All day long our mind spins stories about our work, our health, our finances, our family, or that funny look the person in the shop gave us. Often we’re not even conscious of the internal soundtrack unspooling in our mind and yet it is the greatest source of stress in our lives.
Although the mind is capable of creating life-affirming stories, it has what neuroscientists refer to as a negativity bias, a tendency to pay more attention to negative experiences than to positive ones. The negativity bias evolved as a survival instinct millions of years ago, as our ancestors focused much more attention on avoiding potential threats than on rewards. Stopping to savour a delicious meal or admire a Paleolithic sunset would have used valuable attentional resources, leaving our ancient ancestors more vulnerable to attack by a predator. Those who survived to pass on their genes paid a lot of attention to danger. Their legacy is a brain that is primed to focus on negative experiences and has a tendency to get stuck in conditioned patterns of thinking, returning again and again to thoughts of anxiety, depression, and limitation.
We each have an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day – unfortunately, many of them are the same thoughts we had yesterday, last week, and last year. The mind tends to get stuck in repetitive thought loops that squeeze out the possibility for new ideas and inspiration. Hypnosis is a powerful practice for going beyond habitual, conditioned thought patterns into a state of expanded awareness. We connect to what is known as the field of infinite possibilities or pure potentiality, and we open to new insights, intuition, and ideas.
"I've been doing well lately. Feeling fierce. And strong. Your audio has been helping for those times when I feel less like a lion. But mostly I'm feeling so much stronger. I still use a lot of the grounding techniques that we did and just feeling so much calmer about things, faking it to make it. The power of your mind is something quite amazing. Thank you for helping reconnect with that side of myself. "
What is Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy?
Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) is the combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Hypnosis.
I have expanded my practice over recent years to incorporate the use of ACT rather than straightforward CBT. CBT often views problems and symptoms as stemming from unhealthy beliefs and thoughts. ACT sees many of our difficulties as arising from our attempts to control, challenge or remove naturally occurring thoughts and feelings, rather than learning how to pursue a fulfilling life even with them present some of the time.
ACT is a ‘third-wave’ therapy – at heart it’s a form of behaviour therapy which puts a huge emphasis on acceptance, mindfulness, compassion and values-driven behaviour. To turn things around, ACT encourages us to be more
AWARE, OPEN, and ENGAGED
•AWARE; able to notice what’s going on both inside our heads, hearts and bodies, and in the world outside us, and develop the ability to return to the here-and-now rather than being lost in the past or future, or ruled by rigid rules and stories about ourselves. ACT overlaps with mindfulness-based approaches in this way.
•OPEN: responding to those thoughts and feelings with recognition of what they are, rather than letting them control all of our choices and actions. Be willing to experience them, if that’s what it takes to move forward. And develop the ability to ‘let them be’ without taking unhelpful steps to reduce them.
•ENGAGED: to become clearer about our values – what matters to us, how we want to be in this world (different people value different things – mine include ‘being helpful’, ‘being kind’, ‘being curious’,’being creative’) and then base our actions on those rather than the (understandable) urge to reduce unwanted thoughts and feelings.
While those are the changes that ACT promotes, it also puts great emphasis on how that’s done. So my background with CBT and REBT helps us unpick what's currently going on; combining that with mindfulness, meditation and hypnosis allows us to effect change at a deeper, unconscious level. When either approach is used alone, it's reasonably effective, but when used in conjunction, the effect is dynamic.
"The changes you have helped me make over the past few months have been life-changing. I know I have lots more to learn and hopefully that will always be the way. For now though, you have given me that little head start and I want to give you a MASSIVE thank you!"
What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is as old as the human race. The phenomenon known as hypnosis has existed since the beginning of recorded history, as found in the folklore of ancient cultures. Despite decades of scientific research into the benefits of hypnosis it’s surprising how it continues to be misunderstood and judged negatively on the basis of misinformation and simple prejudice.
People still often react negatively to the word hypnosis but virtually never react negatively to the description of the process of hypnosis.
Hypnosis is a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention. It is like using a magnifying glass to focus the rays of the sun and make them more powerful. Similarly, when our minds are concentrated and focused, we are able to use our minds more powerfully. Everyone has experienced a trance many times, but we don’t usually call it hypnosis. All of us have been so absorbed in thought – while reading a book, or riding the bus to work – that we fail to notice what is happening around us. While we were zoned out, another level of consciousness which we refer to as our unconscious mind, took over. These are very focused states of attention similar to hypnosis. The unconscious part of our mind stores our beliefs and from the imprints held there we formulate emotions. Hypnosis is an overtly goal orientated process. In fact that is one of it’s strengths because when applied well it establishes an expectation and then gently guides the client on a path toward fulfilling that expectation.
Sessions with Kat
What happens in a session?
After discussing the issues and challenges you wish to address in some depth we'll look at the ACT approach and how it applies to you. We will get clear that what is causing difficulty is not illness or pathology, but the natural consequences of how our minds work. As such, it applies as much to the therapist as to the client. To model this, ACT therapists will use more self-disclosure than is found in many counselling or therapy models. I will encourage us actively doing and experiencing things – within sessions and between them- rather than exclusively talking and listening. Where appropriate, with your permission, I may use the relaxation technique of hypnosis to help embed new ways of thinking at a deep, unconscious level. Clients find that this enables the changes to take place faster with far reaching and long lasting effects.
The most important element of my approach is that, by the end of your treatment, you will have the knowledge to be able to apply these techniques to all others areas of your life. My aim is to empower you and give you tools that will last a lifetime.
"I have been meaning to write and thank you for what was a truly transformational experience! After our session I was able to manage the lead up to the event with less anxiety than ever before. And on the night an incredible calm came over me.
The whole thing went really well! Your voice was with me calming me down and reminding me to be calm and confident!
Thanks again for everything, I am truly grateful for your help."
1st appointments £100 - 90 mins
Follow up appointments £75 - 60 mins
My clinic is at The Well Garden, Hackney Downs Studios, Amhurst Terrace E8 2BT or occasionally I see people from home in Stoke Newington N16.
Skype/FaceTime appointments also offered.
I am happy to offer a free phone consultation to discuss your requirements. Please call me on 07966 387954 to discuss how we might work together
- Performance Anxiety
- Low self-confidence
- Panic Attacks
- Relationship Issues
- Fertility Issues
- Weight Problems
- Sexual Problems
- Habits like smoking or binge drinking
- Stress Management
- Exam or Driving test stress
- Lack of self-esteem
However, often people have more complex problems in which aspects of the issues listed above may be a feature. And sometimes people just feel stuck, that their life is not where they want it to be.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with Hypnosis can help.