Archive | May, 2012

Coping with the Recession using Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy

28 May

It seems quite a while ago that the “Credit Crunch” sent us spiralling into a recession, one which is proving rather stubborn to get out of. For many people recession can contribute to a number of mental health issues, the most common being anxiety and depression, triggered by the worry of uncertainty relating typically to job security and cash flow.

 

Recession can put us under a lot of stress

Recession pressures

Unfortunately just the word ‘recession’ contributes to any financial problems; this is partly due to our own thoughts and feelings. When we hear ‘recession’ we automatically become anxious regarding money. Recession evokes uncertainty in our minds, and though we deal with many uncertainties on a daily basis, such as “is the train going to be on time today?”, we generally don’t react well to long term uncertainty, especially about significant events such as “is my job secure?”, “will I be able to continue to pay the mortgage?”, “am I going to be able to provide for my family?”.  When the level of uncertainty in our lives is increased, we can experience an immediate threat to our well being, which can trigger negative stress responses (such as anxiety, frustration, anger and depression.)

In a recession all these negative stress responses can be seen right across the economy of a country. Those who are self employed become worried that businesses will hold off on employing them for a particular project; businesses are worried about consumers holding back on their spending; and consumers are worried about job security. All that negativity results in consumers holding onto their money, spending less, businesses revenue decreasing and therefore not employing other businesses / contractors to carry out work or projects for them. So all of the fears have become true, largely because of what people are thinking.

 

Breaking the cycle

Our state of mind dictates how we feel, so modifying our very own state of mind has massive impacts on how we actually feel about any challenges we may face.  Epictitus, stoic philosopher, neatly summarises this principle of emotional responsibility by saying “People are not disturbed by events but by the view they hold about them”. This is a poignant observation when applied to our state of mind about recession at both a micro and macro-economic level.

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy provides us with many skills and techniques that equip us to change our state of mind and ultimately how we feel, so we can handle any recession worries, and continue to move forward in our lives. If we let ourselves think the world will end because we may potentially lose our job, then we will be in a state of anxiety about our jobs. If though, we remember that the world is still turning, that supermarkets are still stocking food and the sun will rise tomorrow, then we are able to feel concerned rather than anxious or panicked about potential adversities.  Being in a state of concern helps us deal with these issues and move on but being in a state of anxiety leaves you stuck.

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy

In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH), we say that unhealthy beliefs are at the heart of our emotional problems and behavioural thinking problems. They simply don’t help us achieve our aims and goals, rather they leave us vulnerable to self sabotage, become irrationally angry, depressed and block us from actually finding solutions to our problems. 

An example is you may believe “I absolutely should not have been made redundant. I have been though, and it’s now the end of the world. It’s unbearable and proves I’m useless”. This type of belief is common with people suffering with depression following redundancy. In this state of mind, it becomes very difficult to think clearly or to think of possible solutions, it is even more difficult to actually motivate one’ self.

With Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy you have access to tools to that help you change that depressive and negative mindset. Using our redundancy example, think about this alternative: “I really would have loved not to be made redundant, but I have, and I accept that I have. This isn’t the end of the world though, I’m still alive and my worth does not depend on whether I am employed there or not”. This type of belief enables you to feel emotionally sad, but enables you to move on, think of a solution and motivate yourself to move forward.

People who suffer with depression as a result of financial worries can seek counselling to help them. Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) counselling builds on the proven techniques of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and teaches how to change the way we think, to move from a negative belief system and mindset, to a more positive one, enabling us to think clearly, address our problems and overcome depression and stop it from re-occurring.

If you are interested in learning CBH to help with counselling, then visit www.ccbh.org.uk

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy and Addictions

23 May

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) can be used for a wide range of everyday problems, ranging from anxiety to depression, self esteem issues and procrastination. It can even be used to help individuals deal with all sorts of addictions, including smoking, gambling and drinking.

Addiction

Controlling your mind will help beat addiction.

Using hypnotherapy to deal with addictions is quite common. In a recent article, Indian police hired a hypnotherapist to help many of their police officers from addictions to drinking alcohol and smoking.

Why do we become addicted?

There are many reasons why people become addicted to something, some of us have personalities that are naturally more open to becoming addicted than others. Remember that addiction doesn’t always manifest itself in the form of things we typically see as bad for us. There are many cases of people becoming addicted to keeping fit, or going to the gym for example. Some are addicted to TV or their XBOX’s, not the first things that pop to mind when we think or talk about addiction.

Typical reasons behind addiction though relate to a form of escapism from life, triggered by typical factors such as stress, anxiety or depression. In the case of the Indian Police, many of the officers struggling with addictions stated they felt their addiction was linked to stress, working long hours and depression.

