Schooled by an 11 Year Old!

I could have done with some hypnotherapy myself over the last couple of weeks!

My 11 year old son has just started High school. He has moved from a tiny village school, in a class of 19 children and a total of 130 children in the school to a class of 30 children and a total of 1200 children. He has gone from me driving him to school and being taken across the road by a genial lollipop man to walking himself to the bus stop, crossing the road and getting a bus to and from school. He’s my third (and last) child to go to High school, but the other two were girls, and somehow just seemed more together, and more ready for the transition.

In his first week of high school, he got lost (a lot – though so did most of his class mates), the bus broke down, he missed the bus (well, more accurately, he watched the bus pull away, because he was not sure which one to get on), he lost his PE kit (well – he left it in the changing rooms and found it again in the Head of PE’s office), and he left his bag and homework on the bus (resulting in a high speed dash to follow the bus and retrieve the bag). The bag was the last straw, and my stress spiralled into shouting into a pillow about how much more I could take.

At the point of screaming into that pillow, I was reminded of a valuable lesson by my 11 year old, who has been taught in the ways of solution focused hypnotherapy for the last few years. After the bag was retrieved, he started telling me all the really good things that had happened to him that day, and all the things he had enjoyed since starting high school. He told me about new friends, new subjects (Geography it appears is not a favourite, but as expected he is loving Maths!), laughs had over getting lost and how much he was looking forward to cooking next week. To him, all of those things which I found so stressful (especially the bag on the bus!) were new and exciting adventures. And it reminded me that it’s not the events in our life that cause us anxiety and stress, but the way we think about the things that happen to us.

There are always two ways of looking at things. If we choose the negative way (“I can’t believe this is happening, how unlucky, why does this always happen to me?”) then our brain reacts with an anxiety response – a release of adrenalin and cortisol – which has a physical effect on the way we feel. And of course the more we do this, the more efficient we become at the anxiety response, and before we know it, we can find ourselves in the grip of an anxious cycle. But what if we think about things in a positive way?  Things seem much better and the more we do that, the more efficient we become at thinking positively – we can create a new neural pathway in the brain which makes us always look at the positive aspects of life.

So – take some advice from my 11 year old. Breathe, calm down, and be grateful for all the positive things in your life.  And if you need a little help with that, then please contact me and find out how hypnotherapy can help you.

Overcoming your Inner Caveman!

The modern world is fast paced with a huge amount of distractions and pressures on our every day lives – social media, fashion magazines, gossip magazines, super skinny pop stars. Our problems are often thought of as ‘first world problems’ and a bit self-indulgent, and to some degree they are. The majority of us don’t have to worry about a roof over our heads or where the next meal will come from or physical threats to our existence.

But we still have the same physiological makeup as our caveman ancestors. We still utilise the freeze-flight-fight mechanism, be it a life-threatening incident or simply being late for a meeting.

Deep in the heart of our original Primitive Brain, the Amygdala (the fight/flight centre) kicks into gear when it senses a threat of any type, and sends messages to the Hypothalamus telling it to get the body ready to act. The Hypothalamus floods the system with stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which makes your heart beat faster, palms go sweaty, churning stomach, increases your breathing rate – all symptoms of your body being under stress. Of course your issue is resolved – you get to your meeting on time, or find a place to park – but the more we use this system, the more efficient it becomes. And before we even know what has happened, we can spiral into panic attacks, road rage, tearfulness, etc. All in all, not being quite ‘us’.

So how can take back control – live with our stresses but not give in to our inner caveman?

Well, with a little practise, you can train yourself to cope. It’s all about creating spare capacity within the brain to deal with whatever life throws your way. Imagine in your brain you have a space where all your stresses, negative thoughts, worries, fears, etc are stored – a metaphorical Stress Bucket. Every time you encounter a situation that your brain perceives as a threat or barrier, or you worry about something that’s going to happen (imagined or real), or dwell on past regrets, losses or sadness your bucket gets filled a little bit more.

The problems arise when all these seemingly small things pile on top of each other until your bucket fills to the brim and you just can’t fit any more in. This wipes out any spare capacity you might have for dealing with new issues – and it’s when we flip out over a seemingly small incident such as not being able to find a parking space or going into road rage mode because someone didn’t wave a thank you when you let them in, losing your temper at the children or not being able to make a decision over something as simple as choosing a sandwich in M&S!

