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Could re-training as a hypnotherapist offer the control you need?

Dec 04, 2017

It is more than a year since the world woke to the shock of Donald Trump being elected as president of the United States. For many in the US, UK, and Europe this was scary news and followed the earlier shock of Britain voting to leave the EU. A sense of fear and uncertainty prevailed for many as these elections threatened to shake up the world as we know it. Things will change, there is no doubt about it, but how they will be, no-one can be sure.

Fretting and unsettling speculation about the future has a cost that goes far beyond the nation’s financial health though. Continuous stress is harmful to our minds and bodies. Negative or provocative posts on social media only exacerbate anxiety amongst those who are worried about the future, especially as Trump takes an increasingly warrior-like stance against North Korea. Long-term, continuous stress takes a toll on us and its impact on the body and mind is not inconsequential.

Uncertainty causes low-level stress; the sense of insecurity and perceived lack of control negatively affecting those for whom a feeling of control is important. Control is a perception though; in truth, we have little control over anything except the simplest of things in our life. We can control when we go to bed, what we eat and how we dress, but most things from the weather to the value of the pound, are outside of our influence. For some, having a job offers a sense of security, while for others, self-employment provides a better sense of protection from the impact of others' decisions. Starting a business could be considered scary, but it also exciting and offers the prospect of working flexibly without the threat of age discrimination.

If you are one of an increasing number of individuals who considers the challenge of Brexit as an opportunity to grow, re-training may be an attractive option. Self-employment and the ‘gig’ economy is becoming more and more popular, either because of a lack of attractive vacancies or the appeal of flexible working. Traditionally home-working has been poorly paid, but setting up a therapy practice from your house or flat can be rewarding both financially and in job satisfaction terms.

Just as for happiness in life, as a self-employed therapist, you will need to be resilient, resourceful and have a positive mindset, but if the idea of running your own business is more appealing than the alternative, why not re-train? Few of us have any influence on the world economy or politics, but we can make choices about what we do and where we focus on our energy. 

Coaching and therapy

Oct 13, 2017

A Hand up?

There are lots of misunderstandings about coaching and what it is. Sometimes there is confusion about the difference between training, mentoring and coaching, especially in the workplace. Coaching isn’t about teaching or supervising and doesn’t involve ‘telling’ a person what to do or giving them advice. It is about finding direction, developing potential, creating a vision, and planning steps to reach a goal.

So who has coaching? Potentially anyone. Coaching involves a series of focused conversations between a coach and their client or a team. Whether it involves a group of individuals or one ‘coachee’ the process and purpose is similar and is intended to help them to progress in the future. It is a future-focused approach and is about setting objectives to reach goals that the individual or team wants to achieve and helps them to improve their performance or develop skills or expertise.

In the corporate world coaching is commonplace and is used to help improve an individual’s performance. It can also help teams of employees work more effectively to increase productivity or morale. It is (or should be) an empowering experience which helps people to reach their potential individually or as part of a team. Coaching doesn’t focus on problems and isn’t counselling, therapy or training; it is developmental.

Everyone in an organisation can benefit from coaching, from management teams to apprentices. When a company invests time and money into the workforce, personnel are generally happier and more fulfilled, productivity often improves and staff retention increases. Coaching improves communication and helps staff feel valued and improves self-belief and aspiration.

Outside of the corporate environment, it is becoming increasingly popular for individuals to seek the help of a coach. This may be to help them to achieve fitness or health goals, to get a better work/ life balance or to find direction in their life or career. Couples may seek the assistance of a coach to improve their relationship or communication style. Coaching is becoming more and more mainstream and appeals to people who want to make changes, but don’t feel they have a problem that needs therapy or counselling.

Whilst coaching definitely isn’t a form of therapy, it can be combined with therapies such as hypnotherapy, to support a client who wants to make changes in their health, well-being or fitness. By helping a client to set goals and plan steps to change, a therapist with coaching skills can encourage commitment to a process and personal responsibility.

Overcoming fear to pursue your dream career

Aug 17, 2017

Are you unhappy or dissatisfied in your current job? Maybe you’ve wanted to make a change for a while, but something has stopped you. Perhaps you’ve been waiting for the right time, or for redundancy to take the decision to quit a boring or stressful job out of your hands? Well, the bad news and good news is that there is no ‘right time’, there is only now. True, you might wait until you receive an anticipated tax refund to provide some funds for training or you may put your plans on hold until your little one goes to school. If you are waiting for something non-specific to indicate that now is the time for change, you could be talking about changing direction this time next year or the year after. If you’ve heard yourself saying ‘oh my gosh, where has the time gone, I can’t believe it’s June, July, August or whenever’ you are likely to remain where you are for some time to come.

