How being a Perfectionist can damage your life


I attended a course last weekend which started me thinking about how much we all damage ourselves and our quality of life by indulging in Perfectionism.   We often think of Perfectionists as having some form of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) where all can labels in the cupboards have to face forward and the cans and bottles have to be ranked in size order and by colour and content.

Most of us have some element of the Perfectionist within us – liking a tidy home or desk or having a regular place to put the kitchen scissors.  This type of behaviour helps us have more efficient and pleasant lives and avoids wasting hours of effort trying to find a roll of Cellotape.

However, our Perfectionism can become a problem when we start to apply it to ourselves and how we feel the world should treat us.  For instance, when the mechanism of the subconscious (which builds our map of the world and the everyday rules for living), starts to create rules which build an unrealistic expectation about the world around us and the way it should (must) treat us.

If we aren’t careful, we can begin to construct unrealistic rules for ourselves and then try to live by them, expecting the world to treat us well in return.  Examples of these beliefs could be  “I should never turn down the chance of doing something” or  “It must be 100% right.  Not even a tiny error is acceptable” or “My employer must always treat me well because I am a such a good worker and he really values my contribution”.

The result of creating these types of rule is that you put a massive amount of pressure on yourself and those around you to deliver something which is, in reality, unachievable.

“I should never turn down the chance of doing something” means that instead of having a varied and interesting life you are manically running/driving from one event to another.  Getting up early to get somewhere; leaving that event early to get somewhere else; frantically changing clothes for the next activity;  driving furiously to get somewhere else; always looking at the clock, cursing buses, trains and planes for being late; fretting and agitated in traffic jams; dragging friends and family around behind you in a frantic hurry to get somewhere and do something else rather than the thing you are actually doing!

Many people also apply this same “never turn anything down” rule to their work lives by never turning down a job or a project.  Clients tell me “it’s because they know I’m the only one who can  do it,”  “It’s my area of expertise”, “no one else can meet that kind of deadline”.  What they are really telling me is that their employer is exploiting their mistaken belief.  The Manager handing out the work probably thinks that my client is a mug for taking on more and more work; that they don’t really care what happens to one of their team when they eventually break down.  That as long as the job gets done and the Manager looks good, they’ll keep on piling on the work.  If it all goes wrong, they can blame the overworked and Perfectionist who has moved heaven and earth to make sure that they deliver a 100% perfect job.

The self-delusion that one is valued at work and that a company cares still runs deep in the veins of many employees, despite the evidence in front of them every day.  They will tolerate bullying, abuse and overwork because they fear the effort of finding a new job and lack the confidence to rise to the challenge of being given tasks without the right training, timescale or resources.  The chances are that if your boss never has to say “do it or I’ll find someone else who will” when loading another massive burden on your already overburdened back, then it’s YOU who’s the one taking on the work others have already said is impossible to do in the time/for the money/without more resource etc!

Another corrosive belief is that “it must be 100% right, otherwise the rest of what I’ve done is useless and worthless and I am a useless and worthless person who doesn’t deserve thanks or praise”.   No amount of praise can be meaningful to his kind of Perfectionist.  It rolls off them as their subconscious mind rejects what it sees as hollow words from people who  “just don’t know how much better the result could have been if only I could have done a better job”.  This creates in the Perfectionist a deep well of frustration and dissatisfaction with everything in their lives.  They feel bad all the time.  They might turn to drink, drugs, sex or food for comfort in order to achieve that elusive feeling of control over their lives. They might begin to blame others for their lack of perceived achievement, or break up relationships or just work harder and harder until they eventually break down.

The payback which comes from all this manic behaviour is often the firm belief that “My employer must always treat me well because I am a such a good worker and he values my contribution so much”.  Perfectionists believe this of their families too “because I work until 2am every night cleaning the kitchen the family must love me more and show me their appreciation”.

But because everyone views the Perfectionist as neurotic and unreasonable, they don’t value that person more.  In fact, they probably value them less than they would if they just worked 9-5 in the office and spent their time enjoying relaxation with the family playing games and doing trivial things.

As I’m always telling my clients, it’s OK to want to do things to the best of your abilities, but only within the context of the time, energy and other commitments that you have.

