Author - Richard

Hypnotherapy Caerphilly

Hypnotherapy Caerphilly & Cardiff

Hypnotherapy Caerphilly and Cardiff offers you confidential hypnotherapy treatments to the highest professional standards. Hypnotherapy can be used to treat stress and anxiety-related conditions that can affect your thoughts, emotions and behaviour. Common conditions include smoking cessation, weight loss, breaking habits, removing phobias and boosting self confidence. But hypnotherapy can also be used to treat relationship issues, low self-esteem, depression, panic attacks and performance issues e.g. with sports and public speaking. You can find a more comprehensive list of conditions here.

Hypnotherapy Caerphilly & Cardiff offers professional

      hypnotherapy treatments across South Wales

 

How will you benefit from Hypnotherapy Caerphilly & Cardiff?

Hypnotherapy Caerphilly & Cardiff
Choose hypnotherapy Caerphilly & Cardiff to achieve your goal
Expertise - Using powerful techniques that are tailored to your treatment needs. Solution-focused, regression and analytical methods are combined to facilitate positive change.Experience – In clinical practice since 1997, you can benefit from his extensive 20 plus years experience treating clients for a variety of conditions.Professionalism – Richard J. D’Souza is a registered hypnotherapy practitioner with the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council, the Hypnotherapy Association and a senior hypnotherapist with the General Hypnotherapy Register. These hypnotherapy associations ensure that their registered members follow the highest standards of clinical practise. 

Hypnotherapy Caerphilly & Cardiff:

A short journey is worth the trip to get the advanced help that you need

 

Booking an appointment

Before booking your first appointment, you can establish your level of suggestibility by answering questions in this hypnosis test. The continuation article will also help you understand what to expect in a hypnotic state and during your hypnotherapy treatment.You can contact me by telephone or email to discuss details of your presenting condition. A mutually convenient appointment can then be booked and confirmed with an online deposit using the PayPal link found in the Contact details page. 

What happens in your first hypnotherapy Carphilly & Cardiff treatment?

In the first stage of your consultation:
  • A brief medical history is taken to establish if you have any medical conditions and identify if there any links to your presenting condition.
  • Lifestyle changes are discussed to confirm if they are affecting your ability to achieve your goal.
  • Lifestyle issues are analysed to determine how you are coping with the effects of your presenting condition.
  • Background issues specific to your presenting condition or goal are traced to ascertain how it has evolved and how it has influenced your belief system.
  • Your treatment goal is confirmed and a relevant treatment plan is formulated.
  • Any fears about hypnosis are discussed. More information on hypnosis can be found in the latter section of the hypnosis test (see link above).
In the second stage of your consultation, hypnosis is used to help treat your presenting condition and achieve your therapeutic goal. 

Follow-up consultations

In your follow-up consultations, your progress will be reviewed in the first part of the session along with any developing issues since your previous consultation. Advanced hypnosis techniques will be continuously revised for the second part of the session to ensure that your treatment is helping your presenting condition and achieving your goal. 

Hypnotherapy Caephilly & Cardiff: Practice location & services

The Therapy Centre: Hypnotherapy Caerphilly & Cardiff
The Therapy Centre: Hypnotherapy Caerphilly & Cardiff
Situated in Roath, The Therapy Centre is very close to the heart of Cardiff’s City Centre. By car, The Therapy Centre can be accessed by using Cardiff City’s major link roads (Newport Road A4161, City Road, Fitzalan Place A4160 and West Grove.The practice is within easy reach of other local areas including Barry, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cowbridge, Cwmbran, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport, Penarth and Pontypridd.Parking: A free car park for clients is situated behind The Therapy Centre building. Access the car park via the front entrance drive from The Parade.By train: Cardiff Queen Street train station is about a 10 minute walk from The Therapy Centre. Trains from Cardiff Central train station depart every few minutes to Queen Street Station. More information can be found by checking your local train timetables.The Practice: Traditional and Complementary therapies are available from The Therapy Centre and include physiotherapy, osteopathy, sports massage and acupuncture. Hypnotherapy is well-established at The Therapy Centre and has been offered for many years. 

For further information on how hypnotherapy can help you, contact Richard J D’Souza, senior hypnotherapist at Clinical Hypnotherapy Caephilly & Cardiff

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Temporary location during refurbishment closure

Temporary location during refurbishment closure and Covid-19 information

The Therapy Centre is now closed for its extended refurbishment program. Reopening dates will be posted later in the year.The good news is that you can access your hypnotherapy treatment at Optimal Chiropractic & Wellness Centre in the meantime. 

Where is Optimal Chiropractic Clinic?

Optimal Chiropractic
Optimal Chiropractic, 44 Whitchurch Road, Gabalfa, Cardiff, CF14 3UQ.
Full address: 44 Whitchurch Road, Gabalfa, Cardiff, CF14 3UQ.Optimal Chiropractic is approximately 1.3 miles from The Therapy Centre when you drive up City Road and then through Cathays Terrace. The practice can be found on the right halfway between Sainsbury’s and The Heath pub. The practice building is on the corner of Whitchurch Road and Allensbank Crescent, opposite the Army Barracks. 

Parking

There is free unlimited roadside parking on Whitchurch Road between Talygarn Street and Optimal Chiropractic.  Some free parking can also be found in the side streets of Allensbank Crescent, Talygarn Street, and Manor Street.Free limited (1 hour) parking can be found on Whitchurch Road between Optimal Chiropractic and The Heath pub. More limited (1 hour) parking can be found further towards Sainsbury’s. There is also (2 hour) limited parking in Allensbank Crescent. 
  

Entering Optimal Chiropractic for your hypnotherapy appointment

Your hypnotherapy appointment may take place (1) during the Chiropractic Clinic opening hours or (2) when the Chiropractic Clinic is closed to chiropractic patients.1. During Optimal Chiropractic opening hoursOptimal Chiropractic has the following opening hours:
  • Monday 3pm – 8pm      
  • Tuesday 8am – 1pm 
  • Wednesday 3pm – 8pm
  • Thursday 8am – 1pm, 2pm- 6pm     
  • Friday 8am – 1pm
Enter the building from the main entrance on Whitchurch Road. You will be greeted by the Optimal Chiropractic receptionist who will ask you to wait in the reception area or direct you to the 1st floor waiting area. My treatment room is room 3 on 1st floor, accessible using stairs. Text me when you arrive. I’ll call you at your appointment time.Text me on 07738 938197 if you have any problems on the day.If your mobile phone is not functional or you do not receive a text back from me, then please wait outside the clinic main entrance at your appointment time. I will come down to the reception to greet you. 2. Outside of Optimal Chiropractic opening hoursThe practice is secured when the Optimal Chiropractic receptionist is not available.When I have finished with my previous client, I can personally let you in to the practice for your consultation, usually up to 5 minutes before your appointment time.Send me a text when you have parked your car or if you have walked to the practice, so that I know that you are nearby. I will reply as soon as I am available to allow you entrance into the practice. Enter the building from the main entrance on Whitchurch Road. My treatment room is on 1st floor and is accessible using stairs.Text me on 07738 938197 if you have any problems on the day.If your phone is not functional or you do not receive a text back from me, then please wait outside the clinic main entrance at your appointment time. I will come down to reception at your appointment time anyway if I have not had an arrival text from you.  

Clients with health issues

If you have any health issues and would like me to wear a face covering (mask), then please let me know in advance of booking your appointment.If you have any further health concerns about face to face treatment, I offer the very effective treatment option of online hypnotherapy by video call

Toilets

Toilets can be accessed on 1st floor towards the back of the building. 
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Skype hypnotherapy

Skype hypnotherapy and online therapy can bring professional hypnotherapy and therapy services to you when you are unable to travel to the clinical hypnotherapy practice.

Using Skype or any other media or digital related-technology and software applications (e.g. FaceTime or WhatsApp), you can have your hypnotherapy consultations in your chosen familiar environment, including the comfort of your own home. Other methods of communication (telephone, email and email chats/texts) can also be used to facilitate your treatment when you are unable to visit the clinic or make a video call. Another name for it is e-therapy.

Skype hypnotherapy
You can have greater access to the treatment you want using Skype hypnotherapy and online therapy

What makes Skype hypnotherapy and online therapy so appealing?

With online therapy, it doesn’t matter where you live; online therapy opens the doors to access your treatment without the need to travel to your appointment. So, no more travelling costs or being stuck in congested peak time traffic!

The particular time and day of your treatment is also more flexible for you to have your treatment when it suits you best. Some later appointments can be accommodated when The Therapy Centre is closed.

Even if you are based in Cardiff, there are certain situations or medical conditions which can benefit from online therapy. Examples include physical mobility issues, agoraphobia, panic attacks and social anxiety.

If you regularly travel away from Cardiff with work commitments, then using Skype therapy can mean fewer disruptions in your treatment program. Consider online therapy to keep your therapy moving!

Skype therapy and online therapy is not just for clients living in Cardiff. You can access treatment for your condition anywhere in UK. Even if you live abroad, you can access online therapy with all its benefits from an English speaking professional hypnotherapist anywhere in the world!

Is Skype hypnotherapy effective?

The demand of any new situation needs a period of adjustment. You were probably apprehensive when you received face-to-face therapy, getting to know your therapist and their methods for the first time. But soon after that initial stage, you were able to relax and benefit from the experience. The same can be said for Skype hypnotherapy. It can take a little time to adjust to the style of communication, but it can be an effective method of treatment with a few contingencies in place.

There is growing evidence that, in the right situation, online therapy can be used as effective methods of therapy. Skype hypnotherapy, in my opinion, should not be a complete replacement for all face-to-face therapy; but it is a good substitute when, for whatever reason, you are unable to access the face-to-face therapy that you want. Therapy, in any form, requires commitment on your part to help make it work. When you are committed to your treatment, online therapy is another way to help you achieve your therapy goals.

How does Skype hypnotherapy work in practise?

If you have never previously used Skype to communicate in work meetings or to chat to friends, then it would be an ambitious step to use Skype first for hypnotherapy. I suggest you get acquainted with all of its features and then resume your hypnotherapy treatment using Skype.

Compared to audio (telephone) and text/email therapy (which all have their benefits in the right situation), the live video link ensures that body language and “facial” communication is retained. Thus by positioning the webcam, tablet or smart phone, I can observe many of the visual features of hypnosis shown on your face.

The stages of treatment involve:

  • Your initial enquiry: Your initial email or telephone enquiries usually involve me answering some questions about the suitability of hypnotherapy to treat your presenting condition. You may have already found these answers online or within my website. Your acceptance of the online terms and conditions means that you are ready to go to the next stage.
  • Completion of medical questionnaire by email: The completion of an online medical questionnaire will include your personal details, medical history, lifestyle details and brief mention of your presenting condition/therapeutic goal.
  • Book an online initial consultation assessment: A brief online initial consultation can be arranged using the selected hardware and software digital media e.g. Skype or FaceTime. The can ensure that there is sufficient compatibility and contingencies in place.
  • Online payment when making your appointment: All online therapy consultations require full payment immediately after booking. 24 hours notice is needed for any appointment changes. A late cancellation fee is payable.
The initial online session will ensure compatibility with our devices

Duration of online therapy sessions: Online therapy sessions are usually 45-50 minutes in duration.

What about technological disruptions or failures? During the initial stages of the treatment, a “safe mode” is activated so that if communication is lost, you can return to your safe place and gradually return to consciousness. Another method of communication e.g. landline or mobile phone (offline) can then be used to recover the session.

Technical requirements for online hypnotherapy

Please ensure that you have the following:

  • A fast internet connection e.g. cable or DSL broadband.
  • A computer with integrated microphone or headset with microphone.
  • A webcam for face-to-face therapy sessions.
  • A valid Skype (or other application) account and the latest software.
  • A location that is private (free from any distractions if possible).
  • A location that is comfortable (sitting or lying position) and still in view of the webcam, phone or tablet video camera.

For mobile and tablet users:

  • Battery life to cover up to 60 minutes of communication
  • A tripod or similar device to hold your mobile during hypnotherapy sessions.

Your suitability for online therapy

Skype therapy is not suitable if:

  • You are under 18 years of age (parental consent is required).
  • You are feeling suicidal (please contact The Samaritans).
  • You are under the influence of alcohol or recreational drugs prior to or during your consultation.
  • You are not under the supervision of a psychiatrist or suffering from any diagnosed psychiatric condition, psychological illness or epilepsy.
Skype hypnotherapy: choose the device that works best for you

Terms and conditions

Please read the general terms and conditions and particularly the “Skype hypnotherapy & online therapy terms and conditions” prior to booking your first appointment. By completing the Contact form, you are confirming that you have read and accept these terms and conditions.

Updates: The terms and conditions on this page may be revised without notice. If you have restarted therapy after a period of absence, then please check that you are still in agreement to any amendments made since your previous course of therapy.

Online terms of service

Richard J D’Souza is a UK qualified and registered hypnotherapist. He follows professional codes of conduct that fulfil the membership requirements of UK based hypnotherapy associations.

All clients agreeing to use online therapy from Richard J D’Souza are accepting that this therapy contract/agreement, and the services to which it relate, are subject to the jurisdiction of the Laws of England and Wales, UK. You are accepting that any dispute or differences in relation to this contract/agreement shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales, UK.

All therapy services offered are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Please consult with your GP prior to your treatment to diagnose and treat any medical conditions.

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Hypnotherapy Newport

Hypnotherapy Newport & Cardiff

Hypnotherapy Newport and Cardiff offers professional and confidential hypnotherapy treatments for a variety of anxiety and stress-related conditions. Hypnotherapy is commonly used for weight loss, smoking cessation, modifying habits, alleviating fears and removing phobias. But it can also be used for panic attacks, depression, relationships and performance issues. A more comprehensive treatment lists can be found here.

Hypnotherapy Newport & Cardiff

offers hypnotherapy excellence across South Wales

 

What can you expect from Hypnotherapy Newport & Cardiff?

Hypnotherapy Newport & Cardiff
Choose hypnotherapy Newport & Cardiff to achieve your therapeutic goal
Experience – Established in 1997, you can be assured that this extensive experience of using clinical hypnotherapy will help make the most informed decisions in your treatment.Expertise - The most effective techniques will be used to get you rapid results including solution-focused, analytical and/or regression-based strategies to deal with your issues.Professionalism – Being a registered member of the Hypnotherapy Association, General Hypnotherapy Register, and Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council, you can be assured that the highest levels of hypnotherapy practise standards will be met during your course of treatment. 

Hypnotherapy Newport & Cardiff:

A small journey is worth making when it delivers results

 

Making an appointment

Prior to your first appointment, your level of suggestibility can be assessed using this hypnosis test.Contact me by email or by telephone to discuss your presenting situation. A mutually convenient first appointment can then be booked. Each consultation last for approximately an hour. 

What happens in your first hypnotherapy Newport & Cardiff treatment?

There are two main stages to your first consultation. The first stage includes:
  • Taking a brief medical history to establish to what extent any medical conditions are affecting your presenting situation.
  • Exploring any associated lifestyle issues that are impacting on your ability to achieve your goal.
  • Discussing any background issues that have contributed to your presenting situation.
  • Establishing your treatment goal and formulating a relevant treatment plan.
  • Alleviating any concerns about hypnosis. More information on hypnosis can also be found in the latter section of the hypnosis test (see link above)
In the second stage of the consultation, hypnosis techniques will be used to help you to achieve your therapeutic goal. 

Follow-up sessions

Where follow-up sessions are required, the first part of the session will discuss your progress and any developing issues since your last consultation. Revised advance hypnosis techniques will be used in the second part of the consultation to continue your treatment. 

Hypnotherapy Newport & Cardiff: Location & Practice

The Therapy Centre: Hypnotherapy Newport & Cardiff
The Therapy Centre: Hypnotherapy Newport & Cardiff
The Therapy Centre is based in Roath, Cardiff and is easily located in the heart of Cardiff’s city centre. It can be accessed by car using Cardiff City’s major link roads (Newport Road A4161, City Road, West Grove or Fitzalan Place A4160).Parking: There is free parking for patients situated behind The Therapy Centre building. The car park can be accessed from the front entrance.By train: The Therapy Centre is about a ten minutes walk from Queen Street train station. Trains from Cardiff Central train station depart every few minutes to Queen Street Station. Check local train timetables for more information.By bus: Bus stops can be located in City Road, West Grove or Newport Road. The Therapy Centre is less than five minutes walk from these bus stops. Check local bus timetables for more information.The Practice: The Therapy Centre offers traditional and complementary therapies to the local Cardiff community including physiotherapy, osteopathy and acupuncture. The practice is accessible to other local areas including Barry, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cowbridge, Cwmbran, Merthyr Tydfil, Penarth and Pontypridd. 