As humans, we very quickly become very good at focusing on all the negative aspects in our lives and forget to appreciate the good – in fact it’s hardwired into our DNA to be negative and to worry, it’s what kept our ancestors alive. It’s why we’re sitting here today but it’s not helpful in our modern daily lives.

So, in order to counter-balance this natural leaning towards negativity, we need to focus on the positives in our lives. And it’s not the huge things, rather all the little things that we take for granted and don’t ‘see’ anymore: a bright sunny morning, birds singing, a hug from a loved one, a smile from a stranger, being let into traffic… these are the things that make up our daily lives and the big things (birthdays, parties, reunions, holidays) enhance our already enjoyable lives. This stops us filling up our stress bucket and ensures we have plenty of spare capacity to cope when we need to, because we all know that there is always someone ready to ruin our day!

It is also important that we regularly empty our stress bucket, and in order to do this, we need to get good quality sleep – not necessarily longer but better. During our sleep we go through stages of deep sleep into REM (rapid eye movement) into light sleep, and we do this four or five times throughout the night. During the REM phase we re-run the events of the day and move it from our emotional Primitive Brain to our Intellectual Brain, so out of our stress bucket and into the memory bank. Slowly, any arguments or unpleasantness, losses, sadness, worries, anxieties, etc are released. They are of no further use to us and whilst we know these things have happened we don’t need to hold on to them anymore.

When we don’t have good quality sleep we feel it physically and mentally: reaching for sugary foods to boost energy levels, slipping quickly into anger responses, or panic, wanting to pull the duvet over our heads and not have to face the day, being tearful… these are all signs of an over-full bucket. No-one can function effectively when they have not had a good night’s sleep – just think about all those new mums walking around like zombies!

In the therapy room, the hypnotic trance replicates the REM state and helps with bucket emptying, and using hypnosis at the point of sleep (by listening to the CD provided at your initial consultation) can turbo-charge that essential REM making it super-efficient!

This two-pronged attack (not filling and emptying your stress bucket) can help you regain control on the here and now.

Next time you feel the pressure rising, think about that stress bucket filling up, and take a deep breath and regain control over your actions instead of allowing your Primitive Brain to rule you.

We’re all getting curious about how Hypnotherapy works!

Hypnotherapy – the evidence

“So, how does this hypnotherapy stuff work, anyway?” is a question I am often asked by sceptical friends and acquaintances. And I am happy to tell them. I am happy to talk about hypnotherapy, how it works, and how it can help them to make profound changes in their lives. I love telling them that hypnotherapy will help them to control their anxiety and stress, that it can help with skin conditions, IBS, help them to manage their weight, help them to have a calm and controlled birth, that it can help them to manage chronic ongoing pain. I can talk about it all day without stopping for breath!

During my initial consultation, I explain how the brain works, how we have an intellectual brain, and a primitive brain that is trying to keep us alive, and how that primitive brain sometimes thinks it is doing the right thing but is in fact working against the intellectual brain. I explain that the primitive brain is negative, obsessive and not very innovative and so we can very easily find ourselves in a cycle of repeated inappropriate behavioural patterns. I explain that the anxiety which causes us to fall into this negative spiral is caused by negative thinking, and to turn this around we need to actively focus on the positive things in our lives, and turn away from negative rumination of the past and negative forecasting of the future. I talk about sleep, and how important it is, I talk about the physiology of stress and anxiety, about how we can over produce stress hormones, and how we can ensure we produce a nice, steady flow of great chemicals which keep us brave, happy, calm and coping with life. And I talk about the hypnosis – the use of trance, which a very ordinary state of mind, during which the primitive and the intellectual brains can focus together on the same thing, and find solutions.

“Yeah, but what about actual scientific evidence?”  Well – I have plenty of evidence amongst my clients – the people that have successfully quit a 25 year smoking habit; the client blighted by daily migraines who took up horse riding again – a hobby they had not been able to take part in for 7 years; the client who was so tied up with anxieties that they could barely function, who booked a solo trip abroad; the teenager having panic attacks about exams, who is now at the end of their first year at university. I see the amazing changes that my clients make through hypnotherapy every day in my clinic room, but actual scientific evidence?