If you find yourself under constant pressure, ask yourself why.  What are the beliefs which are driving you to be under that pressure?  What makes the rules you’ve created for yourself true?  What less pressing rules could you create?  Are the rules you are currently living your life to actually out of date – were they right for when you were younger but are they appropriate to life as it is now?

Try writing down the rules which trouble you most and think about them.  How much do they ruin your life?  What would happen if you didn’t obey them?  What would you lose  AND, more importantly, what would you gain?

Why not take a look at the Perfectionist in your own life, and see how your own work and home life could be improved?

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If you’re looking for a hypnotherapist, check this out…


I recently received the following enquiry from a prospective client which I though my readers might find of interest…

I found your website through Google. Although I work away I am at home most weekends. I am considering hypnosis to help me get over a difficult emotional time. I have been advised by my GP to check any therapists credentials thoroughly. I hope you don’t think this rude in any way. Can you let me know which organisation you trained in for your CTB/REBT, NLP, EMT and counselling. Do you have insurance and how long you have been a therapist. Do you offer Friday evening or weekend appointments and how much per session. Many thanks Sue

I hope that my reply might help those considering hypnotherapy but are unsure how to find  a properly trained and qualified therapist…

Hi Sue,
Many thanks for contacting me with your questions.  No, I don’t think they’re rude at all, they are very sensible and I wish that more people would ask questions of their therapists!!
Because your questions are so fundamental to finding a good therapist this reply is probably more fulsome than you might have expected.   I plan to add the information below to my blog as a guide to others looking for help, so you might as well have the benefit of a sneak preview of the content…
So, to answer your questions:-
a)  Your GP’s recommendation to check out credentials comes from the fact that the term Hypnotherapist, is as yet, an unprotected title.  In other words, ludicrous as it might seem, anyone – trained or not – can set themselves up as a hypnotherapist. This appalling situation is an historic anomaly which is being addressed by the profession and regulatory bodies right now.  However, for now, caveat emptor is the byword in choosing a hypnotherapist.
b)  I received my training at the Institute of Clinical Hypnosis (www.ichynposis.co.uk) in London. It might  be useful for you to take a look at their website and click on the Courses tab where you can read details of all the elements of training which I received.  I consider the training I received to have been not only thoroughly enjoyable but also very comprehensive.  Since completing my training and going into practice, I have never found myself at a loss as to what to do with a client and I have (modestly!) a very high success rate.
In addition, and as part of my membership of this and other professional organisations, I  undertake annual Continual Professional Development training.  This usually takes the form of weekends training in a particular technique or aspect of therapy.  So far my CPD has covered advanced elements of therapy such as Eye Movement Therapy, Weight Loss strategies, Advanced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Use of Metaphors in Hypnosis, Current and Past Life regression analysis,  Deep States Training plus others.   I also undertake a set amount of reading of technical papers/instructional books etc each year and attend quarterly meetings of the Association of the ICH where we attend lectures and brief training sessions on a wide range of topics. I also attend a number of ad hoc  events during the year such as Professor Windy Dryden’s recent revival of the 1930’s tradition of doing 45 minute CBT therapy sessions in front of an invited audience and the Royal Society of Medicine Hypnotherapy Section’s meeting on Pain Control.
These activities allow me to meet and network not just with hypnotherapists but also with therapists from many other disciplines and thus create a support network of people who have particular and very specialist knowledge which I regularly tap into for ideas and advice.
c)  I am a Registered Practitioner with the General Hypnotherapy Register (one of the largest registers of reputable hypnotherapists in the UK) and the CNHC (Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council), a government and NHS sponsored organisation which registers practitioners with recognised qualifications and experience.  CNHC registered practitioners are preferred suppliers to the NHS (take a look at their website for more info).   You can look me up on the register of both organisation too!
I would advise you to avoid anyone who has trained online.  The essence of successful hypnotherapy is not just about knowing facts but in the practice and the advice and support of tutors/supervisors.  It  requires the development and practice of “bedside manner” skills and empathy, and tuning of techniques, which simply can’t be learned over the internet IMHO.
c)   Yes, I am insured through Towergate Insurance who seem to handle a lot of the professional indemnity insurance for hypnotherapists.
d)  I have been qualified since July 2008 and immediately started practice.  I work full time from a purpose built therapy room in the Havering area.
e)  I offer weekday & evening appointments starting at 9.30am and starting the last appointment at 7.00pm.  I do Saturday’s from 9.30 to midday.  I can also do Sundays by exception.
f)  I charge £60 per session which includes the cost of a CD given at the end of the first session, any tailor-made CD’s provided thereafter and any advice packs or special instruction sheets required.
I hope that these answers give you the information you are looking for.
 One more word of advice I would offer is to always speak to a prospective therapist on the phone to briefly discuss your problem.  Things to look out for are i) whether or not they are genuinely interested in discussing you problem and learning more about it or just anxious to get you to book an appointment b)  if their questions demonstrate a knowledge or understanding of your issues c)  if their comments have some insight and good sense.  Ask yourself “do they sound like my kind of person?”.  Some therapists specialise in the “that must be dreadful” school of sympathy.  Personally, I don’t do a lot of sympathetic clucking but a lot of empathic understanding (or so my clients tell me).  So a phone call is really worthwhile.  The question is “can I really work with and trust this person?”
If you’d like to chat further, or you’ve any questions unanswered, please do feel free to give me a call.  I’m always happy to discuss concerns and make sure that you’re happy with whatever you decide to do.
In the meantime, best wishes with your search.  Keith

