anxiety

Anxiety can become a vicious circle, constantly reinforcing itself: hypnotherapy for anxiety helps break that cycle.

Hypnosis gently and calmly helps you gain relief and new perspectives on your anxiety. It also offers effective ways to manage anxiety mentally, physically, and in real world situations. Having completed the Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy ‘Banish Anxiety’ course, I’ll give you tried and tested methods you can use in your life to feel calm and rise above anxiety.

Find out more…

Blog post:
How hypnotherapy can help with anxiety and depression
Blog post:
How hypnosis can cure social anxiety

 

 

Success stories:
Hypnotherapy in pregnancy
Resources:
Reasons to stay alive | Matt Haig (book)

Resources:
Generalised anxiety disorder (audio download)

How hypnotherapy can help with anxiety and depression

 

Mental health issues are finally gaining wider awareness and understanding generally. But just because the conversation is expanding, there is still a long way to go – and many people still suffering in silence. Anxiety and depression are two of the most common conditions, and while the link between them might not be obvious at first, they are different sides of the same coin.

What’s the difference?

Depression tends to focus on ruminating on the past, frequently accompanied by an inability to find meaning in the present; whilst anxiety tends to manifest as worrying about the future. Both conditions can be exhausting to the extent that they impact upon the most vital elements of a healthy life – such as sleep, diet, and interpersonal relationships.

People suffering with depression need to be taught to accept and work with ambiguous circumstances, as well as to search for and focus on meaning in their life. Learning to relax with uncertainty also benefits those with anxiety; as does learning ways to dial down the hyper-vigilance that if left unchecked, can result in extreme manifestations such as panic attacks, agoraphobia, or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Unhealthy coping mechanisms such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption can also arise as a consequence.

What do they have in common?

Both conditions have stress at their root. This is a state we experience when there is a mismatch between perceived demands and our perceived ability to cope. Stress can also be defined as an adaptive physical response to change in the environment. The stress response evolved to protect us, enabling humans to deal with life threatening dangers such as being confronted with a wild animal. Such situations required action – hence the activation of the stress response to fight, flight, or freeze.

Our brains have not evolved as swiftly as our modern lives have, therefore this stress response to demanding situations is still with us. We all experience stress in different ways depending upon our personality type and past conditioning. Exercise can help flush out stress hormones, but it is better to deal with the cause rather than the symptom, and learn better coping strategies. Likewise, learning to recognise depressive thinking styles (such as all-or-nothing thinking, and catastrophising) can empower us to challenge them when they arise.

So how does hypnotherapy help?

Hypnotherapy is different from any other form of therapy because of the way in which the therapy part happens while one is in hypnosis – itself a natural focused state of absorption. It is a very effective combination of a trance-like altered state of mind with deep relaxation, which allows the chosen therapy to be even more effective. Therapies can include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), suggestion therapy, regression, ego states therapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or hypnoanalysis to name just some examples.

Hypnosis allows you to enter a state of deep relaxation, which in itself is a very useful therapy for managing stress. It also allows one to become calm and focused, as all parts of the mind work together and concentrate on solving the problem at hand; and therefore make the most effective use of the chosen therapy as it is applied. All parts of the mind work in harmony for the good of the whole being.

Are there any other benefits?

Hypnotherapy is a proven method for overcoming both anxiety and depression; as well as being positive, rewarding, safe, and gentle. Someone who has undergone hypnosis will not only learn to manage their symptoms but will have more confidence, increased self esteem, and a clearer and more positive perspective on life. Hypnosis calms the nerves, the mind, and the whole body; while alleviating the stress and anxiety that an individual may experience. It is a fascinating process that explores the resources of the subconscious mind – and the beliefs, behaviours, and thinking patterns of the individual become more positive and empowered as a consequence.

Under hypnosis, an individual can both visualise and feel themselves free from anxiety or depression. Hypnotherapy will allow you to live a richer and more rewarding life without these conditions stopping you from reaching your goals. You can try it out right now with these downloads for anxiety or these downloads for depression. However, if you prefer therapy focused on your individual personality and circumstances, I am a fully qualified hypnotherapist who has undertaken specialist training in both anxiety and depression, and have helped many of my clients overcome these conditions (see my success stories). I am based in Canterbury, Kent and Peckham, London SE15; and also offer online sessions, wherever in the world you may be. Please feel welcome to call me on 07947 475721 for a free no-obligation 15 minute phone consultation – you don’t need to suffer in silence.

