Erika Slater CH

Erika Slater is Director of Free At Last Hypnosis and Smoke Free At Last and based in Mashpee Massachusetts region serving the towns on Cape Cod and Islands. Erika is a Certified Hypnotist and also writes articles and books on the subject of hypnosis and alternative health. Erika has been a professional hypnotist since 2004 and a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists. Erika sees clients in her Cape Cod office or online using Zoom and Skype.

Coronavirus COVID-19 FREE Hypnosis Online Resources

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covid-19-virus microscopic image

covid-19-virus microscopic image

 

******UPDATE ON IMPACT OF COVID-19: Free At Last Hypnosis office in Mashpee is open to see our hypnosis clients only. You can schedule an in-office appointment or virtual appointment using Zoom. Contact me at 508.269.0109  if you need and want my help.******

In this special post about Coronavirus COVID-19 you’ll find some FREE practical hypnosis resources you can use immediately to cope better with any stress or anxiety you feel about the uncertainty of this time.

For many vulnerable individuals it’s proving to be overwhelming, stressful and causing them much anxiety. Add to this the fact there’s a mountain of false claims, conspiracy theories and misinformation about how the virus started. I urge you to ignore all the fake news and instead follow the CDC -Center for Disease Control guidelines and focus on staying safe.

This will pass and we will get through it all together.

I’m not qualified to comment on the science behind this virus and how it came to be but if you’re interested you can read more here to understand a more realistic assessment of the life of COVID-19.

So, as a business owner facing a shutdown of my offices what can I do to help you?

Firstly, for existing clients who have already booked appointments and don’t want them deferred or cancelled I’m performing those sessions online. I’ve been providing hypnosis online for two years now as an alternative for folks travelling long distances to me, so its well established offering in my hypnotherapy business.

You can discover more about how online hypnosis works by watching a brief video produced by a fellow hypnotherapist from the UK here >>>

At this time it’s worth mentioning that if you’re considering quit smoking or vaping then now’s a good time to get serious about stopping. Because Covid-19 attacks the lungs, those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape may be especially threatened. To review this further discover more about stop smoking programs using hypnosis here >>>.

Secondly, in the last few days, I’ve put together FREE resources to help my clients and businesses and their friends and families get through the COVID-19 crisis. They are simple and not elaborate resources as I feel people need straightforward help.

 

FREE HYPNOSIS RESOURCES TO HELP WITH COVID-19:

1. Free Download MP3 SessionStop Touching Your Face” – I’ve also developed a special FREE 30-minute hypnosis session that can be downloaded and played on any hand-held device or computer to help people “stop touching their face.” Studies suggest that people touch their face as often as 16 to 23 times per hour (1). And every time you touch your face, there’s the potential for bacteria and viruses to be transferred to the areas around your eyes, nose, and mouth, where they can infect you and cause disease.

But self-face touching is, by and large, an unconscious behavior. So, while medical professionals and CDC guidelines emphasize not to touch your face most of us just can’t stop on demand. This FREE session is aimed at helping to reduce the impulses to unnecessarily touching your face. There is no registration to get this session. Listen to and/or download the session here >>> To download click the link and when it starts playing click the three dot icon at the end of progress bar, and click download.

2. Free Download session for stress relief and relaxation. This is a 30-minute session you can download and replay as many times as you want or need to help boost your immune system. That’s right at this time your immune system needs all the help it can get to combat the stress put on it by the uncertainty of these times. You can either watch and download the Stress Relief Video here >>> or listen and download the Stress Relief MP3 Audio here >>>.

 

VIDEOS:

Here are some short videos covering different topics that are impacting most of us today. I hope you get something out of each.

4. Video Coping with Uncertainty. This is a short video to help you remain positive in these uncertain times.

5. Destination Happiness – Keeping Relationships Strong. This short video offers tips to ensure we come out of this crisis with strong and positive relationships with our spouse, kids, family and friends…

Please do take advantage of these resources.

If you have any questions regarding them then please reach out via my contact page at my website here >>>  or call me at 508.269.0109 and if I don’t answer leave a message and I’ll call you back. You can also email me directly at erika@freeatlasthypnosis.com

Most importantly, stay safe and well.

 

Erika Slater CH
Director
Free At Last Hypnosis

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How to Improve Mental Toughness – Tips and Using Hypnosis

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Mental toughness pills in a bottle

Mental toughness pills in a bottle

In this article you’ll discover:

  1. The importance of quality self-talk and how to reverse the damage you’re doing to achieve mental toughness.
  2. Changing your beliefs and thinking patterns to support the outcomes you desire.
  3. Practical tips and actions to build-up your mental toughness muscle.
  4. Further reading, studies and resource links around increasing mental toughness.

There are all kinds of toughness and the most visible is physical toughness, but I’d argue the more valuable is mental toughness. Physical toughness reminds us of athletes with tuned muscles that allow them to run faster, hit harder, endure or lift more. But mental toughness is what they use and need to get them to be master’s of their own bodies and thinking.

As a simple example for you my experience with smoking cessation clients who achieve their goal of quitting and remain smoke free, those who’ve a high degree of mental toughness are most likely to succeed.  This is also why my programs embed reinforcement of mental toughness into the hypnosis sessions.

Physical toughness can deplete over the years as we get older, but mental toughness can endure until our last breath. But getting it doesn’t come easy, and it can mean shaking off ghosts of attitudes and perspectives that undermine how we view ourselves and the outside world.

Our type of self-talk is an excellent indicator of where we are in our mental toughness campaign.

Psychologists and neuroscientists estimate individuals engage themselves in self-talk at an average rate of 150-300 words per minute. That’s a lot of words running through your brain everyday – 45,000-51,000! And depending on the type of self-talk it can directly impact your ability to develop mental toughness [1].

You see your brain is set up with neural pathways which create highways as you take in new information or talk to yourself? That’s right! You have ‘self-talk highways’ in your brain you become familiar with over time. In fact, you become so familiar with them they get imprinted in your mind!

By engaging in your ‘self-talk’, these prominent neural pathways become etched in your brain whether they’re positive or negative. If you have positive thoughts, they get stamped on the positive highway. Conversely, when you have negative thoughts they get engraved on the negative highway.

You get so good at this over time you literally put your thoughts on autopilot. Your ‘thoughts’ self-drive you onto the neuropathway you’re accustomed to using, albeit good or bad. Just as you can become a creature of habit with your driving, so you can also become a creature of habit by the way you think.

The bottom line here is which lane of the road you choose to ride your thinking onto: the good, or the bad lane? Negative thinkers automatically drive in the negative lane of the highway without even realizing they’ve crawled onto the ramp. This is because they’ve developed negative thinking patterns for so long.

On the other hand, positive thinkers know how to control their thoughts by scrutinizing and recognizing their negative thoughts, and heading them off before they lead them astray. They take control of the wheel of their mind and imagination at all times, and choose to drive in the positive lane.

Just as you build muscles in your body, you build ‘mental muscles’ by exercising them with the way you continually think. These ‘mental muscles’ get stronger over time and possess a ‘muscle memory’ or mental toughness.

 

WHAT IS SELF-TALK AND MENTAL TOUGHNESS?

Woman talking to her reflection in a mirrorMental toughness can best be described as you being the ‘master of your mind!’

There are different views on how and what constitutes mental toughness. Some experts on positive thinking might assert mental toughness is having the ability to control your thoughts. When a negative thought flows into your mind, you quickly identify it and remove it before it can take root, and lead you to a chain of negative thinking patterns. You might call this ‘taking your thoughts captive’, in that you control your thoughts.

It sounds simple, “Hey, what is so difficult about controlling my thoughts?

It’s actually more difficult than most people think because many people become ‘lazy thinkers’, they just casually go with the flow of thoughts as they pop into their heads. But mental toughness asserts one must take direct control and inventory over their thoughts. You just don’t let them free-flow as they come into your mind. Instead, you notice them as being active, assess them, and make the proper change to them. Since this takes work, almost like going to the gym and building physical muscles, most people shy away from making this change because it takes time and effort on their part.

Interestingly, what they don’t realize is it took time and effort in the beginning to put them in a negative mind set. If they apply the same principles, but reversing the way they think for a short period of time, then they can change the way they think for the long haul.

Mental toughness is becoming aware – an awareness of your continual thinking patterns – of unfavorable or negative ones. To be mentally tough, you need to engage yourself by creating awareness of your self-talk. What are you telling yourself about through your thoughts and actions?

All thoughts we have can best be described as ‘self-talk’. We speak to ourselves in microseconds before we even speak out loud. In fact, most times we don’t even speak out loud what we’re thinking, especially when we’re alone, or in a situation where we’ve to remain quiet. Even though we don’t speak, we still think – we continually talk to ourselves visa vie by the thoughts we have.

This is self-talk!

 

SELF-TALKING TO OURSELVES:

At the beginning of this article I said psychologists estimate people engages in self-talk roughly at the rate of 150-300 words per minute?

What is the quality of the words you’re continually speaking to yourself about? The more you engage in self-talk, the more prominent the neural pathway becomes etched in your brain. So, choose your words wisely! You’re either your biggest advocate… or your biggest enemy, depending on what you’re are telling yourself. Psychiatrist Grant Brenner feels there are six hurtful labels we use in describing ourselves and others, and which can become themes to our self-talk [2] – these are “Lazy, Bored, Hypocrite, Spoiled, Stupid, and Selfish.”

Too many people are perfectionists in their self-talk. They’re constantly criticizing themselves for thinking, acting or ‘being’ a certain way. This undermines mental toughness as they become their own worst audience, constantly listening to their deprecating thoughts. It never seems to let up, rather they keep the cycle of analyzing – criticizing going on in your head… keeping the negative neuropathways alive by constantly “burning rubber” on them!

Are you familiar with the term, ‘Paralyses by Analysis?’ This means you continually brow-beat, over-think, analyze until your “blue in the face”, or ponder things to a “pulp” until your brain/mind is tired of thinking about it. Often times this leads to mental burnout. Before it ever gets to the mental burnout stage, it leads to, and creates, negative thinking patterns based on the rehashing and mental rehearsal of negative thinking. Perfectionist thinking ironically then undermines mental toughness, rather than, as perfectionist-thinking talk goes, strengthens resolve by being “tough” on themselves.

Interestingly, the more you try to be ‘the perfect thinker’, the more you seek out flaws or negative aspects for the way you’re thinking. It becomes a vicious cycle as you get caught up in a ‘thinking loop’. You’re like a dog chasing its own tail, and you go around in circles in your mind. The wise dog knows its tail belongs to them and identifies it as such and moves forward.

The same should be done with thoughts and choices. Once they’re made, you move forward. This is a sign of mental toughness!

 

ARE YOU A PERFECTIONIST?

Recovering perfectionist written on a napkinHow do you know if you’re a perfectionist or not?

For starters, do you include the following words when you are self-talking; should, must, better, always, have to, one hundred percent, only one way, when referring to yourself and how you should be? If you do, then you’re using absolute terms to define you, and how you should speak, act, or perform, in front of others, including yourself.

What you’re doing is setting up potential ‘mental/emotional breakdowns’ because you believe you need to be perfect all of the time, as after all, you start irrationally believing your thinking is perfect. You’re in essence setting up a self-fulfilling prophecy for yourself which says, “When I’m not achieving 100% and being perfect, I’m failing, as there is no room for errors.”

This creates an immense amount of pressure on yourself! When you engage in this type of thinking, it’s hard to let the tiniest of mistakes go. You may like to think you’re ‘mentally tough’ by thinking about something over and over, however it’s quite opposite. In this situation though you’re not mastering your thoughts but instead your thoughts are ‘mastering’ and controlling you.

You become the dog chasing its own tail around in a circle!

 

HABITUATED THINKING PATTERNS:

Break bad habits written on parchment paperThe root cause of lacking mental toughness is individuals becoming fixated in their negative, habituated thinking patterns. Over time the thought process becomes etched in stone on negative neural pathways. These places an individual in a position of weakness when it comes to their own thinking patterns and styles.

Does habituated thinking have to be this way in your life?

Absolutely not! It’s one thing to notice and admit the way you’re thinking isn’t productive, or getting you what you want, or where you want to go in life. It’s another to actually say to yourself (remember self-talk) “enough is enough and I’m ready for a different type of self-talk!

Only then, will this motivate you to produce the changes you want!

In an earlier article “Pattern Interrupt – Breaking the Habit” [3] I talk about a method of overcoming habituated thinking patterns using pattern interrupt. It’s a common technique used to change habits. Examples of natural interrupt which happen on a daily basis are unexpected noises, movements, other people talking, or when we engage in activities that relax or calm such as working out, going for a long walk, meditating, or even taking a different route to or from work. Basically, anything that helps get us out of a rut our current thinking has us in.

But doing it deliberately is more difficult because it requires monitoring of your own thoughts and when you detect yourself slipping into a thinking pattern you want to change, catching what you’re doing, and interrupting it by “reversing direction” or doing an activity that forces you to concentrate on something else.

Practice makes pattern interrupt a viable solution for helping with mental toughness when it comes to changing the way you think.

 

MENTAL TOUGHNESS – TIPS TO IMPROVE IT!

In order to become mentally tough, you’re going to have to change the way you think, which will create changes in the ways you feel and behave. This can and will be achieved in a variety of ways, but will only come about when you’re committed to making these changes!

You need to own your thoughts!

