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Pain Management

Hypnotherapy can be used to treat a wide range of conditions. One which I have been doing a lot of work with recently is pain reduction and management. Clinical trials have shown that Hypnotherapy can eliminate, or at least reduce, pain and it does so without side-effects. Even better, the client can learn to use these techniques themselves so they are self-reliant and in control.

More than eight million people in the UK alone suffer from some form of chronic (long term) pain. Many of these will be taking prescription pain killers and so suffer unwanted side effects and risk addiction. It’s thought globally that the figure may be as much as 1.5 billion people.

I know from personal experience how debilitating chronic pain can be. A few years ago I hurt my back and was prescribed powerful pain killers and anti-depressants. Both of these carried a high risk of addiction and dependency. Thankfully for me I was able to recover through physiotherapy and was able to finally reduce and eliminate the prescription drugs. But it was a long a difficult road filled with withdrawal symptoms and side effects. It’s not something I would wish on anybody. As Julius Caesar (Roman Emperor) put it, “It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience”.
Because of the way hypnotherapy works there are a number of additional benefits. These include it having an impact on the effect of the pain as well as the pain itself, reduces stress and anxiety associated with pain and avoid or reduce the need for opioids.

A 2000 analysis of hypnotherapy studies in clinical settings showed 75% of participants showed substantial pain relief across a wide range of treatment types including pain from cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and surgery.

Now this is fantastic news, but a word of caution. Before you can use hypnotherapy for pain relief you need to understand the cause of the pain. Pain is essentially a side effect of something else. It’s information the body needs to be aware of a problem. Only once the cause of the pain is diagnosed and understood can hypnotherapy be used to reduce that of eliminate this flow of information.

And traditional clinical hypnotherapy is not the only way hypnosis can help with pain relief. As part of Introspective Hypnosis sessions the root cause of physical ailments can be revealed. I have made a short video, talking with a client, who experienced relief as a result of such a session.  


So if you are suffering and want help to manage the pain and associated symptoms then contact me

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Addiction

Addiction is something that, historically, has been stigmatised and looked down upon. Those who suffer from addiction are often ignored, criminalised, treated as outcasts and even sent to prison. This cultural view of addiction is that it is some kind of personal defect, moral failing or a lack of willpower. These views also come with the, often unspoken, assumption that addiction is a conscious life style choice. These are all damaging and unhelpful attitudes. Condemnation and judgement are usually born of ignorance, but understanding can brings about a more compassionate view. As Sheldon Whitehouse (US Senator) says, “Addiction is a tough illness, and recovery from it is a hard but noble path. Men and women who walk that path deserve our support, encouragement, and admiration”.

One very useful and popular method to treat addiction is the twelve step model. This had a revolutionary effect on treatment as it changed the thinking about the nature of addiction. It taught that addicts have an incurable disease that can be managed. It provided a framework for addicts to refrain from using substances, attend regular support meetings and work a thorough programme in order to restore a functional life and free them from their substance addiction and the chaos that it causes.

This twelve step approach has ideas such as taking a personal inventory, accepting and working on personal shortcomings as well as seeking forgiveness and enlightenment. I believe this a tremendously powerful and effective approach. And if you or someone you know has an addiction I strongly suggest starting the journey to managing it with this approach.

But, I do not feel this is the whole story. I believe there is a part of the puzzle of addiction missing in this model. For me there needs to be an understanding of trauma and the role it plays in self-soothing behaviours and addictions. As Gabor Mate (Hungarian-Canadian physician) says “Every addict has trauma, but not everyone who has trauma becomes an addict”.

An addiction is a behaviour where by a person is unable to stop an activity despite harmful consequences. There is a wide spectrum of these compulsive behaviours but I believe they almost always start with the subconscious trying to protect us from harm or discomfort. Addictions often, at least initially, bring relief or distraction from the pain being faced.

When we feel in a state of threat or pain or dysregulation we often exhibit the Fight or Flight response to combat or run away from that which is harming us. Trauma, especially an emotional one, is not easily resolved by this response and so we become stuck in this fear state. Our minds then seek ways to mitigate, lessen or pacify the trauma and this is where addictions can take root.

Now some addicts have argued that they have not suffered a trauma. But if we look at traumas from the perspective of the subconscious or auto nervous system and how it responds to pain (both physical and emotional) we can see that addictions is often driven by a trauma of some kind.

This trauma based view of addiction has started to transform addiction management and treatment. A trauma-informed approach to addiction, and mental health, is a more compassionate, realistic and scientific approach. And Hypnotherapy has a key role to play in this. It has a number of techniques to help clients explore the origins and root causes of addictions, phobias and other unwanted behaviours. If you feel that hypnotherapy could help you or someone you know then contact me.