For further information on how hypnotherapy can help you, contact Richard J D’Souza, senior hypnotherapist at Clinical Hypnotherapy Newport & Cardiff

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Performance anxiety

Performance Anxiety

Performance Anxiety Cardiff

Most performers have experienced performance anxiety at some point in their careers. When that “big” opportunity comes along to shine and demonstrate your knowledge, talents and skills, it can be normal to get the “jitters” leading up to and during your performance. Some nervousness is not always a bad thing; it encourages a state of readiness and alertness.

Musical performance anxiety
Performance anxiety can affect the most competent performers

But performance anxiety can devastate the careers of some of the most competent performers. When it is persistent and overwhelming, your own mind can rob you of the endless preparation from which you have passionately dedicated your performing life. For some of you, performance anxiety can adversely suffocate those life-changing, testing situations that seem to fall into your lap once in a while. You plan, rehearse (and revise) for the big day, but find that your anxiety can destroy what you were doing so perfectly whilst practicing just hours or days earlier.

Managing your fear is an essential part of being able to “nail it” in your performance. When you can control your anxiety and the associated symptoms, you are free to demonstrate your creative abilities.

 

What is performance anxiety?

  • As a performer, it can be defined as your perceived conflict between the demands of the performance situation and your ability to meet those demands.
  • Performance anxiety is the overwhelming negative mental, emotional and physical response prompted in a performer when performing.
  • It can be experienced in anticipation of, or during a performance to a given audience (or potential audience if you are making a recording).
  • The heightened negative state of arousal provokes a distressing response that limits or undermines the ability to accomplish the performance in the desired manner.
  • The anxiety can affect you in various ways e.g. hand tremors, nausea, muscular tension, petrification etc. are just some of the unwanted symptoms that you can experience.
  • Unfortunately, the part (or organ) commonly affected by the anxiety is the part primarily used in your performanceg. singers may find that their voice is distorted or musicians will tense up their hands (or their lips/embouchure etc. depending on the instrument played.)
  • Your performance anxiety may be part of a deeper social anxiety trait characterised by shyness, fear of embarrassment, negative social attention and social criticism. Essentially you are preoccupied with what others are thinking about you and this becomes more severe when a certain audience-type is observing you e.g. a competitor. (But not all anxious performers have social anxiety.)

 

Who is affected by performance anxiety?

Performance anxiety can be experienced by anyone. Even the most competent performers can accumulate a few “bad experiences” and the way that you react to it can alter how you function in your future performances.

  • Performing artists and other professionals – You are passionate about expressing your creativity on a day to day basis. You thrive on communicating your chosen art form, but when you develop performance anxiety, it annihilates your spirit and destroys the essence of who you are. Actors, dancers, musicians, singers, comedians, entertainers, athletes, politicians, lecturers and professional speakers are included in this category.
  • Professionals who want to promote themselves – The success of your profession has brought you into the limelight. Your followers request your presence to personally share your expertise. Going on “stage” was not your intended path; it has arrived and now you need to make a decision: confront your fear or hide in the shadows of your potential success. Teachers, writers, lawyers, managers, doctors, engineers and architects are included in this category.
    Performance anxiety during an interview
    Anxiety during an interview can affect your performance
  • Occasional “performers” – You are aware of your performance anxiety but you keep the subject-matter hidden from your peers. You are ashamed to admit it because the issue creates a mass of insecurity. Work requests a presentation from you, but you cleverly manage to avoid it or you delegate it to other subordinate staff. You may be required to speak at an informal occasion now and again e.g. a wedding, or sports presentation, and this is where your avoidance finally catches up with you. Years can go by when all is quiet on the performance front, but when the situation comes knocking at your door, you want to pretend that nobody is in! Avoidance can leak into those informal situations and take you by surprise e.g. with sexual performance anxiety or during in an interview.
  • Anxious “avoiders” – You have known from a very young age that you struggle with social attention and social embarrassment. Your chosen career and social pursuits keep you safe from the threat of being on stage. You know how to avoid these situations and can aggressively refuse the opportunity if it is demanded of you. You may have let down some people close to you e.g. when refusing to give a best man’s speech. You regret not having developed the skills and courage to deal with those special occasions.

 

Types of performance anxiety

Performance anxiety is broadly categorised as a type of social anxiety, but not all performers have social anxiety. As a performer, even without social anxiety your own personal traits can work against you in situations when you are need to perform e.g. when you are a perfectionist.

Performance anxiety can be placed into three broad categories (with some overlap):

1.Cognitive performance anxiety,

2.Social performance anxiety and

3.Skills (or motor) performance anxiety.

  1. Cognitive performance anxiety

This category is defined as the anxiety experienced when using previously learned knowledge and applying it to a specific situation such as a written test or exam in school, college or in your profession. All categories of performance anxiety involve a level of cognitive functioning, but this category considers the use of internal “mind” processes that are usually then written or typed in a time-restricted situation.

Unlike the majority of the situations in the other categories of performance anxiety, there may not be an immediate “audience” in this situation. However, the consequences of the exam could become known to a potential audience e.g. your peer group will know about your grade at a later stage.

Test and exams are the common assessment methods to establish levels of academic competence in school, further and higher education, and employment. The higher the grade, the more likely you will gain entrance into your choice of university and advance your chosen career; exams undoubtedly have a high level of cultural importance.

So what turns the exam into a performance anxiety situation?

Anticipatory (or pre-exam) anxiety – This affects you hours, days or weeks before the big day. It can include issues like whether you have done enough revision, will be able to recall the information on the day or will have the right (or wrong!) questions appearing in the exam. You then worry about the consequences of failing and how this will affect your future career.

Managing anticipatory anxiety is an issue in itself. You have to suspend your ability to deal with something and get it out of the way now because the event takes place in the near future. Anticipatory anxiety tends to fool your mind into believing that you will have a catastrophe e.g. sleep-in and miss your morning exam, have a “mind-blank” or panic attack that numbs your mind for the whole duration. Known stress-related symptoms e.g. insomnia, IBS, nausea can also be added into the overall fear of what might negatively affect the big day.

Anticipatory anxiety also builds up your worry and physical tension levels to such a degree that by the time you get to the exam day, you feel exhausted. High anxiety can also negatively distort your clear thinking; it predisposes you to exaggerate the things that could go wrong.

Exam performance anxiety
Anxiety can block your concentration in an exam

Mid-exam stress/anxiety – You arrive in the exam room and the “fight or flight” mode kicks-in. Having too much adrenaline can stifle your thinking, concentration, understanding, recall and problem-solving abilities. You worry about how the next couple of hours will go, how you can manage your time, and the implications of your unsuccessful exam performance.

Post exam anxiety – “Pens down!” and that’s it, it’s over! Did you interpret that question correctly? Did you forget some of the answers to question 5? Should you discuss with your peers how others have answered it? Or look at your class notes just to ease your mind? What if you haven’t done enough? How will it affect your application or job prospect if you have failed? How long do you have to wait before you know the outcome? These are the common anxious post-exam questions that the student will ruminate over. This accumulates the anxiety into your next exam or series of exams.

Medical background and personality traits – Certain medical conditions, personality types and attitudes can affect your cognitive performance anxiety. If you suffer with general anxiety disorder, panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, you are likely to be overwhelmed by the whole exam process.

Your personality traits, values and situation can also affect how you perceive doing exams. They can include:

  • Perfectionism.
  • Being self-critical.
  • Using exam grades as markers for your self-esteem. This can increase the pressure of achieving high grades.
  • Having unrealistic expectations.
  • A fear of failure.
  • Low motivation.
  • Low self confidence.
  • Being in fear of judgements from your family and peer group.
  • Poor study and exam skills. As the pressure mounts, you can overload your timetable of study with little attention to balancing lifestyle habits (diet, sleep, rest and exercise) inhibiting your learning potential, recall and concentration abilities in the exam.
  • Even teachers who are aiming to motivate their students can inadvertently inflict fear (and thus more stress) onto their students. Rather than the highlighting the benefits of passing, teachers may project your mind onto the consequences of failing by saying that “if you don’t pass your exams, you won’t get into University!” A reason for doing this can be because a teacher’s effectiveness is often based on high student outcomes.

 

  1. Social performance anxiety

Social performance anxiety is the anxiety experienced when performing or communicating in a social situation. Social performance anxiety is intensified by general anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder (social phobia).

With social performance anxiety, you are externally focused on the reactions of others. Typically, you are preoccupied with the belief that your audience is criticising, judging or rejecting you in some way. What you say or do (or don’t say or do) has the effect of drawing unwanted attention, generating feelings of embarrassment, humiliation, insecurity and worthlessness. You can become preoccupied with your own anxiety symptoms (e.g. panic attacks, blushing, stammering and physical tension) disrupting how you want to communicate with your audience. You believe that these anxiety symptoms make you “visible” to them and incapable of achieving the high standards you want, or of those expected of you. Anticipation of the event can trigger anxiety for weeks or sometimes months ahead of the situation.

Social performance anxiety can be divided into two areas:

  • Formal social performance anxiety can be defined as the anxiety experienced when you are required to present (usually rehearsed and structured) information to an audience.
  • Informal social performance anxiety can be defined as the anxiety experienced when you are required to communicate socially (either verbally or non-verbally) with your audience.

 

  • Formal social performance anxiety

Formal social performance anxiety usually involves presenting rehearsed (or sometimes spontaneous) content to an audience without their active participation in the situation (i.e. only you are required to speak to your audience). It can also include interactive formal situations where you and what you present are the focus of the situation but the audience are required to respond/interact with you in some way e.g. when teaching or being interviewed.

With rehearsed content, formal social performance anxiety often involves a number of preparatory stages including: researching your content; organising it into a coherent and logical structure; learning, rehearsing and memorising the content; considering any stage management issues and use of visual aids; taking into account any situational and personal limitations, and of course, managing your performance anxiety on the day.

Some common examples include:

  • Public speaking – speaking at a formal dinner, funeral or in a courtroom (as a lawyer or witness giving evidence)
    Formal social performance anxiety
    Giving a formal lecture can seem daunting at first
  • Presentations – promoting yourself/your business, or speaking as part of a school class or college assessment
  • Stage performances – acting in a theatre production or making announcements in a school assembly
  • Lectures – giving a formal lecture to students or other professionals in your niche
  • Speeches – speaking at a wedding or special occasion
  • Interviews – identifying typical questions that you will be asked and rehearsing the most appropriate answers ready for the interview
  • Oral exams – being assessed in language exams or discussing your thesis (viva voce)
  • Meetings – Speaking, presenting or chairing formal meetings at work or for an organisation
  • Singing – Being examined giving a solo vocal performance or as a part of a band in front of an audience
  • Selling or sales performance – The pressure of achieving your sales targets can affect your selling technique

 

  • Informal social performance anxiety

Informal social performance anxiety involves an interactive exchange of talking, listening and reacting to your audience. This situation can include communicating to one person, a group or a much larger audience. The situation is spontaneous and for many, it is more socially demanding; you believe that you can only deal with it when you get there and thus are required to “think on your feet”.

Those who “hide” behind excessive preparation as a way of managing social anxiety in formal situations can struggle with the impromptu nature of these informal situations.

Some common examples include:

  • Meeting new people and making polite conversation
  • Attending parties or large social occasions
  • Being criticised or teased
  • Talking to important people or authority figures e.g. teachers, bosses, police officers
  • Going on a date or chatting someone up
  • Making an important phone call when in the presence of others or when you are alone

In some (more formal) informal social performance anxiety situations, you want to speak or are required to speak without much time to prepare your answer. There is a momentary “spike” in your anxiety which diminishes when you have finished.

Some examples include:

  • Participating in role-play as part of work-based development training
  • Asking/answering a question in class and worrying that you may get the answer wrong
  • Introducing yourself or speaking up in a work meeting
  • Ordering food in a restaurant
  • Answering unrehearsed questions at the end of a presentation, meeting or interview
  • Asking for help – asking for directions when you are lost
  • Dealing with conflict – dealing with aggressive people

Informal social performance anxiety can also involve doing common day-to-day obligations that might “put you in the spotlight” and become the focus of attention in social situations.

  • Being observed whilst eating, drinking, learning, writing or working
  • Walking into a room full of peopleg. a party or classroom
  • Arriving late or having to leave early from a meeting
  • Leaving a cinema or theatre to go to the toilet
  • Doing something that draws attention to you e.g. sneezing, coughing etc. in a lecture room
  • Shopping – feeling visible to other shoppers or sales staff
  • Having your photo taken or being videoed
  • Using a public toilet – feeling so self conscious in the toilet that your bodily functions become affected e.g. you develop shy bladder or feel constipated
  • Being stared at when walking past a group of people
  • Making eye contact with people in general

 

  1. Motor (or skills) performance anxiety
    Skills or motor performance anxiety
    A driving test or just driving can create anxiety

Motor-based (or skills) performance anxiety is the anxiety experienced when physically moving or demonstrating learned (behavioural) skills in front of an audience. The anxiety can also be experienced when performing to a potential audience i.e. when you are being videoed.

As with the other types of performance anxiety, you can experience symptoms for many weeks leading up to the actual performance. The anxiety can affect you during practise or training sessions. It can also affect you when you are away from practise (i.e. when worrying).

The term “motor” performance anxiety is a Latin term from the word movēre. It refers to movement (rather than something exclusively related to cars!) As with the other previous types of performance anxiety, motor performance anxiety can be intensified by general anxiety and social anxiety disorder.

Motor (or skills) performance anxiety can be divided into two areas:

  • Formal motor performance anxiety affects your ability to demonstrate rehearsed “skills” in front of an audience. The skills can be applied in a “closed” or set routine. Or the skills can be performed in an “open” field of play when responding to how others are performing (with you or against you).
  • Informal motor performance anxiety affects your ability to demonstrate everyday physical skills, tasks and movement in more casual and social situations.

 

Formal motor performance anxiety

Formal motor performance anxiety situations can include those situations in which you are taught or coached in training sessions (lessons) leading up to the actual performance. The anxiety usually accumulates as the day of the performance beckons, heightening your physical tension levels and affecting the fluency of your skills. It may peak immediately before or as you start your performance. There may also be specific parts of the performance that are perceived as more difficult/pressured and more likely to force an error. In turn, you believe that the mistake will draw more negative attention e.g. when missing a penalty kick that knocks you out of the cup tournament. Additionally, you may be fearful of your ability to recover during the performance if something were to go dreadfully wrong e.g. having a sustained panic attack or show of nerves during a performance could destroy your reputation!

The anxiety can be associated with any audience members, including a future audience when making a video. They can include your managers, teaching or coaching staff, peers (other team members), the opposition, the general audience/spectators, clients, examiners etc. The audience do not have to be present to generate anxiety; what you tell your future audience (family, peer group or colleagues) about the negative outcome can be a continuous preoccupation during the performance; “what will they think of me?”

As with the other types of performance anxiety, the part of your body that is primarily used in the performance e.g. the hands when playing an instrument, can become excessively tense, dysfunctional and prone to “locking” when compared to how it is freely used during practise.

