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The stress of anxiety

Anxiety places a massive burden on society, in terms of the impact it has on the people suffering it directly, as well as all of the families, friends, workplaces and associated people who all feel the negative impact of anxiety upon them. In many ways, Anxiety can be considered a misuse of our natural stress response. The way that people deal with anxiety matches the experience of people who suffer …Read More

Trigger Warning

As we go through life, we encounter experiences which can remind us of times gone by.  The smell of fresh bread for most people brings back very positive memories.  The sound of rain on a roof when you are tucked up warm in bed can be calming and peaceful.  However, there are also experiences which can trigger unwanted and unpleasant memories. People who have suffered trauma or witnessed a terrible …Read More

Trauma and our identity sticky labels

People suffering anxiety and depression often attend clinic with symptoms that can only be described as ‘post traumatic stress disorder’ – or PTSD.  Somewhere in their history, an event, or series of events occurred which have traumatised them.  These events can have lasting impacts on how people see themselves, and the labels that they absorb. Victims of trauma often develop views about themselves in the circumstance, which become rigidly fixed …Read More

Self-image : how do you measure up?

Recently, a study was published related to the penis length in 15000 men.  It was felt that providing such information would allow men who suffered severe anxiety about their penis length some ‘reality’ to compare themselves to. It is a shame that this is needed – however, with the abundance of pornographic images, men have an immediate ‘yardstick’ to compare themselves to, even if it is not representative of ‘normal’ …Read More

Experiencing Anxiety

It is natural for those who suffer anxiety to have a different view of it than those who have never suffered from it. An interesting survey from BeyondBlue, reported in The Age today looked at perceptions to anxiety in the community.  These included: 40% of respondents thought anxiety was just stress 50% thought anxiety was just part of someone’s personality For people who suffer from anxiety in its many forms, …Read More

A clinical view of anxiety

This week, I would like to share with you a short video I recorded about Anxiety.

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From this perspective, you may be able to ask yourself:  

Which of these frames do I run?

What would happen to my anxiety if I no longer ‘ran’ it through these frames?

 

Live well,

Phil.

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Hypnotic power and mind control

The ‘belief’ in the greater community is often that Hypnosis is a ‘powerful tool’ that can be used to manipulate and control others.  

Stage hypnotists play on it.  Magicians play on it.  Unethical hypnotherapists play on it.  

Despite the explosion of scientific knowledge on hypnosis, the field continues to be plagued by this misinformation and sometimes dangerous mythology.

It is part of the allure of learning hypnosis for many – how can they covertly control or influence others?  Pick up dates, succeed in sales, gain power?  Look on the internet and there are so many products and courses for people who want to learn to manipulate (and are really just being manipulated….)

I saw a show on television this week with Derryn Brown.  ‘Experiments’.   In fact, it was nothing of the sort.  Mr Brown is an illusionist and entertainer, and his proposition (that someone can be controlled against their will to kill another with hypnosis) has been so clearly proven false.  However, as a great mentalist, illusionist and entertainer, Mr Brown made it appear possible for him to do.  And it was entertaining.

The problem for me is that these shows HARM what I try and do, and the people that I could help.  If people think that coming to a session of hypnosis involves me having control over them, having power over their behaviour, having the ability to manipulate them now and at any time in the future, then why would they trust me to help them solve their own problems with the aid of hypnosis?

The truth (proven in many clinical trials and experiments) is that the client is totally in control of their own experience.  They can come in or go out of trance at any time.  They have power over their thoughts, their images, their processes.  In a way, the therapist using hypnosis is ‘guiding’ the client to access parts of their experience and to use this for their benefit.

Hypnosis is a ‘neutral’ phenomenon and it is the quality of the suggestion and therapeutic method applied within hypnosis that makes it either worthwhile or not.

By utilising a strategic therapeutic approach, hypnosis with me is done with a purpose.  The client is ALWAYS 100% in control.  Without their consent, support and permission, nothing I could do as a therapist would have any value.  By strategically addressing the issues and their structure, rapid and long term shifts are entirely possible.

Often I have to spend several minutes assuring clients that the ‘magician’ or stage hypnosis has nothing to do with what I do in my Balwyn clinic.

So as you think about hypnosis, what is your impression?  What have you been led to believe about hypnosis?  As a highly researched and proven therapeutic tool, I would have a wish that it could be considered in its true light and not in the sensationalist frames exemplified by such TV shows.

 

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Every problem has three trapdoors

For whatever problem you have, one thing that is true is that it has three in built ‘trapdoors’.  These trapdoors will take you out of your problem….and straight into your solution.

Each and every problem that you have has these three trap-doors.  Using one or more of these trap doors allows you to escape your problem and find a solution.

In the clinic, helping clients find these trap-doors and use them allows them to escape anxiety, fears, phobias, bad habits, addictions and depression.

Perhaps you can try them for yourself.  

Trapdoor 1:  Exceptions

Problems become all-consuming as we focus on them.  They consume our attention and seem to be everywhere, and in everything.  Regardless of the situation, there will ALWAYS be a time or place where your problem does not exist.  Often this is in a place where you do things that you love – perhaps in a sport, a craft, on holiday, socialising.  If you can find the exception, you could consider how that exception could apply at a time the problem exists.

If it is not always a problem, what is it really?

Trapdoor 2:  Evidence

It takes little to ‘convince’ ourselves that the problem is real and powerful.  We will find ‘evidence’ everywhere for our problem.  However, we are often very quick to dismiss any evidence that we are doing something that is NOT our problem.

The rule from cognitive science is 3:1.  That is, we would need three pieces of evidence that something is not a problem to match one piece of evidence that the problem still exists.  It is easy to find the one, and difficult to see the three.

What if you could pay attention (and accept) evidence contrary to your problem?  What if you could imagine three pieces of evidence.  Seek and ye shall find! 

If you could find three pieces of evidence contrary to your problem, what would that mean about what your problem was?

Trapdoor 3:  Expectation

If you consider your problem, does it come with a positive or a negative expectation about the future?

Normally, problems come laden with negative expectations – that is, people consider their future is going to be full of negative (bad) events based on their problem.  The expectation that the problem is going to continue and have a negative impact sets the person up to get what they focus on – more negative outcomes.

However the future is not written.  If you had a problem now, but managed to have a positive expectation about the future, what would that mean about what your problem was then?

Using the trapdoors:

The trapdoor within your problems leads to solutions.  Are you ready to give yours a test?  

OK, think about your problem.  Really get in touch with how it feels, what you see or hear when you are in it.

Now consider the trapdoors.  

What is the exception in your life to the problem?  As you consider that, how does that redefine what your problem was?

What is the evidence that you have something other than your problem?  As you consider and accept at least three things that would prove you were other than the problem, what would that mean your problem was?

If you were to consider that the future is different to the past, what would a positive expectation mean that the problem has become?  And if you looked back at now from when your positive expectation was a reality, what would you have done to the problem?

And as you consider these, you can think about any number of possibilities that would be a great solution for you now.  Which one will you now take forward?

I would love to hear how you got on with this exercise.  What did you discover, what has changed?

Live well,

Phil.

 

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