Can Anger Management therapy really work?


I’ve worked with several people lately who have come to me with Anger management issues.

Sometimes they had already lost people they love or jobs they really enjoyed because of their flashes of anger or uncontrollable and intimidating outbursts of physical or verbal abuse.

Others have arrived looking stunned and in a state of shock.  Often they’ve been told by a court or a partner that they have to seek out treatment to deal with their problem or suffer the consequences.  They often have only just begun to realise the devastating consequences of their actions.

Some people realise their problem; others are in denial, claiming that they just have a quick temper – “I just have an outburst and then it’s all over” – without realising the damage it is doing to the recipient of the outburst.

As I therapist I have no magic wand that tells me who’s telling me the truth about the extend of their anger or its true causes; all I can do is work with what I’m told at our first consultation and then explore possible causes arising from upbringing, life experiences etc.  as we progress.

Anger has many causes.  Sometimes an individual might have an ongoing psychotic mental health problem (paranoid schizophrenia for example) which requires specialist diagnosis and the help of psychiatric healthcare professionals who are able to create drug and therapy programmes designed to help patients control their illness and return to normal functioning.   I refer to this as a functional problem, and is beyond the remit of therapy to resolve.

In many cases, however, anger can be the product of emotional trauma, such as being betrayed by a trusted partner in business or in love, or the sudden loss a parent or child resulting in unresolved grief, or the outcome of a sudden traumatic event leading to creation of symptoms of (or even full-blown) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

In other cases it can be a learned behaviour – the result of being raised in a chaotic or combative family where aggression is the norm, or is the only way of protecting personal possessions or avoiding being picked on.

I therefore start therapy by taking a thorough Case History.  This is only a three page questionnaire but by the end I know everything I need to about the client’s life, family relationships and major life issues.  From this information I can begin to isolate and investigate those issues/events which might be driving anger.

In effect, what I do is identify “buttons”.  The buttons which get pressed by a partner, or an innocent customer standing in a pub.  The words which, when spoken, provoke an instant and frightening verbal or physical attack.

Couples who’ve been together for a while know all about buttons.  They know exactly what to say  to provoke an instant fight – “You’re lazy”, “You’re selfish”, “It’s no wonder the kids hate you”.  But while their arguments might be loud and unpleasant, most couples arguments don’t end up in the casualty department of a local hospital or in the police being called.

My job as a therapist is therefore to identify the buttons and then to help defuse them.  To drain off the emotional fuel which drives them so they no longer cause volcanic eruptions of rage. 

I therefore approach Anger Management in two main ways:-

i)  To straight away teach a client a number of methods for becoming aware of what drives their anger (the Buttons) and then fast ways of controlling rising anger – in effect, changing the response to the things which make them angry – thus teaching a client right from the outset how to keep themselves and others,  safe in stressful situations.

ii)  At the same time, I try to establish the reasons for a client feeling angry.  Often this is obvious; at other times it has been blocked and needs exploration before it emerges in conversation.  Either way, I look to deal with the emotions and feelings of frustration, fear, anxiety etc which have led to the anger emerging.  These unresolved emotions are the fuel for anger. If we remove the fuel, the anger just evaporates.

iii)  Having done this, I then help the client to see their lives in a new way. To notice the change in the response of loved ones, friends and workmates to this new calmer person.  How new opportunities arise in their lives.  How they become more secure, more loved and valued.

