About preparing for your first hypnotherapy session

About preparing for your first hypnotherapy session

Preparing for your first hypnotherapy session is an exciting opportunity towards beneficial change.   For many people, their presenting symptoms may have been long term and sometimes a new event has served as the catalyst for change (for example, new career, partner, marriage).  It is your own motivation and desire that plays an important part in enabling the success of the hypnotherapeutic suggestion process.

Most practitioners offer prospective clients a free consultation session to determine suitability for hypnotherapy and also to help to prepare a new client with an understanding of what they can expect from the process.  In preparing for their first hypnotherapy session, I offer my prospective clients 20 minutes in which they can discuss their symptoms and related history and importantly, the desired beneficial outcome.   The practitioner may then indicate to the client a procedural plan which will become more defined after the initial session.  For example, two sessions of suggestion therapy will often be sufficient for habit cessation, however, where a habit is linked to other issues or past traumatic events, hypnotherapy may take longer.

The object is for the client to gain the most from the first hypnotherapy session and subsequent appointments. During my many years in practice I have been asked a variety of questions and here are a few brief points to consider further of which are often contained in a pre-consultation letter.

  1. Prepare brief details about your symptoms and any related events.
  2. Bring any GP or Consultant’s letter of referral containing clinical details.
  3. Full disclosure will be necessary for certain clinical conditions – ask your hypnotherapist.
  4. Eat something suitable prior to your session to prevent being distracted by hunger pangs.
  5. Avoid caffeine during the hours prior to your session to avoid hyperactivity.
  6. Location – allow time to familiarise yourself with the clinic’s location you are travelling to.
  7. Parking – unless parking is offered on-site, request details of local parking space.
  8. Payment facilities – ask the therapist before your appointment. Most offer paypal facility online or the use of electronic banking transfer.
  9. Cancellation policy – be aware of the therapist’s cancellation policy agreement so that goodwill is maintained. Many therapists make no charges for illness or unforeseen events.
  10. Your participation – the importance that you fully participate in the therapeutic process.
  11. Choose a time for your appointment that suits your body clock and allows you to relax.

When you arrive for hypnotherapy with me,  a simple contract letter will be undertaken. This contains your details, the therapist’s details, any medical disclosure notes/current medication, past therapy undertaken, and importantly what you are attending for (ie. smoking cessation, weight management, stress management)  and what you hope to achieve.  This protects both you and the therapist.

Enjoy your hypnotherapy.  Remember – The object is your desired beneficial change.

 

 

 

Easing the Menopause Transition

Easing the Menopause Transition

Let’s Ease the Menopause Transition!

For many women, the menopause marks that time in our lives when we can positively reflect on what we want for ourselves and make small changes to ease and to optimise that transition. Many women find themselves becoming empty nesters with time to make suitable changes in career or lifestyle.  Menopause brings the space to reflect towards new possibilities. This can be an inspiring thing!

When I’m training groups or engaged in 1-1 private sessions, I always begin by explaining the natural chemical changes that occur from the start of the perimenopausal stage and therefore the natural feelings that will accompany these changes. Perimenopause can bring hormonal changes that happen several years before the start of menopause, that can have an effect on the routine and rhythm of our daily lives particularly due to the changes in our oestrogen levels.

Even after the actual menopause, the symptom of hot flashes can continue for several years, along with the anxiety. Many women report to me that they worry about work presentations and meetings with important clients; others worry about not letting friends down socially.  Women also worry about feeling, ‘why am I so tired?’  Much is written about adrenal fatigue and this is where anxiety and stress come in, bringing worry, feeling overwhelmed, and as some of my clients describe it, ‘washed out.’

I have successfully steered my own course through the menopause without the need of any HRT and therefore will happily share my secrets of success with you – along with my in depth training.