Some examples of formal motor performance anxiety include:

  • Musical (instrumental) performances – This includes the precise bi-lateral coordination of the arms, hands and fingers used to play instruments (and legs e.g. when playing a drum kit). Woodwind and brass instruments also require the synchronised use of breath and embouchure to create a harmonised sound.
  • Dance performances – Any sequence of rehearsed rhythmical movements that can be mistimed, forgotten or petrified e.g. ballet, tap dancing, modern etc.
  • Skilled stage entertainment – This can include circus acts, magic shows, physical comedy (slapstick, clowning and mime) etc.
  • Practical lectures/presentations/demonstrations – This includes live visual illustration of artistic, creative and educational skills e.g. during cookery demonstrations, when teaching mechanical skills etc.
  • Medical skills – This includes training in hospital wards, clinics or theatre. Skills can include injections, dressing wounds, manipulations, surgical operations etc.
  • Sports performance – This includes any sporting situations with the performance of “closed” skills e.g. throwing darts, shooting at a goal in ball sports, shooting with a rifle, taking a penalty, potting a ball in snooker, golf strokes, serving in tennis, field events in athletics. Or anxiety experienced during “open” match play e.g. tackling, defending, dribbling, sparring, running etc.
  • Driving test – Passing your driving test is your ticket to being mobile and boosts certain job opportunities. The driving test can expose hidden skills-based performance anxiety in a one-off situation that you may have avoided in other parts of your “performing” life. Your driving instructor may be unaware of its severity in driving lessons until you have failed your test (maybe several times).
  • Practical exams – This includes being practically assessed with a time limit in any vocational course e.g. hairdressing, car mechanics, electrician, plumbing etc. A catastrophe in your exam can throw away one of two years of study when anxiety takes hold of your performance.
  • Practical interviews – As with practical exams, you may be required to solve a timed practical problem with very little notice to prepare e.g. build a bridge that can support a small weight using only 5 sheets of paper.

 

Informal motor performance anxiety

Informal motor performance anxiety situations can include those situations which are spontaneous, casual and may not require a (perceived) rehearsed skill; you may believe (because of social expectation or fear of embarrassment) that you just ought to be able to perform the task perfectly in the given situation.

As with other types of performance anxiety, the physical tension accumulates and can peak just before or during the situation. You can also be overwhelmed with your physical anxiety symptoms and they can preoccupy you, affecting your ability to concentrate on the desired task.

How you perceive your audience can affect the level of your anxiety. It can be higher with a larger audience, or because some of the specific members of the audience are considered important or more threatening e.g. your competitor is in the audience. But even with fewer individuals in your audience, your perceived relationship with them can vary the intensity and timing of your anxiety. For example:

  • You may know them well and trust them as is often the case with family and close friends.
  • You may know them to some degree, but may not see them for some time, leaving you unsure of their opinion of you, as can be the case with colleagues or other members of a club.
  • You may not know them at all and are unable to judge their response.

You can assume that the more you know them, the safer you feel, but this isn’t always the case. Some people feel more embarrassed in front of their family performing certain tasks. And for some people, performing in front of strangers can feel safer than group (ii) because you don’t care about them. With group (ii) you have to confront them again at some later stage and it’s that period of time where you are left worrying about their opinion that causes the embarrassment to fester. “What will they say to you when you see them next?!!”

Some examples of informal motor performance anxiety can include:

Sexual performance anxiety
Fear of embarrassment can impact on your sexual performance
  • Sexual performance – Conditions like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and delayed ejaculation for men can be influenced by anxiety. Anxiety can also affect women’s sexual arousal with conditions like vaginismus, low sex drive and inorgasmia.
  • Practical training days at workRole-plays are a common training activity that is used to demonstrate the learning of work-related skills. Without the ability to prepare your “presentation script” and identify what each role-play is about, role-plays remain an embarrassing dread for many employees and employers.
  • Trading stress – Making calculated risks when you are facing volatile and uncertain markets can leave the trader feeling petrified when it comes to hitting the “BUY NOW!” button. You can lose sight of your formulaic strategies when your capital is dwindling.
  • Exercising at the gym – When joining a gym or a new exercise class, wanting to look fit and coordinated so that you can blend in with the crowd can take a few sessions. For some fitness novices, the embarrassment of standing out from the crowd is too high. You muster the courage to join the health club and then the anxiety takes over and the attendance level suddenly drops!
  • Being watched whilst eating, drinking, writing, cooking, and driving – These are common daily activities that can draw social attention when your anxiety symptoms inhibit the activity in some way e.g. a shaking hand can stop you writing or a fear of choking can stop you eating or drinking in public.
  • Being observed when working – When you are moved into an open style office from a private office, you can feel self-conscious when making phone calls or feel visible when struggling with difficult new work task.
  • Writer’s or any creator’s block – Completing your book, assignment, project, song, composition, work of art, order etc. for a client/customer or future audience can be obstructed by your perfectionism or deadline stress. Your creative ideas are suppressed by your stressed mind when you are anxious and functioning in “urgency” mode.
  • Operating an unfamiliar device in public – This can include using vending machines, self-service ticket machines, self-service tills or obtaining a parking voucher from a meter. Not knowing how to operate these (sometimes faulty) machines and being too embarrassed to ask for help, is a common reason to avoid using them. Knowing that you have a long queue of people behind you just adds to the pressure.
  • Using a public toilet – Bladder shyness or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be distressing for the sufferer. You may avoid drinking or eating certain foods or avoid certain social situations depending on the location and layout of the public toilet. When you need to use the toilet, you fear “clamping” your bladder or being constipated. With anxiety-related IBS, being anxious about messing up the toilet with diarrhoea can just make the symptoms worse.
  • Walking or being out in public – When you are agoraphobic, just leaving your home is traumatic. You fear having a panic attack in a public place. When you are away from the “safety” of your home, you feel constantly visible and fearful of your own panic attack response.

 

Informal performance anxiety associated with past traumas, fear or phobias

Some performance situations may not involve an audience, but instead associate with a trauma, fear or phobia from your past. This past trauma prevents you from achieving a specific goal and triggers the past emotional distress e.g. pain, physical tension, nausea, disgust etc.

Some of these situations might be considered as “medical” situations where the individual is required to self-administrate the procedure but “locks” of fails to achieve the goal at the last moment. Examples include:

  • When inserting/removing contact lenses but responding by clamping the eyelids closed.
  • When inserting dentures but failing due to gagging or vomiting.
  • When self-injecting medication with a needle but resisting due to feeling too anxious, tense or disgusted.

 

What causes performance anxiety?

The causes of performance anxiety are related to the causes of social anxiety disorder.

Biological factors – With social anxiety, the part of the brain responsible for regulating the “fight or flight” centre (the amygdala) is active when confronting social situations. This neurological response exaggerates your perceived threat from those people in the social situation. With social anxiety, it’s as if your brain is registering those people present are about to attack you.

There is a genetic factor also linked to social anxiety indicating a possible brain structure and chromosome that can be inherited from your parents.

Socio-psychological factors – The development of social anxiety can be influenced by child-parent interactions. This can happen when a parent (or both parents) with social anxiety encourage social inhibition rather than teaching a child social confidence skills. The developing child can also imitate the parents’ anxious behaviour when the child observes (models) how the parents interact with other people.

Away from one’s parents, the shy developing child can struggle to confront new situations and unfamiliar people. They display a range of insecure and anxious behaviour that researchers define as “Behavioural inhibition”. A child that displays behavioural inhibition is more likely to develop a social phobia.

Traumas such as bullying, social neglect and major social changes e.g. moving schools or a family bereavement can impact on the growing child’s social development. Observing social embarrassment or humiliation towards your peers (or being the focus of it) can further reinforce social anxiety particularly during adolescence. These embarrassing situations traumatise the individual to excessively fear the judgements of others particularly when you need to “perform” (in whatever context) in front of your audience.

Adolescent children can recognise that the degree of social threat in many social situations is irrational, yet you can feel overwhelmed by your anxiety symptoms, avoidance behaviour and feelings of inferiority (it ultimately affects your self-esteem). Some adolescent children can attempt to mask your social anxiety, displaying anger as an alternative way of (not) coping.

By adulthood, many life choices will have been determined by social anxiety. For example, social situations, relationships, exams, hobbies, occupational preferences, promotional prospects etc. can all be limited by the level of perceived social anxiety (or overwhelming social responsibility in the new role or situation). But the socially anxious person can still deny the existence of your condition by disguising your anxiety with superficial excuses for not participating e.g. “I’m not feeling well”, “I’m too busy!” or “It will probably fail, so there’s no point trying!” are common self-limiting coping mechanisms.

Having disguised the social anxiety for much of your life, the threat of say a public speaking obligation in adulthood can expose the need to finally admit that you struggle with it or have the condition (as a specific issue or general disorder or phobia). Avoidance is no longer an option.

 

What are the common performance anxiety symptoms?

Performance anxiety symptoms are not just experienced during the performance; they can be experienced weeks leading up to it. Even after the performance, the negative interpretation of the experience accumulates the “alertness” in preparation for the next one.

There are 4 categories of performance anxiety symptoms:

  1. Cognitive, 2. Physical, 3. Behavioural and 4. Emotional

1. Cognitive performance anxiety symptoms relate to your thoughts and beliefs. They can include:

  • Negative self image e.g. “I don’t think I’m good enough to do this!”
  • Rejecting compliments/praise e.g. “They didn’t mean that; they are only saying this to make me feel good!”
  • Negative self evaluation e.g. “I’m really messing this up!”
  • High self expectations e.g. “I have to make this perfect!”
  • Self blame/responsibility e.g. “I’m going to let the whole team down!”
  • Catastrophic thinking e.g. “If this goes wrong my reputation is ruined!”
  • Superstitious beliefs e.g. “I fail when I have morning exams!”
  • Over-generalising e.g. “Everyone thinks that I’m not capable!”

 

2. Physical performance anxiety symptoms relate to how parts of your body are affected by the “fight or flight” response. The part that you consider to be the most important for the success of your performance can be the part that is most affected by anxiety.

You can be preoccupied with your anxiety or panic attack symptoms to the extent that you (or your symptoms) are believed to be visible to your audience. Your anxiety symptoms can also dominate your attention, causing you to lose concentration, make mistakes, have memory lapses, become petrified etc.

Symptoms can include:

Performance anxiety symptoms
Sweating is a common symptom of performance anxiety
  • Severe muscle tension, spasm, locking or trembling
  • Numbness and tingling sensations
  • Laboured, rapid and shallow breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat that feels like it is pounding, irregular or fluttering
  • Stammering or a strained choking voice that can sound weak, high pitched and shaky
  • Increased sweating and feeling of hotness (or coldness)
  • A knotted stomach or feeling of butterflies
  • Frequent urination
  • Cramped “gurgling” digestion, upset stomach and nervous diarrhoea
  • Feeling nauseous, light-headed, dizzy and distracted
  • Blushing, hot flashes or chills
  • Dry mouth
  • An exaggerated startle response
  • Disturbed sleep and fatigue

 

3. Behavioural performance anxiety symptoms relate to how you attempt to cope with your anxiety symptoms. It generally reflects what you do (or don’t do) leading up to the performance. Ironically, many of these activities make the anxiety worse in the long term.

Symptoms can include:

  • Avoidance behaviour – You avoid individual practises because it reminds you of the anxiety. But in addition to avoiding activities, it can also include avoiding peopleg. seeing those people who are likely to ask about the performance and create further fear or guilt for not attending. Or it can include avoiding situations e.g. training days.
  • Withdrawal – this is similar to avoidance, you may isolate yourself from social interaction and stay housebound. This is because your anxiety is generally affecting your sociability; you don’t want to inflict your worries on anyone.
  • Perfectionism – you may over-practise certain parts of performance creating fatigue and then lose the awareness of other important issues in your life such as your health or relationships.
  • Procrastination – you participate in “pleasant” non-related performance activities to justify that you are busy e.g. cleaning and tidying, but in reality you are avoiding the constructive preparation that will help your performance.
  • Compulsive behaviours – you participate in risky, unhealthy or destructive behaviours to break or divert the hold that anxiety has on you. This can include excessive binge eating, over spending (consumerism), drinking, smoking, drug taking or other addictions. It can also include engaging in high risk, or highly exciting (adrenaline-filled) activities such as aggressive sports, gambling or sexual activity.
  • Attachment – you seek comfort in people who are over-protective of you, or visiting places that will keep you “safe” e.g. staying home. Or you seek comfort in routine or ritualistic activities that comfort your mind such as comfort eating, watching television and social media.

 

4. Emotional performance anxiety symptoms relate to feelings that can accompany your anxiety or they describe the different adjectives that reflect the degree of your anxiety.

Anxiety can be distressing even though you (as a child) may not be able to express how you are feeling at the time. It’s the physical and behavioural components of anxiety that can consciously be the most troublesome in terms of your daily functioning.

Emotional anxiety symptoms can include feeling:

  • Fearful
  • Overwhelmed
  • Panicky
  • Terrified
  • Irritable, jumpy or edgy
  • Sensitive (to criticism or rejection)
  • Preoccupied (with other’s responses)
  • Worried, apprehensive, nervous or uneasy

Over a period of time, the four components of anxiety accumulate and combine to drive you and your performance into submission. Anxiety can destroy your expressive creativity contained within your talents and skills if it is not affectively managed.

 

Common treatments for performance anxiety

Medication – The medication commonly prescribed by your GP for performance anxiety is beta blockers (propranolol and atenolol). A beta blocker will help to dull the physical effects of the stress hormones when the “fight or flight” response is activated. They are best for specific situations, like one-off performances, but they won’t help with the emotional symptoms of anxiety. As with all medication, there can be side effects.

Talking therapy – Talking therapies can include CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). Talking therapies aim to help you change your thinking, control your anxiety and confront your performance situations. Some approaches can take a significant time to change your perception of your performance however.

Self-help therapy – This considers certain lifestyle changes that can alter the physical effects of anxiety e.g. doing exercise, meditation or yoga to lower your levels of physical tension. This approach may also consider confronting the behavioural anxiety symptoms that are drowning your energy levels e.g. maintaining healthy sleeping patterns or cutting back on alcohol consumption. Or it can involve gaining help from your teaching professional or colleagues to alter some of the cognitive anxiety symptoms.

 

How can hypnotherapy help your performance anxiety?

Hypnotherapy can help you stay in the “zone”

Hypnotherapy for performance anxiety
Hypnotherapy can help your performance anxiety

The zone is considered to be a state of focused awareness in which you coordinate all of the effective parts of mind and body to achieve a peak level of performance. Hypnotherapy can help access and stay in the zone when stress and anxiety are disturbing your performances.

Anxiety control

Anxiety control is a major part of achieving excellence in your performance situation. When anxiety is high, your cognitive, affective and (motor) skills suffer. Hypnotherapy can offer you “mind tools” that will ensure that you are getting the very best out of your abilities when the situation demands it.

Manage anticipatory anxiety

Anticipatory anxiety can fool your mind into believing that those catastrophes are inevitable. It can consume your mental and physical build-up to the performance day as if that day is happening right now. Anxiety symptoms can disrupt your relaxation time, sleep and sociability. Hypnotherapy can alter that apprehension ensuring that you remain positive and focused on your performance success.

Reframe past traumas

Past traumas act as negative seeds of belief in your historical timeline. That “bad” performance, failure, near miss, injury or criticism gets stored in the deepest part of your mind coated with “Danger – Avoid!” So when you prepare to enter the arena again, your unconscious mind discharges stress signals (adrenaline) to warn you of the threat of a repeat traumatic performance. Hypnotherapy regression techniques can be used to release the emotion of these traumas, so that you can look ahead without the negative emotional bias.

Positive visualisation

Positive visualisation acts as the mental rehearsal for your peak performance experience. Hypnotherapy provides the mental platform to create an intense visualisation of your desired capabilities. When you can visualise performing confidently in front of your feared audience (e.g. assessor, examiner, competitor etc.) you will activate the beliefs, emotions and physical sensations necessary to achieve your reality.

Desensitise your anxiety/panic response

Practising your skills in isolation is very different to performing your skills with your audience. Some “performance” situations that include your feared audience are hard to create until the situation arrives. Along with positive visualisation, hypnotherapy can help you to you “get used” to your audience. By gradually adding your stressors into visualisations in a safe way, you can be desensitised to your threats and feel ready to deal with them on the performance day.

 

For further information on using hypnotherapy to treat your performance anxiety in Cardiff, contact Hypnotherapy Cardiff

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The Zone

The Zone

Access The Zone in Cardiff

 

What is The Zone?

The zone and peak performance
The zone is a state of optimal focused awareness
The Zone (sometimes called the “flow” mental state and the peak performance zone) is considered to be a state of optimal functioning. It is a heightened state of focused awareness and inner clarity in which your acquired knowledge, creativity, emotions, skills, motivation, passion and practised skills are synchronised, automated and “flowing”. You are not “consciously” trying to perform; you have immersed yourself “in” the state of performing The zone is a state of optimal focused awareness and every part of you is harmoniously operating within the essence of your peak performance. You are very much inspired “in” this moment; with no ego or fear of outcomes.When you are in the “zone”, your brainwave activity level is reduced down from the Beta level (which dominates when you are focused on the outside world) to the “Alpha” level. In the Alpha state, you are conscious but you are relaxed. Alpha brain waves dominate when you are being creative, emotionally connected and decisive.  