  1. Always remember you’ve the right to think whatever you want. The truest mark of mental toughness is learning to think for yourself. True, many of us are influenced by what others are telling us on a daily basis, especially messages from loved ones, or those closest to us. At the end of the day, you have to live with yourself, what you think and the outcome of the decisions you make. Make decisions based on the thoughts you choose!
  2. Always keep things in their proper perspective! Too many people live with ‘end of the world” mentalities when something goes wrong in their lives after making a decision. Everyone makes mistakes and even the strongest thinkers with the best mental toughness will make mistakes. Mental toughness is about keeping things in perspective and then moving on. Don’t let mistakes define you, or dictate your future!
  3. Always do your best to live in the present! Remember, the only thing you’re in control of is the present moment. Thinking and worrying about the past won’t change it. You can only focus on what and how you’re thinking about in the present moment. See yesterday as the past no matter what, and move on to tomorrow as you will always have things to do, with places to go and people to see!
  4. Focus on the positives! There have to be things you’ve done well in your life throughout. You didn’t get as far as today because you made a ton of mistakes and never learned from them. If you’re going to focus on anything from your past, focus on your successes and achievements. Use them as inspiration and motivation to move you toward achieving new and better successes!
  5. Deal with your setbacks in a positive manner! To be successful, you need to overcome your setbacks and learn from them. Everyone will make mistakes at things they try. The key is to re-define and label your ‘setbacks’ as feedback or learning experiences. Use them as opportunities to change the way you think and act. Remember, as Thomas Edison put it best while inventing the light bulb – “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Too many people don’t realize how close they are to achieving goals or dreams, when it’s truly within their grasp!

It’s never easy to live with mistakes, especially when they impact you and loved ones in a significant way. Dealing with your own thought process and self-talk is extremely important for determining how fast you’ll bounce back, and also for dealing with mistakes you may encounter in the future.

This is mental toughness!

 

CAN HYPNOSIS WORK TO CREATE MENTAL TOUGHNESS?

Hypnotherapist holding patient wrist in her office during sessionTraining your thinking to be mentally tough can be challenging. Most people grow comfortable and even stagnant in their negative thinking patterns, which do more damage than good. Using hypnosis to create mental toughness can help you break free from the patterns that weaken your thinking!

How does hypnosis work then? It stimulates the mind to create a new set of cognitive scripts by tapping into your unconscious mind. One’s unconscious mind goes on autopilot and takes you down the same neuropathways. Hypnosis has the ability to disrupt your ‘auto pilot’ negative thinking patterns. It’ll help to create new positive pathways. These new pathways will help create positive thinking! It pushes you in a new direction in which the thoughts you now create will be different!

Benny Johansson and Lars-Eric Uneståhl2 performed a study “to examine the effects on health and stress, measured by an alteration in plasma cortisol and DHEA-S, in connection with proficiency after mental training, among healthy individuals in job involvement at the same work unit” [4]. “Integrated Mental Training (IMT), developed by Uneståhl in the early 1970s, is a systematic and long-term training of mental processes (thoughts, images, attitudes, emotions) aiming for peak performance and wellness. The training develops ‘Alternative Systems of Control’ by using ‘Alternative States of Consciousness’, mainly self-hypnosis.”

The findings of the study “indicate that implementation of integrated mental training in everyday life offers a practical tool having sustained impact on physiological and psychological well-being. By managing and conditioning changes in perception and emotional responses, a substantial affective balance in cortisol/DHEA-S ratio can be achieved with considerable effects on stress reduction, emotional stability, performance and health outcomes” [4].

This scientific study provides insight into the benefits of mental training and how it can impact our body chemicals which help with mental toughness training. The use of self-hypnosis in the study demonstrates a method of helping to implement a mental toughness program.

Self-hypnosis can be learned, and most professional hypnotists can teach it. Contact some local hypnotherapists and discuss your goals with them and choose one with experience in developing mental toughness in others and you feel is a good match for you.

 

CONCLUSIONS:

Building mental toughness is about exercising your brain muscle. As physical exercise grows our body muscles so we get stronger and can run faster for longer, so, challenging your thoughts and beliefs supports mental growth and provides the basis for increasing mental toughness. High performing athletes adopt training for both physical and mental toughness.

The quality of our self-talk is critical to turning an attitude steeped in negative talk to one of achieving positive outcomes by changing the words we use in self-talk. Learning from mistakes and looking for improvement is positive but looking for perfection for most if us usually translates into “trashing ourselves”, and makes us mentally vulnerable instead of tough.

Changing our self-talk to be more positive is one step, but equally important step is our beliefs and patterns. Constant negative self-talk is usually an outcome of beliefs as this leads to patterns of talk and behavior impacting our growth of mental toughness. So, beliefs about ourselves and changing those to be more supportive of our “new you” will in turn change our self-talk. The link between beliefs and self-talk is strong and each compliments the other in an interactive process. At first change can be small but expands exponentially as self-esteem and confidence grows.

Achieving mental toughness can be a life changing experience and this article suggests attitudes and ways to support moving towards it. Become a student and study and learn from others who model the kind of toughness you want to achieve. Hypnosis can also help you achieve mental toughness and because I believe it important to succeed at making significant changes it’s part of most of my in-office and online Special Hypnosis Services Programs which you can learn more about here >>>.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES RELATED TO MENTAL TOUGHNESS:

[1] How to Construct Effective Self-Talk – Psychology Today >>>

[2] 6 Hurtful Labels to Stop Using on Ourselves and Others – Psychology Today >>>

[3] Pattern Interrupt – Breaking the Habit >>>

[4] Stress Reducing Regulative Effects of Integrated Mental Training with Self-Hypnosis >>>

Library of Self-Hypnosis Downloads Products >>>

 

Erika Slater CH
Free At Last Hypnosis
Massachusetts

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Hypnosis as a Treatment

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PTSD Word Cloud

PTSD Word Cloud

In this article you’ll discover:

  1. How Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is triggered and manifests itself in disrupting sufferer’s daily lives.
  2. Current treatments including medications and therapies to help cope and overcome the trauma and triggering event.
  3. Further reading, studies and resource links around PTSD diagnosis and treatments.

Over the last 10-15 years, there’s been much discussion about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as it relates to the general population. In previous generations it was common to hear PTSD discussed whenever one was referencing wars, namely ‘The Vietnam War’, and eventually later on ‘The Persian Gulf War’. Soldiers who had served in either war, often times came back ‘shell shocked’ from what they had witnessed or experienced as a by-product of the atrocities and violence of war. In fact, during the World Wars in the twentieth century soldier victims of the illness were diagnosed with the term “shell shock.”

Many soldiers were unable to resume ‘normal’ lives, as their everyday living was interrupted by intrusive thoughts caused by the memories of being in a vicious war. Even though it was considered a ‘mental illness’, it wasn’t considered serious enough to warrant the attention it deserved. Many individuals went unchecked or untreated, a sad state of affairs as it destroyed many lives.

Perhaps PTSD wasn’t taken serious enough because it was so misunderstood years ago. It was also a new phenomenon, and the criterion for diagnosing and assessing it weren’t cut and dry. The treatment protocols for how to go about helping individuals were still in early stages, so often times it was ‘hit or miss’, as there were too many misdiagnoses, or no diagnoses, and too many individuals suffering from PTSD slipped through the cracks and were never treated.

Incidentally, when more individuals who suffered from PTSD started to become a harm to themselves (usually suicides), or a harm to others – violence in their work places – it was then the mental health and medical communities realized it was a mental disorder warranting its own term and diagnosis.

When studies were eventually done to examine the effects of PTSD on suffering individuals, it was found there were correlations to anxiety disorders, depression, alcoholism and substance abuse problems. Upon digging further into the symptomologies of PTSD, it was discovered many who were diagnosed with alcoholism, drug addictions, anxiety disorders and/or depression had these ‘issues’ and disorders due the true underlying cause – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Mental health practitioners (psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors and social workers) dug deep into the study of patients and individuals who suffered from PTSD, as well as the aforementioned other mental health disorders linked to it. They were interested to find out if the mental health issues were concurrent or co-existing, or whether one created the other (The ‘chicken or egg phenomena‘ – which came first?).

Furthermore, even though PTSD in most individuals was acutely similar, it was imperative to also recognize it in terms of differential diagnoses – not everyone was the same in terms of their personalities, or how they were coping with it.

This article will explore how PTSD awareness has evolved, how it’s currently assessed, diagnosed and treated. I’ll finally take a look at how hypnosis has been introduced as one of the treatments and some studies behind its use and effectiveness.

 

WHAT IS POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER?

Woman in darkened room alone and depressed.Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a clinical mental illness as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V (DMS V) [1]. It’s created and manifested from exposure to trauma related to death or the threat of death. It can also be created and caused by sexual violence (rape or molestations) or serious injury (car accidents, home or work-related accidents, etc.).

Whenever someone is exposed to a situation that’s frightening, violent or catastrophic, repeatedly, or even just one time, and which is perceived as intense, this can create trauma in an individual.

For example, being exposed to accidents, crimes of violence, wars or even natural disasters, where one perceives it as a threat to life, can lead to trauma.

Individuals exposed to these situations are more inclined to feel helpless or powerless, leading to feeling intensely stressed out and traumatized because they cannot control the situation.

Furthermore, when these situations happen out of the blue, and are totally ‘unexpected’, it creates a greater sense of helplessness in the individual.

 

PTSD AND FLASHBACKS:

When an individual suffers from PTSD, they become ‘traumatized’. People use the term traumatized loosely often in everyday conversations, but those with PTSD are truly traumatized. Many suffer from recurrent negative thoughts, intensely vivid nightmares and flashbacks, which characterize the true essence of traumatization. People with PTSD will experience sudden intrusive negative thoughts that literally come out of nowhere and that overwhelm them where they feel out of control.

Many PTSD sufferers experience intense and recurring nightmares. Too often, their dreams and nightmares have themes or replays of what happened to them which traumatized them in the first place. They relive their accidents or traumatic events when they sleep.

Flashbacks are similar to nightmares; however, they occur during the individuals’ waking hours. They can be in the middle of something, when all of a sudden something triggers their thoughts and they literally feel like they’re thrown into the traumatic situation all over again. For example, some war veterans may be watching a movie that has violence or a war theme, and as they watch they suddenly go back into their mind (unconsciously) to their own experiences and believe what they are watching is real, and they act in real time accordingly as they would in the real situation!

 

WALKING ON EGG SHELLS:

Woman laying on couch feeling depressedIndividuals who suffer from PTSD spend most of their lives after the traumatic event feeling extremely nervous, or on edge all of the time. They literally feel like they’re “walking on egg shells” waiting to have something traumatic happen again!

Most PTSD suffers have an extremely difficult time focusing and concentrating on the rigors of their everyday lives. They are startled easily, and nervous to ‘certain triggers’ (people, places, things) which serve as reminders to their past traumatic events. No matter how safe they may be, they never feel safe. They’re always in a ‘fight or flight’ response mode waiting for something potentially bad to happen. This adds to stress as our body chemistry responses to danger is designed to last for just a few minutes to get us through the danger, and not for long periods of time.

Many PTSD suffers have a hard time processing their emotions. They become disconnected, even ignorant to positive thoughts, feelings and memories. Everything they think and feel has a ‘black cloud’ hovering over it, or so it would appear to them. Moreover, some individuals become so out of tune with their thoughts and feelings they literally feel disconnected from their bodies. They no longer enjoy their life, rather their life has gone from enduring life after the traumatic event to now ‘existing’.

When individuals get to this point in their lives, it’s not uncommon for them to develop behaviors that focus on avoidance. In the beginning, it’s not uncommon for them to avoid people, places and situations that remind them of the traumatic event they’ve experienced.

As time goes on, the ‘avoidance’ becomes transferred toward many other people, places and situations in their lives, even the ones that used to provide them with the greatest experiences of happiness and peace. Individuals who used to ‘love driving’ may avoid wanting to get behind the wheel of a car all together because the accident they were in has left them traumatized. Sadly, for many with PTSD their symptoms go untreated.

So, now we can understand where the person with PTSD has got to this state and symptoms they’re experiencing. Getting diagnosed and into treatment is the next step on road to recovery.

 

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS FOR PTSD?

Trauma sufferer with DoctorMany individuals who suffer from PTSD in the early stages will often self-medicate. When I refer to self-medicate, I mean by either using drugs or alcohol. It’s easy to acquire sedatives over-the-counter at pharmacies, and many will use sleeping pills to not only help them sleep at night, but also to try and dull their senses during their waking hours.

More individuals will turn to alcohol! Let’s face it, it’s readily accessible and can be used at any time. For some, they use it to numb and dull their senses, or get them to the pass out state for sleep. Conversely, some individuals will use it as their ‘courage in a bottle’ to help them get through their days (work and social lives).

In the end, the longer one uses and abuses either of these methods, the more likely they are prone to develop addictions and depression.

Those who opt to see their physician or a psychiatrist will be offered anti-anxiety medications [2] to try and help them keep their thoughts and emotions in check. For some, the drugs will help them with functioning in their everyday lives. The idea with the drugs is to ‘help them cope’, until they overcome the traumatic thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, for many, the drugs only numb or mask, but do not take the memories away.

Some individuals will be prescribed anti-depressants [2]. The trauma they experienced may have led them to become withdrawn or introverted from society and living, which has led to intense feelings of depression. The medications may work to help alleviate the depressive feelings, but in most situations will not remove the traumatic memories.

The main treatments for people with PTSD are psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two. Everyone is different, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. Some people may need to try different treatments to find what works best for their symptoms” [3].

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) [4] is often the first therapy choice for treating PTSD [3].

CBT helps individuals process current thoughts and feelings differently. CBT helps people becoming more focused on their moment to moment awareness and ‘think intentionally’! CBT teaches individuals to use methods and skills to bring them back to the present moment instead of living in the past – reliving the traumatic events.

CBT also encourages individuals to discuss the experience that traumatized them to ‘get it out’ and help them realize it’s a ‘past event’ that has nothing to do with what is happening in the present. These ‘talk sessions’ can greatly assist in helping people who have developed avoidance issues. The hallmark of CBT is empowerment. CBT teaches clients and empowers them to tale back total control of their lives through controlling their thoughts that leads to their emotions.

There have been recent studies on hypnosis as an alternative or adjunct therapy to CBT and I’ll explore this for you in the next section.

 

PTSD AND HYPNOSIS:

Woman in therapy for PTSDThere is no one medication or therapy that works for everybody. But usually with the help of trials one can be found to provide some relief for a PTSD sufferer. So, neither CBT or hypnotherapy can solve all problems. CBT is an intensive therapy requiring significant work outside formal sessions and this can be challenging for sufferers. Hypnosis doesn’t work for everybody as it requires a level of suggestibility and imagination on the part of the patient. However, sufferers of PTSD are good candidates for hypnosis and learning self-hypnosis techniques due to their mind’s ability to flashbacks and relive the events of the trauma.