My coaching and wellbeing programme for menopause transition includes :

  • An understanding of the natural chemical changes that are occurring
  • Making lifestyle changes to assist your transition (diet, exercise, positive thinking)
  • Positive anxiety and stress management – visualisation, meditations, self-hypnosis
  • Evaluating any emotional changes and unresolved issues to reduce stress
  • Deciding future goals and plans, e.g. career changes, lifestyle changes

It is so important to give space to our ‘inner voice’ to acknowledge the often varied and changing emotions that arise during this time of change. In doing so, we can address any unresolved issues and plan a path that will facilitate changes – and even new goals of what we want to achieve.

Sara Howard, registered Advanced Hypno-psychotherapist (Senior status GHR), Stress Management Consultant (ISMA), Executive Coach (Association for Coaching) and Trainer. Over 20 years experience working with private individuals and companies. Post-grad psychology education; special interest in anxiety/stress related conditions. Registered Clinical Supervisor (GHSC).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you suffering from workplace related stress?

Are you suffering from workplace related stress?

Does unwanted workplace related stress have a negative impact in your life?  If you are reading this then the likely answer is, yes, it does. This article is to help you to recognise what may be happening in your life.

Stress is defined by ISMA UK as, “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed upon them.”

Whilst many companies are aware and vigilant to the signs of stress in their employees and even have procedures in place to help cope with and prevent stress – it has to be said that some companies do not.  A further problem is that many employees deliberately hide the signs of rising anxiety levels due to fears that their stress may be negatively interpreted as an inability to manage their workload. This includes hiding the truth from loved ones and friends.

You may already know someone suffering stress. The Health & Safety Executive’s 2016 Statistics conclude that work related stress accounts for 37% of work related ill health and 45% of days lost in the period of 2015/16.

Some of the main issues people report regarding workplace stress include: –

  • The perceived pressures linked to workload, deadlines and expectations
  • A belief in insufficient support from line management and colleagues
  • Fears of change, pending mergers and acquisitions and new leadership styles
  • Conflicts between personal beliefs and corporate culture demands

The physical symptoms of stress may vary from person to person (and are discussed in my earlier article); they can include – raised heart rate, palpitations, perspiration, feeling a rush of adrenaline, irritability with colleagues, poor sleep patterns and tiredness, stomach h upsets headaches and migraines.

When excessive pressure goes ignored or unnoticed over an extended period it can have a serious impact on a person’s health and wellbeing. For some it can lead to depression and more serious physical conditions.  Stress can also affect us psychologically and in our changing behaviours.  The behavioural aspects that increase pressure include lack of assertiveness,  procrastination and absolutism – perhaps these sound familiar?

The anxiety of constant worry about past or future events can lead to unwanted habits and addictions, sometimes in a misguided belief that they help us to cope, for example, the use of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, chocolate etc.  Some people engage (often unconsciously)  in habits such as nail biting, skin picking, mouth chewing, teeth grinding, hair pulling without realising the link to their anxiety levels.

In managing your workplace stress – A stress audit will help you to develop a plan to enable you  to recognise and identify problems and to make suitable behavioural changes to help you regain a sense of control in your daily routine.  It is also about how we believe we interface with ‘our world’  the ideal of course being in a satisfactory and productive way in which we are supported and can complete our tasks and achieve our goals… and find time for the importance of  work/life balance.  

Effective stress management increases our self belief in our ability to cope and to develop ‘resilience.’ In simple language, resilience can best be achieved and built on sound foundations, when we have recognised and moderated our emotional self demands to a new understanding in harmony with our values and a position of control.

 

Sara Howard has designed and delivered large scale training programmes in stress management and resilience to leading multinational companies.  She also works with private individuals as an executive and lifestyle coach and hypno-psychotherapist.

Sara is available to see private clients in Highgate London, Wheatley Oxford, Kings Langley Herts. and Aston Clinton Bucks.

Please call to discuss how she may help you with your stress management plan.  Tel – 07827 505389.

 

Building Emotional Resilience

Building Emotional Resilience

Emotional resilience means having the ability to manage pressure and to recover quickly and effectively from setbacks. This article explains how you can learn the tools of resilience and improve your wellbeing.

