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Laura – Addictions: Alcohol

Laura was drinking more alcohol than she had become comfortable with. ‘Habits’ had formed that had got to a level that she knew were becoming detrimental to her health.  She was concerned she was developing an alcohol addiction.  She was particularly worried about a developing habit of coming home from work and drinking alone. But with an active social life, she didn’t want to become teetotal and never enjoy a cocktail with the girls again either.

Getting Started

Like many people, the decision to get help starts with taking a brave step! “I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from hypnotherapy and I was embarrassed about why I wanted the help,” said Laura when she first got in touch. However, as we got talking, Laura felt more able to relax and be honest about her habits accepting that she was in a safe environment where there were no judgements.

She, like many was also concerned about being hypnotised having seen various stage shows where people ‘performed’. We spoke through how hypnosis worked and the fact that it is a natural state of relaxation. The way that Laura now describes being hypnotised is, “It is very calming and relaxing – like when you are so tired you want to go to bed but can’t move…..without being really tired!

Laura travelled quite some distance to the hypnotherapy sessions here in Salisbury so to make her journeys viable, we sometimes did double sessions which also allowed us to make swifter progress. The result of our work together was explained in her words:

The result

I no long drink on my own (big deal!!). I’ve lost a stone, I feel confident and happy ….and I’m finally in a really good relationship.” Laura’s experience reflects many of the secondary benefits of hypnotherapy. Whilst the focus is on helping one area of life – in her case, the drinking – improvements here can ripple out to other areas. Laura’s priority was not to lose weight, but the change in her drinking resulted in this, which has supported feeling more confident in herself also. It is a bit like the chain of dominoes – you knock the first one over and others behind it start to fall too.

Our aim however was not for Laura to give up drinking. Sharing a glass of wine socially is a source of pleasure for many. Our aim in working together was for Laura to be able to have those one or two glasses when out with friends and thoroughly enjoy them but also be aware of when she has had enough and be able to then swap to soft drinks comfortably. During the follow-up contact a couple of months after the last session, she was still happy with the changes she had made and confident they are the new habits.

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Angie – Depression

Angie came to see me with the brief simply that she had lost her direction. In her own words, “I feel like I am drifting on the sea and don’t know which way is up.

She was someone with a number of pressures in life; a dependent mother, a single Mum to a teenage son with learning challenges  and most significantly, a job she hated. She wanted to move away from the area but felt that her responsibilities meant she had to stay in Salisbury.

Getting started

Our work together was two dimensional – firstly looking backwards at what was ‘anchoring her’.  We started accessing emotions she had buried that she was unaware of, and then looking forwards to create a future that motivated her to take action. The result:

  • She put her house up for rent and is in the process of moving back to where she grew up and where she feels she belongs.
  • Her mother has also found new accommodation and is moving with her so they can retain their close relationship.
  • Her son has found the perfect course he has been dreaming of doing in the local college and his application was accepted.
  • She has been offered a job and financially will be secure.

Whilst I will miss seeing her in and around Salisbury, I am delighted that she has found a new life for herself and is no longer drifting. What I also found particularly exciting was that her work not only found her new direction, but just like ripples in the pond, her action had an impact on those around her. Her mother was delighted at the prospect of going back to her home town and her son has opened doors to opportunities he had not found in Salisbury.

The result

A few final words from her: “I am more confident and more focused. It (hypnotherapy) has changed my life dramatically. I could not have done any of this without you.”

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Caroline – Sports Performance

Sports performance is often not associated with therapy, however most top athletes now use techniques derived from hypnotherapy.

Caroline was fit, regularly completing demanding gym sessions but when it came to running, she found herself giving up after just minutes. She was struggling to understand why her body would respond to the demands made of it the gym, but would not do so out on the track.

“I knew it must be something in my head but I just couldn’t work out what! Caroline Cavanagh  was able to take me back to the age of 4. I was very badly asthmatic as a child and I recalled my Mum telling me as she dropped me off at school ‘not to run around or I would get wheezy’.  My asthma was no longer an issue as an adult but I was amazed that this repeated comment heard has a child had had such a lasting impact.

The result

Having realised that, the behaviour was no longer relevant, Caroline helped me to let go of that child like instruction and the next day I went out and ran for 30 minutes. The difference was incredible and it was clear that the problem had been totally in my head. I then decided to sign up for a half marathon. I quickly progressed to covering 5-6 miles but then met another block. At this stage I would start getting painful stitches. So I booked another session. This time I went back to a time when I was 9 or 10. I was training 6 days a week as a gymnast and my developing body was struggling with the demands being put on it and I recalled getting various random aches and pains that would stop me training for a bit.