Combating addiction

Addiction is a powerful thing, and so it takes some time to break the addiction ccycle. Often when we picture people dealing with addiction we think of circles of people talking through their problems, looking for support from others. Talking therapies are very powerful, especially when delivered in a structured format, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and with the added benefit of Hypnosis (Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy – CBH).  Both CBT and CBH are about a change in thinking and a change in behaviour.

CBH provides individuals with the tools that will help them break their addictive cycles and maintain a healthy life style.   For any therapist / counsellor, CBH is a powerful addition to any talking therapy.  For therapists wishing to learn these skills, there are a number of courses available from the College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy, ranging from a foundation course in counselling, hypnosis and rapport skills, to advanced diploma courses. For individuals wishing to learn some of the skills CBH teaches, there are a number of Master Classes also available, each one focused on a particular skill, such as treating addiction, panic disorder, self esteem problems and more.

When it comes to combating addiction, CBH can be a valuable tool to your toolkit.

Why is Counselling helpful to Hypnosis?

18 May

At the College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy we believe that teaching counselling skills are an important component of becoming a proficient hypnotherapist; we also believe the combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Hypnosis is a potent one. All psychotherapy is based in good counselling skills so CBT employs counselling skills as does the psychoanalytical/dynamic schools of psychotherapy. So it is fair to say that basic counselling skills are an integral part of all “talking therapies” including hypnotherapy.

Counselling and Hypnotherapy

Counselling is helpful to hypnosis

It could be said that Hypnotherapy, is a special case. Most effective hypnosis is based on well- developed levels of rapport.  It is unlikely that effective altered state of consciousness or relaxation will occur if you are in the least bit anxious; most hypnosis, but not all, asks clients to have their eyes closed and relax, often on a first appointment!  Without rapport what is the likelihood of this happening, how many of us feel comfortable enough to close our eyes and zizz off for a few moments unless we are amongst close friends or family?

Milton Erickson, a leading figure in the world of hypnosis is stated as saying 90% of all hypnosis is rapport. So I think we can safely say rapport is pretty fundamental to gaining a state of hypnosis.  Maintaining rapport throughout a therapy session is essential for effective therapy.  So what is rapport?

Rapport is the mainstay of therapy and is a relationship which has mutual trust and emotional affinity at its core.  Rapport is a fundamental counselling skill that has specific components that can be clearly identified and learnt, practised and refined. To gain rapport, two important components are Attention and Active Listening.

Giving and showing attention to clients can be carried out in a number of ways.  Counsellors communicate to clients and show their empathy and compassion by choosing their words, voices and body language.  Listening Actively is an activity. It is NOT, Non listening, Partial listening, or Tape-recorder listening

It is, in the words of Carl Rogers (1980)

“entering into the private perceptual world of the other and become thoroughly at home in it. It involves being sensitive, moment by moment to the changing felt meanings which flow in this other person, to the fear or rage or tenderness or confusion or whatever he or she is experiencing. It means temporarily living in the other’s life”.

When we actively listen we can Hear what is being said, as well as the music behind the words. This skill is important within hypnosis, as we give suggestions or enable a client to visualise a concept, by using client language accurately we are able to feedback suggestions in their own language which are more impactful than if created by a “third party script”.  Suggestions that are congruent with a client’s world are more effective and are more readily accepted than language which is not.  To be able use client language hypnotically to the greatest effect awareness and knowledge of basic counselling skills are of great benefit.

Because use of language is the key tool for the hypnotherapist using words and language to its greatest effect for the clients benefit is important.   To do this being able to listen and empathise with constancy and accuracy during any session is vital to becoming successful as a hypnotherapist. Basic counselling skills when well taught give a strong structural foundation to hypnotherapeutic work as well as learning how to refine language skills to become the “persuasive communicator” that Michael Yapko describes in his book Trancework.

It takes years to become proficient at counselling .  Successful counselling is a process made up of stages and elements that can be identified.  The counsellor is required to learn specific skills to apply the counselling process.  The counsellor listens and responds in ways which accept the feelings of the client and uses questions to allow the client to say whatever is on his mind.  The purpose is to help the client explore and clarify his own feelings, perceptions and beliefs and later take goal oriented actions. The counsellor demonstrates acceptance and a non- judgemental attitude to help the client to freely explore his issues and feelings.

At CCBH we aim to combine both basic counselling skills and hypnosis on our Foundation course so students learn how to integrate both skills in the most effective manner from the very beginning of their training.

The Foundation course aims to:

1.  Increase your understanding of the counselling process and the skills needed including ethics.

2.  Practice and improve basic skills, such as, open ended questions, active listening, empathy, boundaries and signposting.

3. Understand the hypnotic process and learn basic hypnotic skills.

4. Acquire observation skills for counselling and hypnosis

4. Integrate counselling and hypnotic skills.

5. Practise reflection and reflective thinking skills.
If you have any queries call us on 0207 034 7051. You can find out more on our Foundation course on our website.