First – Identify Your Stressors

Most people lead fast hectic lifestyles, with the result that multiple sources of potential stress can occur in the workplace, family and social life. My clients often report their tipping point comes when ‘that something extra occurs’, such as unexpected demands at work or experiencing the emotional changes of a death, divorce, redundancy.  Emotionally resilient people have the tools to manage pressure and therefore do not suffer the negative effects of prolonged stress. Without resilience, a person may find that prolonged bouts of stress can harm confidence and self-esteem and may even lead to worse mental and physical conditions.

Second – Identify Your Beliefs and Behaviours

A person’s belief structure is important. Emotionally resilient people retain a positive outlook on life, and they have a belief in their own ability to return to a normal state of wellbeing.

So, the next time pressure starts to build up and you experience the negative effects, note the changes in your perception. For example, stress can manifest itself in varied forms, through physical, psychological and social dysfunction.  In other words, people with stress may experience symptoms of increased respiration, palpitations, headaches and they may present changed and negative behaviours to other people, suffer self doubt, and even withdraw from social activity.

Third – Just How Balanced is Your Mindset and Lifestyle?

Emotionally resilient people bounce back quickly. Some have good defences against adversity –  they have a history  that has formed a narrative for coping mechanisms; others, have learnt the tools, gained through having a  better understanding of themselves.

In learning the tools, it is very important to set realistic goals in our daily life and not to over face ourselves.  Different personality profiles adopt different behaviours – and behaviours can be modified. People with absolutist mindsets who are unable to compromise increase their own expectations with deadlines and self-pressure.  Whereas, people who seek to please tend to lack assertiveness and take on too much work.  Many people procrastinate endlessly over decisions – and this increases pressure. The result is that when goals are not met, negative behaviours can arise and self belief can become affected.

So, when we have a narrative or the tools to cope, we move in a balanced zone of wellbeing.

Regular exercise and a support network are very important to a balanced life, along with the knowledge that we have other skills and abilities we can be proud of outside the workplace – such as a hobby, and thus creating the idea of ‘work-life balance.’

How to Work Towards Resilience

It is key that we recognise the importance of enabling behaviours

  • Maintain our self belief and feel a sense of control
  • Have motivation during difficult times
  • Set ourselves realistic goals we can achieve
  • Be empathetic and caring towards other people
  • Communicate well and feel good about ourselves
  • Accept our own mistakes as part of our learning framework

If you would like a more in-depth discussion on the subject of Resilience and how you can learn the tools to increase your well-being to enable you to become more effective contact Executive Coach and Hypno-psychotherapist, Sara Howard for a free phone consultation. Tel: 07827 505389 or email sara-howard@sky.com

Improve Sports Performance

Improve Sports Performance

Would you like to improve your focus and concentration?  

Did you know that many successful Sports Personalities have used techniques from both talking therapies and Sports Performance Coaching to help improve their performance. The benefits from coaching, psychology and therapy have been widely documented by people in the world of equestrianism, tennis, golf – to name but a few.  Sporting success requires many elements including focus, concentration, self belief and motivation.

You can improve your concentration and perform at your best. 

I see many people who express concerns about rising levels of anxiety spoiling their focus and concentration and ultimately their physical ability, due to the spiral of tension that anxiety creates.  We all know that loss of concentration spoils our ability to perform at our best.  The object of Neuro Linguistic Programming  (NLP) and visualisation techniques in sports performance is to free up your motivation from negative emotions and restraints and to help you construct an enabling way forward and therefore increase your personal confidence; this way you can perform at you best and develop self belief.

Coaching techniques can help you towards confidence and self belief

Coaching and therapeutic techniques are successful in helping with emotional and psychological problems that may be holding a person back. There are different methods available to help change unwanted strategies and behaviours which are actually disabling us and causing anxiety.  For example, have you ever wished away the old states of anxiety or caution that regular creep back into your thoughts,  such states that may well be linked to past events and that actually really have no bearing whatsoever on your present situation?

When we function in our normal everyday behaviour, we do so without even thinking about it.  So, having asked yourself this question, “am I running old strategies that are disabling me? ” Now ask,” “what would I like to change?”  Start now to make notes and to become more aware of any negative behaviour patterns you could change.

