Tag Archives: nlp

Mind Control Question Answer: Hypnosis and NLP

Sometimes people seeking help, coaching or inspiration ask ‘Do NLP and hypnosis involve some sort of mind control and if so, who will control my mind in a session?”. When that question is asked I first of all remind myself that treating yourself to an NLP or hypnosis session is a brand new experience for many people. It also may well be the first time that they have even mentioned to anyone that they have an issue that deeply concerns them or behaviours that they feel they cannot control (such as jealousy, fear, phobias, anxiety, addiction, compulsions, stuttering, problems related to eating, obsessive thoughts, panic attacks or blushing). They may be thinking this is one of the most important calls I will make in my life. It makes good sense that feeling safe is very important.

When I answer I like to take the time to explain everything that I can, so that each person can gain a down to earth idea of what they themselves may experience, enjoy and benefit from an NLP and hypnosis session. The clients who had similar concerns have said during the session that they ‘feel very safe’ and ‘much calmer and more in control of themselves now’ and after a session these clients exclaim ‘It was so different from how I imagined’, I feel so good now’, or ‘Wow I never thought I would get better so quickly, how amazing’ and ‘can I do more, I want to keep going!’, ‘this is a miracle’ and ‘I can control my mind’. I also draw from my experience of how knowledge of hypnosis and NLP is actually inextricably interwoven throughout my daily life, whether for communicating with people and animals, motivating myself to do housework, exercising and eating well and such like, starting new businesses, writing books or making videos, enjoying exams and challenges, making art or riding horses, being creative and getting a good regenerating night’s sleep. And I know, through 35 years of experience, that gaining a knowledge of these subjects can help you become:

  • more aware
  • more flexible
  • more creative
  • more resourceful
  • more able to behave how you want
  • happier and more joyful
  • more playful
  • more successful
  • more balanced
  • more relaxed
  • more knowledgeable

The knowledge will also help you to perceive yourself healthily, project the image of yourself as you wish to be perceived by others, and respond to external and internal events as you would most like to. So you could say that NLP and hypnosis sessions will enable people to gain self-control or control of their own mind, emotions, and body.

I was inspired to write about this question of control one day as I was enjoying some time relaxing in a splash of Scottish sunshine. As I zoned out it suddenly occurred to me that some people may miss out because maybe they wonder about this question yet don’t like to phone or email and ask, or they may wonder how going for an NLP and hypnosis session could help. So I thought it would be really helpful to answer and discuss this question here, as my experience continually demonstrates that doing NLP and hypnosis is safe and suitable for all ages and can be fantastic for helping us achieve freedom, peace of mind or to reach our goals and desires whether these are to excel at a sport or art form or to just be well in ourselves. I would like to take longer than I would if I was answering on the phone or email and using this extra time will allow me to share some inspirational concepts and also to answer rather differently by first asking you to consider:

Who or what exactly controls your mind right now?

I asked some of my Facebook friends this question and their answers included:

  1. ‘my unconscious, or maybe my subconscious’
  2. ‘ice cream’
  3. ‘is it the ego?’
  4. ‘I believe I control my mind. But then again, am I separate from my mind? If I *am* my mind, then it’s an interesting conundrum as to whether I can say I run my mind. Because that would equate to “my mind runs my mind”.
  5. ‘mmmm programming from cultural environment around me, you know school, mum and dad, religion, TV and popular culture, and the organization that I work for’
  6. ‘My other than conscious mind and my conscious mind me :)’
  7. ‘genetics or DNA’
  8. ‘Bit of Trans-derivational Search for that one! I would say I do – but it’s all about
  9. focussed attention and unconscious processes!’1
  10. ‘my mum! … no on second thoughts my cat’
  11. ‘men in black!’
  12. ‘Spirit’
  13. ‘do you mean brainwashing or self control?’
  14. ‘my mind controls my mind, or it thinks it is in control’
  15. ‘I can control my TV more than I can control my mind’
  16. ‘As I understand it, different parts of my brain are responding to various stimuli in my
  17. internal or my perceived external environment. That makes for a mix of impulses to action that get weighed versus one another with the strongest ones being what I am likely to do.’
  18. ‘well the billions of interconnected neurons in the brain interact, and the patterns manifest as singular thoughts, for example a person thinks around 70,000 thoughts every day and so these thoughts must surely control the mind.”
  19. ‘maybe gut and heart feelings really control my mind’
  20. ‘I am aware and I control my mind so that I can live the happy life that I want’

Whatever your answer is to the question, imagine for a few moments that you can now easily control your own mind.
What if being in control of your mind was as easy as opening and closing a door, or being in the flow like when you do something you find really easy, or climbing a few stairs, going up each simple step in time, in rhythm, or how about even closer to the meaning of rhythm, being carried on a murmuring silver escalator or closer still the way water finds its way naturally from its source to the sea? Soon you would most likely begin to sniff out new levels, tastes, landings, directions, tempos and viewpoints to add more spice, rhythms and generally just jazz things up, wouldn’t you.

With easy control of your own mind what would be different for you?

Would you be more YOU and more authentic, developing your passions, doing things you totally love doing, seeking out mentors and learning more, travelling and experimenting with new things, more motivated, slimmer, fitter, calmer, wiser and happier and how much fun would that all be? See now how you would look, stand, move, how would you sound and notice what you are doing, where you are and who you are with.

How good do you feel now thinking of this projection?

Give this feeling a number (10 out of 10 for the best feeling) and notice what number you choose. Okay! Now let’s move on, and find out what exactly are the steps to control our own minds and thoughts and how exactly a session with a hypnotist and NLP practitioner can be helpful.

External sources include everything in the environment around you. Aristotle (384 BC) is credited with stating that we have five main senses. So for example the woman in the photo below could hear all of the sounds around her, say of the photographer moving, even a plane far away; could see the lemon colour and interesting textures and everything all around; could feel the texture and weight of the fruit and the studio lights warm on her skin; could smell the juice, the rind, the pith and the environment around; and could also taste the acidic juice.

 

Do you remember the first time you tasted lemon?

As you watch these babies tasting a lemon for the first time you will notice how each of the individuals had a different experience, environments, parents and siblings way of giving the lemon and their response to the babies response. Many of these babies were supported and encouraged to experiment by smiling loving parents while others were surrounded by giggling older siblings. It follows therefore that how each baby filtered, categorized, stored (the V,A,K,O,G loop of data), responded to the event, remembered what happened from their viewpoint and how others responded (to their behaviour) is entirely personal to them. Because tasting lemon juice is such a powerful first experience the babies were probably most aware of using their senses of smell and taste and they were probably less aware of how they were using their other senses. In the book ‘Frogs into Princes’, Richard Bandler and John Grinder write

“Our claim is that you are using all systems all the time. In a particular context you will be aware of one system more than another. I assume that when you play athletics or make love, you have a lot of kinesthetic sensitivity. When you are reading or watching a movie, you have a lot of visual consciousness. You can shift from one to the other.”

And if indeed we ‘code’ our experiences and create our own thoughts so it would seem that we can gain control of our own minds. In the quote above the point is made that we can shift from using one sensory system to another. We use movement, expressions, non- verbal signals and language to both label and express our view about our experiences.The words that we choose relate to the representational system that we are accessing as we speak.

Internal sources include everything that you have taken in and made sense of through using your senses (memory) and created (imagination). So for example you most likely enjoy lemon and know now as an adult what to expect. This knowledge comes from your memory, so we could say that it is internal stored information. If someone told you that a new pink striped lemon that tasted of strawberries was for sale in the shops you would most probably picture it and imagine its taste, you might notice that your mouth and nose move as you imagine this new fruit or you might notice imagined sounds, internal dialogue or the noise of the shop. We use our imagination to build this type of construction and we use information from our memory as our building blocks.

What thoughts, sensations do you notice and what words come to mind when you think about tasting a fresh zingy lemon?
The illustration above gives you some idea of how language reveals which internal sensory system (V, A, K, O, or G) the person is ‘thinking in’ at that moment. An NLP practitioner will listen very carefully to you and use your chosen representational systems, (along with other information, and their knowledge and skills) to choose which NLP processes will be the most effective and comfortable for you. During a session your own awareness of how you have been doing things will increase and often highly important insights are gained. Once you have become aware of this processing it becomes easier to shape yourself. I first learnt about these concepts when I read the following words in Bandler and Grinder’s book ‘Frogs into Princes’.

‘Let me talk a little about how language works. If I look at you and say “Are you comfortable” you can come up with a response. The presupposition of your being able to respond congruently to my question is that you understand the words that I am speaking. Do you know how you understand the word “comfortable” for example?

