Every week I help countless people overcome Anxiety. In my experience it is something that, although not always easy to overcome, is very possible for full resolution. I find it a little baffling that in the world we live in that more information is not available to overcome anxiety. This is why I decided to write this blog post. To share my experiences of helping deal with anxiety and panic disorders so those reading are able to try things they have not tried before. Or, have an understanding of why some of the things they have tried didn’t work. It’s so important to know that just because something doesn’t work, this doesn’t mean you are stuck with anxiety for life. It is just that what you tried wasn’t in line to deal with your problem
My choice of therapies are ones that are proactive in eliminating the root cause. This means anxiety doesn’t happen in the first place. My chosen therapies that enable this are BWRT and Hypnoanalysis via Hypnotherapy. I am based in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire but can also work via skype for those that choose BWRT.
Everyone’s mileage will vary with therapy. One size does not fit all and that is especially true with Therapy. I was reading a David R Hawkins booked recently and he noted that there were at last count 1600 different approaches. What will work wonders for one person may not even scratch the surface for another. This is just my experiences and this is not to put anyone of pursuing avenues that they feel may benefit them. This blog post is not to dismiss any other therapies. It is simply my view of what I have seen work and not work.
I am not sure of the percentage, but it is high, of the number of people that I see that have already had some sort therapy. The therapies that most have tried before they see me are hypnotherapy and CBT. Usually people had around 6 sessions of Hypnotherapy before giving up and up to 12 sessions of CBT. Usually reporting in little or no improvement with their condition.
Coping Techniques Vs Root cause resolution.
For me, there is a time and place for coping techniques, but they shouldn’t be the only therapy on offer. Coping is like saying, ‘let’s live with this’, but deal with it better. This doesn’t sit well with me. I want people to overcome anxiety, not live with it. Would you want a mechanic to temporarily fix your car and to have to keep continually taking it back to the garage? If you had a broken arm, would you want to learn to live with the pain or would you want the pain to go away? Resolution of the conflicts within the psyche needs to be pursued to enable a client to stand the best chance of getting better.
Let’s first take a look at CBT. CBT is a Cognitive behaviour therapy. This is, the most likely therapy someone will have tried before they see me. Doctor’s will refer a client for CBT, but unfortunately the waiting lists are usually in the months. This is not helpful for the anxious sufferer.
CBT works on the concept that our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations are all connected – which they are. CBT attempts to break down those connections so as to break their cycle. If you can change those negative patterns, you can change the cycle. If you can change the cycle, you can deal with your anxiety better. The benefits of CBT are that it works on your current issues, and has no requirement to delve into your past.
A+B+C = your issue. What CBT strives to do is make you feel differently about one of those letters and break the cycle. CBT is all about you changing your patterns. Although CBT has been successful for people I just feel there is too much emphasis on you the client to make changes. It means that the anxiety has to occur and then you have to do something different. I think the logic behind CBT is strong, but in practise it is difficult to apply.
Not to be dismissed!
It might sound like I am knocking CBT, but I’m not. It has been around a long time and has helped many people. It’s a coping strategy and I will never be a fan of them. This is a snippet from the NHS website. ‘CBT can’t cure the physical symptoms of these conditions, it can only help people cope with them better’.
If you are seeking out CBT or booked in or currently undergoing it…. Don’t be put it off. It might be exactly what you are looking for. This is just mine, one person’s view!
I am trained in Clinical Hypnosis and use Hypnotherapy when applicable. Again, a number of my clients have already tried hypnotherapy, so why didn’t it work? Hypnotherapy has many different approaches, but the one used by your standard therapist will likely be Suggestion therapy. Suggestion therapy is exactly what it sounds like. The therapist will suggest you for to act in a different way to how you currently act. For instance, if you were scared to ride the bus, the suggestion would be that you are calm and confident on the bus. But, and there is a big but, it depends how the subconscious holds that rule. Let’s have a quick look at how it does this.
Is it for survival?
The closer to survival our brain thinks a response is, the more resistant it is to change that response. This is a very important concept and one worth repeating. ‘The closer to survival our brain thinks a response is, the more resistant it is to change’. This is because of this. Your actions have led to your survival, which they have, because you are still here, so you better keep doing them. The suggestion has to be bigger, stronger more applicable than what is already there. This can be very difficult to achieve.
Smoking cessation is extremely effective when combined with Hypnosis. This is because the brain is aware that smoking is not linked to survival. It will release a pattern that it doesn’t believe is for its benefit. But, over eating, this is very tough to address with Hypnotherapy because we need to eat to survive. It is possible to do via hypnosis, but a lot harder to achieve.