The benefit in controlling unwanted anxiety and emotions to increase your focus

We’ve discussed that first it’s about recognising negative emotions and sometimes we don’t know what’s going wrong.  Remember, you’re not alone!   So now the question is, what would you like to achieve?  Perhaps there’s a sportsperson you admire. Most of us have read various media stories of top athletes who have used therapies or sports psychology and we admire those with the most mental control.  Whilst few of us will reach the Olympics, most of us want the pleasure in setting ourselves certain achievable goals and feeling the pleasure of success.   And success increases our confidence and our sense of well being.

NLP can help you to model successful  behaviour ….NLP  is an  effective constructive tool in helping a person to move away from limiting behaviours and to re-frame an enabling position.  From this enabling position of growth we can use our motivation to set up states of confidence towards achievable goals .  NLP provides the tools to model the selected behaviours of successful people and in so doing you can construct new conscious processes which include re-framing your position by the following: –

  • Recognising and disabling negative states and fears thereby …
  • Enabling yourself to remove mental obstacles to your success
  • Replacing disabling states with new enabling strategies
  • Freeing up your emotions by future pacing your realistic new goals

Tailored  Coaching for Confidence – An experienced coach has the training and the knowledge to use an integrative tool set to achieve maximum success.

Please contact Sara Howard for a free phone consultation to discuss how coaching and therapy may benefit you.

Tel – 07827 505389

About Hypnotherapy for Beneficial Change

About Hypnotherapy for Beneficial Change

Perhaps you’re wondering whether hypnotherapy could bring beneficial change in your life. You may be considering whether to try hypnotherapy to help improve an aspect such as confidence and public speaking or maybe you want to gain control of unwanted stress or old habits like smoking or comfort eating. Are you wondering what to expect from the hypnotherapy experience?  Sometimes people have preconceived ideas such as, “will I fall asleep …will I remember anything … will I lose control”. Let’s demystify the process a little. The object here is both to discuss and to clarify a few points.

First, the object of hypnotherapy is to use suggestion as a means to assist the client towards their desired goal and to a beneficial outcome.  The client doesn’t lose control and is not placed out of their comfort zone or into a state of sleep.  Suggestion is often undertaken during the general course of conversation when a person is fully conscious, or during a more relaxed state of trance when our consciousness is resting and suggestion can be made to our unconscious.

In turning to why people seek hypnotherapy, it is fair to say that when people are presenting with pain or severe levels of anxiety and stress, they are actually more focused towards accepting suggestion; their desire is to reduce unwanted symptoms to enable them to enjoy freedom and gain control over their daily life. Many of my clients present with anxiety symptoms sometimes related to an unwanted habit like smoking or comfort eating. These clients will also learn stress management techniques such as progressive relaxation and mindfulness; such techniques enable them to experience a peaceful relaxed state in the knowledge that they can replicate this daily for themselves. Therefore, the hypnotherapy and coaching process is an enabling one.

Most people enjoy this pleasant natural state of trance relaxation. I find the best way to enable someone is to allow them to watch the process for themselves. I will always demonstrate the techniques – allowing my clients to watch and to feel personally enabled and in a position of choice and control.

Therefore, to recap now, hypnotherapy can be directed from therapist to client during general conversation – through forms of language pattern during an open dialogue exchange. It can also be effective through trance which we’ve just discussed, (facilitated through progressive relaxation and induction). From this calm and peaceful state of being, certain key words may be used like triggers to deepen the relaxation process;  I often use language patterns within a form of pleasant imagery (rather like a walk in a beautiful park or by the sea) with sights, sounds and feel along your journey. During this journey there are various integrated approaches which may be used to benefit the therapeutic process – all of which just seem to the client as part of one enjoyable calm and peaceful journey towards their goal of desired and beneficial change.

I hope you have found this information helpful and if you would like any further information please contact me at www.inspiredforchange.co.uk.  If you would like to engage in hypnotherapy I can offer a free telephone consultation of up to 20 minutes.

Warm regards, Sara

Tel – 07827 505389 or 01296 634921

Consultations – Aston Clinton, Kings Langley and London