Well, it appears that neuroscientists are also interested in how hypnotherapy works too, and they are starting to study it quite intently. A group of researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine have been using brain imaging to find out exactly what is happening in our brain when we undergo hypnosis. The test subjects were placed into the brain imaging machine and played either instructions intended to guide them into a hypnotic trance, or to keep their brains out of trance.  They found some consistent changes in the brain activity of those subjects that were guided into a trance.

They saw decreased activity in a region known as the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, a region known to be critical for evaluating context, which aids in deciding what to worry about and what to ignore in a particular situation. Reducing that activity shows hypnotized people are able to suspend judgement and immerse themselves in something, without thinking of what else they could or should be attending. This also means that during hypnosis, we are able to imagine a wonderful version of how our lives could be, allowing our brains to start working out the steps we need to take to achieve that wonderful version of ourselves.

The second change appeared in some of the parts of the brain that give people the ability to separate the thoughts in their heads from the feelings in their bodies. During hypnosis, people can picture something that makes them stressed, but they can imagine that their bodies are floating and comfortable. This allows people to think about something they may be terrified of, spiders, perhaps, or flying, but to better control how their body responds to that thought, so that when they return to full wakefulness, their behavioural pattern has changed, allowing them to no longer be afraid of whatever it was. It is this that allows hypnotherapy to deal with specific fears and phobias so effectively.

The third region affected is located very deep in the brain and involves self-consciousness. People who are hypnotized tend not to be self-conscious, and so they will do things they wouldn’t normally do – it is this very fact that allows stage hypnotists to make people cluck like a chicken! However is also has enormous therapeutic potential in that you can help people to shake up the way they react to problems and approach them from a different point of view, thus allo
wing them to come up with new and positive solutions to problems.

The primary researcher in this study, Professor of Psychiatry David Speilgal said “This is showing that hypnosis is not a parlour trick or a magic show. It is a neurobiological phenomenon.”  He added that hypnosis is underutilized in health care, and that hypnosis can be a viable alternative to the use of painkillers, which have proven to be addictive to millions of people. “I think this illustrates the reality of hypnosis as a phenomenon,” he said, “and the fact that this is not a way of losing control, as a lot of people fear. It is a way of teaching people to enhance control over their brains and bodies.”

So, there, sceptical friends and acquaintances, is the scientific proof that hypnotherapy has a real basis in neuroscience, and the power of our minds can be harnessed to effect real and positive change on our lives. Whether you need help managing the anxiety or stress in your daily life, need help managing your weight, have IBS, specific fears and phobias, or want to quit smoking or other dangerous habits, solution focused hypnotherapy could be the best first step you could take.

If you want to find out more, or would like to book a free initial consultation, please use the Contact Me page to send me an email, or feel free to call and have a chat on 07769 940894 and start becoming the best version of you possible!

Stress – a Physical Issue?

Stress – a Physical Issue?

Stress is not necessarily a bad thing. We all need a bit of stress in our life.  It can help to get us going in the morning, it can help to focus us on a deadline and be more productive. But if we are subject to consistently high levels of stress, the effects can be far from useful. It can stop us sleeping, affect our performance and lead to long term serious health issues. In fact, the Health and Safety Executive estimates that 11.7 million work days are lost each year due to stress. The good news is that hypnotherapy can really help you to control your stress.

So what is happening in your body when you experience stress?

The short term physical effects of stress are an increased heart rate, increased rate of breathing, a churning stomach, often an intense and immediate need for the bathroom, sweating and possibly a panic attack. This will happen when for some reason our primitive emotional brain (our limbic system – the health and safety officer of the brain) perceives that we are somehow under threat. The perceived threat causes the release of cortisol (the stress hormone) and adrenaline, amongst other hormones, preparing the body for “fight or flight”. The threat our brain perceives may be real – an escaped polar bear charging towards us, for example. However, these threats may also be things like the credit card dropping onto the door mat, or the thought of your exams, and although we may feel like we want to, we probably don’t need to run away from these things.

As anxiety and stress starts to increase in our lives, our brain starts to perceive threat all around us all the time, and so that fight or flight response, and the associated release of hormones, is constantly being triggered, and our bodies are in a constant state of high alert – we become hyper-vigilant. We have constantly high levels of stress hormones in our blood stream, which can have long term effects on our mental and physical well being.