The informal zone

You will have experienced the zone in informal situations. Have you been immersed in any of the following activities?
  • Having a conversation and being “connected” with your partner.
  • Writing effortless flowing content for your essay or thesis.
  • Feeling drawn into the suspense of a thriller movie.
  • Playing a video game.
  • Reading a good book in a public place and not noticing people walking by.
  • Playing a game of chess and losing track of time.
  • Feeling emotional when hearing someone talk about their journey of achievement.
    The informal zone
    The zone can be accessed in informal situations
  • As an audience member being fascinated by the presenter (lecturer, teacher, speaker or entertainer etc.) and the content of their presentation.
The informal zone is a natural state of relaxed focused awareness. Your behaviour may not be goal-directed as might be in a skilled performance, but you are still fully absorbed in your activity.  

Getting into the zone to enhance your performance

The “performance zone” or “peak performance mind state” is a term that has been synonymous with elite sports performers. Consider the level of concentration and skill demonstrated by professional sports people when participating in golf, shooting or archery, or of elite athletes immediately before and during a sprint track and field event.The performance zone is not exclusive to sports people however, you can sometimes see professional musicians completely absorbed into the emotion of their performance; their eyes are closed and they are barely conscious of their surrounds. Similarly, actors can be seen in the stage sides, deep in concentration and rehearsing their script, just prior to their stage entrance. They then appear on stage seamlessly recalling extensive, emotion-filled dialogue as is reading from an autocue.The performance zone can be considered as a highly productive state of awareness particularly when you can access it to achieve work tasks. Employers value employees who can maintain long periods of concentration.Getting into the performance zone at work is easier if:
  • You are passionate about the task.
  • You believe in the need to complete it.
  • You can develop your creative abilities.
  • You can use/transfer a few previously learned skills.
  • You can visualise (at some level) the potential solution.
  • You have an incentive but it is more intrinsic.
  • The work situation (physical structure, resources, personnel, reasonable timescale etc.) meets your needs to fulfil the task.
  • Life outside work is stable.
  

Strategies to enhance your performance zone

Do you find that in your practise sessions, you are “nailing it” but when it comes to the big occasion, your performance is below standard? If this happens on a regular basis, then it’s time to review your performance strategies. Consider introducing some the following performance zone strategies to boost the performance of your skills:
The zone in sports performance
Focusing in the moment will help you stay in the zone
  • Focus on the requirements of this moment – as close to the present as possible.
  • Remove any judgment about your performance – that includes your own (internal) or from the audience, coach, peers or opposition (external)
  • Centre on the quality of the next one objective and let it go when it’s completed – the result will take care of itself.
  • Cut through perfectionism by focusing on the function of your performance.
  • Distance any external problems or distractions – unload them well before you get on the performance stage or the arena.
  • Identify and focus on the relevant performance cues that are specific to enhancing your performance in your activity e.g. when defending your opponent with the ball in basketball, by watching their midsection, you are less likely to be faked. Discuss this with your coach/teacher.
  • Simplify your approach when you are on the performance stage. Analyse the complexity in the practise session/tutorial, when you are away from the performance stage.
  • Keep your mood playful – that doesn’t mean that your performance is not important; a playful state lowers the stress you place on your performance.
  

How can you practise staying in the performance zone?

In the early stages of your new skill acquisition, you are unlikely to access the zone. This is because you are conscious of what you are doing and what is required of you. You are also unpractised and unrehearsed. It’s a bit like experiencing your first day at work or learning to play a piece of music for the first time; you feel overloaded with information due your own high expectation of wanting to appear capable.With focused practise sessions (e.g. when being coached), the formation of individual practise skills combine to create a network of coordinated schemes. Gradually, the schemes become familiar and fluent. With continued practise the schemes can then become automated and operate at an unconscious level. Repetition is an essential physical part of accessing your performance zone.Is accessing the zone just down to practise? Accessing the zone in performance situations requires the use and development of your imagination, emotions and beliefs. These can then combine with your practised physical skills.
Visualisation and the zone
Visualisation can help you access the zone
Breathing techniques, meditation, mental rehearsal, mindfulness and visualisation are useful tools to help cultivate your performance zone; these mind tools require you to imagine how you want to be during your performance (not what you are dreading happening i.e. the negative “what if’s”). Find a suitable situation in which you can regularly practise the mental rehearsal of your peak performance.Here are some visualisation techniques to practise when you are away from the performance stage, as it gets closer to your performance and during the interval breaks. Find a relaxing situation, close your eyes and use relaxed breathing techniques to lower the level of your brain activity i.e. get into your “alpha” state:
  • Imagine that you are performing at the highest level for your activity, with all the features of your performance present. By doing this, you can train your mind to get used to performing under pressure.
  • Identify your most emotionally confident and resourceful state. Visualise how you would be demonstrating this confidence when performing at your peak level.
  • Recall the feeling of confidence from past experiences of your achievements. Or visualise confidence demonstrated from a role model in your area of expertise. “Paste” this feeling into your next performance.
  • To maximise body (or any part of you, including your voice) functionality, imagine your body part being the perfect “fit” in your performance situation.
  • Practise focusing your mind on empowering affirmations (positive statements), images/symbols, emotions, and words that will inspire, energise and motivate you e.g. passion, power, rhythm, intensity, determination, invincibility, flow, belief etc.
  • Identify and narrow down the key qualitative processes/techniques of your peak performance e.g. fluency and rhythm. Practise imprinting them into your mental scheme.
  • Visualise removing the feeling of “trying”. Instead, access the feeling of “being”.
  

What disrupts the performance zone?

Excessive stress and anxiety can shatter your peak performance zone. When you are worried about something or you are getting frustrated with your performance, your level of brain activity increases. You are taken up, out of the automated “alpha” state and placed back into the “beta” state where you are conscious of your surrounds and trying to force your skills. Stress and anxiety management is thus an important part of staying in the zone.What is your stress? Stress can be different for everyone. What destroys one performer can motivate another. Your beliefs about yourself and your ability are essential components for keeping you mentally focused and in the zone. Negative traits can be learned from early parent conditioning, peer criticism, and your own interpretation of failed performances. Negative traits act as the source of your future insecurities and worries. They pull you away from the present, away from your performance zone. When you can identify the nature of your negative beliefs, you can work on centring this negativity. Using visualisation, you can realign your distortions to remove fear and judgement. With practise you can access positive thinking states.Here are some common negative beliefs (stressors) that can take you out of your performance Zone and ways to correct them:● You doubt yourself and your ability – You don’t believe that you or your skills are good enough to succeed. How you think and communicate also reflects this. In your mind, you believe that you can’t do it!

Zone Tip - Visualise displaying your skills with complete confidence. Picture the peak of your playing abilities to acquire your performance zone.

Stress, anxiety & the zone
Stress can take you out of the zone
● You are a perfectionist – Your refusal to accept anything short of perfection means that you apply yourself rigidly to your performance. This can work when you are in control, but when something takes you off your path, it can strain other parts of your life.

Zone Tip - Visualise having a wider, balanced perspective to access your performance zone.

● You are easily intimidated – Opponents will stare at you, mock you and physically attack you (when the referee is not there) in the hope to rattle you and knock your concentration. They want to undermine your self-worth.

Zone Tip – Visualise keeping your “cool” and boosting your own self esteem to acquire your performance zone.

● You want results now! – You are impatient and that exposes your inability to be disciplined with your effort. When things go wrong you get angry.

Zone Tip – To access your performance zone, visualise having a calmed patience. Imagine reaping your rewards in the long term by staying on your mission.

● You fear (another) injury – Having been injured or seen your peers sit on the sidelines for extensive periods, your fear of injury is holding back your progress. You are restrained and shy in attack.

Zone Tip - Visualise having a mental toughness when you compete. This is a necessary part of acquiring your performance zone.

● You fear failure – Linked to perfectionism, your sensitivity to making mistakes builds your fear of failure. You are so preoccupied with avoiding mistakes that it impedes your ability to do what is right.

Zone Tip - Visualise your ability to bounce back from errors or blips; learning from your mistakes will keep you resilient in your performance zone.

● You try too hard – Your aggressive style overwhelms your skills set. You force your playing style, wrongly equating over-exertion with successful performance. You risk injury and fatigue.

Zone Tip – Visualise balancing your effort with other important skills e.g. agility, rhythm. Appreciate what is “smarter” (not harder) to achieve your performance zone.

● You are sensitive to criticism – Your sensitivity to people’s comments eats away at your soul because you may believe that you need to be right. You become preoccupied with their criticism; it gnaws at your self-esteem and your performance. You are unable to distinguish if it was said as an attack or as feedback to help you improve your abilities.

Zone Tip – Meditate with the comment to identify if there is anything that you can learn from it. Then consider if it can be discussed to clarify its meaning. If not, let it go. Visualise that you are worth more than the attack made on you to keep you in your performance zone.

● You have high expectations – It’s good that you have ambitions, but your high expectations create an inner feeling of constant emptiness. You create unrealistic and unachievable goals that ultimately cause you to doubt your abilities.

Zone Tip – Reorganise your goals so that your interim objectives are realistically achievable. This will lift your confidence in your abilities. Visualise the combination of your long term goals and short term objectives to ultimately achieve what you want.

● You stay in your comfort zone – You underplay your potential and lack the “grit” to go up a few gears when the situation demands it. Low pain threshold, tiredness and apathy prevent you from achieving a higher ranking.

Zone Tip – Visualise your power, resilience and determination to develop your physical and mental stamina. This will keep you in your performance zone.

  

Can the zone be addictive?

The performance zone is a desirable mind state; you develop it to improve your ability in a performance situation. The informal zone however has a more recreational purpose e.g. when being connected in conversation. In the informal zone, you are using the zone to relax or distance yourself from a different situation in your life. Participating in an activity for some “flow” therapy can be a way of switching off and escaping from your external worries. But anything that can be beneficial can be overused when the external stress is persistent.
Gambling & the zone
Zone therapy can be addictive
Overdosing in potentially compulsive activities like playing video games, shopping, sex and gambling can become addictive. They possess a “meditative” yet adrenaline-filled zone of escapism. As the addiction grows, the insatiable need for the “flow” state can be to the neglect of your other responsibilities e.g. family relationships, your health, finances etc. When addictions take over your life, the previous solution to your problem becomes the new problem. 

Hypnotherapy and the zone

What does accessing the performance zone mean to you? Are you looking to improve your sports performance or have the edge over other elite professionals? Maybe your performance anxiety is inhibiting your stage performance in some way. Or perhaps you are looking to improve your creativity in your art or concentration levels for your exams. Hypnotherapy can be the treatment that will accelerate your success.● Hypnotherapy can help you access your performance zone Essentially, the zone or the “flow” mental state is similar to a hypnotic state of awareness. You lose your self-consciousness; your attention is focused and absorbed into the activity, and time has become irrelevant. These are all phenomena commonly experienced in hypnosis.  The hypnotherapy treatment will help you reach deeper levels of concentration when you want to connect with your performance zone.● Hypnotherapy can help you identify your emotional blocksNegative beliefs can weigh down your peak performance zone. If you don’t know what they are, the treatment will be instrumental in helping you identify them. You may already know what they are, but feel overwhelmed by their presence. With your unconscious mind open to suggestion, you can access new positive beliefs, replacing the emotional blocks that are holding you back.● Hypnotherapy can improve your confidence and self-beliefConfidence and self-belief are essential personal characteristics of the performance zone. Your positive thoughts, emotions and behaviour can help you push through your own restrictive barriers. Visualising confidence and self-belief in hypnosis will boost your feeling of superiority over your skilled performance.● Hypnotherapy can help you reframe your past “traumas”The unresolved handling of injuries, criticism, failures, errors, mistakes etc. can remain stored in your mind keeping you safe from having yet another set-back. Traumas that have not been resolved generate your self-doubt, indecision and hesitancy. Once these traumas have been reframed, you can freely access the confidence in your performance zone.
Hypnotherapy Cardiff & the zone
Hypnotherapy can help you access the zone
● Hypnotherapy can intensify your visualisationConscious interference and anxiety can blur your visualisation abilities. You can be wrestling with what you want to achieve and what you are trying to avoid. In hypnosis, your visualisation can be guided without conscious interference, picturing your skills and goals as “real” events. This enhanced mental rehearsal can integrate your mind and body functioning so that it can actualise into your performance.● Hypnotherapy can help you overcome performance anxietyThe cognitive and behavioural symptoms of performance anxiety can devastate your performance zone. To overcome your performance anxiety, your practises need to gradually incorporate “live” situation stress, where you can adjust to your perceived threat e.g. members of your audience. Hypnotherapy can be used to identify the nature of your threat and help you to visualise confidence with your audience. This will help you to lower the anxiety symptoms on the performance day.● Hypnotherapy can change your negative internal self-talkSelf talk is natural to all of us. The various parts of your mind can make themselves known when your emotions are compromised; one part will say “do it!” and the other will say “run away!” Hypnotherapy can help your confident voice dominate your experience in your performance.● Hypnotherapy can help you re-align your goalsHow you are structuring your long-term and short-term goals can make a difference to your experience in your performance zone. Unrealistic goals can leave you doubting your ability. Hypnotherapy will help you make changes that will work with you and your performance aspirations.● Hypnotherapy can help your motivationYour motivation can be deflated when your performance is suffering (and vice versa). Your motives can be re-established to fuel the drive in your area of expertise. Accessing feelings of desire to perform successfully is a fundamental ingredient in accessing your performance zone.

Are you ready to access your performance zone?

  

The Zone Cardiff: for further information on accessing the performance zone, contact Richard J D’Souza Hypnotherapy Cardiff

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Cardiff | PTSD Cardiff

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Robbery and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Direct traumas can have a serious impact on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a reoccurring stress response that follows the exposure to a traumatic event. PTSD can be acquired when:• You directly experienced the trauma (e.g. you believed you were in danger or your life was threatened). Or you have been involved in managing the traumatic incident (e.g. you helped the person in danger and/or interacted with an attacker in some way). • You witnessed a trauma in close proximity “with your own eyes”, but without direct involvement e.g. you saw someone else in danger, being injured, or actually die. • You learned about the trauma from family or close friends who were involved in the incident. • You were informed about the trauma from external sources e.g. the media such as television news or factual documentaries. External sources are likely to affect you if you are highly sensitive to viewing distressing scenes. They can also re-activate your PTSD symptoms if you have suffered a previously related trauma. 

