Treating Anxiety And Stress: A Case Study

In this study, I share how hypnosis and cognitive behaviour therapy can be used effectively to treat anxiety and stress. Names have been changed but this is a real case study with one of my clients.

Hypnosis For Anxiety And Stress

Tom is a good looking young man in his early 30’s. He was brought up by an overprotective mother and was told that he had to be careful from a very young age. He was anxious about most things and found social situations difficult. He was shy at secondary school and struggled with making and keeping friends. He later married Maria who he met at university, but she was the only girl he dated. He has two daughters ages 6 and 9 and they go to their local village school.

When Tom first came to see me he was nervous, did not give me eye contact and shyly smiled a hello. As we chatted Tom relaxed noticeably and said, “I have been anxious and nervous all my life, even in junior school and secondary school. I struggled with knowing what to say then and now my wife takes all the responsibility at home and I let her so I don't have to.”

He then admitted that his wife made the appointment to see me; she made all the appointments – to see the dentist, doctor etc. If the children had parent-teacher meetings at school, his wife Maria went. She made all the social engagements and at parties, she was the one that socialised, while he was quiet and talked only when he was asked a question. Even when they had takeaway meals, Maria made the call, as he was too shy and nervous.

Because of Maria, Tom was able to avoid social situations that made him uncomfortable and awkward. However, this problem was starting to affect his work as he had taken on a bigger role in his job, needed to do presentations, go to conferences, and talk to business colleagues socially. When Tom was younger he worked at a small local family company owned by someone in the village, and he never had to put himself in front of other people. However, when the owner sold the company Tom had to move jobs to a bigger company. Initially, he was still able to hide himself away, but he soon got recognised his talent and expertise and was forced to take a bigger role.

At the last business event, he was very nervous, spent a lot of time before the event in the toilet and when he finally spoke to the other people he was panicky and his voice was shaky. He said, “I was able to talk quickly and not give myself away. When I was asked a question, I struggled to get my words out due to my nervousness, when eventually I got my words out it was so very embarrassing as I stuttered”.

After that embarrassing situation and feeling humiliated, he started to panic, even more, could not even pick up the telephone without feeling panicky and he started to worry more. He asked himself - Why was he like this? – shy, timid and fearful of everything. He must be the only one in the world to feel like this; he just cannot seem to shake this off. After he spent his day at work feeling pressurised and anxious, he would get tired, fatigued and disheartened combined with negative thoughts, he wanted to give up work but could not as he was the main income earner at home.

As his wife was sociable and had a lot of friends, she took a lot of the responsibilities on her shoulders. The more she did, the more he would withdraw and let her take charge. He had no real close friends to speak of and their social life consisted of friends of his wife. Even when they were out with friends or had a party at home he never knew what to say and felt uneasy.

His anxiety took over when he was the centre of attention and this became very difficult due to expectations at work. When he knew he had to make important phone calls or do a public presentation his anxiety would overwhelm him and would find an excuse to pass this job to his colleague at work. But he knew that this could not continue, the negative cycle that he was stuck in had to change. It was affecting him both at home and at work, and putting him under a lot of pressure.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy With Hypnosis

Tom started cognitive behaviour therapy with me and used the cognitive strategy sessions to relearn the way he thought and felt about himself. He was ready and willing during therapy and progressed well, did all the homework and practice he was set. He did a number of practical presentations with me and then also went home and practiced with his family.

His family was enthusiastic and supportive because he was talking more, felt happier, and addressed his anxiety during these social and speaking occasions. When he made a mistake or the anxiety took over he was able to inject some humour in the sessions we had together. When he was anxious about his social skills or presentation he saw it for what it was, a chance to try and tell people about the subject he was passionate about.

As he found humour and de-stressed during the situation, he saw his anxiety for what it was, which was not as scary as he thought. He was able to put his fear and anxiety into perspective with my help and developed the chance to build his self-esteem. ‘Everyone makes mistakes so what?’ became his motto.

He started to slowly communicate socially more, taking charge such as speaking on the phone or ordering the family’s takeaway. He realised that in public he was not a centre of attention and he could make mistakes and it was okay. With cognitive behavioural therapy, he felt comfortable speaking at meetings and also started to do be more relaxed at public speaking events. He also took more and more of his own responsibilities at work where before he would shrink away or defer to others, and also at home. His wife Maria is happy and pleased with his metamorphosis, and his marriage is flourishing.

“I am happier and feel confident in myself now”, Tom said. “Whereas in the past I let the anxiety take over and I felt frustrated and angry at myself, I am now enjoying my new found freedom from the stress and negativity. I am giving speeches now and do make mistakes, but laugh at them. I am in control of my life and feel confident in my ability in dealing with any issue as it arises.”