Weight Issues

Weight loss is much more complicated than simply “move more, eat less”. When the stress hormone cortisol is released into our blood stream, our body believes that we need high energy foods, and so we crave sugary foods. However, it also encourages us to store fat rather than burn it, so continual stress can cause us to gain weight, and have more difficulty losing weight. Conversely, when our body has a lot of adrenaline, we can often lose our appetite and weight loss can be an issue (the diagnostic manual for depression states that one of the indicators of depression is a 5% weight gain or loss).

Digestion, Stomach and Bowel Problems

When the fight or flight response is triggered, it causes our digestion to slow down so that all our energy and blood supply can be directed towards our “emergency” responses. The lining of the stomach and gut can be irritated, causing nausea or inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome is exacerbated by the excess hormones, and stomach ulcers can be caused by long term stress.

Ongoing Illness

Many people notice that they suffer more colds and general ill health when they are under stress, and they seem unable to shake these illnesses. This is because the release of cortisol affects the working of the immune system, which helps us to fight common bacteria and viruses. Longer term health conditions can also develop when the immune system is suppressed for a long time – auto-immune diseases, Chronic fatigue syndrome and allergies.

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure increases when the fight or flight response is triggered (as a way of helping the blood pump faster around the body, to get the blood to the muscles to allow them to run). Long term, high blood pressure is linked to strokes and heart disease.

General Aches and Pains

The Health and Safety Executive estimates that 8.8 million working days are lost each year due to musculoskeletal disorders – backache. When we are under stress, we tend to tense up – we “carry” that stress in our shoulders or our backs. This pain can cause us to become more anxious, which can create more stress and we find ourselves in the grip of a negative spiral.

Sleep Problems

All of us have a metaphorical ‘stress bucket’ that can easily fill. The more stress we experience, the bigger the load we carry, which can have a negative impact on our emotional wellbeing and our ability to sleep properly. For most people who are experiencing anxiety, stress or depression, a common factor is that they suddenly start to have problems with sleeping. When you start to sleep, your brain enters a specific state of Rapid Eye Movement, often referred to as REM. In very simple terms, this state often allows us to empty our ‘stress buckets’, but, if there is too much in your ‘bucket’, you may find yourself waking up and being unable to go back to sleep.

A major side effect of stress for many people is turning to inappropriate ways of dealing with their stress – drinking too much, taking illegal drugs, stopping taking part in all the things that used to interest us. These coping strategies can cause the effects of stress to become even worse.

It is absolutely vital that we look after our physical and mental well being. If you are struggling to control your stress, solution focused hypnotherapy may well be the answer for you. I offer a free of charge initial consultation, during which I will explain how the therapy works, and you can decide whether you think it is for you. Most people find their symptoms improve within 8 – 12 sessions. Please contact me to book your initial appointment, either by email, or call me on 07769 940894 for a confidential chat.

 

Making it through exam time – stress free!

 

We’re moving quickly into exam season – not only GCSEs and A Levels and University exams but also our 10 and 11 year olds are facing their first set of national tests – their SATs.

My three children are taking finals, first year university exams and SATs this year, so it is fair to say things are not always calm in our house! I have been working with a year 6 class, talking to them all about why they become anxious, and how they can control their anxiety, especially when they are sitting in the middle of an exam, because we all understand that we can’t perform at our best when we are anxious.  

They have been really receptive to it, and have really understood their own emotions. If they can understand at this young age why they are anxious and how to control their anxiety, it can save them a whole world of pain when they get to secondary school! It has been lovely working with them, teaching them breathing techniques and colour anchoring. Each session ends with a guided relaxation session, and a lovely motivational story, to help them to understand how special each and every one of them is. It has become the highlight of my Friday afternoons, and it is so lovely when they see me outside the school and tell me how they have been controlling their “chimp” and using my relaxation techniques to help them sleep. This is something I am hoping to roll this out across other schools, and maybe to the older children in our communities.

