Client Stories

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Annabel – Teenage anxiety and phobia of medical treatment

Annabel is a very bright young lady and performing very well at school.  However, despite her good grades, she constantly felt she was not good enough.  The standards she set herself led to high levels of anxiety that were then affecting her sleep.

She also had some physical challenges that were leading to fears around both her own and others’ mortality.  She required an operation and was experiencing very high levels of anxiety around the procedure.

As she was coming close to her GCSE exams, the initial motivation was to get her anxiety back under control.  We needed to improve her sleep and help her to fulfill her full potential in her exams.

Annabel came to the first session with a very open mind.  She had had some counselling before but whilst she felt it had helped with coping strategies, it had not helped her change her low opinion of herself.

She took on board the science behind hypnotherapy,  after her first experience of hypnosis, she described it as, “A deep relaxing sleep.”

Over the course of 6 months we had 8 sessions together.  Initially the focus was on perfectionism and she started to feel a pride in the results she was getting in exams.  This was a big change from anything below her perceived perfect score, being not good enough.

After her mocks, our focus then moved to preparing her for an operation she needed – something that she naturally felt very anxious about.

Shortly after her operation I received a message from her Mum saying, “She was amazing – really positive and calm.”

Annabel is now looking forward with excitement to a summer where she can fully enjoy her social life.  And beyond that, making more progress towards fulfilling her dream of becoming a dentist.

In Annabel’s words, our work together “relieved a lot of anxiety and helped with a phobia (of medical procedures)”

I am confident that this lovely young lady is going to use her new skills to create a very exciting future for herself.

If you can relate to the challenges Annabel faced, please get in touch and we can chat more

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Jeremy – Fear of public speaking

Jeremy had a fear of public speaking, largely focused around running large team meetings.

Like many, he had reservations about hypnotherapy. “I didn’t think it would work,” he said.

The first step in exploring working together is typically an informal chat with Caroline so that concerns such as these can be discussed.  It helps people make an informed decision as to whether this form of therapy feels worth exploring more.  Jeremy was based outside of the UK which also added another element to our work as it would all be done over zoom.

Jeremy was experiencing high levels of anxiety whenever a need to present was on the horizon.  This had not been made any easier during the Covid pandemic and everything going online.  His sleep was also being affected prior to doing any talks.

In the first session, clients have an experience of hypnosis so that they know how it feels before plunging in any deeper.  Jeremy’s description of this experience was; “It feels deeply immersive and out-of-body at the same time.  The body is in a deeply relaxed physical state while the mind is somewhere on a venn diagram between meditative sleep, alertness and deep introspection.

During the 4 sessions we had together, we worked on uncovering the root to anxiety which went back to college days for him, and then developed some strategies to boost confidence when presenting.

The outcome

The result in his own words: “I believe working with Caroline helped my mind re-categorise how it perceives public speaking.  Now I have significantly less anxiety, more confidence and can perform better than before.  100% worth it.

A fear of public speaking is often a source of anxiety but one that many overcome.  However, if a fear of something starts to affect your sleep, your ability to eat or you feel that it is a level of anxiety disproportionate to the activity, then please do get in touch.

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Depression, suicide and pain management

Rachael had had an accident at work leaving her in extreme back pain resulting in her losing her job.  She had gone from living a busy life as a single Mum to being in constant pain, living off benefits and having a very restricted life.  In her words, she had “no joy” in her life which had led to a suicide attempt.

Going back further into her life, there were other factors such as successive controlling and abusive relationships, various medical conditions, and a tendency to always putting herself and her needs secondary to everyone else’s.

Rachael was recommended to me by her partner, so we were able to get a swift start as her awareness of how I worked was already in place and after the first experience of hypnosis, she could feel a change in the levels of pain in her back.  Her aim was to be able to throw away the crutches she was using.

After two sessions, she walked into the house without crutches – she was not quite ready to throw them just yet but was confident enough to walk short distances without them.

In total we had 4 sessions spread out over nearly 3 months.  On our follow up call a month after her last session, she reported that she was now “able to walk upright without my crutches and am off my pain medication.  When I am in pain, I can relax and use my mind to help control it.”

