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Binge Eating And Bulimia – What Is The Answer


Its Debbie Williams here from Birmingham UK. I’m one of the first JustBeWell NLP Master practitioners and hypnotherapists and today I’m going to post about binge eating and bulimia.

I did both for nearly 15 years and before that I was the 2nd fattest child in school, so I was pretty messed up weight and food-wise.

Yet it’s one of the areas I now specialise in, after using NLP and hypnosis on myself to fully recover from my bulimia and binge eating. I have been totally free now for about 15 years.

In my Birmingham clinic Ive helped many others to be free of binge eating and bulimia from TV presenters, athletes, teenage boys to 50 year old bulimics.

How do you work with binge eating and bulimia?

Firstly binge eating and bulimia can sometimes be almost the same thing with the only difference being the bulimic throws up after a binge whilst the binge eater gets fatter and fatter until it gets so uncomfortable then they diet!

First 3 letters of diet should be a warning that it’s not a good thing to do as the diet industry has a failure rate over 90%. Why would any sane person diet?

Well, we have been trained, advertised at, promoted at with junk food and extra large portions that we no longer know how to eat in a way that feels in balance with our mind, body and spirit. Its a billion dollar industry which doesn’t always have our health at the top of the list!

Binge eating and bulimia, a solution?

The first thing I do with clients is to help them change their focus onto what they really want. Many do not know and some have burst into tears when I’ve asked them what would they do with the extra time they would have if I could tap a magic wand and make their binging go away for good. It’s the realisation of how lost they have been in their binging they’ve forgotten who they really are.

I suggest we go in training to master skills on how to be lean (they like this) and how to be happy and healthy. When you know about whats really in some of our food it can drop your desire for it instantly.

Lean for life

We can retrain ourselves to eat as a lean, healthy happy person does by copying what they do until it becomes second nature.

With NLP and hypnotherapy we can make it easier to model what naturally lean healthy people do and many, many times 2 or 3 sessions can be the catalyst for brand new behaviours and feelings towards food, leaving the bulimia and binge eating in the past.

For others more support is necessary whilst they not only learn to eat as a lean person does, they also learn ways to process their emotions and other triggers that have led to a binge eating episode as food has been their drug of choice to deal with their feelings.

I give my clients simple tick sheets in which they tick when they feel they are “doing”a new behaviour which is taking them towards becoming lean for life.

The focus is 90% on the solution of learning lean and healthy peoples strategies and “not” on food (although I do get them to have a plan of foods they love to eat and would look forward to, they can check in advance that eating this way this week will actually help them to be lean and it should include a bit of junk type food)

The idea is to get more ticks next week than this week and to “grow into better habits” and to have a record of what they did in case they fall of track they can easily get back on.

I have 7 main areas we work on. One simple one ( which helps all addictions) is using procrastination as a positive. By this I mean saying to the urges to binge “yes, I’ll have this later, not now, later” to help ride over the urges to binge as most people don’t realise any addictive urges only last a few minutes at most.

I also find when clients use my self hypnosis recordings they get quicker results as most of my hypnosis has suggestions of the false appetite going away on holiday for good and to connect with who they really are, learning to be kind,  nurture and like themselves.

I’ve had clients who’ve listened to a couple and got so far, then come to Birmingham to see me, they tend to go out with a few more recordings and focus on the goal of learning to be lean, healthy and happy.

You could study NLP for yourself and gradually work through all the issues tying you to binging. It will take time though as there is no specific trained NLP strategies for bulimia. My colleagues Kathy Welter-Nichols in Canada and Steve Tromans in London also use NLP and hypnosis very effectively to help with  bulimia.

How to be happy

The happy part is covering emotional intelligence also and learning to lighten up and enjoy life. I always suggest keeping a feel good, happiness journal to record their successes and joys in life.

I know not everyone will do this but I find when they do it really pays of in more good feelings. We do deal with the deeper issues as and when they arise rather than searching in the past for every negative experience that has made them feel “less than”.

How to be lean and healthy

The lean and healthy part is devising a plan gradually working towards foods close to nature (which is what our system thrives on) plus a bit of junk/ binge food eaten in a specific way which if they follow the guidelines will allow them to have more ticks on the tick sheet.

Discovering how the food makes them feel over time helps to break the hold that food had on them. It also allows me to quickly find out if a food is a real trigger for them if they don’t stick to the guidelines and so in the next session we can reduce the desire for chocolate,  crisps or bread whatever tips them over the edge.

I worked on GMTV with Paul McKenna a few years ago with helping the nation overcome their addictions to certain foods. I helped the “Tamworth crisp crunchers” overcome their crisp addiction and within 20 minutes it was gone.

I have recorded so many around food, binge eating, bulimia and weight loss, stop overeating and lean for life all available from the www.justbewell.com web shop. Including  ‘Ditch the dairy” which can eliminate cravings for ice cream, cheese, cakes,  pizza and chocolate ( I have a specific one for just chocolate).

Even Miles who edited them for me found he ate less as he just didn’t fancy those foods somehow much to his partners surprise.