And the therapy need not take lots of sessions.  I have completed work with one client in five sessions – the last of which was a session to explain to his partner how we had managed to bring about such a dramatic (and hopefully) lasting change in his behaviour!

One last word.  To all those women who think they can change a violent or abusive man.  You can’t.  Leave the relationship and put the experience behind you.  Protect yourself and your children.  You must understand that you are a catalyst to your partner’s anger. Whatever you do, whatever you say, you are part of the problem. You will never be able to effect change alone.  Your partner needs to be evaluated to eliminate functional causes and then to work with someone independent of your relationship who can use the therapies needed to bring about change – if change is possible.  The best thing you can do for your partner and yourself is to remove yourself to a place of safety and to urge them to seek professional help and resolution before it’s too late. 

AN INSPIRING & THOUGHT PROVOKING MOVIE


I watched a tremendous film called Temple Grandin last night on Sky.  It takes us into the world of someone with autism and the extraordinary talents they have.  Instead of the usual Hollywood slush it has a really uplifting hard-edged narrative taking us through her life and her remarkable achievements.  Wikipedia says about her…

Temple Grandin (born August 29, 1947) is an American doctor of animal science and professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, and consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. As a person with high-functioning autism, Grandin is also noted for her work in autism advocacy and is the inventor of the squeeze machine designed to calm hypersensitive people.

Grandin is listed in the 2010 Time 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world in the category “Heroes”.[1]

Look up the film. A very rewarding couple of hours.

The value of CNHC membership


Although this is a relatively narrow topic for a Blog, I’m writing it in response to a number of queries I’ve had from both fellow hypnotherapists and members of public who have asked “Why are you a member of the CNHC (Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council) Register?”

The short answer is because it is now the most important Register of professional competence open to practicing Clinical Hypnotherapists in the UK.

Many people are unaware that anyone can present themselves as a hypnotherapist.  There is no legal requirement for registration, licensing, training, supervision or insurance.

I have always considered this to be a completely unacceptable situation which has been brought about by the fragmented nature of the hypnotherapy fraternity in the UK and the  amount of political infighting which has resulted.   In 2000, a House of Lords Committee reviewed the whole issue of regulation of the complementary and natural health market and recommended that whilst legislation was not required, a Code of Voluntary Self Regulation should be implemented through an independent organisation.

Staggeringly, it has taken a decade for these recommendations to be implemented, accompanied by many thousands of man hours or discussion and debate.  Finally, however, in 2009, the CNHC Registered was launched.

The Department of Health now recommends that when seeking a hypnotherapist, NHS staff and members of the public should consult with someone who is CNHC registered.

To quote from the CNHC website…

CNHC registered complementary therapy practitioners using the CNHC quality mark demonstrate to members of the general public and other healthcare providers that they conform to national standards of practice in their work.

If a CNHC registered complementary therapist has the CNHC quality mark it means that they:

  • Have undertaken a programme of education and training which meets, as a minimum, the National Occupational Standards and the core curriculum for the complementary therapy/discipline concerned where a core curriculum has been agreed

or

  • Have achieved competency to the level of the National Occupational Standards for the therapy/discipline concerned by means of relevant experience of at least three years and /or relevant training and been assessed by their peers as having met those standards

and

  • Have provided an independent reference of their good character
  • Have confirmed that they do not hold a criminal record (including cautions), or notified CNHC of any such record for consideration by the Registrar prior to acceptance
  • Have confirmed that there are no health issues that impact on their ability to practice
  • Have confirmed that they have not been the subject of any disciplinary or civil proceedings against them in relation to their practice or have notified CNHC of any such proceedings for consideration by the Registrar prior to acceptance
  • Hold current professional indemnity insurance
  • Have agreed to abide by: The CNHC Code of Conduct, Performance and Ethics CNHC’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Policy CNHC’s Data Protection Policy Terms of use of the CNHC website.

Following it’s launch, the CNHC has made inroads to acceptance within the NHS and with charities, as evidenced by their latest Newsletter…

CNHC registration is key for mental health charities

As CNHC continues its work to raise awareness of CNHC registration across a range of sectors, they have been liaising with a number of organisations that represent people with mental health conditions. Here they outline the importance given to CNHC registration by Mind and Anxiety UK.

