Sessions last for an hour. After taking your case history, I aim to do some hypnotherapy with you in the very first session.
Everything you tell me is in strict confidence. Over the 17 years I have been in practice, I aim to deal with patients' difficulties in a caring, sympathetic, and non-judgmental way. Without wishing to appear boastful, I have a knack for cutting quickly to the heart of the problem and making lasting change happen. Patients usually leave the session with a renewed sense of hope and a spring in their step. Within a short space of time patients' friends and relatives also frequently book an appointment as they can see that there has been real and lasting change.
People often wonder what hypnosis is going to be like. The professional body that I belong to, the British Society for Clinical Hypnosis, does not allow members to practise stage hypnosis. People do sometimes come with unrealistic expectations: expecting me to simply click my fingers and they will be deeply unconscious. Although it is possible to train people to respond to the click of a finger by going rapidly into hypnosis, I think this is rather demeaning to patients.
You might be surprised to know that hypnosis is a naturally occurring state. When you first wake up in the morning or when you lose yourself in a book or hobby, you may experience a mild state of hypnosis.
During hypnosis the unconscious mind is nearer the surface than normal and patients are very likely to carry out positive and constructive instructions given by the therapist. Many of our natural and healthy defences seem to temporarily disappear.
We were waiting for the court case for over 18 months which was destroying him.
I booked him in for one session with Helen.
The court case went on for a week.
My son is a very quiet and shy lad and when it was his time in the dock his calmness and confidence astonished all friends and family.
He was found not guilty.
Thank you so much Helen, we can all now get on with our lives
R. U. Kent
Another patient had received received a number of offensive and abusive letters from her spouse's family after he passed away several years ago. Even though she had never answered any of them, the unjust accusations still caused her a great deal of pain. After three sessions she wrote that
"you will be pleased to learn that following my session with you - I have burnt all the letters.......which were not worth the paper they were written on"
(J from Kent)
Helping a student who has exams coming up in a few months time. In hypnosis her unconscious mind has been directed to sleep well in the days beforehand, to accept that a little bit of heightened tension on the day of the exam will put her on her mettle and help her give a good performance and to TRUST herself since, in life, it's good to be your own best friend and one of the nicest things you can do is to trust yourself. We have also tackled procrastination and all the little 'fibs' that you tell yourself e.g. 'I'll do it properly tomorrow -' 'I can always catch up next week' 'it won't take me that long to revise' 'I'll just have the television on in the background to relax me' 'if I start revising this early I'll have forgotten it all by the time the exam comes up' 'exams are a waste of time; I'm going to leave and earn some serious money anyway'
Case histories. Insomnia. A lot of people need subtle suggestions to the unconscious mind to help them recover their natural ability to sleep. There is also a lot you can do for yourself to improve 'sleep hygiene' - here are some suggestions
a) no tea or coffee after 3pm - tea also contains caffeine - if you can solely drink decaff tea/coffee for several weeks at least that would rule that out as a causal factor. Some people are distinctly more sensitive than others.
b) it's widely believed that alcohol helps you sleep but scientific research shows the reverse is true, so avoid in the evening.
c) have bedroom as dark and totally free of light as possible.(e.g. no bedside clocks with illuminated displays). The little blue lights on electrical equipment e.g. computer plugs, mobile phone chargers, are a known factor for disturbing sleep as, even with your eyes shut, the hypothalamus is aware of light. For security reasons, computers, phones, valuables are indeed best stored upstairs at night but put away in a cupboard or another room, not the one you sleep in, if possible - or block off any of those little power lights with a bit of Blu-tack.
d) if you are one of these people who lies in bed running through lists of stuff you have to do the next day or in the general future, essentially you are working in bed and thinking of stuff you have to do usually involves some degree of stress, tension, gearing yourself up for action, so I class this as working in bed which is Incompatible with Sleep. Also people run through to-do lists to remind themselves not to forget urgent jobs, but it's unhelpful in terms of setting the scene for sleep which is about feeling 'I've finished for the day; time off, it's ok to switch off'. Therefore, a good hour before your normal bedtime, sit downstairs with pen and paper and write lists of stuff to be done, just a keyword or phrase will do for each item, it's just an aide-memoire not an essay! Doing this downstairs send message to brain - work belongs downstairs; bedroom is for sleeping. Then you can go to bed safe in the knowledge that tomorrow you won't forget anything important. This send the unconscious the important message that it's ok to switch off as everything that needs to be done/remembered is all safely written down. Have an emergency bit of paper+pen on bedside cabinet so if you think of anything not already on your paper downstairs in the middle of the night, jot a key word or two down so it doesn't sit in the brain winding you up rather like having a bit of grit in your sock.
e) too hot, too cold? this is a very individual thing, but I've come across people who can't do duvets as even 3 Tog makes them sweat and have nightmares in the dead of winter. Others find body temperature fluctuates a lot in the night and they have layers of blankets/duvets that they peel on and off at different times of the night. Others have noticed they get borderline too cold/too hot without really being aware of it and have fitful sleep.
f) some carbohydrates in evening meal e.g. potatoes, pasta, bread is good for making you sleepy. Avoid going to bed hungry as it is very hard to fall asleep when hungry as the body is in self-protection mode then.
g) TV/computer - both emit rays of some description (sorry, not a scientist, you'll have to look up the fine detail on this) and I've read that it's best to have 1-2 hours pre-bedtime without exposure to these rays as they affect the hypothalamus, the gland in the brain that regulates sleep. Read a book? Listen to radio? Borrow music/audio book cds from library?
h) however, having said this, if I am awake in the night and don't feel the slightest bit sleepy, then what I find works is to listen to Youtube audio only self-esteem building tracks but I have the laptop not on mains but on battery only and after a few minutes the screen switches itself off as a power saving measure but the audio carries on so I can listen in the darkness. Also BBCiPlayer Radio 4 has some fascinating talks I recommend e.g. In Our Time (Melvyn Bragg) - all sorts of interesting subjects and also The Life Scientific - interviews with a wide variety of top notch scientists who explain their topic so that even a science dunce such as myself can grasp it. And if you drop off mid-talk, the laptop eventually runs out of power and switches itself off without disturbing you and all you do is plug it in the next day and it's fine. If you have a computer, I think Alt plus one of the Function keys will switch the screen off and if there is a little power light emitting light into the room, you can always pop a bit of blue tack over it to block it out.
i) personally I've found reducing sugar in my diet to as low a level as possible has had a big impact on getting better quality sleep - so keeping off processed and sugary foods, eat loads of greens and salad stuffs.
j) just going back to the idea of helpful Youtube videos - someone who talks a lot of sense is Dr Daniel Amen - try him out.
k) listening to Youtube classical music - there are tracks of say, Mozart or baroque music that are several hours long. Sometimes the brain just needs occupying a bit until it gets tired and lying in bed doing nothing and getting irritated about not sleeping is counterproductive. If the brain is saying 'occupy me, I'd bored' it essentially wants 'feeding' and baroque or classical music - Mozart, Haydn, Bach, Handel, Schubert, are all good fayre.