I normally run my Lean for life courses over 4 weeks but I’m looking to do some one day events in the future. If you want to come to Birmingham for this event please or would like to chat about how I may be able to help you then please feel free to contact me – Debbie’s Contact Page

For further information about my recordings look here – Debbie Williams Recordings

And do also feel free to make comments or ask questions here on this blog

Stopping Stammering

When people with speech dysfluency such as stammering book to see me, they often ask (as with many other types of clients) what I am going to do. Like with any other client, I always say that I don’t know. One of the things about being an NLP consultant is that I am always aware there is an individual who is having the problem, rather than a problem with a person attached! So how can I know in advance, what is going to help, before I meet and talk to the person properly?

However, as much as I hate generalizing what is going to be the way to treat someone with a stammering/stuttering problem there are certain things I will be watching and listening for first.

How Not Why

In the initial part of the session, I am going to need to find out how they have been doing their stammer. As any practitioner will no doubt concur, this is when my clients try to tell me why and not how. I keep going back to the how questions. How are you thinking just before you stammer? Have you already imagined stammering hours or days before a particularly challenging event? What are you saying to yourself? What are the pictures in your head? Where does it feel like the words are getting caught? In your throat? Chest? Mouth? This last is really important as it lets me know where they are tensing when they would be better served by relaxing and flowing. I will be asking about whether they even get stuck when they talk to their cat or out loud to themselves when they are alone. I have rarely met a stammerer who says they can’t even speak to themselves out loud without stammering. And I have never met a stammerer who stammers when they sing!

This tells you something important. They are not broken!! As with so many of the problems that find their way to my clinic, they are just doing something differently when confronted with certain situations. Some say it is worse when they meet people for the first time. Some tell me it is worst when they feel they are being judged. And there are individual unique stories too. But once you accept that sometimes it is possible to speak fluently then you know it is just a question of finding out how they do it when it is working well for them and transfer the principles into the challenging situations. Also, if they speak fluently when alone, I will be paying attention to how they are doing their focus of attention as this is sometimes part of what is causing the problem.

Being Fully Present with Your Client

Importantly, while we are talking about the things I mention above I will be watching and listening very carefully to notice how well they are breathing and where it looks and sounds like they are inappropriately tense. I will be watching how they focus on me when they are talking to me and noticing what changes when they get stuck.

As speech is dependent on breath and flow, it is especially important for people with this problem to learn to take plenty of breath in and release it in an open easy way. So in many cases, my first job is to fill them with confidence, get rid of any fear (humour is the best tool I find) and begin the job of training them to breathe the way most fluent speakers do – or even better.

I have modeled some of the best speakers and so I teach my clients who come to see me with dysfluency issues how to breathe more like a fluent expert talker. In the session, I can only teach them and get them to practice a bit, but this is physical as well as psychological and they really are going to have to go away and practice practice practice so that the new way of using their muscles becomes automatic.

Back into the Flow

A lot of stammerers blame the stammer for their shyness or unwillingness to speak. But it is a vicious circle. If speech is held back it has a horrible effect. Even in a fluent speaker, being reticent or unwilling or afraid to let it flow is unhelpful. And the sound of consistently hesitant speech sounds awful to me. In fact, I feel in general that held back speech is stingy and I get quite cross (well I pretend to get cross!) and tell my clients to get more generous with sharing their thoughts and feelings!! Fear is a horrible master in general and often part of the problem for a stammerer.

Listening to Your Own Voice

Because of the fact that nobody stammers when singing I often ask clients to sing. Sometimes they really don’t want to, but I use humour and do it myself to get them to relax and do this. It doesn’t have to sound tuneful. I usually just get them to count up to ten to any tune. In many cases, it doesn’t sound like singing at all. But because they think they are singing, it becomes really fluent which often surprises them hugely. I record them doing this and singing the words that they previously couldn’t get out of their mouths. Then when they listen back they can hear it just sounds normal and interesting and not like singing at all. Then I get them to track the sensations and breathing they are doing so they can reproduce the feeling and muscle use when they talk.

Sometimes I get them to go from singing to speaking and back to singing. And I record it too so they can hear themselves. In fact, more than one stammerer has become totally fluent by listen to him/herself speaking. There is some evidence that the feedback loop of talking and listening to your own voice is often not functioning the same in a stammerer as in a fluent speaker. I had one young girl who came to see me whose younger sister had been born with a loud voice and who overrode her when she was speaking. Once she was listening to herself and cutting out the background noise from her attention the stammer miraculously disappeared.

Unique Solutions 

I also once worked with a beautiful young girl who was in an arranged marriage and was afraid of her husband’s sexual demands. Her thighs were gripped permanently closed. When she released the tension in her thighs, amazingly the knock on effect was her speech became fluent. I mention this to emphasize how important it is to watch and listen to your client to find out what, in their own unique case, is going on.

