How To Choose Your Hypnotherapist:

In the internet age, choosing your therapist can be an overwhelming decision. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people out there all claiming to be the best solution for your needs.

In many ways it's the complete opposite of the situation when I chose my first therapist to help me overcome anxiety. In the absence of any sort of guide as to how to chose and with the phone directory as my reference manual, I went for the most conveniently located person to where I worked. I had no comprehension of different types of hypnotherapy and naively assumed if someone was trained and had an office then they were probably ok and that one hypnotherapist was probably near enough equivalent to another.

In my case it was one of the worst decisions I've ever made, financially and psychologically.  In fact, the regression style approach adopted was nothing short of cruel. In the end I said I felt better just because being anxious was less painful than being guided to vividly pour over every painful and embarrassing moment that may (or even may not) have happened. It was several years before I even considered going and talking to another hypnotherapist.

So to avoid making the same mistake I made first time around, what can you do? Below I've listed the six things I think any professional hypnotherapist should be doing and offering. If I was advising someone I deeply cared about on how to find the right hypnotherapist then this is the list I would give them (assuming they couldn't work with me for some reason!). 

After all, I'd want the very best for them and their mental health and wellbeing. 

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Dealing with Anxiety and Trauma - New Video Testimonial:

Last weekend I took my daughter for her first experience of watching Ely City FC play, when they took on Norwich in the FA Vase at the Ellgia Stadium here in Ely.

It was a glorious day as we made the mile long walk there (during which we contemplated what it would be like if all other humans vanished and we were the only ones left...such is the mind of a ten year old! (Naturally, in the true British way, we also complained a bit about how hot we were!). 

Anyway, the game itself was a cracker! Ely fell behind twice in normal time and managed to equalise each time so at 2-2 it went into extra time (my daughter was not too impressed as she'd had enough by then!). Ely again went behind in extra time, only to equalise yet again. Then Ely went ahead for the first time, and despite missing a penalty that would have clinched it, held on to win and go through to the next round.

One thing I particularly admired about the Ely team was how each time they went behind and got knocked back, they stayed positive and kept going. It's easy to let our heads drop when we get a knock back yet here was persistence and resilience in action. And, just as in other areas of life, by picking themselves up each time they went on to ultimately succeed. Great stuff!

And recently I've been working with a lovely lady who, despite a very major set back, has shown the reilience, persistence and mental courage to keep going. 

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Overcoming The Fear of Swimming in Open Water:

Do you have a fear of swimming in open water? Well, if you are a triathlete then that fear can seriously impact on your enjoyment of competing as well as your performance levels. Further down this article you can watch a testimonial from Miranda who overcame her fear and absolutely smashed her triathlon.

I'm just back from a week away with my family in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, an absolutely lovely place where we all had a great time. The weather was good, the beaches were amazing and we all really enjoyed our time there. Even the weather was just right (mostly!)!

The kids loved playing in the sea, whether it was splashing around, swimming a bit or getting knocked over by the waves. It was great to see how confident they have become in the water compared to previous years (I splashed around a bit but mainly stuck to dry land because the water was freeeeezing!!). 

There were also plenty of swimmers out in the sea and we often watched them make their way along the horizon. There's an Ironman triathlon event coming up in Tenby so I'd bet a few of them were in training for the open water swimming part.

Yet if open water swimming fills you with fear then a triathlon, or any other open water swimming, could fill you with dread, anxiety and worry. 

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Self-Esteem: You Gotta Sing Your Own Special Song:

Recently I've been working with a lot of people who are seeking to boost their self-esteem because they believe they aren't good enough or worthy in some way. And of course, whenever they learned this or adopted this, it now affects their sense of self-worth, their belief in themselves and their perceptions of how others will view them and judge them. 

And like all patterns we run, the more you consciously or nonconsciously act, react and think in this way, the more habitual and automatic it can start to feel.

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Reducing Anxiety in Sport and Increasing Performance:

Ahh Facebook memories, always there to remind me what I was doing on a particular day over the years (or at least those bits of my life I stick on there). Today I was reminded that on this day two years ago I was training for a road marathon and, judging by my appearance (have a look below), it was pretty hot that summer too!

When I used to line up at the start of a race, I would always have that curious blend of nervousness and excitement flowing through me. At the start, especially in the hanging around quite a bit waiting to get going stage, there's that balance to be found in having enough intensity and energy to perform to your best, yet not too much so that it impairs what you do. You don't want to be throwing up, freaking out or burning up all your energy before you even take a step.

The other day I had a great update from a triathlete I was working with as she conquered her open water fears and absolutely smashed her race.  Awesome stuff! 

And only just recently a clinical trial showed how mindfulness based techniques can help increase athletic performance and reduce sports anxiety in athletes.