Coping with exam stress

4 May

It is May, and that means it is the time of the year when many students, of all ages, are facing exam stress. But remember that a little bit of stress can actually help you perform better. So in this blog we talk about some tips to help you manage your anxiety and make sure that your exam stress is healthy…

Handling exam stress

Anxiety over exams is quite normal – ensure your exam stress is healthy though…

Remember…

Feeling stressed is normal – often exams do not happen in isolation to the rest of life. We think we have a lot to lose if we don’t achieve good results, whether it’s family approval, the next step in a career, or moving on through education. Often exams trigger beliefs of low self as you think “I am not good enough” or “I am stupid”. You may well know you have not done enough work to pass.

Stress when controlled at the right level can lead to peak performance, so allow yourself to experience that beneficial elevated arousal response rather than a negative one. Feeling relaxed and chilled out is more likely to be an avoidant strategy or self denial.  Exams are about having the appropriate level of arousal to perform well.

Top Exam Stress Tips

  • Start revising in good time.
  • Remind yourself you can only to do your best.
  • Get Organised – pull the right information together; know your syllabus and what is expected of you. Bring all your notes up to date.
  • Make a timetable which is compatible with your exam timetable, no point revising Math when it’s Geography the next day.  In your timetable, divide each subject into separate topics; include R&R time, any other tasks that are required to be done.
  • Take and continue your sport and exercise, and if you don’t normally exercise it’s a good time to start simple walking – it’s a great way to regain the optimum level of stress for that peak performance. If you meditate or practise yoga, continue these activities – they are known to help controlling negative stress.
  • Find a good place for study if you can.
  • If you are struggling with a topic try teaching it to someone to see where your gaps in knowledge are. Endless notes are not that helpful if you do not understand it.
  • If concentration is your issue – try scheduling short periods of time with small breaks in between. Each short period is ideally focused with a clearly identified topic. Blocks of three hours at a time is usually less effective than period of an hour with short breaks.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks if you can. It is better to drink water or fruit juice and eat healthily, keeping sugars and fast carbs to a minimum.
  • Learning to breathe deeply and slowly is a simple and effective way to gain control of your physiology and this prevent the stress response getting hold. When we get stressed our breathing elevates as does our heart rate. This can lead to profuse sweating, clammy hands, and dizziness.
  • Studying with friends can be helpful if you are lacking motivation or struggling with some concepts and encouragement between students can be very helpful, so a balance of individual revision and some group revision may be helpful to you.
  • Ideally keeping good sleep habits is helpful however if you do not get your normal amount of sleep its useful to remember we can function reasonably well for short periods of time with less sleep and short naps.

Exam Techniques

  • Know what exam it is and when – nothing worse than turning up for French to find its History
  • Organise your necessary supplies for the exam ahead of time with any spares.
  • Last minute revision can work for some people some of the time, however it’s probably not a useful strategy for an extended exam period.
  • Ideally eat before the exam to keep your energy supplies available and combat anxiety feelings.
  • Remember to breathe slow deep breathes as you go into and sit through the exam; it will help to keep your mind clear and remain calm and focused.
  • Read the question and allow time to understand what is being asked of you before answering.
  • Ideally time your exam so you can read through and make any amendments to the questions answered.
  • When you have finished one exam focus on the next one, wasting valuable time trying to evaluate what you have just done is a job for the examiner, not you.

 

Are you struggling and find anxiety is beginning to get the upperhand?

If you or your child/partner is becoming increasingly anxious about their exams, you should be aware of the negative thoughts and behaviours that maintain anxiety as opposed to healthy exam stress.

  • With young people, exam stress may well be covering up underlying anxiety in relation to their peer group and the desire to “fit in” with their group of friends and their anxiety may be based on the fear of rejection or appearing “stupid”.
  • For many, the over exaggeration of the consequences of failure are the anxiety where a belief that “I must not fail, it would be the end of the world which would be unbearable and mean that I am stupid”
  • These kind of demanding beliefs lead us into anxiety and disturbance as our self talk becomes more and more critical.  It is important to challenge these negative beliefs and thoughts with more constructive ones based in reality.
  • Facing your fear by identifying them and if you think it is possible you won’t get the grade you want, explore ways to accept that possibility.
  • Check your thoughts of exaggeration, “Oh No, I’ll never get it all done” or “It’s impossible to do well now, everything is ruined”. Challenge these thoughts and bring them into reality.
  • Your personal worth is not based or conditional on your exam results. If we assumed it did though, then consider the worst case scenario and imagine how you could deal with that situation and you will begin to reduce your fear.
  • Avoid becoming overwhelmed by the task ahead by planning and splitting the topics into manageable chunks.

Finally keep things in perspective; nothing is the end of the world except the end of the world itself.

Good Luck and enjoy the challenge!