Does everyone get post-traumatic stress disorder following a trauma?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a distressing reactive revisit to a past traumatic event, but most people do not develop PTSD following the trauma. It is common to have an ‘acute stress response’ within the first month where your mind is coming to terms with the traumatic events. Your understanding of the trauma and the emotional connection that you have made with it is being processed and released. But for about 30% of those who have suffered a trauma, you can find that your symptoms persist for longer than a month. When you have Post-traumatic stress disorder, you are unable to come to terms with the traumatic events and the “normal processing” of the trauma is obstructed. The post-traumatic stress symptoms become the new problem; a series of “aftershocks”, creating the disorder (PTSD) in the long term. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder risk factors

A group of people can be exposed to the same trauma, but only some people in that group will suffer with Post-traumatic stress disorder. So why are some people more likely than others to get PTSD following an exposure to a trauma? Research suggests that genetics can increase your susceptibility to PTSD. So if you are exposed to any traumatic events, what you have inherited from your family genes will dictate how you manage the trauma.Certain subcultures and biological groups can also be vulnerable to Post-traumatic stress disorder. They include those with learning difficulties, mental illness, children and adolescents, females and certain minority groups. It is considered that some of these groups have a heightened sensitivity to trauma, or can have a different biological pathway that affects the brain’s response to trauma.Some risk factors are more situational. They include:
  • Frequency of traumatic events – You have dealt with a number of traumas in your life either due to your occupation, lifestyle or by circumstance. This accumulation of different traumas has compounded your symptoms.
  • Duration of traumas – One or several of your traumas have been experienced over a period of time increasing your feeling of helplessness. You may have been trapped in your traumatic situation for a long period.
  • Suddenness of traumas – When the trauma is unexpected, the degree of alertness is intensified. Sudden shocks prevent any preparation or rehearsed coping strategies.
  • Severity of trauma – This can be subjective depending on your sensitivity and connection with the trauma (some young children have reported being traumatised by horror films). But those traumas in which you are personally involved in (rather than being told about it after the event), have a higher death rate, involve children and involve the mutilation of body parts will increase your risk of Post-traumatic stress disorder. Man-made (rather than natural) traumas are also considered to increase the risk of PTSD possibly because they destroy trust in other human beings.
  • You work in a high risk occupation – This can include the military, police, medical and rescue services.
  • You are a refugee or asylum seeker – Being forced to leave your home, family and friends under harrowing circumstances and then face the uncertainty of rebuilding your life in a new country can be a cause of Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Presence of a prior psychological condition – Having another condition prior to exposure to your trauma e.g. depression, anxiety disorder and high stress levels from a non-related issue may increase the effect of a trauma. It is important to remember that some conditions may not have been diagnosed prior to the trauma. If you have a negative emotional trait e.g. prone to feeling guilt, the negative emotion can influence your negative processing of the incident. Thus if you have survived the trauma and other family members died, excessive guilt would become part of your PTSD symptoms.
  • A lack of support following the trauma – Dealing with the trauma in isolation may mean that you suppress or repress the effects of the trauma. By refusing to accept help or deny that there is an issue, you may be reinforcing your negative interpretation of the trauma e.g. blaming yourself for the trauma or your mistaken handling of the trauma.
    domestic violence and post-traumatic stress disorder
    Post-traumatic stress disorder: you expect your partner to be trustworthy
  • Violence in the homeParental violence in the home can have the same traumatising effect on children as combat has on soldiers. It is thought that those children who have been exposed to violence in the home adapt their brains in the long term to be hyper-aware of external danger, increasing the risk of Post-traumatic stress disorder. Even with domestic violence inflicted on partners, the same adaptive responses can happen in the long-term abused partner. This is because your partner (who you would expect to be trustworthy and nurturing) ends up betraying you. This can cause you to feel abandoned, ashamed and helpless. The traumatising effects accumulate because the abuser often denies the abused person any medical or psychological support. In a family situation, feelings of hopelessness suppress the courage needed to escape with your children to a safe place. Even when you have managed to flee the domestic situation, the “aftershocks” (or PTSD as the condition) continue to haunt you.
There are some factors that are considered to reduce your risk of developing Post-traumatic stress disorder and are given the term “resilience” factors. Believing that you acted positively through the trauma e.g. that you helped to save lives in the face of fear, can lower your risk of developing PTSD. The risk is also lowered when there is time to plan and apply a coping strategy that has helped you and others to “survive” the trauma. Accepting support from people (e.g. family, friends, colleagues, professional counsellors or support groups) to help you “deal” with the trauma can further lower your risk of developing PTSD. 

What traumas cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms can begin following any traumatic event, but usually involve those traumas with intense fear, horror or helplessness. Here are some examples:
  • Personal violent attacks including mugging, robbery, sexual assault and physical abuse.
  • Severe domestic neglect or abuse as a child (or adult).
  • Having a traumatic childbirth as the mother or witnessing partner.
  • Being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
  • Serious accidents including road accidents and fires.
  • Military combat including being a prisoner of war.
  • Acts of terrorism including being held hostage.
  • Natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis or major flooding.
  • Witnessing violent injuries or deaths.
  • Losing a partner, member of the family or close friend in distressing circumstances.
These traumatic experiences can compromise your feeling of safety and security. They can weaken your sense of what is fair in your life. When you survive a traumatic experience, it can expose your fear that you (and others close to you) are not invincible. 

What are Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms?

There are many Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, but they tend to fall into 4 categories:1. Re-living aspects of the traumaThese are associations that draw you back to the trauma and can be caused internally (in your own mind) or by some external event or situation.
Flashbacks are symptoms of PTSD
Flashbacks are a common symptom of PTSD
• Flashbacks – Flashbacks are intense memories replaying in your mind and feel like you are experiencing the emotions of the trauma over again. Flashbacks can be in the form of images, sounds, smells, feelings and physical sensations (see below). Flashbacks indicate that your mind is struggling to cope and is overwhelmed by the emotion of the trauma. • Nightmares – You can sustain vivid dreams of the actual trauma, disturbing “distorted” dreamed accounts of the trauma (usually emphasising your negative emotions) and unrelated yet adrenaline-filled dreams with night sweats. • Physical responses – You can experience distressing physical symptoms when you are reminded of the trauma e.g. when watching the news or a movie, hearing a sound or seeing images that symbolised the trauma (such as hearing explosions or seeing an object used in the attack). The physical responses can be similar to those experienced in a panic attack.2. Avoidance behaviourWhen you experience a trauma, it is common to exhibit avoidance patterns of behaviour to protect you from the reactions outlined in 1 (above).• Changing routines – At first, subtle changes are made to your routines to try and cope with the associations you have made with your traumatic experience. But the associations grow, making it more difficult to function on a daily basis as more situations, objects, people and events are met with avoidance. • Social isolation – You don’t want people to see your stress reactions, so you avoid certain people or larger groups. But the importance of “having” to go to formal events e.g. a wedding, builds up the anticipatory anxiety, making the situation harder to cope with when the event arrives. • Withdrawal – As you become more aware of your stress reactions in different situations, you lose interest in what you used to enjoy. You withdraw from hobbies, locations, people and events as a way coping with the effects of the trauma. Even when you are with people, you feel tense and self-absorbed because you are confused about where the next anxiety attack will come from. • Depression – Your life feels increasingly out of control since it is dominated by anxiety and other negative emotions (guilt, distrust, self-blame and shame). This situation becomes more hopeless because you ultimately lose the enthusiasm for those things that you once enjoyed. Some trauma survivors feel suicidal. • Emotionally numb – You suppress your emotions to get through each event; it feels like each day is a survival task. You may abuse certain substances e.g. alcohol or drugs. • Amnesia of the traumatic event – Conscious and unconscious “blanking” of the traumatic event is part of your survival method to protect you from re-awakening those distressing emotions.3. Hyper-alertness
Sensory hypersensitivity and post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder: Your senses can become hypersensitive
This is where you remain on a state of constant hyper-vigilance causing you to feel tense and irritable.• You are easily startled – Your senses are over-attentive causing you to feel “jumpy” when they are stimulated e.g. loud noises overwhelm you. • Daily functioning is affected – you struggle to concentrate, relax, eat food (due to nausea), and sleep. You develop a variety of stress-related symptoms e.g. migraines, aches and pains. • Impending doom – You are on the continuous “red alert” waiting for something disastrous to happen.4. DetachmentThis is where your mind disengages from reality to keep you safe from further harm. Due to the extreme states of hyper-attentiveness (see 3. above), the constant fatigue can also cause you feel emotionally absent.• You feel disconnected – It’s as if something in your sub-consciousness is constantly drawing your attention, demanding to be dealt with when you are trying to relax. • General amnesia – In addition to forgetting the traumatic event, you struggle to remember recent events and things that need to be done. • Confused identity – You may be questioning who you are and how you ought to behave in situations following your traumatic encounter. • Hallucinations – Depending on the nature of your trauma, you may imagine that the trauma is happening to you again (when in reality nothing is happening). Or you imagine that it is happening to people around you, or affecting certain objects or situations. Images can be distorted, leaving you confused about whether you are really seeing these distortions or are just imagining them. 

Children’s PTSD symptoms

Older children (teenagers) tend to show Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms that are very similar to adults, but they can also be more externally aggressive and disrespectful as a way of coping with the trauma. PTSD Symptoms in children, particularly in the very young, can be different to those experienced by adults. Young children can experience:
  • Insecurity – They worry that something traumatic will happen to you. They feel more anxious when you are about to leave them or are away from them for extended periods. They can be unusually clingy in your presence and seek reassurance that you are not in any danger.
  • Re-living the trauma – A tendency to express the negative emotions of the trauma in art, role-play and stories.
  • Disturbed sleep – Restless nightmares (with sleep walking) directly related to the trauma, or anxious sleep patterns with unidentifiable content.
  • Loss of functional habits – Young children can be become incontinent and suffer with enuresis (bedwetting). Speech patterns can also become inhibited.
  • New fears and phobias – Fears become exaggerated for very young children e.g. fear of the dark, ghosts and monsters.
  • More anxiety-related symptoms – These can include loss of appetite, aches and pains, nausea etc.
  • Aggression – As with older children, younger children can also display anger directly or in the form of tantrums/mood swings.
 

Why does Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder happen?

By understanding the difference between normal memory storage and traumatic memory storage, you can appreciate why certain symptoms are experienced following a traumatic incident.Normal memory storage – In basic terms, the brain is like an ever-changing wardrobe full of clothes that has been neatly arranged according to many factors e.g. your beliefs and values. Your brain (wardrobe) prefers that clothes are processed (washed, ironed and labelled) before being placed into the wardrobe. This makes it easy for the retrieval and selection for the clothes in different situations. When you have an experience, you are given some items of clothing to store away in the right place. You may put it on the temporary holding rail if they are “dirty” or doesn’t have a category yet (you haven’t made sense of them) or you may need to “compress” some of the clothes in a category when a section has become full. But the experiences (clothing) need processing before they can be stored comprehensively in the wardrobe.Once stored, the clothing then becomes a memory. When it has been stored in the right place, it can be accessed easily and worn to suit the right occasion. So under normal conditions (low to moderate stress), the storage and retrieval of your clothing (experiences and memories) is an organised and coordinated system (we won’t go into fancy dress parties just yet!)
PTSD and traumatic memory storage
PTSD: your mind has misfiled the traumatic experience
Traumatic memory storage – In traumatic memory storage however (and using the analogy), the processing of the clothing (traumatic experience) is suspended. The traumatic experience increases the load by a few hundred items and because of the stressful nature of the experience, the clothing is heavily soiled. So clothing is randomly stuffed into the wardrobe without being processed, causing the wardrobe doors to bulge in places. The soiled clothing contaminates the other clothes (causing internal conflicts e.g. panic attacks). Feeling overloaded and about to burst open, clothing is expelled back into the processing area (into your consciousness as flashbacks), demanding to be sorted. You end up wearing the wrong clothes to different situations causing your to feel out of place (detached). You can keep throwing the clothes back into the wardrobe unprocessed (as avoidance), but the wardrobe will keep rejecting them until they have been processed properly. Each time that you go back into the wardrobe to access an individual item of clothing (memory), random or traumatic clothes (memories) are forced up into your consciousness.Summary of why Post-traumatic stress disorder happens - During a traumatic experience, high levels of adrenaline are released to help you deal with the trauma. The need to survive is the priority, so the mind interrupts and fragments the processing and storage of the traumatic event until the perceived danger has passed. During this continued red alert period, the “events”, emotions and sensations of the trauma can become distorted. Some memories are “forgotten” and others are re-presented for storage causing the individual to have disturbing flashbacks.Distressing emotions that were experienced at the time of the trauma can also be re-experienced at random moments. This can cause feelings of extreme helplessness and fear because acute anxiety is felt when there is an absence of any external danger. The processing of sensations (e.g. sounds) experienced during the trauma can also be “misfiled” when being presented for memory storage. Hypersensitivity to the sounds heard during the trauma can be increased with Post-traumatic stress disorder and you can suffer hallucinations i.e. believe that you are hearing sounds of gun fire when there are none. The processing and storage abilities in the mind can be restored when the system has been stabilised (i.e. stress and anxiety have been reduced). Repairs to the processing and storage of the traumatic experience can then be completed in gradual stages, re-analysing the experience in manageable “chunks”. 

Common Treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Treatment for Post-traumatic stress disorder will aim to reduce the effect that the acute stress is having on your body. It will also help you deal with the trauma in stages to reduce the symptoms you are experiencing.Medication – In consultation with your doctor or consultant, medication can be prescribed to increase serotonin levels. This can reduce your anxiety and depression and any other symptoms associated with your PTSD. Medication may be chosen as the main treatment when the threat of the trauma is recurrent (e.g. with domestic abuse). It may also be used if other treatments have not been beneficial for you or you prefer not to be treated with trauma focused psychological therapy.Psychological therapy – There are various types of trauma focused therapy (psychotherapy) including
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – CBT can help you challenge your irrational (or distorted) thoughts and feelings associated with the trauma.
  • Exposure therapy – This therapy helps you to gradually deal with the traumatic events in small steps. As you go through the desensitisation process, you relearn how to control your fearful responses to the trauma.
  • Eye-Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) – This therapy incorporates CBT with eye movements, sounds or tapping movements with the hand. As with the other therapies, it aims to reprogram your reactions to the traumatic memories.
Each therapy can have varying degrees of success. This can depend on the skill of the therapist, the issues that you bring to the treatment and the quality of your interaction with your therapist. 

How can Hypnotherapy help your PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and hypnotherapy
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder sufferers are considered to be very receptive to hypnosis
A (2005) study showed that hypnotherapy is an ideal treatment choice for post-traumatic stress disorder because if you suffer with PTSD, you are considered to be very susceptible to hypnosis. This study also showed that symptoms of PTSD are very similar to the phenomena experienced whilst in hypnosis. In another study, hypnotherapy has also been shown to reduce Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.Using the analogy of the wardrobe (above), hypnotherapy can help you unpack the wardrobe of jumbled and contaminated clothes (memories); sort, launder and iron them, and then reorganise and store the contents again into a coherent and orderly arrangement.• Hypnotherapy can help you understand how PTSD is affecting youThis understanding will come more from my experience as a therapist to objectively listen to your individual traumatic account. Your medical history and value system prior to your trauma can heavily bias your coping with the trauma. When you can appreciate how your Post-traumatic stress disorder is affecting you, it can reduce some of your stress symptoms and help you be open to learning new ways of managing your PTSD.• Hypnotherapy can help you to reduce stressIncreased stress levels influence you to perceive innocent situations as threatening ones. Whilst you stay on the “high alert”, you continue to believe that a panic attack that happened in a specific location or social occasion is a new situation to keep away from. Avoidance behaviour is your attempt to cope with your fear, but it only makes those situations worse in your mind. Hypnotherapy incorporates stress reduction as an integral part of the treatment diminishing your state of hyper-vigilance. Learning breathing techniques can also help you to reduce your stress symptoms.• Hypnotherapy can help you identify what is triggering your symptomsPost-traumatic stress disorder triggers can be internally provoked e.g. by an emotion or physical symptom such as a racing heartbeat. They can also be externally generated by events, situations or objects that remind you of the trauma e.g. from reading a similar news item, going to a nearby location or a seeing a person that looked like someone from the original trauma. By indentifying and dissociating these triggers, you can have more control over these situations and reduce your distressing reactions to them.• Hypnotherapy can help you to safely process the trauma in stagesDistressing flashbacks are your mind’s attempt to correct the fragmented processing and storage of the traumatic incident. Visualisation in hypnosis can help you to reprocess and store the traumatic events in a detached and safe way. As a form of graduated exposure, this technique has the benefit of reducing the frequency and severity of anxiety that you are suffering when a flashback is triggered.• Hypnotherapy can reduce your PTSD symptomsPost-traumatic stress disorder symptoms such as flashbacks and detachment can be considered as trance or dream states, similar to the awareness experienced in hypnosis. But PTSD trance states are distressing, whilst hypnotic “trance” is a pleasant relaxed state. PTSD will keep you locked into your traumatic experience replaying the trauma over and over again. The awareness in hypnosis however can used to therapeutically change the content of the flashbacks helping you to have more control over these symptoms.• Hypnotherapy can release the emotions that caused your PTSDStrong negative emotions and beliefs affect the way that you interpret and cope with traumatic stress. They can continue to cause your Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and often prevent you from closing “chapters” of your trauma. For example flashbacks can express beliefs such as self-blame, guilt and shame as themes that want to be processed and released. Hypnotherapy can provide the platform for emotional release, helping you to re-frame the trauma and reduce the severity of the symptoms that you are now having. 

Hypnotherapy for Post-traumatic stress disorder summary

It is normal to feel anxious when starting any new treatment. As your hypnotherapy course progresses, the feeling of being constantly under threat will reduce. As the meaning of the traumatic events is re-framed, you will be able to think about them in a calmer way and chose when you want to think about them (rather than being overwhelmed by them at inappropriate times).