Survival v Suggestion
A lot of Hypnotherapists are only trained in suggestion therapy. When suggesting to the brain that something is actually ‘ok’ when the brain believes it’s a threat isn’t going to achieve anything. What often happens is that the client feels better for the next few days and then reverts back. Although an extreme example, this was a story that made headlines a number of years ago.
A lady had a phobia of flying and sought hypnotherapy to address the issue. The therapist decided to use suggestion therapy to ‘suggest’ that the lady actually liked flying. The lady flew out on holiday and had a pleasant flight. Everything was fine until she attempted to get back on the aeroplane to return. The lady had returned to her previous state where she was afraid to fly. She was then stuck abroad and ended up having to travel home by land.
This is an extreme example, but one that shows how the brain works. Imagine an anxious thought is the size of an Apple in your head. When suggesting, we then implant a thought the size of a raisin. These two then battle it out for which one we should listen to. Eventually the stronger thought (the bigger thought) wins through. Recidivism is then experienced.
Suggestion therapy is still an extremely valid tool for helping certain situations. But those situations do need to be non-life threatening from the brain’s point of view. For example, it is great for one off occasions like exam nerves, dentists or driving tests.
In my experience suggestion therapy is a powerful tool in the therapist’s toolkit. This needs to be used at the right time, but all too often it is simply not. It is used because it may be all that particular therapist has available to them. Phobic and Panic responses generally don’t respond that well to suggestion therapy. There will always be exceptions to the rule but I have seen more than enough clients to know that this can be the case.
Branching out into what is seen as maybe a more left field therapy is EFT, Emotional Freedom Tapping. I am a master practitioner in this skill set but rarely, if ever, use it anymore. This isn’t as well-known, but still plenty of people have tried this with varying success. EFT is delivered by creating a mantra and tapping different parts of the body in a certain order. This disrupts the energy flow around the body and causes the body to reset the nervous system. Once the nervous system is reset the panic/anxiety ceases to be. It is a highly effective therapy but again it’s something to do once anxiety starts.
It’s a very good tool again for the client to know in case of attacks. It does have a big downside and that is, it isn’t practical to do in public. The nomad types of people may feel happy to do this in a crowded room but the majority wont. Having to talk out load and tap your body just isn’t something that is doable in many situations. For instance, you wouldn’t be able to do this in the middle of a board meeting.
I am more than happy to teach this technique as can be extremely useful in certain situations. Rather than someone having a pill in their pocket in case of emergency this can be used.
Again though, EFT is a therapy that relies on the anxiety presenting itself then the sufferer reacting. It definitely has a time and place and can be learnt fairly quickly to do. Ideally I don’t want to be teaching coping strategies when we could be dealing with the root cause!
I had a client recently that had been through a lot of counselling and she summed up what a lot of people experience. She had a good understanding of why she was like she was. She had the logic to know why she acted like she did. But, she still acted like she did. It was some relief to her to have talked through her problems, but this provided no solution.
In the hands of a skilled therapist this can be extremely well worthwhile. If the therapist is able to reframe the Conscious thought patterns so the client can see another view, great progress can be made. But all too often the conscious mind wants one thing to happen and the subconscious another. So even when you know something is silly and you don’t need to react like you have, you still might!
I am not against talking therapies at all, but they have to provide a resolution. Sometimes they become part of the problem because they just become outlets for a client to unload their issues without resolution.
This type of therapy definitely provides a lot of relief for certain issues. With anxiety though we are needing to deal with the conflict found in the psyche. This often doesn’t fully resolve this.
The interventions I use.
This blog may be read as a way of advertising what I do and saying what I do is better than everyone else. It is not that. This blog is about understanding the different approaches and using one that is best suited. Any therapy that gets the desired results is a successful therapy.
Everybody has a different set of goal posts. As mentioned numerous times already, I believe we should get rid of the root cause. That is my opinion and although it sounds like the logically approach to have, both clients and therapists may not see this as the be all and end all.
My opinion is that anxiety, be it 3 out of 10 or 8 out of ten is not wanted. Some people are happy for a reduction in their anxiety levels and that is enough for them. In my psyche though, I just wish for it to not exist at all. This is then reflected in how I treat my clients. With that in mind I sought to be trained in Therapies that could achieve removal of triggers. The two that I found to do this were BWRT, Brain Working Recursive Therapy and Hypnoanalysis via Hypnotherapy. Lets first take a look at Hypnoanalysis.
Hypnoanalysis is one of the best forms of treatment there is for Anxiety and Panic attacks.
It usually takes around 6-12 sessions to complete analysis. This is a fairly brief intervention when you consider how long people may have suffered their symptoms. People though, don’t always complete the course. This is because depending on the root cause, people don’t feel like anything is happening between sessions so quit.