Woman: Physically

You understand it physically. You sense some change in your body which is distinctive. That shift in your feeling state is distinctive from ‘terrified”. That’s a different response.

She senses a change in her body as a way of understanding the meaning of the word “comfortable”. Did anyone else notice how they understand it? Some of you will see visual images of yourself in a comfortable position: lying in a hammock, or lying on the grass in the sunshine.And a few of you may even hear the sounds which you associate with comfort: the babbling of a brook, or the wind blowing through some pine trees.

In order for you to understand what I am saying to you, you have to take the words – which are nothing more than arbitrary labels for parts of your personal history – and access the meaning, namely, some set of images, some set of feelings, or some set of sounds, which are the meaning for you of the word “comfortable”. That’s a simple notion of how language works, and we call this process transderivational search. Words are triggers that tend to bring into your consciousness certain parts of your experience and not other parts.’

What do you associate with Lemon?

Over the years since your first encounter with a lemon you will have come across other ‘external events’ which you will have linked with that initial experience. For example a friend remembered a lovely lemon coloured toy that she loved as a child and that her grandmother used lemon to clean her house and as an insecticide. She also remembered reading that researchers at Ohio State University found that when participants in an aromatherapy study smelled lemon oil, their mood improved and yet no physiological reason for this has ever been discovered.

What story do you tell yourself?

The lyrics of Bono’s song ‘Yellow’ are based on a home video of his mother wearing lemon yellow. She died when he was 14 and the more I listen to the song the more I wonder about his experience. Poets, singers and artists often make work about the connections in their thinking and their life experiences. It is these experiences and our responses to (and feelings about) these events that determine how our brains and lives develop.

 

Lemon

See through in the sunlight
She wore lemon
But never in the daylight
She’s gonna make you cry
She’s gonna make you whisper and moan
And when you’re dry
She draws her water from the stone

And I feel
Like I’m slowly, slowly, slowly slipping under
And I feel
Like I’m holding onto nothing

She wore lemon
To colour in the cold grey night
She had heaven
And she held on so tight

A man makes a picture
A moving picture
Through the light projected
He can see himself up close
A man captures colour
A man likes to stare
He turns his money into light to look for her

And I feel
Like I’m drifting, drifting, drifting from the shore
And I feel
Like I’m swimming out to her

Midnight is where the day begins
Midnight is where the day begins
Midnight is where the day begins

Lemon
See through in the sunlight

A man builds a city
With banks and cathedrals
A man melts the sand so he can
See the world outside
her there
A man makes a car
destination
And builds roads to run them on
A man dreams of leaving
But he always stays behind

And these are the days
When our work has come assunder
And these are the days
When we look for something other

Midnight is where the day begins
Midnight is where the day begins
Midnight is where the day begins
Midnight is where the day begins
Midnight is where the day begins

Midnight is where the day begins
Midnight is where the day begins
Midnight is where the day begins
Midnight is where the day begins
Midnight is where the day begins

A man makes a picture
A moving picture
Through the light projected
He can see himself up close
her there
A man captures colour
destination
A man likes to stare
there
He turns his money into light
To look for her
She is the dreamer
She’s imagination
Through the light projected
He can see himself up close

Your brain also connects smells, sounds, feelings, emotions and other sensations which also make the neural connections stronger. The brain is considered “neuroplastic” or changing because in responds to life experiences, and then alters its structure and function. Our brain is constantly learning, altering and adapting. But the more you use and re-trace parts of your “neural network”, the function appears to be “hard wired” or automatic. “Use it or lose it”, “practice makes perfect” and “repetition is the mother of all learning”, are not just an expressions, they are neurological facts.

Knowledge allows you to become aware of the brains power to change and become the observer. Neuroplasticity makes it easier to do some things “automatically” … You can also break synaptic connections by not using the neuro pathway. Neural pruning is the term that is used to describe neurons dying off when not being used.’

Many people say that learning about NLP and hypnosis can enable you to become more flexible, gain control over your thoughts, change your associations with past experiences, exercise the ideas that you want and build strong neural pathways so these thinking patterns come more and more easily, and with these helpful behaviours you can achieve your goals whatever they are, whether they are to deeply relax or become more brilliant. So you can learn NLP and hypnosis to become

  • more aware,
  • more flexible,
  • more creative
  • more resourceful
  • more able to behave how you want to,
  • happier and more joyful
  • more playful
  • more successful
  • more balanced
  • more relaxed
  • more knowledgeable
  • self controlled
So how exactly can learning hypnosis and NLP help us gain self control?
(to be continued ..)
Thank you to all my friends who contributed 🙂

Stop Procrastinating – Lists That Actually Work

Hello

This is the second blog in a series about how to stop procrastinating and actually get on with things. As with all these articles, please keep in mind that each of them is just ONE piece in a range of things that people can do.

The Need-To-Do List

Do you keep a list of what you need to do? Or have you ever? I know I did, years ago. There I would be, in the morning, getting out my list of things I needed to do, thinking about what I needed to do that day, maybe thinking about what I needed to do first.

It didn’t work very well, of course, and I didn’t realise that my list was actually a procrastination strategy. At the time I didn’t know it wasn’t working. I think I do now.

‘My List Is Getting Bigger’

One of the most depressing things about my list-of-things-I needed-to-do was that gradually, over time, it got longer, and I found myself spending more and more time each morning transferring what I hadn’t done from yesterday’s list to today’s new, fresh and usually slightly longer list. And this took a while as it was in the days before computers (yes, there were such times…).

Words That Don’t Help And Words That Can

Words can be tricky things and most of us don’t realise how much influence the things we say to ourselves have on our thinking, feeling and behaviour.

Try this experiment. Say to yourself the following.

‘I wish I could take next Monday off work.’ If you don’t work then find something equivalent. Notice what thoughts and feelings come to mind.

Now say to yourself…

‘I could take next Monday off work.’ Once again pause for a moment and notice what thoughts and feelings come to mind.

Now say

‘I would like to take next Monday off work’. Again, stop and notice what feelings and thought come to mind.

And now repeat this with the words should and might.

Now I am realistic enough to appreciate that a fair number of people reading this won’t actually bother to stop and think these things through in the manner I am suggesting. I know that I have read countless books with ‘exercises’ in them and have actually bothered to stop and actually do these exercises only rarely. There is a very funny forward in a book on meditation by the author Robert Anton Wilson where he goes on, page after page, either joking how important it is to do the exercises or being serious about how important it is to DO THE EXERCISES, to get true value from the book. He used capitals and bold type too.  I think in that instance I actually did do them, well a few of them…

‘Necessity’ words

Anyway to get back to the point, you could consider the above italicised words to be ‘possibility’ words. Actually they are classed as ‘modal operators of possibility’ within the field of NLP, but I like to steer clear of jargon where possible.

The next class of words I would like you to consider are what may be called ‘necessity’ words, so please do feel free to actually do this. Just stop for a moment and say to yourself

‘I want to take next Monday off.’ Once again notice what thoughts come to mind.

And now…

‘I need to take next Monday off.’

And then repeat with the words have to, must, and got to.

Usually there are different feelings and thoughts associated with these different words as you consider doing the activity.

The Magic Words

You don’t actually need much. On one level all you need is oxygen, water, food, a reasonable temperature and perhaps shelter from the elements. On this level a person might also need medication to stay alive…

Here are the words that work much much better. Stop and say to yourself…

‘I am going to take next Monday off’ or ‘I will take next Monday off.’

This is much more powerful, it’s a kind of commitment, when you think about it.

When ‘I am going to’ simply isn’t enough…

It isn’t enough, you know, just to say you are going to do something. Sure, it’s much more powerful than saying you should do something, might do something or need to do something, but it isn’t enough.

There are many people on the planet that repeatedly say that they are going to do something, and then never actually getting around to it. Consider the example of the guy who is constantly saying that one day he will start his own company, to eventually glance down and realise he has just been given his retirement watch…

The list of things you are GOING to do

OK, let’s get back to this idea of a list. Even if you didn’t really notice that much difference when you went through the ‘exercises’ above (if you actually did them, I doubt I would have done…), I do suggest you experiment with this whether it is with an actual physical list of things or just a mental ‘list’. Change the title of your list from ‘Things I need to do’ to ‘Things I am going to do’, and, crucially, do the following…

Decide WHEN you will do things and have an idea of WHEN they will be complete

Now your list (real or mental) may have a number of different things on it ranging from ‘feed the cat’ to ‘write my novel’ or ‘get fit’. So some things can be done in a few moments and some things are done over time. You aren’t going to write a novel in one day, however motivated you feel. So decide, in advance, how much time you are going to devote to writing your novel today, and when you are going to do this, today. You don’t have to write an exact itinerary of your day, minute by minute, just get a good idea of when, such as ‘I am going to spend an hour writing my novel early this afternoon.’