 

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Depression in young people

depression in young people

teenager with sad face mask

School holidays can be a testing time for families. Parents try to find new ways to keep children and teens occupied, while young people themselves may be missing school friends. They may try to assert their own independence. Or they may simply be bored, no matter what activities are available. But what if problems are a symptom of something more concerning?

Many people wonder if depression in young people is real. In the case of teens, adults may attribute symptoms of depression to normal teen emotional swings. But experts and paediatricians point out that children and teens really can get depressed, and may be afflicted with the true illness of depression.

What causes depression in young people? 

As in adults, depression in young people may have multiple causes, or one cause that varies among individuals. There are some factors that are unique to certain stages of life, however.

Children

Children, like adults, may become depressed because of genetics. They may have inherited a tendency toward depression, and perhaps there was a trigger that caused it to surface.

Children may become depressed due to parents’ relationship difficulties, as they are uniquely affected by their immediate family’s dynamic.

Bullying at school is also something children may have to face that is not a factor for adults. The same goes for cyber-bullying, which can have devastating consequences. Low self-esteem can also develop through comparing themselves to peers on social media.

A child with a tendency toward perfectionism may be more prone to depression as well. Children with this tendency may ‘beat themselves up’ unnecessarily over failures or perceived failures.

Teens

This age group is considered particularly prone to depression, possibly due in part to the hormonal upheavals of the teenage years. But be careful. It’s easy for adults to take this information and think ‘it’s just hormones’ and therefore think the depression does not need to be addressed. Experts agree that depression, regardless of its cause, is something that should be addressed and treated.

Teens may also be dealing with the bullying/self-esteem issues mentioned above, or even just ‘harmless’ teasing. They may be experiencing their first crush; or rejection from the opposite sex, or indeed same sex. And realising one’s sexuality and then facing the prospect of coming out is an additional and potentially enormous minefield for those affected. (This download might help in this instance.)

Other causes may be purely physiological. Maybe nothing is particularly wrong in the teen’s life, but his or her brain just seems to run in a depressed mode.

What are the signs?

Here are some warning signs of depression in young people.

Children

Parents should be vigilant for any talk about suicide or morbid fascination with death. Other sources point out that television and films should be carefully monitored. Parents should be wary both of potentially depressing subject matter, and of the psychological effects of TV viewing in general (studies show that children who watch six or more hours of TV a day are more prone to depression).

  • Sleep disturbances or changes in sleep habits
  • Sudden increase or decrease in appetite
  • Angry outbursts and/or irritability
  • Lack of interest in social activities or friends
  • ‘Touchy’ about perceived rejection
Teens

Some of the signs of depression in teens are like those in children; some are different. As with children, parents of teens should be keenly aware of any indications of suicidal thoughts. Music, films, and television are also sources of potentially depressing images and subject matter – although it’s important to emphasise that an attraction to these may be a symptom rather than a cause. Also, many teens attracted to ‘alternative’ subcultures can find solace and support there. Non-mainstream interests can be a positive indication of independent thinking and inner confidence.

Other signs may include:

  • Weight loss or gain
  • Over-exercise
  • Binge eating and/or obsessive dieting
  • Angry outbursts/yelling at parents
  • Withdrawal from social activities and family
How can hypnotherapy help?

If your child shows some of these signs over a period of time, consider whether they would be open to seeing someone who could help them. Hypnotherapy can be an extremely effective way of working with depression in young people on a number of levels. In particular, it’s significant that in hypnotherapy they don’t have to talk about their issues if they don’t want to, or feel able to. But, like adults, they appreciate the deeply calming relaxation involved in hypnotherapy. And this can help them gain perspective and develop control over their issues, and then work towards clarity and understanding. If they want to give it a quick try, this download might be a good starting point.