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Anxiety Disorders - Why you should get moving to treat anxiety:

As I write this I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself because it's a Saturday and not just any old Saturday, but a very rare one where I've had to miss bootcamp. I've tweaked something in my back and it's letting me know about (loud and clear!) any time I try and exert myself so it's an enforced exercise abstinence for me for a few days.

I'm already getting twitchy and eager to get back to it because I know how valuable and beneficial exercise is to my happiness and mental and physical wellbeing. It was true when I had anxiety and it's just as true now.

A lot gets written about how exercise is good for your mental health and how if you are battling anxiety it can help you feel better. And now there is solid evidence, in the form of a recently published systematic review of meta-analysis, for the effectiveness of exercise in the treatment of anxiety and about the level of intensity of exercise required to lead to improvement. As an exercise lover this is music to my ears and is certainly good news for anyone seeking to implement a treatment plan to overcome anxiety.

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Hypnosis is Conscious and Voluntary:

There are still many out there who think that hypnosis is some form of 'mind control' where they will be asked to stare at a swinging watch while the hypnotist quietly takes over their brain. 

Which of course is a long, long way from what actually goes on around here.

There are actually still many hypnotherapists who still rely on flawed notions of the existence an all powerful 'unconscious' or 'subconscious' mind in their work. They believe that by communicating with an actual thing called the unconscious mind they can help people to make changes. But a quick look at the anatomy of the brain tell us that there is no actual bit of us all called the unconscious mind. Of course, we do many things nonconsciously, from the bodily function like digestion and the beating of our heart, to habits and patterns that we follow through our day.   

So I was very pleased to read a new scientific report today called, 'Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Demonstrates That Hypnosis Is Conscious and Voluntary'. I mean, how exciting is that, to have fMRI brain scans showing what is going on during hypnosis?

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The haters gonna hate, the fakers gonna to shake it off:

Life's a funny old thing isn't it? One moment everything is swimming along nicely and then, out of the blue, comes some sort of challenge that knocks things a bit off balance and swallows up your time and energy.

Take last week for instance when someone decided to abandon their car in the office car park (minus a wheel for some reason!). What a faff about that became for everyone involved here, trying to resolve it and make alternative arrangements for parking. But hey, what are you going to do, shout at the car to move? Get stressed out and angry about it? The car would still be there however much negative emotion and wasted thinking anyone would care to do (it's no longer there by the way!).

And then only this week, my wife received an aggressive phone call from another parent accusing one of the girls of being responsible for all sorts of stuff involving her son. Rather than seeking to establish fact and understand the situation it seems this parent decided to launch into what later transpired to be a free-flowing emotional torrent of exaggerations, distortions and plain falsehoods. And I get it, because I think most of us want to think that our kids are well behaved saints when at school and that they could never say a mean word or carry out a mean act. I mean, not one's own children! No way! 

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Why You Must Deal With Your Anxiety & Depression:

Back when I struggled with anxiety, I tried all that I could think of to find a solution that would help alleviate all those unpleasant thoughts and feelings. There would be times when things would ease a bit and I would think I was heading in the right direction, only for the anxiety to hit again and put me back at square one.

During those anxious moments I thought that there was something seriously wrong with me. Other people didn't seem to go through this constant inner battle with themselves in their heads. Having tried every method I could think of myself, it took me quite some time to build the courage to seek help to overcome my anxiety. After all, how could I expect someone else to help me take away that ceaseless feeling of dread, of being uncovered as not being good enough or those nagging doubts about whether this was just something I had to learn to live with until my dying day?

With my focus on my anxiety from day to day, moment to moment and situation to situation, the last thing I had any mental space for was to think about how my anxiety might impact on my future health and wellbeing. 

Yet recent research suggests that anyone struggling with anxiety or depression, even at low levels of distress, really should take action and seek help to deal with it sooner rather than later. 

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Beat The Boredom & Start Enjoying Things More Again:

Do you ever find yourself feeling like you are in a bit of a rut, doing the same things in the same old way and no longer enjoying things like you used to? If so, new research has suggested a way to break through that boredom and rediscover that sense of enjoyment.

One thing I often talk to clients about is how we are all very much creatures of habit and pattern. Most of us do things in the same way that we always do in most situations, which is usually by doing things like we did the time before. We get up in the morning and follow our usual routine that gets us out of the door on time, we eat the same foods, watch the same TV programmes and travel the same routes.  

And often that's pretty useful isn't it? We can get stuff done while running a bit on auto-pilot and thinking of other stuff. However, on the flip side, it can lead to a bit of boredom and that feeling of going through the motions like a hamster on a wheel. And when the things we usually enjoy start to become a bit boring and mundane that our sense of fulfilment and joy can start to diminish, often this impacts on our mental health that reverberate in other aspects of our lives.

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