Category: hypnotherapy

How I Treated My Fibromyalgia and Anxiety with Hypnotherapy

How I Treated My Fibromyalgia and Anxiety with Hypnotherapy

When I meet new people and they ask me what I do I initially tend to get one of two reactions. Either they lean forward and ask if they heard me right or they lean back in surprise and give me a strange look. In fact, in either case, I tend to get a strange look! On the odd occasion, I meet someone who has had experience of hypnotherapy and they are usually very positive about it and go on to share their experience and tell me how much it has helped them, which is lovely to hear. The other thing that happens is that people ask me how on earth I got into hypnotherapy.

 

So…Here is My Story

I suppose it all started many years ago when I was diagnosed with a condition called endometriosis. At the time I was teaching in a Primary school but found that the pain I was in was making life very difficult and I was relying on stronger and stronger painkillers to get me through the day. I was also struggling with infertility and the combination of the stress from that and the pain I was constantly experiencing eventually led to depression, anxiety and fibromyalgia. Eventually, I had to give up my job and spent my days at home focused on the pain and depression. I also felt very guilty about the fact that I wasn’t working, feeling that I had let the school, my lovely little pupils and my husband and family down. I even began self-harming to try and cope with all the negative feelings. I was lost.

I was still determined to try and have a family as it was something I had always wanted and I had decided that having children would somehow make everything better! Looking back now, I am not sure what led me to think that or how I would even have coped with a baby at that time, but my husband and I tried IVF nevertheless. It was very stressful! The first attempt didn’t work at all and the second ended in miscarriage. As you can imagine, this just made the depression worse. My husband eventually left me and I lost my home on top of everything else. I ended up living back with my parents who scooped me up, took me to their house and looked after me while I tried to work out what to do next. It was not a good time but I am so thankful they were there for me.

With the help and support of my mum and dad, I took the decision to have a hysterectomy to try to cure the endometriosis and now I am really glad I did. I am still bothered now and again by pain from the internal scar tissue that couldn’t be removed, but on the whole, it made a big difference to the amount of pelvic pain I was experiencing. Of course, it didn’t help the pain from the fibromyalgia or the associated depression. I was still struggling on a daily basis, had stopped going out and seeing friends and spent a lot of my life in bed just trying to sleep the days away.

The Treatments

The doctors put me on Fluoxetine to try and alleviate the depression and anxiety and I was sent for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). I was diagnosed with Depression, General Anxiety Disorder and Social Phobia, so I was building quite an enviable list of ailments!  I found that the CBT helped a little at the time but as soon as I had had my prescribed six weeks of therapy and was left to my own devices again, my motivation went out of the window and I rapidly went downhill. I think I had CBT three times in all.

My prescription list was getting pretty long, too, what with the number of other drugs they had me on to try and help my pain levels. Nothing really seemed to help, so they just kept adding new drugs to the list and upping the doses of those I was already on. The more drugs I took, the less energy I had and the less motivation I had to help myself. Just waking up in the morning became a struggle, let alone doing anything else. I lived in a fog of pain and depression which tainted everything.

The Answer…Hypnotherapy

Eventually, probably around two years ago now, I decided that I didn’t want to live like that anymore. I knew that if I couldn’t improve my quality of life then I didn’t want to continue with it any longer. It was then that I found hypnotherapy which, it is no exaggeration to say, saved me. I am not sure exactly how I stumbled across it as it wasn’t something I had ever heard of or thought about before. My only experience of hypnosis was going to see Paul Mckenna on stage back in the 1990s and I wasn’t particularly impressed! I think I was searching the internet one night when I came across a free hypnosis download on YouTube. I can’t even remember what it was for but I found it very calming and relaxing so I searched out more and more. I began listening to downloads for depression and anxiety and found that slowly I began to feel a little better. It was as if the hypnosis was reaching a part of my mind that the CBT couldn’t reach. I now like to think of hypnotherapy as the “Heineken” of the therapy world! If you are confused by that reference (perhaps you are under the age of 40!) this old TV ad might help.

I have always been fascinated by how the brain works, about how we learn and develop and where thoughts, feelings and emotions come from. I think it started with my psychology A-Level all those years ago. So, I started looking into the psychology of hypnosis and I also came across NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and began to practise some of the techniques I read about. I found that they, too, just seemed to help to change the negative thoughts and self-talk that I had become so good at. I knew quite a lot about CBT by then, too, so I dragged out all the old notes that I had forgotten about and began to practise the CBT techniques alongside self-hypnosis and NLP. Slowly but surely things began to improve. I took courses in NLP and Hypnotherapy and eventually earned my diploma.

