"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? But actually, who are you not to be?
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you."
(from Marianne Williamson)
It is not necessary to read or understand the below before making an appointment, but it is provided to give you some insight as to how we may work together should you wish to know more.
Relaxation & Self-Hypnosis
We live in very hectic times and are constantly bombarded with news from Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Text, Twitter and emails as well as 24 hour worldwide news alerts. We work longer hours, eat faster foods and our fitness is commonly achieved by time spent indoors in gyms. So while we may have had a 'training' in life which predisposes us to find certain elements of life stressful, it is also possible that all we need to feel better is more downtime. More 'me time' and more quality time with our loved ones. More respect for the natural circadian rhythms our body's are designed to follow.
Whatever issue you are bringing to therapy, basic relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques will help. The notion of self-hypnosis may seem unusual but actually, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis as you are in control of the process, not me.
With aggressive behaviour we injure others. With passive behaviour we injure ourselves. With Passive/Aggressive behaviour we injure both as we quietly 'stick the knife in' with a smile, most commonly because we feel annoyed but haven't the courage to say so. All these behaviours can lead to stress for you and for others and we all tend to have a leaning toward one of these traits, or to swing between them. However, there are no rights or wrongs here because we are all doing the best we can with what we know.
Assertive behaviour leaves no ‘unfinished business’ for you or the other people involved. With assertive behaviour, everyone knows where they stand. With assertive behaviour, you are able to recognise what you want, or don't want, and to respond in a way that meets your needs and those of others.
Assertiveness training can be a reason for coming to therapy in its own right but it is often an integral part of the treatment for other issues. Therefore, the number of sessions required will vary.
As an alternative to private sessions, you may be interested in the personal development and motivation workshops I run from the Broomhill Clinic in Aberdeen. Please see the 'Workshop' link in the menu above.
Every single one of us has an Inner Child. We also have an Inner Adult and an Inner Parent. And our day can be miserable or brilliant depending upon who is in the 'driving seat' at any given moment. Our Inner Child can be punishing, wounded or playful. And our Inner Parent can be nurturing or critical (the Judge).
The Parent and the Child within are both stuck in our past experiences in life and see the world accordingly. Our Adult, is based in the present moment and is better able to respond appropriately to our current lives. However, we often spend our days swinging between the Child and Parent. At these times, life can feel a little out of control. By understanding how these different ways of 'being in the world' affect us, we can start to feel a lot more in control of our feelings, emotions and behaviours.
As an alternative to private sessions, in which we may use Inner Child work in a more personal way, you may be interested in the Personal Development workshops I run from the Broomhill Clinic in Aberdeen. Here you will learn about the impacts of the Inner Parent and the Inner Child, but there will not be any private therapy. Please see the 'Workshops' link in the menu above, and the Branching Out and Inside Out workshops in particular.
Ego State Therapy
Ego State Therapy is a slightly different in practice to the Parent/Adult/Child approach and to my way of thinking helps us to recognise that we have many different 'inner selves', each of which serves an essential purpose.
This is odd language I realise, so what exactly do I mean by 'Ego States'?
I'm guessing that you wear different clothes for different situations in your day. For example, you might wear one outfit to work, another on a date and yet another when you go to bed. And if you found yourself in the office one day, wearing what you normally wear to bed, you would feel mortified and unable to do your job. Indeed, many of us have nightmares about turning up at school or to the office with no clothes on. Well Ego States are a bit like our emotional 'clothes'. Who I am with my Mother is different to who I am with my friends, or with my partner, or with my boss. And at any given time, one of my Ego States will be in the 'driving seat'.
Most commonly, each emotional 'outfit' is appropriate to the given circumstance. After all, it is not appropriate to turn up to work in our jammies, but it is appropriate for bedtime. Each Ego State was 'formed' at a specific time in our lives, according to what we learned and needed at these times, and each has your best interests at heart.
So why is this relevant in therapy?
Most of our Ego States serve us well. And mostly we can consciously recognise the differences in these versions of ourselves. However, we can have also have Ego States that we are not consciously aware of. And some of these Ego States may be traumatised from past events in our lives, or may carry out inappropriate behaviors learned at time when we knew a lot less. It is often when these unconscious Ego States jump into the 'driving seat' that we seek therapy. When we find ourselves behaving in ways we don't understand, or in ways we struggle to forgive, or when seemingly benign events push our 'crumble button' etc. it may be that a troubled Ego State has jumped into the the driving seat.
When we find ourselves behaving in ways we don't feel in control of, it can be quite frightening or upsetting to us and understanding and hypnosis can help us find ways to harness our more resourceful Ego States to guide and heal the parts of us that feel less equipped to function in the world.
Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is most known for it's benefits in working with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (see the 'Reasons for Coming' page above). The process involves focusing on an external stimulus while thinking of key events surrounding the traumatic event. In other words, the process involves:
You and I chatting about the difficult events to identify the worst bits and any associated flashbacks, thoughts, feelings and physical sensations;
You thinking about these things while I provide 'bilateral stimulation', either by having you watch my fingers as I move them from side to side or by alternately tapping your left and right shoulders or knees;
Us chatting again to see where your thoughts have taken you, which at times may seem quite illogical and unrelated; and
Repeating the steps above as we follow the journey your mind takes us on.
If we experience blocks or loops in the story, we may stop to work through these, and then recommence when ready.
Quite how and why EMDR works is not fully understood. There are many theories but at it's most basic, it is thought that the process 'unlocks' the negative memories and emotions stored in the nervous system and helps the brain to successfully process the experience.
Because the process can sometimes be emotionally charged, I will always want to spend a bit of time building your resources and building trust between you and I before we start with EMDR. Further, while EMDR can also be useful in working with phobias, performance anxiety and many other presenting issues, I will not always consider it the most appropriate treatment and we will agree this together.
Past Life Regression (PLR)
The notion of reincarnation and the idea that we may live more than once is a highly controversial one. I personally became curious about it against my better judgement, and even against my preference, after reading the books of Dr. Brian Weiss, the now world acclaimed American Psychiatrist. In his books, Dr. Weiss describes the enormous impact that PLR has had on many of his patients and the experiences that altered his belief system regarding reincarnation. I went on to read research into the phenomenon carried out by Dr. Ian Stevenson and eventually decided to undergo specialist training in the subject.
Whether we look upon PLR simply as an hypnotherapeutic technique, or whether we actually believe in reincarnation, the process and the experience can be very powerful.
PLR as a basic hypnotherapeutic tool:
When in an hypnotic trance we can have many viewpoints. If we are seeing events through our own eyes, we are said to be in an 'associated' state. If we can see ourselves, looking from the 'outside in' as if not in our bodies, we are said to be in a 'dissociated' state. The benefit of dissociation is that it provides distance between us and upsetting events which can make them easier to deal with. Indeed, we will often naturally dissociate during difficult events as the unconscious mind serves to protect us.
In hypnosis, we can use many tools to create a degree of dissociation, thus making it easier to process difficult events. In this sense, PLR can be seen to be a dissociative technique as it was not 'me in this life' that went through a particular event, but 'me in a different life'. However, a key part of the healing process involves the catharsis that comes from properly feeling and releasing our emotions such that PLR is often a very 'through your own eyes' (associated) experience, albeit in a safe, and slightly distanced, way.
Given the above, experiencing a past life through regression could be considered metaphorical as we learn about, and process, difficult things from this life as if they occurred in a previous life.
PLR and Reincarnation:
From the moment you were born, you have experienced training in your life. In our early years this training, from our parents, siblings, broader family, teachers, friends, strangers and experience shapes the way we see ourselves, the way we see the world and what we can expect from life. In later years, this way of seeing ourselves and the world can ensure that our experiences match our expectations, thus reinforcing our early training. This is true of everyone and can make all the therapeutic tools described above invaluable e.g. Inner Child, Ego State Therapy etc.
However, without affiliation to any religion, those that believe in reincarnation believe that our training is an accumulation of experiences and issues from this life and those that remained unresolved from past-lives. For example, where someone in a past-life dies from drowning, they may have a phobia of water now. Where someone experienced huge grief in a past life they may carry a debilitating fear of losing loved ones in this life, or carry an inexplicable burden of grief.
In PLR, hypnosis is used to visit the significant events from past-lives and to find resolution to any 'negative' emotions, thoughts and beliefs, and all unfinished business that was carried over.
My use of PLR in therapy:
Regardless of how we see PLR, or what we believe with regard to the spiritual component, the experience can be very cathartic and emotionally charged. It can therefore be deeply healing.
However, to be clear, I do not use PLR lightly and would not priortise it over and above consideration of the impact of this life on presenting symptoms. Understandably, many people are very curious about this subject and it often inspires great debate and almost a desire for 'tourism'. The common joke is that everyone finds out they were Cleopatra in a past life. However, this is not the case and the process can be deeply moving, for both me and the client, as we travel through the trials, tribulations and wonders of ordinary lives, all with some unfinished business.
While you may wish to simply find out more, it is unlikely that whatever life you revisit will be without unresolved issues and issues that come up will need resolution. It is not appropriate to simply skirt over these as it could leave you with more unfinished business.