Whilst this was a great result, the increase in her self esteem was for me, more significant.  “I am able to vocalise my thoughts.  I have stopped being all things to everyone and am now my true self.”

I now have the confidence and strength to look to go back to work and hopefully enjoy a job I really want to do.” (Rachael was waiting to hear if she has been accepted to train as a phlebotomist).

Working with Rachael helped her use her mind to not only heal her body but also to create a mental strength to create a life of her choice.

“I have no doubt that Caroline saved my life as I was in such a dark place.”

If you can relate to any elements of Rachael’s story, please get in touch

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Phobia of being sick

M is an 11 year old child who was struggling with a phobia of being sick.  This triggered high levels of anxiety when feeling any form of nausea or stomach discomfort.

Her anxieties were leading to her struggling to settle into the new Secondary School environment, which in turn was creating a high level of anxiety for all at home.  Things were rapidly spiralling downwards.

One of the key things in supporting younger children is creating trust.  M was a very bright child and also emotionally intelligent which helped us to create a platform of understanding of the science behind hypnosis and also the impact her thoughts and experiences were having on her.  From here, she felt more able to ‘open up’ about not only her anxieties but her feelings in relation to how it was affecting her family.

Children tend to be a bit ‘marmite’ with hypnosis – they love it or hate it.  M was very open to it however the experience of allowing her to focus on those fears did cause her to feel a lot of emotion as those pent up feelings were released.  We allowed large periods of time between sessions to allow M time for the mental healing process to occur and to start using the new skills we were developing.  In total, M had 3 sessions with me over a period of nearly 2 months.

Here is what her Mum said:
Caroline has really helped my daughter cope with her phobia of being sick or feeling sick. Whilst M still occasionally gets anxious about new situations, her fear of going to school has completely vanished. She is happy and thriving there.

As a parent, the thing that has been the most helpful to me is the follow up emails Caroline has written to me, to guide me through what has been a very distressing time. She’s a mum too, so really understands what we as parents go through, as children negotiate their way through their anxiety issues. I have also really appreciated her advice on how often she sees M and which different methods she will use – it’s always been about what has been right for M, not about Caroline earning fees.

Highly recommended”

Children are often highly responsive to hypnotherapy and by gaining the tools to use their mind in this way at an early age, have a skill set that can be applied for the rest of their lives.

If you have a child that you are concerned for or would like to know more about hypnotherapy, let’s chat.

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My anxiety is affecting my children now too

As a teenager/young adult, X had experienced numerous therapies after having anxiety from an early age and as she grew up, just learned to ‘suck it up. But she was finding socialising increasingly difficult, felt very self-conscious around other parents and just didn’t know why.  A constant thought in her mind was, “Will it always be like this?”

As a mother of two young children she had become more aware of how her behaviour was affecting not only her life but also theirs and this was the motivation to seek help.

X worked with me remotely as this made it easier for her to have sessions around her two little ones and was very open to being hypnotised despite me not being physically present.

“I really appreciated having online zoom sessions as it enable me to fit the session around family life without stress or worry.  Even though the sessions were online I still found the whole process very warm and open.  Caroline enabled me to feel very safe.  I liked being comfy at home with a cosy blanket too.  Overall it was an incredibly positive experience.”

We had a total of 4 sessions spread over 3 months.  In between sessions, X was given activities and exercises to help her build her own resilience and mental strength allowing us to take things up to the next level in our next session.

This is what X achieved:
“I feel more assured in myself in general.  I now trust my decisions, actions and opinions.  I am doubting myself less and no longer constantly comparing myself to others.  This leaves me feeling a stronger sense of self.  I feel stronger and able to try new things.

I have also found I am letting go of things quicker.  Previously, I would spend ages ruminating about something I may have said or done wrong but this has really reduced.

I truly feel like a weight has been lifted.  I have made mental notes of some of the things we discussed and covered, and I will continue to draw on these.  I feel I have a stronger foundation now on which I can continue to build and grow.  Just feeling more content in myself is a much lighter feeling.”