Along the way, I used my family and friends as case studies (guinea pigs!) to help me gain experience and I realised that they were really benefitting from the techniques, too. I was amazed at how effective the hypnotherapy was at helping with all different kinds of issues. I started “Laura Culley Hypnotherapy” in October 2016 so that I could help others out there who may be suffering like I was not so long ago. I use a combination of NLP, CBT and hypnotherapy to help my clients and teach them the little tricks and techniques that I use myself so that they can practise them at home.

My Pain Today

These days I rely much less on the drugs and instead use my mind to control my pain levels. Some days are better than others and I have by no means cured the Fibromyalgia. I am still in pain, but I cope with it. I still wear a Fentanyl patch but I am on just a quarter of the dose I was on two years ago and I am still hoping to reduce that further until I can come off it completely. I know how to relax my body and use breathing exercises to stop myself tensing up when the pain is particularly bad. As I learned to relax I realised that I used to hold my breath and tense my muscles when the pain really kicked in, which just exacerbated the pain and led to a snowball effect which would put me in bed for days.

My Depression and Anxiety Today

As the dark fog of depression has lifted, I have stopped taking the anti-depressants and instead use daily self-hypnosis and positive visualisation to relax and calm my busy mind. I practise visualising the future and seeing good things happening rather than letting the automatic negative images take over. Whenever the horrible voices start nagging at my mind, I have learned to notice them so that I can stop them and replace them with positive messages instead. I feel that after all those years of suffering, I have at last regained some control over my life and my body.

My Weight Loss

I put on a lot of weight whilst I was ill. I had very little respect for my body after the way I felt it had let me down, so I had little thought for how the food I put into it would affect me. I ate more for comfort and to try and distract myself from the negative thoughts and feelings than I did for nutrition. Also, the side effects of the drugs I was taking slowed down my metabolism and I wasn’t moving around much, so anything I did eat was not being used as it should have been.

I have used hypnotherapy to change my relationship with food and as a result, I have lost over three and a half stone in weight in the last two years. I still have a few stone to lose before I hit my target weight, but it is going in the right direction! I am sure the weight loss and the improvement in my diet have also helped to reduce my pain levels.

Below is a picture of me at my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding in 2013 before I lost the weight. I can still remember the pain I was in and how I was struggling to even stand for photos.

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At my brother’s wedding in May 2013.

It Takes Effort, People!

None of this comes easily or naturally to me and I have to work at it daily. After all, I  spent years and years becoming an expert at being anxious. I don’t mean to brag, but I am very good at being depressed, too. Automatically seeing the negative side of things and panicking over the slightest little thing also comes very easily. However, with time and lots of practice, I am getting much better at looking for the silver lining in all aspects of life, no matter what happens. I try to find at least three things a day to be grateful for rather than continuously regretting all the things I have lost along the way. I make plans for the future but I try to live in the moment as much as possible rather than putting my life on hold and believing that “things will be better when…”.

I really believe that everything I have been through has made me the person I am today and I think that goes for all of us. The illnesses, losses, pain and struggles I have faced (and continue to deal with daily) have taught me so much and led to my new found career and my passion for hypnotherapy. I would never have known all this or been able to help the people I have without first going through all that I have.

Can I Help You?

If you are struggling with any type of chronic pain, depression or anxiety, I really hope that my story gives you hope that things can get better and there are things you can do to gain back some control. Please do get in touch if you want to know more or if you would like my help. I am always happy to hear from you.

 

 

 

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The Lost Axe

AxeAs people around the world celebrate the Chinese new year, I have a traditional Chinese tale for you…

Long ago, there lived a woodcutter who lost his axe. He searched everywhere for it and eventually came to the conclusion that it had been stolen.

At that moment, his neighbour’s teenage son walked by with some friends. The woodcutter watched him as he strolled past his house. 

“Just look at him,” thought the woodcutter. “Doesn’t he walk the way a thief does? Listen to the way he speaks. He is probably boasting about stealing my axe. I can tell by his guilty face that he is the culprit. As soon as I can prove it, I will have words with his father.”

A few days later the woodcutter was working in a nearby forest when he found his lost axe stuck in a tree. He remembered leaving it there the last time he was working here. He realised that it was his own carelessness that had made him lose the axe.