By way of an introduction hypnosis can help individuals who suffer from PTSD in one of two ways.

First, it can serve as a great tool for helping folks to relax and de-stress whenever they start to feel nervous, or have flashbacks. Second, it can help individuals block out the negative intrusive memories embedded in their unconscious minds.

Hypnosis can help individuals learn to relax. Through a series of relaxation techniques and suggestions, the mind will become retrained to scrutinize stressful situations and events differently. Stress and anxiety hypnosis teach the individual to respond differently. And how does one break free of their negative response ruts? By helping one to re-train their perception of what they are experiencing.

Hypnosis can help people to feel better about themselves, especially when intrusive PTSD flashbacks occur. It works with the unconscious mind that continually creates and recreates the stressful perceptions leading to flashbacks and nightmares.

By tapping into the source, hypnosis helps modify and re-train the problems, negative perceptions and memories in the unconscious mind. The source (the unconscious mind) begins to learn how to perceive similar situations differently, or in less stressing ways. Hypnosis also helps the person block out irrelevant perceptions and events which led to the initial trauma, which later led to the nervousness, nightmares and flashbacks.

Let’s look at a few studies involving effectiveness of hypnosis as a therapy treatment for PTSD.

The first cited study involves 32 chronic combat-related PTSD patients suffering with insomnia – a common symptom for PTSD suffers. The group was split into two with one receiving medication and the other hypnotherapy. The study author concluded “Hypnotherapeutic treatment revealed a significant primary effect on post-traumatic stress symptoms as measured by the post-traumatic stress disorder scale. This effect was always present at the follow-up one month later. Other benefits seen in the hypnotherapy group included decreased intrusion and avoidance responses and improvement in all of the sleep variables assessed” [5].

The next is a case study involving a woman who suffered trauma when large glass doors collapsed at her place of work and engulfed her on two separate occasions over a year. Name used was Julie and she was treated by a psychologist using hypnosis who documented each of the seven (7) sessions. The therapist tackled Julie’s anxiety and low self-esteem and feeling at fault for the accidents. Breathing and relaxation techniques were taught along with other coping strategies. The author wrote: “The use of a combination of hypnosis, cognitive behaviour strategies, exposure techniques, and relaxation hypnosis in the treatment of PTSD has been well documented, and appeared to work well in the case of Julie, reinforcing and enhancing an overall treatment approach. Additionally, Julie felt that she was much better equipped to deal with any distressing events in the future” [6].

Finally, Spiegel, Cardena noted in their paper ‘New uses of hypnosis in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder’ [7], “Hypnosis can be used to help patients face and bear a traumatic experience by embedding it in a new context, acknowledging helplessness during the event, and yet linking that experience with remoralizing memories such as efforts at self-protection, shared affection with friends who were killed, or the ability to control the environment at other times.”

Sufferers of PTSD wishing to explore hypnotherapy as a treatment should discuss with their physician options and referral to a hypnotherapist who has experience in helping others with trauma. Some psychologists are trained in hypnosis but professional hypnotherapists who specialize in trauma patients should also be pursued and interviewed.

 

CONCLUSION:

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has come to prominence as a diagnosis in recent years due to the number of veterans deployed to war-torn zones returning and struggling to fit back into normal society and ravaged by their exposure to the horrors and demands of combat. But PTSD can be an outcome induced by any type of trauma and involvement in accident or witness to a triggering event.

Symptoms can include flashbacks and reliving of the event triggered during the day or as nightmares. Insomnia is a common side effect. Sufferers can live with anxiety and stress, depression, difficulty focusing, lack of motivation, and feeling of helplessness and social disconnection.

Treatments include medication and therapies, and/or both. Addressing the root cause usually requires therapies and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and counseling is in common use for PTSD sufferers. In recent years hypnotherapy has been introduced in conjunction with CBT and medication or as an alternative with success. Multiple sessions are usually required. Seek out a referral from your physician for an experienced counselor or hypnotherapist in trauma.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES RELATED TO POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER:

[1] DSM-5 criteria for PTSD – Nature >>>

[2] Medications for PTSD – American Psychological Association (APA) >>>

[3] Psychotherapy Treatments for PTSD – Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) >>>

[4] Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 101 >>>

[5] Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Chronic Combat-Related PTSD Patients Suffering From Insomnia >>>

[6] The Use of Hypnosis in the Treatment of PTSD – Case Study – Carter >>>

[7] New uses of hypnosis in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder – Spiegel, Cardena >>>

Library of Self-Hypnosis Downloads Products >>>

Erika Slater CH
Free At Last Hypnosis
Massachusetts

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Hypnosis for Pregnancy – Before, During and After Childbirth

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Pregnant woman in bed feeling stress

Pregnant woman in bed feeling stress

In this article you’ll discover:

  1. The multiple benefits of using hypnosis during the distinct phases of your pregnancy, prenatal and postnatal.
  2. How hypnobirthing can help you during the birthing experience with pain management and relaxation techniques.
  3. Further reading, studies and resource links around hypnosis for pregnancy phases.

Pregnancy for a woman should be one of life’s joyous experiences. But too often it can be filled with anxiousness for the soon to be mother. A woman goes through many body and mental changes both before and after pregnancy and it can quickly become overwhelming and spoil the experience [1].

Traditionally, when people talk about hypnosis and pregnancy, they’re focusing on what is generally called hypnobirthing. Hypnobirthing is a birthing method using self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques to help a woman feel physically, mentally and spiritually prepared and reduce her awareness of fear, anxiety and pain during childbirth.

While this is obviously an important part of the whole cycle nonetheless hypnosis offers help and support during the time before and after the childbirth event. After all, a woman experiences pregnancy for normally nine months, and then her body is changing back to normalcy for a few months after.

People tend to think about hypnosis for helping with giving-up bad habits, such as quit smoking, or eating sugar or unhealthy diets for weight loss. But as popular as these topics are for hypnosis, and many women who smoke look towards quitting when they become pregnant [2], hospitals and medical professionals look additionally towards hypnosis with helping pain management [3] and relaxation both before and after surgery. Because of this it’s not surprising hypnosis has become accepted by the medical community for aiding woman with birthing.

In this article I want to explore the use of hypnosis in all phases of pregnancy and its viability and help during the important prenatal and postnatal phases and not only during the birthing event.

 

HYPNOSIS DURING PREGNANCY:

Pregnant woman eating salad in kitchenHypnosis can be a tool for helping women who are pregnant, whether they’re in the early or latter stages of pregnancy. Hypnosis can be beneficial for three very important reasons; maintaining physical comfort, controlling nutritious eating, and supporting optimum emotional health.

Maintaining Physical Comfort:

While pregnant, a woman’s body undergoes many changes. Typically, they’ll be increased weight gain (a woman is after all eating to provide ample nourishment for two), but also hormonal changes as well. If you’ve ever gained any appreciable body weight, not only does your body begin to feel different, but you feel different as well.

Added body weight can make an individual feel less energetic, even lethargic because they feel ‘heavy’.

Since you feel heavier then you may start to feel more tired, perhaps even sore, thus leading to lethargy. When you get into this feeling, you may begin to lack the ambition to do much, even taking care of yourself physically. It’s important to try to maintain a degree of energy, that’ll encourage you to keep up your physical wellness and comfort.

Using hypnosis can help you feel more comfortable in your body by helping you become more aware of the physical changes and sensations. Instead of perceiving added body weight, or ‘pain’ as a deterrent or reason for not engaging in regular routines, hypnosis can be used to teach pregnant women physical changes are a part of the evolution and necessity of pregnancy. It can help foster beliefs and feelings things are normal and on track.

Furthermore, hypnosis can ‘distract’ the mind from focusing on unwanted physical discomfort, and instead focus on the positive sensations going on in the body. While under hypnosis, pregnant women can benefit from the cues and post-hypnotic suggestions that’ll lead and guide them into engaging in everyday activities, helping them to feel less lethargic and more ambitious about what they can achieve and perform every day.

When you feel ‘extra weight’ on your body, it can naturally make you feel zapped from your energy and strength. This can lead some pregnant women to feel burdened. Hypnosis can help detract from those feelings and thoughts, leading them to want to be more active.

Controlling Eating:

When a woman becomes pregnant there is the necessity to eat increased calories of healthy food. Just because someone is pregnant, doesn’t mean they should eat everything they can or want because they ‘feel justified’ in doing so now they’re eating for two! It’s easy for a pregnant woman to gain more weight than they need to, and a lot of this can be due to over-eating, or eating more nutrition-less sugar-laden foods. The occasional ice-cream tub at 2am in the morning isn’t going to crack the scales but occasional can quickly become a habit!

Hypnosis can help with food choices. Post-hypnotic suggestions can help the unconscious mind become more deliberate in seeking out healthier foods, becoming conscious of quality of the calories ingested, and creating aversions to eating junk foods. Hypnosis can help with making healthy food choices while not feeling deprived or placing unnecessary limits on calories. There are, after all, plenty of healthy calories out there for you to consume.

Supporting Optimal Emotional Health:

Gaining weight and eating the wrong kinds of foods can wreak havoc not only on one’s body, but also on mental state. Junk foods have the ability to make one not only feel lethargic, but also can depress the body and central nervous system. Throughout the pregnancy, if a woman is not taking the proper vitamins, or perhaps has been prescribed ‘drugs’, this can also affect moods and emotional health.

Many women who are pregnant also struggle with ‘body image’ and some feel the quality of their ‘feminine beauty’ has been compromised. Even though this is quite different from women who suffer from eating disorders (Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia), there are similarities to the dysmorphia in these disorders some pregnant women experience. Some women become extremely anxious, distraught and depressed because of the weight gain and changes. This is normal.

We live in a society obsessed and focused on ‘self-image’, especially body image for women. When it comes to being pregnant, this can up the ante for some women. Hypnosis can help alleviate these negative perceptions and help women feel better about their bodies.

Since body image is ‘a state of mind’, hypnosis can help the unconscious mind get in a state of acceptance, of not only one’s body, but also the new circumstances affecting it. Hypnosis can foster increased feelings of self-esteem, self-worth, and a greater acceptance of one’s temporary body state, while diminishing anxiety or feelings of being depressed.

Often times the ‘depressions’ associated with pregnancy (during and post-partum), are caused by the changing circumstances and hormones. Hypnosis has the ability to prevent, impede or at least help shift moods and control emotions.

 

HYPNOSIS FOR BIRTHING:

Mother holding baby few seconds after birthHypnosis can be effective for aiding in childbirth and pain management. You see, hypnosis is an altered state of mind. Hypnosis leads to a heightened state of awareness in the individual. Individuals are able to shift their focus to specific qualities of an experience and hold them there. This means they can put their attention on things they want to think and feel, and avoid focusing on what they don’t want to, in this case birthing pains!

When it comes to child birthing, hypnosis helps produce tunnel vision. Through tunnel vision, you’re able to isolate and intensify your focus on one key perception or experience. When you get to this point, you’re able to hold your concentration there. You only see, hear and feel what you choose to.

Everything surrounding the experience gets blocked out, in this case, the pain of child birthing!

Under hypnosis, the therapist gives post-hypnotic suggestions which will be used in the future, in this case… the delivery! Hypnosis is useful when the individual has effective triggers they can use and focus their attention on. Much like breathing techniques, individuals using post-hypnotic suggestions are able to block out the pain, put their focus completely on the positives of the child birth and in fact, keep their minds focused on the joys of the completed outcome – the birth.

Hypnosis doesn’t eradicate the pain of birthing completely but allows you to cope better and remain in a calmer state during the more intense periods of the birth. To get a sense of what to expect read this account of the experience by three different women [4].

If you’re thinking of having an all-natural child birth and anxious it might be uncomfortable and painful, look into hypnosis as an alternative or to compliment your birthing classes. Hypnosis can help people feel in control and possess great empowerment over all areas of their lives.

 

HYPNOSIS BEYOND PREGNANCY:

Woman feeling sad holding newborn babyAfter you’ve given birth, you still may feel the need to ‘work’ on things using hypnosis. It’s common for women whose given birth to want to try to lose the weight they’ve added, sooner rather than later. Furthermore, some new mothers have become caught up in the cycle of eating too much since becoming pregnant, or too much of the wrong kind of food.

Some women have a difficult time breaking free from this eating cycle.

Hypnosis can be a tool for helping with this weight loss.

Just as hypnosis is effective with controlling caloric consumption and the quality of food before the birth, it can help with facilitating a mindset that’ll gravitate toward proper eating, exercise and weight loss post-pregnancy.

When you’ve been eating a certain way for a period of time, in this case the 9 months leading up to the pregnancy, both the mind and brain become conditioned to eating a particular way. Furthermore, the body becomes use to the excess calories. One becomes ‘habituated’ to eating more. Sometimes these cycles and habits of eating need to be broken after the birth.

Moods can also change after a woman gives birth. Some women experience bouts of extreme post-partum depression. Many new mothers also experience anxiety – fearing they may accidentally hurt their new born, or not do enough to keep it healthy. Hypnosis can be helpful in not only relieving anxiety, but also addressing post-partum depression, or at least minimizing it [5]. You see, hypnosis can be used for confidence building, as well as for relaxation. If you will, it can help ‘unburden’ new mothers of feeling inadequate.

 

WHERE TO GET HYPNOSIS HELP FOR PREGNANCY:

As I mentioned there are hypnotherapy practices that specialize in hypnobirthing. But these same places can provide help during all phases. Discuss with your medical doctor or specialist this option and usually they can provide a referral for you. Because it’s a common use of hypnosis these days then usually those in the medical field have more exposure to these services locally to you. If you’re also taking birthing classes then you can usually get a referral from the leader of the class as well.

If you’re struggling to get a referral then do an online search yourself and interview a few over the phone to see what their experience is and if they can help with all the phases of pregnancy.

Hypnosis is an excellent practice for pregnancies, during and after. Its credible and proven qualities can help make the whole experience of pregnancy and birthing and beyond a joyous time for a woman.