Change of Attitude

So many people are afraid to ‘get it wrong’. I think this often starts in school where they trained so many of us to be afraid. I often tell clients how I have a voice inside my own head that celebrates when I discover I have got it wrong! After all, when I am right, I am not just about to learn to do something better! I love the feeling of learning and I relentlessly install that in clients. When you notice you have got something wrong, that is the perfect opportunity to learn to do better and to me, that is one of life’s pleasures. I hope to go on being a good learner til my last breath. So being wrong becomes fun instead of dread. That is an attitude that is often a good one to install.

I also relentlessly install a very important concept that I learned from Dr. Bandler (the co-creator of NLP and my teacher) and which opened up my life hugely. “Instead of comparing yourself with others, compare yourself with you, yesterday. And if you are doing better today than yesterday, you know you are going in the right direction”. What a great and freeing thought! Who wants to be perfect anyway? That would be sooo boring! It also turns the problem from fixed to being a process of improvement and focuses attention on improvements instead of what is not working. This is very important to convey as sometimes it takes a stammerer a few weeks to learn, practice and become unconsciously competent at fluency. So in the session, I teach them all they need to know and then send them off to practice.

The Icing on the Cake

In some cases, that is all that is needed. In others, I need them to come back for a top up, to check they are correctly doing the exercises I set them, or to peel off the last layers of whatever they are still doing in order to stammer.

Many of my clients have already tried speech therapy or other stammering ‘cures’ and they complain that previous courses of treatment have been completely useless, or have made them sound robotic. I want my clients not only to be more fluent, but to talk with an interesting and expressive voice too. So that robotic sound is something that I inure against completely.

Once they are breathing, laughing, flowing and having had some more useful ways of thinking installed they are ready for the last part. They will already be noticing a significant improvement, but if there is more that can be done I am not finished! So even if they are already thrilled with the improvement, I do like to do everything possible to make them as fully fluent as I can.

Sometimes, blood supply isn’t as good in some people’s lips. Sometimes people have less flexible tongues than others. Sometimes people have very stiff inflexible jaw joints.

So after the breathing is newly retrained and the thinking is freed up, there may be some tongue twisters that are advisable for them to practice to get more flexibility in the specific problem area. This is only relevant after the main problems of breath and thought habits have been sorted. Often it isn’t even necessary as they are already fluent and speech is flowing perfectly on their breath. But if it is, I will then give them a few silly tongue twisters to practice to really fine tune and train their mouth and breathing to support fluency.

Gaga, mama, dada, kaka, peepee

Some of the best exercises for greater flexibility are baby sounds. When babies are learning to talk, they make certain sounds. As with so many miraculous things in us amazing humans, these sounds are perfectly designed to exercise the muscles in the right way to enable fluency in any language. Ga ga is the perfect way to exercise the back of the tongue muscles. Mama is the perfect word to repeat to get your lips flexible etc. So we have a lot of fun talking to each other in baby talk and I send them away to practice this every day until they get their lips or tongue or jaw flexibility working well for them and the blood supply to their mouths flowing easier.

All in all, I truly believe that in the majority of cases, what has flummoxed science in the past, stopping stammering and stuttering and learning to speak more fluently, is usually something, that given the right attitude and exercises can be changed for the much much happier. 🙂

Laura Spicer

Visit The JustBeWell pages on stopping stammering here – Stop Stuttering

Watch this short video By Laura on YouTube -click here – Help With Stammering

Help For Sexual Problems

Sexual problems can take many forms. Prior to any formal session it’s of course essential to obtain correct and accurate information, so time is used to best effect. It’s also important to check that in this instance there are no medical (physical or medication for example) reasons for the problem in question. This is one of the many reasons why with all clients I request the completion of a set of client notes, so I have proper information about “the problem” from the client’s perspective and what they want from the session. These kinds of problems are quite common and in most cases clients request help when they are real in a state of desperation and in many cases don’t actually believe that they can change how they think and feel.

I have dealt with a range of “sexual” problems which can include a huge range of different problem behaviours from addictive behavioural patterns, ED, vaginismus, anxiety issues and almost paralysing shyness, and a host of other problems. Many clients are surprised by how easily they can relax in a session and are hugely relieved that their problems are far from unique!

My approach to these issues uses a wide range of tools including Hypnotherapy, NLP and Provocative Therapy (as taught by Frank Farrelly). As mentioned elsewhere on this site, my focus is to seek out “how” they are creating the problem rather than an analysis of “why” they are experiencing the problem. Often the client realises that logically their emotional response makes no sense, but their feeling response tells them that they currently have a problem in this area.

There have been many memorable highly successful results over the years including working with a guy who was literally terrified of women (the more attractive they were, the more terrified he was!) who then discovered an absolute ease in his female interactions, once he began to think, feel and respond differently. Every client is unique, but in this instance this outcome was also achieved in just two one hour client sessions. He now is in a successful and happy relationship and his confidence in every other area of life has also benefited immensely.

Erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation can be often be resolved by changing a person’s internal self-talk which frequently contributes to creating the state of anxiety that then facilitates the behavioural problem. Many clients experience useful changes in a very brief amount of time.