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World Cancer Day

4 February is World Cancer Day. It’s a global initiative created and led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). The idea is to raise awareness, improve education and influence governments and other organisations about cancer. Many cancers and the resulting suffering and deaths are preventable.

There have been massive strides forward in the treatment of cancer in recent years. But while there have been awe-inspiring advancements in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment, many who seek help with cancer do not get the best possible care. Factors such as income, education, geographical location and discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and lifestyle are not uncommon and can negatively affect care, treatment and outcomes.

So this year’s the World Cancer Day’s theme is “Close the Care Gap”. Its all about raising awareness of this equity gap. Today, nearly two thirds (65%) of cancer deaths happen in the least developed parts of the world. But even if you live in a higher income country, inequities still exist among lower-income, indigenous, immigrant, refugee and rural communities. As Sylvie Meis (Dutch television personality and model) said, “Whether you are rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, young or old, cancer knows no boundaries”.

As with so many things, prevention is better than a cure. Tobacco and alcohol use are a major contributor to cancers. Did you know that tobacco causes eight million deaths every year and accounts for about 25% of all global cancer deaths? Stopping smoking at any age can make huge a difference. Doing so will increase your life expectancy and improve your quality of life.

Also, limiting or eliminating alcohol use can help guard against mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, bowel, liver and breast cancers. Another factor that can improve your chances of remaining cancer free is making physical exercise part of your daily routine. Additionally, no matter where you live or your skin tone, moderating your exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds will reduce your chances of developing skin cancer.

There is no doubt that early detection saves lives. Many cancer show early signs and symptoms that if caught will massively increase your chances of survival or avoiding serious problems. Each of us can be empowered with the right information to know what’s normal for our bodies and recognise unusual changes – and importantly, seek professional medical help promptly.

So, if you are struggling to lose weight, reduce you alcohol intake or stop smoking then Hypnotherapy can help with breaking habits, will power and support. If you feel this could be for you, then contact me.

Fear of Needles

A phobias is a continuous, irrational fear of a specific thing or situation. It makes you want to avoid that thing despite there being no real danger. Some phobias may have little impact on your life or you can adjust to them so you are not in a position that you would find triggering. But some phobias can cause real problems.

Most phobias are based in a previous experience which you may not even remember or understand. Hypnotherapy can help you change how you feel about the object of your phobia and help you overcome it. It can also help you to change your emotional response to the fear. This will help you to feel more comfortable in the situation and live your life without fear or limitations.

One particular phobia that I have seen increase in frequency and importance is the fear of needles / receiving injections. Many medical and dental treatments include using needles to either inject medication or take blood. So, having a phobia of needle can be a real problem. The art of giving injections has changed little for decades now, so a fear of needles will remain a problem. And as you get older you accumulate more and more ailments and these often include blood tests and injections.

I, personally, dislike needles, giving blood and receiving injections. When I was a child, I went with my mum to get a flu vaccination. When the nurse dabbed the cold disinfectant on my arm I screamed with such alarm that a doctor burst in to find out what was happening asking, “Nurse! What have you done to this child?”. To which she replied drily, “Nothing, yet”. And I am not alone, Lauren Cohan (British – American Actress) said, “Giving blood, or being near a needle, is the absolute worst”. And she spent a lot of time in the Zombie Apocalypse.

This is such an important issue that I have made a short video about it. You can watch it here.


If you need help to overcome a fear of phobia that is effecting your life then contact me for a free consultation.

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Suicide Awareness

10 September is World Suicide Prevention Day. The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) was started it in 2003 and is co-sponsored by the World Federation for Mental Health and World Health Organisation (WHO).

Suicide is a growing problem in the world and especially amongst the under 30s. The statistics are truly frightening. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), every 40 seconds someone successfully takes their own life. That equates to approximately 800,000 people every year (globally) or one in a hundred of every death. And for each successful suicide it is estimated that there are 40 attempted suicides. The sad thing is, as Phil Donahue (US media personality) put it, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”. Suicide is largely preventable as undiagnosed, or untreated, mental illness is the largest contributor to it.

Each suicide is a tragic waste of life and devastating, sometimes life changing, to those left behind. So, by raising awareness, addressing the stigma around suicide and encouraging well-informed action, it is hoped that the instances of suicide around the world can be reduced. World Suicide Prevention Day is an opportunity to do these things and reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts. There are five key messages:

1. Creating hope through action. This is a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide. Our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling. Through action, you can make a difference to someone (as a parent, as a friend, as a colleague or as a neighbour) in their darkest moments. We can all play a part in supporting those experiencing a suicidal crisis or those bereaved by it.

