Sonny is in his mid 70s. He contacted me to ask if I could help him overcome and aversion to chicken – a meat he had been unable to eat since very early childhood. The mere thought of eating it created nausea and revulsion.
The aversion had caused him some minor embarrassments at social functions over the years but a recent medical diagnosis had resulted in the need to drastically change his diet. He had been advised to adopt a high protein, low fat diet. He was not keen on beef, could not eat pork for religious reasons, and lamb was too fatty. Thus the variance in his diet had become very limited making it even harder to stick to the new regime.
Sonny had some preconceptions about hypnosis but had been encouraged by neighbours and family to, “give it a go, as after all, what have I got to lose!”
In the first session we successfully recalled an experience directly relating to chickens. Reviewing that memory (known as regression) allowed a significant change in his attitude to eating chicken. At the end of this first session, he felt as if the issue had been “75% resolved”. The remaining 25% however did not have anything to do with the aversion – and this is very common. This new problem was related to what we call the “what if monkey” – that part that lives within most of us that jumps up and asked, “What if I …..” and in Sonny’s case, “What if I fail?”
The second session addressed this issue and the following feedback was received from Sonny shortly afterwards. In his own words:
“The problem is now resolved. The fact I eat poultry now after over 70 years abstinence must mean a significant change has occurred. In addition, my wife, adult children and grand-daughter are so pleased with the change in my acceptance of eating poultry.”
Sonny has since recommended Adding Zest to a neighbour, referral being the highest form of recommendation.Let's Talk
Catherine contacted me in relation to high anxiety levels every time the phone rang. Over time this had escalated to feeling anxious at looking at emails and also answering the door.
This kind of escalation in anxiety is very common as part of the subconscious role is to protect us and thus at a subconscious level, Catherine’s mind was linking all contacts from the outside world to something that had scared her.
The work with Catherine spanned 4 sessions. During these we identified key instances in her past that had led to this reaction being developed – namely traumatic experiences relating to close family members, whereby she had received the news via a phone call. Whilst there are many techniques that can desensitise such traumas, activity done under hypnosis is very effective as the connection between the events is made at a subconscious level which is also where we work in hypnotherapy.
Catherine experienced an improvement during our work together and in the follow-up call 6 weeks after the last session, she confirmed that she had, “Experienced a significant improvement.”
Whilst we focus on a specific goal in the therapeutic work, the knowledge gained can often be used by clients to affect other areas of their life. Catherine already had a keen interest in areas such as meditation but she added,
Catherine was very open-minded to the concept of hypnosis but even she was surprised: “Being hypnotised felt no different to feeling very relaxed and comfortable, I retained a full awareness and felt in control throughout. If anything, it felt surprisingly normal and natural.”
Katie runs a business and also competes in female physique and fitness competitions. She commits to a punishing fitness regime and also holds a place on a top committee in her field. However, when it comes to being in the limelight, her confidence leaves her. Having to speak at her committee meetings is terrifying and the anxiety she feels when competing means she does not reach her full potential, leading to huge frustration after every competition knowing she could have done better.
“I sought the help of Caroline at Adding Zest because I was participating in a competition which meant taking to the stage of a large theatre. I have always been extremely nervous and self-conscious in any setting where I am the centre of attention. I participated in this competition last year and did not want to feel the same negative feelings this year when I stepped off stage. The difference in my feelings between this year and last year was dramatic. In contrast to feeling disappointed and deflated I felt positive and happy and proud of my performance …. euphoric in fact! The hypnotherapy really did work for me. “
The work we did together focused on previous instances of anxiety when being the centre of attention, but much of the success came from using the technique of visualisation. The subconscious cannot tell the difference between reality and imagination, so by imaging her competition, her brain was literally ‘programmed’ into what to do and how to feel.
Visualisation is a technique now being used by many of the top sportsman as its efficacy is proven.
Katie had just two sessions to achieve this dramatic change in perspective and also practiced the visualisation technique herself.
In my experience depression and anxiety often go hand in hand as one condition leads to the other. This was the case with Jennifer who was feeling depressed because many elements of her life were not panning out the way she anticipated and that was leading to an anxiety about what her future would be; and the two led to a downward spiral.
She found herself in her mid thirties, having had a series of short-term relationships and desperately wanting to be a mother. She was in a work environment she didn’t enjoy and struggled with insomnia.
Sometimes the work I do with clients can be likened to them being onions – as you cut through a layer, you find another one below. Jennifer was very much like this. We discovered part of her challenge with forming lasting relationships came from the fact that her father abandoned her mother when she was very young. She then learned that she had been one of a twin who had unfortunately not made it into this world but Jennifer had sensed that loss even at those very early stages of life. These learnings allowed her to see things with a new perspective that changed this downward spiral and led her to make new decisions in her life.