“So, I have blamed the young man wrongly, ” he thought to himself.

The next time he met his neighbour’s son, he looked so different to the woodcutter. The way the young man walked, the expression on his face, the way he talked to his friends. He was just a typical, innocent teenage lad. 

I love this Chinese fable. It illustrates the power of thought and the way our beliefs can change the way we view the world. The woodcutter was so convinced that the teenager had stolen his axe that his whole impression of the boy was skewed.

It is something we are all guilty of. How many times have you had a thought about a person, place or situation, either good or bad, that has biased your judgement?

Thoughts can take a strong hold in our heads and take on a life of their own. Instead of stepping back and examining the evidence, we often let the thought fester until it has worked its way into our emotions and even changed our behaviour.

Think about the last time your partner was late home. What kind of scenarios went through your head? You may have tried to call, only to get an answer phone message. As the time ticked by, what were you imagining?

“I expect they have been held up through no fault of their own. Perhaps the roads are busy or they’ve stayed late at work. It’s probably nothing to worry about. I will go and keep busy until they get home.”

Or…

“I bet there’s been an accident! It isn’t like them to be late…they would have called! They are probably lying dead in a ditch somewhere! OMG…I should start phoning around the hospitals. No…maybe I should call the police!” 

Or…

They are so selfish! How long would it take them to call and let me know they’d be late back? Maybe they are with someone else. I bet that’s it! I knew it! I knew they were having an affair! Just wait until they get home. That’s it…this relationship is over!”

The truth is, you couldn’t have known what had happened, but how would each of these thoughts affect your mood? How would they have caused you to feel and behave towards your partner when they eventually walked through the door?

Do you control your thoughts or do they control you?

If your thoughts are positive, they can be really helpful. For example, if you have convinced yourself that you are going to be successful at something and can see yourself achieving your dreams, that is great. Positive visualisation gives us the confidence and motivation we need to make changes and reach our goals and that is why we use it during hypnosis.

So, next time you find those negative thoughts taking over, think about that Chinese woodcutter and examine the evidence. How much truth is there in what you are imagining? Are your beliefs clouding the way you see the world? Could you change the scenario in your mind so that your thoughts become more helpful?

 

 

 

 

Improving Communication

Valentine

So, today I thought I would write about love and relationships and how we can better understand the people we share our lives with. This can mean romantic relationships, but can really be applied to anyone.

We know that we have five senses. In NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) language these are known as “representational systems” and are called:

  • Visual – what we see
  • Auditory – what we hear
  • Kinaesthetic – what we feel
  • Olfactory – what we smell
  • Gustatory – what we taste

The main three systems that I will concentrate on today are visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. We can come back to the other two another time. We use all of our five senses to navigate the world around us but we all tend to have one preferred representational system. I wonder what yours is? If you aren’t sure, maybe this will help.

If yours is visual…

You might use visual language when you are speaking. You may be artistic and enjoy painting or drawing. You probably learn better by reading or watching something being demonstrated.

If yours is auditory…

You may be very musical and use words that relate to sound. You might notice that you learn better by listening to someone explain something.

If yours is kinaesthetic…

You might use words that describe feelings. You probably learn best by doing something and acting it out. Only then will you feel you really understand it.

This is a very generalised overview of representational systems and you may find that you have two equally preferred systems or that you tend to favour different systems in different situations. We use a combination of each of these systems and, of course, being good at painting doesn’t mean that you aren’t musical. However, it is a good way to start thinking about how we all see the world and it makes us stop for a moment and realise that we all interpret things differently.

As it is Valentine’s Day, we are focusing on love and how understanding our representational systems can help us communicate with those we are closest to.

Try out this little exercise:

  • Close your eyes, take a deep breath and relax your body.
  • Now, think of a time you felt truly loved. Really take yourself back to that time. See what you saw, hear what you heard and really feel what you felt.
  • Who was there with you?
  • What is it about that person that made you feel so loved and special? Notice what they did or said that really meant something to you.

What did you find out about your own representational system? Do you feel more loved when someone tells you they love you or says nice things to you? Perhaps it is the way they look at you that makes you feel loved? Is it a particular touch or a hug? Maybe they just did something really special or bought you a thoughtful gift?