Many people adopt behaviours that help them avoid stressful situations like Tom did by allowing his wife to run the social aspects of their lives. However, you could be missing out on opportunities to enjoy an exciting social life or a rewarding career by letting your anxiety dictate how you live.

Take the first step to getting some support so that you can control your anxiety, nervousness or negative thoughts, and gain confidence in being you. If you would like to speak to me about how cognitive behaviour therapy with hypnosis could help you, please contact me by calling 0796 715 1790 or emailing info@formindssake.com


How Many Hypnosis Sessions Will I Need to Lose Weight?

Generally, when a client comes to me for hypnosis for weight loss, it’s after struggling with diets and exercise plans and not seeing the desired results. While most diets and exercise regimes work in theory, in practice it can be very difficult.

Keeping on a restrictive diet is a challenge, and requires immense amounts of willpower and motivation. Similarly regularly exercising can also be hard to do, especially when there are so many other pressing activities we need get done during the day.

This is why hypnosis for weight loss can be so effective. It doesn’t replace a healthy diet or regular exercise – but it can help change the way you think about food and your body and help you achieve your goals.

I often think that it would be much better if clients came to me first before embarking on their weight loss plan. Then we can deal with those self-sabotaging thoughts, install positive behaviours, and maintain the motivation and energy to lose weight long term, right from the start.

However, whether someone uses hypnosis at the beginning of the weight loss plan, or comes to it after being unsuccessful, here I answer some common questions clients have about hypnosis for weight loss:

What happens during a hypnosis session and what does it feel like?

Every hypnosis session is tailored to the person’s individual needs, so experiences differ from person to person. Some of my clients feel calm and relaxed during our therapy sessions and some have experienced an increased state of awareness. While some daydream and others feel euphoric, still others feel as if they are asleep and wonder where the time went.

Regardless of how someone feels during a hypnosis session, it’s what happens afterwards that really counts! Typically, when a client has completed their first session they experience increased motivation and willpower with regards to their eating behaviours and are in control of their triggers for chocolate, sweets and fatty foods.

So how many hypnosis sessions will I need to lose weight?

Hypnosis works uniquely for each individual. When helping a person to lose weight, first it is important to reprogram the way they think about food, strengthen their resolve to eat healthily and not overeat. Clinical Hypnosis can help an overweight person lose weight by finding out what negative emotions are in play when they overeat. Why are they eating foods that emotional fulfil them, how does this affect their confidence and self-esteem, and how do they feel emotionally when they eat these unhealthy and junk foods? Hypnosis can help with the triggers that cause an individual to overeat, cravings for unhealthy foods, changing they way this person thinks and feels about their bodies and the way they perceive themselves.

The number of Clinical hypnosis sessions varies from person to person and can be determined during the initial assessment session. Normally a client will come each week for the first month to increase their willpower, release any emotional attachments to food and build their motivation to stay on goals to lose the excess weight they feel they have.

These sessions are extremely important at the beginning, then the sessions are tailored to the individual and their progress and goals to reach their desired weight. Often clients will come every alternate week until they have achieved their goals, reinforcing their positive behaviours and increasing motivation levels every time.

The client then moves on to the once a month protocol for support and maintenance to keep themselves focussed on their goals and desires what they want their ideal weight to be. Some group sessions are also provided to share their weight loss goals and have a supportive environment, the shared experience that keeps the motivation and progress going.

Why should you choose clinical hypnosis over other weight loss programs?

Hypnosis is a natural and long-term approach to obtain a healthy body image you desire. It helps you to be in control of what you eat, recognise when you feel emotional, stop you from reaching for those unhealthy foods. If your normal emotional response would have been in the past to eat junk foods when you felt sad, angry, frustrated or emotional, hypnosis will teach you how to manage this response in a healthy way.

When you go on a diet if feels like a chore and the negative effects are that our subconscious mind thinks we are starving and this feels uncomfortable. After a while you will feel under pressure to stay on this diet – it becomes a negative experience. Your body craves foods that will sustain you, especially those that have emotional connotations for you, and eventually, your diet fails. Your mind will trigger your self-preservation mechanism and you will go back to eating things that are not good for your weight loss.

Clinical hypnosis for weight loss is safe, natural, there is no use of medication: extreme dieting that makes you so unhappy or counting calories is not a part of the treatment.

Instead, it uses a combination of clinical hypnosis and CBT that changes the way you think and feel about food.

The focus is always on keeping the weight off long term so that once a client has achieved their weight loss target, or feels that they have the strength to continue on the right course, they don’t need further sessions.