“I noticed a total change of my mental state and beliefs from the session with Nick. This was a real reality check where I finally realised that the belief system I used to have was complete nonsense!”
Robin (Treated for ED problem)

Nick Kemp

The JustBeWell Sexual Problems index page is here – Sexual Problems

Overcoming Jealousy with NLP: The Missing Peace

There are a number of ways that jealousy can affect our lives.  The most serious of them being how we relate to romantic relationships.  If we could raise an issue for each time we had a misgiving about another person’s behaviour towards our relationship loyalty status, we would never see the end of it. Trusting a person totally to be loyal and faithful is a testimony to your own values and therefore if you are betrayed by another for whatever reason, you will feel disenchanted and disappointed at their lack of commitment.

Jealousy is a learned response

The jealous person has learned how to mistrust another by not feeling confident in their ability to commit fully to the relationship. Therefore their understanding of what the relationship has to offer will be relatively shaky compared to a person who is fully confident their relationship is solid. So what constitutes betrayal and how can we deal with the issues that arise as a result of that happening?

A betrayal is something that happens when two people decide to enter into a contract and unite for a specific purpose.  In the case of romantic relationships it is the union of two hearts that will share a common value of love.  Once a decision to unite has been made, they gather the resources required in order to focus on the commitment they have set out to engage in. Sometimes this represents a long-term commitment and other times it means that the other person is willing to make sacrifices as long as it can be usefully maintained.  Either way, the two are now representing a unit that will function as a couple and all that, that entails. In a word, they have reached an ‘understanding’.

Further to the acquisition of getting an agreement, either spoken as in a marriage ceremony or non-verbally, they forge a pathway that defines their relationship as one of committed equals for all intents and purposes of being in that relationship until something happens that challenges the status  and context of the agreement.

The ‘Ex’ Factor

In many relationships which can often be the result of a previous relationship breakdown, the ex-partners of the couple may still feel a connection through being left for another person. In this case, feelings of jealousy come from knowing they [ex -partnered] are no longer number one in that person’s [ex’s] life.  But if the ex – partner were to maintain contact with their ex-partner, the new partner may become jealous by knowing they [former relationship unit] had a past together and could feel left out and undermined by the history they shared particularly if the previous relationship yielded children. So depending on the dynamics of the relationship, it will either survive or be destroyed by the feelings of jealousy experienced in either of the two situations. So how do we deal with feelings of jealousy when the other person has done the dirty and challenged our status as a solid unit?

It’s Not Complicated

As an On-line NLP treatment specialist, I am in a fantastic position to be able to help those suffering from this debilitating condition in a way that least maximises the chances of getting found out they are seeking help in the first place.  This has many advantages in that it can prevent the condition from getting to the point of being destructive and can help the person suffering from the condition to be more in control of their emotions.  Not only do they not need to travel away from the home, they can also feel comforted that help is at hand with just a touch of a button. It is often in these moments when jealousy strikes that having the ability to tap into your ‘therapist’ at a reasonable moments notice is a godsend, due to the episode being as raw and as freshly experienced as perhaps just an hour ago.  The clearer the person is about how their experience of jealousy is affecting them, the better the outcome in the long-run.

Case Study Scenario and General Structured Intervention Sequence

My client was suffering from intense feelings of jealousy which she believed her partner was giving her cause to experience. Female visitors to the house who were colleagues and/or associates of her husband, were blatantly flirting even to the point of being allowed sit on his knee.  My client wanted to feel in control of her emotions as she was afraid of what she might do if she didn’t get help soon. In order to assess the situation and ensure that the right path of action was taken for the safety and happiness of all concerned the following steps provided a structure of coaching her to a place that was more beneficial.

1. Gather background information to establish the context in which the feelings of jealousy get triggered.

2. Establish what evidence she believed validated her feelings of jealousy by eliciting sensory based information.

3. Confirm and agree the desired direction and on-going commitment to the existing relationship.

4. Ecologically design and install a strategy that aligns with her outcome objectives.

5. Test via hypothetical and (later follow up) real life responses as to how she is progressing with newly developed skills, abilities and awareness.

Obviously this was a very emotional situation whereby she would explode with the desire to lash out at the visiting ladies who were flirting and not being discouraged to stop by her husband. So in order to help her respond more usefully, I used a technique taught to me by Eric Robbie, to enable her to stop the emotional chatter, change her point focus from head to her heart and produce a different response in-line with her commitment intentions.  She was an extremely intelligent person, so I did not need to teach her how to suck eggs.  All she needed was the missing piece that enabled her to function more usefully in a relationship she had fully committed to, without jeopardising her status as a couple. In just two sessions, she now had a way to focus on her thoughts, train her mind to stop the chatter and gain the missing peace of mind that comes from knowing that she had now taken back control of her emotions, her marriage and, more importantly, her life.


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

To read the jealousy page on the main site please click here – Stop Being Jealous

How to overcome fear of needles

Many years ago when I was doing my Paramedic training I discovered how people created their fear of needles and I’m going to explain how you too can also overcome your fear of needles. Even back then before I had learnt about how NLP and hypnosis can help you feel calmer about needles and injections I got interested in the differences between the people that were anxious and the people that feel calmer.