The point is that each of us responds to these in a different way. When we first start a romantic relationship we tend to cover all bases. We will use all three of these representational systems to show someone how we feel. However, over time, we tend to fall back on our own system and think that everyone will respond in the same way. An auditory person may feel most loved when they hear the words, “I love you”, so they use this to communicate to the person they love and wonder why it doesn’t work. The person they are speaking to may be a kinaesthetic person and will only truly feel loved if they are hugged or touched in some way. In their world, this lack of physical affection means that their partner has stopped loving them and no matter what that person says, it will never mean as much to them.

So, you can see how this lack of communication can begin to cause problems within the relationship. The two people concerned may actually love each other very much, but the way they are showing it does not really register with their partner.

Sometimes we don’t consciously know what the problem is, we know that something just doesn’t feel right. By doing the exercise above we can identify our own primary representational system when it comes to love and that way we can begin to talk to others about what we need. Ask your loved one to do it, too, and find out the best way to communicate with them. You may be surprised at what you learn about yourself and others.

Notice the language people use when they speak. Do they tend to use words that relate to sight or sound or feelings? If you want to improve your communication skills, use similar words. This works with those we live with and see on a daily basis and those we have just met. It is often why we just “click” with someone or feel that we have known them all our lives. Next time you feel this way, notice the language and metaphors being used.

I would love to know how you got on with the exercise above and what you learned about yourself and other people around you, so please get in touch and let me know. Also, remember that if you have any questions about hypnotherapy or NLP, or would like more information on how it could help you overcome a particular difficulty you are experiencing, just send me a message or call me for a chat.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Clean Your Mind

Spring Clean Your Mind

Spring is definitely here. I have even packed away my winter woollies and snow boots and dug out all my t-shirts! It is at this time of the year that we often spring clean our houses and clear the clutter. However, what about our minds and emotions? Aren’t they also due for a good clear out? April is Stress Awareness Month, here are a just few ways you can clear the clutter from your mind and reduce your stress levels at the same time.

Forgive and Forget

Are you holding onto anger or upset from a past relationship? Maybe you just cannot forgive someone for something they said or did. Have you ever thought about who you are hurting most, though? Holding onto resentment can leave us feeling stressed. Anger is a very negative emotion and effects our bodies in all sorts of ways, leading to headaches, digestion problems, insomnia, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, skin problems, even heart attacks and strokes. So, maybe it is time you let it go for your own sake.

Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean that you are condoning the other person’s behaviour, you are just looking after yourself by not carrying that pain around any longer. So, make a list of those that have hurt you and be the better person. Decide today on ways you can show forgiveness and start clearing out that negativity.

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 “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Buddha

Let Go of Stress

Make a list of all that negative clutter. What is worrying you? What is making you anxious? Split that list into two; those that you can change and those that you can’t. If you have no control over it, there is no point in worrying. Have faith that things will turn out for the best, whatever that might be. Be comfortable with the unknown and let life take its course. Burn or shred that list of worries that cannot be controlled and LET IT GO!

Now look at the list of things that you could do something about. Prioritise it and start working your way through it, crossing them off one by one. Even if you just tackle one a day, you will feel as though you are taking control and getting those anxieties out of your mind. Now that it is on paper, put it to one side as you don’t need to carry it around with you day after day.

It is also worth spending some time each day on relaxing both physically and mentally. Listen to the free mp3 on my website (sign up here) to give both your mind and body that time it needs each day to wind down.

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Focus on Future Goals

What were your resolutions in January? Have you managed to stick to them? If not, don’t worry. Spring is a time of regrowth and renewal and a great time to start again. Tomorrow is a new day; a new start.

Spend some time relaxing and visualising yourself achieving all those things that you planned for the future, whatever that might be. It could be health related, such as giving up smoking. If so, see yourself as the non-smoker you want to become and set that goal firmly in your mind. Maybe you want to lose weight? If so, visualise yourself as the slimmer version of you, wearing the clothes that you dream of wearing. How will you move? How will you feel?

Perhaps your goal is work-related? Are you starting your own business or hoping for that great promotion? See it in your mind and act as though it will happen. Maybe write a page on the person you will be by the end of this year. Write it as though you are in December, looking back on 2017. Where are you? How did you get here? What steps did you take to achieve your dream?

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Whatever your goal, see yourself achieving it and do this daily as a great meditation exercise.

Mind Massage

If you would like any extra help with relaxation, please think about coming to one of my mind massage sessions. It is a great way to experience hypnotherapy for the first time and give your mind a little mini-holiday while de-cluttering and putting everything back into perspective.