To find out more about how clinical hypnosis can help you lose weight and keep it off, and to get started right away at home – download my eBook 10 Simple Steps To Weight Loss Success here.

If you have any further questions about clinical hypnosis for weight loss, please leave a comment below or contact me directly.


10 Steps to Increase Your Self Esteem and Propel Your Career

How you think and feel about yourself is one of the most important factors in becoming successful in your career and social life.

‘Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending’ Maria Robinson

If you are happy with what you do and who you are then you will find success, but in today’s world love for oneself is the missing link what people miss out on.

Why is the ability to build, maintain and keep your self-esteem so important?

  • Self-sabotaging thoughts – sometimes you can be your own worst enemy. By looking after your needs and keeping the bar raised high you can be motivated enough the things you like and love. And when you achieve your goals you will not self-sabotage.
  • Developing your inner stability - By liking yourself you will not look for attention and validation from other people. Then what other people say and think does affect your stability and you don't need the recognition to feel good. When they say something nice it’s a bonus!
  • Your relationships and friendships will be healthier – if you display ‘needy’ characteristics or lack the confidence to be yourself, your relationships will not be built on a sound footing. Therefore if you can nurture your self-esteem you will also build better relationships with the people around you.
  • You will feel happier – in my experience when I like and value myself, I am a happier person and I am able to achieve success with my goals.

Here are 10 ways you can start to build your self-esteem today:

  1. Stop being your own internal critic – learn to handle and replace that judgmental voice inside you or you will drag your self-confidence down. What does the negative chatter say - you are not good at doing things and your job or you don't look so good? When you hear the critical voice in your head replace it by saying STOP, a positive thought, an affirmation, or my favourite saying ‘no, we are not doing that again’. Or you can use your favourite saying or a constructive thought that resonates with you. As long it motivates you to find better ways to move forward rather than listening to the inner critical voice.
  2. Choose healthier habits – motivate yourself with thoughts and actions that will build your self-esteem and you are less likely to listen to the inner critic. You can do this by reminding yourself of the positive benefits using written or recorded motivational quotes or words that you keep somewhere easily accessible for daily reading. Think about what you would really like to do and refocus your energies on your needs and what’s important to you.
  3. Take a 2-minute gratitude break - a simple habit of following is to take a break for a couple of minutes every day to appreciate what you do. Do this exercise by writing down three things you do that you feel good about and appreciate about yourself, such as “I can make people laugh when they are stressed or I can be thoughtful when someone needs my help” etc. It may be for only two minutes but it’s a powerful way to turn off your negative thoughts, boost your self-esteem and fill you with positive energy.
  4. Do the things that will raise your self-esteem - exercise and eat healthy meals will make you feel good about yourself. Keeping that focus is not easy but can make a difference how you think and feel about yourself and get the results you want.
  5. Being perfect is not important - replace the thoughts that are destructive especially about being perfect. To overcome the perfectionist habits – go for the words ‘that is good enough for me’. Buying into the perfect myth in life can hurt your motivation and harm your job, family life and ability to achieve.
  6. Be aware that people make mistakes and look at them positively – fear of failure can stop us from trying to achieve our goals resulting in never fulfilling our potential. If you do struggle – try to relax and stay calm, don't beat yourself up, find another way to be constructive and achieve your goals.
  7. Be kind towards people – it doesn’t take a lot to be kind and you will be treated like you treat others. Listen when someone has something to say about their problems. Encourage your family or friends to try new things and motivate them. Help someone in a practical manner.
  8. Stop comparing yourself to other people – everyone is different and if you focus on comparing yourself to other people you will have this self-destructive habit that goes nowhere. There are always people who do better than you, so focus on the goals you wish to achieve, not on what other people are doing.
  9. Spend time with motivational people – find someone you admire and emulate them. Also, avoid negative people that drag you down. Being kinder to yourself and to the people that motivate you, will replace the trying to ‘be perfect’ habit, will help you move forward and will give you a fresh perception of the way you want your life to be.
  10. Remember why is it important to build your self-esteem – to keep you motivated and build unstoppable self-confidence. Remembering the reasons why you want to build your self-esteem and making it your priority, this will help you achieve your goals in life.

If lack of self-esteem is preventing you from being successful in your business or personal life, there is help available. Don't let anxiety and low self-confidence hold you back in your social life and career anymore. Therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) can help you tackle low self-esteem, negative thoughts and self-destructive habits. Find out more by calling me for an informal chat about your needs. 07967151790 or astarandrea@gmail.com


Quitting Smoking When You’ve Tried Unsuccessfully Before

In my experience, by the time clients seek help to quit smoking using hypnotherapy they’ve already tried a number of other ways to stop – unsuccessfully. In this post, I’m going to share how one client who had smoked for many years and had tried to quit smoking several times, finally kicked the habit. If you are struggling to stop smoking, I hope that this will inspire you to try again.