For further information on treating your post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Cardiff, contact Richard J D’Souza Hypnotherapy Cardiff

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Jealousy in relationships

Jealousy in Relationships

What is jealousy in relationships?

Jealousy in relationships can essentially be defined as the insecurity you feel when a rival threatens your relationship in some way. But within your feeling of jealousy, there are a number of different features that can typify what you are experiencing:
Jealousy in relationships
Jealousy is when a rival threatens your relationship
• In addition to your jealousy, you may also be feeling helpless, anxious, angry, resentful, vengeful, betrayed, distrustful, lonely, depressed and disgusted. • The way that you perceive your rival leaves you feeling (physically and emotionally) inadequate and worthless: “They must have something that is better than what I have got.” • As your jealousy persists, you lose your sense of what is real and what is imagined. Thoughts, feelings and behaviours are affected and can become obsessive. You put yourself into negative situations that reinforce your negative beliefs. • Your jealousy can be sexual in nature: you know or believe that your partner has been or they want to be promiscuous. Sexual jealousy can also be provoked where there is no case for actual promiscuity, but an intention for external sexual desire e.g. your partner idolising a celebrity or watching pornography. • Your jealousy can also be emotional in nature: you know or believe that your partner shares a special bond with your imagined rival. Perhaps your partner and imagined rival share the same opinions about an issue or enjoy the same hobby. This bond could develop intimately and threaten your relationship with your partner. Emotional jealousy can also be triggered where your partner’s attention or affection is shared with another person even though there is no sexual connection e.g. giving more attention to a child or parent whilst believing that your partner is neglecting you. • Your jealousy can be projected. This is when you are having thoughts of betraying your partner, but you fail to act on these thoughts because of guilt. Your suppression of these feelings leads you to project these feelings onto your partner, only you believe that your partner is acting out their intentions. You falsely imagine the existence of rivals, even though none exist. • What you have (or believe you have) and value in your relationship is about to be (or has been) lost. So, an agreed (or assumed) boundary with your partner has been wrongly broken by your partner’s supposed involvement with another person i.e. you believe that someone else is gaining what you own or deserve. 

Examples of jealousy in relationships

It is a commonly held view that a small amount of jealousy in relationships can be healthy. Jealousy can remind you how important your partner is to you and it can motivate you to be a better companion. Jealousy can also create the spark to protect your relationship from external threats, particularly when you can discuss the nature of these threats with your partner.In jealousy’s healthier form, consider a typical situation when your partner glances over at an attractive person. You are left with only a mild feeling of unease. You might question your partner by asking them “is something taking your fancy?” With an innocent, yet embarrassed expression they reassuringly squeeze your hand and then reply “just admiring the view!” In this situation, the sensitive communication between you helps any elevating jealousy to be vented. Your open reactions build trust into the relationship because you express your feelings, rather than suppress them.
Jealousy in relationships at home
A delayed reaction to your jealousy
But jealousy has a more destructive side. The reactions can be spiteful, causing you both to feel imprisoned in your own relationship. So, in the above scenario, the reactions would take a different course. The glance is interpreted as a threat to your relationship. There can be an immediate, aggressive attempt to punish your partner as a way of redeeming the worthlessness that you have just felt. If the guilty act has taken place in public, you disguise your anger, giving a fake laugh to ward off any hint of social embarrassment. But it’s just a temporary let-off for the loss of control that you have suffered. The damage has been done and the “fuse” has been lit, steadily burning towards its fatal blow of destruction when you are both home alone. Your partner will think twice next time!Some forms of jealousy can be more insidious. You are helplessly ashamed of your own reactions, so you disguise your direct aggression and retaliate in a way that is disconnected to the offending act; you wreck something that they value and claim ignorance over the damage that has been done.Or maybe your jealous reaction is delayed (but never forgotten). When they next go out with their friends, you find a way to spoil the evening by plaguing them with text messages and phone calls. How else can you divert your brooding anxiety that they might see someone more attractive than you? You seek pity from them for a feigned illness, demanding an early finish to their night. Ultimately, guilt overwhelms them and their return home is the trophy for your strengthening possessiveness.Some of the situations above are typical ways of expressing jealousy in relationships. Your jealousy will have a cause. 

Jealousy in relationships: What causes jealousy?

Some psychologists consider jealousy to be an innate and instinctive response needed for genetic survival; as a species you are genetically pre-disposed to protect what could be taken away from you. But this theory ignores that not everybody suffers with the same level of jealousy. Indeed, there are some individual learned factors that can cause your jealousy in relationships.

Background

Your childhood situation and experiences can contribute to your feelings of jealousy. This can include your position in the family (e.g. being the oldest child), your parent’s handling of sibling rivalry and the way in which you perceived their distribution of time, attention and praise to you and your siblings. Family values of competitiveness can also create an acceptable culture of jealousy at home.Typically, being an only child is considered a situation where feelings of jealousy can be high because as a child you lacked the experience of sharing attention. But this can again vary on the type of attention that you have received from your parents and the way in which you interpreted their attention. Destructive jealousy experienced in adult relationships can originate from the child having too much parental attention (being spoiled) or contrastingly from parental neglect.These background influences of jealousy can lay dormant. They may not always affect your loss of friendships at a young age (unless you believe that you ‘own’ your friends). But as you start having close relationships and establish a trusting bond with your partner, you become aware of how much there is to lose and how painful a break up can be.

Past relationships

When your parents have displayed jealous beliefs or have been involved in affairs, it is easy to form early patterns of repressed insecurity and distrust. At that young age, you would not have known if your parent’s affairs would have caused a divorce. Neither would you have known what its implications would have then meant for you. Fear of abandonment is a common insecurity from early traumas like these and can surface later in your life as jealousy in relationships.This distrust can also be learned from other significant people in your life e.g. siblings or friends who have similarly been betrayed by their partners. The effect of learning this trauma may not be as deep as the effect of your own parents, but it can act to reinforce an already-frail jealous disposition.
Jealousy in relationships betrayal
A past betrayal can damage your trust in all relationships
The effect of a personal betrayal from a past relationship is one of the most powerful contributors to learning destructive jealousy in relationships. If it hasn’t been acquired from the above situations, the effect of this sole past betrayal can overwhelm your handling of a new relationship. Your new partner might be a Saint, but the emotional distrust learned from the previous betrayal influences you to keep your ‘guard up’. Inevitably, you believe that your new partner is destined to cheat on you in the same way as your previous partner did before.Sometimes there has been more than one betrayal in the background which accumulates your jealous feelings. Or maybe you’ve endured a lengthy relationship with a persistent liar who has deceived you for years, despite your friends warning you of what has been happening. You didn’t want to believe it at the time or were not ready to accept that it could be happening to you. When reality hits you, it shocks you and can generate a vengeful attack on your deceitful partner. It can shatter your concept of trust influencing you to believe that all future relationships will go the same way.

Insecurity

Insecurity in relationships is the belief that in some way (consciously or unconsciously), you aren’t good enough for your partner. Given time, your partner will realise this, come to their senses and find somebody else that is a better match for them. Insecurity can relate to one or several issues e.g. you can feel insecure about your attractiveness, an aspect of your personality or your perception of your success. But whatever the nature of your insecure attribute, you are totally convinced about your worthless feature and reject that anyone else could love you for it. When your partner socialises, your fear and possessiveness escalates. You hopelessly compare yourself to your imagined perfect rival, only causing you to feel more insecure and jealous.Your insecurity can also be associated with feeling undeserving of a happy relationship. This can be due to a deeper fear of abandonment. You can cope with poor or mediocre relationships because there is less pain to fear if it goes wrong. But as soon as the relationship is thriving, you panic. You fear that the pain of abandonment will return as you make a commitment with your partner. So you engage in self-sabotaging tactics to push your partner away (a form of “secondary gain”). One method is to make false accusations of their infidelity to down grade the relationship. You play the jealous partner to ease this deeper fear that lives inside of you. It then justifies your break up with them because, you claim, “they were being unfaithful”.

You view your partner as a commodity

Believing that your partner is really “yours” is a term that is deeply ingrained in the common use of our language. But beliefs about “ownership” can be a cause of your jealousy in relationships. Even by saying “your partner” or “your other half” assumes that they belong to you. For the majority of the population these terms are harmless references to someone you share a relationship with. For others, it indicates the existence of a contract e.g. by marriage. But with jealous values dominating in the background, the objectification of your partner heightens that fear of you losing your “property”. Consider that you can only really lose that which you believe you own in the first place.

You want feelings to stay the same

Fixed beliefs about your feelings can be a cause of your jealousy in relationships. In your unrealistic relationship ideals, you believe that the feeling of being in love should never change. You hope that the honeymoon period of your relationship will last forever. But when it does end, your feelings of insecurity increase. You continue to make commitments with your partner e.g. by getting married, buying a house and having children (not always in that order!) But you hopelessly believe that these commitments will bring the old feelings back. The emotional void is filled with resentment as you envy those around you having the excitement of new relationships as you once did during your honeymoon period. You may even develop feelings of attraction towards other people as a way of coping with this void. But rather than accept these common fluctuations of feeling, you begin to become suspicious of your partner also craving these feelings and finding others attractive too. Jealousy starts to filter into your relationship as a projection of what you crave in your own life and believe about feelings staying the same.

You demand guarantees

Your expectation of relationships is unrealistic. As a response to your past betrayals, you now seek certainties from your partner that holds them to unreasonable commitments. The time at which they say that they will return home must be fulfilled or it justifies your aggression. You are eagerly clock-watching as the time ticks up to the agreed arrival time ready to pounce if the “contact has been broken”. This drives your anticipatory anxiety so that even when they make the deadline, you are already wound up and suspicious of minor signs of betrayal evidence. But this insecure handling is not just on a day-to-day level. Your long-term view of the relationship also demands knowledge of the future, as if you can fortune-tell what will happen as “facts”. You have to know that the relationship will last forever. Can that ever be guaranteed? And this unrealistic expectation causes your anger when anything threatens to destroy your dream.

You have a general fear of loss (being replaced)

A fear of losing your partner (or some aspect of them) to a rival defines your jealousy in relationships. But due to your past experiences, your fear of loss is a much deeper fear that causes your jealousy. For example, you may have feared being replaced as a child when siblings were born or when your parents divorced, and this fear is now transferring into your adult relationships. Your fear of loss is also in evidence at work, where you constantly fear losing your job to another colleague despite constant praise from your bosses. Regardless of the situations where this fear of loss presents itself, it has a debilitating effect on your sense of responsibility and confidence. You end up being victim to circumstance; hopelessly clinging to what you have, and fearing that it will be snatched away from you by perceived rivals. With this fear, your partner, your job, your friends etc. are all vulnerable. You may also consider that your favourable outcomes are due to you “being lucky”. It’s as if you have not played an active part in any of your achievements.

Personal psychological factors

Low self esteem and jealousy in relationships
Low self esteem is a major cause of jealousy
In addition to your childhood background and past betrayals, your individual personality traits can cause your jealousy in relationships. Low self-esteem is a core issue closely linked with insecurity (see above). With low self-esteem, you put yourself down and struggle to accept yourself as you are. You rely heavily on acceptance and reinforcement from others. You believe that you don’t deserve good things in life and that you are ‘lucky’ when happiness does come your way. Since you don’t believe that you can contribute to your own success, you live in fear of losing it to someone else. This includes the handling of your relationships, a situation that serves only as a temporary release from your feelings of worthlessness. At the start of your relationship, being desired by your partner boosts your esteem, lifting you into a state of romantic euphoria. But external sources of esteem are more difficult to safeguard. As the relationship settles, your low self-esteem is gradually exposed again. You crave this feeling of importance as before, but lack the internal resources to lift your esteem yourself. So when a rival then threatens your relationship, jealousy can be your defensive reaction to protect this feeling of importance and your relationship.There are other psychological issues that can also cause your jealousy in relationships. Obsessions can be triggered by having general anxiety and numerous traumas related to the same issue e.g. having a number of betrayals in relationships can cause you to obsess over the fear of future betrayals. In an obsessive state of mind, you have difficulty recognising the rationality of your jealous thoughts because your traumatic history prejudices your perspective. Extensive and numerous episodes of betrayal can influence states of paranoia, another cause of jealousy in relationships. With this condition, you can have the exaggerated suspicious belief that numerous people are involved in the betrayal and are constantly scheming to deceive you. In extreme cases that can accompany a mental illness, you can suffer delusions with your jealousy in relationships. With this condition, you are firmly convinced of your betrayed reality despite very strong evidence of the contrary.

Quality of your relationship

There are many factors that can affect the quality of your relationship and the likelihood of developing jealousy. In addition to those listed above, they can also include:• The mismatch between you and your partner’s values e.g. when there has been a row, your partner might use attention from others to lift their own feeling of insecurity and divert the tension in your relationship. Contrastingly, you seek a quick internal resolution between you, causing you to feel jealous and frustrated in your partner’s actions.• The level of each other’s dependency is sometimes called your ‘attachment’ style. When you have an insecure attachment style, you may seek more reassurance and attention from your partner. You can be prone to feelings of jealousy when your partner prefers their own personal space in preference to being ‘glued’ to you.• Your partner is extrovert and you are introvert. You struggle to cope with your partner’s sociability (extroversion) because you prefer to have evenings in together. You may feel jealous when your partner wants the freedom to socialise in larger groups, whilst you feel anxious in larger groups, preferring to socialise in smaller numbers.Many couples can manage these relationship issues above. Your communication styles will play an essential part in how you cope with each other’s differences and feelings of jealousy. 

Jealousy in relationships: How do you know that your jealousy is destroying your relationship?

In a trusting relationship, mild forms of jealousy can be quite endearing to your partner. Due to your naivety, your partner “protects” your insecurity with constant reassurance. Essentially, you recognise that your allegations of jealousy are false and you can readily dismiss your suspicions as pure foolishness.But when you have a fixed, fatalistic belief that your imagined partner’s behaviour is reality, your responses can change from charming to near-abusive. Here some signs that your jealousy is destructive:

• You are controlling

The relationship may have started with amorous signs that you are head-over-heels in love with each other, but as time goes by, the interest in your partner’s life becomes a fixation. You are inquisitive about every detail of what they are doing, where they have been and what they are going to do later. Your constant questioning is aimed at exposing a hidden lie, so your suspicion interrogates your partner with infinite details. If their answers don’t satisfy your suspicions, you will plague their friends or even strangers until each story corresponds with what you want to believe. If there is still no joy, then you can secretly plough through their physical evidence like a private investigator. There are endless sources to test their honesty including checking their phone history and usage history, emails, website search history, car mileage, credit card statements etc.

• You are distrustful

You live in fear that the past wounds of distrust will surface again, but have probably forgotten the events that have caused your original pain. These past events confuse your interpretation of what is happening around you. You see evidence of deception in the most innocent comments, twisting their meaning to signal a threat. A compliment paid to a colleague by your partner is enough to register danger that this colleague could jeopardise your relationship. You may even begin to doubt the integrity of family and close friends; those whom you would otherwise normally trust. Your distrust is so severe that you consider that anyone has the potential to deceive you. But it is not just comments that rattle you; any subtle changes in behaviour can also be viewed with suspicion. Your partner’s desire to get fit or “better” themselves in some way is seen as a sinister attempt to attract a new partner.

• You are possessive

You spin a spidery web of possession and seek to dominate your partner. You want to eliminate their friendship circle by subtly criticising their friends as if they are a bad influence on them. If your partner praises any of your friend’s qualities e.g. hairstyle, you hastily upgrade your hairstyle to shift the attention onto you. You then aim to gradually suffocate your partner’s individuality. You want to be attached to them wherever they go and participate in whatever they do. You won’t allow them the freedom to spend time on their own, nor allow them time with their friends; you are ever-present. If they want to start a new hobby, then you will suddenly be enthusiastic about that activity too, just so that you can be their partner in the class. In the extreme form of possessiveness, you stalk them! You win your trophy when they live a possessed existence and can only turn to you for just about...everything.

