop smoking

stopsmokingbuttonIf you want to stop smoking with hypnotherapy in Brighton and Hove then I can help you. I have many years of expertise in helping people stop smoking using hypnotherapy. It is a large part of my work which I enjoy immensely.   Seeing people make a change that they may have been struggling with for some years is very rewarding especially when it is a change that could in fact save their life. Hypnotherapy for stopping smoking is a safe, quick and comfortable way to become free from the habit. Hypnosis is the most effective way of giving up smoking according to the largest ever scientific comparison of ways of breaking the habit as cited in The New Scientist (Vol.136 Oct 92) which compared the results of more than 600 studies. During hypnotherapy for stopping smoking sessions we will look in detail at your habit patterns, previous attempts at stopping, your motivations for becoming a non-smoker and also any particular fears about stopping you may have, for example putting on weight. Using this information I tailor the stop smoking hypnotherapy session to address these factors and after this first session you will stop smoking. However, unlike many other practitioners the treatment doesn’t stop here. Although you will have stopped smoking we really need to ensure that this is a permanent change and one that feels comfortable and natural. Throughout the next week I will be available for telephone support if you feel you should require it. The second session means that we can discuss how you felt throughout the week perhaps around other people who smoke and in those situations where you used to smoke. We need to ensure that you have no cravings or uncomfortable feelings. If there have been any this second session means we can work on those and remove them and also reinforce the work we have done in session one to make sure that you are a happy and relaxed non-smoker for good. For more information about using hypnotherapy to stop smoking read the NHS website here. The Addiction Helper helpline may also be worth exploring if needed.

What is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)?

Posted by on Nov 7, 2014 in Hypnotherapy Blog | Comments Off on What is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)?

Emotional Freedom Technique is a relatively new technique described as ‘energy psychology’.

It is one of the most effective ways of eliminating overwhelming emotions. This makes Emotional Freedom Technique useful as a therapy and self development tool for eliminating fears and phobias, overcoming trauma, dealing with stress and coping with recurring emotions from past events without the need for regression.

You will still be able to remember the event but you will be free from the emotions that once accompanied the event. In fact as the name suggests, EFT enables you to be free from any negative emotion that is adversely affecting you.

Once you have been shown this technique by a practitioner you can use it for yourself without the need for further sessions.

To discuss having Emotional Freedom Technique therapy with me, please give me a call.

How does hypnotherapy work?

Posted by on Oct 28, 2014 in Hypnotherapy Blog | Comments Off on How does hypnotherapy work?

How does hypnotherapy work is a question I get asked a lot!

Natural bodily functions that we do not control through thought, are controlled by the subconscious mind, such as digestion, heartbeat, blood flow, hormonal balance and the immune system. By working with the subconscious in a state of hypnosis it is possible to affect these physical aspects.

The subconscious is also part of the brain that stores information on everything that has ever happened to us. By guiding the mind to access memories that may be relevant to our current condition we can also alleviate and understand emotional and behavioural causes of distress.

This great untapped power can also be called upon to help us reach our goals and develop self-knowledge and inner peace.