I understood this was my body’s way at that time of getting its own down time and now that I was back to making higher demands of it with the running, this old pattern was clicking back in. Caroline helped my adult mind to understand that I was in control and had the ability to train responsibly and again the child like behaviour was no longer relevant. From that point on, the stitches also stopped.

As part of the treatment I learned how to hypnotise myself and found this a great technique when I was running – just took my mind off to another place and let my body get on with the running.

I completed the Reading marathon in a respectable time – something I don’t think I could ever have done without hypnotherapy.”

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Rachel – Depression

Rachel came to see Caroline with a desire nothing more specific than “I just want to feel better.” She found herself feeling very down and demotivated.  Her eczema was bad and she was frequently tearful and over-emotional.  And there were many days where it was a struggle to get out of bed.  All signs of an increasing state of depression.

Rachel had a total of 5 sessions and her condition showed “significant improvement.” In her own words…

There is way less intensity in experiencing negative emotions, definitely a ‘lighter’ feeling and the joy of rediscovering laughter. It is almost as though my range of emotions has broadened in number and variety…with less angst and intensity.

My goals and activities to achieve them are now crystal clear and my limiting beliefs are greatly reduced. This has led to increased motivation, a huge reduction in fear of failure and rejection and increased excitement in achieving goals. Also I am not put off by adversity along the way, am able to keep more balanced, deal with things and keep my eye on the prize…

Everyone’s experience of hypnosis is unique to them, but new clients often ask what it is like. In Rachel’s case, “It actually felt like being completely awake but as a different part of me, if that makes sense? A focused part and a part that could not be presented in a non-authentic/self controlled light.

Rachel is now motivated to build a new career and is finding that new opportunities are coming to her now that her energy levels have a direction.

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Sue – Lack of self worth

 “My experience of working with Caroline”

Caroline has the unique ability to ‘know’ when someone is ready for change. Her natural perception, intelligence and strong kinesthetic awareness means Caroline ‘instinctively’ uses the ideal intervention, every time, to enable people to ‘see’ and deal with the underlying problem or root cause of a particular behaviour.

In my case Caroline noticed I exhibited a strong desire to please people, often at my own expense.

Caroline suggested a timeline style intervention and used a ‘hypnotherapy’ style questioning approach to help me discover where this belief of ‘HAVING to please others first’ had originated.

I remember clearly that ‘we’ went back through 2 or 3 generations and I discovered a ‘bizarre’ piece of information that, although made no logical sense at the time, gave me peace of mind and more importantly an understanding of the ‘root cause’.

The result

Once Caroline had ‘bought’ me safely back ‘into the room’ I was amazed at ‘our’ discoveries. I seem to remember feeling peaceful and calm. The experience has now given my conscious and unconscious minds a chance to ‘rationalise’ and ‘move on’ thus ‘freeing’ me from the old strong desire to please! I am now ‘in my own power’ and my choice to please others is NEVER at my own expense.

The intervention, followed an emotional period following the breakup of a 13 year marriage in 2000.

Caroline’s ability to ‘maximise’ the opportunity for change was profound and I am deeply grateful to her on all levels.

If you have Caroline ‘in your life’ now, please know you are safe and ‘seen’; allow Caroline to heal the parts of you that are ready to change now.”

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Sally – Addictions: Alcohol

When Sally first contacted me, she was experiencing a growing dependency on alcohol over the last 12 months.  It had reached a point where she felt there was an alcohol addiction and she wanted to gain back control.

She, like many, expressed a slight scepticism towards hypnotherapy. Her scepticism was fed by a 6 week counselling course (based around another condition) which she felt had delivered little benefit.

Getting Started

The first session is always a gentle session supporting an experience of hypnosis. Sally described the feeling as deeply relaxing and noted how time had just flown by – as in this state of relaxation your perception of time changes!

Returning for her second therapeutic session Sally told me that she had not had a drink since the last session and more importantly, was not missing it. This session was a few days before Christmas and she was experiencing some anxiety that the normal festive activities would take her back to square one. However on her next visit (early Feb) she told me that Christmas had been great and she had gone through the whole Christmas period without a drink.

The result

In Sally’s own words: “Some how through the process of working with Caroline, I have overcome my ‘addiction’ to alcohol. I woke up one morning and simply said, enough is enough. I believe this is down to Caroline.”

Sally has since made periodic visits as a ‘top up’, typically when life is stressful, and she seeks to reinforce her new beliefs around drink. She is not teetotal and can enjoy a glass of wine of an evening, or share a few glasses with friends and enjoy it. But she can also go out and not drink and no longer feels the NEED to drink.

When asked now what her impression of hypnotherapy is, she has moved from scepticism to, “It worked – amazingly!!”

If you are experiencing something in your life over which you feel you are losing control but may also have some scepticism, please do get in touch to find out more.