2. Suicidal thoughts are complex. The causes of suicide are complex and many. There is no one size fits all approach. We know that certain life events can make someone more vulnerable to suicide. Also mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression can also be a contributor. People who are suicidal can feel trapped or a burden to their family and those around them and thus they feel as though they are alone and have no other options. The COVID-19 Pandemic has greatly contributed to increased feelings of isolation and vulnerability. By Creating Hope Through Action, we can signal to people experiencing these thoughts that there is hope and that we care and want to support them.

3. You can help give someone hope by showing that you care. We can all play a role, no matter how small. You do not need to tell them what to do or have solutions, just make the time and space to listen to them. Small talk can save lives and create a sense of connection and hope in somebody who may be struggling.

4. Stigma is a major barrier to help-seeking. I have written before battling stigma and prejudice around all forms of mental illness. Changing the narrative around suicide through the promotion of hope will help to create a more compassionate society where those who need help feel comfortable in coming forward.

5. The insights and stories of people with a lived experience of suicide. Personal stories of someone’s experiences of emotional distress, suicidal thoughts or attempts, and their experiences in recovery can inspire hope in others. It illustrates that they too can move through the period of crisis. Also, individuals sharing experiences of being bereaved by suicide and how they came to live their ‘new normal’, can help others experiencing suicidal loss make sense of their devastation and believe they will be able to live through and with the loss.

So, if you know someone who make be anxious, depressed or suicidal help them to get the professional assistance they need. And be an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on.

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Grief Awareness Day

30 August is National Grief Awareness Day. If you have not experienced grief yet in your life you have been very fortunate, but it’s highly likely you will at some point. This day is about examining grief and raising awareness both of how to cope with grief yourself and how to help others.

Grief is a complex response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone you loved. Although usually less extreme is can be a response to the loss of something else, such as a large amount of money, a job or a cherished pet. Grief is usually thought of as an emotional response but it can have physical, cognitive, behavioural, social, cultural and philosophical dimensions as well.

Many believe in the five stages of grief and this is a good way to describe the process. The stages are;
• Denial. The first reaction is disbelief. Some sort of mistake must have happened. It is natural to cling to some hope no matter how unrealistic it might be.
• Anger. When denial has run its course then frustration and anger at the situation is common. Responses such as ‘Why has this happened?’, ‘Who is responsible?’, ‘Why me?’.
• Bargaining. This involves the hope that the crisis can somehow be avoided. This may include negotiation with god to have time to achieve something, perhaps attend an important event, in exchange for a lifestyle change.
• Depression. You despair at the reality of the situation. In this stage you may become withdrawn, sullen and mournful.
• Acceptance. You embraces the reality of the situation and the inevitability of the outcome. In the case of people who are dying, this acceptance often is reached before the loved ones around them.

What these steps don’t convey is that the stages are not always sequential. A grieving person may not always go through them once and you can bounce between them for minutes, hours, days or even months. For example, when my Partner’s father died, he was extremely busy with work. He dealt with practical aspects, arranged the funeral, etc., but did not really grieve. It was the first anniversary of the death that triggered a grieving process. Each person is different, as is their methods of grief and coping.

Grief is a normal reaction to a loss and in most cases will lessen over time and not cause any lasting problems. The amount of time spent grieving and in each stage of the process can vary from person to person and depend on the nature of the loss. But, some people find it difficult to move on and this can cause problems that may need some additional help. Hypnotherapy can help to:
• Reduce the symptoms of grief
• Organise their grief so that you can grieve but not all the time
• Find a way to grieve that doesn’t overwhelm you
• Change your perception of the loss
• Deal with feelings of (survivors) guilty or regret
• Reconnect to memories of the person, without painful feelings or distress
• Allow you to access feelings of calm and strength
• Assist you to socialise and reintegrate into society
• Empower you to achieve necessary goals and tasks

When someone has experienced a loss it can be hard to know what to do or say. I know when I have lost close relatives, some of friends withdrew not knowing what to do or say and not wanting to make things worse. But in fact, a helping hand, a laugh and a joke or a comforting presence can go a long way. So, offer that helping hand, lend an ear or a thoughtful message and be there for them. Help, how and when you can, and if they are struggling then encourage them to seek expert help. If you or someone you know could benefit from hypnotherapy then contact me.

And finally, remember, as George Elliot (British Author) said, “Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them”.

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IT’S OK TO NOT BE OK – Part 2

“Despite being commonplace, too many people with mental health problems still face stigma, prejudice and discrimination”. Luciana Berger (Former MP for Liverpool Wavertree, UK).