This can make a big difference, believe me.

How to screw this up…

Ok, there is a way you can really screw this up. However well you are phrasing your plans in your mind, or on paper or on your computer or smartphone, if, when saying to yourself, in your mind or outloud, something like ‘I am going to go to the gym this morning’ you say it in a whiny, tiny internal voice, or a bored, depressed sounding inner voice, you will not light yourself up with joy and excitement…

Use really powerful inner tonality

It’s a bit unusual for us to go inside and ‘change’ the way we speak to ourselves but I invite you to do it as an experiment. Imagine the richest, most wonderful most resonant, most loving voice you can, speaking from every single cell of your body, as you think about what you are going to do – bathe yourself in the sound of the voice. It can take a bit of practice if you haven’t done anything like this before.

There it is then, decide what you are going to do, decide when you are going to do it and use the most wonderful, full, empowering inner voice you can imagine, when you think about it.

Of course I am assuming that what you have on your list is reasonable and achievable and ecologically sound, ‘well-formed’ as some in the field of NLP would say, but that is for another blog…

Steve Tromans

PS Credit to John La Valle – I have heard John talk about modal operators in this manner on several occasions.

Read my first blog on procrastination here – http://www.justbewell.com/info/index.php/stop-procrastinating-one-important-step/
Visit the page on the main site here – http://www.justbewell.com/procrastination.html

Do feel free to leave comments and observations.

Behaviour Problems – They won’t listen to me!

 

It’s true, a lot of the time our kids do not listen to us, but that doesn’t mean they will not listen to us. Its all about what we are asking them to do or what we are forgetting to ask them to do.

Words have Power

Anybody who has practiced NLP or Hypnosis know’s the impact of language on the way we think, in fact everyone reading this is aware of the impact of language on our emotions and behaviour, consider this quote from Shakespeare:

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.

Would it be as often remembered and repeated if it was said like this:

Oh Rom’s, why does your name have to be that?                                                                   Pretend he’s not your old man and Change your surname;                                                    or if you wont do it, promise you’ll love me                                                                               and ill change mine.

It doesnt quite have the same impact, does it. And in the same way the language we use everyday has more or less impact depending not only on the words we use but the order in which we use those words.

Road Blocks or Diversions.

Sometimes children do things which we dont want them to do and many times I hear people (and myself from time to time)  saying to their children, “stop it” or “dont do that” or “thats enough” and the child goes on doing whatever they were doing and it seems as though they “wont listen”.

“Stop jumping all over my furniture”, “dont fight with your brother”, “enough of that banging”,

One day your driving along on a journey you have a map marked out and you know exactly the route to take to get you to your destination, but then you come to a one way street and theres a road block, all routes are blocked off you have nowhere to turn, so you look around for a sign, showing you where to go but there isn’t any, what do you do now? Your basically stuck, you either go back from where you came and not get to your destination or you have to go on through the road block.

Now think about taking the exact same journey coming to the road block but this time theres all those yellow diversion signs set up leading you on a different route to your destination, a bit of a pain initially, but know you realise you have a choice, you have at least two different ways of getting where you want to go, not only that, you’ve also enjoyed the new scenary you have taken in along the way.

So when we are asking children to stop doing something (a road block) its really important to set up a diversion and tell them where you want them to go, the destination is whatever they are getting from the unwanted behaviour, (which in most cases will be something they need to do to develop and learn) and they can still get it but in new ways which now gives you and your child more choices.

“I know you want to have fun jumping around, and thats good. My furniture is for sitting on and eating on, do you think it would be a better idea to use your trampoline”. 🙂

This maybe a really simple Idea but also a very powerful one too.

Leonne Daniel

P.S If you have trouble controlling your own emotions so that you can make better decisions and remember to set up the diversions then look out for my furure blogs where theres more to come on controlling your state!

 

 

Stop Procrastinating – One Important Step

Hi.

My original idea was to do one blog with a bunch of bullet points, various tricks and tips and mental strategies to help people to overcome procrastination. But then I looked at other articles on the subject and discovered there were lots of similar articles so I decided to do it differently. So this article is essentially ONE tip, however I plan to cover the subject in a little depth. And OK, it may not be a critical step but I believe it is important. More articles on the subject of stopping procrastinating will follow…

Stop Trying

So you want to stop procrastinating. Well, there is one tiny word in English that can really get in the way of you getting on with things.

The word is TRY.

If you are trained in NLP, or in many schools of hypnotherapy, you may well know all about this. If you don’t, or even if you do, consider this…

If I say ‘I tried to finish writing all my emails last night’, or ‘I tried to remember to take the car to the car wash’, or ‘I tried to get to Italy last Christmas’, what am I actually saying?

I am saying I didn’t do any of those things, or at the very least I am implying that I didn’t.

So is this really such a big deal?

Oh yes, it can be a very big deal indeed, but the challenge can sometimes be getting a person to realise how important it is, to stop using this word in this way.

I find, like many things, it’s best done by example…

The Day Of The Three Bulimics

One morning, several years ago, I saw three women to help them to stop doing bulimia, one after another. I managed to help all of them to stop doing it, in fact the first two of the three stopped being bulimic after the first session, it happens sometimes. The third of the three, a law student, took me a few more hours, but for the purposes of this, she was by far the most interesting.

So we started by me asking her to talk me through a typical day, and what she said went something like this…

‘I try to get up in time’

‘Well I try and set the alarm for 6.30 because I like to try to get up in time to have a good breakfast. Then I try and get the 7.30 bus to college, and in the morning I go to lectures and I really try to be good with the food and I try and have something nice for lunch. In the afternoon I try and go to the library to catch up with some of the work, and then in the evening maybe I will try and call a friend and…’

If I could read your mind, dear, what a tale your thoughts would tell…

‘Stop!’ I said, ‘I can’t stand it! I bet you don’t get to the library to work much, in the afternoons, do you?’

And she looked at me with big eyes and asked me, in a hushed voice, if I was psychic…

‘Possibly,’ I replied, ‘but I’m not currently doing that, I am listening to you trying to do things’.

She just looked puzzled, naturally enough, so I started giving her examples like those already mentioned. I tried to finish mowing the lawn before it started raining, I tried to fix the dishwasher, I tried to close the window properly etc. She still looked bewildered.

‘Listen’ I said, ‘close your eyes and say to yourself, ‘I will try to get to the library this afternoon, and see what comes to mind.’ She did this and told me she had a fleeting thought of the library but then couldn’t get the thought of the canteen out of her head. So she asked me what she was supposed to think.

Use the word ‘just’, or the phrase ‘just make sure’, instead of ‘try’

That’s what I told her, so she closed her eyes and said to herself that she was just going to make sure she got to the library that afternoon, and then admitted that she did seem to be able to think of going to the library a bit more easily. I told her that it may take a while for her to retrain herself but from now on, every time she said the word try or even thought it, she was to stop, go back, and repeat what she had said or thought using the word just or the phrase just make sure.

She didn’t look impressed.

After all, she was there for me to help her stop doing bulimia and nearly fifteen minutes have gone by and I haven’t really mentioned that yet. But I guessed how important this may be for her, given that she had used the word so much, so I boldly carried on with the following story.

The ‘For Trying Hard’ certificate

My two eldest children spent part of their primary school education in a really good very small village school. In one school year they were in the same classroom. Like I say, it was a small school. Now, this school liked to reward the children for doing something well, you know, like doing a nice drawing, writing a good story, that kind of thing. However, we had a bit of an issue when the teacher started trying to give my children certificates which were entitled, ‘For Trying Hard’. Apparently, one of my kids told the teacher, a little uncertainly, that his dad (me) had told them they weren’t to try hard. And the teacher (nice guy) had smiled and told them that it was always important to try hard. And my other child had told him that they weren’t ever supposed to try they were just supposed to do it. And apparently my other child then added, ‘or not’…

I wish I had been there

My kids weren’t being cheeky, but they weren’t really equipped to explain this to the teacher. The teacher was fine about it all at the time, just a little puzzled, apparently. Next parents evening I was able to talk to him about it. I explained the reasoning and to his credit he dumped the certificates. I then saw that there was another pile of certificates that were entitled ‘for working hard’, and I asked him to dump those too. I pointed at them and asked him what those words meant. He said they meant ‘for working well’. I smiled and asked him why they didn’t say that then, as ‘hard’ can mean well, or diligently, but ‘hard’ can also mean tough or difficult or intransigent. I am not sure he got rid of them, but from that day forward my children’s always got ‘certificates of merit’ when they did well.