  •   Mental Health charity, Mind, supports CNHC registration. Mind provides a wide range of support and information to people with mental health conditions throughout the UK. Where people are seeking complementary therapies, Mind recommends they find someone who is CNHC registered.

Mind’s Head of Information, Beth Murphy commented: “Some people find complementary therapies help them to manage their mental health but it is vital that therapists are appropriately trained and regulated. Mind supports and promotes CNHC registration and the CNHC quality mark to help people find a therapist they can trust.”

  •  Anxiety UK is a national registered charity formed 40 years ago by a sufferer of agoraphobia for those affected by anxiety disorders. Today the organisation is still user-led, run by and for those with current or past experience of anxiety disorders. The charity is supported by a high-profile medical advisory panel as well as a number of celebrity patrons including cricketer, Marcus Trescothick and comedienne, Ruby Wax.  Anxiety UK works to relieve and support those living with anxiety disorders by providing services including counselling, clinical hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). The charity also operates a national helpline, delivers online services and provides an innovative peer mentoring scheme. The charity uses robust screening processes for its therapy services to ensure the highest standards of governance are maintained both before and after appointment and CNHC registration is one of the criteria for its hypnotherapists.

Nicky Lidbetter, Chief Executive of Anxiety UK said: “It is of the utmost importance that our therapists are verified, validated and accredited by relevant and appropriate governing bodies to ensure the highest standards of clinical practice. As there are several governing bodies particularly in the field of hypnotherapy, it is most reassuring to know that the CNHC has made significant progress in defining and establishing a core standard in terms of qualifications, training and experience that hypnotherapists must have in order to be eligible for registration. Going forward, we will be requiring all of our hypnotherapists to be registered with the CNHC.”

To find out more about CNHC please visit http://www.cnhc.org.uk/pages/index.cfm

UNDERSTANDING TINNITUS – Part 1


This week is Tinnitus Awareness Week in the UK.  Coincidentally, I’ve spent much of January working on a CD to help tinnitus sufferers deal with the sometimes devastating impact of being aware of loud noises coming from inside their heads 24/7.  This blog is drawn from the introduction to the CD and is designed to help those suffering from its effects, or those with a friend or relative who suffers from the problem, to understand it causes.  

Having several friends who suffer from Tinnitus, I have made a particular study of how it works and how hypnotherapy might help sufferers accept it and reduce its impact on their day to day lives.

This blog divides into two parts – the first is a fairly detailed description of the mechanisms which drive Tinnitus.  I’ve found in my researches that it’s quite difficult to get a simple but comprehensive description of how Tinnitus sounds are generated and why they are so different for different people.  If you know about this already, please just skip down to the second part which deals with the ways in which hypnotherapy can help you live with Tinnitus more comfortably.

How Tinnitus Sounds Are Generated

When a sound reaches the human ear, it enters as a pressure wave of vibrating air. This wave is converted into mechanical vibration by the eardrum and then amplified by the hammer/anvil/stirrup structure of the Middle Ear. It then passes into the fluid filled space of the Inner Ear.

Inside this space lie the semi-circular canals which control our balance, together with the complex structure of the Cochlear. It is here that the mechanical vibration of the sound is converted into chemical and electrical energy by a part of the Cochlear called the Organ of Corti. This identifies the pitch of the vibrations passing through it and also, their volume.  This is then converted into a signal which is passed to the temporal lobe of the brain – the part which controls our hearing. Only at this point does our conscious mind becomes aware of the sound for the first time.

Tinnitus occurs because of  a mechanical malfunction inside the Organ of Corti.   Inside the organ is a highly specialised structure containing up to 20,000 receptors, each one with its own tiny hair cell attached.  Each hair is responsible for detecting sound at a set frequency and measuring its volume. This information is then passed directly to its parent nerve receptor (one of the 20,000 mentioned above) and then on to the brain.

These hairs are very sensitive to damage from aging, exposure to overly loud sounds or to certain ototoxic drugs and once they are damaged they do not regenerate.   However, the loss of particular hairs does not mean that we stop hearing sounds at those frequencies.  Instead, the nerve receptor which is attached to a dead hair switches to a default setting which amplifies the sound being sent to the brain.  So it doesn’t matter if the sound is soft or really loud in the real world; it will just be amplified to the one and only high level of volume that the nerve receptor can deliver to the brain.