One of the things that we have been doing is learning how to “Train Our Chimp”. So here are the top tips for training your own chimp:

  • TALK NICELY to you Chimp – be kind to yourself, and tell yourself all the good things that have been going on in your life, rather than focusing on the negative.
  • PLAY with your chimp – lots of activity, games, sports or trampolining!
  • Surround your chimp with KIND, LOVING, CARING people – lots of friends who will also be kind to you and your chimp, and you’ll be kind to theirs (because everyone has one).
  • Make sure your chimp gets plenty of SLEEP! Sleep is so important for good mental health, so make sure you turn all screens off at least half an hour before bedtime.
  • Feed your chimp HEALTHY food – plenty of fruit and veg, not too
    many sugary foods and fizzy drinks.
  • Let your chimp have a SAFE PLACE – sometimes it is good to be able to go somewhere quiet if you are feeling overwhelmed.
  • Teach your chimp TRICKS! Controlling your breathing, closing your eyes and counting to 10 – whatever helps you just slow everything down is a great tactic to have in your tool box.

Lesley Leach Hypnotherapy – providing hypnotherapy services to Hereford, Worcester, Gloucester, Ledbury, Leominster, Ross on Wye and the surrounding areas.

Time to Quit the Habit?

I guess it was only a matter of time before proper research was carried out into the chemical composition of the vapour produced by an e-cigarette or a vape.

According to a study carried out by the Japanese Ministry of Health and printed recently by The Guardian newspaper, one particular brand of e-cigarette had 10 times more carcinogens than a cigarette. When the wire in the vape device overheats, more carcinogens appear to be produced. The particular carcinogen being studied was formaldehyde – a chemical used for embalming dead bodies, amongst other things. It is categorised as a class 2 mutagen and a class 1B carcinogen.

The study also found that e-cigarettes can fuel potentially life-threatening drug-resistant pathogens. This discovery comes from a lab study that tested the vapor from e-cigarettes on live methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and human cells. Even Vaporfi, manufacturers of Vape devices, whilst trying to minimize the seriousness of this, could not dispute it.

The other concern with e-cigarettes is that it may be a gateway into a habit that youngsters may not have bothered with otherwise. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated: “More than a quarter of a million youth who had never smoked a cigarette used electronic cigarettes in 2013.”  In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) advised governments to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to underage people because they posed a serious threat to them.

The UN health agency said that although there’s a lack of evidence regarding the damage caused by e-cigarettes, there was still enough evidence “to caution children and adolescents, pregnant women, and women of reproductive age” about their use. They also added that e-cigs should be outlawed from indoor public spaces.

So why am I telling you this? We all know smoking is dangerous to our health. We all know that 30% of cancer deaths are caused by smoking; and for every person that dies from a smoking related illness, there are 30 more living with chronic smoking related conditions. And although smoking is at its lowest ever rate,o still 1 in 6 adults d it. And youngsters pick up the habit every day too.  Some are trying to quit with the use of E-cigarettes, but they are proving to be just as deadly.

So why do they do it? Many of these smokers will use the physical addiction excuse. I can’t give up, it’s harder to give up cigarettes than it is to give up heroin. But the fact is, the half life of nicotine in the system (the time when the craving for a cigarette will be strongest) is just 45 minutes. If you can get through that, it will never be that bad again. Smoking is not a physical addiction, it is a mental one. Which is why hypnotherapy is so effective at dealing with it. By understanding what is happening in your brain, how your habit was set up in the first place, and how our primitive brain uses emotional blackmail with all the skill of a teenager after a new iPhone, you can make an intellectual decision not to smoke, and stick to it.

Yesterday was National No Smoking Day, and to celebrate I am offering a discount on all quit smoking sessions booked in March. For information and to book your appointment, please contact me by email to info@lesleyleachhypnotherapy.com or call me on 07769 940894.

Lesley Leach Hypnotherapy – providing hypnotherapy services to Hereford, Worcester, Gloucester, Ledbury, Leominster, Ross on Wye and the surrounding areas.

 

Helping you During Chemotherapy

I spent yesterday in Bristol learning from my amazing colleagues how to deliver effective help for chemotherapy patients during treatment. The award winning team delivering the CPD today are pioneering hospital-based Solution Focused Hypnotherapy in Wales where they have become an essential part of the oncology team. I was left totally in awe of the help that they offer to patients in a time of huge distress, on a completely voluntary basis. Their research and experience shows that hypnotherapy is effective in reducing anxiety and also reduces the need for medication such as anti-emetics during chemotherapy.