 

CONCLUSION:

Hypnosis is commonly used during the birthing process for a woman to aid with pain management and relaxation. This is known as hypnobirthing. However, because pregnancy covers a much longer period impacting the physical and mental well-being of the woman before and after birthing, hypnosis can provide help and support during all phases of her pregnancy.

Hypnosis can provide support during pre-natal care involving maintaining physical comfort, controlling nutritious eating, and supporting emotional health. In addition, after birthing it can help in reducing post-partum depression and provide support in any anxious feelings you may have about caring for your new baby.

If you continue to have anxious thoughts about your pregnancy then check out this hypnosis session on reducing pain in childbirth naturally here >>>

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES RELATED TO HYPNOBIRTHING:

[1] Pregnancy Health Center – WebMD >>>

[2] Quit Smoking Service using hypnosis – Erika Slater >>>

[3] Hypnosis for Management of Pain Relief – A History and Uses >>>

[4] What It’s Really Like to Have a Hypnobirth >>>

[5] Treating postpartum depression with hypnosis: addressing specific symptoms presented by the client >>>

Library of Self-Hypnosis Downloads Products >>>

Erika Slater CH
Free At Last Hypnosis
Massachusetts

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Suicide: Suicidal Thoughts and Prevention and Treatments

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Woman sitting alone on rock staring out to sea in thoughtful pose

Woman sitting alone on rock staring out to sea in thoughtful pose

In this article you’ll discover:

  1. How to break through the stigma and start the discussion with those contemplating suicide.
  2. The four types of suicide and common myths surrounding those with suicidal thoughts.
  3. Current treatments and what you can do to help a loved one or friend, and those impacted by somebody who takes their own life.
  4. Further reading, studies and resource links around suicidal thoughts and treatments.

Suicide is one of the most difficult topics to talk about because of the stigma attached to it.

A few years ago, suicide jolted my life. I was in shock for a long time. But this isn’t the place to linger on my specific incident but it raised a lot of questions about suicide as a topic for me and it felt the right timing to do research to get some answers now there’s been some time distance since it happened.

It isn’t just the stigma alone that deters people from discussing it, but also the ‘concern’ talking about it may actually lead someone to contemplating it, or following through on thoughts they have about taking their own life. But research tells us this just isn’t reality. Not talking about suicide is more likely to lead to a tragedy.

Throughout time, suicide has been deemed; a ‘sin’, an act of cowardice, behavior that demonstrates complete selfishness, or a response to mental illness (depression), and even in some cultures, a dignified act under certain circumstances.

When you view suicide within any and/or all of these contexts, you can see why discussing it for some people would invoke the same feelings as discussing politics or religion. Most have different views about suicide, and it can be taboo to discuss it just like politics and religion.

The sad part is, when someone close to you, or someone you know or are aware of, takes their own life, regret becomes hindsight, which is always 20/20. The ‘ifs’ come into play – “If only I would have just listened to them, or encouraged them to talk about it…” Taboo and discomfort aside, suicide is, and should always be, a topic to put “out in the light” and discussed!

 

CHANGING THE CONTEXT AND DISCUSSION:

Man offering supporting hand to girl who is depressedOften times it takes a major media event to shed light and bring to the public’s attention how serious a problem suicide truly is. Moreover, when it involves an individual with celebrity status taking their own life, whether it be Kate Spade (American fashion designer) or Anthony Bourdain (CNN chef and storyteller) in 2018, the general public becomes ‘more’ aware suicide is indeed a problem and real.

The sad part is, people tend to become more cognizant of people taking their own lives when a celebrity commits suicide, that the majority of others taking their lives, perhaps numbering in the hundreds every month, are never made known to the public. The moral of the story, society grieves celebrities who take their own lives, but it doesn’t grieve enough for the everyday “Joe’s” and “Jane’s” who take their lives.

Suicide should not be glamorized or manipulated by the media to get ratings because someone famous has died. It should be discussed in the media, in schools, in households more often to not only inform people, but rather offer hope and support there is help out there. Too often times, this isn’t done and this is how in some cases, suicide can, or could have been, prevented.

If the way society approached suicide is ever going to change, it first has to change the way it perceives this horrific event. Throughout history, suicide has always been a topic of ‘tainted’ discussion. Many elementary schools and high schools have tended to shy away from discussing it as part of the curriculum, or as a general topic. Too many parents of the children in schools, and school boards have always viewed it as taboo – thinking… it may give children ideas.

Interestingly, in these same schools, iconic literary works such as Shakespearean plays as well as other novels are still a part of the curriculum having at the core of their romantic tragedies suicide as ‘the answer’, or suicide in some instances was the honorable thing to do for the main characters in the story’s plot. This is how most of us are introduced to suicide, but isn’t how it should be.

When people think about or read about suicide, they often compartmentalize it or stereotype it as being the mere act of one killing themselves because they are unhappy with their life or they’re deeply depressed. As true as this can be, suicide runs much deeper in terms or underlying causes, as well as one eventually following through in taking their own life.

 

THE FOUR TYPES OF SUICIDE:

Emile Durkheim did a study on the types of suicides nearly 70 years ago [1] and came up with four distinct causes or reasons individuals commit the act. He asserted suicide types will often times fit into one of these four categories; Egoistic, Altruistic, Anomic and Fatalistic.

Egoistic Suicide is the type of suicide most people associate with when they read about a death in the media or in schools. The suicide is based on extreme feelings of loneliness, or rebuff – either from a personal rejection, or overall from society. Over a period of time a sense of ‘loneliness’ will be perceived by the individual and this may lead to intense feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and haplessness.

Rather than dealing with this internal struggle of rejection, they choose to end their lives by believing they’ll find some sense of solace, or believe they’re doing others a favor by disappearing for good. Furthermore, some may even take their own lives to ‘punish’ those who have rejected them. Many of this ‘suicide-type’ have low self-esteem and often dissociate themselves from others.

Altruistic Suicide is the type of suicide often times associated with martyrdom, or a sense of self-sacrifice for the greater good. You read about this more in the media today when it comes to terrorism or cult affiliations destructive in nature. A suicide bomber is willing to walk into a market place (bomb strapped to their bodies) to die for the name of their group or cause. You see this also in some cult groups such as Heaven’s Gate, who killed themselves believing they’d catch the Hale Bopp Comet back in the late 1990’s, or the infamous Jonestown Massacre led by Reverend Jim Jones in the 1970’s in Guyana.

Anomic Suicides are usually the least predictable type of suicides carried out during intense periods of stress or frustration, or after a person has experienced a major traumatic loss in their lives. At the root of it, individuals believe they’ve lost their ability to control things, their lives, their personal relationships, etc. Whatever degree of balance and control they believed they had in their lives gets turned upside down and they feel vulnerable. Unfortunately, great financial loss is often times at the root of this type of suicide and you see it in some gamblers who’ve lost their entire savings.

Fatalistic Suicide is the final type of suicide. It’s a different type of suicide in that an individual perceives themselves as having little to no value, and literally struggles with an identity crisis – “Who am I?” In the past, this type of suicide was strongly linked to ‘countries’ or regimes where members of society were suppressed and oppressed. It was common in communist countries.

Today with more insight into spousal abuse or extremely abusive dysfunctional families, this type of suicide can be linked to one feeling overwhelmed and victimized whereby they develop intense feelings of hopeless, helplessness and haplessness. For them, suicide feels like the best and sometimes only option to be ‘free’.

 

TWO COMMON MYTHS ABOUT SUICIDE AND FOUR QUESTIONS:

Woman sitting on rock staring out to sea feeling depressedAs I mentioned earlier, there are common myths linked to ‘suicide’. The first is, feeling if you discuss it, it may lead someone to actually killing themselves. Secondly, if someone is talking about killing themselves, they probably are not serious because they wouldn’t be talking about it in the first place.

These are both dangerous myths which can lead to further isolation by those considering suicide.

Discussing suicide will not put ideas into peoples’ heads that weren’t already there. Just because someone is depressed or, down and out, doesn’t make them stupid! If they have thoughts about suicide, then those thoughts have most likely come long before your discussion with them.

All discussion or threats about suicide should be taken seriously!

Of course, if someone is ‘joking’ and using sarcasm to refer to themselves in that light, most individuals are wise enough to discern it isn’t a true threat. Conversely, if one is discussing suicide and death often, or out of context, then you should take it seriously and use what experts refer to as the ‘Four Questions’ – Why, When, How and Where?

The first question, which is perhaps the most obvious one to ask an individual who is threatening to commit suicide is, “Why do you want to kill yourself?” The reason this question is important is two-fold. First off, it assesses the degree of severity for how intent one is on following through with suicide. By asking this question, you see what the trigger or cause is, or was, that led the individual to want to take their own life.

Secondly, this question demonstrates the ‘thoughtfulness’ for the intent of taking one’s life. It first serves as thoughtful for the listener to gauge how serious they are in committing suicide. Next it demonstrates the severity of the potential act for the one wanting to commit it. They may have thought it through, but actually hearing it in a conversation with someone else may make them refrain from doing it, and following through, because they may have an ‘ah-ha’ moment whereby they realize how irrational their thinking is. For some potential suicide victims, they want to be heard, felt understood and wanted, so asking them ‘why’ may provide them with this.

The second question to ask a potential suicide victim is, “When are you planning to take your own life?” The rationale for asking this question is to determine not only how serious they are, but where they are in terms of planning the event. If they can offer you a specific date and/or time, they obviously have put some serious planning into it.

Furthermore, when they’re able to qualify the rationale for their timeline, the likelihood of them doing it goes up to an even higher level of concern. For example, if they inform you they plan on doing it after a major holiday or event because they don’t want to ruin things for their loved ones, or that this is going to be their final good-bye, you can be sure they’re extremely serious!

The third question to ask is, “How do you plan on taking your own life?” Do they have a plan in place and the means for carrying it out? When asking this question, you’re finding out if they already possess the means for taking their own life. If they inform you they’ve gotten sleeping pills because they’re afraid of a violent death and they ‘just want to go peacefully’, they have motive, rationale and means. Conversely, if they’re in possession of firearms and believe in a quick harsh type of death, then once again, they’re demonstrating their level of severity and intent.

Finally, you want to ask them, “Where do you plan on committing suicide?’, to see if their plan is complete and close to fruition. When they tell you, they plan on going to some secluded area, or even checking into a hotel so their loved ones will not be the ones to find them, they’ve also put empathy and sympathy into their equation, meaning they’ve totally thought their plan through. When they’re already demonstrating remorse before committing the act and ‘sorry’ to those who will find them, they are beyond a shadow of a doubt serious!

 

SUICIDE AND MENTAL ILLNESS:

Somebody with a serious or chronic mental illness is at an increased risk of suicide. This includes those people diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Bi-polar and PTSD [2] because these can have severe depression as a symptom and we know from experience depression can lead to people taking their own life if not diagnosed and treated. Depression itself can be treated with medication and other therapies [3] but we also know those suffering with mental illness can stop treatment and quickly slip back into being at risk once again.

However, research tells us a few things to be careful about assuming with mental illness. Not all people with mental illness have suicidal thoughts or are at risk, and not all people who commit suicide have a mental health issue causing them to suffer from depression [4]. One recent study in China has particularly thrown doubt on conventional wisdom and rethinking the role of mental illness in suicide [5].

If you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness or caring for somebody who has it, then being vigilant and aware of the risks and ensuring treatment is ongoing can reduce anxiety over potential for suicide.

 

TREATMENTS AND WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Woman in counseling session looking depressedCrisis situations should be treated as an emergency calling 911 or a local emergency number. There is also the National Suicide Prevention Number at 1-800-273-8255. At the emergency room in a hospital you’ll be treated for any injuries, and if appropriate receive medications to help with the crisis and allow you to be assessed for any follow-up treatment you may need [6].

Non-crisis situations are usually addressed by common outpatient treatments depending on a professional assessment include: psychotherapy, medications, addiction treatment, and family support and education.

Psychotherapy by trained counselors and therapies used can include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) [7], Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) [8] and other therapies suggested by an attending psychiatrist.

Medications help reduce symptoms and tend to include those used for depression but because some of these provide an opportunity for overdose then the choice can vary. “Antidepressants, antipsychotic medications, anti-anxiety medications and other medications for mental illness can help reduce symptoms, which can help you feel less suicidal” [6].

As mentioned not all suicidal thoughts are rooted in mental illness, and drugs and alcohol addiction can spark situations and/or mood disorders leading to attempting suicide. Treatments include detoxification, addiction treatment programs and support groups. Primary physicians and addiction counselors can assess and recommend appropriate treatment and programs.

It’s often the case that family members, even immediate family, can be surprised by a suicide or attempted suicide. “I never knew” or “if only I’d known…” are frequent refrains. There can be a desire to “keep it under covers” or not subject others to guilt or shame of suicidal thoughts. The person may also feel if they share their thoughts it will create family conflict and doesn’t want to be bothered or deal with it. Because of HIPAA laws them medical professionals may feel they can’t reach out to the family unless the patient will harm themselves or others. However, if the patient is willing to share their situation with family then a strong family support network can be built and often provides the key to getting the person, not only the help they need, but providing support during their treatment.

But what can you do if and when you know or suspect someone is serious about committing suicide? There should be little to no hesitation on your part once you’ve examined the severity of the intent of the individual! The potential victim needs to be psychiatrically assessed and therefore needs to be taken to a hospital and receive the proper care and assessment.

 

HYPNOSIS AND SUICIDE:

There are few if any available studies published on use of hypnosis with those suffering with suicidal thoughts. There are studies on use in depression and I covered these in “Can Hypnosis Really Help with Depression and How Does it Work?” [3]. As depression is a common symptom in those considering suicide then hypnosis can offer an alternative if medication and other therapies have not helped or can provide complimentary therapy to these treatments.

As my article on depression mentioned hypnosis itself isn’t a therapy but a vehicle for providing treatment by a skilled therapist who may have a number of techniques with a patient in a trance state to help control symptoms. For those with suicidal thoughts not caused by depression but a traumatic life event, then a professional hypnotherapist can aid with helping the patient navigate through the loss and negative emotions they’re feeling.