My client still looked puzzled

‘Can we talk about my bulimia now?’ She asked. I told that that we could as long as she promised to start using the word ‘just’ or the phrase, ‘just make sure’. She considered this for a moment and then, without even the slightest trace of irony said…

‘I’ll try to…’

So I stared at her, and I stared at her, and I stared at her, and I raised my eyebrows. A long minute went by, then suddenly she realised what she had said and laughed, a lot (often a very good sign, that).

‘Listen,’ I said,  ‘I know you don’t know how much of a big deal this is yet. Also, you may well find yourself catching yourself saying the word, or thinking it. When you do it would be a mistake to beat yourself up about it with thoughts like ‘Oh shit I just said the word, try, I must try not to do that again, OH SHIT, I just said it again…’. ‘Be patient with yourself,’ I said, ‘it can take a little time to fully integrate this learning, now let’s get this bulimia sorted as well….’

Seven Days Later

Seven days later all three women turned up again in the same order, on the same morning. As I said, the first two had stopped ‘buliming’ and I was delighted with that. When the law student walked in she actually looked even happier than the first two and I felt really pleased with myself as assumed I had sorted 3 out of 3 bulimics in one session each.

‘Stopped throwing up then?’ I asked.

‘No,’ she said, ‘I am still throwing up, though not as much,’ and she leaned forward, eyes shining and added, ‘but my life has completely changed!’

What a difference a word makes…

Or can make. She told me how she no longer struggles to get out of bed, she just gets up when the alarm goes. She just makes sure she gets to the bus stop on time, and last week was the first time she hasn’t been late every day. She is being better with food. She is going to the library every day and has almost caught up with the work. She is catching herself thinking things like ‘I will try and remember to call Barbara later, maybe go out for a nice meal,’ and amending those thoughts to ‘I will just make sure I call Barbara later’. The later in the day she is once again catching herself saying to herself something like ‘Ooh I must try and call Barbara in a minute ooh, YES, I WILL JUST DO IT NOW…’

Stop Procrastinating

Which brings me back to the subject of this article, namely, how to stop procrastinating and just get on with it. This is just one piece of what can be done, but better have one article in a little depth, I believe, than yet another list of bullet points similar to those you may well have seen before on this subject. Obviously, the word ‘try’ is OK in many contexts, such as ‘try this lovely cake’, ‘try this beautiful wine’, but the try of effort is one to be avoided unless you want to increase the chance of failing.

It can be good to fail

Well, it can. Often, at the end of a session with a client I will say something like, ‘now think about what was a problem before, and try to worry about it…’

Hope you find this useful. Just make sure you read it again… There is so much more to say about this subject, so more posts to follow…

Steve Tromans

Tel: +44 (0)7900 240192
Email: steve@selfhelprecordings.com
1 Harley Street London W1G 9QD

Changing Your Life for Good

Sometimes, just as people begin to notice how well they are doing, something seems to come up to prevent them from believing they can change, or so it can seem. Does this sound like you? Then read on.

When focusing on how you can manage your lifestyle more efficiently, it is really good to have the answers on how to do that ‘managing’ more easily.  The change you experience when working towards experiences you want to have and away from from those you don’t, can shape you into a more precise person in terms of how you choose the life you want.

One of the main things many people are aware of when they start thinking about solutions and how to choose them, is the feeling of dissatisfaction when they think about the problem issue they are trying to solve.

I ask people to ask themselves the following questions…

What is it about the solution that will help you feel better about what you want to achieve?

What is it about the idea of having that issue solved that will help you find happiness and joy?

Is it the idea of being able to focus more clearly on the life you want?

Can there be other reasons why you want to achieve what you want?

Gaining a perspective on how this works to enable them to function more precisely may help to give them the edge on good reasons to change their life and keep the change – permanently.

Forgetting about the fact that you don’t have what it takes to succeed is one way to empower your mind to believe that change is possible.  Our memories enforce our beliefs about what’s possible based on past events and experiences.  So what if you have never realised a successful event or had an experience where you achieved a planned outcome? Well, I would say that this idea is pretty much impossible due to the fact that you were born.  I’d call that a success, wouldn’t you?  Try thinking about a time when you weren’t able to walk as a baby. Can’t remember? Good!  That’s what I am talking about.  You learned to walk through sheer determination and overcame obstacles that prevented you from believing you could not do it.  And here you are today, walking as if it had never been any different.  I rest my case.

A baby does not believe that he cannot walk

So before we go any further, I first want to introduce you to the idea that change can come naturally.

In the first instance, the change that creates learning will emphasize the areas that need to be paid attention to.  If you can’t run, for example, the change that needs to happen is that you develop your fitness to the extent that you can run easily. So this idea is transient in nature, suggesting that progressive, forward thinking steps engage the learner in creating new neural pathways for successful behavior change.  This is the ultimate ‘meta-program’ in that it enhances the direction of change for the mutual benefit of its creator, as well as helping them be more successful in the future.  So for change to happen naturally, there often needs to be some process that generates a novelty experience together with a capability that is internally driven.  In order for this to happen there needs to be an environment that allows this process to occur naturally.

One idea that springs to mind is that of being able to envelop a process for being ‘all you need’ to be in order to gain awareness of the elements that drive change through.  People can listen and change, but long-lasting change is at the mercy of being able to hold the vision firmly in their grasp until it becomes what they naturally do.  However, having said that, change will happen when the time is right and when the circumstances allow it to happen.  So what are the circumstances?

The circumstances that promote change to happen can create a vacuum that enhances the process such as dissatisfaction, desire or other need. Many people come to me when they are at their wits end and can no longer bear the circumstances in which they are suffering. Motivation can be high, but ability can be low due to not knowing what to do next.  The NLPer can provide feedback as to how this issue can be resolved and design a process, or processes specifically for engaging the ‘learner’ in his/her new skill.

Once all circumstances have been achieved to allow the learner to engage with the process, change become pretty easy and fun!  It’s fun because learning is creating new neural pathways in the direction of desired outcomes and enjoyment comes from seeing the person change in response to the old outcome. New outcomes are tried and tested in experience before deciding which of these are going to create the most impact on their psyche.

What answers would you come up with if you were to ask yourself the following questions in order to create the right circumstances for change?

1. What is it going to take in order for you to change successfully?

Think about what changes you would like to make in your life and what would need to happen in order for that to happen naturally.

2. What are the signs that you need to change your response to old outcomes?

Think about situations where the outcomes cause you to feel dissatisfied, undermined or dis-empowered.  Make a list and think about how things will be different when you can change your response in spite of their existence.

3. What are the reasons you need to change and how can they help you move towards your goal/outcome or event?

It’s good to know why you want the changes you are going to make to help you stay focused on achieving your goal/outcome or event. Make a list and keep them to hand for easy reference and a timely reminder.

In creating the circumstances in which change can happen, the client has provided the process with a willingness to succeed and help themselves be more at ease with the idea that change can happen easily and quickly.  This always makes for a successful combination of ideas for trying out unilaterally as well as helping those that thought change was impossible to engage with the process more peacefully and more in line with an acceptance that change can happen for no (know) good reason – for good.

*********

Gina Pickersgill is the International Online NLP Specialist at www.justbewell.com

I Have OCD

Credit to Richard Bandler, most of the following I learned pretty much directly from him.

And if only all interventions were as fast as this one turned out to be…

Several years ago a man came to see me. He had been suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) for about half his life, in his case, about 17 years or so. When he was school, in the last year or so, he had developed some obsessive tendencies, nothing too overwhelming, as far as I could tell. However, the school got in touch with his parents and his parents booked an appointment with a top psychiatrist. There he sat with his parents, a nervous teenager, in the oak-panelled Harley Street consulting room of this psychiatrist and he was given the following verdict by the doctor…

‘I have spoken to your school, I have spoken to your parents and now I have had the chance to talk to you personally,’ he intoned, ‘ and I can say that without a shadow of a doubt, you have obsessive compulsive disorder…’

What chance did the man have…

So from that day forward, armed with the knowledge and certainty and that he had this problem, he became very good at OCD indeed. His obsessive behaviour had ‘morphed’ over the years, and he had finally settled into the habit of cleaning his kitchen for two or three hours before he went to work in the morning. And this was a kitchen always scrubbed so clean that open heart surgery would probably have been safe there anytime…

Contamination OCD

This is one of the most common ways people do OCD. For whatever reason, they have developed a huge overwhelming fear of contamination or disease, and that fear is so overwhelming it overrides any attempt at logical thinking. So a person who has developed this sort of thinking/feeling/behaviour pattern will find themselves seemingly driven to take some action to try to stop having the horrible feelings. This can be a big bad habit. And incidentally this has nothing to do with intelligence, in fact the guy who walked into my office that morning was a very successful lawyer…

‘What do you want?’