When asked to if there was anything about hypnotherapy that surprised her, Jenny’s answer was, “How easy it was to be hypnotised and how quickly feelings surfaced that I didn’t realise were there.”
Jenny has now changed jobs, moved house and is also getting her finances back in order and looks to the future with a fantastic positivity. In her words:
Paul lives a very stressful life and this, combined with shift work, effected his ability to relax and sleep. He came to Adding Zest without a specific goal in mind but was interested in learning how to relax more.
“My experience with hypnotherapy has been very positive, I was intrigued with what it may be able to do for me. I approached it with an open mind but I must say it was a far more beneficial experience than I could have imagined. At all times I was talked through and reassured by Caroline. It was a completely relaxing experience and after one session the issue I had been living with was substantially better.
On top of that I felt more relaxed in my everyday life too. I have and will recommend adding zest to friends and colleagues in fact I have introduced a friend who also has had a great experience with hypnotherapy.
Adding Zest surroundings are very calming and put you at ease from the moment you get to your appointment.
“I have always felt uncomfortable giving presentations. In my early to mid twenties, I had to regularly present various topics to my colleagues at work. I found this very stressful. The idea of being out of control and to be forced to present to a room full of people triggered panic attacks in me. Over time, these attacks got worse. I started to feel anxious in a whole range of public situations, for example bumping into someone unexpectedly in the street used to be an ordeal. I would instantly panic and be unable to speak.
About 5 years ago, I decided to do something about it. I knew of Caroline’s services by chance through attending a CIM course that she was hosting. She explained what NLP could do for someone like me and I gave it a go.
I met with Caroline about 6 times. We focused on my anxiety and explored what made me feel out of control. I found the course fascinating. I was taught techniques to focus on how to remain in control, and we explored memories, new and old, and analyzed what they meant.
I did not feel a sudden change in how I responded to presentations and similar such situations. However, over time my concerns seemed to just die away. I have since started a business venture and employ over 30 staff; as such I have to regularly chair company meetings, presenting our vision and managing group discussions.
I no longer find this challenging and it no longer triggers panic attacks. When I think back to how I was 5 years, ago, it seems like looking at a different person. NLP wasn’t a magic solution, but it helped me put things in perspective and gain a greater sense of control.
As much as anything I realized a bit of nerves is perfectly normal, and as a result I no longer panic when I feel nervous!”Let's Talk
Debbie has an incredibly demanding role in a high pressure environment. In her work role she is strong, and confident when working with her clients, but struggled when it came to the managerial element of her role and she had been avoiding opportunities for promotion. Once she left her pace of work, low self esteem prevailed and her main reason for contacting me was due to anxiety around driving which was escalating and she had started to experience panic attacks and realised she was starting to avoid going out to certain places.
This is not uncommon- the fact that people can feel confident in one area of their lives but then anxious when adopting other ‘roles’. This is often related to people who wear uniforms – their uniform provides a confidence but when you take it off, you literally take the confidence away too!
Debbie had a total of 6 sessions with me spread over 3 months and in this time achieved a “significant improvement” with the problems she was experiencing. “Caroline is unique! She was able to help me ‘peel back the layers’ and address some deep rooted issues which quietly niggled away in the background,” said Debbie. This is also quite common and I often refer to some of my clients as onions! Layers build up over time and the one at the top becomes the dominant. As you work through these therapeutically, others then emerge which have been ‘buried’ consciously but are still ‘niggling away’ in the back of the mind and impacting on the quality of life.
During our last session together – a special one that I love doing as it really ‘hands over’ the tools to clients to use in their life going forward, Debbie noted numerous differences in her life. She felt more relaxed and had taken action on a legal matter that had been weighing her down for a long time. She was driving – and enjoying it! Even driving at night which was one of the things she had started to avoid. In work, she had noticed that she was no longer feeling vulnerable in management meetings and “my senses are more alert. I even think I am standing taller!”
Emily came to me after being referred by her singing teacher. Whilst giving the external impression of being confident, inside she was experiencing anxiety about letting people down, and had become aware that she was starting to self-sabotage things she know she could do, along with sabotaging her relationship also. She felt the need to control everything leading to, “a constant battle in my head about not letting go”.
Largely due to all of these emotions, Emily experienced a sick feeling in her stomach a large percentage of the time and was also experiencing problems with weight control.
As is typical with anxiety, things had escalated over time and she had experienced her first panic attack which was the catalyst to get some help. Emily had 5 sessions with me and deems her situation to now be “resolved”. Here is her story in her own words.