Though I will not be practicing in the hospital at this stage, this can also be done in the therapy room.  Hypnotherapy is very effective for reducing anticipatory nausea and vomiting, needle phobia and general anxiety around your treatment.

If you would like further information, please contact me 

 

2016 Wasn’t All Bad.

So as we say goodbye to 2016, many people will be pleased to see the back of it! Without doubt, 2016 was a tricky year. We lost some legends and icons of our youth, starting with David Bowie and ending with George Michael, with Alan Rickman, Leonard Cohen, Prince, Caroline Aherne and Victoria Wood amongst others in between.  Not only did we lose some amazing people, but there was so much political unrest too – the Brexit decision, whether you are for or against, caused a huge amount of upset, followed quickly by the unbelievable news that an American reality TV star is to become the next President of the USA.  There have been wars, terrorist attacks, refugees fleeing their homelands and turmoil across the world. It’s easy to just think about the bad things that happened, and to allow it to colour our judgement of the year.  But was 2016 really that bad? 

What about the good things that happened?  The great things that happened?  And there were lots of them!

  • New chemotherapy breakthroughs have increased the 5-year survival for pancreatic cancer from 16% to 27% (and is getting better)
  • Scientists figured out how to link robotic limbs with the part of the brain that deals with intent to move so people don’t have to think about how they will move the limb, it can just happen.
  • Child mortality is down everywhere and it keeps going down.
  • Thanks to the ice bucket challenge the gene responsible for ALS has been found, meaning we are closer to an effective treatment. Let me rephrase that: we are close to getting a treatment for a very bad disease because a lot of people got wet.
  • Tiger numbers are growing. And manatees. And pandas.
  • Volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in 24 hours.
  • 500 elephants were relocated to a better, safer and bigger home.
  • We made massive strides in treating and preventing Alzheimers’.
  • The ozone layer is repairing itself and all the work we did to get rid of those aerosol chemicals was actually worth it.
  • Precision treatments for cancer are hitting clinical trials and WORKING
  • Death by heart disease has decreased by 70% in the United States
  • 200 strangers attended the funeral of a homeless WW2 veteran with no family
  • People survived cancer
  • People overcame depression
  • LEONARDO DICAPRIO WON AN OSCAR! EVERYONE READING THIS LIVED LONG ENOUGH TO SEE LEO FINALLY GET WHAT HE DESERVED
  • There’s a new Harry Potter book
  • And a movie.

So you see, when you start really thinking about it, 2016 wasn’t that bad.  Bad things happened, of course, but bad things happen every year.  It’s the same in our lives.  Bad things happen to everyone, but it is how we think about the bad things, and how we deal with them that affects our mental health.  If we allow ourselves to dwell only on the negative things that happen, or may happen, it causes our anxiety to increase.  If we continue with this pattern of thinking, it can lead to severe anxiety, stress or depression.

In solution focused hypnotherapy, we actively focus on the positive things that happen to us – no matter how big or small – to retrain our brains away from negative thinking. It’s hard at first, but with time and practice, it gets easier and easier.  So start today – think about just three good things that have happened to you today.  Perhaps you went for a walk, or got the children to school on time.  Soon, you’ll find you have a long list of good things that happen to you each day, and you’ll start to realise, it’s not all bad.

And if you think you might need a bit of help to focus you – well then that’s where I can help you.  Give me a call and book your free initial consultation to find out more about what we can do together to help you to be the best version of you possible.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life!

After an entire working lifetime working for other people – retailers, multi-nationals and charities – today is the day I am striking out alone. It is not without a sense of trepidation – I am now responsible for my own wages, and my own tax returns (words which strike anxiety into the heart of the bravest souls!). And whilst I have spent a lifetime selling other people’s companies, I have never really been one to sell myself. So this understandably brings with it some anxiety.

Anxiety is not an uncommon thing. According to a BBC News report, approximately 66% of singers, including Adele, Bruce Springsteen and Robbie Williams suffer with anxiety and panic attacks. For most of us, anxiety is something that we can cope with – it does not affect our lives unduly. But for some people, anxiety can be crippling. It can stop them leaving the house and making the most of their lives, using their abilities and talents.  Anxiety disorder may cause loss of appetite and lack of interest in sex, muscle tension, headaches, migraines and insomnia, skin conditions, IBS. Frequent panic attacks can cause you to fear the anxiety attacks themselves, thereby increasing overall anxiety. The constant state of stress can lead to clinical depression.