If you recognise that you have been stalling or putting obstacles in your own way, you might want to explore why you have been procrastinating or delaying putting your plans into action. If you can’t work out why you are staying stuck and putting things off, a coach may be able to help you get some clarity on what is holding you back. Fear of failure is a common reason for procrastination in many scenarios, perhaps this resonates with you. Is worrying about what the outcome of the change might be, keeping you in an unrewarding role or a career that doesn’t fit with your values? If you find yourself focusing on all the things that could go wrong, instead of visualising what will be so good about your new career or business, you may be catastrophising. When you catastrophise, you magnify any risks, and dismiss the positives, or the most likely outcome. This anxiety about what could go wrong (the ‘what ifs’) could result in you avoiding or pursuing opportunities. If you recognise that fear of failure or fear of change is holding you back or keeping you in a rut, you could seek the help of a hypnotherapist or coach to help you to overcome your self-doubt and fear. I have a sign on my wall that says ‘What would you attempt to do if you knew you couldn’t fail?’ and that’s an interesting question. So, what would you do?

Can I earn a living as a hypnotherapist? Part 1: How is your relationship with money?

Jul 02, 2017

A question I’m often asked by prospective students is “Can I earn a decent living as a hypnotherapist?” The answer to that depends on a few simple things: your skill, your marketing and your relationship with money. In this article, we’re going to look at the last of these points.

We often talk about our relationship with food or alcohol, but how often do we think about our relationship with money? If you explore your attitude to money, how would you describe it? Are you comfortable with money or is it a dirty word? Our feelings about money are often formed early in life. Some of us are brought up to believe that discussing money is impolite, whilst others are comfortable to talk about it openly. It’s an interesting fact that long-term relationships often break down when each individual’s core beliefs about money are diametrically opposed. It is especially difficult if this topic wasn’t discussed before couples moved in together or got married.

Putting personal finances aside, when it comes to running your business, how does your attitude to cash affect what you charge your clients? Do you strive to make money from your therapy work or do you feel uncomfortable charging the ‘going rate’? Do you admire therapists who charge a lot more or do you feel antipathy towards them? Lack of confidence in your ability or doubts about your level of experience or results can lead to a failure to recognise the value of what you do.

Whether it is cash or plastic, currency is something that we can’t do without. In our business, we do have some control over how much money comes into our account. We can’t force clients to come to our practice, of course, but we can set a fee structure that is commensurate with the service we provide. An attitude to money that prevents us from earning a good living from our work is likely to de-motivate and discourage us and engender a sense of scarcity.

What we can do is to review our relationship with money. Could it be that wealth or the pursuance of it is what is troubling or exciting, rather than money itself? Naturally, our pricing needs to be in line with our values, but if we learned at an early age that having a lot of money makes you a bad person or that caring people are always poor (think Mother Theresa) then we might want to reappraise our position and its origins. If earning money from your enterprise is as exciting as helping people to make changes in their life, is that a problem? I would say not.

If you are concerned about charging ‘too much’ for your services, why not do a little audit... Add up the cost of your training, books, journals, CPD and include the fees for professional membership, insurance, room hire, website, marketing, etc. When you have tallied up all your costs (and don’t forget what you didn’t earn while you were training or your time investment) ask yourself if what you are charging clients, or planning to charge them, is excessive. Who knows, you might even decide that you should raise your fee!

Do you want a niche or want it all?

May 27, 2017

Years after qualifying as a hypnotherapist I still struggled to find a niche that I’d always been advised was a wise idea to have. However, I just couldn’t find an area to specialise in; there were so many different issues that I enjoyed helping clients with. I was a generalist and no one area seemed to be the only thing I wanted to work with. Many therapists experience the same challenge, although of course, some people have a therapeutic area that they’re naturally drawn to. Most training courses (including ours at LHA) rightly teach you to work with a wide variety of clients and presenting issues, using different styles and techniques.

Helping a range of clients with different problems and concerns is very interesting and helps to build confidence and skill. Over time, many therapists may, as I did, recognise areas or issues that they don’t want to work with, before identifying an area of personal expertise or interest. Perhaps one reason that therapists are reluctant to specialise, is that they want to help as many people as possible. It may also be a fear being seen as elitist or inaccessible. They may believe that they would be unwise to turn away someone who would happily pay their fee in case they don’t get enough work that is within their niche. It may be that they just feel more comfortable saying ‘yes’ than ‘no’.

Ultimately, it is up to you; there is work for niche therapists just as there is work for generalists. It is probably true that niche therapists find it easier to differentiate themselves from other therapists on a register or on the internet and this probably allows them to charge a higher fee. If they specialise, they may get more opportunities as arguably people want to work with a specialist and value a higher level of expertise and knowledge.

So, did I finally find my niche? Well, in a way, but it took a fellow therapist to draw it to my attention. After chatting to her about my practice and what and who I liked to work with, she drew to my attention, something that was obvious to her. I enjoy working with (and am not fazed by) complex emotional issues and low self-esteem. It hadn’t occurred to me that this was unusual or a niche, but when we reflected on it, we realised that many new therapists would feel uncomfortable or out of their depth dealing with certain deep-rooted problems and belief systems. That’s how I came to claim my niche and it certainly hasn’t impacted on my business negatively; if anything it has had the opposite result.

And I do have another niche; helping taxi knowledge students to qualify as London cabbies... but that’s a story for another day!