Tag Archives: Master Class

Developing Compassion

4 Feb

One of the most intrusive and problematic features of experiencing depression and anxiety is that when we suffer these unhealthy emotions we tend to develop low self-esteem, and to put ourselves down in more generalized ways.
‘I’m a complete loser’, ‘I’m a failure’ or just simply, ‘I’m no good’.

These thinking patterns become repetitive and increasingly destructive as we use this kind of self-talk to ‘beat ourselves up’ and to literally bully ourselves. Often the things we say to ourselves are overly harsh and critical, and when spoken out loud sound vindictive and mean-spirited.

If you imagine saying these things to another person, you can hear how vicious is their intent and meaning. If you were to say these things to another person in the work place you would rightly be accused of bullying and victimization.

Yet, in the midst of depression or a severely anxious state, when we say these things to ourselves, silently or even out loud, we don’t seem to develop and awareness of, or recognize any kind of double-standard at work.

Over recent years much research has been carried out into the subject of compassion. When we think of compassion we usually think of an attitude, which we adopt in relation to another person. We associate caring, kindness, understanding and tolerance, with compassion. Science, as well as spiritual teaching, and even religious doctrine, has long understood the value of extending compassion to others.

34262050 leaf in sunlight

Down through the millennia ‘the golden rule’, “treat others as you would be treated yourself” has been a by-word for compassion. However, in recent years the research has focused more on ‘self-compassion’ and it has been observed that the brains of those who focus on developing self-compassion experience a measurable change in neural activity and connectivity within the brain.

In short, the brain functions better, in terms of general goal-pursuit, and individuals increase their experience of emotional wellbeing, and generalized mental health. In other words, if we can learn techniques, which accentuate and increase ability in extending self-compassion, kindness, and understanding to ourselves, a measurable improvement in mental and emotional functioning results. This has to be worthy of our interest.

Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), developed and refined by Paul Gilbert (The Compassionate Mind, 2009), has enjoyed a great focus of interest in recent years, and has been researched by neurological and psychotherapeutic scientific outcome studies, in an attempt to measure improvement in a variety of areas, and the results are very encouraging.

If you are interested in finding out more about this topic, look out for a forthcoming Master Class designed for both therapists who work in any therapeutic tradition and wish to extend their skill set in their work with clients, or for those who might be interested in the subject from a self-development perspective at http://www.cbttherapies.org.uk

Can you tame the green-eyed monster?

9 Jan

Jealousy is an age-old concept and was even mentioned in the Bible where, depending on what version of it you are reading, it either compares it to a cancer or warns that it will rot your bones.

However, you can thank Shakespeare for the literary notion of it as a green-eyed monster. He first mentioned it in The Merchant of Venice (1596); and again in Othello (1604) but, the term has probably been around for a lot longer than that.

Jealousy occurs in all cultures around the world, regardless of their ideas on relationships.

Scientists have even identified the area of the brain responsibly for it – it’s the same part of the frontal lobe that detects real, physical pain, which is possibly why jealousy hurts so much.

As an emotion, however, it can twist you into so much more than a green-eyed monster. It can make you a ruthless tyrant, a tantrum-throwing child, a paranoid schemer and more.

Jealousy shouts and accuses, plots and sulks and clings and rejects in equal measure.

Jealousy then is a human being who is holding some very irrational beliefs about the relationship they are in.

Hardly surprising though, as love is not the most rational of emotions.

Most therapies make a distinction between healthy (or rational) and unhealthy (or irrational) jealousy. Both emotions are concerned with a possible threat to your relationship.

But, what’s the difference? After all, if you are in a relationship with someone you love and are concerned that they are paying too much attention to another, or that another is paying too much attention to them, is it not quite natural to be worried?

However, it’s how you view that worry and how you deal with it that matters.

Typically, the irrationally jealous think and act in ways that has their partners treading on eggshells. They feel insecure both about themselves and their relationship and see threats (usually imagined) to it everywhere.

They feel that things are forever teetering on the brink, hear sexual and romantic overtones in the most ordinary and everyday of conversations, vividly construct images of their partner’s cheating and will descend like the wrath of heaven if their other half should so much as admit to a passing attraction to someone else.