For those suffering the loss of someone to suicide or anxious for somebody who is going through suicidal thoughts then hypnosis can provide reduction of stress or anxiety for family members or close friends. It is easy to overlook the grief or helplessness of others who are impacted by the knowledge or events of what somebody else is suffering.

We are social creatures and shouldn’t underestimate bonds we have with others be they family members or close friends, and our own sense of loss or being anxious about a potential loss. Of particular concern are best friends who are at risk of entering depression at the loss of somebody who they view as center to their life. There are hypnotherapists who specialize in grief through loss and helping people through an emotional and difficult time.

If hypnosis is an avenue you wish to explore then discuss with your primary physician who can help with a referral or perform your own scan and find a local hypnotherapist experienced in helping those with depression.

 

CONCLUSION:

Suicide is often considered a taboo topic to discuss and because of this it often goes unnoticed in ordinary day to day living until a celebrity commits suicide and then it becomes a media frenzy and topic for all the wrong reasons. Normal people are struggling with suicidal thoughts every day and looking for help and understanding. Important lives are being lost because the “cries for help” are going unnoticed or not acted upon by others.

Suicide isn’t just the domain of the mentally ill and depressed, although these with severe depression are higher risk. It also walks the corridors in those who’ve suffered a traumatic event or loss and immersed in a deadly cycle of grief. Whatever the cause the myths surrounding suicide, and its discussion, include those who feel if it’s talked about it’s more likely to make the person act on their thoughts. Alternatively, if somebody is talking about their suicidal thoughts, they’re not really serious about it as if they were, they’d keep it to themselves. Both of these we know are myths.

There are a number of treatments available for those considering suicide. These include medications and psychotherapy. Therapy allows a professional discussion to happen with the person in an attempt to begin the long-term healing process. Therapy to support or replace medication with particular diagnoses includes CBT, DBT, hypnosis and other specific alternatives.

In closing, all discussions or intended attempts with regards to suicide should always be taken seriously!

One talk may be all it takes to save someone’s life.

If you’re specifically grieving the loss of somebody close then you can download a free hypnosis session to help on coping with the suicide of a loved one here >>>

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES RELATED TO SUICIDE:

[1] Le Suicide – Emile Durkheim >>>

[2] Mental Illness and Suicide >>>

[3] Can Hypnosis Really Help with Depression and How Does it Work? >>>

[4] Examining the Claim that 80–90% of Suicide Cases Had Depression >>>

[5] Rethinking the Role of Mental Illness in Suicide >>>

[6] Suicide and Suicidal Thoughts – Mayo Clinic >>>

[7] Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 101 >>>

[8] Dialectical Behavior Therapy – Psychology Today >>>

Library of Self-Hypnosis Downloads Products >>>

Erika Slater CH
Free At Last Hypnosis
Massachusetts

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What are Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms and Treatments and Can Hypnosis Help?

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Young woman experiencing irritable bowel syndrome or other gut condition

Young woman experiencing irritable bowel syndrome or other gut condition

In this article you’ll discover:

  1. What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms and treatments, and current thinking around these topics.
  2. The psychological impact of IBS and how it can impact more than just your health.
  3. How hypnosis can help with the treatment of IBS and the expectations you should have for outcomes.
  4. Further reading, studies and resource links around IBS and various treatments.

While Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) has been around a long time, what’s different now is medicine is identifying it more readily, as well as more sufferers are seeking medical attention for treatment. Furthermore, the fact our diets of today have become more laden with additives and chemicals has also contributed to IBS being a more common condition.

IBS causes its sufferers tremendous discomfort, pain, and worry. Not knowing when it may strike causes psychological impact leading to stress in itself. For those with severe symptoms it can be a debilitating condition and impact quality of life.

Below I’ll discuss current thinking around what is IBS, its causes and symptoms, and treatments available. How it impacts more than just your health and who’s at greatest risk to develop it. Studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of various treatments in particular around integrative and alternative medicine. I’ll conclude with a section devoted to hypnotherapy and how it can realistically help as a treatment.

Let’s get going…

 

WHAT IS IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS)?

Man holding stomach experiencing gut painIBS is a functional gastrointestinal disorder with chronic, and even debilitating symptoms that often times include; abdominal pain, bloating, and altered bowel behaviors such as constipation and/or diarrhea, and most times alternating between these two symptoms.

IBS is the most common gastrointestinal condition worldwide and the most frequent disorder presented by patients consulting a gastrointestinal specialist – gastroenterologist [1].

IBS can begin in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood and can recur unexpectedly for periods at any age of the individual’s life.

Most people with IBS have unique experiences within the range of known symptoms. IBS conditions can significantly decrease a person’s quality of life.

It’s worth noting only about 40% of those who have IBS symptoms seek help from a physician [1].

IBS has been referred to by many different names – mucous colitis, nervous colon, spastic colon, and irritable colon. IBS often times gets confused with colitis or other inflammatory diseases of the intestinal tract.

 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome often times has as its most prevalent symptoms abdominal discomforts such as bloating and cramping, and of course the more intense symptoms are chronic diarrhea and/or constipation. Most time individuals will experience a culmination of these symptoms, not only on a weekly basis, but on a daily basis. As the disorder progresses and becomes more intense, the symptoms appear more frequently. The individual who suffers with IBS recognizes the disorder is out of hand when the symptoms are so frequent and intense they hinder their daily living and lifestyles!

When an individual has IBS they’re more prone to a sensitive digestive system with heightened reactivity, so their gastrointestinal tract responds quite differently to normal gut stimuli, such as the passage of solids, gas, and fluid through the intestines. These less than normal movements may result in difficulty passing stool, or sudden and urgent elimination. Up to 20% of those who’ve IBS report untimely passage of stool [1].

Individuals with IBS who experience bowl disorders often times are experiencing stress and anxiety which can exacerbate or perpetuate the symptoms! Bowel experiences and their unpredictability can lead to a high degree of anxiety for IBS patients. Stool consistency may vary enormously, ranging from entirely liquid to so firm and separated that it resembles small pebbles [1].

There are a host of symptoms occurring outside of the digestive tract that often times related and comorbid to IBS. These include; sleep disturbances, fibromyalgia, chronic pelvic pain, back pain, interstitial cystitis, temporomandibular joint disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and migraine headaches.

There have been more current studies and stats showing even more prevalent symptoms that can be related to IBS. It was found female patients who have IBS have also reported discomfort during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia). One survey showed 32% have some form of mood disorder, 27% have gastroesophageal reflux disease, and 27% have anxiety disorder [1].

 

HOW IBS AFFECTS MORE THAN JUST HEALTH:

Depressed young woman sitting on floor cryingThe majority of people with IBS often feel they can’t engage in work or social activities away from home unless they’re certain there are easily accessible bathroom facilities available. Some sufferers are in such pain even the slightest movements makes them feel uncomfortable. The chronic and continual pain and frequent bowel movements and the preoccupation with an inability to eliminate stool may make school, work, and social situations difficult for many individuals with IBS.

What often times gets overlooked though are the psychological factors that accompany the illness. Many of those suffering with IBS experience a diverse wide gambit of emotions triggered by IBS that vary in intensity. These psychological and emotional symptoms usually include; anxiety, frustration, depression, shame, fear, self-blame, guilt, anger, low self-esteem leading also to a lack of confidence. This can then create a vicious cycle as the stress and anxiety of these emotional symptoms can lead to worsening of their IBS by “feeding” the condition.

 

WHAT CAUSES AND TRIGGERS IBS?

As of this moment the primary cause or causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome hasn’t been determined. IBS presents as a functional disorder with altered patterns of intestinal muscle contractions. According to the Mayo Foundation of Education and Research [2], there are a diverse range of factors contributing to IBS. These factors can include any of the following:

Nervous system issues: When you’ve abnormalities in the nerves in your digestive system, this may cause greater than normal discomfort when the abdomen stretches from gas or stool. Poorly coordinated signals between the brain and the intestines thus cause the body to overreact to changes that normally occur in the digestive process, which can result in pain, diarrhea or constipation.

Muscle contractions in the intestine: We all have muscles in our intestines that aid in moving food through the digestive tract. Unfortunately, sometimes these muscles contract too intensely which can lead to bloating, gas and diarrhea. Conversely, when the muscular contractions are weak, it can lead to constipation.

Inflammation in the intestines: In some instances, IBS sufferers may possess too many immune-system cells in their intestines which actually create the pain as well as the diarrhea.

Changes in bacteria in the gut: Everyone has what is called microflora, which are good bacteria that maintain positive health in the intestines. Research shows those with IBS may have differing microflora than healthy individuals.

Severe Infection: Research has also shown IBS may develop by a severe bout of diarrhea that was induced by a virus or infections.

There are a host of contributing factors leading to the triggering of IBS, even when its been controlled for a long period of time. Food allergies appear to be one of the leading causes of symptoms. Some people experience worse symptoms when they consume wheat or dairy products, and several kinds of fruits, legumes and cabbage. For some it can be spicy foods.

Some individuals have as their triggers, ‘stress’! Many sufferers will assert when they’re under prolonged stressful periods in their lives, or the stress is intense, their IBS flares up. It’s important to note stress exacerbates it, but does not actually cause IBS! Women who have IBS are more prone to develop intense symptoms triggered by hormonal changes. Many women report during menstrual periods, they experience their worst set of symptoms.

 

WHO IS AT GREATER RISK FOR IBS?

There seems to be various attributes which might make one individual a greater risk for IBS than others. According to the Mayo Foundation of Education and Research [2], a host of factors needs to be considered.

First off, it would appear IBS is more prevalent in females, at least in the USA. Research has shown estrogen therapy, before or after menopause, is a risk factor. It can be more age specific occurring more frequently in people under the age of 50. Furthermore, genes tend to play a role in IBS. Either shared genes or shared environments may come into play. It could also be families share similar eating habits. Finally, one’s mental health and emotional state can serve as triggers. IBS is more common during times of anxiety, depression and other mental health ailments. Furthermore, it’s been linked to mental, emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

 

IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME TREATMENTS:

Pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndrome chartThere are a range of treatments for IBS from medical to dieting to alternative therapies.

Medical treatments usually include; muscle relaxers, anti-diarrheal medications, stool softeners, as well as anti-biotics if there’s intestinal infections or viruses. No doubt these should be prescribed and monitored under the guidance of a medical physician after tests have been run to determine the type and severity of the IBS in a patient. Some doctors may also recommend medications for pain caused by the cramps and discomfort.

Some medical practitioners will prescribe laxatives as well as fiber-based products for those individuals with IBS who have constipation problems. Even though these medications do not need a prescription, they should first be approved by physicians.

For those individuals who suffer from mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression, they may require anti-depressants and tricyclic antidepressants, a type of medication that relieves depression, as well as inhibit the activity of neurons that control the intestines to help reduce pain.

Most medical doctors will recommend improved dieting which can help reduce the triggers as well as the severity of IBS outbreaks. Doctors may refer patients to a dietitian to make sure they’re eating properly. Most dietitians will recommend patients with IBS to avoid problematic foods that can trigger their symptoms. Furthermore, practitioners will suggest patients’ ‘experiment’ with fiber. The hope with increasing and using fiber is it can reduce constipation. Unfortunately, in some cases the increased fiber diet can lead to gas and bloating, whereby a ‘fiber supplement’ may need to be used to eliminate the issue. This is why a good dietitian comes in to play to help the IBS patient find the proper balance!

There is evidence suggesting that conventional medicine alone isn’t as effective as integrative medicine where the focus is on controlling stress and relieving the symptoms. “In short, IBS is much better treated by integrative medicine than by conventional medicine [3]. There are alternative approaches too such as cognitive behavioral therapy [4], reflexology, reiki, meditation, and hypnosis. All of these approaches are aimed at helping patients with IBS manage and control their stress, which if left untreated can prime the IBS pump.

Hypnosis particularly has a long history of treating IBS and helping sufferers control their symptoms, and there has been sufficient scientific research and studies performed suggesting it as a viable treatment for IBS. It’s also beneficial because it can be applied ongoing. Because of this the next section is devoted to answering the question “can hypnosis help sufferers of IBS?

 

CAN HYPNOSIS HELP SUFFERERS OF IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME?

Walking talking with her therapistFirst off, some basics of hypnosis and how it works for IBS sufferers…

Hypnosis is an altered state of mind and leads to a heightened state of awareness. Individuals are able to shift their focus to specific qualities of an experience and hold them there. This means they can put their attention on thoughts leading to what they want, and avoid focusing on what they don’t want. Our brains are naturally wired to focus on what we don’t want, such as to avoid feeling the pain and stress of IBS leading to their symptoms.

Unfortunately, this negative focus tends to keep the problem in our subconscious. Under hypnosis we can learn to train the unconscious mind to instead focus on the positive – what we want!

In hypnosis, and through tunnel vision, you’re able to isolate, intensify and ingrate your focus on one key perception or experience and hold your concentration there. You only see, hear and feel what you choose to. Everything surrounding the experience gets blocked… the pain and discomfort of IBS!

Under hypnosis, the hypnotherapist offers post-hypnotic suggestions which can be used in the future by a patient. In this case whenever someone with IBS begins to get too stressed out, or they feel the pain from the symptoms of their IBS, the post-hypnotic cues kick in and the individual “nips things in the bud” so to speak before the symptoms overtake them.

Dealing with IBS using hypnosis is also called “gut directed hypnotherapy” and there have been studies conducted to determine the effectiveness for this treatment on IBS. One study was conducted with follow-up over 5 years [5]. Improvements in symptoms and quality of life were experienced by patients in the study. “The beneficial effects did not appear to decline with time since patients who had finished treatment more than five years ago maintained symptom improvement just as well as those who had completed only a year ago. Similarly, extra-colonic features, quality of life, anxiety, and depression scores were still better at follow up compared with pre-HT levels” [5].

The study concluded: “… the beneficial effects of HT are long lasting, with continued improvement in symptoms, thus giving patients better control over their condition” [5].

The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders – IFFGD –
wrote “research has found that hypnotherapy may help improve the primary symptoms of IBS. It may also help relieve other symptoms suffered by many people with IBS such as nausea, fatigue, backache, and urinary problems. Hypnotherapy appears to offer symptomatic, psychological, and physiological benefit” [6].