A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of seeking help early on when you are struggling with mental health, and indeed physical and emotional health. I struggled to write that post as I had so much that I wanted to say on the subject. I found a way through it by splitting what I have to say into more than one post. This time I want to focus on stigma and discrimination around mental health.

Stigma and discrimination can contribute to worsening symptoms and reduced likelihood of getting treatment. This can, in turn, leads to a range of symptoms including reduced hope, isolation, lower self-esteem, increased psychiatric symptoms, difficulties with social relationships, reduced likelihood of staying with treatment and difficulties with family and work.

This can be all the more common in men. As Mauro Ranallo (Canadian Sports Announcer) said, “I believe the biggest stigma right now, with mental health, is that a lot of men are not talking about it”. Typically, men are slower or less likely to seek medical help with physical and mental health issues.

Mind (UK mental health charity) provide support for those with mental illness or those caring for them. Meanwhile, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (a US based group) has some useful suggestions about what we can all do to help reduce the stigma of mental illness. These include:
* Talk openly about mental health. It’s not something to be ashamed of.
* Help to educate others. Challenge misperceptions or negative comments by sharing facts and experiences.
* Be aware of language used. Words matter. Avoid and challenge the use of derogatory, judgemental or stigmatising language.
* Promote equality and parity between physical and mental illness. For example, draw comparisons to how someone with cancer or diabetes is treated.
* Show compassion and care for those with mental illness.
* Be honest about treatment. Normalise mental health treatments, just like other health care treatments.

One further, very powerful, approach is to choose empowerment over shame – “I fight stigma by choosing to live an empowered life. To me, that means owning my life and my story and refusing to allow others to dictate how I view myself or how I feel about myself.” Val Fletcher (Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health).

If you, or someone you know, is feeling stigmatised, here are some ways you can deal with it. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, get the treatment you need. Try not to let the fear of being labelled with a mental illness stop you from getting the help you need. Sadly, mental health issues are rarely something you can deal with on your own.

Do not believe the hype. When you hear or experience something often enough, you start to believe it. Do not let other people’s ignorance influence the way you feel about yourself. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of and is not a sign of weakness. Talking about your mental health issues with healthcare professionals will help you on your road to recovery or management. Even understanding what the issue is, that it’s not unique to you, and that there are well used treatment options can help to reduce anxiety and isolation.

Many people with mental illness choose to isolate themselves from the world. This can be a block to getting the help they need. Reaching out to people you trust, such as family, friends or religious leaders, will mean you get the support you need. Some companies offer confidential help and advice to their employees. Connecting with others can be very valuable. Doing so, either online or in person, can help you deal with feelings of isolation and make you realise that you are not alone in your feelings and experiences.

Remember, your illness does not define you. You wouldn’t say, ‘I am cancerous’. This simply change to the way you talk about your illness can be very powerful. So, instead of saying ‘I’m a schizophrenic’, say ‘I have schizophrenia’. It’s a condition, it happens, it’s not what I am. There is real power in language.
Don’t give up on people who seem judgemental or insensitive. It’s rarely personal. Their language or judgements often come from a lack of understanding or information rather than anything else. If you feel able, then education and inform them. Importantly, do not believe that their views have anything to do with you personally.

So, as Mark Twain (American Writer) said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started”. Reach out, talk to someone and get the help you need.

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Loneliness, don’t suffer alone.

Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self. May Sarton (Belgian – American Poet).


Loneliness Awareness Week is 14 to 18 June 2021 and is hosted by Marmalade Trust. It’s a campaign to raises awareness of loneliness and get people talking about it. In 2020, they reached around 271 million people with their campaign – all while in lockdown.

This Loneliness Awareness Week, they are encouraging us to view loneliness as an experience, not as a condition. Loneliness doesn’t have to define us. Everyone feels lonely from time to time. We are social creatures after all. We are designed for social contact and loneliness is simply the signal that we need more of it. So, by building greater awareness and acceptance of loneliness, we can help ourselves and others to better manage the feeling.

Covid-19 has meant that many of us are working from home over the past months, separated from our colleagues and many of our usual social connections. But even before the pandemic, an increasing numbers of people were experiencing loneliness in their working lives. The Co-Op and New Economics Foundation found that loneliness costs UK employers over £2.5 billion a year due to increased sick days, time off to care for others, burnout, to lower productivity and poor staff retention levels.