As a result, the unhealthily jealous often indulge in all sorts of wonderfully frantic behaviours: seeking constant reassurance that they are loved; assessing their partner’s every thought, feeling and behaviour; monitoring (and even restricting) their partner’s movements; looking for evidence of cheating and usually looking for it in places that (morally speaking) they should not be looking, to name but a few.

The healthily jealous, if you’ll pardon the pun, are a much more relaxed affair.

They tend not to see threats around each and every corner (or at each and every party), feel secure in both themselves and their relationships, do not misconstrue the ordinary conversations that their other half has, aren’t constructing vivid images of their loved ones with somebody else, and accept (albeit grudgingly, sometimes), that they do indeed find other people attractive.

As a result, the healthily jealous do not seek constant reassurance, do not assess their partner’s thoughts and feelings, and do not monitor or restrict their movements – in short, they free their partner up to be themselves.

Also, you can usually trust the healthily jealous person to not hack into your email account.

In short, healthy jealousy can help you to maintain your relationship, whilst unhealthy jealousy will rip it to pieces.

As a therapist, you will encounter many relationships problems that have their roots in jealousy.

That’s why we’ve developed this master class on how to help solve one of the most destructive emotions there is.

On it you will learn how to not only profile and help the jealous person, but also help those that suffer from their jealousy; you’ll discover how to separate unhealthy jealousy from healthy and learn the roles that anger, anxiety, depression and, even, envy can play. More importantly, you will learn how to help people re-forge a happy and harmonious relationship with the person they love the most. This master class is also open to those interested in personal development.

The green-eyed monster can never be slain, but it can be controlled.

You can find out more on http://www.cbttherapies.org.uk.

Secret to a good relationship

19 Nov

Good relationships do not just happen. They are usually a combination of hard work, honesty, trust and trying that little bit harder.

So, how to achieve a successful and long lasting relationship?

Well, there are several things to remember and consider…

  • Changes will occur, so be open-minded and accept them as they happen. Try to rise above them, as no matter what, you know you still love each other.
  • Be attentive to each other’s needs and feelings.  Use kind words and give each other emotional support. It really helps, if you can stay polite, even in times of anger. Nobody likes to be found to be in the wrong but you should be able to apologise if necessary.
  • Jealousy is an emotion that almost everyone experiences in a relationship, even a good one. Problems arise when the emotion you are feeling is unhealthy jealousy. It can be a very destructive force and can completely destroy a good relationship. When you are unhealthily jealous you tend to imagine that your partner is interested in another person and twist any information to absolute beliefs, even when there is no real evidence. It is important to accept the things that are within your control and the things that are not. You can control what you believe and what you do. You are not in control of what your partner thinks, feels, imagines or does. If you have concerns about jealousy, you may find our upcoming MasterClass on the subject, of interest.
  • Don’t forget the physical side of a relationship is also very important. Try to stay connected and take times out of your busy day to do even the simplest things, such as holding hands and smiling at each other. If you feel that the physical side of your relationship is suffering, it may be time to undertake some therapy and consult an expert. Do not feel you are alone in having these sorts of problems. This decision needn’t cause embarrassment and anxiety. Therapists are aware of how anxious you might feel and will help set you at ease. Cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy can be particularly helpful and your therapist will have been trained with the knowledge and ability to communicate sensitively and confidently.
  • At times in any relationship, there will be occasions when you experience disappointment. You will feel uncared for and let down. There is no cause for worry as long as you don’t let the disappointment become the unhealthy emotion, hurt. You will need to take responsibility for your emotions and explain your feelings in a balanced way.
  • It is useful to remember we are all fallible human beings and it may be the case at some point that you need to take the responsibility for a transgression. No one is perfect all the time. The remorse you feel is a healthy emotion and enables you to make appropriate amends for your poor behaviour without making excuses. You can forgive yourself and accept that you have made a mistake, learn from it, and move on.

So, good relationships do not just happen, but they can be nurtured and maintained. What are your thoughts on the secrets to a good relationship?

 

 

Hypnotherapy and Weight Management

30 Oct

From being a previously little used word, obesity is now a word we hear almost every day. Barely a day goes by without the topic appearing in the national news. Not only is it common place in news articles and stories, it is the subject of much research and many surveys.