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PTSD

PTSD

What is PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)?

PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a condition that can occur following the experience or witnessing of  life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood. Most survivors of trauma return to normal given a little time. However, around 30% of people will have stress reactions that do not go away on their own, or may even get worse over time. These individuals may develop PTSD. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, feel detached from real life and unable to communicate with friends and family.  These symptoms can be severe enough to significantly impair the sufferer’s daily life.

Who suffers from PTSD?

Anyone who has witnessed a severe trauma could be susceptible to PTSD and it is estimated that up to one in 10 individuals may be affected by the condition at some stage during their lives.

However, some individuals who work within certain professions, and some individuals who exhibit certain risk factors may be more prone to develop the condition than others.

According to some studies the condition is present in approximately one in two female rape victims, one in three teenagers who have survived a car accident, two in three prisoners of war and one in five fire-fighters.

Those who have previously suffered from a mental health condition or who have a family history of mental health concerns are also considered to be at a ‘high risk’ of developing PTSD after being exposed to a harrowing event. It is estimated that up to four in five PTSD sufferers are affected by other mental health problems

What are the Symptoms of PTSD?

In some individuals the symptoms will develop very shortly after the event, but for others the onset may be delayed by a number of months, or even years after the trauma first occurred. People with PTSD usually experience three main kinds of symptoms:

1. Reliving the Trauma

The sufferer may feel as though they are reliving the trauma in some way. There are a number of ways in which people may relive a trauma. They may have upsetting memories of the traumatic event which can come back at any time, day or night, completely out of the blue. At other times the memories may be triggered by a traumatic reminder. Examples of this may be when a soldier who has returned from combat hears a car backfire, a motor vehicle accident victim drives by a car accident or a rape victim sees a news report of a recent sexual assault. These memories can cause both emotional and physical reactions. Sometimes these memories can feel so real it is as if the event is actually happening again. This is called a “flashback.” Reliving the event may cause intense feelings of fear, helplessness, and horror similar to the feelings they had when the event took place. Many sufferers of PTSD suffer extreme nightmares or night-terrors.

2. Avoidance and Numbing Symptoms

Individuals with PTSD may try to avoid situations that trigger memories of the traumatic event. They may avoid going near places where the trauma occurred or seeing TV programmes or news reports about similar events. They may avoid other sights, sounds, smells, or people that are reminders of the traumatic event. Some people find that they try to distract themselves as a way to avoid thinking about the trauma.

Numbing symptoms are another way to avoid the traumatic event. People with PTSD may find it difficult to be in touch with their feelings or express emotions towards other people. For example, they may feel emotionally “numb” and may isolate from others. They may be less interested in activities they once enjoyed. Some people forget, or are unable to talk about, important parts of the event.

3. Arousal Symptoms

People with PTSD may feel constantly alert and anxious after the traumatic event. This is known as increased emotional arousal, and it can cause difficulty sleeping, outbursts of anger or irritability, and difficulty concentrating. They may find that they are constantly ‘on guard’ and on the lookout for signs of danger. They may also find that they get startled very easily. Often, close friends or family members may notice a change in the individual’s personality.

PTSD is complicated by the fact that you may develop additional disorders such as depression, substance abuse, problems of memory and cognition, and other problems of physical and mental health. The disorder is also associated with impairment of the person’s ability to function in social or family life, including occupational instability, marital problems and divorces, family discord, and difficulties in parenting.

Complex PTSD

Complex PTSD occurs after a person has suffered years of trauma, rather than a one-off event. For example, a child who has spent years being abused by a parent or carer may end up suffering with complex PTSD.

How Does Hypnotherapy Help?

Hypnotherapy is an extremely kind, gentle and respectful method of treating PTSD as the client is relaxed and can observe themselves from a distant or dissociated perspective via a TV screen in their mind. There is absolutely no need for them to give details of the trauma or abuse if they don’t want to and they will NOT be asked to relive the traumatic event.

I use ‘The Rewind Technique’ to help PTSD sufferers as I believe it is the kindest, quickest  and most effective treatment. You can read more about The Rewind Technique HERE.

How Many Sessions will I Need?

This depends on the complexity and severity of your case as everyone is different. Some people can be treated in just one session, for others, it may take four to five, spread over weekly or fortnightly visits. We will work together to decide how many sessions you need and take things at a pace that suits you. However, you should start feeling better after just one visit.