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Name withheld – infertility

I have a strong belief that the body and mind need to be on the same page for full health.  And this is never more true than when someone is trying to conceive and experiencing unexplained infertility.

The story below comes from a lovely lady who had been trying for some time to conceive. She was visualising her life with a baby, created vision boards with all the lovely things that she would buy, but still no baby. We had one session together and her story, in her own words, goes like this…

Getting started

My husband and I had been trying to conceive for several months without luck and it was starting to get me down. I confided in a friend that even though I was desperate for a baby, that I was feeling these feelings of stress and overwhelm in my business and that I was worried how on earth I’d manage to juggle a baby as well. She suggested this was why I was not conceiving.

I spoke to Caroline, a hypnotherapist in Salisbury,  about this and aside from working on the key issues of stress and anxiety we focused on conception for a short time at the end of the session. After the session I felt so much more relaxed, things which would have added stress previously didn’t bother me. I continued to use some of the visualisation techniques we’d used in the session, particularly after intercourse and I couldn’t believe it when just a few weeks later I took a pregnancy test and it was positive! After months of negative tests it felt like magic! I’m certain it wasn’t a coincidence and that feeling more relaxed and less worried about my business definitely released a lot of tension from my body.

When we were trying to conceive so many friends had said- ‘it will happen when you’re relaxed about it’, and any woman who has been in the position of having several months of negative pregnancy tests will understand that that does not lead to a feeling of relaxation about the issue, it only makes you more anxious and worried that something might be wrong. The hypnosis finally helped me to let go of the tension I was holding and the mental anxiety I was harbouring about how to juggle family life with my business. I could literally see a way for the two to work together harmoniously and I feel like I have a really clear vision to work towards. It really feels like the hypnosis was a key that unlocked something inside me.”

And one of the things I love about what my clients learn though the hypnotherapy we do here in Salisbury is that it helps them in other areas of their lives. Her story continues…

The result

I’m more relaxed about my workload. Instead of panicking about how to get it all done, or feeling overwhelmed I know I’m in control of it. And if the feelings do come back I have strategies to bring back the feelings of calm. And I’m pregnant!!

In addition, I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you Caroline! I was starting to just feel so depressed every month with another negative pregnancy test again. It feels like magic that I had only one hypnosis session, did some visualising and was able to fall pregnant just weeks afterwards, but I know it wasn’t. You were able to bring out of me some of the best qualities about myself which had somehow got lost in the midst of all the anxiety and stress of running a business. You’ve helped me to see how my life can be, without stress, a clear and realistic vision to work towards.

Thank you!!!”

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Kath – Infertility

Kath had one child and had had been trying to give her a sibling for over 6 years.  Not only had no sibling appeared but she had actually stopped ovulating.  There was no physiological reason the doctor’s could find for the infertility and she was put forward for IVF but there was a long wait.  At her whits end, she decided to try hypnotherapy.

Her story, in her own

“Prior to having ICSI treatment, I commenced a course of NLP with Caroline Cavanagh.

Caroline used time line therapy, with the aim of identifying the possible cause of my infertility. During the initial session it became clearly evident that when I was aged five there were several traumatic incidents. These were predominantly related to starting school and my mother giving birth to my second brother, releasing feelings of fear and insecurity. Other incidents that came to light were an issue of bullying at nursery school and a week long hospital stay, during which time I only saw my parents once a day.

I found the treatment very relaxing and was reassured that I was completely aware of my surroundings and in control at all times.

Following the sessions I was very relaxed and slept well, although I had quite vivid dreams.

Caroline gave me exercises to do regarding bonding and strengthening the relationship between me now and me aged five. I felt this helped relieve a lot of internal anxiety and also improved my confidence socially.

Shortly after commencing our work together, I started ovulating again.

When I commenced my ICSI treatment I felt quietly confident that it would work. I was also surprised at how calm I felt throughout the treatment and that I didn’t experience any physical side effects.

I am now 36 weeks pregnant and can’t wait to meet my baby.”

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Lesley – Acute illness

Lesley was facing an acute illness, potentially terminal.

These words have come directly from her.

“I have known Caroline in a professional capacity for 10 years. Caroline has a wonderful trait – integrity. In everything that she undertakes she approaches it with sincerity, professionalism, honesty, decency and truthfulness.

In 2012 I had a personal crisis related to my health. I was in deep despair and felt that I needed to help myself deal with my illness both physically and mentally.

I had had clinical hypnosis about 5 years ago – through someone I had researched on the internet – to give up chocolate. That worked and still does – so I believed that Caroline could help me to help myself.

I had around 6 sessions during 2012/13. My medical prognosis was not good and I was at an all time low mentally. Caroline helped me to manage this very difficult period in my life. Her skills enabled me to find the way forward and now all  I can say that I have exceeded my medical prognosis and I am in good health, leading a full and active and very happy life.