If you can relate to some of the experiences X was having prior to our work, please get in touch to discuss how her current situation could be achievable for you too.

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Childhood Trauma

This child (pre-teenage) came to see me after having a series of traumatic experiences.  There had been trauma in early childhood which had resulted in a very disturbed sleep pattern.  More recently, this was followed by serious illnesses in beloved grandparents and then the loss of the family dog to whom they were devoted, closely followed by the passing of two guinea pigs.

The ‘snowballing’ continued after experiencing bullying at school resulting in friendship issues which all came to a head during the first Covid Lockdown.

Mum contacted me, concerned for a child who now regularly sleep walked resulting in disturbed nights for both of them.  The child cried most days, had very low esteem often making references to being fat, stupid, ugly etc and was developing a fear of being shut in a room.

All clients experience a ‘chemistry’ session – a specially designed session to help them make the decision as to whether hypnotherapy is the right route for them.  For children, this is even more important as the child needs to feel at ease and have a confidence and trust in the therapist if they are going to feel benefit from our work together.

With this child, there was a great rapport and despite all the trauma, they demonstrated a high level of emotional intelligence.  They enjoyed the first experience of hypnosis and Mum mentioned that even after the first session there was a discernible improvement in their sleep.

We had a total of 4 sessions together and this is what Mum reported back a period after:
“It felt like someone was really listening to what my child had to say for the first time.  You helped build up their self confidence and self-belief.  At the start, their self esteem was low, at the end there was a sense of calm, balance and real self-worth. There is a greater confidence in friendships both in and out of school and whilst there are still frequent stressful situations around relatives, for the first time, they were managed in a calm, considered manner using techniques she had learned with Caroline.

For the first time in their life, they slept the whole night through which was a game changer.

They have been able to understand their father’s behaviour more and to more effectively deal with it and his attitude, including standing up to him and speaking their mind.  Most of all, they now understand that he cannot be changed, the past has passed but they now have an ability to change the way their thoughts about the past and their perception of certain situations. 

My child is happier, more confident and excited about what life throws their way and you have helped them develop this new attitude and zest for adventure and life.  Thank you so much for helping her Caroline, it means the world to both of us.”

If you would like to discuss any issues with regards to children, please get in touch for an informal chat

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The impact of teenage anxiety on parents

Maxine has a daughter who was struggling with social anxiety, panic attacks and was ‘of clinical concern to the professionals treating her.’  My work however was not with the teenager, but to support Maxine through the stress of being a parent to an unwell child and this was all provided through an online forum called teenstress101.  In her own words. “I felt overwhelmed and did not understand what I was dealing with and how to help her.”

Teenstress101 is a closed facebook group for parents of teenagers where I provide tips and techniques on supporting teenage anxiety but also in helping support your own stresses that result from parenting.

She went on to say, “Honestly, what I found so comforting was that you, a professionally trained expert and mother of teenagers were willing to give your support to total strangers to genuinely help people who were struggling.

The support I got from you and your forum got me through some dark and difficult months/years.  I also gained some very valuable words/advice regarding my oldest daughter who was in a troubled relationship and the victim of domestic abuse.

I was a little broken at times and you helped put me back together more than once.  Whilst we did have some private message exchanges, sometimes it helped just reading other people’s posts and gave me comfort to know I was not alone.

I am very thankful and appreciate your wonderful kindness and I will remain a member of teenstress101.”

If you are a parent of a teenager (or nearly teen) then please feel free to come and join the forum and find out more about what support is offered.

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14 year old with a needle phobia

P is a 14 year old who had be experiencing increasing levels of anxiety when having to face any medical interventions.  It had led to three adults having to hold her down when a blood sample needed to be taken.  Extremely traumatic for her and everyone else too!

Since then she has refrained from any medical interventions which added to the stress of trying to manage ongoing medical treatment.

When working with teenagers, accepting that parents have a significant role in the process too is important.  P’s Mum expressed her concerns regarding hypnotherapy. “Having seen the hypnotic ‘shows,’ I was concerned that my daughter would end up clucking like a chicken.  I was also concerned about meddling with the mind of an already complex 14 year old.