Multiple hypnosis sessions with a qualified hypnotherapist should be planned for gut hypnotherapy. The number of sessions can vary depending on type and severity of symptoms but will fall within the range of 2-12 weekly sessions. Ongoing therapeutic treatment can be accommodated by more sessions, use of recorded sessions on CD/MP3 media, and training for the patient by the hypnotist in self-hypnosis, or a combination of all of these. Most professional hypnotists can teach self-hypnosis to clients as part of their program. Self-hypnosis is the ability of a client to enter the hypnotic trance state by themselves without the guidance of a hypnotist.

While hypnosis offers an effective treatment for those suffering with IBS this doesn’t mean other treatments should be abandoned, and common sense would suggest paying attention to a healthy diet “soft on your gut” is an important component as well, and coming off medication should always be discussed with your doctor first.

Hypnosis offers a viable treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and your next step should seek out a professional hypnotherapist with experience in treating the condition and discussing with them if it’ll be able to help and ease the symptoms you’re experiencing.

 

CONCLUSIONS:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome seems to be one of those modern conditions but in reality, has been around for a long time. IBS can be debilitating for sufferers impacting their quality of life and even making them housebound and shunning social contact outside their home.

While you should seek out advice from your Doctor and consider medical treatment for your symptoms, current thinking is integrative medicine and some alternative therapies offer more viable long treatment for the condition.

One of the treatments available is hypnosis, and this helps control common triggers for bringing on IBS. Because there’s a strong link between stress and triggering of IBS, hypnosis provides a treatment to reduce stress and lessen the symptoms of the condition. If Irritable Bowel Syndrome is putting limits on your life the check out this self-hypnosis session for IBS here >>>

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES RELATED TO IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME:

[1] Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – Canadian Society of Intestinal Research >>>

[2] Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Mayo Clinic >>>

[3] Hypnosis for IBS? – Andrew Weil, M.D. >>>

[4] Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 101 >>>

[5] Long Term Benefits of Hypnotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome >>>

[6] Hypnosis for IBS – International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders >>>

Library of Self-Hypnosis Downloads Products >>>

 
Erika Slater CH
Free At Last Hypnosis
Massachusetts

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Can Hypnosis Help as a Treatment for Sufferers of Tinnitus?

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Tinnitus woman sufferer holding her ear with pain

Tinnitus woman sufferer holding her ear with pain

In this article you’ll discover:

  1. Different forms of Tinnitus sounds, and what can cause it including physical and psychological conditions.
  2. How to go about getting a diagnosis and the various forms of treatments available depending on the diagnosis.
  3. How hypnosis can help with the treatment of Tinnitus and the expectations you should have for outcomes.
  4. Further reading, medical studies and resource links around Tinnitus and various treatments.

Have you ever experienced ringing, pulsating sounds or buzzing in your ears? Have you had this problem for some time and it makes you feel uncomfortable, and at times disrupts your life?

This “ringing in your ears” is commonly referred to as Tinnitus. Tinnitus is believed to affect at least 10-15% of the general population, with 5% of those experiencing it are severely impacted in performing day to day activities.

Often times, it’s referred to as a phantom auditory sound as the noises someone with tinnitus experiences are present in the absence of external noise. Individuals suffering from tinnitus may also experience tension in their neck, jaw, and head, which can lead to headaches. Furthermore, when it’s acute tinnitus can lead to psychological issues such as an individual experiencing anxiety and depression.

The medical profession recognizes generally two types of tinnitus: Subjective Tinnitus and Objective Tinnitus.

Subjective tinnitus is “Head or ear noises that are perceivable only to the specific patient. Subjective tinnitus is usually traceable to auditory and neurological reactions to hearing loss, but can also be caused by an array of other catalysts. More than 99% of all tinnitus reported tinnitus cases are of the subjective variety” [1].

Objective tinnitus is “Head or ear noises that are audible to other people, as well as the patient. These sounds are usually produced by internal functions in the body’s circulatory (blood flow) and somatic (musculo-skeletal movement) systems. Objective tinnitus is very rare, representing less than 1% of total tinnitus cases” [1].

I’ve personally lived with tinnitus for a long time. Like so many I’ve got used to it and I’d consider it mild compared to many others. I’ve known people though at the extreme who’ve been driven to considering suicide. One of those I’ll talk about later and how they overcame it.

My goal in this article is to provide some general information about the tinnitus condition (specifically we’ll cover subjective tinnitus), various treatments available, and how hypnosis can realistically help sufferers. Let’s begin by discussing what tinnitus is all about and how it’s caused…

 

WHAT IS TINNITUS AND WHAT CAUSES IT?

Sound waves hitting ear for auditory testingTinnitus is the sensation of hearing sound when no external sound is present. Commonly known as “ringing in the ears” the sound and its level varies from sufferer to sufferer.

With some its a mild background noise with minimal impairment on daily life. With others it can be a constant uncomfortable sound causing major disruption in their lives.

The Mayo Clinic defines tinnitus and its symptoms as: “Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears. Tinnitus isn’t a condition itself – it’s a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder” [2].

Tinnitus symptoms include these types of phantom noises in your ears: ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking, or hissing.

The phantom noise may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and you may hear it in one or both ears. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it can interfere with your ability to concentrate or hear actual sound. Tinnitus may be present all the time, or it may come and go” [2].

What is the cause of tinnitus?

Is it really a by-product of listening to blaring music as a kid, or having too much ear wax build-up? Not necessarily in all cases! It was once believed that tinnitus was caused by resultant damage to microscopic nerve endings in the inner ear. More current research asserts tinnitus is a symptom and not an actual disease, as a result of an injury to the peripheral auditory system, hearing nerve or auditory centers in the brain.

However, there are a variety of other causes that have been associated with tinnitus. The more common causes are eardrum perforations (sometimes the result of sticking Q Tips in your ears), over-wax buildup, ear infections, barotitis, which is when your ears get blocked after flying in an airplane, extreme noise exposure, head injuries, grinding your teeth, as well as advancing in age, while being exposed to noise over the years.

There are more complex causes of tinnitus, such as medical conditions referred to as otosclerosis, which is an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear. Also, intense periods of stress as well as certain medications, such as aspirin in high doses have also been linked to tinnitus.

The fact is tinnitus can develop at any time in a person’s life with many long time suffers not recalling when it started and what event brought it on.

In the next section I’ll cover getting a diagnosis for tinnitus and common treatments for it.

 

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENTS FOR TINNITUS:

White noise machine

By Morn – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69998806

Regardless of how long you feel you’ve suffered with tinnitus if you haven’t been diagnosed before then you should make an appointment with your Doctor and get a referral for an audiological exam. Your Doctor can perform exams on your upper body and ears to rule out other causes of “ringing in your ears.”

The audiological tests can also help rule out other causes by comparing your hearing levels to what is normal for your age.

The sounds you hear can help your doctor identify a possible underlying cause” [3]. The pitch and the type of sound you hear can determine if the symptoms can be caused by muscle contractions, ear canal blockages, ear wax build up or a foreign body in the ear canal.

Certain heart and ear conditions can cause tinnitus symptoms which can be uncovered with physical exams and CT and MRI imaging tests.

However, in many cases the cause of the tinnitus won’t be found, and so the focus will be on treatments to reduce the impact on your life.

So, how does one treat tinnitus?

There is currently no scientific cure for tinnitus. The treatments mentioned below help reduce the impact on sufferers but there is no one treatment preferred over another as depending on the cause – if discovered – different treatments and sometimes in combination will help individual cases. It’s a question of trying and seeing which treatment(s) work for you under the guidance of your Doctor and potentially other specialists and professionals.

These treatments and tools, “help patients manage their condition; treatments that reduce the perceived intensity, omnipresence, and burden of tinnitus. These currently available treatments are not “cures” — they neither repair the underlying causes of tinnitus, nor eliminate the tinnitus signal in the brain. Instead, they address the attentional, emotional, and cognitive impact of tinnitus. They help patients live better, more fulfilling, and more productive lives, even if the perception of tinnitus remains” [4].

Common treatments include: ear wax removal, treating vascular conditions through surgery, medication changes if its known a medication you’re taking can cause tinnitus-like symptoms. Leveraging noise suppression devices can help such as white noise machines and other noise-masking devices along with hearing-aids. Tinnitus retraining involves “A wearable device delivers individually programmed tonal music to mask the specific frequencies of the tinnitus you experience. Over time, this technique may accustom you to the tinnitus, thereby helping you not to focus on it. Counseling is often a component of tinnitus retraining” [3].

Doctors suggest quitting smoking for smokers, as well as limiting consumption of alcohol, caffeine, salt in diets, and taking aspirin. In cases where the ailment causes concentration problems, fatigue, depression, anxiety and sleepless nights, medication is prescribed to help with these symptoms. Medications tackling tinnitus directly include Tricyclic antidepressants, and Alprazolam, although they don’t cure tinnitus and have potentially harmful side-effects and because of this tend to be used only in severe cases.

Many individuals have reported benefits using alternative therapies such as acupuncture, supplements and vitamins, and hypnosis. Hypnosis can be effective for helping in shifting one’s concentration off of the “ringing in the ears,” thus allowing sufferers to reduce the tinnitus to low-level background noise. As hypnosis as a treatment touches on my professional training I’m going to share current thinking on this as a treatment in the next section.

 

CAN HYPNOSIS PROVIDE TINNITUS RELIEF?

Mind conscious emotions connections conceptAs with other treatments you should consider hypnosis to help alleviate the impact of tinnitus on your life but not cure it completely. While organizations like the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) fund and promote for a cure for Tinnitus, current common treatments aren’t providing this cure. Likewise, while there is no literature identifying research on specific medications for tinnitus being undertaken by pharmaceutical companies, the expectation is it would alleviate symptoms rather than offer a common cure if a drug was successfully manufactured. In the U.S. we tend to look for a “magic pill” for anything as the ideal solution when it tends to only tackle the symptoms rather than offer a cure.

This is universal in chronic disorders impacted by our psychological condition.

Before approaching hypnosis work with your Doctor to ensure your tinnitus isn’t due to a medical issue such as a tumor or other physical condition that can be medically treated. A hypnotist would require you to do this before starting any program. There are also studies suggesting that sufferers with hearing loss are not helped using hypnosis.

Hypnosis also tends to be a last resort for many problems, when all other clinical treatments have failed to help. This skews the people who come to hypnosis to get relief as the most chronic sufferers who have tried everything else with no positive impact. Hypnosis generally then attracts the toughest and most stubborn conditions of tinnitus, when it can potentially provide help to all level of sufferers. This fact is frequently overlooked when researchers or the medical community compare hypnosis with other treatments.

As is similar to other conditions tinnitus sufferer’s impression of their own condition strongly affects the impact it has on them. Or, put another way, the intensity of the condition can be attributed to psychological reasons. This isn’t saying the sounds heard are not “real” just, like pain in a joint, the intensity level can vary day to day and so the impact can be influenced from a psychological perspective. As hypnosis has long been used to help with pain relief management [5] it shouldn’t be a surprise hypnotherapist’s offer sessions for tinnitus sufferers. Clinical literature has reported its use for tinnitus with case reports for 50-years or longer [Pearson M, Barnes L. Objective tinnitus aurium: Report of two cases with good results after hypnosis. J Phila Gen Hosp 1:134–138, 1950].

A study has been conducted on the applicability of self-hypnosis as a treatment for tinnitus [6] and concluded it can be a viable treatment. Self-hypnosis is when the patient enters hypnosis by themselves directly or by listening to a recorded session led by a hypnotist. Self-hypnosis provides the opportunity for a patient to leverage the benefit of hypnosis whenever needed without having to schedule an appointment with a hypnotist. Most professional hypnotists – myself included – can provide the training and/or recorded session, for a patient to enter self-hypnosis.

There are different hypnotic techniques used by hypnotists when working with tinnitus patients. One of the more prevalent used today is what is called Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. Milton Erickson is a famous psychiatrist who specialized in medical hypnosis and family therapy. He developed a style of hypnosis using indirect suggestions tapping into stories and metaphors rather than the more common direct hypnotic suggestions. A small clinical trial was conducted on specific use of Ericksonian Hypnotherapy and it demonstrated that “Ericksonian hypnosis, in particular using self-hypnosis, is a promising technique for treating patients with tinnitus” [7].

A criticism leveled at results of clinical studies using hypnosis as the main treatment for tinnitus is they’ve been mostly conducted by hypnotherapists so a bias was present from the start. In addition, the professional hypnosis field includes those who advocate only using the process they’ve developed and while using a professional hypnotherapist who has successfully helped tinnitus sufferers is a logical first-step, suggesting only one technique preferred by a psychologist or hypnotherapist is the answer is… illogical.

The translation of sounds into something we hear is complicated but we do know while the ears receive the sounds the actual interpretation of those sounds is produced in our brain. This has led to the belief that many cases of tinnitus are psychological in nature and can be influenced by treatments aimed at reducing negative emotional issues such as stress, anxiety, fear, and depression. As we know our emotions are controlled by our subconscious and as hypnosis works with our subconscious mind then treating tinnitus conditions this way is a viable treatment.

Hypnosis has also long been used to change habits such as addictions for example smoking and unhealthy eating. Charles Smithdeal, MD, FACS, C.Ht, is a former tinnitus and hyperacusis sufferer, a board-certified Hypnotherapist and Otolaryngologist, and has argued “The most crucial factor in whether we’re able to ignore (habituate) a stimulus is whether it’s associated with a positive or negative emotional response.” He’s also written “Your conscious mind can pay attention to about a hundred bits of information at any given instant; however, there are millions of information bits bombarding you constantly, some deemed by your mind to be more important than others. These bits, or stimuli, include sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing. The relative importance of the stimuli is always changing, so the degree of attention you grant them also changes. Your conscious mind chooses to ignore any not deemed threatening, challenging, exciting, rewarding, or essential to your survival. That is, your brain ignores things it considers unimportant” [8].

