Phobia of spiders

Katherine had been struggling with spiders for years.  During most of the year it was something that caused her discomfort, however she dreaded the autumn months knowing that there was a high likelihood of her going into a room and finding one.

Her main motivation to address her phobia however, was the fear of passing it on to her children. This was a very realistic fear as often phobias are learned behaviour, passed from generation to generation.

How many sessions did it take?

Katherine elected to do a ‘deep dive session’ – an extended session where we use 3 key therapeutic tools that are proven to be effective with acute anxiety.  We start the session by paving the way – learning about the science behind hypnosis and developing awareness of how the mind works.  This can be very powerful in recognising that a phobia is not an illness, but more of a mental hypervigilance to protect.

Katherine commented, “I didn’t fully understand hypnotherapy before seeing Caroline and wasn’t sure how successful it would be.  Caroline fully explained everything.”

Many people have an impression of hypnosis developed from seeing stage shows or films.  This can lead to a fear of loss of control or lack of awareness.  So we spend time to dispel these myths and gain clarity on what hypnosis actually is – in Katherine’s words, “A deep state of relaxation.”

The result

After the session, Katherine left with an optimism that she certainly felt different.  She quickly had exposure when a spider was on her son and she did not react in the way she would have done previously.

I have noticed that I am already more confident at dealing with spiders and I am more conscious of my thought processes around spiders and my reaction to them.”

Katherine was also given a personalised recording that has two key objectives:  It helps develop the ability to relax which can reduce generalised stress and anxiety, and it also builds on the tools used in the session to help embed that work.  Whilst the autumn was a few months away from our work together, using it will help maintain this changed mindset, however Katherine added, “It is still early days and the true test will be in the autumn but I already feel I have more tools to deal with the 8-legged creatures!

Phobias tend to respond really well to hypnotherapy.  People often do not get help for them as they feel embarrassed at their reaction to what they consciously know is not dangerous.  However, a professional will help you understand how your mind is working and work sensitively with you to reduce and potentially remove your phobia.  It you would like more information, please get in touch for an informal chat.

A was just 9 years old and experiencing high levels of anxiety around loud noises.  At school, special steps were having to be taken every week during the fire alarm test which was escalating to A not wanting to go into school on that day.  Her anxiety was also spreading, leading to distress around the risk of car alarms going off and even her sibling’s noisy toys if they did not have an on/off switch.

A’s experience follows a typical pattern of anxiety and escalation.  In children however, this escalation can be quicker than in adults.

How many sessions did it take?

The age of a child is less relevant than their mental maturity.  In the first session we take small steps to identify if hypnosis is an approach that they can embrace.

A took to the approach easily and quickly and after just one session she was already showing signs of having changed her mental association with noise.  I then sent A a recording to help her learn to relax and feel more in control with the recommendation to use this as often as possible and definitely on Tuesday mornings before school.

The result

After just one session I received the following email from her Mum.

“She has had a breakthrough and it is completely down to talking to you.  Before seeing you she had to leave the school and wait on the field, last week she stood in the room while they set the alarm off!! I am so grateful to you.”

Deeming that progress was being made, we decided to continue to use the recording and then test out the other triggers for her anxiety.

“She isn’t as anxious about other noises now either like car alarms and is no longer having a complete meltdown when her brother plays with noisy toys, she asks him to stop but in a controlled manner,” added Mum.

Not every young child is a perfect candidate for hypnosis however equally, results such as those as A received are achievable and A now has an awareness of risk that will also be with her as she moves forward and faces other challenges as she grows up.

 

If you are not sure if your child is a good candidate for hypnotherapy, please get in touch for an informal chat and we can take it from there.

At 9 years old, B was experiencing high levels of anxiety.  She was a real worrier, concerning herself with things that most 9 year olds do not concern themselves over, and this was affecting her both at school and also leading to bad dreams at night.  She is an accomplished swimmer but was often feeling very sick on the way to lessons and competitions and was also dreading a school sporting event that was on the horizon.  B said her anxiety left her feeling “sad.”

How many sessions did it take?

The age of a child is less relevant than their mental maturity.  In the first session we take small steps to identify if hypnosis is an approach that they can embrace.

B was clearly a very bright little girl and was able to engage easily and quickly.  Even after the introductory session, B reported that she was falling asleep better and was feeling a little less anxious.  The second session is one where we start to use the therapeutic tools under hypnosis.  Children tend to respond very well as we are working with a part of the mind that is playful and imaginative.  We used age appropriate concepts to help her reframe the fears and create a mental resource she could use when she wanted to feel brave.

