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Fake it ‘til you make it

Nov 07, 2018

Gain confidence by practising

‘Fake it ‘til you make it’ is a common mantra. When I first started practising as a hypnotherapist, faking it was definitely what I did. I didn’t lie or directly mislead anyone, but I did speak as if I had the experience and confidence that I would gain over time. Don’t get me wrong, I was qualified. I’d attended training at a good school and I had the required certificates and insurance. What I lacked was clinical experience.

I did believe that I could help my clients, but I was nervous when I first started. Luckily for me I was already an experienced complementary therapist, so meeting and greeting clients, gaining rapport and running a practice didn’t faze me. Neither was I troubled if people saw me for help with something that I felt I knew a bit about (and for which there were abundant scripts) such as weight loss, anxiety or confidence issues.

What did make me uncomfortable was when clients asked if I could help with things I knew little or nothing about. I felt that I had to have a good knowledge and understanding of their issue before I could help them; I had a fear of getting caught out not knowing enough. But how do you get experience in anything? You get good at something (at anything) by doing it. So, on the advice of my tutor, I held my head up, acted as if I was confident and experienced and in time, I became so.

The message of ‘Fake it ‘til you make it’ is an important and valuable one. It’s not about being dishonest or a fraud; it’s about acting ‘as if you can’ in order to inspire confidence in your clients. If you ask questions, listen to the answers (really listen) and then respond to what you’ve heard and seen without judgement, then you will probably do a good job. If you act as if you are confident, your client is likely to expect good results, and they will probably experience good results as a consequence of their belief.

By contrast, if you act as if you don’t believe you can help your client, you lack self confidence or are unsure what you are doing, they are less likely to expect or experience the change they seek. The power of belief and acting ‘as if’ is something that is not about being dishonest; it is about what is most helpful for your client. In turn this positive ‘act’ (or approach) will help you to build your professional confidence and practice.

Why train as a hypnotherapist?

Sep 04, 2018

If you are considering training as a clinical hypnotherapist, you are likely to be a caring individual who is hoping to facilitate change in others and the world. Improving people’s lives will impact on the wider world, right? But not everyone who trains as a therapist is a quiet, modest person and that’s ok. Different clients will be drawn to different therapists as we all work in wonderfully diverse ways.

Your motivation to train for a career in hypnotherapy may diverge from others on your training course; some students will want to work in the voluntary or charity sector, others will want to work with burnt-out bankers and to charge ‘top dollar.’ The majority will probably want to earn a good hourly rate (full or part time) doing something that is mentally stimulating and emotionally and financially rewarding.

For many of our past students it’s been the blend of a flexible and portable career that can be pursued into older age that is especially appealing. This combined with the potential to earn a decent living doing something worthwhile is an important driver. To be a good therapist we need to love our job. It isn’t something that we can do ‘on automatic’ if we are to be effective in our work. The great thing is that our practice and client-base can be as diverse or as specialist as we choose. If you want to be a generalist and see clients with a wide range of presenting issues, that’s fine. If you choose to specialise in working with anxiety, weight management, addictions or sports, you can do that too.

Whether you specialise or are a generalist, when we work with clients we need to communicate our belief in their ability to change. We also need to believe in ourselves too and what we bring to our new vocation, regardless of our style or approach. Research has shown that the clients of newly qualified therapists achieve just as satisfactory results as those working with experienced therapists. Clients will respond positively to your positivity and your ability to address their issues and fears.

Being a hypnotherapist and facilitating life-enhancing changes for people who seek your professional help is truly one of the best jobs in the world. This is a great time to be a hypnotherapist; public awareness of the benefits of hypnotherapy is growing and it’s becoming more and more mainstream. If you’d like to find out more about our hypnotherapy courses, call us on 020 3369 3360 or book to attend one of our regular Discovery Days or Open Evenings.

The science of anxiety and how hypnotherapy can help

Jun 07, 2018

Stress and anxiety are often seen as a normal part of everyday life; a response to our modern world. But what is happening when we are stressed or anxious and what can we do about it? Well, the ancient part of our brain called the amygdala is stimulated when we are experiencing fear or anxiety and this is essential to our survival; a basic primitive response which keeps us alert to danger.

