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Can Hypnotherapy help to manage pain? – August Blog

Welcome to my August blog article! Through my counselling and hypnotherapy I see more and more people who experience pain on a daily basis. Chronic pain is pain that persists for more than 3 months and some cases people endure this pain for the rest of their lives. Acute pain is sudden but of short duration usually less than 3 months.

If you are someone that experiences chronic pain on a daily basis then you are one of millions in the UK. You will know that the pain effects your mood leading to depression, reduced self esteem and confidence, feelings of isolation and sense of hopelessness, as the pain prevents you from doing normal daily activities let alone recreational activities and hobbies. Maybe you are also someone who has tried the conventional routes of medicine which include physiotherapy, pain relief medication and possibly surgery.

However if these conventional routes are unsuccessful is hypnotherapy a useful alternative to managing pain? People considering this alternative route should ensure that a full diagnosis has been made via their GP. Pain tells us that something is wrong in our body and this should be thoroughly investigated before considering alternative routes.

When seeking a hypnotherapist they will require the full details of your pain and circumstances which would include symptoms, triggers and a description of the pain itself. The hypnotherapist will also ask numerous questions of you to ensure that they fully understand your circumstances and tolerance levels so that they can plan and tailor your sessions effectively. This may include a test with the client before treatment commences to identify whether they are able to visualise or if other modalities need to be considered. In addition the hypnotherapist needs to consider the wider implications of the client which would be any sleep problems, concentration levels, confidence or anxiety issues that also need to be factored into the sessions. Techniques used in hypnotherapy sessions related to pain management would include Progressive Muscle Relaxations (PMR), visualisations, distraction and diffusion techniques which can be taught and used as self techniques outside of the hypnotherapy session.

Hypnotherapy can be effective in managing pain; however its effectiveness is influenced by the motivation and expectations of the clients themselves. A hypnotherapist would ensure that your expectations are explored and discussed so that they are realistic. You can then make an informed decision whether to progress with therapy.

Each session is tailored to the needs of the client to incorporate any positive changes in pain management from the previous session. It is necessary to explore the complexities of how and why the body feels pain and then we can teach the mind and body to let go of unnecessary pain through positive hypnotherapy suggestion.

So going back to the original question can Hypnotherapy help manage pain….then the answer is there are alternatives to consider when you have tried conventional routes and hypnotherapy can be an effective alternative therapy.

New Year’s Resolutions…………already broken?!

A new year gives us all the opportunity to make changes in our lives. However, so often 1st January, and we are no better off than we were last year.

Every year I make resolutions along with friends, colleagues and family dedicated to making them come true in the 12 months ahead. Sometimes they are achieved; sometimes they don’t due to a minor setback. However, I believe that it’s always worth trying.

If you are one of the many people who due to a minor setback have given up on those changes you wanted to make, then maybe March is the time to restart them, stick to them and achieve them making 2014 the best year yet with some simple steps;

  1. Deciding on what your goal actually is? What do you want to see change?
  2. Reflecting on what setbacks and mistakes have put you off track during January and February.
  3. Being creative write down all the things that can help you to achieve that goal, all the steps you may need to take taking account of the mistakes that you have made during January and February. No matter how silly they may sound in your head write it all down. This can be done as a brainstorm, list or mind map.
  4. Now go through the possibilities of what can help you achieve your goal putting a line through any that are not feasible and a tick against the ones that are going to help you achieve that goal.
  5. One mistake a lot of people make is trying to do too much all at once hoping to achieve their goal by the end of January. If your goals are worth attaining then take small steps. Prioritise the order of your list of possible steps by putting numbers against them or in a list. Space these steps out and, not moving on to the next until the before is achieved.
  6. Remember when you are heading in the right direction taking small steps there will be setbacks on the way BUT reminding yourself you are on the right direction. I am going to use a mountain analogy here; if you think of someone climbing a mountain the path inevitably goes up and down as it gradually ascends to the peak. Someone watching you move towards the peak from the start will see that you are gradually moving in the right direction, however to you it may seem like you are not achieving anything when the path is going down. This is a good analogy to remind yourself of when you feel you are in a dip and reflect on what you have achieved so far.