After the two sessions, I created a personalised recording for B to listen to that would help embed the work we had done together.

The result

I will hand that over to the words of her Mum.

B is doing brilliantly !!   

She is now going to bed without her anxiety attacks and is sleeping right through!! Bedtime is now taking 5 minutes as opposed to 30/40.

She did brilliantly in her sporting event and had no anxiety around it at all.  She ended up looking forward to it and was excited! She came in the top 5.  This was such a confidence booster for her, especially as she had not wanted to participate initially due to her anxiety. 

She had her first gala this weekend.  Yesterday she had lots of tears and didn’t want to attend, so she went into her room, listened to your recording, and calmed herself.  She managed to control her anxiety so well, and although she had a few wobbles on the way, she was fabulous, and once she had managed her first race, the rest went very smoothly, and she loved every minute. She was so excited about the second leg today, with no anxiety at all, and she again did so very well!

Further, much to my surprise, she has decided, pretty much on her own, that she would like to commence tutoring for the 11+. This was never an expectation, as we had always felt that the pressure would be too much for her.  The fact that she feels confident enough to proceed, is incredible.

She is happy and positive and hasn’t had a bad dream for several weeks.  We have seen fabulous results after so few sessions, and the recording has been a excellent tool, which she can access whenever she needs, often of her own accord.  We are most grateful.

 

If you are not sure if your child is a good candidate for hypnotherapy, please get in touch for an informal chat and we can take it from there.

R was just 10 years old and emotionally very intelligent.  She had been persuaded to behave in a way that she knew was wrong by children that were older.  This left her feeling huge amounts of guilt, not only in the knowledge of what she had done, but feelings of having let her parents down.  This had changed a vibrant, bubbly young lady into one that was withdrawn and unhappy.

How many sessions did it take?

We had  just 2 sessions.  The first session all clients experience is what is called a chemistry session.  This is especially key for youngsters as if they do not feel comfortable with the therapist or their methodologies, they will not get the results they deserve.

R was naturally nervous about hypnosis but having had it explained to her, was very open to having her first experience of it.  After this first session, even though we had not used any therapeutic techniques, her Mum reported back that, She is so much more relaxed & happy. She really enjoyed the hypnosis. I don’t want to speak too soon, but it feels like we’ve our daughter back. She’s so much happier.”

So we progressed to have one therapeutic session, using a range of techniques to help address the guilt and to bolster her self-esteem to feel more confident around other children.

The result

R was able to let the past go and move on from the incident and return to being a happy, bright child ready to progress into secondary school with a new level of mental agility and resilience.

And in her own words, “I was really nervous about seeing Caroline, but she comforted me and assured me there was nothing to be nervous about. Before I saw her, my problem was always on my mind, but now I rarely think about it thanks to Caroline.  Thank you for what you did for me Caroline.”

 

If you have a teen (or near tween) who is struggling with inter-personal relationships, please get in touch for an informal chat.

Clare had a debilitating fear of spiders leading to her being unable to go into parts of her home, such as her conservatory, when alone in the house incase there was a spider in there.

Her motivation to gain support was not only the impact on her life, but an awareness of how her fears were starting to be picked up by one of her young sons.

Clare had not experienced hypnosis before but was willing to do anything to help resolve her problem.

How many sessions did it take?

Clare had just one session.  There are a number of techniques that reduce phobic reactions and the one that was used with Clare was a visualisation based technique.

Whilst many phobias, such as fear of flying or heights, can have a controlled exposure to the risk – ie you can control when to fly or go up a skyscraper, the risk of seeing a spider, especially at Autumn time is faced daily.  Therefore, this requires an approach that is easy to implement so it does not drain the mental resources.

Clare is a very visual person.  The subconscious mind, where fear is managed from, is very playful and we used this playfulness to imagine any spiders she saw as having  wellyboots on.  This gave her a mental strategy to apply at the trigger of seeing a spider, rather than her mind defaulting to the fight or flight response.  Her technique was to mentally boot up each of the 8 legs.

This technique supports the fact that the mind cannot tell the difference between reality and imagination and in Clare’s mind, seeing a spider with wellies on was not something that instilled fear.

The result

Clare is still not a fan of spiders, however….. “Although I still don’t like them, seeing them with coloured welly’s on takes the fear away.”

This is a significant result in one session and enough for Clare to be happy knowing that any exposure to spiders is something she can deal with.  She can now spring clean those corners of the house that in the past would have been avoided and garden without fear of spiders emerging from the shed – and her husband is happier not to have to do those jobs now too!!

 

For more information on techniques used for resolving phobias, please read on here

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

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

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.

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.

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.