P however took a different viewpoint saying, “I was quite excited because I have always wanted to be hypnotised.”

Having helped Mum understand the difference to the stage use of hypnosis and the science that is behind the therapeutic use, we went ahead and did a chemistry session with P.  This was done over zoom as we were in lockdown due to the Corona virus.  P dealt really well with working remotely and after having her first experience of hypnosis went on to say, “ I felt really relaxed and sleepy.  I really liked the feeling.”

There was a bit of a time delay until the second session where we addressed the phobia.  The ‘testing’ of the results however, took a little time as unlike phobias of spiders etc, we could not just take her to a medical appointment!  A few weeks later however it was holiday time and P had to have a Covid test before entering France which she managed, to her family’s surprise, with ease. “I would have been terrified and hysterical had I not seen Caroline,” she said.

Phobias are relatively easy to deal with as they are a very focused form of anxiety, however, as clients learn to use the power of their mind in a new way, there are often secondary benefits.  Her Mum added, “P had a stress free and intrusive medical intervention and her school attendance has improved with no time off for ‘anxiety.’  She has been going out with her friends more and going to the shop alone which she was scared to do before.”

Many people struggle with phobias for life and the reality is that they can be reduced in a short period of time. “I was delighted that it took only two sessions to see a difference.  We are well on the journey to helping our daughter deal with her anxiety,”  Mum concluded with.

So if you have had a phobia that is impeding your quality of life or just want to know more, please get in touch.

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Weight Management using Hypnotherapy

Maggie was unable to travel to have hypnotherapy in Salisbury due to being in the throws of the Corona virus pandemic.  She wanted help with weight management, and despite us never having met and all our work together being done remotely over zoom, her results were still exciting.

Getting Started

Maggie was familiar with stage hypnosis and in her words, “Doubted it would be like the TV shows.”  After her first experience which she had in the initial session, her first words after she opened her eyes were, “Wow, that was amazing!”  Understanding how it feels creates a confidence to then really dive into doing the therapeutic work.

Over the 5 sessions we had together we uncovered the key root to her current eating behaviour.  This was buried deeply in her childhood and was not something she was consciously aware of.  But as we spoke about it, the logic became obvious.

As is common with weight management, whilst the focus is on food related habits,  other changes also start to emerge

The result

“It gave me confidence, self-worth, determination and helped me use positive language to achieve my goals.  I am now confident, have lost some weight already and I feel energised and worthy!”

It is quite common for weight management issues to go hand in hand with low self-esteem.  By working with the power of the mind, not only can the physical image change, but the clients view of themselves also changes.  This then stops a downward spiral and creates a very powerful upward spiral.  The better you look and feel, the more confident you become, the more you look after yourself and so it goes on.

Maggie was a pleasure to work with.  I hope that post lock down, we’ll get to meet each other face to face.  In the meantime, she will have the last word:

“Just to say that Caroline is a complete professional, whilst putting clients totally at ease.  I am so glad I found her.”

If you can relate to Maggie’s story and would like to chat, please get in touch.

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Relationship Problems

Jenny’s request for help came from obsessive thoughts regarding  a relationship problem.  Whilst living apart, she was constantly over thinking, picking at every detail of every conversation.   This led to her not being able to enjoy the time when they were together.  This was putting a huge strain on the relationship and also very detrimental to Jenny’s overall confidence and happiness.

Getting started

Jenny’s interest in hypnotherapy was stimulated by having seen dramatic changes in a friend whom had worked with me. Thus she felt more curious than nervous about the process of hypnosis.  When later asked how she would describe the feeling of hypnosis to someone her answer was, “All it is , is a deep sense of relaxation.  It’s as easy as falling asleep and effectively that is what part of your mind is doing.  It’s a strange sensation of falling asleep yet being awake.

Jenny chose to travel up to Salisbury for her 4 hypnotherapy sessions which were spread across 2 months.  There were some large gaps in between some of the sessions, allowing Jenny to do some work on her own that didn’t need my guidance, helping her build her own ‘toolset’ and experience the impact of using them.