When under taking analysis it is common to see no improvement in the symptoms until we reach the end. Catharsis often only happens when the root cause(s) are identified and removed. If this happens in session 6, you can see why no improvement was felt for the first five sessions, it can be seen as peeling an onion. Every session brings us closer to the root causes and once found, improvements will then be made in the client. The improvements often need to be seen to be believed as the change can be rapid. It is imperative to finish the course once started to experience the benefits.
Why is Hypnoanalysis so powerful?
The closer a problem is to our survival the harder it is to change. Knowing this simple concept can explain why so many other therapies fail. Our psyche has no interest in giving up what it believes is an instruction to keep you safe. Analysis works and is successful by discovering the original cause of your issues. Once this issue is discovered, your adult mind can re-evaluate it and realise that it is out of date. Once this has happened it can then be relinquished and removed.
Then once the trigger is removed, you can’t be triggered anymore! This also means that there is no requirement for further sessions. Once you have resolved your issue they won’t return. This is because it is very difficult to create these incorrect beliefs again as adults.
Beneath almost every emotional and physiological illness you will likely find anxiety. It may be that you don’t recognise the issue as anxiety but it will eventually lead there. You can read more about anxiety states here.
We rely on instinct to keep ourselves safe. We don’t want conscious thought to get in the way, as this would slow down any reaction time. It is when we try to override our instincts that have been directed from our subconscious, that our fight or fight response is activated. This response is then seen as physiological changes in the body. Everyone has their own set of symptoms, but usually have heart racing, sweating, shaking etc. to name just a few.
The sensitising event
This is usually created in the formative years of childhood. This happens when the child, believes that in a single moment, they are vulnerable or in some way at risk. The child, unable to cope with the overwhelming feeling, then represses the emotion into the subconscious.
From that point on, the emotion will work as an instinct designed to avoid repetition. The issue we have is that what the subconscious sees as similar can often be unfathomable to the conscious mind. What is often seen is that the presenting problem doesn’t actually match the original issue. For example a client i treated. She started to have panic attacks on aeroplanes to the point she had to stop flying. All subsequent therapy she had was working on the basis of claustrophobia or fear of flying. Consciously makes sense, right? But they never worked as they were not the actual issue!
But when she undertook analysis, she actually found she had repressed a childhood play fight. In this fight she was placed in a headlock by a child older and stronger than her. In that moment she was unable to get out and feared she would die. What had happened was that repressed original memory was triggered by being on the plane. In that moment, on the plane a number of similar feelings to the original event overlapped. She then developed claustrophobia due to being unable to get off the plane. Had those feelings appeared when she was in a busy market she may well have ended up with agoraphobia.
Once triggered, it requires intervention!
The repressed memory can stay dormant for weeks or even decades. But once it is live it can easily exist for that person for the rest of their lives. Anyone who has been on an anxiety forum will have seen that people have suffered for 20+ years etc. Without removing the original trigger it will likely always be problematic. Remember it believes it is keeping you safe so will constantly go off. Hypnoanalysis gets to that trigger!
Unfortunately it is not possible for the conscious mind to talk directly to the subconscious. This is where the hypnotherapist comes in. We are in a unique position where we are able to directly communicate with the subconscious. It is once under hypnosis that the subconscious will release its incorrectly stored information.
Hypnoanalysis is a powerful technique to discover the underlying root cause and then releasing it. Once the root cause has been brought into the spot light the conscious mind can then make adult sense of it. It can then no longer have a negative effect over the client. When the root cause is found, both client and therapist will have an understanding of why they had the presenting problems. This in itself can be very therapeutic as our mind is logical and this provides an answer.
Who Hypnoanalysis is for?
It would actually be better to write who it wouldn’t work for as that list would be shorter 🙂
It is not possible to list them all but it is particular well suited to.
• Psycho-Sexual difficulties, panic attacks, unaccountable anxiety states, general stress, continual worrying, excessive timidity, fear of authority, sleeping difficulties, poor confidence/self-worth, relationship difficulties and almost all true phobia’s (not fears!), Jealousy, saractastic, excessive emotion, doormat syndrome, cannot say ‘no’, cant concentrate, cannot sleep well, philandering, always tired, always ill, blushing, sweaty palms, palpitations, irresponsible, perfectionist, always angry, never angry, often crying, never crying, image conscious, shy….
• Symptoms that are likely to have a physiological origin. IBS, Spontaneous vomiting, fainting fits, Hysteria, promiscuity.
How does Hypnoanalysis work?
Analysis works by seeking, finding and removing the original trigger. It doesn’t have to be a one shot trauma though. It can also be lots of similar events adding up. Each on their own not being an issue but when combining becoming an issue. These events may not be repressed or forgotten but simply invisible because they appear as ‘normal’. This can take two routes.