• You are aggressive

Anger and jealousy in relationships
Anger is a common expression of jealousy
You seek to control your partner by intimidation. In the early stages of your relationship, your aggression is subtle. You question their whereabouts, wanting to know who they were talking to or why they took so long. But as the relationship develops, you retaliate when you haven’t had the answer that can satisfy your suspicions. So if they were not available at work to give you reassurance when you wanted to speak to them, you will become mysteriously unavailable when they need you; that way, they can get a taste for how it feels! But when that moment of painful jealousy is so overwhelming and they are not available to speak to you, you will seek to destroy those things that they value. You “accidentally” break one item from their collection or destroy something that will take them time to repair. If your perceived rival is available, you may even focus your aggression on them, punishing them for attempting to take away what belongs to you.

• You are convinced that there is a conspiracy

Your alertness to betrayal maintains your suspicions that it’s not just your partner who could deceive you. Gradually, your circle of distrust has extended to your friends and work colleagues. But it continues to grow with the prospect that the whole world is going to desert you. When people talk quietly, it must be about you. You are paranoid that they are making plans to set your partner up with someone who has everything that you lack. Each event is becoming a threat to your security. You struggle with any secret celebrations because you are convinced that the occasion will showcase your biggest fears.

• Your partner is anxious, depressed and isolated

Since you aim to dominate your partner, you may not acknowledge your partner’s deteriorating health and well-being. They have become a model of how you want them to be; controlled and possessed. They used to have their individuality, but in order to placate you, they have stopped having friends and hobbies. Very few courageous people have tried to enlighten you with what is happening, but your jealousy doesn’t hear their cries. You think their depression is related to something else

How can hypnotherapy help jealousy in relationships?

Hypnotherapy can break the obsessive thinking patterns

Hypnotherapy and jealousy in relationships
Hypnotherapy can help you switch to confidence in your relationship
Once you get immersed in repetitive jealous thinking patterns, your anxiety increases. This has the effect of intensifying your controlling behaviour, your distrust, possessiveness and aggression. In a relaxed state, your unconscious mind is more responsive to new hypnotic suggestions that can ‘switch off’ your anxious thoughts and help you learn how to replace them with more confident ones.

Hypnotherapy can help you build your self esteem

The change in your jealous thinking patterns is also enhanced by building your self-esteem. This is an essential part of your treatment for jealousy. When you dismiss your positive attributes, you are more likely to feel threatened by what your perceived rivals have over you. Suggestions are used to help you appreciate what is positive in you and your relationship; it’s so easy to take what is positive for granted!

Hypnotherapy can identify and treat your associated fears and beliefs

Fixed views about how a relationship ‘should be’ can create an inflexible communication style with your partner. Jealousy can be your defensive reaction that masks other associated fears and beliefs e.g. because of your insecurity, unconsciously you want to ‘own’ your partner. Recently you may have completed some relationship therapy with a mention that you have some issues to resolve, or you have come to your own conclusions from your constant relationship break ups. Either way, you are now ready to recognise that you have some unconscious negative beliefs (‘issues’) that could be treated by a skilled hypnotherapist.

Hypnotherapy can release the emotion from past betrayals

The emotion from past betrayals can still be affecting how you are coping with your current relationship. You may be thinking that you are “over it” or have “moved on”, but if your jealousy is destructive, the beliefs and emotions will still be influencing you. Or maybe you are the type of person “who knows what to do but just can’t seem to help yourself”. By treating your self-esteem and releasing the emotion from these past traumas, it can liberate your mind from the negative emotions that are still overwhelming your jealousy. Learning to trust your partner (and your own thoughts) is part of your jealousy treatment.

Encourage effective communication in your relationship

Throughout the course of treatment, your reactions will disclose your communication style and how you are interacting with your partner. Combined with your appraisal of jealous situations in your relationship (and past relationships), you can be guided towards more effective way of communicating. The treatment process will also encourage assertiveness by helping you identify what values your partner brings into your relationship. Your partner’s interest in this process can help you both appreciate the intended resolution of your jealousy. It can make way for a more trusting and rewarding relationship. 

Jealousy in relationships Cardiff: for further information on your jealousy treatment, contact Richard J D’Souza Hypnotherapy Cardiff

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Deposit needed

Why is a deposit needed to confirm a booking?

So you want to make a booking, but the thought of paying a deposit is putting you off! Well, there are many good reasons to request a deposit when you are ready to make an appointment. Please read on...

What can happen between the time of making a booking and attending the first appointment?

• There’s a high DNA (Did Not Attend) rate

Did you know that the ‘Did Not Attend’ rate for missed NHS appointments is nearly 10%? This costs the NHS £162 million per year! This is a staggering number of patients who will make an appointment and then decide not to show up. Ok, I’m not the NHS, but I’m sure you can appreciate that “no shows” do impact on any business.

If you are an employee, that would be the equivalent of your boss randomly turning you away from your workplace one in every ten days. And no, you wouldn’t get paid for that lost day.

How long has your issue been on your “to-do” list? Hmm, for several months! Well, you are not alone...

• Some patients struggle to be decisive

Many anxiety-related conditions have avoidance as a feature of the condition e.g. phobias, social anxiety and addictions. You will wait until your fear is debilitating you before you proactively deal with it.

Most of you will appreciate that the avoidance of dealing with something just makes the situation worse in your mind. As the event looms closer, the anticipatory anxiety increases. This further influences you to run away from resolving the situation unless you have good reason to follow through.

Without a strong motive to attend your appointment, you could be slave to this obstructive feature of anticipatory anxiety. Although you will have had good intentions at the time of booking, the anxiety/fear takes over and you struggle to show up on the day of your appointment. You don’t set out to deceive anyone, but the emotional volatility of your condition can render you helpless.

You are then too embarrassed and ashamed to deal with the booking and may not communicate your cancellation. In the long term, your therapy is delayed and indeed your condition can deteriorate as a result. Not to mention that the therapist has also lost their appointment space!

So, are you serious about your having your condition treated?

• A deposit commits you to the therapy process

Many clients who are unsure about whether to have a treatment or not are often swayed by the ‘moment’; the therapist has “sold” their treatment to you in your initial enquiry. But once you hang-up the phone, you are still dominated by apathy.

A financial payment is a true indication of your commitment to your goal. It shows that you have made your decision to pursue your goal and are prepared (within reason) to do what it takes to achieve it.

This is an essential ingredient for any effective therapy and creates the inertia to start looking past your own (emotional) obstacles. It means that you are no longer prepared to procrastinate.

How does a “no show” affect my business?

• I’m self-employed

Being self employed and having a client not show up is preventing me from earning my living. I can only treat one client at a time, so if a client does not attend their appointment, I have lost the revenue for that appointment space.

A ‘no show’ effectively means that I also lose nearly 20 minutes chasing up my ‘lost’ client before finally accepting that they are not attending. There is no opportunity to fill that hour lost at such short notice.

I have created a 24 hours notice cancellation policy for any changes in appointment times. This gives me a reasonable opportunity to allocate another patient into that ‘lost one hour appointment space’.

• I rent the treatment room

Unlike some therapists who work from home, I rent a treatment room in an established therapy centre. When a client does not attend, not only am I unable to earn my living, but it costs me rent for that lost appointment space. Using the scenario (above) of your boss turning you away from your work without pay every ten days, it also means that you would lose your travelling expenses and have a wasted part of your day at your ‘leisure’ to fill at short notice.

So what helps you to trust that this is a professional hypnotherapy service?

• You can discuss your issues before booking

There are many stages to build up your confidence that this is a professional service. You can contact me:

By email to have your enquiry and the booking stages validated in writing,
By phone to discuss your condition and for me to consider your suitability for treatment
• If this has not resolved your doubts about the treatment, you can meet me as part of a free ten minute initial consultation. No treatment will be given during that initial meeting.

• The hypnotherapy practice is very well established

I have been practising professional hypnotherapy since 1997. I am a registered practitioner with the following associations who will confirm that I am qualified, insured and DBS (formerly CRB) checked. Registration with these associations means that I am bound by a strict code of professional conduct and ethics:

The General Hypnotherapy Register (GHR)

The International Hypnotherapy Association (IHA)

The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC)

The Therapy Centre (as a premises) was established in 1995 and continues to offer the local community orthodox and complementary professional therapies.

• PayPal is very secure

registered hypnotherapy practitioner in Cardiff
As a customer, you are protected with PayPal

The reason that I have chosen PayPal as a payment method is because security is excellent. PayPal help to arbitrate any disputes should a situation arise that requires a third party.

My terms and conditions (T & C’s) can be found here. Your acceptance of these T & C’s is required when making a booking. The main term is a 24 hours notice requirement for any changes in your appointment. If you wish to cancel with more than 24 hours notice, you can have a refund (minus PayPal transaction fees) or rebook using the same deposit.

Are these T & C’s are too restrictive?

If you are in a situation that finds these terms and conditions unhelpful, then please contact me. I will attempt to make any reasonable changes to the booking system that will suit your lifestyle.

How effective is the appointment confirmation process?

Since the implementation of a deposit confirmation, I have noticed a reduction in my “Did Not Attend” rate. As my prospective patient, I believe that you start your treatment with a more focused commitment to achieve your therapeutic goal.

For more information on booking a hypnotherapy appointment contact Richard J D'Souza Hypnotherapy Cardiff

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Stop Smoking Cardiff

Stop Smoking Cardiff

Stop smoking Cardiff break the habit
Stay stopped: Get ready to lead your life as a non-smoker
Stop Smoking Cardiff: Stopping smoking is just part of the challenge... with Stop Smoking Cardiff the goal is to stay stopped

Stop Smoking Cardiff: Which Hypnotherapy treatment will help you achieve your goal?

It would be dismissive to think that hypnotherapy is the same treatment with every hypnotherapist. But if you have tried a hypnotherapy treatment and have not had a favourable outcome, there could be numerous explanations for this. The cost, the style, the approach, the focus, the emphasis, the techniques and the rapport is different with each hypnotherapist. Then you also need to take into account your hypnotisability and what history, beliefs and expectations that you bring into this process. You are an individual, even if you share a common goal that you want to stop smoking.A successful hypnotherapy treatment involves some cautious research on your part – and only too right! You are spending money on a professional service that could help you make an important life change. Going for the cheapest hypnotherapist could backfire if they are inexperienced and are using hypnotherapy as a part-time hobby. You could also be fooled by persuasive advertising “jargon” because you are desperate to receive help. So what happens? You hastily go along with claims of a “quick fix – one session cure” because you are longing for that magical silver bullet! Understandably, you want to be free of your cigarette smoking chains and will do anything that draws your attention.So how can you differentiate the good from the bad? 

Stop Smoking Cardiff

Can you ask the question “what’s your success rate?”

If you were to ask a hypnotherapist what their success rate was for helping patients to stop smoking, do you think that they would honestly be able to give you a real percentage rate answer? Very few hypnotherapists have undertaken any research worthy of appearing in a reputable medical journal. It’s difficult enough to standardise “hypnosis” let alone reliably measure the outcomes with a large enough sample and with controls in place. They may refer you to other online hypnotherapy research as the standard to expect, but is the online method exactly the same as the method that they are using? Can it be applied to every patient equally?If they did tell you that they are achieving 80%, ask them which journal does their research appear in or ask them to see a copy of the raw data and you might never actually receive the information you want! When they tell you their success rate “is very good”, is this just them giving you what you want to hear i.e. “common sales pitch” to get you through their clinic door? At that precise moment, you have no way of verifying whether their success rate is good or bad.So, will you be asking the question “what’s your success rate?” - I think it’s pointless. 

Stop Smoking Cardiff: What does the research say?

Some research has been done with positive outcomes. For example, research by Elkins & Rajab in 2004, here referenced in abstract, reports that 81% of the 30 patient sample stopped smoking after 3 hypnosis sessions. But other grouped research analysed in the Cochrane Review states that hypnosis has not been able to consistently show its effectiveness as a “one-therapy-cures-all” type of treatment.But don’t ditch hypnotherapy as an option just yet!You may be puzzled by my selling technique here. I am not exactly portraying hypnosis in a sensationally positive light and raising your expectation to “buy this stop smoking treatment now”. That’s because, even as a practising hypnotherapist, I consider that there’s a lot more to the hypnotherapy process that makes it work or in some cases, not work. So disregard the “one session smoking cure” adverts and consider them as nothing more than “attention grabbing”. Let’s face it, if anyone has a treatment that can be demonstrated to be say, 90% effective, the NHS would buy into that method and save itself a fortune.

It’s far cheaper to use a reliably tested method to help patients quit smoking than it is to treat their smoking-related illnesses.

Stop Smoking Cardiff: What is the common approach with hypnotherapy?

Stopping smoking hypnotherapy Cardiff
Which hypnotherapy approach will help you stop smoking?
Hypnotherapists commonly focus the stop smoking treatment into a longer one-session consultation e.g. 2 hours. To make a big impact, you are there for a longer time and charged a double fee (and some more!) to commit you to this short interaction. Do you consider this approach as two separate sessions squeezed into one visit? They will analyse your smoking behaviour, use a stop smoking hypnosis induction (scripted or unscripted) and then they may offer you a generalised stop smoking hypnosis CD to take home. Very rarely, the CD has been tailored to your personal needs.This is a reasonable approach which can work for some patients, some of the time. And when it does change the behaviour (and beliefs) of a smoker after just one (double) session, it can be “headline news”. It’s quite an achievement because for some patients, a twenty year habit has been broken after just one meeting. But according to The Cochrane Review, one-session stop smoking hypnotherapy is no more successful than any other methods available to help you quit smoking.Whether the hypnotherapist’s advert mentioned any follow-up consultations and possible additional costs if the change has not taken place after the first session can be variable. The hypnotherapist may not want to mention more therapy (and costs) after the first session because it could affect your beliefs about being able to stop in one session i.e. if they say that you may need follow-up sessions then maybe the one-treatment approach is destined to fail (even if it is a double session). And this is an important point with psychological treatments: your expectations or what you believe can have an impact on the outcome. 

What makes stopping smoking such a challenge for you on your own?

Smoking cigarettes involves both: 1. A physical addiction to nicotine and 2. A psychological habitSmokers place varying emphases on each part; some of the cigarettes smoked in your day will be related to the nicotine addiction and others related to what you habitually associate with nicotine e.g. it’s time for a break time, it helps you to concentrate, it releases your frustration etc.In order to help you stop smoking (in the short and long term), the successful hypnotherapist will aim to treat your nicotine addiction and its psychological associations. Sometimes, if you smoke infrequently, treating just one part (usually the psychological associations) can be sufficient to help you to stop smoking. A skilled experienced hypnotherapist will analyse what you present in the consultation and treat your relevant issues rather than taking a rather generalised approach and hoping for the best!But I just smoke cigarettes...Yes, over time it ends up that way, which is why it can be arduous trying to stop smoking using willpower alone. When you have been smoking cigarettes for many years, it’s likely that the physical and psychological aspects of smoking have overlapped.Help from an objective professional can benefit you if your own attempts have previously failed. Your personal habitual associations with nicotine can be analysed and treated. In group therapy, the trainer/therapist would need to spend individual time with you to treat your personal smoking issues, rather than treating the group’s needs as a whole. Each smoker is different.You are living “within” the addiction/habit. You respond to the physical needs of nicotine and the associations you have made with it. This means that you confuse physical tension and irritability from a lack of nicotine with that created by stress. Smoking just takes over your life. 

What does the one-session treatment fall short of addressing?