That’s what I asked him, after a minute or two chatting about his journey and the weather etc. I always like to get to the point.

Now if you are actually in this business you will know full well that no-one ever answers that question literally. They think they are answering you, but they aren’t. The answer you get will be either a description of their issue or a mass of information which is entirely opposite from the information you asked for.

They will tell you what they don’t want. Now this is totally reasonable from where the client is coming from. After all, they want you to understand why they are there, the nature of their issue, and if you let them, they will sometimes go into a long description of the history of their issue. I don’t usually let them, it doesn’t usually help, in my experience.

In fact I have to repeat the question, several times, before they can begin to understand what I am aiming at. And this all has to be done lightly, or it will begin to sound like a gestapo interview. And this is just the beginning…

‘I have OCD’

That’s what he said, plain and simple. So I was about to repeat the ‘so what do you want’ question, but I reconsidered. If someone is suffering from obsessive compulsive patterns they are often a bit tense, to say the least. But this guy, although quite tense, didn’t seem overly so, so I tried something else…

‘No, you don’t have OCD’

I said that to him and raised my eyebrows. He looked puzzled, understandably.

‘Yes I do,’ he insisted, ‘I have OCD, I am sure of it.’

‘So you have three letters of the alphabet,’ I said. It is important to note that the tone of the conversation was light-hearted, if it hadn’t been, I wouldn’t have been doing this.

‘You know what I mean,’ he continued, half laughing, ‘I have OCD, the abbreviation for obsessive compulsive disorder’.

‘No-one has OCD’, I said, flatly, and he began to look puzzled, though he was still smiling.

‘Look,’ he said, ‘you have a page on your website that says that you deal with people who have OCD, I’ve read it’. He had a point there. Mind you, if the page had said ‘you don’t have OCD please call now for help’, on-one would…

‘Listen,’ I said, ‘if you have OCD tell me where you keep it. In your pocket? In a cupboard in the kitchen next to the cleaning stuff? In a special place in the left hand side of your head or something?’

He was laughing now, ‘well obviously I don’t actually have OCD,’ he said. And then he stopped, and began to look totally bewildered and started swaying in his chair. If he hadn’t been sitting down I think he might have fallen over.

‘That’s right you don’t have OCD and you never did,’ I continued. ‘You can have a banana, you can have the complete works of Shakespeare, or you can have a nice holiday home. OCD isn’t something you can have, it’s obvious, now you think about it.

OCD is something a person DOES not something a person HAS

‘Obsessive compulsive disorder is something you have been doing not something you had, I told him, ‘a person can think  ‘obsessively’ about something, a person can act ‘compulsively’ at times, but that’s it, you don’t have OCD and you never had OCD, do you see what I mean? Do you hear what I am saying?’

I stopped and let him process this for a couple of minutes. Eventually he looked up and in a slow-motion voice said,

‘So…..I…..dont…..have…..OCD…..and…..nothing……is……making…..me…..do…..this?’

‘Well I don’t think so,’ I continued, ‘unless you think that maybe you are haunted by the demon of OCD, and as it happens I do have a bell, a book and a candle in the room, and I find a little light exorcise can often be illuminating.’

And I stopped and waited, and it was like the dawn slowly rising in his face and this sparkly light came into his eyes (at least that’s how I remember it), and he grinned.

Sitting in the beans

‘So,’ he said, leaning back with his hands behind his head, radiating confidence, ‘nothing is making me do this, so nothing is stopping from going home now, pouring baked beans all over the kitchen floor, sitting in them, cleaning up a bit, and going down the pub for a drink.’

‘That’s right,’ I replied, ‘though you may need to change your trousers first…’

And he stood up to leave but I didn’t let him, at first. I pointed out that he had had just fifteen minutes of a two hour session and that there were more things that could be done to ‘help make these old obsessive things truly a thing of the past’. He said he was happy to pay for the two hours and I told him that wasn’t the point. He told me he REALLY wanted to go and do this, so I argued light-heartedly with him for a while as this was building the desire to go out there and play, and after fifteen more minutes he left the office with a spring in his step.

I didn’t speak to him again though I got two voicemails from him and an email several months later. The first voicemail went something like this

‘HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA, IM SITTING IN THE BEANNNNNS, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAA’

I remember thinking that it was just as well he wasn’t leaving that voicemail for a psychiatrist.

In the second voicemail, a couple of days later, he explained that it had only taken him 22 minutes to clean the kitchen after the bean-fest, and that that morning it had only taken him 16.5 minutes. OK, a little bit exact but, hey, 16.5 minutes is better than 3 hours… Then a few months later an email telling me he was quite ok and that he was going to refer someone to me.

If only it was always this easy

This client was the exception rather than the rule, I wish I could help people this fast all time. Usually the above is just one piece from a range of interventions designed to help the client to stop being obsessive, to build more flexibility into their thinking. It can be an important piece though.

Denominalisation – an approach that can often pay dividends

I am aware that this may well be read by a whole variety of people, from NLP practitioners and trainers and hypnotherapists and other therapists, through to individuals ‘suffering from OCD’, or people who know people who have been doing OCD etc, so I am avoiding jargon as much as possible, though really there isn’t much jargon is this field.

A nominalisation is a verb that has been turned into a noun, or an action that has been turned into a ‘thing’. When you work to denominalise, you are working to change the noun back into a verb, the thing back into the action, so to speak.

For example, if someone comes to see me and they tell me they have problems with their relationship (noun) with their husband, I will say something like, ‘in what way have you been experiencing problems with the way you are have been relating (verb) to your husband’. Because, after all, you may well be able to help someone to change the way they have been doing something (relating) but how on earth can you change someone’s ‘relationship’ when such a ‘thing does not literally exist?’

On one level this may seem to be just playing with words, but in my experience it can be a useful game to play…

Steve Tromans

Tel: +44 (0)7900 240192
Email: steve@selfhelprecordings.com
1 Harley Street London W1G 9QD

Visit the main page on OCD here – Help For OCD

Barbara Stepp in Chicago has recently put a short useful video on how to cure OCD – here – Cure For OCD

Phobia Cures live on the BBC

A few years ago I received a phone call. “Hi this is Chris Sands, producer at the BBC. Would you come in and talk about your work this Sunday, live on the air?” I thought “Blimey that’s my birthday, do I want to work on my birthday?” I decided that it might be good to attend to raise awareness of my work and earmarked 1 – 2pm for the show. During the programme I mentioned that I specialized in seeing clients with phobias and anxiety conditions. Both the show host and producer’s eyes lit up and they asked if I would happy to return to work with members of the public live on the air. At this point I had no idea that I would be appearing for 26 consecutive weeks working with all kinds of phobic problems including public speaking, bird phobias, spider phobias, fear of heights, fear of flying insects among many other conditions.
Anyone who works in the field of Hypnotherapy, NLP or talk therapy knows that the real test of any practitioner’s skills is seeing clients in private practice. TV shows with celebrities like Paul McKenna and Derren Brown have popularized the idea of hypnosis and all manner of instant change. Live client sessions are of course quite different to any other situation as you never really know what is going to happen. During these radio sessions I was acutely aware that each week over 50,000 people would be listening in to hear if “Nick cured the client!” and I wanted as always to ensure each client received the best possible attention.

A phobia has been described as “an intense but unrealistic fear that can interfere with the ability to socialize, work, or go about everyday life, brought on by an object, event or situation” The secret to changing this response is not to analyze the problem, but rather to change how and person thinks and then feels about the problem. Any anxiety is created by four main ways –

1. What a person sees externally
2. What they hear externally
3. What they imagine or picture internally
4. What they think or say to themselves internally

I have never found the other two senses of taste and smell to be frequent triggers for the phobia; it’s mostly always the other four factors. In NLP the traditional “fast phobia cure” is a good way to assist with phobias. This works especially well if the phobia is triggered by what a client sees or imagines. However I have found that often the trigger for the phobia is not simply what a person sees but rather what they then think to themselves. For example when a person sees a spider and feels fear it’s often not the picture that creates the fear but rather the person thinking “Oh my god!” in an unhelpful anxious tone! Over 90% of all phobias I have treated to date have this kind of auditory trigger and almost all the BBC clients responded well to changing this unhelpful thinking pattern.