I am a qualified hypnotherapist, experienced in working with depression (see my success stories). I’ve completed the acclaimed Uncommon Knowledge course ‘How To Lift Depression Fast’. And I have good experience in with working with young people, including treating depression. I am based in Canterbury, Kent and Peckham, London SE15; and also undertake online sessions, wherever in the world you may be. I offer a free no-obligation 15 minute phone consultation, so please do get in touch on 07947 475721 if depression affects you or your child – I can help.

How hypnosis can cure social anxiety

social anxiety

man sitting alone in crowd

Why do we have emotions? Wouldn’t life be simpler without them? No, like everything else in human makeup, emotions exist to keep us safe and alive, and able to thrive. Contained in the word “emotion” is the word “motion”. And emotions get us to move, either towards something or away from it. OK, but what does this have to do social anxiety?

Well, we all have the same basic human needs – warmth, security, love, connection, food and shelter. We also have further needs for status, significance, attention, stimulation, creativity and so on. Some emotions draw us to things we feel will meet these needs, and continue our survival. And other emotions drive us away from experiences or situations which, we feel, would do the opposite.

But sometimes our feelings direct us the wrong way. Our emotions mainly get it right and drive us toward what’s good for us and away from the bad. But not always.

Your basic human needs draw you towards social contact – but social anxiety drives you away 

Someone with social anxiety both wants and doesn’t want social contact. Their feelings are pulling and pushing them in different directions. A socially anxious person instinctively knows, as we all do, that they need social contact, but at the same time they fear and avoid it. We avoid what we fear – but we then start to fear what we avoid.

Furthermore, the more you avoid something, the greater the fear becomes. It’s as if your ’emotional brain’ looks at your behaviour and thinks: “We’re avoiding this situation so much that it must be really dangerous. So I’d better ramp up the fear some more, to quite make sure we keep avoiding it.” So we avoid what we fear, but we can also come to fear something just because we avoid it so much.

To complicate matters further, you can fully believe something is good for you but still flee from it. Likewise, you can fully believe something (or someone) is bad for you but it, or they, continue to attract you. It’s primal emotional conditioning geared towards survival that drives our fears, rather than ‘faulty thinking’. So they don’t respond much to reasoning. It’s more effective instead to access and modify these primitive drivers through hypnosis.

Social anxiety treatment with hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy offers a safe and relaxed way for someone to experience a situation they would normally avoid. For someone with social anxiety, a party would be a typical example.

If you can experience what it would be like to feel relaxed and spontaneous at a party a few times while in hypnosis, this is a sufficiently strong indication to your emotional brain that this situation isn’t dangerous. This kind of social event can now be reclassified as one you can go safely towards, it decides – before you’ve even been to an actual party. Likewise, someone who hasn’t left their house for years can, under hypnosis, “experience” going outside before they walk out of the door in real life. The process is under their fully control, in sync with a relaxed mind and body. And when they then leave the house or go to a party for real, it will already feel familiar, and therefore safer.

When I work with someone with social anxiety it’s generally apparent the fears have gone the moment they open their eyes. They know the experience in hypnosis of the feared situation wasn’t “real”, of course. Nonetheless, their subconscious now has a positive new blueprint for responding calmly to social situations in future. And then being socially relaxed becomes the new normal.

Next steps

The new 10 steps to overcome social anxiety course has a hypnotic download for each step of the way. This is partly to develop and hone social skills during hypnotic rehearsal, and also so people experience hypnotic “safe” social experiences before they go into these situations for real. In this way the being driven away from feelings of fear can gently be replaced with the happier drawn towards feelings of pleasure and positive expectation when it comes to socialising and meeting new people.

I am a qualified life coach and hypnotherapist, experienced in coaching clients to help them make the changes they want in their lives (see my success stories). And I can help you move forward too. I am based in Canterbury, Kent and Peckham, London SE15; and also offer online sessions, wherever in the world you may be. Please feel welcome to call me on 07947 475721 for a free no-obligation 15 minute phone consultation if social anxiety affects you or a loved one – I can help.

All about mental health

mental health issues

woman alone on bus with distorted reflections in windows

I’ve been focusing strongly on mental health so far this year, including starting a NCFE Level 2 Certificate in Awareness of Mental Health Problems. I also attended a couple of good events that I’d like to discuss.