And of course, there is always a reason NOT to do something – if procrastination were an Olympic event, I would certainly be on the podium, probably Gold! And when you have your injured cat sitting on your laptop and giving you those eyes, who could force themselves to work?

Hypnotherapy is a combination of psychotherapy and hypnosis. Psychotherapy in itself is extremely helpful and its effects are enhanced by the application of hypnosis, which enables the subconscious mind to make beneficial changes. ​Solution Focused Hypnotherapy uses practical, modern, and well-researched strategies to help people make significant, positive changes in their lives in a relatively short period of time.  With SF Hypnotherapy, we look at what you want to achieve (the solution) rather than at whatever prompted you to visit (the problem). The approach focuses on the present and future and not on the past. I will ask you to consider your preferred future, for instance, what would be better if you were not suffering with anxiety (or whatever problem prompted you to seek help)? What would have changed? This enables the possible solutions to become more obvious and gives you a goal to work towards.

So – what is holding you back from being the best version of “YOU” that you can be?  Don’t let anxiety stop you doing what you want to do in life. Get in touch straight away and make today the first day of the rest of YOUR life.

Sparring with Glenn Catley

Glen Catley and Lesley LeachIt’s not many people that can say they have had the opportunity to spar with a former World Champion Super Middleweight boxer, but I was honoured to get the chance during my latest training weekend down at the Clifton Practice in Bristol.

Glenn Catley freely admits that he was not the best boxer, but knows that the psychological advantage that hypnotherapy gave him helped him to become the WBC Super Middle Weight world champion. He is now a qualified Solution Focused Hypnotherapist, and lectures at the Clifton Practice in Sports Hypnotherapy and gives motivational talks to companies about how to reduce stress in their work force.  If you ever get the chance to hear him talk, take advantage of it! He is eloquent and intelligent and talks so passionately about the subject, and it was a pleasure to spend Sunday morning listening to him.

With the use of trance state visualisation, along with general anxiety reduction you can improve your game – whatever your sport if you feel you need the competitve edge, contact me to find out how I can help you.

What’s holding us all back?

As​ Winter starts to draw in, I like nothing more than to get the fire roaring, grab a cuppa and cosy down for some trash TV.  Whilst surfing, I came across a show called “This Time Next Year”, which intrigued me. The basic premise behind the show is that guests make a pledge about what they will have achieved by this time next year. A year passes, but in an instant the viewer sees whether they have achieved what they set out to. Cue Davina McCall crying, congratulating, commiserating and gurning! 

It is indeed great TV, and I admit that I am hooked, but it has also made me think. How many times has every single one of us said “This time next year, I’ll…..” and done absolutely nothing about it? What is stopping us from making the change?  So what do the guests on the show want to change? All sorts of things – lose a lot of weight, overcome a stammer, have a baby, become a competitive body builder. All things that course of hypnotherapy can help with.

Solution focused hypnotherapy will help you to focus on those things that you really want to achieve, and to stay focused.   The biggest stumbling block to all of us achieving what we want to is anxiety. And anxiety is caused by negative thinking – what if I say I want to lose weight, but then I can’t?  What if I try and talk to a stranger about my business goals, but end up making a fool of myself? All of these negative thoughts are converted into anxieties, which get stored (SF Hypnotherapists say they are store in a stress bucket!) and cause us to enter a cycle of negative thinking, spending far too much time in our primitive brain, instead of in our sensible, positive, intellectual brain, where we should be – you’ll understand a lot more about this after your first consultation with me!

So what is holding us all back?  If you are ready to achieve your goals, whether it is losing weight, conceiving a baby, succeeding with your business, or just getting a decent night’s sleep, contact me and find out how Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help you.  I look forward to seeing your achievements this time next year!


Graduation Day!

After a year of in depth training at the Clifton Practice in Bristol, the gold standard of hypnotherapy training, Intake 66 qualified in June 2016.  We were privileged to be taught by David Newton, an expert in solution focused hypnotherapy.  I knew I would find the course interesting.  I did not expect to find it so fascinating and I did not expect to make friends for life with my course mates.  All in all, a fantastic experience and a great new career!


CPHT Graduation Day   CPHT Graduation Day