Davina McCall is an English television presenter best known for presenting the reality show Big Brother in the UK. She has also hosted various quiz shows and was co-presenter of the annual telethon, Comic Relief, from 2005 to 2015.

In January 2023 she took part in the Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett podcast. During this appearance she shared she experience with a Hypnotherapist eight years earlier. Initially she approached the Hypnotherapist as she was concerned about claustrophobia. Using regression she was taken back to when she was four years old and discovered the roots of many of her life defining behaviours.

Explaining why she sought the help of a Hypnotherapist, she said, “I did have, like, another transformational moment when I got hypnotised, um, for a job that I was doing about eight years ago. And that was like… when the impermeable seal went on my fear of abandonment. And it was unexpected because I wasn’t going to the hypnotist about that. I was going to the hypnotist about not feeling anxious going in a submarine to a thousand meters under the sea. A tiny three-person submarine where you can’t stand up and there’s no loo and it takes forty minutes to get to the surface again. And I thought I don’t get claustrophobia but I don’t want to find out at a thousand meters under the sea that I am, indeed, claustrophobic.  So I thought I better go and get hypnotised just to make sure”.

Embed from Getty Images

She went on to say about the regression, “Ah man, I mean if you’ve got an issue, that is something that you’ve worked on a lot and it’s hard to let go of, I mean I didn’t even think really that my fear of abandonment issue was still there. But I do think… it was and we did some regression work where I went back to me in the kitchen looking at my granny thinking my mom’s not going to come back. And I don’t know what to do and I feel a bit guilty. I think I’ve overstayed my welcome. And the hypnotist said… go get that Davina. Take her by the hand. He said where’s your favourite place in the garden? I said the oak tree. So he said take her to the oak tree. So I took her over to the oak tree. Little me four years old and he said okay sit her down. And sat her down and… I said she looks worried. And he said comfort her. I said I feel silly I don’t know what to do it’s me. I it feels weird. And he said imagine she was one of your own children. Comfort her as if she was your child. So I put I put my arm around her and I thought okay this is easier and then her head went on my on my chest and I was stroking her hair. I said I don’t know what to say. I kept thinking he’s looking to me to say something profound and I’ve got no idea how to do this. And he said well why don’t you tell her it’s all gonna be okay. And I really started crying. Like really crying.  He said… what’s up? And I said it was not going to be okay. I take drugs, I make stupid decisions, I put myself in danger, it’s bad.  And he said, but look at you now. And it was like ‘Oh my god look at me now. I’m great’”.

Explaining about the healing and relief she felt, she said, “And it was like everything went, you know, all the cogs and the wheels in my brain all went click. I am gonna be okay. I looked at her and I got like her head in my hands and I was like you are gonna be okay.  Your life is going to be amazing and it will be full of, you know, ups and downs but you are going to be okay. And he said you can take her back, let’s take her back. So I went back to the kitchen and put her down in the seat and she’s smiling at me. And then he says we can leave now but he said before… we leave, I want you to just turn around and look at her one last time and tell me what she looks like. I said she looks happy. And he said great and then he brought me around”. 

Talking about what happened after the session she said, “I was like bawling.  ‘This is amazing what’s happened? What’s just happened? And he said we’ve planted a seed… let’s just wait and see what happens there. He said this this was basically to stop you feeling like you’re gonna be abandoned at the bottom of the sea but actually I think maybe we’ve done something bigger here. It might be kind of amazing what happens.

Talking about the long term effect of her session she said, “…a couple of things happened after that that where I said actually it’s not okay, err, to treat me like that. I would never have said that before because I was worried you’d abandon me if I stood up to you and said not okay. I’d think oh you might not like me anymore. It was very important that everybody liked me and suddenly I was like actually I can stand up for myself in a non-aggressive way. And not actually mind if you like me or not because I’m doing it for me. Oh my God, it was mega and I feel like from that moment I’ve been a different person in all of my decisions, in my outlook on life. It’s been mega”.

The whole episode is a fascinating account of her life and how she has overcome grief,  trauma and drug use. To see the full episode, click the video.