 

So give those New Year’s Resolutions another chance! and achieve your goals………

“Consider the postage stamp; its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there” (Josh Billings, 1818-1885 American Writer)

“STOPTOBER” and Addictions

stoptober

Welcome to my blog…this month sees the STOPTOBER campaigns and support all around us which is aimed at people who are addicted to smoking and want to give up. However smoking as I’m sure you are all aware of is not the only type of addiction that exists, unfortunately people become addicted to a whole host of things, the more common addictions are Alcohol, Drugs, Nicotine, Gambling, Caffeine and sex.

Diagnosed addictions are defined as reliance on a substance or habit that is continued regardless of how negatively it is affecting social, business or relationship aspects of our lives. Addiction can be extremely difficult to quit due to psychological, emotional, habitual and physical withdrawal symptoms that they may include.

Going back to the STOPTOBER campaign, I regularly see smokers who come to me and hope that I have a magic wand in my therapy work that will cure them of their addiction without any hard work involved. Like most clients I see with addictions the truth is I can support them in accepting that they have an addiction and help them identify their desire to give up which are some of the key ingredients to overcoming their addictions. They will then start on the journey of the ‘process of change’ outlined below.

stoptober

 

I am sure you have all experienced at least someone with an addiction whether its yourselves, family, friends, work colleagues or acquaintances who are in denial about their addictions and the detriment that it has on their lives…but until that individual is ready to accept their addiction then we can only be there to support and care for them as best we can. If there is anyone that would like to have a chat about any concerns they have about addictions whether its themselves or others I would be very happy to help and/or point them in the right direction of support groups that maybe helpful.

So on a lighter note…..calling out to all ‘Shopaholics’…….be mindful of the contents of your purse with the run up to Christmas!

Anxiety

Welcome to my first blog article! Anxiety is in the forefront of my mind for my first topic and will probably be so for many more….with 1 in 5 people suffering some form of anxiety that affects the quality of their lives considerably it is a very common problem.

With our busy lives juggling family, work, hobbies and other commitments most people will experience anxious feelings occasionally. Anxiety is a normal reaction to stressful situations and can actually be helpful i.e. the rush of adrenaline and nerve impulses which we have in response to stressful situations can encourage a ‘fight or flight’ response, sometimes necessary where we may be in danger for example.

When individuals experience anxiety they may get a feeling of fear, being scared which then affects us physically in many ways such as nausea, insomnia, sweating, headaches, increased heart rate and breathing and shaking to name a few. These are all perfectly normal reactions to anxiety and sometimes understanding this helps individuals understand and accept their anxiety symptoms, the triggers and practice coping techniques.

However when anxiety starts to affect your daily life on a regular basis then maybe it’s time to consider some sort of intervention. There are numerous types of anxiety such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Phobias, Panic, Agoraphobia, OCD and Social Anxiety Disorder.

If you are concerned about your anxiety then you should speak to your doctor who will be able to diagnose your anxiety and/or suggest various interventions. Interventions may include making minor changes to your lifestyle such as diet, exercise and undertaking relaxation exercises, medication or counselling to include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

If you suffer with stress and anxiety occasionally, it may be worth trying some simple breathing exercises (below) to help combat those anxious feelings and physical symptoms.

The Measured Breath

  • You can sit or stand. Make sure your hands are relaxed, and your knees are soft.
  • Drop your shoulders and let your jaw relax.
  • Now breathe in slowly through your nose and count to four, keep your shoulders down and allow your stomach to expand as you breathe in.
  • Hold the breath for a moment.
  • Now release your breath slowly and smoothly as you count to seven. If you can’t manage seven then make it last as long as you are able to.
  • Repeat for a couple of minutes.

Belly Breathing for Relaxation

  • Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose. Make sure your shoulders are down and relaxed. In this exercise, your stomach should expand, but your chest should rise very little. So, if you want, you can place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest so you can feel how you are breathing.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth. As you blow air out, purse your lips slightly, but keep tongue and jaw relaxed.
  • Repeat this breathing exercise for several minutes. Make your outgoing breath as long and smooth as you can. The out breath is the key to relaxation so give it your full attention and practice breathing out in a long slow controlled breath and you will quickly feel the benefit.