As a consequence, as hair cells become damaged, certain  frequencies of noise will become unnaturally loud and the brain will become much more aware of them.

You probably already know that your body is not a silent place. You can sometimes hear your own heart beating when your head is resting on a pillow in a quiet room. Sometime you can hear rushing noises in your ears as a result of blood flow, or the movement of air in your ear canals. And it can become even more noticeable if you get anxious. As your heart rate increases, your blood pounds round your body faster and the sounds it produces become more noticeable. Even the hairs in the Organ of Corti itself produce noise as they move around.

This is why Tinnitus noise is a very individual experience. It can be heard in different parts of the head by different people and can range from a high pitched whine to loud thuddings and bangings or low groanings. And the same sounds persist day after day after day.

The Psychological Effects of Tinnitus

As a result of the above, Tinnitus can create strong psychological stress which is caused  by the way our brains evaluate and respond to sounds.  The ability to recognise sound is a vital primitive instinct – it helps us distinguish between the threatening growl of a tiger and the comforting purr of a cat. When we identify a sound, our body responds according to the level of threat the noise seems to represent.

The tiger’s growl behind us, for instance, triggers our “fight or flight” mechanism. It immediately prepares us to either fight the tiger or to run away from it. Consequently our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) pours adrenalin and stimulating hormones into our bodies, dries up our digestive juices, dilates our pupils and opens the pores on our skin so that we can sweat and cool ourselves more easily as we run etc. In modern life, this response translates into high levels of stress and anxiety.

The kitten’s purr on the other hand, makes us smile and relax. So it does the reverse of the tiger’s growl. It triggers relaxation, and so the ANS pours pleasure-hormones into our body, calming us, slowing our heart rate and relaxing our muscles and minds.

So, every sound we hear get labelled and, if repeated often enough, creates a “conditioned reflex” according to the feelings we associate with it.   This reflex is very sensitive and sophisticated. For instance, even though a mother might sleep through a thunderstorm, she will wake up the moment her child begins to cry.

So, awake or asleep, our minds and bodies are conditioned to respond to the sounds we hear – consciously or unconsciously.

In addition, the way we think of a sound is as flexible as our response to it. For instance, loud music might be really enjoyable at a party, but a hellish din when heard through a thin wall at 2 o’clock in the morning. So the label we put on a particular sound depends on the context in which we hear it and the level of excitement/relaxation it causes.

Because Tinnitus sounds are inside the head, can’t be escaped and are more or less continuous, the mind’s response to the sounds is that they are unpleasant, threatening, unwanted and something to fear and feel angry and sad about – and who can blame it?

The problem it creates however, is that developing the habit of always being unhappy and distressed by the Tinnitus noise becomes a vicious circle. This learned response creates an ever-strengthening cycle of negative responses – starting with a feeling of annoyance and irritation and rapidly progressing to fear, anger and a desire to escape – all of which  makes the sensitisation to the Tinnitus sounds even greater.

In additon, to becoming a reflex response, Tinnitus also creates a self-reinforcing vocabulary of internal self-talk –  “I can’t stand it, it’s driving me mad, I can’t shut it out” etc – every time it’s heard.  This negative language once again alerts the ANS to something bad and so the unhappy feeling just get worse.

Finally, on top of all this, many GP’s will tell their patients that there is no cure for Tinnitus – which is medically correct, but leaves no hope of finding ways of alleviating the symptoms or learning to live in peace with the sounds.

How Hypnotherapy Can Help you Live with Tinnitus

We’ve seen from the discussion above that there are three elements involved in the experience of Tinnitus –  i)  the noise itself and the seeming inability to escape it  ii)  the emotions generated every time the noise is heard and iii)  the apparent lack of control and helplessness which sufferers feel.

As we’ve seen, it’s true that there is no literal way of escaping the noise of Tinnitus.  However, it is possible to change your response to the sound of Tinnitus, to  retrain your hearing to make the sound less intrusive ( a process called by audiologists Habituation) and in doing so, change your body’s emotional response to it.   Thus, by using a variety of techniques, it is possible to learn to live at relative peace with the noises – by learning to be less disturbed by them, to be able to forget about them for longer (if you think about, you probably do experience times during the day when the sounds are less troublesome or not even noticed) and to change your response to them when you do notice them.