“I am now able to consider my responses to other people’s behaviours in a way that gets me the response or change that I want. I have my confidence back which has enabled me to seek out a dance class that I have now joined, something I never thought I would be able to do as an adult. My relationship with my husband has also significantly improved as I have been able to be more considerate of his feelings which in turn brings out a more positive side to him too. I have now lost 3 stone even though that wasn’t’ the initial reason for seeking therapy.”
These additional benefits are quite common with clients. The mind is such a powerful resource that when it is not functioning at its best, the ripples spread out through the body. When emotional problems are resolved and a more ‘homeostatic’ situation is restored, people often experience new levels of energy, new desires to eat differently, exercise etc.
“I didn’t really have any expectations before I came to see Caroline but some of the things that my subconscious mind revealed were surprising and so deeply hidden that I couldn’t have predicted or tried to ensure that they were part of the process.”
Again, this is quite common as so much is stored away at a subconscious level that we are not consciously aware of and that is one of the benefits of being in a trance state – it allows access to different parts of the mind. Many people are very wary of this and have developed misperceptions of hypnosis from seeing stage shows. I asked Emily to describe how it felt when she was hypnotised:
“It was a feeling of total relaxation, on the edge of sleep but conscious.”
The feeling is mutual!Let's Talk
Kara came to me with the explicit wish that she wanted to be free of taking anti-depressant drugs and had a goal of “reaching the happiness I’ve always been chasing”. She had been taking Citalopram for 4 years following being diagnosed with depression.
“Before having hypnotherapy, I tried several times to come off of anti-depressants. I tried weaning myself off gradually (as directed by my GP) and I also tried ‘cold turkey’. Every time I ended up having a break down and would end up taking the anti-depressants again. Because I tried and failed so many times, I lost confidence that I would ever be free of the tablets and I believed I was reliant on them.”
“Caroline took me on a journey to allow me to overcome this belief that I was dependent on anti-depressants. In fact, the anti-depressants were actually preventing me from achieving my goal of reaching happiness! Thanks to Caroline, anti-depressants were removed from my life and I’ve never looked back! Since having hypnotherapy my life has changed in every way possible – relationship break up, new home, new job… But thanks to Caroline, during this challenging time I have remained free of anti-depressants, have continued to be focused and have made my own choices using the techniques she has taught me. Not only has Caroline allowed me to achieve a life free of anti-depressants, she has also helped me to be able to live a happy life without depression, anxiety and stress controlling it. I now have a clear, positive outlook of life, with visions, goals and choices. “
I always ask clients if they have any suggestions on how the services of Adding Zest could be improved. Kara’s answer to this question…..”A glass of prosecco on arrival!” Hmmm, Kara, I will have to think on that one for a while!Let's Talk
Sharon first came to me with a list of things she wanted to work on. This is not uncommon and the starting place for me is to work out if all of the areas she was wanting to change were being supported by one single root.
Her childhood had not been the happiest and a struggle to form lasting friendships/relationships had been a consistent theme throughout her life. The work Sharon and I did together involved some work in hypnosis to address some of the deep rooted beliefs that were no longer serving her but also included a lot of practical exercises and activities for her to build skills that her family situation had not supported her learning naturally. These exercises were then things that she took away with her to work on between sessions.
Key, was for her to now take charge of her own life rather than feeling as if she was always destined to be a victim. For her, placing trust in someone was a huge ‘ask’ but session by session, that trust grew and so did she!
Sharon’s work with me spread over 7 months, culminating in 13 sessions. We would have a number of sessions close together and then a time period when I didn’t see her. These quieter times allowed her to work on the exercises we’d discussed and become more comfortable with the new skills she was developing.
Sharon has now joined a choir and is exploring her options of changing career whilst also re-igniting an incredible artistic talent she has been supressing.Let's Talk
Maryanne was referred by a close friend who had worked with me, so already had a good insight into hypnotherapy and was excited to get to work on her challenges.
Hypnosis, however, is a very personal experience and after her first experience of entering a hypnotic state, Maryanne described it as “The most relaxing thing I have ever done. It was not scary, just a very personal deep relaxation.”
Maryanne was experiencing a lot of negative thoughts and very low self esteem after many years of abuse, both from her mother and a partner. Now in a loving marriage, the past was prohibiting her from enjoying what she now had and also stopping her from moving forward in her career. She was also very focused on the impact her past was also still having on her son – as a parent, our state will ripple out to touch our loved ones.
We had just 4 sessions together and then I didn’t hear from Maryanne for a while. When we got back in touch she told me the following:
The power of positive thought is very strong, but it was letting go of the old beliefs that she had created that provided the platform from which new beliefs could grow. And these beliefs that things could change, the future was not controlled by the past or pre-destined, allowed her to start creating her own reality rather than just accepting ‘her lot.’