On the other hand, your brain will not allow you to ignore any stimuli associated with dangerous or unpleasant situations. While you certainly wouldn’t want to teach your brain to ignore life threatening situations nonetheless turning down the volume dial on emotions that impact the level of suffering invoked by pain or tinnitus is a valid therapy to consider.

Back to Charles Smithdeal again “Many people who undergo hypnotherapy are able to influence the characteristics of their tinnitus, and some can actually reduce its volume, just as people learn to reduce pain through hypnosis” [8].

Kevin Hogan is another psychotherapist specializing in hypnosis and who is also a sufferer of tinnitus and advocate of hypnotherapy use in relieving tinnitus. Hogan’s tinnitus at one point was impacting his life to such a depth he freely admits he was considering suicide and writes about this in a personal account and how he recovered [9]. Hogan is an accomplished Psy.D and a straight-shooting down-to-earth psychologist, and used self-hypnosis in order to successfully bring his tinnitus under control to the point where it doesn’t impact his life any longer. Hogan wrote a book called “Tinnitus: Turning the Volume Down” and has also developed a CD/DVD self-hypnosis program – Tinnitus Reduction Program – both aimed at tinnitus sufferers [10].

Similar to Smithdeal, Hogan advocates seeking out a hypnotherapist specifically trained in dealing with tinnitus. Many people prefer seeing initially a hypnotherapist before moving into self-hypnosis, particularly with an issue like tinnitus. This helps speed up the process and provides professional guidance to get the patient moving in the right direction quickly rather than being distracted by also learning the techniques and nuances of self-hypnosis. Most hypnotists can provide self-hypnosis training as part of their tinnitus program.

There are different hypnosis techniques used by hypnotherapists in dealing with tinnitus. These include Regression Therapy, Ericksonian Hypnosis (or indirect suggestion), and traditional direct suggestion therapy. There is no one size fits all for a specific client and an experienced hypnotherapist should be able to determine the right approach to help a client, and it could be a combination of these techniques plus other therapies such as EFT – Emotional Freedom Techniques.

Regression therapy takes you back to a point in time before tinnitus was impacting your life to determine the cause or trigger of the onset. Once this trigger is identified then the therapist can work using other techniques to help reduce the impact. Many times, patients cannot recall the event or time when it first started but under hypnosis the unconscious mind can often yield up the event.

Ericksonian or indirect hypnosis as I discussed earlier uses hypnotic techniques such as stories, metaphors and other language techniques to produce outcomes, rather than direct suggestions to get a patient into trance and provide indirect suggestions once in there. Many professional hypnotists learn traditional direct suggestion hypnosis when starting out as their primary therapeutic technique, and advance to Ericksonian and Regression therapy in order to provide more options for different types of issues and client responsiveness [11].

To be clear using hypnosis for tinnitus is not as a cure, but it has been successful in reducing the volume of tinnitus to a point where for some it’s not noticeable at all, and for others its impact is minimal and still allows them to lead a normal life. Use the resources identified below to find out more about the treatments for tinnitus and in particular about hypnosis and your next step should this be an avenue you determine makes sense to explore further for your condition.

As Tinnitus is one condition that can be classified under the general term of noise sensitivity – Hyperacusis is also included – then you may be interested for further reading on an article I updated recently called “Treatments for Noise and Sound Sensitivity Including Misophonia and Hyperacusis” and linked below in the resource section [12].

 

CONCLUSIONS:

Tinnitus is a condition that can be caused by different physical and psychological issues. There is no known cure for it but an array of treatments is available and some can be used in combination and aimed at lessening the impact on a sufferer so they can lead a near normal life. The intensity of the sounds varies and this can dictate what type of treatment is used.

Anybody afflicted with Tinnitus at the onset should seek medical evaluation in case it is caused by a medical condition requiring surgery or can be lessened by other medical procedures. Once its determined the sound is psychological in nature then hypnosis is a viable treatment for many people and both used as the primary treatment or in combination with other forms.

Discuss your condition with an experienced hypnotherapist trained in Tinnitus recovery and who can also teach you self-hypnosis so you’re able to continue with hypnosis outside formal practice sessions. The relief for most Tinnitus sufferers is a reduction in volume so the remaining noise can be effectively “tuned out.”

You can get a sense of a self-hypnosis session aimed at reducing tinnitus noise using hypnosis here >>

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES RELATED TO TINNITUS:

[1] Understanding the Facts – ATA >>>

[2] What is Tinnitus – Mayo Clinic >>>

[3] Tinnitus Diagnosis and Treatment – Mayo Clinic >>>

[4] Treatment Options – ATA >>>

[5] Hypnosis for Management of Pain Relief – A History and Uses >>>

[6] Efficacy of Self-Hypnosis for Tinnitus Relief >>>

[7] Ericksonian Hypnosis in Tinnitus Therapy >>>

[8] Hypnotherapy and Tinnitus >>>

[9] Recovering from Tinnitus – Kevin Hogan Personal Account >>>

[10] Hypnosis: Can It Really Stop Tinnitus? (Updated July 2018) >>>

[11] Who Invented Hypnosis and What’s the History of Hypnotherapy >>>

[12] Treatments for Noise and Sound Sensitivity Including Misophonia and Hyperacusis >>>

Library of Self-Hypnosis Downloads Products >>>

 
Erika Slater CH
Free At Last Hypnosis
Massachusetts

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Strategies to Long-Term Motivation and How Hypnosis Can Help

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Long-term handwriting in coffee cup for motivation

Long-term handwriting in coffee cup for motivation

In this special Hypnosis Brief I want to discuss long-term motivation, and how hypnosis can help you stay the course to get to your prize.

First-off I’m not a motivational speaker but I’ll share what I’ve seen from people I’ve helped achieve a long-term goal and what it took for them and include some current research on the topic as well.

Motivation comes from within. You can’t buy it in a bottle, or order it from Amazon, or watch it in a movie. Can you be inspired to get motivated from a book, or a movie, or even a speech? Yes, you can. But it’s short-term, and even then, I’d argue, it still comes from “inside” you.

Getting motivated is a conscious decision, but keeping it going is an unconscious decision. To achieve long-term motivation, you need to engage your unconscious mind. This can be done in various ways where the things you do to achieve a short-term goal become habits to help you achieve a long-term goal.

There are various things at play when it comes to motivation and understanding them helps you, so, I’ll cover them for you today.

 

GOALS AND MOTIVATION:

First, we have to separate goals from motivation. They’re not the same, but people often confuse the two.

Being a non-smoker can be the goal of a smoker, but it rarely provides the motivation to stop on its own and the long-term motivation to stay a non-smoker for rest of their life. There’s a reason for the goal, and it’s the “reason why”– motivation – that determines their attitude and motivation level. This could be wanting to stay healthy, live long, a life event, or financial reasons.

Likewise, for a person wanting to lose weight and stay fit and healthy, they have a goal – usually a weight in mind or a clothes size – that personifies success to them. Again, there’s usually a reason for the goal that keeps them going – resilience – when the going gets tough.

People who don’t have a strong reason to make a change struggle with achieving a goal as they lack the basis for long-term motivation. For example, they may be able to stop smoking for a day, or even a week, or eat healthy foods for a month, but not be able to sustain it after the initial surge of excitement has subsided and real-life starts getting in the way.

 

SHORT-TERM GOALS VERSUS LONG-TERM GOALS:

Long-term vs short-term goals signEveryone sets goals for themselves, often times more of the short-term variety. Many do so because they believe shorter-term goals are usually easier to achieve.

This is true… they are!

Making a commitment to go to the gym every day for the next month is more doable than committing to go each day for the next year!

But what about those who possess foresight and want to achieve bigger and greater things, you know the kind of “far-off into the future” goals? These are the kind of goals that take time to reach, sometimes years and even decades. How do you keep you desires alive and burning to keep the yearning to achieve those kinds of goals going?

You have to live one day at a time and constantly be able to keep your ‘eye on the prize’, knowing and expecting it to be yours to take ‘one day’! Elite athletes are able to do this because they’ve developed a mindset that constantly provides them the motivation to stay the course, and accept getting to where they want to be requires dedication and long-term commitment.

Most dreams people have, ‘die’ because they take too long to achieve. Even though they know certain dreams won’t come to fruition until sometime in the distant future, they pack things in early because they lose motivation to get to their prize.

Let’s face it! Today we all live in a world of entitlement and ‘in the here and now’ society. If it doesn’t come to us as quick as fast food, or at the “speed of the internet”, then, it makes us ‘crazy’ with waiting, or we just don’t wait but move on to something else that does come quick, or we take short-cuts that impacts quality of our life.

 

STRATEGIES TO LONG-TERM MOTIVATION:

Just keep turning up motivational quoteDo you have a goal that inspires motivation in you? I’ve already discussed motivation comes from within, and goals that fit into one of these four categories is a good candidate for a high-level of motivation: possible futures, possible selves, near-term gratifications, and task interest [1].

Research on this topic conducted by University of Virginia professor Thomas Bateman [1] concluded you can tactically think about these four categories as you work towards long-term goals by asking the following:

  1. What would the future hold if I achieve this goal?
  2. What would it mean for me personally?
  3. How can I build in short-term gratifications?
  4. How can I build in and appreciate the most interesting and fulfilling parts of what I do?

Bateman also suggests for any personal or professional goal you include what he calls self-regulation strategies to keep you motivated:

  1. Have a mix of short-term goals hitched to your long-term goal. Staying motivated by having relevant but attainable short-term goals provides incentive to keep things going over the length of getting to where you want to be.
  2. Receive feedback over time and evaluate progress toward your long-term goal. So, if your goal is to lose 100 pounds over a year then this breaks down to approx. 2 lbs. per week or 8 lbs. per month. Weighing yourself regularly can provide this feedback and reset expectations on progress.
  3. Maintain focus on how actions will impact your goals and do not attend to distractions. We live in a world of distractions these days, whether it is constantly checking our email, or social media, or bombarded with thousands of marketing messages a day. We need to ignore that which doesn’t help us focus on our goals and this can be as simple of “blocking” time on our calendars for ourselves to do the work!
  4. Elevate the attractiveness of your goal by thinking about how risks and work will pay off. Words are mighty and so spend the time wording your goal in such a way that it excites you even when you know it encompasses a ton of work, commitment, and more than fair share of hardship and risk. Anything worth achieving involves some adversity so plan for this and keep your eyes on the prize!
  5. Diminish negative emotions and focus on what you find interesting and amusing in your work. Your goal(s), and work needed to get to it, can be a marathon run and not a sprint and during this time its natural you’ll feel emotions like fear, anxiety, frustration and disappointment. So, during these times it’s important to remember your reasons why you started out on the goal and what you enjoy about the journey to achieve it.
  6. Use failure as a basis for improvement rather than allowing it to leave you feeling discouraged – or worse, devastated. Failure is a harsh word but the point here is that one bad meal choice doesn’t mean your whole diet and weight loss goal is “down the drain” and you’re a failure and back to square one. It’s another form of feedback and no more and no less. Scientists doing experiments expect failure and use it as a motivation to keep discovering. Remember the Thomas Edison experiment where he discovered 10,000 ways a light bulb would not work!

 

LONG-TERM MOTIVATION AND HYPNOSIS:

Sometimes getting to goals requiring long-term motivation can require more direct intervention than just willpower alone. People get stuck or challenged in various situations, and seek help in any way they can get it. I’ve written about resilience and persistence before [2] [3] and these articles discuss how having the right mindset can provide that extra bump to transform your dreams into reality.

Call it what you will – mindset or attitude – one method to help you achieve these mental changes is using hypnosis. Hypnosis can be a powerful resource in helping you achieve long-term motivation by overcoming thinking habits keeping you from reaching your success. These habits can be caused by fear, procrastination, feeling overwhelmed, or that critical voice in your head reinforcing why you’ll never be able to sustain the motivation. Hypnosis can help you overcome self-destructive habits and replace them with positive versions in your unconscious to sustain you.

Hypnosis is a great way to keep a passion burning inside of you as fresh, frequent and new post hypnotic suggestions are implanted into your unconscious mind which will help you keep your ‘eyes on the prize’ and help you going forward with resilience and persistence. It can provide a fresh start and outlook for you. If you’re interested in working directly with me then discover all my online and in-office Hypnosis Services here or you can check out our Library of Self-Hypnosis Downloads Products here >>>

In my clients I’ve seem different paths to achieve the motivation they needed to make a significant and long-term change. It’s an individual journey and finding your own triggers for long-term motivation can feel like a journey on its own, but it’s one worth the effort, and with indirect or direct help of others can make the difference between dreams and reality.

Let me know how you enjoyed this article and how I can improve it.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES RELATED TO MOTIVATION:

[1] Research Reveals Keys to Sustaining Long-Term Motivation >>>

[2] How to Strengthen Your Resilience, Perseverance and Grit to Get Success in Your Life >>>

[3] The Importance of Resilience in Overcoming Life Challenges: Ways to Make it Stronger in You >>>

Erika Slater CH
Free At Last Hypnosis
Massachusetts

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How to Reinvent Yourself with Hypnosis For Next Phase of Life

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Reinvent yourself handwriting on chalkboard

Reinvent yourself handwriting on chalkboard

In this Hypnosis Brief I look at common problems people facing retirement encounter, or in a job they know is not their calling, and resources and tools to help them make their next step.

Are you at the point in your life you’re looking to do something new?

Maybe you’ve been doing the same job for decades, or you’ve been with the same company as long. Perhaps you’re now tired of doing what you’ve been doing and you want a change.

As with many people today the company you’ve been working for could be forcing you into an early retirement of sorts, and you need to find something else. Maybe your job is for a younger person and your physical body can no longer handle the rigors of what you’ve been doing and you need to find something kinder to you and your body. But you also know if you just ‘retire’ you’ll just go crazy!

You sense there’s a yearning in your soul to do more, and be an active contributor to society rather than just live for the next installment of your favorite TV show. You know you need to do more for who is most important… yourself!

Whether you’re in your early thirties and in need of a major change, or approaching retirement, you’re thinking it’s time to ‘reinvent’ yourself and start fresh, living the next or second phase of your life in a way you want to live it – on your terms!

But you need help discovering what you want to do in this next phase.

 

“WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DO WHEN YOU GROW UP?”