I was fascinated by learning as much as possible and one of the things that I noticed was how a surprising large number of people would unnecessarily put themselves through stress and suffering before anything had actually started. Now I am not talking about people who were already in pain, this was with people who were about to have an injection or some other straight forward simple procedure. Now as a child, like most children, I didn’t like injections either and obviously they’re not something that your supposed to like and in fact liking them would be stranger than not liking them. However there is a big difference between being scared of needles and feeling ok about them and many people are able to feel calm about having an injection. And so the curiosity started about how people can feel calmer about needles.

In many cases the pain associated with the thought of having injection isn’t actually caused by the needle as so many people with fear of needles have understandably but mistakenly thought. In reality most of it is caused by the tension, stress and fear that they have induced in themselves. Think about it, many people have experienced the fear of the pain in their mind before even getting to the doctors! And in over 90% of cases their amplified expectations of the fear are far worse than the actual reality of what it would be like having an injection while feeling calmer. Now I know some people may find that hard to imagine at the moment, but probably part of the reason why they are afraid is because every time they thought about needles it was framed around the notion of them being afraid.

The thing that was glaringly obvious was that not only do these two groups of people feel differently during the injection they also have a different experience in regards to the whole lead up to the injection and also afterwards. I starting thinking about how I can help the people who are scared & anxious to feel more relaxed and calmer just like the people who are able to take injections in their stride. I asked myself the question “As the doctors are teaching me the skills I need to be a Paramedic what skills does the patient need to have in order to to help them feel calmer both before and during an injection?”

I started asking people questions and listened very carefully not only to their answers, I also noticed what they didn’t say. In fact the majority of people that feel calmer and relaxed didn’t talk about it scary terms at all, it was as though the thought of being scared didn’t even occur to them! I then started paying very close attention to what they were doing in terms of whether their attention was focused externally on what was going on around them or internally with them lost in their own thoughts. And you know what, not only did it become obvious, the answer is also simple. But then when you stop and think about it that’s usually the case isn’t it because the most effective and best solutions are more often than not also the simplest! So I got the people who were scared by needles to adopt the same approach as the people who feel more relaxed and amazingly with a small amount of effort most of them were also able to put their fear of needles into perspective and feel significantly calmer. Here’s the outline of what I got them to do

Step 1. 

First just notice, when does your fear start? For large majority of people the fear starts before the injection / blood test has begun. Now at first this may sound strange but hear me out. The fact that the fear starts before the injection is a good sign because it actually means that its not the injection that was scaring you. It’s your expectations of what’s going to happen that was scaring you. And because of this you can regain control over how you feel.

Step 2. 

Pay attention to how you are thinking about what you imagine is going to happen. We all have thoughts constantly through out the day but have you ever taken the time to notice how you think about things? Are you picturing what you imagine is going to happen? If it is a picture are you watching yourself there or seeing what you’d see through your own eyes in the experience? Are you thinking through the experience in terms of how you imagine it’s going to feel? Are your thoughts telling yourself that it’s going to be painful or that you are going to respond in a certain way?

Step 3.

If you were looking at an image the first thing to do is to disassociate with it, or in other words step out of the movie. So instead of being in the experience you are watching a movie of yourself in that experience. Put a boarder or a frame around the image so you make it clear to your mind that you are watching a movie or what’s happening. Now inside your minds eye, shrink the movie down in size and push it further away from you so the movie and it’s contents look smaller and more distant. Drain a lot of the detail out of the movie and make the images look more and more faded as you look at it. As the detail drains out of the movie so your just left with a vague outline of what was there notice what has also happened to the feelings that were associated with the movie? Have they reduced and faded with the movie or just stopped?

Step 4.

If your thoughts (internal dialogue) were telling you that your going to be scared did you ever take the time to notice whether they sounded calmer and relaxed, anxious or scared. Almost invariably people who feel afraid have an anxious or scared sounding internal dialogue running inside their minds. Well if it is running inside your head that means you can have control over what you think to yourself and what it sounds like. How different would you feel if  your internal dialogue either had a ridiculous sounding tonality like Mickey Mouse or sounded really slow and very calm? Try it out and find out for yourself.

Step 5.

It’s not enough to just reduce the old feelings of anxiety, your brain has to be given something more useful to focus on. You could of course start by picturing yourself in your minds eye looking calmer and more relaxed about the idea of having an injection. However I want you go out further into the future and picture yourself looking back with hindsight at the fear of needles you had in past. Have you ever wondered what it is going to feel like once you have gotten to this point in time looking back at that old fear you had in the past?

So when you think about the last time you felt scared at the thought of having an injection were you running scary scenarios inside your minds eye or becoming rigid with fear because of how you imagined it was going to be? For many people the fear was because of how you thought you were going to react in that situation. How would things be different if you knew you’re going to feel calmer?

Although these simple things do work for a large number of people of course there are some people where I have to do things differently to help them feel calmer and more relaxed. So the question to ask yourself is not whether you can feel calmer and relaxed about needles but how do you need to think about it to feel calmer and more relaxed.