 
The NHS definition of obesity is ‘a term used to describe somebody who is very overweight with a high degree of body fat’. It’s a problem that affects both children and adults.

 
The 2011 Scottish Health Survey results showed that obesity “has increased significantly since 1995”. It showed obesity is a major problem for many people in Scotland, with a growing number of children being classed as overweight.

 
There was also an article in the BBC news magazine in September, on child obesity, asking the question ‘why do parents let their children get fat?’ Of course, nobody is suggesting parents are to blame, as there are many factors that contribute to the problem. Some of which include; more sedentary lives, bad eating habits, a lack of education about food, a lack of exercise and even not realising there is a weight problem to begin with.

 
Obesity is also a global problem….Researchers in America, where there is a huge level of obesity, suggest they have strong evidence that sugary drinks play a leading role combined with high calorie fast food and a sedentary lifestyle.

 
Here in the UK, just over 33% of 11-year-olds are now overweight or obese and 22% of four and five-year-olds, according to the most recent figures from the National Child Measurement Programme, which assesses the height and weight of primary children in England. Similar figures were found in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. As in America, a sedentary life style and staying indoors watching television compounds the problem.

 
Adults experience similar problems. Things like eating to excess, using the car instead of walking, spending the day doing inactive work, not exercising or playing sport all contribute to weight gain.

 
So, does it matter if we gain weight? Well, the simple answer to that is yes, a large number of medical conditions have been associated with excessive weight gain. These can include osteoarthritis, obstructive sleep apnea, diabetes, some forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
It would seem prudent then to ensure a correct body weight. But how can we achieve this?

 
The statistics and research show that most diets simply do not work for long-term weight loss. There is no ‘magic pill’. The undeniable truth is that the secret to maintaining a healthy weight for life is by keeping a balance between what you eat and how much you exercise. But that is often more difficult than it sounds.

 
This is where the techniques of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy can help in the weight management journey. These techniques can help with:
• Understanding the role of negative beliefs about succeeding in losing weight
• How to harness motivation to exercise
• How to recognize the triggers to emotional eating
• How to develop effective strategies to deal with emotional eating
• The effect of the mind-body connection and how it impacts on body image
• Development of a personal health plan

 
If you would like more information on how Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy can help to support you and your clients through the weight -loss journey, we would invite you to attend our one day Master Class on Weight Management in January 2013. Or you can ask us any questions here….

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

5 Oct

Guest Post by Moya Layton

Irritable Bowel Syndrome commonly referred to as IBS, is a widespread and distressing functional bowel disorder, which carries a considerable burden both for sufferers and the medical profession alike. About two in 10 people in the UK have IBS and it’s twice as common in women as men. Although not life-threatening, IBS can be extremely debilitating for those people who suffer from it. The pathophysiology of IBS is uncertain and currently no single cause explains the condition, which is characterized more by symptoms, suffering and disability than by any demonstrable organic abnormality.

IBS can develop at any age, but most people have their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 35. Symptoms may come and go and you may not have any symptoms for months and then experience a sudden flare-up. Common symptoms include, abdominal pain, feeling sick, indigestion, headache, backache, combined with an altered bowel habit that can be either constipation or diarrhoea predominant or a mixture of the two.

Although specific IBS symptoms may respond to certain medications unfortunately to date no single medication or class of medications has been demonstrated to be consistently successful in relieving the full spectrum of IBS symptoms. Traditional treatments for IBS include dietary therapy, antispasmodic medication and antidepressants; however it is important to note that only 25% of people who suffer with IBS symptoms respond to these traditional treatments methods.

A new understanding of IBS

Currently IBS being redefined as a disorder of brain gut dysfunction that does not fit into a specific psychiatric or medical condition. Doctors therefore are now moving from the disease-based model to a biopsychosocial understanding of this disorder. This model proposes that biological, psychological (thoughts, emotions, and behaviours), and social factors interact to play a significant role in the initiation and perpetuation of the disease or illness.

