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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Contact me here to learn how BWRT can change your
More about BWRT here