Paul Wright

The page on needle phobia on the main site is here – Phobia Of Needles

Pain Relief Hypnosis – Further Thoughts

Hypnosis For Pain Relief – Further Observations

Following my recent post I thought it would be useful to talk a little more broadly about this subject. Even though I made that last post as brief as I felt I could it was still quite long, and there is so much more that can to be said on this subject.

Read previous post here – Hypnosis For Pain Relief

Firstly, there are many different reasons someone might be in pain. They may have pulled a muscle slightly, they may have had a physical injury to the surface of their body. They may have a serious illness, etc.

So, it is important to use hypnosis/NLP style pain relief techniques in context. It isn’t going to be useful to help someone not feel pain in their sprained calf muscle if they end up using it vigorously and causing more damage, for example. Similarly, I don’t see people for migraines unless they have been thoroughly medically checked out, in case it isn’t a migraine but something else that needs urgent medical attention…

Also, some pain seems to be ‘referred’. For example I’ve met several people who have a pain in their body that, basically, originated elsewhere. Head and neck problems can be caused by physical problems further down the body so it’s good to rule out these sorts of factors where possible.

As an example of this, a few years ago I suffered from tendonitis in my left arm/wrist/hand. The doctor (bless her), winced when she saw the livid red line down the inside of my arm. ‘That must be very painful,’ she said.

It didn’t stop there.

‘I’m going to give you a course of anti-inflammatory drugs,’ she continued, ‘they probably won’t work but it’s worth a try. At the end of the course you will probably need a cortisone injection directly into the tendon.’ She winced at this point, adding, ‘that really really hurts, I had to have it done myself’.

Very encouraging…

So, in my mind I told myself to cancel all the terrible suggestions, and I carried on with life. I wore a brace on my arm and wrist and it didn’t bother me at all. I took the drugs and just lived life as usual. However a few weeks later I was beginning to notice that my arm wasn’t getting any better, and I began to have a larger and larger vision of the big injection, and I said to myself, ‘you had better get this sorted’.

In NLP we call this style of motivation… ‘moving away from’

A friend of mine, John Forster, (now retired) was a specialist in muscle therapy, a little known therapy that never really took off because, as far as I could see, it was too effective. Every single person I referred to him got better, pretty much immediately. I wasn’t sure he could help with tendonitis but I called him anyway.

He was confident.

So the next day I’m sitting in his treatment room with my sleeve rolled up and he is looking at my arm and smiling.

‘Where do you think the problem is,’ he says.

Now as my tendon is inflamed to the point where it looks like someone has made a big heavy line down my arm in red felt pen, this seems a bit of a weird question. So I point at it and raise my eyebrows.

‘No’, he says, ‘it’s not there’. And he takes the weight of my arm in one hand and leans forward, pressing his large thumb just above my left collarbone.

‘It’s here.’

And immediately my whole arm is was filled with a big buzzing feeling. Not uncomfortable, just weird. A couple of minutes later he is pressing another point near the collar bone and the buzzing sensation continues. After about 15 minutes of this he stands back and says, ‘it is done, the healing is complete’.

‘Thanks’ I say, uncertainly. He then spends ten minutes or so rubbing his hand firmly up the muscles in my arm but that is pretty much that and I thank him and go home.

The next morning I wake up and I have absolutely no trace of tendonitis at all. No red line, just a comfortable arm and wrist. And I haven’t suffered in the slightest since.

John’s explanation was as follows…

‘Very often the pain that manifests in one part of the body is referred from somewhere else in the body. So if you see someone with a headache, ask them how their feet, legs, back are. In many cases you will find that something is out of alignment somewhere else. In my case what John did was release the tension at the top of the tendony bits (OK my anatomy knowledge isn’t that great…). I didn’t have any pain there, but the cure came from there.

Strange, huh?

So the point is, some pain can be more rapidly and effectively dealt with physiologically, and really should be.

Now John has retired I typically suggest to people that they do some simple Chi Gung exercises, or learn Alexander technique, or maybe see a chiropractor. Most people can’t be bothered to learn yoga, which is a shame, as it really can help on many levels.

Yes, we can help reduce or even eliminate pain with hypnosis and NLP. Yes, we can give a host of other suggestions to help the person to heal on every level and come more into balance as a whole being. Yes, we can help get them to visualise being fit, vibrant, flexible and radiant super-beings. Yes we can often help them feel more comfortable, more confident and more motivated. And most people in this field will have a number of stories about how they seemingly fixed someone’s chronic pain in a short time…..


If the client’s chronic headaches are actually being caused by a dodgy bed causing tension in their lower back that makes them unconsciously adjust their posture in such a way as causes the headaches…

As practitioners/therapists/coaches/trainers, we owe a duty of care to our clients to be as holistic as possible, to explore every avenue for healing. And as individuals, we owe a duty of care to do the same for ourselves.

And I haven’t even touched on other causal factors, diet, lifestyle, drug abuse etc, but they will have to wait for another post…

Steve Tromans

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

Third article here – Keeping The Change
JustBeWell page on Pain Control

Please do feel free to post observations, comments and questions

Hypnosis For Pain Relief

Well it’s a slightly misleading title as you don’t have to be a hypnotherapist to do this with others, or yourself, though the process itself is fairly hypnotic. I first came across a variant of this technique what seems like about three thousand years ago, when I started ‘doing’ NLP. I had joined a friend of mine who had stepped outside from the training room because he had, in his words, ‘a pretty bad migraine’.