If you think I may be able to help you with your PTSD symptoms, please contact me today and arrange an appointment.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Children Suffering from Anxiety

Children Suffering from Anxiety

This week is Children’s Mental Health Week. Our children seem to be under more and more pressure so, not surprisingly, anxiety is at a high level among children in the UK with 66% of year 6 primary pupils feeling that they worry “all the time”.

At the end of last year, the mental-health charity Place2Be surveyed children in the top primary year at 20 schools across England, Scotland and Wales and found that concerns about family and friends and fear of failing at school are the top causes of anxiety.

Of the 700 children surveyed, 54% worried about the well-being of their family, 48% had concerns over the well-being of friends and 41% felt anxious about school work.

In addition, 40% felt their worries got in the way of school work, almost 30% said that once they started worrying they could not stop and 21% said they did not know what to do when worried.

There was a gender divide, with 36% of girls worrying about being bullied, compared with 22% of boys.

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More girls (28%) worried about their looks than boys (18%) but 24% of boys worried about being angry compared to 16% of girls.

The most common coping strategies were talking to family members (72%) or to friends (65%), while 65% of boys calmed themselves by playing computer games compared with 39% of girls.

How Can We Help?

More than 80% of the children surveyed said the best way for adults to help was to listen sympathetically and pupils said it was important to be kind to anxious classmates. .

“I give them a hug and tell them not to worry and everything is OK,” said one 10-year-old.

The charity’s chief executive, Catherine Roche, said primary school was often characterised as innocent and happy.

“But in reality we know that young children can worry about a lot of things, whether it’s something going on at home, with their friends, or even about bad things happening in the world.

“It’s perfectly normal to worry from time to time, but if these worries become more serious or persistent, it’s important that children know where they can turn for help.”

If you are worried that your child  is suffering from anxiety, it is important to talk to them about it. It is also a good idea to contact their class teacher and find out how they have been coping in school.

Hypnotherapy can really help children learn to relax and deal with the stresses and strains of everyday life. It is also a great tool for boosting self-esteem.

If you would like to know more about how hypnotherapy can help your child with stress and anxiety, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation. I am a mobile therapist in the East Devon area, so I can visit you and your child at home in the evenings or at the weekend.

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Hypnotherapy for Pain Relief

Hypnotherapy for Pain Relief

Hypnotherapy has been shown to be very effective in reducing many types of pain and it has helped me take control of my own Fibromyalgia symptoms.Of course, before you see a hypnotherapist, you must have consulted a doctor to find out the cause of your pain. It is also worth remembering that hypnotherapy is a complementary therapy designed to work alongside traditional treatments, not replace them.

There are two types of pain, acute and chronic. Acute pain is a short-term pain, often caused by an injury or short-term illness which gets better quite quickly. Chronic pain lasts for much longer and is usually caused by conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, cancer or an injury that has caused permanent damage to some part of the body. Most people seeking help from a hypnotherapist are suffering from some kind of chronic pain condition.

As a hypnotherapist, I would never want to shut off those pain signals completely, as this can lead to overdoing things and create more pain later on. Also, pain is usually there for a reason and is a useful warning that something is going on within the body that needs some attention. However, learning to control pain signals, especially in long-term health conditions, can make life much easier for sufferers.

As a relaxation method, or “induction” into hypnosis, I often use a progressive relaxation method, starting at one end of the body and gradually focusing on all the muscles and relaxing and letting go of any tension. When working with clients who are in pain, I often find that they are very tense and this can actually add to the pain they are experiencing. A useful exercise is to tense each muscle first and then relax it, so that the client learns to feel the difference between that tension and relaxation.

When the client is relaxed and focused and in what some people would consider a “hypnotic state”, I will then encourage them to visit a control room in their mind where they will learn to turn down the pain dials to the particular part of their body that is bothering them. This is something that they can learn to do themselves over time, so that they can turn their pain dials down anytime that the pain is getting too much.

If you or someone you know is suffering with a long term pain condition and would like to speak to me about how I could help, please contact me for a free half-hour consultation. I am based in Honiton, but I am a  mobile therapist in the East Devon area, so I can come and visit you at home. If you live outside of the area it is still worth getting in touch as I could make you a CD or mp3 recording that you can listen to which will help you with pain control.

Best wishes and I look forward to hearing from you soon.