I’m not one to gush – but I really could not have coped without Caroline’s input. She facilitated my medical outcome by working with me under hypnosis. I have an awful lot to thank her for and words just don’t seem to be enough.

If you are at a crossroads in your life – physically or mentally, you have the power within YOU to change. Caroline can help make that happen.”

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Caroline – Asthma

Caroline had suffered from asthma from an early age and had been hospitalised with it a number of times. She could not leave the house without having an inhaler with her.  It had got to a stage where finding that she was without an inhaler would instantly result in her starting to wheeze.  She had not considered hypnotherapy for her asthma until it was suggested she look into it by a friend.

Here is her story.

“I could understand why I could get wheezy when rushing about but I hated being so reliant on having a ventolin with me all the time.  But I would panic  and start wheezing if I realised one was empty or there was not one in my coat pocket.

I had read a bit on using suggestions in hypnosis but was surprised when visiting Caroline, a hypnotherapist in Salisbury.  She started talking to me about anger! I didn’t consider myself an angry person but the more I thought about it, the more I realised I did have a pretty short fuse.

In the sessions we went back to things in my childhood and I realised that my dad had pushed me really hard to be successful. As an adult I could see that he was trying to live his life through me.  He wanted deflected glory from my success.  I had bottled up all this resentment at being made to do things I didn’t want to do as a child.”

The result

“It was a very emotional experience but the difference I felt at the end of the session was amazing. I genuinely felt lighter as if a weight had been lifted. It  was still tricky to go out without an inhaler close by at first but it didn’t take long to notice that I wasn’t using it.  Slowly the confidence grew and I increasingly left the inhalers behind.

I also noticed that I just felt calmer. There is a much longer fuse before I ‘blow’ and my relationship with my Dad also changed for the better. I used to go through a ventolin about every 6 weeks. It has now been over a year since I went to the GP for a repeat prescription.

It’s hard to comprehend how an emotion I had unknowingly bottled up could have such a physical impact. However, the evidence is undeniable.

I suspect the boundaries for how hypnotherapy can help reduce illnesses are almost limitless and have encouraged lots of people to now look at alternatives to just keep taking drugs.”

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Julia – Insomnia

Julia came to me reluctantly, having been sent by another client and coming only to pacify him! Her insomnia had led to her not slept for more than about 4 hours in over 10 years. We did just one session and that night she slept for 7 hours.  We kept in contact for a while and she was regularly sleeping through the night.

Extracts from her email to me are below:

” My Dear Caroline I can not tell you the difference in my sleep pattern, and I feel as if I have more energy.

I had no idea the Arthritis in my hip was waking me, now I turn and continue sleeping. Since my session with you I sleep much MUCH better. Not every night/day is the same but I do sleep for at least 5 hour, often up to 8 hours.

I did think what you do is “mumbo jumbo” but not any more. It was amazing and if I could bottle your voice I would make a fortune as the gentle way you speak was very relaxing. I do go through your relaxation process as I get into a comfortable position and often fall asleep before I get to the end.

My husband says its likened to a switch that I sleep so well compared to before we met. I’m sorry I haven’t emailed you before now but my life is very busy, but one thing not worrying me is insomnia!”

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Weight Management – Jude

Jude was referred to me by someone close to her and came with the request, “I want some of what she has found!”  He friend had done some weight management work with me and at that point, lost over 3 stones.

Getting started

Despite having seen the impact of hypnotherapy on a close friend’s weight loss, Jude, like many others, had concerns about it. “I was concerned that it wouldn’t work in that I wouldn’t be able to be hypnotised and that if it did, I wouldn’t get the results I wanted. I was also concerned about being out of control.”

This is a common feeling based on the TV and stage shows that use hypnosis but after talking her through the differences between stage entertainment and the therapeutic use of hypnosis she agreed to give it a go! “It was just like being really relaxed. You are still aware of everything and sometimes still wondering if you are actually hypnotised!”

The result

Jude and I had a total of 7 sessions together. The results that she felt she had made included;

“Weight loss was slow but steady. I had no desire for or reliance on sweet, sugary foods and there was no more snacking between meals.”

Weight management through hypnotherapy is not all about abstaining from foods or constant calorie counting, it helps that part of your mind that controls eating to make better, more healthy decisions that also reflect what the body needs. However, there are often secondary benefits that come out of hypnotherapy:

“I now value the need to look after myself more and better protect myself from the slugs and arrows!” (Jude’s metaphor for the ‘stuff’ that life throws at us!)

Jude had a high convincer filter – a filter we all have but can be set at different levels and hers meant that she needed to see a good amount of evidence to trust that the changes were not just temporary.

Her final comment was: “The belief that it has changed my behaviour and that I will remain that way gets reinforced every day!

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