During the 26 weeks I learned a great deal about how to work quickly and efficiently in resolving these problem states and never to assume anything when working with clients. A good practitioner has a flexibility to adapt and respond to a client’s needs and never to assume anything! Unusual phobias I have treated to date include fear of red brick walls and sharp edges and fear of balloons among other problems.

Seeing clients every week in Leeds, Manchester and on Skype has taught me a great deal about how people create these conditions and I teach these approaches all around the world. What I find fascinating is that it doesn’t matter if I am teaching medics in Japan, the public in New York or am presenting at a major conference in Spain, the triggers for these problems are always predictably exactly the same! To date I have seen literally thousands of clients with phobias and anxiety related problems. Most issues can be resolved in just a couple of sessions producing a very welcome and much needed improved quality of life.

Nick Kemp

NLP Fast Phobia Cure – Does It Last

When helping my clients let go of their fears there are a couple of questions I am regularly asked.  The first is “does this really work” and the second is “how long will it last?”

Happy Memories…

These questions often trigger memories of my training to be an NLP Practitioner.  One of the most powerful moments of that course was when I realized that my feelings were created by a combination of thoughts; and that I could change the way in which I thought of something which in turn changed the way I felt about it.

Phobia Day

That day was known as Phobia Day.  This was the penultimate day of the course when the students were taught the NLP Fast Phobia Cure and how to help people let go of their fears.  I was ready, I had a phobia and I wanted to get rid of it.

It All Seemed So Easy

I watched the demonstration on the stage by Paul McKenna & Michael Breen; amazed at how easy it all seemed.  So wanting to be able to stop being afraid.  I was scared of spiders.  I used to check rooms as I went in, I even looked in my bed at night to make sure they hadn’t crawled in between the sheets, I checked my shoes before I put them on.  I slept deep under the covers so “they” couldn’t walk on me at night.

I Wasn’t Scared!

On that day I went through the NLP Fast Phobia Cure, helped by Steve Tromans, and learnt how to change my thinking.  After a while, I held the tarantula.  I wasn’t scared, I was curious as to how it would feel and it felt OK.  No it felt better than OK, It felt good, I was no longer scared.  I felt liberated!

How to let go of fear/anxiety

When Dr Richard Bandler was investigating ways in which to help people get rid of their fears/phobias he advertised for people who had already done this.  He spoke to hundreds of people and found out what they did.  They told him they got to a point when they had, had enough; they looked at their fear and realized just how ridiculous it was.  When working with my clients I first of all have them access a positive state, laughter is perfect for this.  When they have that state I’ll anchor it.

Anchoring a positive state.

Anchoring is the term we use when referring to a learned association between an external stimulus and an internal response. We are constantly creating and using anchors. It is an unconscious behaviour, one that we can make use of  create anchors that are more useful to us.

In the late 1900s a Russian scientist called Pavlov conducted some experiments where he would offer food to his dogs and at the same time ring a bell.  After a while the dog associated the bell with food and within a short while he would only have to ring the bell and the dog would salivate.  He had created an association between a bell and feeding time.  There was no logical connection between the two things, but through constant repetition, a neurological connection was created in the mind of the dogs.

Whenever we do something new, we create a new neural pathway so we can re-access that experience again more easily.  Each time we repeat a particular behaviour, we strengthen the associated neural pathway, just as when you walk down a path through a field it eventually becomes a clearer path.

To create a positive humorous anchor.

  1. Remember a joke or something that made you really laugh.  Fully return to it now – remember, see what you saw, hear what you heard and feel how good you felt.
  2. As you go through this memory, remember that time and all the feelings associated with it, imagine making it brighter and more colourful, the feelings getting stronger, and any sounds become louder.
  3. As you feel these good feelings, squeeze the thumb and middle finger of either hand together.
  4. Now squeeze the thumb and finger together and relive that good feeling.
  5. Repeat steps 1 – 4 several times with different positive memories until just squeezing your thumb and finger together brings back those good feelings.

Once I have the anchor set its time for the NLP Fast Phobia Cure.

NLP Fast Phobia Cure

I ask my client to think about what has been scaring them, if they can remember the first time they became scared we use this incident or one of the incidents when they were really scared/anxious and ask them to evaluate the incident.  “On a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is that you are very scared and 1 is that you are feeling calm where are you now as you think about that incident?”

Now put that incident to one side for a moment and close your eyes and imagine walking into a cinema/movie theatre in your mind and sit down in the front row.  In a moment you will watch a movie of that incident on the screen but before you do, float up out of your body into the projection room at the back of the theatre.  You are now looking down from the projection room watching yourself in the front row watching the screen.

On the screen the film begins, as you get to the beginning of the incident freeze the film so you have still colour picture.  Staying in the projection room watching you, watching the film; look at yourself on the screen whilst the film now runs all the way to the end.  To the point where you are OK, now freeze this last frame into a still picture and drain any colour out and make the picture black and white.

From your place in the projection room run the black and white film backwards 3 times.  Everything is going backwards at triple speed.  When you get to the beginning, freeze that picture and then jump to the still frame at the end of the film and run the whole thing backwards again.

When you have done this 3 times, stop at the last frame of the film where you are OK and float out of the projection room and into that last frame.  Re-associate fully into the still picture and one it backwards once more whilst firing off your positive anchor.

Now walk out of the screen and sit back down in the cinema and white out the screen.  Turn the screen white, then black, then white, then black.  Repeat this a further 6 times.

Now check how you feel on a scale of 1 to 10 and if necessary repeat.

Future Pace

Once the evaluation is at a comfortable level its time to future pace the next experience and think about a time in the future when you repeat a similar experience only this time you do so calmly and in perfect control.  Run through a few occasions in your mind whereby you are calm, confident and in control.

I’m not sure when I realized that I had stopped checking for spiders.  Over time I have thought less about my eight legged friends, and notice them even less.  One day my daughter came into my bedroom and said “mum theres a great big spider on the wall above your bed”.  “Oh yes so there is” I replied.  It was my husband who pointed out the different response, but of course I thought its only a spider after all.

At that time I never thought that I would be helping people let go of their fears, nor did I consider that I would be working alongside my liberator.

That was over thirteen years ago, so I think I can safely say from my experience yes it does work and yes it does last.

Tina Taylor

Read an article about how Tina worked to help cure fear of spiders on live TV – Fear Spiders Article


 

Pain Relief Hypnosis – Keeping The Change

OK so this is the third post in a series on hypnosis and NLP for pain relief. This is another piece, and a very important one. The previous two posts can be read…

Here – A Technique to Relieve Pain
and Here – Pain Relief Hypnosis, Further Thoughts
I also talk about it in this Skype interview here – Pain Relief Video

How To Make Sure Someone Stays Better

This is the story of a delightful man called Arthur who came to see me about fifteen years ago. Arthur was in pain, a lot of pain. He had twisted his back a little playing golf some thirty years earlier. It hadn’t really bothered him at first, and he had finished the round of golf and gone home.

That night though, Arthur hadn’t sleep well, and when he awoke in the morning the pain was much worse so he went to the doctor. He was duly given painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs and told to take some time off work and rest. He did that, but the pain got worse. So he went for X-rays, took stronger meds, spent some time in traction. The pain got worse…

Fast forward 30 years…

There he was, aged about sixty now, sitting in my office and he had been in complete and total agony for thirty years. But the first thing I noticed about him, apart from the fact that his face showed the strain of these three decades of agony, was this sparkle in his eyes, and he told jokes, lots of them, and was genuinely funny. And I thought, ‘there is an amazing spirit inside this person’.

I was, I will admit, a little anxious as to whether I could help him. I had seen people for severe migraines who had reported that they no longer had headaches but I had not seen anyone like Arthur. To be fair, I haven’t since. I had told him I did not know how effective I could be but that I would do my utmost to help and he was OK with that. After all, he had spent thirty years in various therapies, it had become a lifestyle…

He Had Tried Every Therapy And Treatment For Pain Relief Available

At least, that’s the way it seemed. This included hypnosis for pain relief. He had undergone procedure after procedure including nine operations on his back and legs, had had nerves severed in his back, the works. And the doctors still had no idea why he was in pain. He definitely was though. When I saw him, he had a box semi built into the side of his body. This box contained a cocktail of painkillers which were fed, by a tube, directly into the base of his spine… The only pain relief he had experienced over the years was when they had introduced morphine into the mix, and the effects of that had worn off after a couple of weeks, so he had come off the morphine. It was either that or being totally out of it, and he didn’t want that.