Our work together started with a focus on the relationship problem; what it meant to her in the past, and where continuing those patterns would take her in the future.  We then switched to focusing on the future and recognising that she could influence it and create a future of choice.

The Result

At the end of our work together, this is what Jenny said:

“I now look at all aspects of my life in a completely different way.  A far more positive way.  I was able to leave a relationship that wasn’t healthy for me.  I’m able to look back at our time together with a sense of gratitude that it happened and that I still have that person in my life.

I have started yoga which I have been meaning to do for ages; I absolutely love it and wish I’d started it sooner.  After buying my house, a goal I had had since I was 16, I felt a bit lost.  Through our sessions, I now have a new dream ..” and that dream is very clear for her.

Jenny still has the person in her life. Whilst their paths are now on very different courses, when they are in contact, it is still a very positive connection – no bridges burned.

In a follow up contact with Jenny a few months later, Jenny had also changed jobs – leaving one that was not making her happy and using the tools she had learned to now develop other areas of her life.  Her story is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when you learn how to use the power of your mind.

If you can relate to this story and would like to have a chat, please get in touch

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Needing Help at a Difficult Time

Anne’s motivation to contact a Hypnotherapist in Salisbury was triggered by her needing help to get through a difficult time in life.  Her husband had suffered from 2 strokes, resulting in significant care needs.  Anne found herself in a role of carer, whilst also trying to continue her busy lifestyle.  As a result, the pressure and stress was taking its toll on her.  She was starting to have problems with sleeping and also noticed changes in her eating habits leading to her gaining weight.  She also had a stress related sinus issue which, understandably, was escalating.

Getting Started

Anne was curious about hypnotherapy and very open minded.  When she was asked how she would describe the feeling to someone else, she said, “It is nothing to be concerned about.  You are in a relaxed and safe environment.  Tension is dispelled and reassurance is given throughout.”

We had 4 sessions together, in some of which we used hypnosis, in others we spoke about her future.  The sessions were spread over a total of nearly 4 months. This gave Anne time in between sessions to use some of the techniques she’d learned and to feel the impact of them.

One of these was to practise a relaxation process.  Clients are offered a personalised recording.  By listening to this regularly, it can not only relieve stress but also enhance a relaxed approach to life.

By our final session together she had made some adjustments to other areas of her life which had reduced her stress.  She was sleeping better, felt more in control of her food choices and her sinus condition was noticeably improved – something she felt delighted with.

The Result

At the end of our work together she expressed the following:

“I have been able to clear the wood from the trees, able to look at perceived problems and have a different perspective now.  I’ve re-prioritised my life and am handling things better.  It is like I’ve gone through a tunnel into the daylight and am leaving my negativity behind.  Many thanks for steering me in the right direction, the relaxation recording helps me back to normality when I need it.”

We cannot predict what challenges lie ahead in life. When those challenges originate from those we love, it can often make the impact higher.

If you are experiencing something in your life over which you feel you are losing control, please do get in touch. I’d love to chat about how hypnotherapy may support you adapt in a way that can still support a quality of life for you.

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Name withheld – Insomnia

A mum came to me for help with her child who was still bouncing off the ceiling in the evenings and despite being a very physically active young man, could not get to sleep. In her words:

Saviour of my sanity! Best money ever spent!

My 9 year old son has always found getting to sleep very difficult and could lie in bed for over an hour each night without falling asleep. With young children of her own, Caroline Cavanagh made my son feel comfortable with their meeting immediately. Caroline’s method was simple and effective. I know very little about hypnotherapy, but there was nothing scary about the session. The only way I can describe it, is as the most calm hour ever spent in a chair. All through the power of a relaxing voice. Since his first and only required session, my son is now getting to sleep in about 20 minutes or less. My son is delighted with the result and I no longer need to dread bedtime”.

Insomnia can affect people in one of two ways, either stopping them falling asleep or waking them throughout the night. The sub conscious causes are different but hypnotherapy is a very effective treatment in overcoming them, regardless of age!

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