Hypnotherapy can help you  learn to make the sound of Tinnitus less threatening, to make the use of masking sounds (Pink Noise) more effective and to help you extend the periods in which you don’t notice, or notice the sounds less  – in the way that sound of air conditioning will gradually fades from your consciousness the more time you spend with it.

Therapy for Tinnitus  begins with a thorough review of your own Tinnitus experience and the words you use to describe it.   At your first session you will be given a CD designed to help you relax your nervous system right down to a pleasant state of relaxation.  The CD will also train you to listen to Pink Noise, which will help mask your Tinnitus sounds and help retrain your auditory memory/awareness networks (the basics of Tinnitus Masking techniques).  It will also help you to ignore the sounds more easily and to be focussed instead on all those times when you just don’t remember hearing the noise. Finally it has a Pink Noise track which you can copy onto a mobile phone or mp3 player to use whenever you are out and about or in bed and want to supress your Tinnitus sounds.

Subsequent sessions  focus on your own particular issues, thoughts and feelings and are designed give you the means of putting you in control of your Tinnitus and help in creating a more positive and optimistic attitude towards your future.

If you or a relative suffer from Tinnitus and would lke to discuss how hypnotherapy can help,  please feel free to give me a call for a free, no obligation, consultation.  See my website www.keithjeffordhypnotherapy.co.uk  for more details.

Obesity, weight loss & why Gastric Bands fail


I am often asked if I offer hypnotic Gastric Band therapy and the answer is always “Yes, but…”.  The reason that I am loathe to offer an immediate gastric band fix is that it runs the risk of leaving the real underlying reason for weight problems unresolved and can therefore be doomed to failure.

Cummerspeck (literally grief bacon) is a German word which describes the mindless eating  which leads to weight problems and obesity in those with untreated emotional trauma.

GPs in the UK are often faced with patients who are desperate to become “normal” and demand quick-fix gastric band or bypass surgery to solve their problems.

Yet having a physical gastric band fitted means making major changes to diet (for instance having to avoid anything with oil or fat in it or else experience vomiting immediately after eating) and having to accept a death rate risk of 1 in 2,000 operations (the most common cause of death being pulmonary embolism) plus the risk of being one of the 1 in 10  patients who will need a further operation at some time due to slippage, erosion, leakage or infection involving the band.

But of more concern perhaps, is the fact that although the patient may lose weight and reduce the risk of heart and endocrine disorders there is mounting evidence that they may suffer ADDED psychological pressure due to loss of their mechanism for dealing with stress, leading to  issues of low self-esteem, relationship problems, dissatisfaction with  body image and ultimately, depression.

The same psychological problems can obviously attach themselves to use of a hypnotic gastric band.  As a result, I always insist that anyone wanting this therapy also does the first three sessions of my standard weight-loss course.  In this way, they have the opportunity to relearn the basic rules of good eating and to come forward with any underlying problems of grief, loss etc which might be driving their behaviour.  Having dealt with those things first and cleared or controlled psychological blockages, the chances of a hypnotic gastric band working are greatly enhanced.

In my view, hypnotherapy should provide support for overweight or obese clients in  a variety of ways:-

•   Firstly, by identifying and dealing with the underlying causes of their obesity – both emotional  (grief, fear, abuse etc) and practical (being unable to read/write, dyslexia, lack of social training etc) – thus providing a combination of therapy and practical help.
•   Secondly, by offering reinforcement – especially if they’ve already had advice from an NHS dietician.  New ways of eating and thinking about food can be reinforced through the creation of hypnotic suggestions based on an individuals eating plan and the breaking of addictions to unhealthy foods like chocolate, fried foods etc.  I find that teaching people to eat like thin people eat, often makes a major difference to their ability to lose weight.
•   Thirdly, through the creation of tailor-made CD’s – designed to reinforce therapy between sessions and provide constant reminders of what to eat, how to eat and all the benefits which weight loss brings, combined with ego-boosting suggestions and encouragement.
•   And finally, but very importantly – Resolution of problems arising –  providing an on-call resource for dealing with practical or emotional problems immediately they arise.