Calibrate The Feeling…

‘On a scale of one to one hundred’ I said, ‘if one hundred would represent total agony and one represents total comfort, how is the feeling in your back right now’. (I stop calling it pain and start calling it feeling pretty much straight away)

‘One hundred’ he said.

‘OK’, I continued, ‘what numbers does the feeling vary between day to day, do you think?’

He just gave me a look…

‘It doesn’t really vary,’ he said, and he had stopped smiling.

‘So what number would you like, then?’ I asked, and the look he gave me got blanker. In fact, I had to repeat the question three times before he could get his head around it. He was so used in thinking of the pain, or trying not to think about the pain, or worrying about the pain, or being angry about the pain, and so forth, that it was really hard for him to think of his back in any way which wasn’t related to pain. The idea of having a totally comfortable back was alien to him. Eventually, though, he said he supposed ‘one’ would be nice, so we proceeded.

And for the rest of that one hour session I went through the technique outlined in the link at the very top of the page.

The ‘Feeling’ Had Reduced

‘What number would your back be now, Arthur,’ I asked him, whilst he was still pretty spaced out from the work. He thought about it, and he thought about it and eventually he looked up in vague astonishment and said..

‘I think it is about fifty’. And his wife burst into tears. This was the first time in thirty years he had experienced any reduction in the pain, apart from the brief time he was on morphine. Of course I did my best to look like this was exactly what I had been expecting but to be honest I think I was as surprised as he was. It was a lovely, touching moment and I tried not to feel smug. I smiled at him and said to him…

‘We can do this Arthur, I am sure of that now’. I would have been pleased if he had said ‘ninety-five’…

Anyway, Arthur rang me back the next day with bad news…

‘It’s back to one hundred again’, he said, sadly. I remember not being too bothered about this at the time, apart from feeling sorry for him, as I was now sure I could help him.

The Pain Came Back

When he came back for the next appointment he was sorry to report that, unfortunately his back had stayed at ‘one hundred’ for the whole week. However, there was an important difference now. He knew that it was possible to experience a reduction in the pain, and so did I. This time we went straight into a slight variation on the technique described in the other blog (link at top of page), for pretty much the whole hour. I really went for it. And at the end, he opened his eyes wide and for a few moments couldn’t speak. Eventually he said…

‘I can’t feel my back’, and he started grinning. And his wife burst into tears again.

Well he could feel his back, but the number he now gave it was ‘one’, that is, total comfort. It was lovely. I was ever so pleased with him, and ever so pleased with myself.

That is, until he rang me back the next day, close to tears, and informed me that it was ‘one hundred’ again. Now if you experienced in this field you will know why his pain came back….

He Was ‘Used’ To The Pain

For years and years his daily life had been filled with the feelings of pain and the thinking about the pain. I realised what he had been doing in between sessions. He had been asking himself questions like, ‘is this going to last or is the pain going to come back,’. He would have been worrying about it, talking to himself about it, thinking about his back, looking to see how bad his back was feeling. And there is a fair chance others would have been saying things, unwittingly, that would have taken him back into the habit of pain. A simple question from a caring wife such as ‘how bad is your back today’, well meant, would not have been helpful;

So how was I going to get him to stop thinking about the pain?

Seven days later Arthur came back for his next session wearing a look of hope mixed with anxiety. I told him ‘we are going to do something new today,’ something to make the comfort more and more natural through time. We did a quick 20 minute version of the disassociation technique to begin with, and he reported that the ‘feeling’ was now about ‘ten’. He was pleased with that. And then I said this…

‘I know you are going to worry about the pain coming back’, I told him (in an incongruent way), and he relaxed a bit. After all, he had been worrying about the fact that he was worrying the pain would come back. I carried on, ‘I could tell you that if you start talking to yourself about the problem then I want you to learn to use a soft and gentle voice, or a voice with really silly tonality, or a cartoon voice.’ And I got him to practice this a bit. He didn’t realise he could learn to change the way he talked to himself. But mainly, I did the following. Because it’s fundamentally hypnotic, the grammar may look a little unusual in places, this kind of thing is best heard…

‘Whenever you begin to find that you are starting to think about the old ‘feeling’, I began, ‘I want you to look for comfort. Because whatever posture you are in, some parts of you, where the muscles are naturally more relaxed because of your posture, and this is only natural.’

I ignored his vaguely puzzled look and continued. I asked him if his left arm was completely comfortable and he said that it was, as far as he could tell…

‘Listen,’ I said, ‘in your mind, I want you to go to a little patch of skin, the surface of your skin, on your arm, in a place that’s soooo comfortable you aren’t even aware of it, now go to this little patch of skin, and imagine it to be the size of a small coin, and then, really, really, slowly, imagine that from this place, the comfort is beginning to spread, in time, and this will get easier.’

Arthur looked up uncertainly and told me he didn’t think he could do it properly, he couldn’t feel his arm relaxing, I was expecting that…

‘Oh you don’t actually have to feel your arm beginning to relax,’ I said, ‘just pretend to begin with. Now imagine what it would be like if a pretend feeling of comfort begins to spread very slowly into your arm, and along the surface of your skin, and around and inside, all the way, gently pretending to spread the comfort down into your wrist, do this slowly, and also ease the imaginary lovely feeling up into your elbow, and give it a colour if you like, a nice colour, a colour you like, now allowing your imagination to imagine, inside your mind, spreading the comfort slowly over the back or your hand, and into the palm of your hand, slowly up inside your fingers, and ease it into your thumb, into each knuckle, one knuckle at a time, up to the very tips, and also smoothly up into your shoulder, just pretending, and slowly imagining the relaxation easing inside the side of your neck, and now into your face, slowly into your chin, and easing inside your lips and into teeth and all around your tongue…’

Now you, the reader, will begin to get the idea. This is done slowly. very slowly, with very detailed descriptions of the areas and body parts that the imaginary comfort is spreading into. After a few minutes of this, I got him to begin to spread comfort from another place, this time, as his head felt neutral, from deep inside the mind, a little globe of comfort, gently expanding through the brain, and into and over the scalp, and gently into the eyebrows etc etc.

Pain Relief Hypnosis And Future Pacing

That’s the NLP jargon for when you do your very best to ensure that the useful, positive, ecologically sound changes, are lasting changes. I told him that EVERY time he had a thought about the old ‘feeling’ in his back, he was to STOP, pause, be glad he had noticed his thought, and immediately start the process of looking for comfort, being patient with himself, and being gently relentless. I told him it was quite ok to think it wasn’t making any difference, and to do it anyway. Arthur expressed doubt that he could do it well enough so asked him to stop and tell me what number his back was right now. He paused…

‘One’, he smiled.

Next day, when the phone rang, I just knew it was Arthur and when I asked him what the feeling was, he told me he thought it was about ‘eighty’. I was delighted. Obviously I would have been more delighted if he had said it was ‘one’, but on the other hand this was a major difference. In all, I saw Arthur seven or eight times, and gradually over that period the old ‘feeling’ became smaller and smaller until it had pretty much disappeared.

The Use Of Metaphor In Pain Control

So on one level the above can be a useful thing to do if you are suffering from pain. On another level it can be a useful thing to do if you are a therapist or practitioner who sees clients to help them with this kind of issue. But its use can be much wider than that.

I tell versions of this story to many of my clients, not just those seeking hypnotherapy for pain relief, as the entire thing can be viewed a metaphor for helping any client aim for the solution, rather than them trying to move away from the problem, when you think about it. Because many people are going to be out there wondering if their problem is going to come back, and we really don’t want that. What we do want is for them to aim themselves AT solutions, and in fact for this to become automated, and the use of metaphor can be a very powerful tool to help them to do so, in my experience.

And on the level of metaphor, with all the hypnosis herein, and all the presuppositions, and the overall structure of the story itself, the intention is also to help you, the reader…

Footnote

I have learned so much from many people, and hopefully continue to do so. That ‘spreading softness’ I first heard from Richard Bandler. It goes back much further though, it is a core principle, for example, in Chi Gung.