Loneliness can have a great impact on our mental and physical health. When someone suffers long-term loneliness, they are more likely to engage in unhealthy lifestyle choices. For example, poor diet, lack of exercise or increased use of alcohol, nicotine and other substances. This leaves them at a higher risk of obesity and other associated health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Studies have also discovered that loneliness and a lack of social stimulation is associated with long-term cognitive decline. This can affect memory and develop into more serious neurological disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Furthermore, chronic loneliness can impair the immune system, leaving us less able to fight off illness and disease. The Neuroscientist and Researcher, John Cacioppo, found that people who felt acutely lonely over prolonged periods had higher levels of inflammation in their bodies.

After more than a year of lockdowns, social distancing, and other restrictions, more of us are experiencing loneliness than ever and this is having an impact on our wellbeing. We need to remove the stigma and shame surrounding loneliness.

So, if you are experiencing loneliness then reach out to others. If you have conditions that restrict your ability to do this, such as low confidence / self-esteem or anxiety, then contact me and we can discuss how hypnotherapy can help. Additionally, if you are struggling to adjust to return to normal or have picked up unwanted habits or addictions, then get in touch to see how I can help.

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It’s OK to not be OK

The underbelly of the human psyche, what is often referred to as our dark side, is the origin of every act of self-sabotage. Birthed out of shame, fear, and denial, it misdirects our good intentions and drives us to unthinkable acts of self-destruction and not-so-unbelievable acts of self-sabotage. Debbie Ford (American Author).


One thing that frustrates me as a Hypnotherapist is that people are reluctant to ask for help. They suffer far longer than they need to before seeking assistance. You would not think about living with a broken arm, so why are conditions that are less visual any different. If you have conditions that effect your quality of life, even slightly, then don’t hesitate, get help.


Every human regardless of how successful you are has anxieties, insecurities and challenges. Anyone can suffer from mental health issues. Being rich or famous is no shield against it. Many celebrities, such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Michael Phelps, Marcus Trescothick and Lady Gaga have publicly shared their stories of mental health challenges. This has helped to bring the discussion much more into the general media and everyday conversation. We need to continue changing how people think and act about mental health problems.

For example, it is thought that about half of people with forms of mental illness don’t seek help for their disorders. This is often because people avoid or delay seeking treatment due to concerns about being treated differently or fears of losing their jobs and livelihood. Sadly, the stigma, prejudice and discrimination against people with mental illness is still a problem. But be assured, as a health care professional, all information you give is treated in the strictest confidence and not share with others without your permission.

Reach out, talk to someone you will be surprised find you are not alone. So, if you have a condition or other ailments that Hypnotherapy can help with don’t wait any longer. Contact me to find out how I can help you. I will carry out an initial consultation to discuss with you what issues you want to resolve. If I can help you I will set out how and let you know how many sessions I recommend. If I feel I can’t help you, I will refer to a better suited health professional.

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Progression through regression

What is past life regression? How does it work?

A Hypnotherapist has many techniques at their disposal to help their clients overcome problematic ailments and conditions. One of the most interesting ones, and one I specialise in, is regression. This is where the Hypnotherapist guides the client back in time to explore the root cause of a condition by finding forgotten memories stored in the subconscious mind. An example of this is a recent client who had been struggling with insomnia for many years. In his early working life he had worked at night. Using regression we were able to uncover the subconscious minds associating darkness with working rather than sleeping. Once this was discovered we were able to appeal to the subconscious to allow him to sleep at night and not prepare for work.

Interestingly, the amount of time you can go back is not limited to this life time. No one is quite sure why it works, but it does. It’s probably due to genetic memory, soul memory and reincarnation. This means our subconscious minds contain memories of other lives we have lived. It also means that these experiences and traumas can have an impact on the present day. Perhaps you are scared of dogs, even though you have always avoided them and have no real reason to fear them. Perhaps you had a bad experience with dogs in a previous life? Put simply we are a combination of all the experiences we have had over many lifetimes.

So why would I want a past life regression? Well, there can be several reasons. Firstly, if you are struggling with a problem that might be rooted in a past life this is the most effective way to resolve it. Past lives can affect many aspects of our personality, thoughts and behaviour. In some cases, past traumas can cause psychological problems or psychosomatic pain that cannot be easily resolved by conventional means.

Exploring your past lives can reveal a new understanding of your personality. This can explain why you are drawn to certain places, types of people or have a particular interest in something. This can be very rewarding and enjoyable. Frequent past life regressions mean you can start to understand your past lives in more detail, including places, names and historical periods. These can often be verified by research to provide a tremendously colourful view of your past.

One further aspect of past life regression is that groups of souls often reincarnate together. If you have ever met someone for the first time and immediately feel a connection, rapport or closeness, perhaps you have known their soul before.

To find out more about regression and what I can do for you, click here