Therefore, I am not willing to carry out PLR for the sake of curiosity without being very clear about what the process entails, why you want it, and without agreement on how unresolved issues will be dealt with.
PLR sessions can last up to 2.5 hours.
The Emotion Code™
The Emotion Code™ was developed, or rather was discovered, by Dr. Bradley Nelson in the early 1990's and is a form of energy healing. The basic premise is that the 'energy' of past emotions can literally become trapped in your body, affecting your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
It has long been known by quantum physicists that everything is made up of energy, and that, at the subatomic level, we are all made of the same stuff. The chair you are sitting on, your body and the air inbetween them are all made of the same stuff. And our thoughts and emotions are made of this stuff too. It can be hard to accept this because we can't see it, but if you have ever joked about 'cosmic ordering', or heard of the 'Law of Attraction', it is all based on this simple truth. Everything has substance and everything is made of energy that just vibrates at different frequencies.
So, our bodies are surrounded by an electromagnetic field that is made of the same stuff as everything else, and energy flows through our bodies along meridian lines, a principle long understood in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines. And it is possible for emotionally charged events from your past to still be haunting you in the form of 'trapped emotions' which are held within our bodies, impacting the flow of energy. These emotions, or balls of energy, can distort our 'new' thoughts and emotions, and even the functionality of our bodies. However, once the energy of these emotions has been dispersed, the impacts they have had disperses too as the energy is 'released'.
The beauty of The Emotion Code™ is that the information required comes directly from your body and your unconscious mind, so that it does not require extensive digging or talking, understanding or memories.
By a simple process of muscle testing based upon the principles of kinesiology, the presence and nature of 'trapped emotions' is identified. The emotional energy is then 'released' by running a magnet along your spine (and the Governing Meridian of your body). The introduction of magnetic energy into the electromagnetic field of your body effectively disperses the trapped energy. Doing so can lift long standing background feelings up and away and can often relieve physical symptoms.
If this all sounds a little crazy to you, I can assure it does to me too. But it is what it is, and I may use The Emotion Code in it's own right, or at the beginning of sessions if you are amenable.
Rational Emotive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (REBT)
Rational Emotive Behaviourial Therapy (REBT) is a cousin of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). The processes are similar but with subtle differences in how the belief systems we hold are managed. For more information on what I mean about 'belief systems', please see the 'About Hypnosis' page above.
Most commonly REBT, as with CBT, follows a very prescribed process and while I think there is great value in the methods, I personally find that 'one size fits all' rarely serves the needs of the people that come to see me.
Therefore, while I integrate many components of REBT into my work, I rarely follow the 'start to finish' prescribed process. If you are keen on REBT/CBT in its traditional presentation, you would be better to find another therapist and can look on the BACP website for resources, or speak to your GP.
Hypnosis and psychotherapy can be effective in children of all ages. In fact, very young children almost live in a state of hypnosis anyway.
I work with children between the ages of 4 to 16 years old and issues range from bed-wetting to anxiety, from exam stress to perfectionism.
As parent or guardian of a minor you will be obliged by law to attend the therapy session. If you are bringing a younger child I may ask to speak to you alone before seeing the child to get an understanding of the concerns. However, once the session with the child commences I would ask you to simply observe so I can learn about the issue from their own perspective. However, with older children, you may feel they will benefit or open up more if you are not present and this will be up to you and your child.
Please note that with younger children, the session may not last the full hour and will be optimised according to the child's needs.
Have you ever seen an animal give birth? They may grunt and groan a wee bit, and then they simply clean their infants and trust they will know how to feed. And if we look at the key difference between us and them; no-one told the animal it would hurt. In the animal kingdom, the mammalian birthing process is straightforward because they do not fear the process.
In the wild, a birthing gazelle will feel fear if a lion approaches and so her womb constricts and doesn’t let the birth commence because her body knows it is not wise to birth her infant into a dangerous environment. And our bodies posses the same wisdom. When we feel fear, (about the birth itself, rather than about lions), our bodies respond by constricting our muscles. However, while the gazelle responds to this change in her body by pausing and waiting for the danger to pass, or by moving away, we respond to this bodily wisdom by ignoring it and shouting 'push harder'.
So the hypnobirthing process is about enabling your body to relax and let go of fear, thus enabling it to do what it knows how to do. But just as importantly, it is about giving you a sense of control over your birthing plan and giving your birthing partner a key role in the process.
The hypnobirthing sessions are best begun early in the pregnancy and ideally will involve both you and your birthing partner.