Stop Smoking With Hypnotherapy A Case Study

Harry had tried many times over the past 5 years to quit smoking but always started up again when he felt his addiction to cigarettes return. He regularly said to himself ‘I have done damage to myself already so why should I quit smoking now, I won’t be able to cope with the cravings and anxiety I feel when I am not smoking’. But then he had a bout of pneumonia and the doctor warned him that if he continued to smoke he would seriously damage his health. He also has high blood pressure and gastric problems and a combination of these health issues motivated him to take action.

Harry had warnings about his health before but could not keep the cravings at bay and kept going back to his smoking habit. Harry smoked roll-up cigarettes for 25 years since he was 14 years old and as the years went by he was smoking more and more without realising how many he smoked in the day. Due to his addiction to smoking, his wife had started smoking too. He had a dedicated a room outside as his office, in reality, it was his smoking room. He has 3 children and the thing that made him contact me was a small sentence that his 10-year-old son said to him on the way to football practice. He said ‘dad you won’t be there will you when I grow up’ This made him stop and think and he contacted me in desperation as he really wanted to see his son grow up and become an adult.

Harry knew that if he did not change his smoking behaviour he would not be around for his kids, he has 2 younger children as well. He had tried vaping, nicotine patches and gum but none of them worked for him. He spoke about his struggles to a close friend who told about how he had quit using cognitive behaviour therapy and hypnosis. When Harry finally made that call, he had decided that it was the time he changed his habits and behaviours and make a life-changing decision to give up smoking for good. He wanted to get to the root cause of his smoking behaviour long-term and get back in control of his life.

After the first session, Harry was able to throw away all the roll-up cigarettes he had. He cleared his house, turned his ‘office’ into a playroom for his kids and started to spend time with his family that he had not ever done before. He also took an interest in the little odd jobs around the house that had piled up and started to tackle them one by one. He spent the first weekend in years attending to his family needs and having fun.

Making The Decision To Quit

When Harry came to our first session, he smoked 40-50 roll-up cigarettes a day, not noticing how many he was smoking in a day. When he realised what he was doing to his body and health, he made the life-changing decision to stop. His ‘aha’ moment came when his son said ‘you won’t be there dad when I grow up’ this struck a chord with him and he was shocked and surprised about.

After 5 sessions Harry was:

  • Not smoking, and had removed all cigarettes and evidence of smoking from his house and car
  • Was spending more time with his family, and encouraging his wife to stop smoking too
  • Joined a gym and working on getting his health back on track
  • Saving money - by not smoking he was able to book a holiday in the Autumn so he and his family could have some quality time together

"When I met Andrea my goal was to reduce my cigarette smoking as it relieved my stress but with her sessions I learned to cope with my stress and when I was under pressure and focused on quitting for good." Harry

CBT focuses on the here and now – not what has happened in the past but how you are feeling today. Harry identified his negative thoughts and developed a new way of thinking about his life. He identified his distorted thought patterns and learned to deal with the stress that caused him to smoke. He was able to:

  • Build his self-confidence in his abilities at work
  • Motivate himself to quit smoking for good and never touch another cigarette again
  • Identify the triggers that caused him to smoke and using the techniques I taught him to respond differently in those situations
  • He learned to stay calm, relaxed and resisted the urge to smoke in times of stress
  • He changed his negative thoughts from ‘why am I trying to quit when I never will quit or what’s the point of quitting’ to ‘I feel good that I have quit smoking and I am happier and healthier than before, I will be there for my kids when they grow up’
  • He also replaced negative and destructive thought patterns with positive and healthy thoughts
  • He used the skills and techniques I taught to build a positive self-image without cigarettes
  • He learnt strategies like breathing exercises, mindfulness and importance of healthy eating habits, exercising of mind and body.

Harry said,

“I felt at the end of my tether when I came to Andrea and frustrated as I could not move forward with my life. I felt stuck and thought that if I don't make changes now I will lose my family. I now feel fantastic. I have quit smoking permanently, choosing a healthy way of living. Identifying what causing me to smoke and keep smoking was the key to my success, it has been one of the best things that has happened to me. I will continue to use the techniques that Andrea has given me and am working on long-term goals.”

I have designed an online ‘Stop Smoking Course’ that can help you quit like Harry, click here for more details. Alternatively, if you would like to speak to me about giving up smoking and the options you have available, please contact me on 0796 715 1790 or email astarandrea@gmail.com