Cognitive Behavioural hypnotherapy combines hypnotherapy, clinically proven to relieve symptoms, and cognitive behavioural techniques, to directly address the maladaptive thought processes and behaviours that emerge from and perpetuate IBS. This therapy approach exemplifies this biopsychosocial
understanding.

Hypnotherapy for IBS is widely recognised as one of the success stories. Response rates to treatment have been identified as 80% or more in most published trials with evidence suggesting that individuals who respond to hypnosis treatment for IBS can generally look forward to years of reduced bowel symptoms.

It has been also been identified that many people with IBS frequently suffer from anxiety and depression and worry excessively about their illness and symptoms. The combination of cognitive behavioural techniques with hypnosis therefore allows the client to directly focus on changing these maladaptive thinking patterns. Clients learn how to modify their beliefs about illness, chronic pain and discomfort. They also learn how to challenge the catastrophic thought processes they may be experiencing about the social and occupational consequences of their gastrointestinal symptoms. This allows them to change their morbid pessimism about their condition and any perceived helplessness about their ability to cope with this disorder.

If you already work with clients who suffer from IBS or wish to see clients who present with IBS or are simply interested in the subject then the Moya Layton CCBH Master Class on IBS is for you.

IBS is a complex and multifaceted disorder and the effective use of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy will teach you how you develop a well-established effective therapy programme for your client. This therapy not only addresses the IBS symptoms themselves, but also challenges the distorted dysfunctional thinking patterns that underpin and perpetuate this chronic and distressing disorder allowing clients to understand that they can finally gain control over their symptoms.

 

IBS is a complex disorder

Psychogenic Pain

24 Sep

A psychogenic pain is a physical pain that is caused, increased or prolonged by mental, emotional or behavioural factors, with headaches, muscle, back and stomach pains being some of the more common types.

Psychogenic Pain can be helped with Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy

You might think that the term pretty much encompasses any kind of pain that you can think of. However, as a therapist you will rarely, if ever, have someone referred to you because they’re suffering from psychogenic pain.

Technically, it’s a form of chronic pain that is itself a variant of a somatoform disorder (a mental disorder characterised by physical symptoms suggesting physical illness or injury but that cannot be explained by a medical condition or mental disorder or by the effect of a substance).

In pain circles then, psychogenic is a dirty word and one not to be bandied lightly. Using it courts controversy.

However, by the time a pain sufferer is referred to a therapist, either by themselves directly, or though a doctor, physician or pain clinic, it is usually because they have been dealing with it for quite some time, conventional medical treatment has failed, the professionals are stumped and the client is at their wit’s end.

As the medical doctor and hypnotherapist Dabney Ewin says, “Constant pain is nearly always psychological in my experience, almost any physical pain can be temporarily relived by medication, rest, sleep or positioning.”

Pain control, thankfully, is one of hypnotherapy’s success stories.

It is an excellent tool for the treatment of many acute pain conditions. However, with chronic pain conditions, things get a little more complicated and a multi-modal approach, such as the one offered by cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy, becomes a more elegant tool.

As a therapist or hypnotherapist, you don’t need to use the term ‘psychogenic’ with anyone (least of all the patient), but you do need to keep it very much in mind.

What cognitive factors and unhealthy beliefs are influencing that person’s perception of pain and how? Does the client present with emotional problems in other areas of their lives that are having an impact upon the pain and how they perceive it? Does the client exhibit maladaptive coping mechanisms to guard the pain that need to be addressed and, what on earth do you focus on first?

As the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) says, “pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.”

 

If you are already working in pain control, wish to see clients who present with pain problems or are simply interested in the subject then the CCBH masterclass in psychogenic pain control is for you.

On it, you will learn how to effectively formulate a treatment plan on a case-by-case basis, confidently assess pain levels, accurately work out how their emotions affect their pain and vice versa, break down typical unhealthy beliefs that increase the perception of pain, and better understand the various hypnotherapy techniques that can manipulate the symptoms of pain.

The treatment of pain can be a complicated business. The effective use of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy allows you to tailor a pain control program to the individual rather than take a prescribed approach to the treatment of the symptom.

As with any other client walking in through your door, you are treating a person, not a symptom and you need to find out as much about them as you can.

Find out how to treat the person, and you find out how to treat the pain.