It was then that one of the trainers, Michael Breen, happened by. Upon hearing of my friend’s headache Michael proceeded to do a variation of what follows and to my (and my friend’s) amazement, within a few minutes the pain had gone. And it stayed gone. I have used variants of this with severe chronic pain relief, phantom limb pain relief, cluster migraine relief etc etc, to great success through the years. As I say, although I’ve titled this blog ‘hypnosis for pain relief’, anyone can learn the following technique. If you were doing this on yourself, you would obviously have to read it through first as its an eyes closed thing…

Get Medical Advice
Now before I take you through this ‘hypnosis’ pain relief technique I really should point out that if you or someone you know is in pain, especially chronic pain, then for goodness sake do seek medical advice. That’s obvious to you, I expect, but it’s worth mentioning nevertheless…

The Pain Relief Technique
OK, this is basically a visualization disassociation thing. And the first thing to say is to do it slowly, very slowly and gently and patiently. For the purposes of teaching this to you I am going to pretend that you are the one who needs pain relief and that you are indoors. So if you are lucky enough to be reading this whilst sunbathing in the tropics then you will have to use your imagination…

Step One
Sit with your back supported and your feet on the floor. If you are laying down then get into as comfortable position as you can. Calibrate. Decide for yourself, one a scale of 1 to 100, with one being total comfort, and 100 being excruciating agony, what number you would ascribe to the pain, hereafter referred to as the ‘feeling’.

Step Two
Look at the room you are in, and look as if you are looking for the first time. See the contents of the room, the colours, the shapes, where the light is coming from, where the shadows are. Look at what you are wearing. Look around you and see what is behind you. Now close your eyes and see the room with your eyes closed in your imagination. In other words, remember what you were just looking at. Do this for, say, 10 seconds or so and then open your eyes and look at the room again. Now see what you weren’t seeing just now, add detail so that when you close your eyes again your picture, or memory, will be more complete. I repeat, do this slowly. Now close your eyes again and see the room with the additional detail added in. After 10 seconds (or whetever time seems right) open your eyes and repeat the process. Repeat this a few times until you have a pretty good idea of what the room looks like, sitting there with your eyes gently closed.

Step Three
Keeping your eyes closed float out, in your mind’s eye, so that you are pretending you are looking at the front of your body, from about 10 feet away. There may well be an intervening wall and/or furniture in the way so simply use your imagination and pretend you can see through any intervening objects. See what you would see from this perspective, how your face looks with your eyes closed, what is behind you, what is to the left and what is to the right. Perhaps remember tiny details, such as what is in a picture on the wall, or how the light may be reflecting of objects in the room etc. Remain looking at yourself from this perspective for 30 seconds or so (or whatever feels comfortable).

Step Four
Now float clockwise, gently, until you are looking at yourself from 10 feet away from the right. From this position see the right hand side of your head, the right hand side of your body. Remember what would now be behind the seated image of you, in your mind. Remember, once again, where the light is coming from, where the shadows are. Once again, do this for 30 seconds or so (or whatever seems comfortable).

Steps Four, Five and Six
Repeat the above, seeing yourself in your imagination, from 10 feet behind you, then then 10 feet from the left and then ten feet from the front again.

Steps Seven to Eleven
Now glide further away, so that you are 50 feet away, in your mind, looking at the front of you, sitting there in the chair. Everything is smaller now, all the details are smaller, your face is smaller, your body is smaller. Do this for 30 seconds(ish) again. Then drift away, and repeat the process in your minds eye, and see yourself from 50 feet to the right, then 50 feet behind, then fifty feet from the left, then fifty feet from the front again.

Step Twelve
Now glide, in your imagination, 50 feet straight up above yourself and look down. Look through the ceiling and the roof and/or other floors and see the top of your head, and the furniture, and the light and the shade. Spend 30 seconds or so looking down at the smaller you in the smaller room.

Step Thirteen And now drift up, in your imagination, higher and higher above the building. Imagine what else you may be able to see from up there, the rooftops, the buildings, the plants, the landscape. Keep floating up and up and up, gently. If the sky isn’t cloudless, pretend it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s night or day. Keep drifting up until miles of land becomes visible in all directions, and keep going. The tiny you in the tiny room is still down there, but will become too far away, in your mind, to see. Keep floating smoothly up until you begin to be aware of the curve of the earth. Drift higher and higher seeing more and more of the planet and being aware of more and more space. Then the planet itself, a blue, green and white ball, dwindles into the distance and you are drifting in deep peaceful space, surrounded by thousands and thousands of shining stars….