Before I do, it’s such a positive sign that these discussions are even taking place. People are increasingly open about their mental health struggles. I’m no fan of celebrity culture, but I applauded Mariah Carey’s bravery in revealing her bipolar disorder recently. This – and similar revelations by those in the public eye – will give courage to many who have struggled with the same symptoms but not known what to do. Or not even realised that there was a name for them. For far too long the media has ridiculed sufferers, and ignorant attitudes have prevailed. All too often sufferers are told ‘pull yourself together’, ‘man up’ or ‘move on’. None of which helps those struggling to manage their symptoms, which often result from factors outside their control in the first place.

Mental health in the workplace

It was with interest that I ventured to the recent Minds@Work event – in their own words, ‘a community of like-minded professionals coming together to break the stigma of depression and anxiety in the working world.’ Handily they have put all the talks up on their website, including stories from two gentlemen whose mental health had impacted upon their careers – and how they had overcome this adversity. There was also an excellent demonstration of best practice from insurance firm Legal & General. They not only employ sixty Mental Health First Aiders, but have a great campaign underway called ‘Not A Red Card Offence’, engaging famous sportspeople to help shift the stigma (the power of celebrity again). Impressive!

It’s encouraging to see the business world starting to grasp the nettle. In fact, I’m increasingly seeing executives seeking treatment. People start to buckle under the strain of a culture where being a workaholic is seen as a positive attribute. In reality, it inevitably strains relationships with their families and other loved ones – especially if they resort to coping mechanisms such as drugs, alcohol, or gambling.

Mental health in the music industry

The next event was close to my heart: a Mental Health Workshop run by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA). As a professional musician myself, I have seen firsthand the impacts of a lifestyle that’s often over-romanticised. Long days composing, rehearsing, or touring, with longer nights performing, take their toll on health and relationships. The near impossibility of earning any reasonable income from one’s talents doesn’t help. (Did you know a band/artist earns only 0.001p from each play on Spotify, for example?) So this event was intended to provide a taster of skills based on neuroscience and cognitive behavioural psychology to empower musicians as they progress against such unfavourable odds, courtesy of Music for Mental Wealth. It was good to see some of the techniques I use with my own clients gaining wider traction. And I’m optimistic that these sorts of conversations are becoming more common.

Find the help you need

So if you or anyone close to you is feeling the strain of a mental health issue, remember you’re not alone. You can get help from a number of local sources and support groups. Ask your GP for advice in the first instance too. Although medication works for some people, it doesn’t really represent a long-term solution. A qualified therapist can help you get to the root of the issue and teach you coping mechanisms as appropriate. This may entail making some lifestyle and work-life balance changes. But as the old adage says, no-one on their deathbed wishes they’d spent more time at work. If you need to take action on this front immediately, I recommend this download.

Hypnotherapy or coaching might be right for you regarding these (or any other) issues. I am a qualified life coach and hypnotherapist, experienced in coaching clients to help them make the changes they want in their lives (see my success stories). And I can help you move forward too. I am based in Canterbury, Kent and Peckham, London SE15; and also offer online sessions, wherever in the world you may be. Please feel welcome to call me on 07947 475721 for a free no-obligation 15 minute phone consultation to see how I can help. And if you work for an employer who runs staff well-being events, I also undertake corporate sessions – feel free to put me in touch with your HR department.

In the meantime, thanks for reading; and let’s do our best to support anyone we know – or suspect – who may be struggling with their mental health.

Managing stress with hypnotherapy

Managing stress

peaceful woman in nature

Managing stress is arguably one of the greatest challenges facing us as a society in modern times. How can hypnotherapy help with the increasing levels of stress we all face?

It’s important first of all to put in perspective. Stress can be good as a motivating factor. It can help us overcome challenges, keeping us on our toes and ensuring that we meet our responsibilities. After all, it serves an evolutionary purpose – the fight/flight mechanism helped our ancestors survive when encountering predators. However, the human brain hasn’t evolved nearly as fast as our way of living, so the same response is triggered by a traffic jam as by a sabre-toothed tiger! And we need to learn ways of managing this.