• Constant repetition of a negative idea over a period of time. Once heard enough times the subconscious stops listening and takes these on board. This can be found with people who have low self-confidence. A parent constantly telling their child they are stupid and wont amount to much. After a while they actually believe this. This is known as Simple Cumulative Trauma
• Strong feelings of vulnerability for the developing child. For instance, Child’s mother leaves. Father can’t cope so child is passed to relatives. Foster family move areas so school is upset. Bullying at next school. First job is made redundant. Low personal confidence then follows. This is Compound Cumulative Trauma.
Analysis works by allowing the collection or one shot trauma to become available to the conscious mind. It can then be reprogrammed and removed as necessary.
The ticking time bomb!
As mentioned already it can take many years for a repression to surface and this can be difficult to understand. When the initial sensitising event takes place its gets repressed. It will stay repressed, until we find ourselves, or what our subconscious believes to be a similar situation. If it is something that you are likely to come into contact again with soon then it can be reignited sooner rather than later. For instance, if it happened on a bus, and you travel on a bus everyday it might open straight away. But like in the example instance of being placed in a headlock. She wasn’t placed in a position she felt threatened with until she was on an aeroplane some 20 years later on!
What to expect when undergoing Hypnoanalysis.
A session in Hypnoanalysis last 60 minutes. The first session you will be placed under hypnosis and after around 30 mins of subconscious priming we will do a brief round of free association. This is where you get used to saying out load what it is you are thinking. Once you have mentioned everything around that event, allowing that memory to drift away. Once that has gone, moving on to the next thought.
Second session onward you will first be placed in hypnosis. Each week that passes you may find you fall into hypnosis quicker and quicker which will enable more time for the free association aspect of the session.
This is then repeated on average from about 6-12 sessions until we unravel and gain access to the root of the issue.
Session to session
It is important to understand that depending on the original cause will have different outlooks on how you feel from one session to another. I don’t want to say which is which as that could cause any one to attempt to lead themselves to a certain goal. But it is normal to feel better, maybe a little worse or no better at all after each session. It’s impossible to know which one you will be until after starting. But it is imperative to know that feeling worse or nothing doesn’t mean it’s not progressing.
In the early sessions the memory recalls are likely to be far removed from the presenting issues. This is normal. This is how the brain has matched up what it believes to be linked. Often these memories have very little consciously to the presenting problem. But as the sessions progress it will become obvious they are link to the presenting problem.
Catharsis in some instances can happen in seconds after reaching the root issue. But more often than not it’s a slow burn of feeling better. The coming days, weeks and months usually see massive shifts and symptomatic issues subside. Often the client doesn’t notice this themselves. The changes are usually seen in people close to you who can remember how you used to be.
To book a free initial consultation or learn more about Hypnoanalysis please contact me here.
For anyone reading that might like to learn this discipline click here for further information.
BWRT®’ stands for ‘BrainWorking Recursive Therapy®’, a modern model of psychology and psychotherapy created by UK professional therapist, Terence Watts, MCGI. It uses a totally logical, practical and down-to-earth working method in which it’s not necessary for you to talk about anything you would rather not discuss – the practitioner only needs to know how you feel and how you would prefer to feel instead. BWRT® is unlike any other therapy you might have heard of or read about, using the latest discoveries in neuroscience coupled with your own unique brain processes to help you get better. Only Certified Practitioners have been trained to deliver BWRT® and all have to adhere to a strict ethical code. Find out more at http://www.bwrt.org
What to expect in a session
During a session of BWRT®, I will ask you a few questions about your background and what has brought you to see me – but I will not ask you to reveal any secrets or intimate details of your life. This is a totally private therapy in which you only have to be able to tell me how you feel and how you would like to feel instead. For instance, you might say something like: “Social situations scare me half to death!” and I would then ask if you can think how you would like to feel instead. If you can, I will then get straight to work; if you can’t, I will help you decide – and again you will never have to reveal any details you really don’t want to.
It really is that simple and that private!
BWRT® doesn’t use hypnosis or anything that might be considered to be mystical or unscientific – it is a science-based, totally grounded methodology that deals with uncomfortable emotional or psychological triggers before you are even aware of them. Most other therapies work on the response after it has been generated, requiring you to tell the practitioner what you’re thinking about – but with BWRT® the problem is dealt with ‘at source’, before it even gets to the conscious mind.
How it works
I will explain fully how the process works and although, as in all work of this sort, you have a vital part to play in the process, it is a very easy part – in fact you will have to do very little more than keep focused on how you want to be when the work is complete… and that could be the same day you started!
Contact me here to learn how BWRT can change your life.
More about BWRT here