And of all the teachers I have ever learned from so far, my client Arthur was one of the best…

Steven Tromans

Tel: +44 (0)7900 240192
Email: steve@selfhelprecordings.com
1 Harley Street London W1G 9QD

To visit the JustBeWell main page on pain control and hypnosis please click here

Be More Confident

Confidence…

So many people come to see me with the complaint that they are not confident. And they are very confident about not being confident (which always gets me giggling). I am always very happy to take bookings from clients who want to be more confident as it is so easy to help them feel sooooo much better so quickly and permanently.

Smashing the Generalization

The first problem is one of generalization. I usually ask early on in a session whether they are good at anything at all. In many cases I have to wait while they trawl through their memories to try to find something they are willing to admit they are good at. But I don’t wait for very long! So after a minute or two I ask them if they know how to make a good cup of tea or make the bed or use a TV remote control efficiently. The reason I ask about these mundane things is to get clients to start thinking a little differently about the ‘problem’. If there is a human who is totally confident of everything they do, then my guess is they are considered arrogant rather than confident.

Most people are confident of some things and not of others. If they say they are good at making tea, I ask them whether, if I didn’t know how to make a cuppa, could they teach me and they always say they could. Then I ask whether they are confident they could teach me and they always nod and smile!

Now that they are beginning to realize they are not just a person with zero confidence we can start to tease out the areas where they wish they could be more confident and the ones where they are already confident. So the problem is already beginning to feel different and more handleable.

Facing Forward

Once we can talk more specifically we can also start to focus on their goals and what they DO want instead of what they don’t. Everyone wants to get away from ‘bad’ feelings and move towards ‘good’ ones. The question is are they focusing on what they are trying to get away from or focusing on what they want more of? Successful changes are pretty much dependent on facing the right direction and the direction of success is facing forward not backward.

There are some people who habitually think about what is behind them and what they don’t want (or want to avoid) and others who are focused on what they do want. In fact, in a video of Dr Bandler (co-creator of NLP and one of my teachers) interviewing people who are successful in different fields, this is borne out. All of the people he interviewed who are successful actors, business men, chefs and other professionals have the facing-toward-the-goals strategy naturally running in their brains. So in order to help clients have more confidence we need to be more specific and facing in the right direction.

Breaking It Down to Build It Up

Next on my agenda is to find out how they are doing their lack of confidence and compare it with how they think about something they are very confident of. So if it is a making a cup of tea I will ask them about the pictures they see when they think about teaching me how to make a great cuppa. I will ask about what they are saying to themselves and what that internal voice sounds like. I could install the way I do confidence, but I find it much quicker and more effective to take their own particular way of feeling good about themselves and use it – just put it where it wasn’t before!

So once they realize how they do confidence and the difference in how they do not-confident we can start swapping pictures around and choosing a different dialogue to have in their head.

I often tell the story of how when I was first learning NLP I noticed that if anyone looked at me when I was walking down the road I would immediately start worrying that there was something wrong with me. I would hallucinate what they were thinking and it was always horrible! I would imagine them saying to themselves that I was ugly or my clothes looked bad or my makeup was smudged. Once I noticed what I was doing I realized how silly I had been. For a start, we can never totally really know what another person is thinking. It is hard enough to know fully what we ourselves are thinking, never mind what someone else is thinking! Even when some one tells you what they think it may not be true. Most people who are doing unconfident will often think people are being untruthful when they are saying nice things to them and believe every criticism without question!

So I decided to try an experiment. On purpose, if a man looked at me I would tell myself that he probably thinks I am gorgeous. And if it was a woman, she probably was wishing she knew where I had bought my shoes (or something along those lines).

The fact is, none of these “hallucinations” are true. However, when I was thinking the worst, if you had been watching, you would have seen me looking worried, checking my buttons in case they were undone. You would have seen me hunch over and my eyes would have been on the floor. If I had been a blusher, I would have, no doubt, also been blushing bright red. I felt insecure and horrible inside myself and it showed.

With this different way of thinking, you would see me walk taller, make eye contact, smile, and feeling good would be written all over my non-verbal language. So it didn’t really matter about what the big truth was, the outcome of this different way of thinking looks and feels entirely different. And of course, the best bit is that I got such different responses. It was a virtuous circle. Deliberately feel better, look better and get better responses which made me feel better and look better etc.

Confident and Competent?

I do not encourage people to feel confident about stuff they are not that good at. I have met too many people who think they are really good at something when actually they could do with learning to do it better. I have paid too many people too many times to do jobs they assured me they were capable of and did confidently but badly! So again, this isn’t about being confident in the wrong places.

And this is sometimes the problem.

There was a survey done with some doctors, surgeons and nurses in a hospital. Each was asked to assess his or her performance at many levels. Firstly at their job. Also as a member of a team. And as someone managing others. And many other areas besides. Then colleagues were asked to give feedback in answer to the same questions, but from a colleagues perspective so they could compare the findings. The astonishing result was that NOT ONE of them got it close. And these are some of the most intelligent humans around. But each of them either thought they were worse than others’ perceptions of them, or better!

“I wish to God the Gift to gi’ us to see ourselves as others see us” as Robbie Burns said.

Schooling and Upbringing

As so regularly happens, being not confident is a learned behaviour. You weren’t born without confidence! But with the best intention in the world, many people were trained at school not to ‘show off’ not to be ‘big headed’ and peer group pressure taught so many of us that we got more love and appreciation by running ourselves down. Just today on the radio I heard that in the Church if you say you think you would make a good Bishop you probably won’t get promoted to Bishop! How crazy is that? What message does that give?

And of course we are guided at a very early age to focus on our mistakes. Those exercise books with the red marks on every error are not necessarily helpful! Someone told me recently that in New Zealand now, they have started using a green pen to tick every line that is fully correct.. And at the bottom of the page the teachers are adding a few pointers on how to do better next time. That sounds like a much more constructive strategy to me. But most of us aren’t lucky enough to have been trained to focus on what we are doing well and learn to do the other bits better. We have been trained to feel bad about what we are doing wrong.

But whatever was learnt in the past can be unlearned. If someone has practiced lacking confidence and is good at it, then it is just about learning to think about themselves differently and practising relentlessly until it becomes the new ‘automatic‘ way of thinking.

So often there is a fear of being inappropriately confident because we all kind of know that we can’t always quite tell how we are coming across and when we are doing really well and when we are not. That isn’t crazy. None of us knows how we are being perceived from the outside and I challenge anyone to claim they have never been surprised at feedback. In both directions. Hasn’t everyone at some point thought they were doing ok and discovered they had irritated someone? Hasn’t everyone at some point thought they hadn’t done something very well and been told that they did a great job?

In fact, I have worked with countless top people in their field who tell me they are not confident. You might be surprised at how many celebrities and CEOs have come for help with this problem. I once heard Michelle Pfeifer saying she doesn’t think she is pretty!

So perhaps it is more useful to stop worrying about whether we are confident or not!

Get Over It

So strange as it may seem I think it is much more useful to reframe this whole concept and think about it differently. What would life be like if you didn’t care about whether you felt confident or not? If you were spending your precious thoughts and feelings and attention on doing the best you can. If you stopped expecting/hoping to be loved by the entire universe and accept that there will be some who love you and some not so much – which may not be so much to do with you but more to do with them anyway. And how about just doing your very best, caring about giving what you have got to give as well as you possibly can and always focusing on improving and optimizing? What about being generous with whatever you can offer and being a good learner? What about feeling great inside, knowing you are doing your best and being humble? In a funny way, it is also arrogant to be unconfident as well as over confident. How about just being all the wonderful things you can be and always working at doing better when you can?

What is Useful….

So the big question is what do you want to feel like? When you walk down the road do you want to feel like walking tall? When you get up to present at work, do you want to convey your passion or your knowledge in a way that inspires others? It is easy once you use your own way of feeling great in these other scenarios.

… and Are You Having Enough Fun?

Think about all that time spent on worrying if you are ok or good enough when you could have been laughing and having fun! What makes you feel happy and relaxed? What inspires you?

When my clients leave my session, what I hope for them is that they will be thinking and feeling hugely different in this regard. They will be happy to be themselves and ready to have more fun, and to be generous with their unique gifts.

And strangely, I keep getting the feedback that they feel much more confident from then on too so they get all the confidence they came for anyway! 🙂

Visit Laura’s biography page, click here – > Laura Spicer

Laura’s email address is laura.spicer@gmail.com

JustBeWell.com has clinics worldwide. In the USA, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and Mainland Europe.

To visit the JustBeWell page about more confidence click here – > More Self Confidence

To see a video by Laura about confidence click here – > More Confidence

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