The threats are different now of course; we are no longer at risk of being attacked by wild animals. We do have other stressors though; attacks by terrorists, high house prices, work place worries or relationship woes. A lot of the things we fret about nowadays are not very serious in the bigger scheme of things and few are life threatening. Let’s take attacks by terrorists as an example; it would be very dangerous and frightening if we were to be confronted by a gunman or find ourselves in an area under attack, but the likelihood of this happening to any of us in the UK, is still very small. For some the fear of this or other forms of harm remain with them regardless of the reality.

The problem is that when our amygdala is activated, the responses from other areas of our brain are blocked. In this state it is unlikely that we will be receptive to new ideas or to adopting new behaviours. The challenge is that our over-stimulated amygdala will ensure that we remember to be afraid of all and any perceived threats. Blocked by the amygdala, the more sophisticated areas of our brain are unable to help us to rationally evaluate the threat level, so making any adjustments when highly stressed or anxious is very difficult. This is why so many people live with constant and unhelpful levels of stress, fear and anxiety.

So with this knowledge, how can we help our clients to make changes to their thoughts and emotions and cope better with modern life? For any kind of change to happen there needs to be new learning and new behaviour. Through a combination of different therapeutic approaches, we can help our clients to find ways to view things differently and therefore respond differently. When people are calm and relaxed they are more resourceful and able to make changes and manage life events. Hypnotherapy is an excellent way to achieve a calm and focused state of mind and self-hypnosis, which our students learn during their diploma training is an excellent way to restore equilibrium. As anxiety and mood disorders are so prevalent in modern society, we spend significant classroom time educating students on the symptoms and treatment methods that will help them to help their clients.

If you’d like to learn more about our training courses click here to download our prospectus.

What is Solution Focused Hypnotherapy?

Feb 25, 2018

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (SFH) has its roots in Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) which originated in the USA in the 1970s. Solution-focused hypnotherapy seeks to help people achieve positive change in their lives by focusing on how the client can find solutions to achieve their goals. It assumes that no problems happen all the time, there are always exceptions and that small changes can lead to big change. By focusing on exceptions, the client can begin to see that their actions, or inactions, directly affect their outcome. This understanding builds feelings of self-efficacy.

Most traditional forms of therapy look backward analysing problems of the past, believing that the answers lie there. SFH acknowledges past hurts and traumas but is underpinned by the belief that you get what you focus on; if a person focuses on what they don’t want they are likely to feel a lot worse than if they focus on what they want. Solution-focused hypnotherapy can help clients uncover skills and resources within themselves that will help move them away from their problem state.

Solution-focused therapy is goal and action-oriented; the client is encouraged to set clear, measurable and realistic goals and given support to start working towards meeting them. It is a client-led approach and questions like “what do you like doing?” and “what are you good at?” are used to help the client to change their focus. By switching their attention from their problem and towards activities that bring them pleasure and a sense of fulfilment the answer to the problem might be revealed.

One of the most common questions used in solution-focused hypnotherapy is the ‘miracle question’ which encourages the client to imagine a time in the future when their problem has gone and asks them to think about what would be different, who would notice and how would they notice? By inviting a client to imagine this ideal future they can start to believe that their desired changes are possible. Encouraging them to create this future allows them to move into a state where they are more resourceful and this can be reinforced in hypnosis. Simply being in hypnosis reduces stress and anxiety and a hypnotherapist can invite the client to explore their inner world and tap into their internal resources. The client can begin to focus on the positive aspects of their life, encouraging a shift in perspective.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a collaborative process between client and therapist. Change happens because the client wants it and consciously works towards it with the support of the therapist. Because SFH focuses on action, positive changes are usually noticed quickly; we learn and reinforce skills by doing. This, in turn, builds confidence and self-esteem and helps move the client into an ever more positive, resourceful state. 

Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy forms part of the London Hypnotherapy Academy diploma course but is also open to counsellors and coaches as a stand-alone training module.

Re-train as a hypnotherapist for a flexible career

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. 

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