Pain Relief Hypnosis that works
Slowly open your eyes and ask yourself, ‘what number is the feeling now’. If you have done this really slowly and gently with yourself, or with a friend or a client, you or they will probably be pretty spaced out by now, in more ways than one. I find that the ‘feeling’ well almost invariably have either reduced significantly, or be gone entirely. Sometimes you may need to repeat the process. If you are doing this by yourself it’s going to take a bit of practice. It’s easier to begin with to have someone talk you through it. If you are the person talking someone through it then make sure you are as relaxed as you can be before you begin. Although I’ve described this technique as pain relief hypnosis, like I say, anyone can learn it.

If you have any questions about this then please feel free to ask. If you are a therapist then please do feel free to add your comments, tips, observations etc..

Steve Tromans
Visit the page on JustBeWell here – Pain Control
See a follow up article here – Pain Relief Hypnosis
Read a further article here – Keeping The Change

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


PS here is a skype interview where I talk through this technique, apolgiies for the scary face….. To watch this directly on Youtube click here – Hypnosis For Pain Relief

Blushing problems and how to stop going red

When I teach workshops around the world I always ask the group about what they think the most common client problem is that I encounter. I get the usual replies including, phobias, anxiety, compulsions and food related issues. Nobody has ever suggested blushing and yet it’s one of the most common problems to see clients for in my Leeds and Manchester clinics. Many clients who experience this problem have already tried other approaches or had the problem for some time. In most cases the attempted solution has been to analyze why they have the problem which in my opinion is the wrong question. The key question is “How are they creating the problem?” I must of in recent years seen over 100 clients for this specific problem and in all cases the process has been almost exactly the same with each client.

It’s important to differentiate between a natural state of blushing from feeling self-conscious and the type of blushing that occurs when a person runs very helpful internal suggestions that create the problem state. Blushing requires the ability to feel unhelpfully self-conscious and this can only be done in a few ways. By far the most common way to trigger this is for a person to make the following kind of unhelpful anticipatory suggestions

“Don’t go red!”
“Don’t think about going red
“People are seeing me going red
“I’m gonna go red!

These unhelpful suggestions are made in a fast and anxious voice which then creates the unhelpful feeling which triggers the overall blushing response. I have developed a number of excellent approaches which essentially defuse the emotionally charged suggestions so the client then has real control over how to think and feel different. The good news is that most people can have this resolved in just a couple of sessions. The secret of resolving this is not to analyze what tends to typically occur but rather to create new possibilities of thinking and feeling different. The age range for blushing clients can be from 16 – 60 in my experience and in all cases the type of people who have this issue are very good at anticipating and planning. They often work in jobs that require them to use such skills, but this anticipatory type thinking is being used in a manner that is not useful. Once the client learns how to disengage from the problematic way of thinking, then the feeling state changes and the previous blushing experiences doesn’t occur.

Dealing with Binge Drinking and Binge Eating problems

In my JBW Leeds and Manchester clinics I regularly see clients who have issue with binge drinking and binge eating. On the surface these can be seen as very different issues, but in my experience there are lots of similar patterns and often the approaches that work best with all binge type problems are identical.
When clients make contact at that exact point in time they have realised that they really need to change this problem behaviour. It may be that they reached a low point or in many cases their relationships in either personal or professional life have been so affected that they have to now find a solution. Often clients with binge issues have developed an “all or nothing” way of thinking and feeling. It’s a bit like a car that only has first or sixth gear as choices and nothing in between. I had one client who had binge eating problems who if she had what she called “a good day” would eat healthily and at a sensible pace. If she had what she called “a bad day” she would go to the local supermarket, fill up her basket with donuts and similar foods and then proceed to binge until she felt better. She had had all kinds of different therapy, kept food diaries and analyzed her situation at some length. None of these approaches had worked to date as many involved her thinking increasingly about food! Part of my role was to assist her in finding out how to create some better choices in what she ate and when she ate. To date all my clients who have had binge eating and binge drinking issues have been types that are highly mentally active and who in most cases use these skills with great success in some areas of life. The difficulty they have is that in relation to food or drink they can’t find any sort of braking system, so everything in terms of how they eat or drink is going far too fast. They literally have adopted this “all or nothing” behaviour and no amount of thinking has any useful affect. It’s like the whole world is now seen through this particular lens.
One of the keys in resolving this is to learn how to start to think and feel differently so the feeling of having to eat or drink in this way simply doesn’t occur in the same way. It’s also important to identify externally typical factors that collude to encourage the problem. One binge eating client found that he constantly bought chocolate bars when he filled up his car with petrol. He only ever added ten pounds worth of fuel each day and each time he also purchased a number of chocolate bars which he then ate once he drove off the forecourt. He was actually not even aware that he did this each day as it had become a pattern of behaviour he just did. Similarly binge drinkers tend to have specific times and places where they adopt this behaviour. Nobody when they first open their eyes on being born into this world thinks to themselves or blurts out loud “Mine’s a pint of Tetley’s” or “I’ll have five of those jam donuts” These behaviours are “learned behaviours” Just as any of us can learn unhelpful habits we too can learn with the right tools to think and feel differently. The key is to change the thinking process which then changing the feeling process and the overall behaviour. Even longstanding issues can usually be greatly helped in a relatively short period of time.

Nick Kemp