Techniques for managing stress

Breathing techniques are the most immediate tools to learn in managing stress. These allow us to activate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system – the body’s natural calming down mechanism. And we can also practise self-hypnosis. This is important for several reasons. Firstly, it makes us make time to relax. And the more the mind and body practice relaxation, the better they get at it. Our neural networks work in much the same way as our physical bodies do in automatically taking the most familiar route. So make it a good one! You can try out self-hypnosis right now with these stress relieving downloads.

In managing stress, it’s also important to identify any fundamental human needs that may be being neglected. The obvious but often-overlooked ones are sleep, nutrition, exercise, socialising and play (yes, play!) As stress tends to come from different directions it’s not always easy to identify a single cause, but this process can still help people take a step back and look at their life in a fresh perspective.

Hypnotherapy can also help people return to the source of their stress, as it often originates from an early age. Trying to meet the expectations of parents and other significant people in a person’s childhood is a common cause – and these stress responses have magnified in later life with an increase in responsibilities. Identifying patterns formed in childhood can, however, improve abilities in managing stress in the here and now.

Hypnotherapy is deeply relaxing in itself – some people say afterwards it is the most relaxed they have ever felt in their lives (see my success stories). I am based in Canterbury, Kent and Peckham, London SE15; and also offer online sessions, wherever in the world you may be. You contact me on 07947 475721 for a free no-obligation 15 minute phone consultation, so please do get in touch if things feel overwhelming for you – I can help.

(First published on Hypnotherapy Directory, 20 October 2017)

Hypnotherapy in pregnancy

“Caroline tailored an audio session for me when I was expecting my first child and was very nervous about the birth experience. She came up with a brilliant programme that I listened to repeatedly, which involved calming breathing techniques, visualisation and positive affirmations. I can’t speak highly enough of how it helped my nerves. As I got closer to my due date it became apparent a c-section would be needed. On the morning I was booked in I found myself petrified. I listened to Caroline’s audio and it literally rescued me from a blind panic. The breathing techniques and visualisation helped bring me to a relaxed state where I felt able to get in the car and go to the hospital, then carried me through to theatre. I truly don’t know what I would have done without Caroline’s audio hypnotherapy. I can’t recommend Caroline highly enough and am truly grateful for her confident reassuring techniques.” (MM)

Beating exam stress

beating exam stress

girl writing exam paper

It’s coming up to that time of year when teenagers across the country are feeling the heat… and I’m not talking about the eventual arrival of British summer. With endless revision, exam stress, and ‘A* or bust’ expectations, it’s a testing time in every way.

Staying in good mental and physical shape

While there’s a temptation to cram for exams, it has been proved that a ‘spacing’ strategy is considerably more effective for revision. A bite-sized approach works best with the brain’s natural learning capacities. And this has the added benefit of allowing other vital needs to be incorporated into a programme of study, helping reduce exam stress overall.

When students feel they have to study 24/7, regular meals, exercise, and sleep can fall by the wayside. And even more so if they are especially anxious. As students are used to leading timetabled lives, it can help to design home-based study and relaxation timetables together. It will help them remember these basic needs, and to stay mentally balanced and physically healthy throughout this time. This approach also provides a sense of control as the pressure rises and exam time approaches.

How can hypnotherapy help with exam stress?

Anxiety is complex, however. Students may still feel a sudden sense of overwhelm, resulting in ‘brain fade’ – or simply blind panic. This is where hypnotherapy can be incredibly beneficial – and you can try it right now with this download.

Students can learn self-calming techniques to use, and other practical means of coping with anxiety. They can also learn to visualise a calm and confident persona entering and leaving the exam room, which can help them face their fears. Many young people respond well to techniques that use their imaginations. Picturing themselves in new ways starts the process of overcoming limiting beliefs, and feeling more positive about their abilities. Important steps on the road to success in life, with or without A* grades!

I am a qualified hypnotherapist and life coach, experienced in helping clients – including young people – deal with anxiety and stress (see my success stories). I am based in Canterbury, Kent and Peckham, London SE15; and also offer online sessions, wherever in the world you may be. I offer a free no-obligation 15 minute phone consultation, so call me on 07947 475721 to see how I can help.

Article first appeared on the Hypnotherapy Directory  May 2017