Kids and different career costumesWhen we were children, we were asked by family members or friends of our parents, “And what do you want to be when you grow up?” When we reach high school, we are asked by guidance counselors, teachers and parents, “What do you want to do with your life after high school?” And when we reach retirement, we are often times asked by colleagues, “Now what? What do you plan on doing with yourself now you’ll have all this free time?

For many of us, this can be a deep troubling question as the truth is we usually haven’t put much thought into it. We’ve been doing the same ole for so long we’ve became a creature of habit and become complacent in living our lives.

For many, life, at some point, became mundane, and less challenging as we operated in a comfort zone of complacency. And here you are now having once again to determine, “What do you want to do now you’re all grown up?

For those facing retirement we live in a society that discusses and encourages preparation for the financial aspect. Often times, it’s a financial investment commercial that comes to mind with seniors playing with their grand kids, or sipping Pina Colada’s on a beach as the sun sets in front of them. These are the stereotypes for how retirement is perceived by many.

Unfortunately, this isn’t how it plays out for most and it isn’t rosy at all! There are no beaches or Pina Colada’s… rather there is utter boredom for them.

Years ago, research showed when some folks retire, even from a job they’d despised, it wasn’t uncommon for them to get sick or die within a year or two thereafter? Basically, when they no longer had their jobs or careers, they believe they’d “lost” a large part of themselves. In their mind, their life’s identity was tied to a job, after all they had engaged in it for 30 or 40 years, and now what did they have? It wasn’t long before depression would set in for many, a greater sense of helplessness or haplessness, and they’d literally believe they were ‘useless’ and no longer served a purpose to the world.

Obviously, this is a misconception and a wrong way to think, especially when at any age you always have something meaningful to contribute to life – your own and others. The key point is, what is it you want to contribute, in your second career?

Everyone has at some point in their lives wondered, or they still wonder, what would my life have been like if I’d only chosen a different path or career. “What would my life be like if I had chosen the career I really loved with my whole heart?

Does this sound at all familiar to you?

Perhaps the question you hear yourself asking is, “What can I do, or what will I do now that I have all of this free time, as I don’t know what my passion is at this point?

 

WAYS TO START THE SECOND PHASE OF YOUR LIFE:

Change career wording with scrabble lettersHere’s some suggestions to get you started.

First, get clear on what it is you want to do! For those who’ve figured out what it is they want to do, but are perhaps nervous or hesitant about pursuing it due to fear or confidence, they need a gentle push to get them going in the right direction.

The best way to figure out your future in the second part of your life is sometimes easily accomplished by discussing it with someone as you did in the first part of your life – a career counselor. A counselor can listen, make suggestion and point you in the right direction.

There are tests you can take such as Myers Briggs [1] which is a personality test and the results can be used by professional counselors to suggest careers or other changes to help you decide on a new direction. There are other personality tests you can take but the Myers Briggs has held up over many decades as the preferred choice.

Richard Nelson Bolles book “What Color is Your Parachute?” remains as relevant today as it did decades ago and helped many folks with a career change, or new insights into the next phase of their life. For a small investment of time and money you could find the words, or nudge, that moves you to reinvent yourself. It’s updated almost yearly and you can find it at your local bookstore or Amazon. Bolles also has his own website supplementing his book and offering tools and resources to help [2].

But what happens if you’re still stuck not knowing what your inner “passion” or “purpose” is? This isn’t as uncommon as you think. A lot has been written about “live your passion” and “find your purpose,” and the reality for many is… they just don’t know. Frankly, you may also have many passions and purposes [3] and trying to focus on which one to choose will drive you crazy!

Relax. Take a deep breath and realize despite what you’ve been told the next move will not ruin your life if it’s the wrong one. Take baby steps. Try things out and see if “the clothes fit.” If it turns out not to be for you, move on.

If you get frustrated and really are struggling then consider your next line of action is to see a hypnotherapist.

Hypnosis is an excellent way for helping individuals get ‘in touch’ with themselves. A hypnotherapist can help by asking you questions and tapping into your unconscious mind, truly awakening or recognizing dormant passions.

If you have uncertainties, hypnosis can help you gain greater insights and clarity. If you’re nervous, apprehensive or lack confidence in starting a new life, hypnosis can help you gain the confidence you need to get going on the second phase of your life and make it even better than the first part.

Resistance is a major contributor to why we don’t try new things, and this is usually caused by fear that manifests itself in many ways. Resistance is insidious. It seeps into your life and stops you achieving your goals. It stops the writer from writing. It stops the painter from painting, and the musician from playing music.

It can stop the amateur from turning pro as Stephen Pressfield [4] often writes.

But it doesn’t just affect the artist or the creative. It stops us all. It stops you from losing weight or keeping on a healthy diet. It gets in the way of a smoker quitting. It stops us from doing our life work – you know… the things you were put on this planet to do!

Again, hypnosis can help you move forward despite resistance or your fears. Seek out a local hypnotist who has helped others with their second phase of their life, or can teach you self-hypnosis as a tool you can use to help make any significant changes in your life.

 

LAST WORD:

Reinventing yourself is an opportunity to discover and execute on passions and purposes to make not only your own life fulfilling but help others as well.

Most of us need help in uncovering what we want to do after we decide the first phase of our life is ending and we are ready for something new. We may, or may not know, what that life change entails. If there’s a blockage discovering it or we keep wandering around in circles, then, likely we are experiencing resistance.

Now, you may or may not need help to overcome this resistance. Regardless, it’s time to get serious about those goals you have. Whether it’s writing a novel, volunteering for a charity you admire, changing careers, or shedding that spare tire around your middle that’s been following you around for most of your life… it’s time to overcome resistance, and conquer your internal enemy.

Consider hypnosis if you need help getting unstuck. Hypnosis can help you understand what makes you tick. What sort of activities do you enjoy doing and never have to struggle to motivate yourself to do? What talents have you got or can you develop? What kind of people do you like to be around? If you’re interested in working directly with me then check out my online and In-office Special Hypnosis Services here.

Alternatively, you can Check out this self-hypnosis session around career change here >>>

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES RELATED TO REINVENT YOURSELF:

[1] Myers Briggs Foundation >>>

[2] Dick Bolles Job Hunter Bible Site >>>

[3] Why Finding Your Passion or Purpose Can Leave You Frustrated and Depressed… and What To Do Instead >>>

[4] Stephen Pressfield >>>

Library of Self-Hypnosis Downloads Products >>>

 
Erika Slater CH
Free At Last Hypnosis
Massachusetts

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Learning Hypnosis and Becoming a Professional Hypnotist

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Hypnosis word cloud

Hypnosis word cloud

In this special Hypnosis Brief I’m going to discuss how to go about learning hypnosis, and becoming a professional hypnotist if you want to make it a career. I’ll also cover some licensing questions to keep you out of trouble.

Have you ever wanted to learn hypnosis, or have you wondered where someone goes to learn to do hypnosis? Where do you go to develop the education, skills and talent to pull this off?

In the past, it was difficult to find a ‘school’, institution or individual who taught others about hypnosis. In the past most found out where to learn about hypnosis through periodicals like Psychology Today, word of mouth, and some educational institutions.

Now that the Internet and all of the variety of ‘search engines’ have come along, it’s much easier to find places to learn about hypnosis, as well as how to perform it.

But if you wanted to learn hypnosis, perhaps the biggest question would be… why?

Do you want to learn hypnosis to go into private practice or perhaps entertainment (stage hypnosis), or would you want to learn it for personal reasons, as a tool to improve your overall state of mental and physical wellness? I entered the profession in order to help others quit smoking and over the years developed my own stop smoking hypnosis programs [4]. You may have different reasons.

 

WHERE TO LEARN HYPNOSIS:

Online learning and education conceptIf you just want hypnosis for your own personal benefits, then you’re less likely concerned with the formalities that go along with accreditation, licensing, certification and recognition associated with it. Learning self-hypnosis from an experienced hypnotist may be all you need and most local hypnotherapists can provide this training for you.

Conversely, if you were looking at getting into hypnosis to become a professional practitioner, then you’d want to take all of the above into account as you’d want to be recognized with reputable organizations. When it comes to professionalism, you’ll want to make sure you’re held in the highest regard when it comes to credibility.

Attaching your name to credible ‘associations’ will not only make you appear credible to clients and patients, but among your peers as well.

Many traditional schools, such as colleges and universities unfortunately don’t have formal ‘hypnosis’ education. The most students will learn about hypnosis at college is in an introductory psychology course while discussing Sigmund Freud, or Milton Erickson, or perhaps a little more in depth when taking a psychology major.

Unfortunately, what is learned is usually not of practical use and holds no real value in terms of using it in a practice. Students will only get the ‘theory’ and history of hypnosis; therefore, the only redeeming quality is of a theoretical nature. If you want to learn the practical applications and skills to engage in hypnosis as a professional, you’ll have to seek out a specialty school.

If you do a Google search, you’ll come across many ‘schools for hypnosis’. Although there are a variety of schools, you’ll need to do diligent research before signing up for one. Some of these private schools are costly, so you want to get the most bang for your buck in terms of; credibility, knowledge, competence and certification. Since hypnosis is viewed as a pseudo-discipline that falls within the domain of psychology and mental health, the standards for accrediting it are difficult at best and inconsistent. You’ll also find a number of hypnosis schools offer their curriculum in online classes.

If you’re a practicing psychologist or counselor, there are various boards and licensing agencies you need to apply to and become certified to promote your services. The same is not necessarily true for hypnosis, and depending on the state and/or country you reside in then you may need to be licensed or not, or be limited in whether you can call yourself a hypnotherapist or hypnotist.

If you’re learning any skill, whether it be hypnosis, massage, reflexology, etc., it’s important who you’re learning from is teaching the skill set based on incorporating as much information about the discipline, as well as including the principles of ethics and beneficence in the training.

When I refer to beneficence and ethics, I’m referring to setting intentions you’ll always do what is best for the client, and leave them better than before they came to see you. Furthermore, ethics teaches if you can’t help the client, then you recognize this and refer them to someone else who can.

Where many hypnosis training institutions get a ‘bad rap’ is through the handful of them that don’t practice ethics, or don’t teach practicing competence to their students. Furthermore, this is a by-product of the fact these training institutes are operated by individuals who lack competence themselves. Unfortunately, often times it’s all about ‘collecting money’ from potential students, training them quickly over the course of a weekend, and then sending them out into the real world letting them believe they’re ready to practice as professional ‘hypnotherapists.’

This is when ‘hypnosis’ overall in the clinical sense gets perceived in a negative light by accredited hypnotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and the public overall.

Basically, you have incompetent hypnotists who’ve been trained by incompetent teachers who have allowed them to go into the real world and deal with real emotional problems. The problem is they often times at best don’t do anything for the client.

If you’re interested in becoming a hypnotherapist and helping people with their problems; quitting smoking, improving their self-esteem, losing weight, overcoming phobias, that’s a wonderful intent. Wanting to help others improve their life is a noble cause for any profession.

Hypnosis is a reputable and honorable profession that should only be practiced by individuals who have been trained properly, and who know what they’re doing, and importantly recognize limits and when to refer out. One quick intense week course isn’t going to be enough, unless there is both quality theoretical and practical training included for a specific problem. Like any skill it can take many years to become proficient in being able to tackle the problems presented by real clients.

If you’re seriously looking for training in hypnosis consider checking out organizations like the National Guild of Hypnotists [1] as they offer standard courses and certification programs, and require ongoing accreditation to remain members. I obtained my training and certification from NGH. I’ve also been a student of Igor Ledochowski and member of his Hypnosis Training Academy [2] for a number of years and he has a two-year intensive program where you can also learn how to run a hypnosis business as well as providing the basic and advanced skills of hypnosis, and opportunities for practice with other members.

 

LICENSING AND HYPNOSIS:

Senior woman on computer doing trainingDo you need a license to practice hypnosis as a professional? The answer is it depends.

In many places in the world hypnosis is a self-regulating profession. That is, you don’t need to pass a recognized exam or qualification by a governing authority before you hang up a sign promoting your services.

In the USA requirements for hypnotherapists vary from state to state. Many states don’t require hypnotists to have a license to practice.

Some states require you to be licensed to promote yourself as a hypnotherapist but not as a hypnotist.

Still others you have to register and obtain a license, but there is no examining board so effectively you just apply.

With the advent of hypnotists offering client sessions online then it becomes important for the hypnotist to understand where their client resides, as you should assume, to be safe, that state’s licensing requirements will be in effect. So, this may limit you on clients you can take on.

In order to remain in compliance a hypnotist should research and ensure she understands the local requirements for country and state/county/province.

More general information about licensing for hypnotists can be found in an article posted at Hypnosis Training Academy [3].

 

LAST WORD:

Being a professional therapeutic hypnotist and helping others overcome negative habits or challenges to improve their life is a wonderful and noble intent. But with this intent comes high expectations covering the treatment of clients and the ethics of your business to preserve your reputation, and avoid compliance and licensing issues with the local authorities.

Always consider the client and do what is best for them and like any profession know your abilities, and limits, and build a network of specialized professionals so you can refer out clients who present problems you’re not experienced to address.

Being a professional hypnotherapist is hard work, and for many it’s part-time, particularly during the early years learning the skills and gaining experience. But it can be immensely rewarding helping people overcome problems and seeing them grow and improve their life.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and the information it contains and would love to hear your feedback on it, and how I can improve it. Use the comment section below or send me a direct email using information at my contact page here >>>

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES RELATED TO LEARNING HYPNOSIS:

[1] National Guild of Hypnotists >>>

[2] Hypnosis Training Academy >>>

[3] Do You Need a License to Practice Hypnosis? >>>

[4] Why is it So Darn Hard to Quit Smoking and Ways to Make it Easier >>>

Library of Self-Hypnosis Downloads Products >>>

 
Erika Slater CH
Free At Last Hypnosis
Massachusetts

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DISCOVER HOW TO START CHANGING HABITS TODAY.

In this free audio hypnosis session, you’ll experience the power of your subconscious mind to begin to change your habits. If you've never experienced hypnosis before then this is a great introduction...