Stopping smoking in one session is not impossible; it just means that several “future” issues need to identified and treated in one go. I’ve helped many patients stop smoking in one session, but it doesn’t mean that the process is over.For some patients, one session is a tall order because once you have left the therapy room (by definition) you are on your own- you’ve had your one session. If you haven’t adapted to your new lifestyle as a non-smoker, then you can easily slide back to smoking without any further help. How do you know that the job is done when the critical stages are yet to come?The one-session approach appears attractive to the smoker who is looking for the cheapest quick-fix. But it needs to have treated these “future” issues without really knowing that they have been treated until the time comes. The critical period is around three days and up to two weeks after you have stopped smoking. Each smoker has different responses to stopping smoking.They include:
Stop smoking Cardiff break the habit
Irritability is a common nicotine withdrawal symptom
• Cravings – Withdrawal symptoms begin after a few hours, peak at around three to five days, diminish and then stop after two weeks. Symptoms can include irritability, tension, headaches, restlessness, frustration, anxiety and even depression. Everyone is different with the severity of their symptoms, but after this period, any symptoms are related to the psychological habit or associations you have made with nicotine. If you have found these symptoms unbearable on previous stopping attempts, support over this period (to keep you focused on the goal) is essential.• Accepting change – Removing a “comfort” leaves a void to fill in your mind (and body). It can be stressful filling this void depending on what other issues you bring to this treatment. The comfort of what you have known and done (smoked cigarettes) has now become ingrained as a way of life. Changing these habits requires a transitional period of adjustment where you replace the old unwanted habits with more desirable ones and embrace those as your new comforts.The confidence that you have accepted this change comes from being in those situations and demonstrating that you can cope. For example, if smoking and drinking alcohol has been one of your social habits, it’s not until you have been out socialising that you can assign confidence in this situation without a cigarette. Yes, you can visualise coping (which will be a big help), but you can only say that you have managed it after the event has happened.I have treated patients who have stopped smoking after the first hypnotherapy treatment, but have been fearful of coping with a social situation involving large groups. They started the treatment with social anxiety and with the goal to stop smoking. The support leading up to the event in the second session is what helped them to confidently socialise in large groups without the need for a cigarette as their comfort. It would have been too much to have helped them stop smoking and prepare them for this social situation in just one session. Before the treatment, their social anxiety trait acted as a block to them stopping smoking and being able to cope socially with large groups of people.• Stress and anxiety associations with nicotine – If you smoke more cigarettes when you are stressed or anxious, then treatment to manage how you handle your stress or anxiety is an important part of converting you into a Non-smoker (see below).Low nicotine levels, stress and anxiety can all create a similar feeling of tension, but smokers forget how to differentiate one from the other over the years of smoking. The deep breathing (used independently by non-smokers) is an essential part of releasing emotional tension; you’ve probably heard the expression “take a deep breath!” So as a smoker when you feel stressed or anxious, you will smoke out of habit to ease your emotional tension (and get your breath). This repletes your nicotine levels and you feel calmer, but it’s the deep breathing that is creating the benefit in this situation; you don’t need the nicotine. When you are under extreme stress, your high nicotine levels can reach a distasteful peak. You may continue smoking excessively until you feel slightly nauseous, but it’s the emotional release from stress that you are seeking, not the nicotine.
Stop smoking Cardiff and stress
Inability to cope with stress is a major reason why people keep smoking
Stress and psychological associations to nicotine are a big part of what keeps you smoking. You fear that you may not be able to cope with your stress without cigarettes, “so it’s better to keep the habit going just in case”.Stress and psychological associations to nicotine also contribute to your restarts. The intensity of a new trauma (e.g. bereavement) links your mind back to how you “coped” with previous traumas. If you believe that smoking got you through your initial trauma, then the deep need returns when you go through another distressing experience. Sometimes, this can be months (or years) after you last smoked a cigarette.The hypnotherapist (in some cases) can begin to identify and treat a few of these issues in the one (double) session and (according to the Cochrane review), only sometimes gets it right to help you stop smoking. 

What does the one-session treatment rely on?

There is a small percentage of the population (about 10%) who are highly suggestible and respond very quickly to hypnosis. The majority of the population (80%) are moderately suggestible and can benefit from a reasonable course of treatment. The other 10% are unresponsive usually because they have a fixed attitude about what to expect (e.g. if you are not sleeping then it’s not hypnosis) or can terrified of the process (e.g. you fear losing control). You can assess your level of suggestibility here.As you can imagine, the highly suggestible population are the ones who respond well to the one-session stop smoking treatment and this is what this approach relies on – highly suggestible patients who seek hypnotherapy as their treatment. But since they only make up a small percentage of the population, it is for this reason (I believe) that the Cochrane Review only gives an average success rate for hypnotherapy for the whole population.If this realistic (two-stage) approach was used with the majority of the population, I think it would increase the overall success rate of hypnotherapy stop smoking treatments. It just needs someone to do empirical research using this approach.The moderately suggestible population desperately want to be “cured” rapidly (and who doesn’t!?) They are in awe of their friends who have been quick-fixed and want the “same” treatment to work for them. They can be “hypnotised” to accept these initial suggestions to stop smoking for a short period of time, but it usually takes longer than one stop smoking session to fully internalise suggestions beyond this stage.New suggestions in the second stage are more effective to help you dissociate your psychological associations with nicotine after you’ve stopped smoking for the critical three to five days. These suggestions can focus you beyond the nicotine depletion stage to assist your progression in the stop smoking programme. This is what converts the (recently stopped) Ex-smoker into the lifestyle-changing Non-smoker (see below). 

The Ex-smoker vs. The Non-smoker

Have you previously stopped smoking for months or even years and have still felt like the cravings have never really gone away?When you stopped smoking, did you still feel like you needed a cigarette in certain situations?Have you frequently stopped smoking for more than a week and then lapsed back into your smoking habit?If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then consider the two very different perspectives of the Ex-smoker and the Non-smoker:
Stop smoking and become the non-smoker
The Ex-smoker still battles with their old smoking habit
As the Ex-smoker, you have broken free of your nicotine addiction for at least a week. You have taken a very determined “will-power” approach to “stop-no-matter-what” and come out of the other side. You deserve recognition for doing something that smokers lack the courage to do – stop smoking! But many of your psychological associations to your nicotine habit still remain. You are given constant desperate reminders of your old habit. A certain mood like anxiety draws you back into smoking cigarettes because you find it hard to breathe through your tension. You are tempted to give-in during socials, when there are other smokers around you or when you are enjoying drinking alcohol. You may even carry cigarettes on you “just in case” the cravings overwhelm you. You constantly fight an internal battle that surrenders when the demands of the situation are high. “Just one cigarette won’t do me any harm...” are your last desperate words before you surrender and get your hit of nicotine. You’re back into the smoking habit again! As the Non-smoker, you have stopped smoking for at least a week and have detached all of your psychological associations with nicotine. You are liberated from your old smoking habits that once frustrated your life in so many ways. As a Non-smoker, you can now appreciate the benefits because you have embraced positive lifestyle habits. You have new independent ways to manage your stress and anxiety. You lead your life as if you have never smoked a cigaretteYou may pity your friends and work colleagues who are addicted to nicotine; it serves as a reminder of the life that once defined you. But smoking is their choice; you are proud to have asserted your choice. As a Non-smoker, you may able to tolerate having smokers around you. Or, maybe now you find the smell of cigarette smoke repulsive, just like the majority of the population who have never taken up the smoking habit.When your stop smoking hypnotherapy treatment has helped you embrace the perspective of the Non-smoker, the therapy is complete. Your life is smoke free!Only when you have distanced yourself from your nicotine addiction can the hypnotherapist realistically analyse and treat any of the remaining psychological associations that remain. The hypnotherapist will help you accept that having stopped smoking: Nothing in your life is “missing” You don’t need to avoid any situations You believe that you can deal with your stress/anxiety without nicotineWhen these issues are clearly visible, then the job of quitting cigarettes has been achieved. 

What is my treatment approach?

In the early part of my first consultation, I want to:• Identify any significant health issues – This is standard practice, you may have some contra-indications to hypnotherapy. • Explore any relevant lifestyle habits – Analyse your stress/anxiety levels and associations with nicotine. • Discuss the background to your smoking habit – Establish your motives for stopping, your emotional blocks and reasons for re-starts (if any).Then, using this information:My first goal in the stop smoking hypnotherapy programme employs techniques to help you stop smoking so that your nicotine levels can deplete. I include teaching you techniques to counter your cravings.My second goal in the stop smoking hypnotherapy programme is to help you dissociate any psychological habits that you may attach to your nicotine addiction/smoking cigarettes.These goals can combine to create an advanced change in your smoking behaviour. This often depends on the issues presented in the early part of the consultation. 

How many sessions are usually needed and what is the frequency?

The stop smoking hypnotherapy programme is usually between one to four sessions. Most patients stop within one or two sessions. Allow up to four sessions to achieve the confidence that you are a non-smoker. The psychological habits are analysed in the early stages but are targeted more intensely as the nicotine levels have depleted.For optimum results the second consultation should be booked three to five days after the first consultation to counter the effects of any remaining cravings. Any follow-up appointments will then be made according to your progress/needs, but are usually made weekly. By committing to becoming a non-smoker, it ensures that you leave the stop smoking hypnotherapy treatment in an independent and confident state.Can stop smoking hypnotherapy courses take longer than four sessions? Where there are background medical conditions such as depression or anxiety disorder that is heavily dependent on smoking as a way of coping, it is advisable to stabilise these conditions first with medication through your GP. Or you can seek therapy e.g. hypnotherapy, that focuses on stabilising these medical conditions. This then places you in a better position to be ready stop smoking. 

How should you prepare for the first consultation?

To achieve maximum benefit from the first hypnotherapy treatment, aim to have your last cigarette prior to your first appointment to stop the smoking process. This helps you to focus your mind on a stopping date which often gives the best results. The sooner you can reach those three to five days of not smoking, the sooner the nicotine will diminish from your body. But everyone is different and if you have already planned to decrease your number of cigarettes in gradual stages, then the treatment can be adapted to your needs. The hypnotherapy techniques will help motivate your mind to stop smoking, break the cycle of your smoking habits and help you cope with your nicotine cravings.Be prepared to get rid of any remaining cigarettes as a clear intention of your goal while your nicotine levels are depleting. The “comfort” of having cigarettes with you can leave you vulnerable if you are under stress from external issues. Yes, it’s easy to get hold of cigarettes from a local shop, but the time it takes you to go and buy them, can be the time it takes for a cravings to develop and subside using the techniques taught in the treatment.Tell people around you about your intentions to stop smoking if it helps them to be more sensitive to your smoking cessation goal. Family and closer friends will make allowances for any craving symptoms. They may also smoke away from you to help you adopt your new habits. 

Can I combine the hypnotherapy treatment with any other methods?

Yes, hypnotherapy can be combined (to help you cope) with any negative symptoms (e.g. an increase in stress, cravings etc.) acquired from stop smoking prescription medication or nicotine replacement, including electronic cigarettes. You can mention your situation in your initial contact.The treatment course length may vary where you seek help with a small change in your behaviour. 

Stop Smoking Cardiff: Can your fears associated with stopping smoking be treated early in the programme?

stop smoking and lose weight
Putting on weight is a common fear of stopping smoking
Yes, these fears act as your personal blocks to you quitting smoking and are discussed in the first consultation. They can relate to your ability to cope with your cravings in the early stages or some of the latter negative effects that may have accumulated before (and caused you to lapse back into smoking again). Common fears of stopping smoking include gaining weight or not being able to deal with your stress. It is important to take these issues into account because your mind will not be fooled into stopping smoking if you believe that by stopping, you will suffer in another aspect of your life. 

Stop Smoking Cardiff: What can you expect after the first appointment?

Most people stop after the first session, but it’s important to consider that each person is different in the way that their addiction and psychological habits have affected them over the years. Just because a friend as stopped immediately using hypnotherapy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will follow the same pattern of behaviour.Some patients prefer to gradually cut down the number of cigarettes, building confidence into their ability to delay the time between each cigarette. If you have successfully coped with delaying the first cigarette of the day (which is usually in the morning), then this helps your confidence to believe that you can then extend the interval between other cigarettes in your day.Other patients are prepared to stop smoking in some situations e.g. around work, but may feel vulnerable and want to smoke in other situations e.g. socially. This gradual process of cutting down of the number of cigarettes you smoke extends the “stopping” treatment stage of the therapy, but can be better suited to your individual needs. The follow-on sessions will treat what is remaining in your smoking habit.Aim to stop smoking, but don’t be disheartened if a situation has triggered a small lapse and you smoke the odd cigarette e.g. you became stressed over an external issue that causes you to cave in and smoke. In these cases, the psychological associations to nicotine have become unconscious, but can be treated as they become apparent to you. Many patients have reacted to their lapse by then becoming more determined to deal with these underlying stressful issues that have caused the lapse.With the first stage of the stop smoking hypnotherapy treatment, you are focusing on stopping smoking and on depleting your nicotine levels. Temporarily, you may choose to constructively avoid situations that you believe would be a threat to you lapsing at this stage of the treatment. After the nicotine depletion stage, your confidence to participate in these situations will form part of the follow-up sessions and the conversion to being a Non-smoker. 

Stop Smoking Cardiff: How can patients feel after having stopped smoking?

There can be numerous withdrawal symptoms to nicotine. You may experience some of these in varying intensity or none of them at all.• Extreme cravings for a cigarette • Disturbed sleeping patterns • Feeling anxious or depressed • Restlessness, frustration and difficulties with concentration • Changes in appetite • HeadachesThese nicotine withdrawal symptoms are temporary and subside after the nicotine levels deplete. Hypnotherapy suggestions can be used to counter the effects of your nicotine withdrawal.If you have temporarily stopped smoking before and can recall struggling to cope with any of these symptoms, the treatment can specifically prepare you to cope with what you anticipate with stopping smoking on this occasion. 

Stop Smoking Cardiff: What happens in the follow-up sessions?

If you have stopped smoking in the first session, the follow-up session will help you deal with any remaining craving symptoms (depending on the timing of the second treatment). It will also focus on any remaining psychological associations that you have with nicotine; the “fears” that you will encounter without having cigarettes available. This process converts the vulnerable Ex-smoker into the Non-smoker. It is important to follow this process through because even though you have stopped smoking, it’s only after the nicotine levels have depleted that these psychological associations become fully understood. It’s tempting to “jump ship” to save money, but there are very few patients who feel ready to embrace life as a non-smoker at this early stage.There are several psychological associations that can be made with nicotine. They are often the “excuses” or fears that people make to keep you smoking. Or these associations act as the reason for your previous relapse and you fear that the situation could overwhelm you again.This process of “undoing” is built into the four session treatment. If you have few (or no) psychological associations however, the treatment is likely to be a shorter course. 

Stop Smoking Cardiff: What psychological associations keep people smoking?

When you are converted you to the Non-smoker, you will embrace an alternative to your “excuse” (or fear) that has previously prevented you from stopping or has caused your lapses back into smoking. When the new perspective is accepted at the cognitive, emotional and behavioural level, the treatment is complete.Smoking is nothing more than an addiction to nicotine, anything else is the addiction fooling your mind!Have you justified (or heard someone else justify their) desire to keep/lapse back into smoking with the following “excuses” or fears?• It’s just a habit; you can stop any time • X... is just as unhealthy as smoking • You’re only harming yourself • Stopping smoking will stress you out/smoking helps you to relax • You will stop cold turkey when you are ready • You don’t buy them/people hand you them • You can’t cope with the withdrawal symptoms • You enjoy smoking • You are healthy in other aspect of your life • You don’t have the willpower/you’ve tried everything • You will quit when...work quietens down/after the holiday etc. • Smoking helps you to concentrate/You work better when you smoke • Smoking gives you a break • You fear putting on weight (you believe that smoking keeps your weight down) • Smoking is your best friend (you fear loneliness) • Cigarettes help you to socialise (you have social anxiety) • Smoking and a drink (alcohol, tea, coffee etc.) go together • Smoking has become part of who you are • It’s your reward • You fear failure (you have failed before) • It’s something to do with your hands • It helps you deal with boredom/waiting around • It helps you cope with...stress/moods (or any other negative emotion) • It wakes you up • Without cigarettes you feel depressed • It helped you cope with a tragedy or bereavement, so you keep smoking just in case of another • It helps you cope with a bad relationship (or it helped you cope with a previous break up/divorce) • Medication/therapy costs too much • Smoking helps you feel important/cool/mature (empowerment) • You would be giving in to defiance (you love to do the opposite of what people tell you to do) • You would be giving in to your partner who wants you to stop smoking (revenge) • Smoking is your only pleasure/vice • Nobody’s perfect • Everyone dies of something • What’s the point? It’s too late/I’m too old, the damage has been done • There’s no evidence that smoking harms your health • You’ve just cut down/you smoke low tar cigarettes
Stop smoking Cardiff quit today
Commit to leading your life as a non-smoker
Being a Non-smoker involves changing your thoughts, beliefs, emotions and behaviour. Some of your excuses to keep smoking (or restarting) can be reactions to comments and situations that have been held for years.Are you ready to become a Non-smoker?For more self help tips on stopping smoking:How to stop smoking Tips 1How to stop smoking Tips 2 

Stop smoking Cardiff: for further information on becoming a Non-smoker, contact Richard J D’Souza Hypnotherapy Cardiff

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